How to Watch the Super Bowl

Although maybe not this year

Welcome to another edition of Brainwaves. As always, you can check out the full graph of ideas, notes, and questions here.

Can’t cut the cord

The rise of streaming video services has inspired many people to abandon cable television. A major reason not to cut the cord? Live events.

Netflix and other companies disrupted serialized video by making content available all at once. Instead of waiting for Thursday night to watch your favorite show, you could binge an entire season, without ads.

Even in a world of hyperpersonalized recommendations, though, there are still some events we all tune in for. Perhaps it’s the Olympics, an awards show, or a big political speech.

So many of us watch these events. And yet, there are so few options. If you watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, why should you have to listen to Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on CBS?

What if we could watch a different stream?

What if live broadcasts could be personalized like other content?

What if we could watch our favorite YouTubers and podcasters host these events?

This is the idea behind co-streaming.

The Path to Co-Streaming

It would be amazing if everyone had the tools to produce their own Super Bowl broadcast.

We may get there eventually, but it won’t happen all at once. The good news is we’re on our way.

The NFL has started experimenting with multiple broadcasts during this year’s playoffs. Most notably, there was an experimental “kids’ version” on Nickelodeon, full of animation, friendly metaphors, and yes, that good ol’ slime.

Check out some of the highlights:

The same game was shown on a few other channels as well, including a Spanish version and streams focusing on analytics and film breakdown.

By offering multiple versions of the same event, the NFL made their content more accessible and engaging to diverse audiences.

To get an audience in today’s fragmented media environment, you have to meet people where they are. There are very few events that can take their audience for granted.

For now, the Super Bowl is one of them.

Until then, I’m with Megan.

For more on [[co-streaming]], including other recent examples, related behaviors, and lingering questions, check out the graph.

Take me there


My first introduction to co-streaming was through this piece by Eric Jorgensen, via Mario Gabriele’s fantastic newsletter, The Generalist. (You should definitely subscribe: click here, then tell Mario I sent you.)

Language as Technology

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a (good) podcast is worth a million brainwaves.

This is why the [[a16z Podcast]] is my favorite. I may learn something new from listening, but I’m usually left with more questions than I know what to do with.

Some questions from a recent episode on language are still bouncing around my head:

  • How does the meaning of words change as they enter the mainstream?

  • Why are metaphors powerful?

  • How can we design better experiences for communicating online?

  • Is language a meme?

Check out my notes, give the episode a listen, and send me back some brainwaves.

More here


The main reason you didn’t get an email from me last week was because I was knee-deep in the GameStop/Robinhood/Wall St saga. (I wanted to write something about it, but it kept getting crazier…)

I’m not interested in discussing what happened, but I am intrigued by the longer-term consequences. Robinhood was universally slammed for halting the buying of specific stocks like GameStop, and many retail investors felt like the company betrayed its mission and name.

There are parallels to last month’s debate about social media and deplatforming. Who has power to make the rules? Who gets to control others’ actions?

Many saw the Robinhood saga as a rallying cry for decentralized finance movement (DeFi).

As I mentioned in my last email, decentralization is going to be a big theme for the next decade. Finance seems like a particularly intriguing use case for decentralization (Bitcoin, anyone?) so I’m interested in learning more about DeFi.

I’ve collected a few links to explore, but if you have more recommendations, shoot them my way.

Tweet of the Week

I wish I had created this account

+1 for an extra week


– Mark