Monday, September 9th, 2013


Brought to you by…

It is with great pleasure that I announce that NextDraft has an official sponsor. For the next year, NextDraft will be brought to you by There's no way I could have picked a supporter that more directly represents my brand and my experience on the Internet. So this is really a great day for me. In addition to the sponsorship, NextDraft has a whole new publishing platform, and at long last, a blog version. Here's the lowdown on the next phase of NextDraft and what it means for you. Please take a few minutes to read: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Post Office.

+ One of my favorite new features is the improved sharing. Now you can quickly and easily share any of the ten NextDraft blurbs on Twitter and Facebook. Just hit the appropriate icon beneath the blurb and you'll be the MVP among your friends and followers.


Popularity Contest

What does it mean to be popular? In my Twitter stream and across the media landscape, I see endless references to Mad Men and Girls, but those shows are watched by relatively small audiences. So are they popular? We've never been able to measure popularity as instantaneously as we can now. But popularity means something different today than it did before the Internet era. As Adam Sternbergh writes: "We, thanks to the increasingly concierge-style delivery system of the Internet, are each sheltered in our own cultural cocoon." From movies and television to candy bars and digital downloads, here's the NYT Magazine with a look at what was, is, and will be popular.


A Chemical Formula?

In what was intended a something of a throwaway comment, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Syria could avoid a U.S. strike if Assad would "turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week." Kerry then added, "He isn't about to do it and it can't be done obviously." The statement (called a "major goof" by one U.S. official) has led to Russian and Syrian officials suggesting they'd consider that deal.

+ President Obama will make his case to the American people on Tuesday. It will be an uphill battle as public opinion has shifted dramatically over the past week. Sixty-three percent of Americans now oppose U.S. airstrikes.

+ Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad sat down for an interview with Charlie Rose. "We're not like the American administration. We're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deals with reality."

+ Harvard's Graham Allison on the Syrian decision: Ask "what would the Godfather do?"


iCan’t Control Myself

That feeling that the Internet is about to blow up with delight is a sure sign that we're only a day away from Apple's much-anticipated unveiling of the new iPhone lineup. An ad on Slate calls the Apple media gathering the "year's most anticipated event." That might be overstating it just a bit, but it will be interesting to see what Apple serves up at at what seems like a pivotal moment in the company's evolution. Here's Nick Bilton: Apple's next unveiling could make or break a business.

+ What will Apple announce? The bookies have made their predictions.

+ After a few untimely drops, my wife's iPhone screen looks like it's been smashed by a baseball bat. And I've ruined a couple of mine with what seemed like a few drops of water. Today's delicate smartphones are a far cry from the Nokia 3310: The phone that could not be killed.



"The war would crash through her careful plans in a hundred ways, large and small. She watched it empty her refrigerator and shut off her gas. She came to feel like one of its strangest casualties, a widow with a living husband." From the LA Times: A soldier's wife - her husband came home, and the war came with him.


Old School

They are "wiser, happier, and more socially adept. They handle negative information better, have stronger relationships, and find better solutions to interpersonal conflicts." Oh, and they may have made it possible for us to evolve into the humans we are today. Slate's Laura Helmuth on how old people and long lives made humans human. And you still never call...

+ So you're both retired and now you can finally spend a lot of quality time together. Well, you might want to consider warming up with a little "parallel play." Too much togetherness can ruin retirement.

+ In Arkansas, a man died after shootout with a SWAT team. The man was 107 years old.

+ Want to keep your mind young as you get older? Play video games. I wondered about all those people driving 20 mph in Grand Theft Auto.


Do Not Go Into the Water

While I'm happy to face-off against a couple hundred open browser tabs, I generally fear nature. And after reading this story on the rise of fast, huge, and deadly jellyfish, I may never go into the ocean again.

+ Want to do your part to keep plastics out of the ocean? Stop washing your face. (I never realized that my kids were such environmentalists.)


Turing Over a New Leaf

Ryan Leaf was once considered the NFL's hottest quarterback prospect. In the last decade, he's been viewed as the league's biggest bust. Now he's told the true story of his downfall to a writer who had pretty unlimited access: his cell mate.

+ Matthew Cordle went viral with a video in which he confessed that his drunken driving killed a man. Now he's been indicted.

+ George Zimmerman is back in custody. Surprise: He pulled out a gun.


Tech Dreck

Recently, there have been a lot of negative stories about highly successful tech entrepreneurs. The New Republic's Noreen Malone wonders: Are tech entrepreneurs replacing Wall Streeters as the rich bad guys in the popular imagination? I've always had more respect for tech leaders who earn their hate the old fashioned way: with bad tweets.

+ Maybe this Vanity Fair article answers Malone's question: In Waspy Pacific Heights Culture Clash, It's Tech Bravado vs. San Fran's Old Guard. One member of the old guard told a reporter: "They bore the hell out of me. They're one-dimensional and can only talk about one thing." As a tech person, let me assure you that such a statement is categorically false. Tech people can talk about two things: Technology. And tech people.


The Bottom of the News

It's worth noting that several of these movies didn't make much money or receive critical acclaim at the time of their release (so there's still hope for Gigli). Here's a look at the ten greatest films of all time according to more than 800 film critics.

+ How green is Tesla, really?

+ Billy Corgan has gone from Smashing Pumpkins to helping people smash into each other. According to GQ, he wants to be the the Vince McMahon of alt-wrestling.

+ If you haven't seen this video of the remarkably talented Robert Downey Jr. singing with Sting at his 60th birthday concert, do so immediately. And if you think Lady Gaga is all hype, you better watch her duet with Sting at the same party.