Dispatch 9: I Don't Do Requests

Us and Them

I don't normally do product recommendations in Dispatches, but since it's had a tight grip on my brain, I want to tell others about this amazing photo book I received as a Christmas present.

If you have ever followed fashion photography, you've heard of Helmut Newton. He was absolutely prolific in the 70s and 80s and defined a fairly specific couteur look that became synonymous with French Vogue. His wife of many years, Alice Springs, was also a photographer and artist in her own right and the couple documented their lives and careers. Those photos of their life together were collected in the book "Us and Them."

Even if you're not the biggest fan of Newton's work (I respect his skill, but editorial fashion photography doesn't really "do it" for me), you'll come away with an appreciation for both of Helmut and Alice. They are clearly a powerful duo. The images collected over their lives are remarkable for the breadth. I came away feeling like I knew these people.

I highly recommend this and for the price, you'll be glad you bought it for yourself or some other shutterbug in your life.

The most expensive media

Techmoan posted a video detailing the most expensive home audio format: reel to reel tapes.

As usual the video gets into the fascinating details of the technology. Reel to reel was always an enthusiast format. It was more cumbersome than vinyl albums or enclosed tape formats like cassettes and 8-tracks. But the up side was that, if properly mastered, the tapes wound sound far better than just about any other format. There are some additional caveats to that, but it is still pretty interesting to see that tapes are still being produced (albeit at exorbitant prices.)

Play it again

There are no shortage of piano covers on youtube, but I happened to have this particular video recommended to me and it is probably the end-all-be-all of piano cover videos.


I didn't bother to even count how many songs Lara6638 plays, but it's an astounding amount only made more remarkable by the fact that she was taking requests live. Since it was originally streamed on Twitch there are a lot of videogame covers (Legend of Zelda makes multiple appearances), but there are a lot of other pop songs in the mix as well.

That'll do it for this dispatch.

It's not a disruption, it's a mutation

Lyft has announced a partnership with General Motors that, along with putting half a billion dollars in the war chest, will help Lyft create rental centers for drivers without cars to drive for the platform.

Uber and Lyft are not disruptive technologies, but disruptive economies

While Lyft and Uber like to claim that they are disruptive technologies, they have functionally done little more than that existed in the first place. Instead, they are disruptive economies in that the transaction and costs have been shifted.

Where taxi companies own fleets of cars with medallions that permit them to operate. The new paradigm shifts to what are essentially the duopoly of Lyft and Uber. They don't need badges. The brand IS the badge. If you're not on those platforms, you can't pick up a passenger.

It's all still passengers spontaneously hailing cars. They've merely shifted the way money is handled and how the price is assessed. The number one killer reason "ridesharing" is popular(for now, at least) is because it's markedly cheaper than the existing alternative.

If they were truly disruptive, we would see a better distribution of rideshare drivers outside of peak times, the ambiguity of rating drivers would be made clear, and the relationship between the two parties would be closer, rather than disintermediated by an app replacing the plexiglass pane between driver and passenger.