chase martyn

“...but Trump takes an expansive view of reality.” ⇒

“Have you seen any evidence here to confirm your fears about Mexico sending its criminals across the border?”

Another grave nod. “Yes, I have, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it from a lot of different people.”

“What evidence, specifically, have you seen?”

“We’ll be showing you the evidence.”


He let that one pass.

“What do you say to the people on the radio this morning who called you a racist?”

“Well, you know, we just landed, and there were a lot of people at the airport, and they were all waving American flags, and they were all in favor of Trump and what I’m doing.” He shrugged—an epic, arms-splayed shrug.

“They were chanting against you.”

“No, they were chanting for me.”

24 August 2015, 11:38 am ⸭ Permalink

My first week without an Apple Watch ⇒

Apple Watch offers a wide selection of customizable watch faces. In fact, it’s easy to waste lots of time just going through screenshots of them and Photoshopping combinations you may like. This is, after all, Apple’s most personal (and personalizable) device—you should make your watch fit your style, whenever you get one.

Unlike an analog watch (ask your grandma what that is, ha ha!) the Apple Watch doesn’t show time constantly—you have to wake it up to display the watch face. You do so by flicking your wrist. In my tests, a small flick was enough to make it seem like it would wake the watch up, if I had one.

02 May 2015, 1:21 am ⸭ Permalink

1920s Time compared to the Buzzfeed of today ⇒

The magazine’s method differed from BuzzFeed’s in key ways. While BuzzFeed News draws on a Politico-infused sensibility that withholds no tidbit, however small, from its potential audience, Time made a name for itself by leaving things out and selling putatively comprehensive summary. But both techniques promise their own kind of all-knowingness.

And BuzzFeed’s trajectory can mimic Time’s, often uncannily. Writing in the mid-1960s, the magazine historian Theodore Peterson noted that Hadden and Luce’s lack of professional experience always informed the Timestyle. No member of the founding staff “was more than three years out of college.” When the magazine tried relocating to Cleveland, it had to move back to Manhattan because it “missed the supply of adventuresome young intellectuals whom they could hire for comparatively small salaries in New York.”

Bonus points for Nietzsche.

20 April 2015, 2:48 am ⸭ Permalink

Capturing a moment ‘on behalf of Apple’

On the cusp of a a career-defining product launch, Tim Cook published an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post opposing Indiana's new 'religious freedom' law and similar state laws meant to subvert equality for LGBT Americans.

America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.

What's most remarkable to me is that this statement has the explicit support of Apple and its board. Tim Cook could have made a big difference without drawing a direct (and public) connection to Apple. He could have called Gov. Mike Pence and other officials in Indiana personally (I hope he has done this, as it is as likely as anything to make a difference). He could have allowed himself to be interviewed about it for an article. He could have posted on his personal social media accounts. Or he could have written an op-ed as a private citizen, without explicit reference to Apple or its official positions. Instead, Cook and the company consciously chose to enter the conversation together.

Apple may claim that this was a purely moral decision, and that they made absolutely no effort to determine how it would affect the Apple Watch launch or the rest of their business before Tim Cook published the piece "on behalf of Apple."

I doubt it.And to me, that makes this moment significantly more important.

This could only have happened in a world where doing the right thing is acutally in the interests of Apple's bottom line. To paraphrase Joe Biden paraphrasing Seamus Heaney, hope and history may have begun to rhyme.

I don't know what Apple's primary demographic targets are for the watch in the United States, but among all Americans under 50, support for equal marriage rights is nearing 70%. If you only count people who own iPhones -- the only people for whom the watches will be usable -- that number is probably higher based on geography, education, and income.

I, for one, am more comfortable with the idea of wearing an Apple-branded device on my wrist today than I was last week, because I know that the company stands for something that is obvious to me and yet controversial to too many others.

Put that way, this could could be a case study in earning brand loyalty2 from a generation of consumers that has (so far) been characterized by disillusionment and indecisiveness.


  1. Frankly, I hope Apple did some polling (or some other kind of research) before this was rolled out, because it isn't worth it unless they have a plan in place that they expect to work. The modern gay rights movement has been extremely strategic, and that has been key to its rapid progress. There can't be story next month about how the Apple Watch missed expectations because of Tim Cook's quixotic obsession with equal rights. Apple has a responsibility to either play the game strategically or stay out of the pool.
  2. While too often "branding" is used as a synonym for "unaccountable PR expenditure," a customer's willingness to publicly associate with a company (or brand) is undeniably important -- especially when the company sells watches.
30 March 2015, 1:11 am ⸭ Permalink

“Is the MPAA even necessary anymore?” ⇒

Yet, when it comes to the net neutrality debate, the MPAA's silence has been deafening. The reason? Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, making the $149 billion company both a producer of movies through Universal Studios and a distributor of them through its cable and ISP operation. Though Comcast makes content, that part of its business is much less profitable than its distribution operation, and as a result, its corporate position is to not support net neutrality's Title II proposition, which calls for regulating Internet service providers much like a public utility. The issue is of even greater importance to Comcast when looked at through the prism of its impending $42 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, a deal done primarily to solidify its position as the nation's biggest Internet service provider.

I've been a Chris Dodd fan for a long time, but his MPAA job was an opportunity for him to transform an industry, and he seems to be treating it like it's just a paycheck.

27 February 2015, 1:31 am ⸭ Permalink

‘Really more about death and difficult-to-navigate interior spaces than wrestling’ ⇒

John Darnielle announces a new Mountain Goats album:

All that glory. All that shine. Nameless bodies in unremembered rooms. Some people might be thinking to themselves, JD, wrestling, I don’t know, I’ve never really been into wrestling, but did I steer you wrong with the Bible album, even though you may not have been super-into the Bible? Fear not.

22 January 2015, 2:57 pm ⸭ Permalink

Old Fashioned ⇒

This microsite about the Old Fashioned isn't new, but it's great.

As for choosing the right liquor for an Old Fashioned, here's my guide from cheapest to most expensive:

  1. Evan Williams: Cheap but surprisingly serviceable. (Don't skimp on bitters.)
  2. Bulleit: Both the rye and the bourbon are solid. Combining them is also good. (Use a normal amount of bitters.)
  3. Templeton Rye: A pretty light, drinkable rye. (Go lighter on the bitters.)
  4. Whiskey Pig: Almost blasphemous to make an Old Fashioned with this, but it's really great. (Any more than one dash of Angostura, and you're crazy.)

In lieu of fresh oranges, I tend to like experimenting with layering a hint of citrus- or fruit-flavored bitters on top of the Angostura. It's a lot more practical. (But only after you've mastered the original.)

27 December 2014, 4:07 am ⸭ Permalink

How to promote a press conference ⇒

The state-run TV network Russia-1 is promoting a live press conference with President Vladimir Putin using the spot below:

16 December 2014, 1:22 pm ⸭ Permalink

‘The Siliconian came down like the wolf on the fold’ ⇒

Over the past two years, it seemed to me that The New Republic had built a pretty good digital media company. There was experimentation. Their website underwent a number of changes that (as a web developer and former online journalist) I found really interesting. Their social media presence was significant, and they seemed to be as effective as anybody at writing tweets and engaging with their audience. 

Apparently these efforts were not being rewarded with hockey-stick traffic or revenue growth, but that would never have been a realistic goal. TNR should have been able to build a healthy publication and a self-sustaining business without that.

Using Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post as a yardstick for TNR's success in 2014 is as silly as comparing its circulation to Time's or The New York Post's in the 1980s. All of the aforementioned publications are legitimate, but there are important differences in their value propositions. Customers hire them for very different "jobs to be done." TNR was never a mass-market publication. Its business model was always to cultivate a community of subscribers that would never be as large as Time's, but that would be far more deeply engaged. This is central to its brand and its value proposition. Monetizing this deep engagement was obviously a challenge from the beginning, but there's no question that its relatively small audience is deeply engaged.

What's crazy is that the internet is practically purpose-built for this kind of business. Everything that's happening to make content available instantly to more people makes it easier for a niche publication or product to find a sustainable audience, geography be damned. Deep engagement is a lot more scalable than it used to be.

I won't claim that anybody has completely figured out the business model that would guarantee a profitable TNR next year, but I am sure of this: TNR's existing value proposition showed a lot more potential in 2014 than at any other point in its 100-year history. That's the saddest part of this whole story for me.

12 December 2014, 3:35 pm ⸭ Permalink

Seven years ago

Seven years ago this month, trailing in the polls with two months until the Iowa Caucuses, then-Sen. Barack Obama gave the speech of his political life.

(Gets especially good around the 15:00 mark. Which is also technically when the speech was supposed to end, but that wasn't going to happen.)

If the delivery seems uncharacteristically rough, note that this was the first time most of those lines had ever been delivered. It would be far from the last. In the room at the time, our minds were being blown repeatedly.

13 November 2014, 2:58 am ⸭ Permalink
Chase Martyn Chase Martyn is a political consultant, web developer, and (former) journalist. He currently lives in Chicago, and his opinions are purely his own.