Substack Live

(team normal)

Keith Teare and I put what we call Substack Live up on the boards in this conversation on Zoom, YouTube embed, and the Substack iOS client. For this test, we used YouTube’s unlisted setting, which removes the live embed from search. Substack’s beta video post does not support live streaming, but it does allow placing the video behind a paywall. As we discuss here, the code for using any of the three possible settings (Public, private, and unlisted) can be rolled manually as we’re doing here, and as Keith notes, could be provided by Substack or a third party intermediary such as ReStream.

Beyond the tech, the ability to establish an ongoing subscription relationship with live streamed conversations may be the tip of the iceberg in this transitional moment for mainstream media and what could be called media as a service. It recalls an earlier moment of transformation, when the XML genie escaped the bottle and spawned what we now call the Cloud. At the time, coincident with the Y2K bug which helped drive Microsoft and IBM/Lotus to battle for supremacy in email, the conventional wisdom was that collaboration (groupware) was an unproved value proposition. When the smoke cleared, Lotus Notes used an IBM browser embed to fuel a browser-based version of the groupware product; Microsoft produced Outlook Web Access and an update release to Windows NT to open the door to a set of downlevel Office services access Google leveraged to produce and glue together its groupware suite.

Jump ahead to now, the new normal. Software is not an object, it’s a whole product hanging off an app. The Substack iOS app is a target for groupware in the mobile age. A kind of implied design, creating a post bolts video, text, ecommerce, firewalled access to a subscriber comment stream, and mobile notifications. Analytics drive the conversation between and across subscribers. The client aggregates these services into a new kind of magazine, or book, or live broadcast, or customer service platform. While email captures the lion’s share of the early audience, the hybrid subscriber reaches into the evolutionary zone of notifications, streaming, bundles, and favored user status. Social graphs sit alongside analytics-driven low- or no-code recorded automations. Your behavior stream becomes marketable while you retain subscriber lists. We subscribe to the whole product: video, live conversations, teamware, trading production services for a hybrid of services and creative synergy with leading artists, leaders, and economic opportunities.

The January 6 Committee hearings are most interesting to me for their at-long-last view inside the firewall of the Trump cabal. We thirst for our access to Team Normal, the hope engendered by the possibility of harnessing our better angels to meet the challenge of pandemic, autocracy, and loss of trust. Nurturing our collaboration across the mandated digital platform is not a panacea for the troubled times we are enduring. But having a safe space to exercise our voices is a good start, and a prerequisite for the business of conscience.

A bipartisan gun reform bill is that rarest of sightings, but if it fails, it will have to overcome the consensus argument that if agreement can not be found, then what is Congress good for. Even that possibility may be enough to force the hand of the Senators, who after all are just trying to keep their jobs like we all are. We may not be doing the best job, but we’re not competing with perfection. It puts the accent on Next Best Action as the criteria at work. This week I’m looking forward to the Next Best Hearing. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Wednesday (wait, Thursday.) Meanwhile, Elon Musk will meet and take questions with Twitter employees. And now back to the playoffs.


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