Bad Sinatra, Episode 1

The first edition of Steve Gillmor‘s new videocast, Bad Sinatra, is online.  I just watched it, and here are my thoughts.

First a mild criticism: I had no earthly idea who some of those people are.  If (and I recognize this is an if) Steve is doing this for a wider audience than the deeply tech-connected, he ought to put the names of the people at the bottom of the screen, or at least say their names occasionally.

He also ought to turn off his phone, but since he didn’t edit it out, the phone calls must be part of the vibe he’s after.

Steve and Dan Farber debated iPods and iPhones in the lobby of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where I met Steve last year.  Their conversation was very interesting, and captured some of the magic of the good Gillmor Gang episodes.  Steve saying he loved Macs because they “suck a lot less” than PCs was funny.  Dan nailed it when he said iPhones are not corporate phones because they don’t do corporate email…yet.

Steve was apparently mad at Dan for doing a podcast with Jason Calacanis.  It wasn’t entirely clear why, maybe because it’s too close to a Gillmor Gang reunion.  Again, maybe the insiders understand all the background, but lots of people will be left wondering.  I liked it that Dan tried to debunk the idea that Office is dead.  Given that corporate America, where the most profitable software is sold, is NEVER going to migrate to Google Docs, how can Office be dead?  Microsoft Works may be dead at the hands of Google Docs, but not Office.

Mike Arrington didn’t seem all that happy to be on camera, and added nothing of substance other than his involvement.

I was happy to see Doc Searls participating.  He talked about VRM and conferences and some snack bar Steve had.  Smart and funny guy.  To paraphrase Christopher Walken, “more Doc Searls!”

I’m not much of a videocast watcher, so it’s hard for me to make comparisons to other shows.  I found some of the stuff pretty inaccessible, as if I was eavesdropping on a conversation between some people I don’t know (even though I know some of them).  It seemed sort of random and chaotic.

On the other hand, the whole of the videocast is somehow greater than the sum of the parts.  I can see how, with a little practice (and editing), Steve could capture some classic moments on film.

Bottom line: I’m not sold on it yet, but I’ll watch the next episode and see if it grows on me.

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