My thoughts on most everything - work (Uber.com), health, tech, the financial markets & trading, music, books, life in general and crazy ideas I have from time to time. I will try to keep it interesting!
I’m in San Francisco this week, the weekend and part of next week doing the @Uber thing. Uber is moving offices this weekend and I’ll be helping out as I need the exercise. But enough about me, lets get to the music and why I don’t care what you may or may not think of this post.
I grew up with Saturday Night Live (SNL). It started airing in 1975 which means, technically, I was way too young to watch it but I saw plenty of those early episodes anyway. At some point over the years, my oldest daughter noticed that there seemed to be quite a lot of famous people that would cycle through the cast. Indeed, that is true. Many, many great comedic actors got their start on SNL and when you look through that Wikipedia article above you will be pretty impressed with the lineup that has appeared as cast members on SNL over the years.
SNL goes through its ups and downs with the cast, but one thing remains consistent (at least for as long as I can remember) and its the closing song at the end of the show that the band plays live. This song, through osmosis, has come to mean many things to me even when I just hear a few notes of it playing while I’m flipping channels and happen to catch the end of an SNL re-run. If you’ve ever seen the end of an SNL show you know that everyone comes out on stage and the guest host thanks everyone and then there’s a general round of congrats all around for a job well done. For going down in the history of the show. For cranking out an entire show, rehearsing it and then doing it LIVE for the entire nation in a week. I imagine there is a late night dinner or drinks session starting at 1:05am ET after the show ends every week.
So, ‘that song’ has been in my damn head forever and I finally decided to figure out if it was a ‘real’ song or just something they put together for the show. It turns out it is, in fact, a real song composed by Howard Shore all the way back at the start of the show. It also turns out Howard played in some early SNL episodes then went on to compose the scores for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy which he won three Academy Awards for, go figure.
Anyway, the song is titled, as best as I can tell anyway: “Saturday Night Live Closing Theme Song (A Waltz in A)”. There are plenty of clips on YouTube of the end of the show where you can hear the song played, but I ran across a musician named Ben Schwartzwho did an entire rendition of it via a keyboard / PC synth setup. It is great and I’m secretly planning to play it in the Uber office on an endless loop the day we go public!
So, with that lengthy introduction (see, I told you I don’t care what you think about it), I leave you with the music…
Well, I am in Tampa for the Republican National Convention (RNC). This will be the first political convention I’ve been to so it should be interesting. Uber is providing service this week (starting today) for the convention and with the weather that’s expected I think we will be very busy!
Most of our activities are centered around our deal with the great folks at the National Journal. That said, on Wednesday we’ll be at the Huffington Post Entrepreneurship Expo at the Cuban Club all afternoon so if you’re in Tampa swing by and say hi.
Yesterday at #SXSW between @Uber pedicab rides, I was lucky enough to catch Ray Kurzweil’s keynote. Kurzweil is a famous inventor (speech and music synthesis, OCR, etc.), big thinker and a guy who likes to predict the future in the technology arena. If you haven’t heard of Kurzweil before take a second to read his bio or the Wikipedia entry on him.
Yesterday’s talk was great, as usual, with a couple of new tidbits (for me at least). Apparently he has a bet that has been standing since early 2002 with Mitch Kapor over when a machine will pass the Turing test. The Turing test is basically a test for machine intelligence that Allen Turning proposed which simply states that if a human can have a conversation (by typing in this case) with a computer and can’t tell the difference between a machine and a real human, than that machine will pass the Turing test as ‘intelligent’. Kurzweil says a machine will pass the test in 2029 - pretty specific - I wouldn’t bet against his track record!
And speaking of his track record, he’s one of his own toughest critics when it comes to his predictions. He basically wrote a book length review of his predictions in the fall of 2010 which you can grab here. Really interesting reading.
Finally, it looks like he has a new book coming out called, “How to Create a Mind” this fall. In the book he is calling for some integration with our brains and technology in a direct way (e.g. implants) by the 2030’s. Once again, I wouldn’t want to bet against him. :)
It’s Wednesday so time for some music. I thought I had heard every Creed tune but apparently I was wrong. Caught this one yesterday - a couple years old but its worth listening to a few times. I liked it after the first time I heard it…after about the third time I bought the MP3 to add to the collection. :)