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The future of Byteside

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
4 min read
The future of Byteside

Preamble this week is some transparency in the thick of tricky times. To be clear, I’m not stopping or closing or pausing or anything. So don’t fret, faithful readers! I hope the future is bright!

My aim in the second half of 2020 is to put more emphasis on my Byteside work. I get to do great work as a journalist and in brand content work elsewhere but after a slow, steady exploration of what I want Byteside to be I see great potential delivering podcasts and newsletters that mix business, analysis and raw enjoyment of digital culture.

As the voice of what I try to do here has developed I see more and more that just being myself has value. I do sit between these varied aspects like few others in the industry.

I can analyse business movements in the categories I love just as comfortably as I explore new games and TV shows. I’m not sure anyone else spans writing in the likes of Kotaku and Junkee at one end of the spectrum to the Australian Financial Review and Acuity magazine at the other.

And I think being able to think about these things broadly, deeply, and seriously really matters more than ever.

I wrote a column for Influencing Tech that kind of goes to the heart of this issue. That mainstream coverage of the digital realm keeps treating it like an ‘other’ that is separate from the real world. That somehow it can only be treated as a confusing novelty item at the end of a news bulletin – or only with regard to stock prices and investments.

Screw that.

So, in (hopefully) about two months I aim to increase the frequency of the email to multiple issues per week, and to adjust the format to suit that kind of frequency. Through the back half of 2020 I’ll test ideas, no doubt make mistakes, but the aim is to look at whether it is possible to bring on some sponsorship and/or voluntary membership to support the effort. I hope that one works best. Otherwise a potential freemium model where there’s some free edition(s) each week while the rest are only available to paid subscribers.

Step one is to build a rhythm at higher volume each week and find the pattern that feels right.

Alongside that, there’s now a core four podcasts – Byteside, High Resolution, Jetpacks Are Overrated, and The Game Table.

I will also produce a spoken version of the higher volume newsletter for those who might like to listen rather than find the time to read. The decision is whether to put these in the main Byteside feed or to create a separate newsletter podcast.

I hope I can build solid support for Byteside as a small-but-strong publisher. I know it won’t happen immediately, but over time I absolutely aim to grow beyond my singular voice along the way. Partnerships with others who already make great stuff on one hand, and I’m eager to mentor and nurture talent that doesn’t get much of a chance anywhere else these days.

I’ve always loved helping other writers to develop their unique voice. With everything going on right now in journalism and in the effort to raise voices that are often unheard, I am working on ways to open the right doors to the right voices to try to do whatever small thing I can to help new people shine through.

I really, really hope you’ll all come along with me and support this however you can. I thank you for being here already!

And as ever, thanks to all those who shout out and share thoughts. Feedback is gold dust. I absolutely treasure it and it helps to refine the path forward.

- Seamus

'Rona round-up

This is online learning’s moment. For universities, it’s a total mess

Universities are struggling with online learning. And with social distancing here for some time, there are no easy solutions.  •  Share

To remake the world, give girls all the (power) tools

In her new book, Girls Garage, Emily Pilloton wants to teach girls the skills to get them to enter construction, engineering, and architecture, and change the point of view in those fields.  •  Share

Microsoft takes on Zoom and Slack in a battle for your work computer

Teams has been in a great long-term position given it’s already in so many classrooms. It seems there’s now a great sense of urgency to win in collaboration given the more remotely-connected working world we’re now living in.  •  Share

Who will own the cars that drive themselves?

Fleets of vehicles roaming streets waiting to be hailed are more efficient. But the coronavirus has made people think twice about the future of car ownership even when autonomous tech arrives.  •  Share

A philosopher explains why dance can help pandemic-proof your kids

Whether they’re holding hands and singing ring-a-ring-a-rosie or posing during a TikTok video, kids connect to each other and find joy through dance.  •  Share

During the pandemic, Grubhub should be thriving. It’s not.

A great look at how startup business models are broken, chasing scale without any view toward doing a task for less money than the customer pays you.  •  Share

Technical lessons

Pitch deck teardown: The making of Atlassian’s 2015 roadshow presentation

Really interesting stuff here, looking at how important it was to deliver a perfect pitch to investors who don’t understand what Atlassian’s products even do. Lessons for all in here.  •  Share

To deliver ‘The Simpsons’ in 4:3 aspect ratio, Disney Plus had to rearchitect its content-delivery system

An excellent look at why the demand for The Simpsons to be shown correctly is so obvious to a human brain but so hard for a computer distribution system.  •  Share

Cool things

Solar and wind's stunning cost advantage sparks call for mass coal closure

Stunning cost reductions in solar and wind power continue, with countries urged to replace 500GW of existing coal to deliver billions in savings.  •  Share

Electric Cessna lifts off as the world's largest zero-emission aircraft

The future of aviation is looking a little greener today with a nine-seat Cessna aircraft fitted out with an all electric propulsion system successfully completing its first flight, marking the maiden voyage for the world’s largest electric aircraft.  •  Share

The Xbox Series X will support 'thousands' of backward compatible games at launch, some will have better framerates

This is what I want. The best of a PC – play almost any game I’ve ever purchased – with the convenience of slothing in front of the TV with a controller.  •  Share

Seamus Byrne Twitter

Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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