Author: Om Malik

A final goodbye


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


A week ago, when I sent this text message, little did I know that this would be the last text message I would ever send to someone who has been a constant in my life for around two decades. I knew his family was away in India, so he might be flying solo. And would be available. And he was! 

We went to San Ramon for dinner. On the way, we talked about everything. He regaled me with the story of a food adventure to the same place with his small, beautiful family. He had some classic dance music tunes mixed with Indian classics and 80s favorites. I told him that his favorite song, Donna Summers’ I Feel Love, was just named #1 on Rolling Stones’ top 200 dance tracks. 

“Obviously,” he said. And we cracked up. 

Then we got busy eating — the Indo-Chinese food was spicy. I said so.

“You are not really Indian, Om-jee.” And cracked up at his own joke. I joined in.

He was one of the few people I spoke to in Panjabi. As was usually the case, we jumped around topics. We discussed the merits of a new fountain pen paper, the movie called 1983, and networking and cloud technologies. He railed against crypto –even though I argued that skepticism shouldn’t cloud optimism. I didn’t win the argument. I never did — at least when it came to technology. 

We were driving back to San Francisco when his wife called from her home (Read more...)

Silence 


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Little did I know that this photo would start a journey to find a creative visual identity. Unsurprisingly, it was in Japan, just off the shore of Naoshima’s famous art island. The photo below is a companion photo. Both photos were made with a Leica Q — which quickly lost relevance as a tool. They were both JPEGs. I forgot to record the scene in the native DNG format.

August 5, 2022. San Francisco

In Beyoncé we trust?


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Beyoncé has a new album, Renaissance. You might have heard it. Or you might have heard about it. It is the summer musical event, and that has everyone in a tizzy. Reviewers are gushing. Social media is lit with euphemisms from fans. And why not? The Economist notes:

Beyoncé Knowles, who now appears to occupy a cultural position somewhere between Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, James Baldwin and St Bernadette. She had become, in an increasingly popular phrase, “culturally dominant”. Her seventh solo album, “Renaissance”, arrives not so much as a release, but as an event, heralded not just by reviews, but by reviews of reviews, previews, analyses of track titles and parsings of the lyrics.

Beyonce Renaissance

I have been listening to the album — on Spotify. Unlike the critics and reviewers, I am not having an eargasm. Except for two songs, Church Girl and Move, the album left me underwhelmed. She has done better work and will do better work in the future. (I am partial to I am Sasha Fierce and Lemonade, though Dangerously in Love is a guilty pleasure.)

I love her music too much to be upset. And life is too short to be upset over something, anything. More importantly, I don’t have a reason to be upset. After all, I didn’t drop a Jackson to buy the album. The upside of streaming is that if you don’t like something, you move on to something else.

Still, I appreciate Beyoncé bringing attention to (Read more...)

A rough, sleepless night


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


It is the middle of the night or the start of a new day — I don’t quite know. I feel suspended upside down in a vacuum—a throbbing ache in my heart, wrapped in deep sadness and an overwhelming sense of loss.

I have laid awake– remembering, rewinding, and playing back the tape of my life. There are memories — primarily good ones. But today isn’t going to be one of those. It has been a rough day and a worse night, and I am mourning a very close and dear friend.

I can’t stop but feel sadness for his small, close-knit family. We all know life goes on, but does it? How do they fill the gap left behind? I don’t know. I will try and go through the motions of another day and then another. Hoping that one day I will do what I must. As Thoreau said:

“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living- that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”

I am not ready. I am not ready to say goodbye. Yet!

August 3rd, 2022. San Francisco

One night in Iceland


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


On a rare windless late-night drive along one of the fjords in Iceland’s Westfjords, moody cloud cover and near-perfect reflections were great ingredients for a monochromatic landscape vista. Made with Lecia M11 using Leica 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M. ISO 800. Shutter speed 1/90th of a second. Aperture f/4.8.

August 2, 2022. San Francisco.

This photo was featured on Leica Camera’s social media feeds on August 1, 2022

A (personal) midsummer update


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


San Francisco. Made with Leica M11 & Leica M-Summilux 90/1.5 by Om Malik

This is my occasional newsletter published on July 31, 2022.

Hello everyone,

Since it has been a minute, I thought it would be good to send you a quick update. 

You have not heard from me because I didn’t have much to say. When I was not working, I spent my time visiting family, reading books, and occasionally watching an occasional television show. I recommend Chelsea Detective on Acorn TV. 

I have been reading about everything these days. Whether NFTs, Metaverse, Dall-E, or new kinds of chips, I have started to dig into new areas of interest. As is usually the case, I need to start to see patterns before I start connecting the dots. And that’s when I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts for public consumption. 

I shared some of what I have been thinking about with investor and friend Howard Lindzon on his Panic with friends podcast. I later summed up my piece, The Future of tech as I see it. Here are key takeaways

• The new chips and direction shown by Apple Silicon are very exciting and portend a new kind of computing environment. The chip-centric approach allows you to think beyond the limiting labels of virtual or augmented realities.

• In a world driven by fake news, deep fakes, and algorithmic disambiguation of reality, never before have authentication and authorization more needed. 

• We are not living in an America-first (Read more...)

The problem with Facebook


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Boywithadaimonring
 Photo courtesy of Emad/Stablity.ai via Twitter

The Verge reports on the internal challenges at Meta nee Facebook and how company is trying to deal with it. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Meta has painted  Apple as enemy number one. I mean, why not. A slight change has lopped off billions in revenue and market capitalization.”Apple is going to be a competitor for us, not just as a product but philosophically.,” Zuck said. “It’s a very deep, philosophical competition about what direction the internet should go in.”

I am unsure what direction Apple wants to take us, but I can bet my last dollar; I don’t want to be in the future of the Internet that Zuckerberg is trying to build.

Our north star is can we get a billion people into the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars a piece in digital commerce by the end of the decade? If we do that, we’ll build a business that is as big as our current ad business within this decade. I think that’s a really exciting thing. I think a big part of how you do that is by pushing the open metaverse forward, which is what we’re going to do.

Meta’s north star doesn’t take into account value to the users, the benefit to the larger ecosystem or even the experience. Instead it is about how the company’s users time can be translated into dollars for the sole benefit for Meta. So, yes, there is a philosophical difference between them (Read more...)

Why Kylie is mad at Instagram? 


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Phone with social media icons next to a laptop.
Photo by Zhivko Minkov on Unsplash

The Internet has been abuzz following a post by Kylie Jenner, an influencer famous for being the sake of being a famous person. On Instagram, where 360 million Instagram accounts follow her, she said Instagram must stop trying to copy TikTok and remain Instagram so she can see cute photos of her friends. First, to be precise – the original post was created by Tati Bruening, who has 315,000 followers. 

Kylie being Jenner that she is, added “Pleaseeee” and took the attention away from the original post. Soon, family doyen Kim Kardashian and others from the clan of famous Internet people joined in. It got the headline machines humming. And the melee has become a significant news story – I mean, it’s not like we are dealing with war, climate crisis, or inflation. 

***

What has Instagram done that the Kardashians & the Jenners are so upset? Earlier in July 2022, the company decided any video under 15 minutes can and will be converted into a “Reel.” Reels, in case you were not following, are a clone of short-form TikTok videos. Recently, TikTok made it so that the videos on the service could be up to 15-minuteslong. So obviously, Facebook had to match them feature for feature. 

Instagram will take the video posted by any public account – someone like Kylie “The Crying” Jenner – and automatically push it into a recommendation algorithm, only to be shown to other accounts based on how people react to that (Read more...)

When the birds go home


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


One of the great joys of living in San Francisco is having a cool and foggy summer. This year especially, I feel grateful for the chilly weather. The entire planet seems to have been enveloped by obscene heat, which is taking its toll not only on humans but also on flora and fauna.

Early in the morning or late in the evening, I find myself on the edge of the waters, enjoying the cool air of the ocean. In the evenings, however, I am enthralled by the multiple formations of Pelicans flying over the restless waters of San Francisco Bay. I captured a few such formations using the Leica M11 camera with a Leica Summilux-M 90mm f/1.5 ASPH Lens. These are edited versions of the photos I captured with the Leica M11.

The 90-Lux lens is a beast of a lens and renders the highlights in only a Leica lens can. These images were made wide open. ISO 64. 1/2000th of a second. Aperture f/1.5. I set the lens to focus on infinity. I intentionally wanted to avoid sharpness. Instead wanted to render what my eyes were seeing and what I was feeling.

July 26, 2022. San Francisco

Mark Vanhoenacker’s new book


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


One of the great pleasures of being active on Twitter, I have been able to connect and converse with folks I immensely admire. Nitin Sawhney, for example. I have often enjoyed my exchanges with Mark Vanhoenacker, a professional pilot and a writer who wrote the best-selling book, Skyfaring. I loved (and devoured) that book, and I wistfully reread it during the lockdown. 

(From the archives: My review of Skyfaring.)

He brings travel alive with the verve of a poet. I have been patiently waiting for his new book, Imagine a city: a journey across the urban world. As the name suggests, it is his paean to some of his favorite cities. Not surprisingly, it is getting good reviews. “Combines the god’s eye view… with street-by-street detail. The book will enchant and even move anyone who feared in recent years for the future of both travel and urbanism,” writes Financial Times. 

Mark sent me a copy, and I am currently reading the book and hope to have a chat with Mark (and share it with readers) soon. So far, the book is everything and more than I expected. FT is right — it is a perfect summer book.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 

July 22, 2022. San Francisco