Discover more from Bennett’s Five Links
B5L Issue #022
Clairvoyant Sitcom Writers; Ambient Mothers Day Shopping
If you liked the Jerry Seinfeld interview in B5L #016, you should love this interview with Simpsons Writer John Swartzwelder. It's has flavours of Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Sideshow Bob. I loved it.
I never knew any comedy writers when I was growing up, or heard of anybody around town trying to make a living that way. So it was an unusual choice for me to make. And because it was unusual, it was hard to know where to start. When I told people I didn’t want to carry cement for a living, I wanted to write comedy and be a national treasure instead, I got some odd looks. Some people suspected I might be stupid. Others were sure of it.
Thanks to the deal [executive producer] Jim Brooks had, Fox executives couldn’t meddle in “The Simpsons” in any way, though we did get censor notes. The executives weren’t sent advance copies of the scripts, and they couldn’t attend read-throughs, even though they very much wanted to. All we had to do was please ourselves.This is a very dangerous way to run a television show, leaving the artists in charge of the art, but it worked out all right in the end. It rained money on the Fox lot for thirty years. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
I'm old enough to remember Andre Agassi playing tennis. Not so much the first time, with the meth and the hair extensions, but the second time, when he would bow to all four sides of the court after each victory. Seemed like a cool dude. But turns out a great part of his success was his poker-playing skills! Super sneaky, Andre.
I really enjoyed this longer read on how the big e-commerce players have gone from using social media and influencers as part of an advertising and brand strategy to now being a key part of their distribution.
Constant, frictionless consumption is big business’s wet dream, and while we’re not quite there yet, we’ve gotten a little closer. First there were shops, owned by local shopkeepers, and catalogs that allowed you to order what you needed right from home. Next came malls and big-box stores, selling everything you could ever want under one enormous roof. In the ’80s, Americans became familiar with home shopping channels on TV, but in the ’90s, e-commerce was born and blew the doors off the joint. The next few decades were dedicated to making shopping from your computer as easy as possible. The problem today seems to be how to keep people spending when they’re not even shopping.
To the average shopper, the distinction between social commerce and e-commerce is almost irrelevant. It’s all online shopping anyway, and e-commerce isn’t going anywhere. But in the grand scheme of American consumerism, it does matter. With e-commerce, you need to head to a specific website to buy or complete a purchase, but with social commerce (the blending together of social media and e-commerce), the buying process is completed without ever leaving the social media app, putting us one step closer to a state of ambient shopping, as I’ve called it before. Now, you can be scrolling Instagram or TikTok or Facebook or Pinterest and, boom, suddenly you’re buying the Revlon One-Step, liquid chlorophyll, or color-changing lights. It might seem silly, but it’s a big expansion of when and where we buy, and it’s been a long time coming.
Happy Mothers Day..
Hope all the mums had a nice Mothers Day.
If you enjoyed any of these links, the best way you can help me is by forwarding this email on to a friend. They can browse past issues and subscribe at this link.