Whenever I see a movie, and I typically see about 100 per year in cinemas, I make a note of it and jot down a "score" from 0 to 100 based on what I thought of the movie.

Based on that list, here are the top 15 movies of 2017 for me personally. I love how most of them will not be recognizable, and they don't include any big Hollywood films. These top fifteen, in no particular order, just were the most interesting/moving/profound/worthwhile/fun/deep/whatever:


Only in Seattle: Downtown railroad crossing stops traffic as wingless brand new Boeing jet airplane fuselages roll by…

Yesterday the book tour began. The Friendly Orange Glow releases on November 14th, but the tour starts sooner. The full national schedule is online and will be updated as needed.

The radio and media interviews have already begun and will continue throughout the month. Each time I talk to a media person about the book, the explanation gets better and easier. It reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. You keep getting a renewed chance to explain the book more concisely, interestingly, briefly. You get to experience the evolution of a long blathering explanation into a crisp soundbite. I'm still a long way from crisp soundbites but I can see them on the horizon.

It would be nice if a few people enjoy it.

Here is the Amazon order page if you'd like to purchase a copy.

capybara code red

Smartphone app that knows when you are accessing the phone for the first time in the morning, and has already checked Twitter and the news wires and depending on how bad a day it already is, thanks to the nut in the WH etc, it shows you pics of puppies. The more puppies, the worse the news is. If it's really bad, it shows cats and cute little bug-eyed goldfish. If it's CODE RED, it shows capybara pics.

If you're a VC feel free to just wire me money to my bank, thank you, and I'll get started on it right away.

I've been saying this for years: as the tools get better and more widespread, soon anyone will be able to plunder the movies and music and literature and art and the rest of the output of the 20th century and mix and mash it up into new art in the 21st century. We've barely scratched the surface of what's possible. Here's a new example, which while amazing, is still just the bare beginnings. I expect full feature films with 60s Kirk, Spock, and maybe Columbo, and Lawrence of Arabia, and maybe Monty Python, all in some new feature film, with the exact, faithful voice and likeness renderings of the original actors, but new dialogue, new scenes, and nobody (Hollywood lawyers take note) will be able to stop it.

"DARTH BY DARTHWEST"-"VADOR AUX TROUSSES". Short Film. from Fabrice Mathieu on Vimeo.

For a few years the clickbait media has been pumping out one dumb headline after another about Tesla Motors. The giveaway is always whether the headline ends with a question mark. As a rule, if you ever see a Tesla headline with a question mark at the end, don't waste your time reading it, because what that publication is basically saying is, "We don't know, but we want the ad impressions, and maybe some you think we do know, and you'll be fooled into clicking."

Is Tesla the Next Apple

I'm going to state categorically that no, Tesla is not "the next Apple." But I am going to go further. I am going state categorically that Apple was not "the previous Tesla." They are very different companies, with very different visions, different timelines. They are companies that emerged in different eras.

In 2006, Elon Musk posted the very first Tesla blog post, "The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me)" in which he laid out the long-term vision of the company. The plan was hugely ambitious but at the same time very simple and straightforward. First they would build a few very expensive toy sportscars, to prove the concept of electric vehicles, and demonstrate that you could build an EV and make it as attractive and desirable, if not more attractive and desirable, than a gasoline car. If they could pull that off, then the era of dismissing EVs as glorified golf-carts would be over. The next phase would be to produce a still-expensive, but still very attractive and desirable sedan vehicle. That was the Model S. Then for phase 3, they would introduce a more affordable, large-scale EV that could sell in the millions. That is the Model 3, announced on March 31st of this year, and for which there are now over 400,000 pre-orders, proving there is a robust demand for EVs, just like Tesla always said there was.

If Apple were "the previous Tesla," then Steve Jobs would have announced, in 1976, or, to be fair, since Elon's blog post happened 3 years after Tesla was founded, so let's say 1979, that Apple's long-term master plan involved launching a primitive personal computer, the Apple I, then a more sophisticated machine, the Apple II, then really change the world with the third generation graphical machine, which would ultimately be known as Macintosh. Or, better yet, Apple would have announced, in 1979, that the first generation of the company was going to be personal computing, which would enable them to evolve into a second generation of personal music devices and music selling (eventually the iPod and iTunes), and then really go all-out with the third-generation platform of smartphones and tablets that would sell to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, changing the world.

But Apple made no such announcement. Largely because the technology didn't exist for the second and third generations back in 1979.

Tesla, on the other hand, has had a crystal clear vision, a vision that has been remarkably consistent to anyone paying attention, for ten years straight. And they have been executing like clockwork against that vision. Today they announced that they are accelerating their plans for ramping up the new Model 3, with the goal of shipping 500,000 cars in 2018, and potentially a million by 2020, two years ahead of what we all were led to believe until today. This is because of the 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, of course, which has lit a fire under the company.

Wall Street, and even more so, the tech media, has been generally slow to understand and appreciate how consistently Tesla has been working against this 2006 master plan. Even though it was right there, laid out in plain pixels since 2006. All they keep doing is looking at the quarterly results and even the slightest deviation from guidance for the next quarter would result in a butchering of the stock price. They've been either impatient, or bored, or had their expectations raised then dashed. They've been trying to position Tesla as an Apple when in fact Tesla, as a car company first, and now really more of a transformational energy company second, has a completely different model, vision, set of priorities, and product life cycle cadence, than Apple. Plus, it's building big complicated pieces of hardware and software that weigh in the tons, rather than tiny handheld gadgets that weigh in the ounces.

Rumors are flying that Apple is building a car. But does Apple have the culture to switch from personal digital devices to multi-ton transportation vehicles? The media so badly wants to paint Apple as, in a way, the next Tesla. And if anything, I think Apple aspires to be the next Tesla. I don't think Tesla now, or ever, aspires to be the next Apple. I think Apple's peaked. They could buy Tesla, or Google could. But the culture clash would be phenomenally bad in both instances. Google is an advertising business. Apple a personal digital device and content-distribution business. Neither has the DNA for vehicles. I suspect that both will try to change their DNA (Google is more obviously trying to do that since they became Alphabet, using that corporate arrangement as a way to figure out what is going to make them something other than just an advertising business).

For me, the answer to the big question is, Tesla is the first Tesla, not the next Apple. They are doing something different. The other car companies are reluctant to admit it, but they will all need to aspire to become the next Teslas, but none have the DNA to pull it off, I don't think. I suspect as Tesla keeps growing and hits 1 million vehicles shipped in 4-5 years, we'll start seeing some car companies merge with each other, or declare bankruptcy, thanks to outdated business models (ahem: auto dealers and old-skool franchise laws), outdated technology (gas/diesel engines), and outdated manufacturing models (outsource everything except the motors).

As an investment, I think Tesla continues to represent an insanely great opportunity to make some money on the long term. It is a wildly volatile stock, and will continue to be. The world economy could tank tomorrow. A madman in the White House could wind up being worse than madmen in other palaces, and start WWIII. But barring those macroeconomic risks, I can't think of a better thing to invest in than Tesla. It may, with the Model 3, have its iPod moment, or iPhone moment, like Apple did. But it is not the next Apple, and for that I am extremely grateful. Apple has said for 20 years, "Think different." Tesla took that seriously. Tesla is different.

Wintergatan - Marble Machine from Wintergatan on Vimeo.

Get the audio track "Marble Machine" by Wintergatan:

Marble Machine built and composed by Martin Molin
Video filmed and edited by Hannes Knutsson

Costume designed by Angelique Nagtegaal

Swedish band Wintergatan will play live concerts starting from summer 2016.

I randomly stumbled upon the hashtag #safarilive on Twitter the other day, and noticed everyone was talking about what seemed to be a safari that was going on at that very moment in South Africa.

safarilive hashtag on twitter

A little searching resulted in the discovery of an outfit called which among other things operates live, unedited, noncommercial safaris in the huge 7000 sq mi Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa. Twice a day, you can go to YouTube and see the live "Safari Sunrise" and "Safari Sunset" broadcasts, sometimes 2-3 hours in length.

What is remarkable about these broadcasts is that they're the real deal. This is what "reality television" should be. Raw, unedited, authentic. You never know what is happening next: the ranger may be driving along trying to reach a pack of lions before sunset when suddenly he get acid flies in his eye, forcing him to pull over as he's temporarily blinded; a random water buffalo may suddenly appear out of nowhere, just standing there staring at the humans in the truck (old South African lore says that water buffalos always look at humans the way someone looks at you when you owe them money). Around a bend may be some gaunt vultures drying off up in a dead tree. A minute later, there might be a group of pregnant, lazy lionesses snoozing in the sun right along the dirt road when suddenly a tiny tortoise walks right over and cozes up against a sleeping lion's front leg! All along the rangers, who are walking/driving encyclopedias of nature facts and figures and stories, help the viewer appreciate what they're seeing and hearing. And, this being the age of social media, they even have little earpieces allowing the rangers to (one supposes) receive a private radio signal back at the command center, where someone is telling the ranger about a tweet or email question that just came in that moment... so the driver turns to the camera and says something like, "Good question, Amy from North Dakota...." and then rattles off an answer.

Unlike the usual fast-edit, hyperbolic, tense-music-backed American "run! fear! danger! extreme! it's out to KILL you" bullshit nature programming shown on Animal Planet, Disney nature movies, National Geographic Channel (owned by FOX, remember), and even PBS's nature series, or the slow-motion, super-productions that come out from the BBC, WildEarth is no "best-of" and severely cut and rearranged and one might even say fictional nature broadcast. This shows the animals as they are -- or aren't -- at that very moment. Which means, for the most part, you encounter them just hanging around, feeding, raising their young, marking their territory, being amused or annoyed by the curious humans driving around in those noisy, stinky, petrol-burning machines.

It's an extraordinary, well-run operation, prone to occasional technology glitches, but still, the idea that I can fire up my AppleTV, feed a live YouTube signal into my HD projector, and curl up and watch on a 12-foot screen a LIVE broadcast in glorious high-resolution video, of a safari going on right at that moment some 10,000 miles away is just plain cool.

Highly recommended.

I see movies. Most of them movies that Americans are completely unaware of, or skip.

I'm going to try something new for 2016 in this blog. I'll update the list of movies I've seen, but present them in order from least-best to best in 2016. So each time I post a new blog post with this list, it'll be revised.

Here we go. I've seen a dozen movies so far this year. Remember, my opinion only, from least-best (#12) to best (#1).

12. THE WITCH. Acting fine, costumes fine, production fine, photography fine (I think; theatre I saw it in must've lazily left projector in 1/2-brightness mode after showing a 3D movie; it was severely dark and hard to see throughout), story fine, reviews were generally excellent, but... meh. Just didn't buy into it. Too much madness in the current world, don't need to see what irrational raving totally-lost-it madness was like in 1630.

11. 2016 OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. I've seen numerous of these anthologies over the years, and this one was pretty forgettable compared to most, which is surprising and disappointing. Worst one: Bill Plympton's piece.

10. CHI-RAQ. I get it, but, ugh. But, I did go see it.

9. THE TREASURE. A very simple modest little film, not bad, ending disappointed. Would drive most American audiences crazy. I dare you to sit through it.

8. BROOKLYN Another 1952-era setting, like CAROL which was a better film. This was fine EXCEPT the last half hour, when the protagonist started doing things that made absolutely no sense and ruined the whole thing for me.

7. HAIL, CAESAR! Perfectly fine film, well-made, well-acted, sometimes funny. Kind of like RAY DONOVAN meets HUDSUCKER PROXY. But still... meh. Instantly forgettable entertainment.

6. FLOWERS (aka LOREAK). Took me half the movie to figure out the language was Basque and that the area was northern Spain. Interesting plot. Not too bad.

5. HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT. If you're a film person, this is a pretty great documentary. Learned lots. Then, went and Netflix-rented the 50s version of Hitch's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and hated it, it was disgustingly dated. So, go figure.

4. JOY. Liked it a great deal. Could relate a lot to the entrepreneurial mission and challenges. Also learned lots about how QVC worked.

3. WHERE TO INVADE NEXT. Michael Moore's new thing. Not superb, he's a sore for sight eyes, but at times funny, illuminating, lots to learn, lots to think about. Go see it. Discuss afterwards.

2. THE BIG SHORT. Loved it. Went to see it twice. Can't recommend it enough.

1. REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Best thing I have seen in 2016 so far. If only every single American would see it, think about it, discuss it, we might wake up and realize what's going on (particularly with the fiasco that is the 2016 presidential election and the corporate media coverage of it).