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🌮 Sunday Bunch #6: The Future is AI and Hard Seltzer

It is May 19, 2024. This is Sunday Bunch.

Welcome to Sunday Bunch. I appreciate you being here. If this is your first time, welcome to the party.

Each week, I try to present a menu of interesting things to give you a running start on the week. Tips, links, questions, or anything that can help me add to the fun are all welcome, simply reply or fill out the comment card below.

This week, I’m thinking about:

  • Keeping my head above water in the AI hype flood

  • What makes a great NFL schedule release video

  • How much it would cost to buy Supreme

  • The food brands of my youth (RIP Cactus Cooler 🌵 and Hoppin’ Jalapeño Crunch Tators 🐊)

All this and more, just a scroll away…

AI Gets Keynoted

Remember that period a decade or so back, when Apple turned the keynote into a major cultural moment?

Every new device, each new version of iOS, all of it became an event. The buzz from “One more thing” and Jobs’ introduction of the iPhone has been the dragon that tech has chased ever since.

Last week, AI leaders pulled out all the stops trying to get their big “One more thing” moment.

On Monday, OpenAI hosted a last-minute “Spring Update”, as expected, where they introduced their newest AI model, GPT-4o, in a live demo. Running on the iPhone’s ChatGPT app, GPT-4o appeared able to understand live camera footage, solve math problems, and translate a conversation between English and Italian speakers in real-time.

Sam Altman said “it feels like AI from the movies,” right down to flirtation depicted by Scarlett Johansson in Her. Why can’t we all remember to watch the movie until the end?

The next day, at their I/O developer conference, Google introduced a laundry list of new features and tools including their own vision for next-gen AI assistants, a new video generation platform (Veo) and perhaps most significantly, evolving Google’s flagship product with AI so you can “let Google do the searching for you.”

Not to be left out of AI rush week, Apple bypassed the dog-and-pony and went with a simple video introduction of some fairly incredible AI-enabled eye tracking features coming to iOS 18.

The new feature was framed as an accessibility upgrade, but it is also a preview for what’s expected next month.

On June 10, Apple will kickoff its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where it’s anticipated they will roll out their own list of enhancements to allow iOS 18 users and developers to integrate AI more directly into everything you do on your iPhone.

If you’ve reached your limit on AI hype, I have some bad news: we’re just getting started.

This is the new gold rush for big tech, only in this cycle the players are now trillion-dollar companies that are more powerful than most nation-states. We have leaders talking about paying people in ‘compute.’ You wouldn't last an hour in the asylum where they raised our innovators.

If you can’t wait to start using these new AI tools to transform your life and your work: we’re just getting started.

At best, some of these new tools will experience an iPhone-like adoption curve (which was still gradual in its first three years, before really hitting an inflection point around iPhone 4). Others are closer to concept cars, an exciting glimpse of what’s to come, but nothing you’re going to drive off the lot anytime soon.

This week was just a preview of what’s to come. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far. AI will find its ‘one more thing.’

Until then, it’s a great time to be in the keynote business.

Are you using AI tools from OpenAI or Google?

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🤖 Mark Zuckerberg celebrated his 40th birthday. Or did he? The pic of him with Bill Gates in basketball shorts does give strong AI.

🧱 The next Supreme drop to hit the resale market might be the company itself.

🏟️ The new sports streaming JV between Disney, Fox, and Warner officially has a name: Venu Sports. Nice work, assuming the only other option was Spulu.

🤝 I’m glad I am not alone in thinking hybrid offices are a headache.

🌀 In praise of the chaos follow. Here’s to the ones who keep it real on social media, even when it goes wrong.

🏆 The web-based show Hot Ones successfully petitioned for their right to compete for an Emmy, along with two other popular YouTubers. It’s all fun and games until Logan Paul gets an EGOT.

🤣 On the subject of Emmy-winning shows and YouTube: fans of I Think You Should Leave will want to check out Conner O’Malley’s stand-up special, Stand Up Solutions, streaming now on YouTube.

Italy’s sprezzatura, for stylized messiness; Japan’s iki, for carefree worldliness; China’s suibian, for a slapdash, anything-goes attitude — there are words in some languages that represent a highly specific cultural ideal. These words are both aesthetic and sociological, and I love to collect them so that I can use them for myself. Last week, I was in Madrid for a few days for the launch of the Spanish translation of Filterworld, and I encountered another such term: cutre, slang in Spain that can just mean “stingy” or “cheap” but in an aesthetic context can be a compliment, a style to seek out. I would roughly translate it as “an authentic shittiness.”

🌮 This week, El Califa de León in Mexico City became the first taco stand to receive a Michelin star.

🌶️ If you’re like me and fascinated by Chain, the restaurant meets food pop culture lifestyle brand started by ex-French Laundry chef Tim Hollingsworth, B.J. Novak, and Nicholas Kraft, Andrea Hernandez of Snaxshot has a fantastic interview with the two co-founders who didn’t play Ryan on The Office.

Photo Credit: Soon Tani Beccaria Mochizuki for Snaxshot

🧃 On the flip side of Chain’s celebration of food pop culture, you have the brand licensors strip mining CPG and QSR food nostalgia. And the most popular playground today is canned cocktails and hard seltzers.

This week, Welch’s joined a list that includes:

Anyone else feel pangs of cultural dystopia watching all of the food brands of your youth repackaged as booze? Where does it stop? I’m guessing the answer lies somewhere in a presentation deck containing a plan to bring Cinnamon Toast Crunch vapes to market by 2026.

🥘 Finally, to the editors at Financial Times responsible for their greatest breakfasts in the world list: you left off tacos from Veracruz.

Andrea and the Snaxshot team were on a roll this week, not only did they have the great Chain interview, they also shared this treasure trove of airbrushed art from the late 1970s and ‘80s.

If you’re feeling the airbrush art vibes, you should go down the rabbit hole of artists like Harumi Yamaguchi or stories of great 1980s band and album art, like the creation of Metallica’s Master of Puppets.

Merry Schedule Release

Every May, the NFL drops the next season’s schedule and, much like every other milestone in their annual calendar, it has become thoroughly momentized in culture.

A cornerstone of NFL Schedule Release Week™ is the team schedule video drop, now considered a must-have for every club.

This year’s class has a nice mix of calendar reveal genres represented, from well-curated nostalgia (the Jaguars giving themselves the Marvel throwback treatment, a 2000s-era video game throwback in ATL) to heroing the fans (Eagles supporters getting psychoanalyzed or the Colts visiting a local elementary school for some kids draw the darndest things energy).

These have turned into one of the NFL’s most creative moments of the year. I’d say other sports should do them as well, but baseball’s would be roughly 2 ½ hours each so that’s probably out.

After thorough review of the class of ‘24, these five rose to the top:

5. The Panthers. There’s a simple pleasure that comes from watching linemen attempt to paint each other, then laughing uncontrollably.

4. The Titans. Tennessee won last year with the man on the street logo quiz. This year they…did the same thing, but with the breakout star of last year’s video as the woman on the street. No need to reinvent the bit, it still works.

3. The Chiefs. The setup is kind of corny “in honor of crushing it last season” but the video has an ASMR meets Letterman vibe that is 🤌

2. The Lions. Detroit natives and Lions superfans Tim Robinson and Sam Richardson. What more do I need to say?1

1. The Chargers. The creativity and skill needed to actually make this inside The Sims, it’s like the machinema version of Scorsese’s one-shot from Goodfellas. The attention to detail and layers of shit-talking about specific teams and players. The incredibly timely clowning of Harrison Butker2.

If you only watch one, go with the Bolts ⚡️⚡️⚡️

📺 The NFL schedule news didn’t stop at who’ll play who on what dates. We also found out we’ll be watching two Christmas Day games3 live on Netflix.

Golf is Funny

⛳️ It was a big sporting week for Netflix. Not only was there the Christmas NFL surprise, fans of golf and comedy got great news on two long-rumored projects:

Netflix confirmed they’re moving ahead with Adam Sandler reprising his role in a Happy Gilmore sequel and a new Will Ferrell golf-themed series, setting up the opportunity for the best crossover event since Jessica Fletcher visited Magnum and Higgins in Hawaii.

In the Air Tonight

💨 On Tuesday night, someone in the Knicks locker room ripped a motivational fart that brought the team together before a 121-91 blowout of the Pacers. On Friday night, the Knicks looked winded in a 116-103 loss in Indianapolis. All bets are off for Game 7 today on ABC.

I have to give a few quick shout-outs before I go:

🙌 to Wally Weekes, Billy Chuck, and Steve Caputo for their contributions this week.

🎉 Happy birthday to John C. Reilly, Grace Jones, Reggie Jackson, and Hector “Macho” Camacho.

I appreciate you joining me for Sunday Bunch. Have a great week, I’ll see you same time, same place next weekend.

Cheers,
KB

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Notes

1  It actually pains me to say, I kind of wanted this to be funnier? Or, I guess better way to put it is this is maybe as good as you can get trying to combine Tim Robinson’s humor with the NFL.

2  In case you missed it, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker took to the stage at Benedictine College’s graduation and badly overestimated his range, delivering a commencement address where he, amongst other things, told women to stay in the kitchen and make babies.

3  The two games will feature AFC matchups of Chiefs vs Steelers and Ravens vs Texans.

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