00:00:00 ◼ ► I have plenty of nerd shirts to wear. I'm not going to be wearing any of my own shirts.
00:00:04 ◼ ► I don't even put these, you know, when I get copies of the shirts that I like, I don't even put them in my drawers. They go directly into storage.
00:00:17 ◼ ► Because I need to have them for the collection. I want to know if this was the shirt that we made at this time.
00:00:25 ◼ ► So your plan is, when you're old and retired, to unlock your storage vault of old unworn podcast t-shirts,
00:00:37 ◼ ► Well no, it's just for my, I mean all the other podcast shirts I wear, but for our podcast, for ATP.
00:00:52 ◼ ► It's definitely, it's right in Casey's wheelhouse obviously, but for me it's just such an awful weird.
00:01:14 ◼ ► And there is no Robot or Not shirt, even though they try to pass off the Robot and Comprol shirt as a Robot or Not shirt. It's not. Anyway.
00:01:22 ◼ ► We don't have any shirts for Erectifs. The problem with the Erectifs logo is there's two generic circles, but already it's got like three colors, plus you've got a gradient background that you can't really do in shirts. I don't know.
00:01:31 ◼ ► Make it like one of those engineering drawings where it's like an isometric view of a fridge with the measurement lines on each side.
00:01:42 ◼ ► Yeah, like an engineering drawing of a fridge with the measurements on it and all the different nitpicks and problems that you have. Maybe the doorway.
00:01:50 ◼ ► This is an Erectifs topic. I've got to tell you about this story of me trying to buy this washer to adjust the door. It's an ongoing saga. Let me put it in Erectifs right now.
00:02:00 ◼ ► Yeah, for anybody who has not listened to the latest episode of Reconcileable Differences or Erectifs, oh my god. I'm willing to it. Oh my god. It's so good.
00:02:09 ◼ ► If you like John at all, you have to listen to it. It is as close as we've come in the last X years to another episode of Hypercritical.
00:02:21 ◼ ► See, people said that, but if I did that for Hypercritical, like at Hypercritical I always had outlines. First of all, the story would have gone somewhere, which I get as part of the humor in it that doesn't actually go anywhere really.
00:02:31 ◼ ► But there would be a better structure to the story and I would be going somewhere with it more than I was. Because honestly, it was supposed to be just a mini topic. It wasn't the plan. And it would have been so much better organized.
00:02:47 ◼ ► You're used to the more rambling thing. Because in Hypercritical it would have been pre-planned. Sometimes the spontaneity and the humor of it going on way longer than anyone thought it would. That wouldn't happen in Hypercritical, you know what I mean? Because it's planned out. So it's definitely a different style. But honestly, I didn't mean to talk about it that long. It just happened.
00:03:04 ◼ ► The fact that it wasn't planned out makes it even more impressive. Because it sounds like you did plan it out. You're so prepared to tell this amazing story.
00:03:14 ◼ ► That's not preparation. I lived it. I didn't even get to talk about the mini fridge. This week you'll hear about the mini fridge. There's not much to tell. But I didn't even get to include all the relevant details. The relevant boring details.
00:03:34 ◼ ► I mean, to be clear, they will also cover your front. I want to make sure you know that.
00:03:49 ◼ ► The sad thing is I was trying to leave Marco a clean edit because I felt like that joke totally fell on his face. But now, now we're committed.
00:04:03 ◼ ► So here's the thing. Every year when ATP starts thinking about shirts, which is somewhere in the February to May timeframe depending on how on the ball we are, we always kind of look at each other and just scratch our heads and wonder, "What are we going to do this year?"
00:04:19 ◼ ► And on occasion, one of us will have an epiphany. I think that the ultimate example of this from years past was Marco's epiphany about the watch-themed shirts.
00:04:28 ◼ ► Yeah, like the ones that came in the different metals and the gold. We had sport, just ATP shirt, and ATP edition. That's right.
00:04:47 ◼ ► Yes, it was gold colored metallic foil print instead of like, I asked about getting gold leaf because it would actually be real gold, but that was apparently impractical.
00:04:57 ◼ ► So this year we didn't know what to do. We had no particularly great ideas. And then one Mr. John Siracusa came out of the woodwork and said, "I have not one, but two ideas."
00:05:08 ◼ ► So we are selling two new shirts. We are also bringing back some of our favorite older shirts, which we'll talk about in a moment.
00:05:14 ◼ ► But the two new shirts, one of them is the butterfly keyboard shirt. John, I am happy to describe this, well, both of these, but I feel like since you are the artiste, if you would like to describe both of these,
00:05:28 ◼ ► I don't want people to overthink it too much. The butterfly keyboard shirt, obviously, you listen to the show, you know what the butterfly keyboard is, you know why it's related to the show.
00:05:42 ◼ ► The butterfly keyboard, it's got the letters ATP on butterfly keyboard key caps, and it's got a butterfly on it.
00:05:48 ◼ ► And that's basically it. And it's got the name of our show. And I feel like if you wear this shirt and people see it on you, and they understand it, and you understand it, there will be a kinship there.
00:05:58 ◼ ► Because it's not obvious what the hell this is about. Because otherwise, it's letters in a square and a butterfly. I don't get it. Anyway, I think it's a clever shirt, and it's very tasteful.
00:06:08 ◼ ► Indeed. And so that will be available in silver and white, just like Macs are or were. And then we have another shirt. John was very enthusiastic about it. And who am I to stand in the way of John Siracusa? So John, tell me about your baby.
00:06:22 ◼ ► This is kind of like, you know, my, the shirt design I had a couple of seasons or whatever ago with the Pro Macs all lined up. And we have a variant of that available for this year as well.
00:06:32 ◼ ► You know, there's a new Mac Pro coming sometime, any day, any day now. Which means that this is the last opportunity to celebrate the Pro Macs that existed up till that point.
00:06:47 ◼ ► And we already have the lineup of the Pro Macs saying, here are some notable Pro Macs in the past, and soon we're going to get a new one, right? So this is the last chance you have to buy this old Pro Mac shirt.
00:06:56 ◼ ► For this particular shirt, I said I wanted to say goodbye to the trash can. I wanted to have a tribute to the trash can. I wanted to recognize the trash can, and I wanted the trash can to go away.
00:07:10 ◼ ► And if there is no Mac Pro announced to WWDC, I will feel the trash can looming over me vengefully, as I just haunting me, just like not letting me be free of it ever.
00:07:23 ◼ ► Anyway, all those ideas are encompassed in this fever dream of a shirt which has a trash can and Mac Pro with gigantic vengeful angel wings and the name of our show.
00:07:34 ◼ ► And because it looks a little bit like a biker tattoo, this design is on the back of the shirt, right? So the big logo is on the back and on the front, it's just got a little tiny ATP logo in the corner.
00:07:44 ◼ ► So it does really look like a motorcycle gang shirt, but it's about a nerd podcast about a Pro Mac computer that stuck around way too long and is with us still.
00:07:57 ◼ ► Alright, then we are additionally reissuing the ATP logo shirt, which is the one that we are, in the past anyway, most proud of. We really love that one. Additionally, the ATP polo, which I fought tooth and nail for and you guys were kind enough to prove me at least slightly right by buying at least a few of.
00:08:14 ◼ ► The monochrome Pro Max shirt is coming back. The ATP hoodie is coming back, which is a personal favorite of mine. The ATP hat is back, and then the enamel pins never actually left.
00:08:26 ◼ ► However, as of a couple of months back, or maybe even a few months back, they do have locking pinbacks now, so you don't lose them as I did with one of mine.
00:08:33 ◼ ► Here's the thing, listeners. This is where I guilt everyone to some degree. This is the time to order shirts. Don't put it off because you'll forget. There's only going to be a couple of weeks when you can do it. Do it now.
00:08:46 ◼ ► If you are at all interested in any of these, please, in a safe manner, stop what you're doing, pause the podcast, and take a look at ATP.fm/store. Don't be that person that says, "Oh, I forgot, and I have a birthday for a friend coming up and this person really wants it. Is there anything?" No, there's nothing we can do.
00:09:03 ◼ ► Please be smart. Please safely pull the car over, stop running, and go to ATP.fm/store. We'd really appreciate it. You can order until May 12th. For Americans, you should be able to get these in time for WWDC. I am not guaranteeing that by any stretch, but it should work out. That's why we timed it the way we did.
00:09:21 ◼ ► So, ATP.fm/store. Don't be that person that regrets having missed it. I'm talking to you now. ATP.fm/store. Now, these shirts, John, I was going to say we, but really it was John, had the epiphany to do these two shirts.
00:09:38 ◼ ► And we didn't know who to turn to, and then we thought, "Hey, wait a second. We have some friends at the Icon Factory." And you know, you may know the Icon Factory from a lot of the great apps they've made over the years. We've talked about Linea. Xscope is one of my favorite little utility apps that I use constantly to measure things on screen and get colors and things of that nature.
00:09:58 ◼ ► Yep, me too. They make Twitterific. They do all sorts of things. So, Icon Factory, in short, makes products for designers and developers because they're designers and developers. And they're the ones that helped us with the designs for these shirts. And they did an incredible job and we really thank them for it.
00:10:14 ◼ ► So, if you want to check them out, IconFactoryApps.com. You know, these guys have been around for 20 years, actually more than 20 years. And they got their start by doing Macintosh icons that "don't suck." So they've done Star Wars Copeland-style stuff.
00:10:29 ◼ ► They've done a 32x32 pixel Millennium Falcon, which was very, very good. And I'm not even the biggest Star Wars fan and I thought it was very good. They're still designing software for other companies and for podcasters and for themselves. So, hey, you should really check out their stuff.
00:10:44 ◼ ► And additionally, they have a Patreon these days if you wanted to get some sweet, sweet iconography swag and stuff of that nature. So you can check out their website at IconFactoryApps.com. You can also check out their Patreon at Patreon.com/iconfactory. And, hey, give them a look. Icon Factory is great, great people. They really saved our backs on this one. And they saved your back if you order the ATP Mac Pro shirt.
00:11:12 ◼ ► Yeah, let me explain a little bit of what the Icon Factory Patreon, like, you know, companies have been around for 20 years. The Patreon is really like a return to what I knew Icon Factory for back in the day.
00:11:24 ◼ ► Before I ever met anyone at the company, I would go to their website. And the reason I would go to their website is because they had icons. Like it's right there in the name. Icon Factory. I used to collect icons on my Mac back when they were actually tiny little pixel art things and not the giant Mac OS X icons.
00:11:40 ◼ ► And you could just go there and every once in a while they'd have a new bunch of icons for, you know, some pop culture property, Star Trek icons, Star Wars icons, cool looking folders, you know, things that look like the Matrix when that thing came out.
00:11:52 ◼ ► And also their website used to have this cute little animation of the Icon Factory and little people inside. It was just like free stuff back when I was a young person on the internet.
00:12:00 ◼ ► And I liked icons and wallpapers and free stuff. And that's why I would go to the Icon Factory. I think they had apps that back then maybe they even had an old version of X-scope. I don't remember.
00:12:11 ◼ ► And of course they made icons for other people. And by the way, I know they're kind of like secretive about their clients or whatever. But if you're listening to this program, chances are very, very good that you have seen icons that the Icon Factory made, but they don't really talk about that that much.
00:12:25 ◼ ► Anyway, what I knew them for is a place where you go to download free icons and wallpaper. And it didn't occur to me because it was like the 90s. Like how do you stay in business if the only time I go to your website is to get free stuff from you?
00:12:36 ◼ ► Well, Patreon is the answer to that. They've been doing all that stuff for other people. They have a huge set of apps that you can check out and I highly recommend Twitter. I think it's really cool.
00:12:43 ◼ ► And X-scope if you don't know what that is. If you've never seen an app like it, check it out. You may find it indispensable. But anyway, what about the icons and the wallpaper? Where are the kids going to go to get free icons and wallpaper? The answer is the Patreon.
00:12:55 ◼ ► This lets them continue to do that. You don't just get icons and wallpaper. They do other things. They have a Discord. They have a podcast. You get discounts on their products. For example, they did a cool...
00:13:06 ◼ ► They did a cool dog-cow t-shirt. If you're a Patreon member, you get a discount on that t-shirt. At the highest tiers of the Patreon, you get discounts on their professional services. So if you support their Patreon, it turns out that you want them to design a t-shirt for you. You can get a discount on that service.
00:13:22 ◼ ► Yeah, it's really like the old icon factory that they used to know before they went corporate and started having all their own applications and doing all this work for these big wig clients.
00:13:37 ◼ ► As they say in the Patreon thing, "Bringing back the fun." So definitely check it out and throw a couple bucks their way. Is it every month, I think? Every month they put in their stuff? I don't know. But if you sign up, you will get all the stuff they have released in the past.
00:13:52 ◼ ► So you can download the Game of Thrones folders, the icons they made, the Captain Marvel stuff. And it just keeps adding up. So check out the website, patreon.com/iconfactory.
00:14:02 ◼ ► And I have to say, speaking of their professional services, we worked with them to do the t-shirts, mostly because these designs were out of our artistic reach, basically.
00:14:13 ◼ ► I probably could have hacked something together, but it wouldn't have been as good. And I didn't even want to attempt it because I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, and I didn't feel like I could execute that without a lot of pain.
00:14:23 ◼ ► So I did a mockup in between eating my breakfast and going to work. That's the time I made these mockups. And then I just wrote up a description and threw them over the fence to iconfactory. And they were so nice and worked with us, worked with me, let's be honest, to go back and forth via email 700 times until the wings on the stupid Mac Pro Angel were just the way I wanted them.
00:14:43 ◼ ► You guys, guys, this is not an exaggeration. If you can imagine having John Siracusa as your design client, it's exactly what you'd expect it to be, right? So for them to endure all of that and not fire us, and I think we're even still on friendly terms, it's really saying something. It really says they can work with anybody, and they're really good.
00:15:05 ◼ ► I feel like in some ways, yes, I'm a nightmare client because I have these very particular needs. But in other ways, I feel like I'm an ideal client because I'm able to articulate my ideas and tell you precisely in what way they have to change.
00:15:17 ◼ ► At a certain point, the designer is sure like, "Do you want to draw these stupid wings?" I'm sure they got to that point because in my mind's eye, I see them at a certain point. I'm like, "Let me just draw the wings for you." But I can't. That's why we're hiring them to do it. So I have to keep describing them.
00:15:32 ◼ ► I remember at one point I was describing that the tips of the wing feathers should be a slightly different shape, and they did it. They changed the shape, and they're better for it. Anyway, Icon Factory is great. All their icons and wallpapers are great. Throw a few bucks their way because that will let them continue to do all these kind of fun projects.
00:15:52 ◼ ► And if you want to hire them for professional services, I've actually done that. I've hired them, and they are wonderful to work with. They are just both amazing designers and amazing developers. Their apps, like Linnea and Twitturific, are rock solid. The level of quality you get in the coding and the engineering of those apps is stellar.
00:16:12 ◼ ► And then also the design services are just like, they're the best. They're simply the best. I don't know of better designers out there than Icon Factory. So if you need to hire anybody for that kind of stuff, I highly suggest you check them out.
00:16:23 ◼ ► I'm not exaggerating when I say they are the best icon. I know it's so dumb. It's like Icon Factory. They do so much more than make icons, but they made some of my favorite icons of all time. I still have, back in these giant archives, my collection of old classic Mac 32x32 icons made by the Icon Factory, and they are amazing. I still love them to this day. They're really good at making icons.
00:16:46 ◼ ► I specifically wanted, I had a specific designer at Icon Factory that I wanted to do these shirts because I loved his work so much, and I have for so many years. So they're the best.
00:16:55 ◼ ► Oh, I forgot to mention BitCam. It's another one of their apps. It is so much fun. It turns your camera into a live viewing one-bit camera. So it's like you only get black and white pixels, and they have color modes also, but the thing it's really known for is you only get black and white pixels. And it looks so cool, so retro. It's made to look like the original Macintosh in that kind of style.
00:17:19 ◼ ► The detail work they've done is incredible, and again, the engineering behind it is incredible, and it's so much fun to play with. And even their website for it is made to look like an old website. It's so cool. So yeah, definitely check out BitCam. It's so much fun.
00:17:33 ◼ ► ATP.fm/store. Okay, moving on. Let's do some follow-up. And we begin with two, I think it's two different, Intel people, anonymous Intel people writing in, the first to say, "Regarding the Intel/QALCOM news, everyone assumes one of the main factors was our delay on 10 nanometer," which, yes, is a mess, "but Intel was actually planning on fabbing their 5G chips at TSMC. I certainly don't know the whole story, but the manufacturing process was not a factor in why the 5G stopped."
00:18:02 ◼ ► I think we might have actually covered that in an old episode about Intel fabbing. Maybe it wasn't modem chips, maybe it was something else at TSMC, but yeah, the things are grim there. It's, I guess, good to know that the 10 nanometer thing wasn't a factor, but because Intel has to farm that out to another company, that further reduces their margins because Taiwan Semiconductor also needs to make a profit on this job that they're doing, and it just makes it less attractive to be in the cell modem market, which brings us to our next step.
00:18:33 ◼ ► Indeed. So a different tipster writes in, "Imagine committing a significant percentage of your company's resources to a business with slim margins and then gifting those margins to Qualcomm in the form of patent royalties," and we're going to talk more about that in a minute, but what I took from this is that there was not a lot of money to be made, and yet they were throwing a whole lot of manpower at it.
00:18:51 ◼ ► I also, I love that we have an Intel tipster now, because, you know, fittingly, they're about two years later and worse than our Apple tipster.
00:19:00 ◼ ► Well, yeah, they're just adopting the tipster name because they've heard it on the program.
00:19:06 ◼ ► This kind of gets back to what I said last show, but it is like a low margin business, and it's not as great as selling awesome server chips that only use your intellectual property, and you don't have to pay Qualcomm patent royalties or whatever, but the business of selling big, hot, multi-core x86 chips on 14 nanometer processes is not going to last forever, and if they just keep abandoning every other potential future market,
00:19:29 ◼ ► any other market with growth potential, they'll just be left with their big, hot 14 nanometer x86 chips, and eventually no one will want them anymore, so I hope they have a better future plan. I'm sure they do.
00:19:41 ◼ ► Sure. All right. And then we had a really interesting email from Chris Banos, who is apparently an IP lawyer, and there's a lot of information here, and I'm going to try to summarize it as best I can by just selecting some passages to read. So Chris writes, "QALCOM's patents in this dispute are part of the International Telecommunication Union 4G and 5G standards.
00:20:03 ◼ ► One of the rules of the ITU is that if you submit a patent for inclusion in a standard, you must agree to license those patents in a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory basis, which they abbreviate as FRAND, to all industry of participants.
00:20:17 ◼ ► QALCOM has decided to license its patents with a royalty based on the final cost of the retail product, including their technology, which we knew. Apple has argued that this approach is neither fair nor reasonable, which is why the FTC, the Federal Telecommunications Commission,
00:20:29 ◼ ► Federal Trade Commission, thank you, that's what I said, thank you for the safe, has also gotten involved in the U.S. So Chris goes on to say basically, "Hey, if you have an iPhone that's 64 gigs and an iPhone that's a half terabyte, those iPhones have the exact same QALCOM chip inside, but the royalty will be higher on the iPhone with more storage, even though the chips are the same, because the royalty is based on how expensive the device is."
00:20:55 ◼ ► So where this gets kind of interesting and squiggly is that even though Apple stopped paying its royalties to QALCOM because they felt like it was BS, and they also asked their suppliers to stop paying royalties, like Foxconn for example, Intel was actually still paying royalties for the modem chips that it would make for Apple.
00:21:12 ◼ ► And finally, if and when Apple starts manufacturing its own modem chips, Chris writes, "Apple will still have to pay royalties to Qualcomm regardless of whether or not it buys modems for Qualcomm or manufactures them itself." And Chris also writes, "One detail that would be very interesting is whether Apple has agreed to not volunteer evidence to the FTC in exchange for better royalties."
00:21:32 ◼ ► So maybe Qualcomm thinks they're in a somewhat precarious spot, and Apple could probably push them off the cliff in the sense that they would be in a really bad spot, but maybe Apple said, "Hey, we'll just kind of forget about this stuff if you promise to give us a better deal." How's that sound?
00:21:49 ◼ ► I don't know, if Apple needs to testify. The practices they were doing of like, "Yes, we'll license our patents to anyone who asks, but the terms of our license are so onerous." I mean, like percentage of total cost. Who do you think you are? Oracle, charging a percentage of revenue for your database product? That's a corporate IT joke for you there.
00:22:10 ◼ ► The Fran standard, which is what I was getting at last time, I was saying that Qualcomm has to license it to people, like they have no choice because they agreed to this whole thing, but it's, you know, what is fair and reasonable? Is it reasonable to charge a percentage price of the product? Is that fair? That's what the case is about.
00:22:29 ◼ ► But the point is, whether Apple testifies or not, everyone knows how Qualcomm is licensing these things. Like, I don't think it's a secret. I don't think you need Apple to testify and then people won't realize that's how they're licensing stuff.
00:22:41 ◼ ► But yeah, that's like, that's the thing that could have gone on. Because the deal between Apple and Qualcomm was like secret, and it appears that Apple lost, and a lot of money changed hands, and we know that Apple came away with patents, and it's like, "Well, it doesn't matter that Apple came away with patents. They would have needed to get them anyway, and Qualcomm would have to license to them." Yes, but under what terms, right? So maybe the deal is, we'll give you these licenses for better terms, maybe not a percentage of total cost or whatever, because now you're like a, you're a self-motive manufacturer yourself, you're not putting them in a box.
00:23:10 ◼ ► You're not putting them in someone else's things in your product. It's a big legal mess, but bottom line is, I still feel like everybody lost in that one, but long-term, Apple may be the biggest winner, because, especially if Qualcomm loses the FTC case, because at the end of it all, Intel doesn't get to sell any modem chips.
00:23:27 ◼ ► Qualcomm doesn't have Apple as a customer anymore, and Apple's got a free, not free license, but the other meaning of free license, they are free to make their very own modem chips, because now they have a license to the patents, hopefully under better deals than they had before.
00:23:44 ◼ ► We are sponsored this week by RightPoint. RightPoint is hiring mobile and web engineers. So RightPoint is a customer experience agency with technology at its core. They have offices all across the US, including Chicago, Boston, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, Denver, and Dallas.
00:24:02 ◼ ► RightPoint cares about crafting quality products and great user experiences, and their clients include a wide range of well-known brands and innovative startups. And they actually came to ATP specifically. They came to us because they are actively hiring a number of roles, and they're looking for mobile developers to engineer beautiful and thoughtful apps.
00:24:23 ◼ ► And they thought our audience would be a perfect fit, so I hope you prove them right. RightPoint worked with a range of companies and technologies, from healthcare and medical software, to e-commerce, accessibility, augmented reality, and much more.
00:24:36 ◼ ► You'll be working with enthusiastic and supportive peers, passionate about building amazing products in a diverse and supportive work environment. RightPoint has received numerous awards for their work and for their culture.
00:24:47 ◼ ► So visit RightPoint.com/careers to learn more. Once again, RightPoint.com/careers. Thank you so much to RightPoint for sponsoring our show.
00:24:58 ◼ ► Marco, tell me about Luminary. What is this all about, and what is this big brouhaha about? Apparently some people are blocking Luminary from getting to their shows. What's going on here?
00:25:13 ◼ ► It's hard for me to talk about this objectively because Luminary is both a direct competitor to Overcast and doing things in a way that rubs me the wrong way in every possible way.
00:25:25 ◼ ► And so it's hard for me to be objective about this and to talk about it in general terms. Maybe John will help me out here. But the basic gist of it is Luminary is this new, very heavily VC-funded startup. They have $100 million in funding so far.
00:25:44 ◼ ► And because it's only their round one, I expect them to raise a lot more probably within the next six months to a year. So figure a few hundred million dollars probably of money going into this. And most of the money is seemingly being spent on a tremendous staff, but mostly on content deals.
00:26:03 ◼ ► I believe they said they had something like 40 engineers making the app, which I can't even really picture how 40 people make a podcast. I mean, I don't know how big companies work, and to me 40 is big.
00:26:15 ◼ ► Anyway, mainly they're doing content deals where they are paying significantly famous or popular or big podcast producers or celebrities to make podcasts that exclusively work on their app. And all this is being paid by a kind of Netflix or podcast style model of they want you to pay eight bucks a month to get access to the premium content.
00:26:40 ◼ ► But it's also a podcast app that anybody can use and that accesses the world of free podcasts like what other podcast apps do. So it's basically a very heavily funded, heavily armed podcast app that has a premium tier for eight bucks a month that's full of big names that they want you to subscribe to.
00:26:58 ◼ ► And of course the whole app very heavily promotes that content that's theirs and everything else. So I have lots of feelings about this. None of them are very good. The only thing that I think is a saving grace here is that this kind of idea has been tried and is still being tried, but has never really gotten very far off the ground.
00:27:23 ◼ ► The biggest example of this that is established so far is Stitcher Premium. And back a few months ago, two months ago when Spotify bought Gimlet and Spotify is doing basically the same thing but in a little bit different scale.
00:27:39 ◼ ► But we talked about this a little bit back then of like the idea of having paid podcasts that only work in one app kind of like on a premium model. That idea has been around for a while.
00:27:54 ◼ ► And Stitcher Premium is, as far as I know, the biggest example of this to date. It's fine. Stitcher Premium does okay. It has a fine audience. It attracts some celebrities and some names and some content is only there, but it has not gotten big enough to where it's really doing significant damage to the rest of the podcast market.
00:28:16 ◼ ► It doesn't really affect us at all, like us being the ones out here and the rest of the world. If you choose not to use Stitcher to be your podcast app, and if you want to keep listening to podcasts like this that are on every podcast app because we are actually open RSS feed based podcasts, which we're the kind that used to be the only kind, then anyone else doing these other things shouldn't affect us at all.
00:28:44 ◼ ► And so far they haven't. What makes Luminary a little bit scarier is just the sheer amount of money and heft behind it at launch. This is very, very heavily being pushed because they have such a big budget, such a big staff, such big content deals right out of the gate that this is...
00:29:06 ◼ ► I would say this, Luminary is actually an even bigger threat to open podcasting than Spotify appears to be at the moment. Now, over time that may change. Spotify is huge and they really have a lot of people behind their music service so they can wedge those into the podcast service more easily than something that's getting off the ground from scratch like Luminary.
00:29:29 ◼ ► But Luminary is so hard like aiming at the podcast market with such big content deals and trying to really redefine podcasts to be co-opting the free world of podcasts very heavily with what they're doing in their little private garden there.
00:29:48 ◼ ► Much more heavily than Stitcher Premium did. Audible also does something similar but Audible is not really like a heavily podcast oriented brand or service. It's mostly based on audiobooks and so Audible has their own thing but it's again like these services exist.
00:30:03 ◼ ► They do fine for themselves but they don't attack podcasting. They kind of operate on their own. They don't really affect us. But Luminary really does seem like it's attacking us and this has been made worse over the last month or so in the lead up to their launch which was I think yesterday.
00:30:18 ◼ ► In the lead up to their launch their founder made a bunch of really tone deaf comments and tweets and blog posts basically attacking the world of ad funded podcasts and saying it was unnecessary and they shouldn't be paid via ads with the conclusion that instead podcasts should be paid by Luminary and their private service and they should be locked into Luminary.
00:30:44 ◼ ► So that rubbed everyone the wrong way because well of course and so it's all tied up in all this. So the launch was a little bit colored by that which really annoyed a lot of people online.
00:30:57 ◼ ► And the service in general, the concept of it I really find quite hostile. And then the news that came out this week is that literally the day before, two days before they were going to launch, Gimlet and the New York Times asked them not to include Gimlet Media shows and the New York Times' The Daily podcast.
00:31:19 ◼ ► Which in case you aren't familiar with The Daily, it is one of the biggest podcasts in the world. It's huge. It's like this American Life type show. It's a massive show. I think it's either number one on Overcast or it's certainly within the top two or three.
00:31:34 ◼ ► It is a huge, huge show. And Gimlet shows also are very, very big. Especially Reply All. I think that's their biggest show. These are like top ten shows. And so to have Luminary launch without those is, it certainly hurts. It's not going to kill them. But it certainly doesn't look nice.
00:31:55 ◼ ► There have been a lot written about this already. There's a lot of questions about like, can they even block them? Like does the New York Times and Gimlet, do they have the right to tell a podcast app maker that's just reading their feed and serving their content from their feed?
00:32:13 ◼ ► The ability to say like, no you can't do that for just us even though we're publishing this feed? I don't know. I'm not at all qualified to answer that question. And this is probably all going to get worked out within like a week anyway. I'm sure they're going to come to some deal and that'll be it.
00:32:31 ◼ ► So I don't think it's worth focusing too heavily on that part of the news just because I don't think it's going to be around for very long. But otherwise, I don't know.
00:32:38 ◼ ► I think the idea of these companies asking Luminary not to include their feeds is actually interesting regardless of how long it lasts or how it resolves for a couple of different reasons.
00:32:49 ◼ ► The first is it kind of reminds me of back in the early days of the web and actually even some of the not so early days of the web where websites would send like angry webmasters as we call them, would send angry emails to certain people and say, "You are not allowed to link to our website." Do you remember? Do you guys remember that?
00:33:13 ◼ ► You'd have like a blog or a homepage and you'd write something and you would link to like the Warner Brothers website or something and then some lawyer would send you a thing that says, "You don't have permission to make a link to our website." Because they didn't understand how the web worked. It just seemed like, I don't know, they were being hacked. I have no idea. But like literally on your own webpage, you can't make a hyperlink that leads to our webpage.
00:33:33 ◼ ► Right. Or they would ask you not to deep link which just means linking to anything that wasn't the front page basically. It's like, it's a URL. I'm linking to it. What's the problem?
00:33:41 ◼ ► Yeah. Which is only slightly more stupid than the idea that you could ask somebody, "You're not allowed to crawl our RSS feed." Right? Because it's like, what now? It's like saying you can't make requests to public facing URLs that we have.
00:33:59 ◼ ► Like as a permission thing, as in like you're not allowed to link to us and you're not allowed to crawl our thing, it's fairly ridiculous. But the other aspect of it that's interesting is, okay, well, you can say whatever you want, but "physically speaking" or "technically speaking," the New York Times and Gimlet can attempt to block Luminary.
00:34:22 ◼ ► As in, you don't have to send them an email that says, "Please don't crawl our RSS feed." What if you look for Luminary's user agent and block them? Well, then Luminary changes the user agent. What if you look for their IP? Well, they changed their IP.
00:34:32 ◼ ► What if you use machine learning to try to detect their access pattern and block them? Like it's a cat and mouse thing that will go on forever. But there's nothing saying you can't do that. You can make the software that runs your website do any old thing you want.
00:34:45 ◼ ► You can make it return a 500 error on every 15th request. You can do whatever you want. It's your website. Like there's nothing legally speaking or technically speaking that's stopping you from having a perpetual game of cat and mouse with Luminary podcast crawler thing, if that's what you want to do.
00:35:02 ◼ ► It seems to me that by them asking, potentially also backed up by lawyers, that they're not pursuing what I hope they know would be the futile and resource draining technical approach, but just saying, "We're not letting you, so don't do it because the same lawyers that sent those emails saying you're not allowed to link to our website are going to come and get you and say, 'We sent you knowledge to crawl our RSS feed,' and that would be a fun legal case because it makes no sense legally speaking. Like it really doesn't.
00:35:26 ◼ ► And it would just be so much more straightforward for them to attempt to block them and just hire 25 people who all they do is figure out which new ways Luminary is finding to sneak their way into their RSS feed and then try to block them again.
00:35:38 ◼ ► And then they'd block legitimate people and people would complain. It would go on forever and it would be hilarious.
00:35:42 ◼ ► So I feel like that aspect of it is fun because it hearkens back to the old days and tries to get it, not ethical, but the spirit of putting something on the web is one thing.
00:35:57 ◼ ► But the technical reality of it is that you can do whatever the heck you want and you can ask for whatever you want and lawyers can ask for whatever they want and it just goes off into a whole big thing.
00:36:05 ◼ ► The other thing that I think is interesting is the idea that things like Luminary or Stitcher Premium or Spotify or whatever, these services that say we're going to get critical mass by getting a bunch of money, hiring a bunch of celebrities to make podcasts that we think people will want because they're filled with celebrities.
00:36:23 ◼ ► And then once we get enough people paying us X dollars a month, we'll use that massive bankroll of money to give to other podcasts to make them more exclusive and it'll build on itself and eventually we will own podcasting because everyone will go through us.
00:36:37 ◼ ► We will be in the middle taking a cut of everything and the open podcasting world will be dead and we will be the Facebook of podcasting. That's what everyone's trying to do.
00:36:46 ◼ ► And Luminary, doing this, it's interesting to see current vendors of popular podcasts, even Gimlet which is on that same train of trying to become the Facebook of podcasting in a different form, fighting back against someone else trying to do the same thing.
00:37:02 ◼ ► You're going to be the Facebook of podcasting, I'm going to be the Facebook of podcasts. And how do you fight back?
00:37:06 ◼ ► Fight back not by like, one way to fight back is we have better shows and people will want to pay us and not pay you and yada yada. But if you already have popular shows, even popular shows with open RSS feeds, by trying to deny them to your competitors for the Facebook of podcasting, you can weaken them.
00:37:24 ◼ ► And so we just sit here and complain about we like open podcasts and we don't like the priority, but there's nothing we can do about it other than just voting with our feed and continuing to listen to open podcasts with an open podcast player.
00:37:36 ◼ ► But we don't really have any power to affect Luminary's fortunes as just one dinky open podcast, who cares? But these companies do. We own Reply All and we own The Daily.
00:37:48 ◼ ► And you can't have them. And that would make someone not want to download the Luminary app. Like the Luminary app is like a little Trojan horse. Like it's a podcast app that apparently 40 people make. Presumably it'll be a good podcast app, right?
00:37:59 ◼ ► But imagine if you downloaded a podcast app and couldn't get Reply All, like the show all your friends are talking about. It's like, this podcast app sucks. Why the hell can't I get Reply All? And you chuck it out.
00:38:07 ◼ ► Before you even know that Luminary's actual play is they want you to pay eight bucks a month. Like maybe you probably know that on launch because they probably throw it in your face. But either way, you can't get people to use your app if it's viewed basically as a broken podcast player.
00:38:19 ◼ ► So if this gets worked out in a week, then it doesn't make a difference. But I think it's an interesting salvo in the Facebook of podcasting wars, fighting against each other to say, we're going to make it so your secret proprietary Trojan horse podcast app is less attractive to everybody because we want to stop you because we want to break it.
00:38:36 ◼ ► We want to stop you because we want to be the Facebook of podcasting. And so these two giants are going at it like those, whatchamacallits from the Godzilla trailer. And we're just sitting back here, cowering in our little caves or buildings or whatever, continuing to listen to podcasts on podcast clients that can download all podcasts.
00:38:54 ◼ ► And in theory, if you know, the New York Times wanted to be me and they could start blocking anybody they want from downloading a daily but certain point you have let somebody download otherwise it stops being the world's most popular podcast. So I think this is an interesting new phase of this war.
00:39:10 ◼ ► I don't like the idea that there are big enough parties to affect each other like this. But I feel like we're we are no longer really a participants and are just sort of bystanders.
00:39:20 ◼ ► And at some point I feel like these these shows like ascend into a level of which they're no longer even really podcast anymore. Like if something goes behind a paywall, it's only available in one app.
00:39:32 ◼ ► First of all, they're going to lose most of their audience. I don't know of any shows that have done that and succeeded at that.
00:39:42 ◼ ► And maybe that will change over time. I don't know. But so far like that seems like a death sentence for your audience. Like if like shows like build up a big a big audience, then they get some deal with some app, they go to that app and their audience just vanishes because almost no one goes over to it.
00:39:59 ◼ ► And then they quickly realize like this was a bad idea because not only like you know you might get some money for the content deal, but that's usually like you know upfront or one time or dependent on ongoing performance.
00:40:13 ◼ ► And at some point you realize like oh crap we would have made more money just continuing to run ads or run our Patreon or whatever outside of this one exclusive app.
00:40:22 ◼ ► And furthermore, there's lots of value to having an audience like for instance selling merchandise, going to like having live events and just continued listenership.
00:40:33 ◼ ► Where if you're you know if someone gives you a bunch of money to come to their app and you go and you lose 90% of your audience like that better have been a lot of money to make that worth it and it usually isn't quite worth that.
00:40:46 ◼ ► Because then what ends up happening is this audience that you've built up over years or whatever is gone and it's nearly impossible to get them back.
00:40:55 ◼ ► And so you've lost a tremendous amount of value that way. That's very very hard to rebuild quickly.
00:41:02 ◼ ► I always wonder about these big shows like so there's VC money and you can pay for celebrities to make podcasts right but we're already seeing this play out. If you are a celebrity and you're going to do a podcast like the fact that there are people in the middle, I keep trying to avoid the gender term middleman but that's what they're called.
00:41:21 ◼ ► If there's a middleman there like taking a cut and supposedly doing something for you like they want to become the Facebook of podcasting where you know they collect all the money and they give you some percentage of it right.
00:41:32 ◼ ► It's like what are you getting in exchange for like in the in the end if you are a celebrity and you are so popular that lots of people want to listen to your podcast.
00:41:41 ◼ ► You could certainly make more money if you didn't give a cut to luminary or any of the other things and you've seen some celebrities do this like it's not that it's not that hard to make a podcast we do it like you know how hard could it be if we do it.
00:41:54 ◼ ► Right I'm listening to the Conan O'Brien podcast right and I think what they were a lot of people have their own sort of production companies whatever but it's like if you're a celebrity you want to make a podcast make a podcast you like.
00:42:03 ◼ ► You hire like three people to handle all the details of it for you which is like a drop in the bucket for your celebrity money because you're already rich and you're you know so you know you're going to get tons of listeners because you're like Conan O'Brien or something you're really funny and you're already famous right.
00:42:19 ◼ ► Why would Conan O'Brien go to luminary like Mark was saying maybe they drop a bucket of money on his head but that's not a sustainable model for luminary because they can't keep doing that and even if they keep doing that a certain point celebrities are going wait a second.
00:42:30 ◼ ► Why are we giving some large percentage of our best podcast income to luminary what are they doing for us exactly right and hopefully they would have the realization before all the listeners are locked in and they really have become the Facebook of podcasting and just all the users are there right but it's just.
00:42:44 ◼ ► I think already celebrities know if you want to do a podcast just do a podcast like you don't have to you don't need like we would do a podcast but we need some you know company in the middle to take 30% of all our money no you don't you absolutely do not you can do it on your own.
00:42:59 ◼ ► Especially if you already have a production company or something it's not that complicated mean like you know a couple of people and you'd be fine.
00:43:06 ◼ ► So these these companies trying to do this with the provider podcast and they get all this money and they can get celebrities but I think they can only do that because celebrities don't really know what podcasting is or they're just kind of on the edge of knowing what podcasting is eventually everyone will figure out.
00:43:19 ◼ ► Oh we don't need these people like and maybe that's optimistic because you could say something about recording or you don't need record labels you can just do it all yourself but I feel like recorded music and everything involved in the promotion of that is so much different than podcasting it really is more like you know like blogging right you can make your own blog and you really don't need a staff of hundreds of people and I think we've proven that like that is the thing that you can do if you can write well and you can write you can more or less do it on your own and you know it's it's not easy and you're not going to be you know.
00:43:48 ◼ ► A famous celebrity for it probably but you can do it on your own same thing with podcast with recording you need a studio and you need instruments and you do need some form promotion to you know anyway.
00:43:58 ◼ ► I'm hoping that the world of people who are basically famous people who are guaranteed to have a huge podcast audience will very quickly realize there is no reason to.
00:44:16 ◼ ► It's not saving you it's not like well I just don't want to worry about I just want to cash the big check you can basically not worry about it and cash the big check.
00:44:24 ◼ ► Already just hire three people or take three people from your existing production company or staff and have them do it.
00:44:30 ◼ ► The people who stand to gain here the people who are trying to get the critical mass of users and get them all paying eight dollars a month and eventually become the only place where any podcasts are and podcasts stop being podcast and start being luminary cast or whatever the hell it would be called.
00:44:43 ◼ ► That's the goal of all these companies right they want to screw all of us including the content creators because if that's the case then you can't go make your own podcast because who could listen to it because everybody uses luminary app is the only way to listen to quote unquote podcasts.
00:44:55 ◼ ► You know I said some days I feel optimistic that this never going to happen because all these companies business plans are doomed and sometimes I feel pessimistic because we've seen the same thing happen in so many other industries despite it being a terrible idea so.
00:45:08 ◼ ► I don't know we'll see how this this plays out but I I kind of enjoy the idea of big titans fighting against each other with their with their big guns.
00:45:20 ◼ ► Well and I think we did see a similar mechanic play out somewhat on the right with the rise of online video in the sense that there were all these different video startups even after it was pretty clear that YouTube was winning there but they were all these different video platforms that tried to make certain deals with certain providers or creators and for exclusivity.
00:45:45 ◼ ► I mean heck they still try today to try to like you know break YouTube's dominance and they try you know they'll throw a bunch of money at some like celebrity or big YouTube creator to say like you know make exclusive videos on our platform look look Instagram TV just launched not that long ago and tried to do the exact same thing and there is some Yahoo thing a couple years ago like everyone's always trying to attack YouTube and take people away and what the celebrities or creators who go there.
00:46:12 ◼ ► What I quickly realize is again like the the cost of losing or abandoning their audience their existing audience is so high that it's not worth whatever you know they whatever they're being paid as part of the content deal.
00:46:27 ◼ ► Similarly if you are starting from a small audience or you know suppose you're a celebrity that doesn't yet podcast at all and you go try to create a podcast on luminary as part of some content deal that they make with you.
00:46:39 ◼ ► Suppose you put up an audience on luminary then suppose in a year and a half luminary shuts down.
00:46:45 ◼ ► You are screwed your audience can't move anywhere else you can't redirect that podcast feed somewhere else like you're just screwed like you are so much better off owning that podcast right from the start and making it a general purpose podcast that can play in all podcast players.
00:47:02 ◼ ► Instead of making some deal with like one company somewhere that can only be heard in this one spot even though you're using you're creating a medium that should be able to be widely distributed everywhere.
00:47:14 ◼ ► It just it makes no sense strategically for any creators to take deals like this if you think at all about your long term strategy or or your audience.
00:47:25 ◼ ► The situation with people leaving YouTube because some new video startup gave them a sweet deal will pay you millions of dollars to be the flagship person on our new video service.
00:47:34 ◼ ► That's an even like it's even worse than the situation in podcasting because in podcasting you you'd be you don't your own podcast scene and luminary would come along and say stop owning your own podcast feed come and do your stuff.
00:47:47 ◼ ► So see if I'm not and here's a bucket of money you're going from completely owned and open to this other place where they're giving you lots of money in YouTube people are already stuck in basically the Facebook video which is YouTube where YouTube's already taking big cut and telling them exactly what they can and can't do they're already under someone's thumb.
00:48:02 ◼ ► They're so desperate to get out that they're going to go for like a slightly smaller thumb like you know under YouTube's thumb your thumb looks like it might not be quite as heavy can we get under your thumb instead like just anything to get out from the big YouTube.
00:48:14 ◼ ► It's on it doesn't work because the YouTube is the YouTube of video you can YouTube is the Facebook video whatever and they go someplace else in their audience doesn't want to follow them and the thing fails and it all falls apart but they're not even you know they're being they're being attracted away from already a bad situation whereas in the podcast where luminaries going to attract people away from what I hope everyone realizes is a great situation where you're not under anyone's thumb you can do whatever the hell you want and it's not really that much of a lift for anyone.
00:48:43 ◼ ► Certainly not for celebrities a bunch of just random people off the street can make a podcast anybody can like it is at celebrities if you want to make a podcast come to the ATP podcast production studio.
00:48:59 ◼ ► No it will just pay each of us a million dollars a year and it'll still be less than you'd end up paying a luminary.
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00:50:37 ◼ ► One of the reasons that I don't think the sky is falling here, not only has podcasting been around for a very long time and we've seen efforts like this come and go.
00:50:51 ◼ ► Or come and not go but kind of just be off on the side like Stitcher Premium or Audible's original stuff like that. But also when YouTube took over video, video was a heck of a lot younger in its online progression than podcasting is now.
00:51:09 ◼ ► Like video was in a way worse spot. Like YouTube started becoming popular around 2004 I think. Video was in a way worse spot back then than where podcasting is now.
00:51:21 ◼ ► And so there was much more opportunity for something like YouTube to lock it up because it was so early in its maturity.
00:51:30 ◼ ► But podcasting is really mature. It's been here for a very long time. It didn't just start a few years ago when Serial came out. Like it's been here a while. It's very durable.
00:51:42 ◼ ► It's like a hardwood tree. Like it grew very slowly. It's very old. And so I feel like the ecosystem is very durable in wanting to keep its current structure.
00:51:53 ◼ ► There's a lot of forces that point that direction. And so I think anybody who tries to break podcasting has a really uphill battle ahead of them because there's much less of a problem that needs to be solved.
00:52:09 ◼ ► Like as you said John, not a lot of podcasters and podcast listeners are wanting to change the way things are. Like not a lot of us are like, you know what we want? We want less choice in apps, harder economics and less ownership of our audience.
00:52:24 ◼ ► Like nobody wants that. Like I remember I even, I was, a few years ago, I think I mentioned this in the show before, a few years ago I had this idea of making this overcast feature that would kind of be like the old readability model of like you pay overcast say 10, 20 bucks a month.
00:52:41 ◼ ► And I split up the payment between participating shows that you listen to. So if Relay participates and then you listen to three Relay shows, then part of that 20 bucks a month that you would pay would go to Relay.
00:52:54 ◼ ► And so I had this idea of course because it's an obvious idea. And I went around to every podcaster I know. I talked to the Relay people. I talked to some bigger podcasters. Like I talked to Roman Mars from 99% Invisible.
00:53:06 ◼ ► Yeah, I talked to everyone who I like ever had an email address for or anything. I went to all the podcasters big and small and said, what do you think of this idea? And if I do this, would you participate with your shows?
00:53:17 ◼ ► Which would just mean like accepting the money basically. And the universal reaction I got from everybody was not what I expected. Everybody basically said, yeah, I guess I'd accept the money, but I wouldn't really want to promote it.
00:53:33 ◼ ► And the reason why is because all of these shows, big and small, they have their own game going. They have their own setups. They have their own monetization. You know, they have Patreons or memberships or their own thing.
00:53:47 ◼ ► They don't want middle people getting in the way. And part of the reason I wanted to do a plan like that was I figured it would give podcasters an incentive to promote overcast.
00:53:57 ◼ ► Like, hey, go subscribe to us on overcast or whatever. But the incentive was not that. Their incentive instead was, no, we want to promote our own stuff. We want to promote our own Patreon, our own membership, whatever. We wouldn't want to promote that.
00:54:13 ◼ ► And it totally like killed my willingness to do this idea because I quickly realized, oh, A, they're right. B, this would have been a lot of work I don't want to do and a lot of administration I don't want to do because nobody wants other people handling their money if they can help it.
00:54:28 ◼ ► And I don't want to be the person handling other people's money if I can help it. And of course, what really killed it ultimately also was I could not figure out any way around Apple's 30 percent.
00:54:39 ◼ ► And so it would have to be like Apple taking 30 percent of the money, overcast taking at least 10 percent to make it worthwhile and cover admin costs.
00:54:47 ◼ ► And so then it's like, are you going to pay 20 bucks a month and only know that 60 percent of it is going to the podcasters? Like, that's kind of terrible.
00:54:54 ◼ ► And so like all these factors combined to make me not want to do this idea after all. But the point is podcasters already today, they have their own stuff going.
00:55:04 ◼ ► If they're big enough to move audiences or if they're big enough for people like Luminary to notice them and want them to be on their platform, they're also big enough to make their own money whatever way they want.
00:55:17 ◼ ► Whether it's ads, whether it's, you know, memberships, Patreon, stuff like that, they don't need people like Luminary getting in the way and becoming middlemen and taking a cut of their money and taking control of their audience and control of their revenue streams.
00:55:30 ◼ ► Like, podcasters don't want that. The only podcasters that could benefit from that are very small podcasters.
00:55:37 ◼ ► And this is part of the reason why I wanted to do this. I figured like, you know, it's a lot easier for a podcaster to opt in to take money from this kind of plan than to set up their own Patreon or to set up their membership thing or to sell ads if they're too small to sell ads.
00:55:53 ◼ ► And so I figured this could help small shows. But the problem is, and this is kind of the anchor model of like seeing if you can get a whole bunch of them to matter, but the problem is like shows that are so small that they can't sell their own ads or are too small to have their own Patreons or whatever, they're also too small to like move markets.
00:56:09 ◼ ► They're too small to move people over to new platforms en masse. And so you can't have that kind of effect only by appealing to those kind of small shows. So we don't really have to worry about that either.
00:56:21 ◼ ► All this is to say, again, similar to when we were talking about the Gimlet thing, I don't think this is going to work in the way they think it will. I don't think, I mean first of all, there's the question of whether people even want to pay eight bucks a month for even more subscriptions.
00:56:37 ◼ ► It's like, it's another content subscription really. And I don't know anybody who listens to podcasts who says, I need more podcasts to listen to. Everyone who listens to podcasts seems to have no trouble finding podcasts on their own.
00:56:55 ◼ ► And so many so that they don't have enough time to listen to them all. Because there's so much great podcasting out there. Podcasting has such a massive surplus of amazing content available for free in every podcast app that this is solving a problem that we don't have.
00:57:09 ◼ ► No one's saying, hey, can we get more podcasts behind a paywall please? No one wants that. So I don't think this is going to succeed for lots of reasons.
00:57:17 ◼ ► If this actually does become a thing that is probably still going to be off to the side the way that Citro Premium and Audible are today, I don't think we're going to have anything to worry about because the way the open podcasting world works, and I've said this before, I'll say it again,
00:57:35 ◼ ► we can keep making this show and publishing it on our own website, in our own RSS feed. And you can keep listening to it in any app you want. Whether it's Overcast or some other app that reads public RSS feeds, there's lots of apps that do it.
00:57:50 ◼ ► And if there isn't one, you can make one. And no one has any say over that. There is no one who can lock that out.
00:57:58 ◼ ► And so as long as there are enough people who listen to podcasts in the open ecosystem, which there sure are a lot, and as long as there are enough podcasters who still make podcasts in the open ecosystem, and there sure are a lot, and there's huge incentives and money keeping them there,
00:58:16 ◼ ► then it's fine. They can't attack us. The only thing that can attack us and cause the kind of damage that Facebook and YouTube have to their respective mediums is if something massively changes about the situation of the current open podcasting world.
00:58:34 ◼ ► Either way fewer people listen to podcasts for some reason, which I don't see happening, or the ad market entirely collapses, which I also don't see happening because it's really strong for good reasons. There's good bones under that.
00:58:47 ◼ ► There's good response rates and everything. Podcast ads work really well. That's why people have been buying them repeatedly for so long.
00:58:54 ◼ ► And so unless some major factor collapses about the open world of podcasting, we'll be fine. We are strong. We are made of slow growth hardwood. We are really strong. The foundations are all strong. None of the indicators in the market suggest that trouble could even be brewing ahead.
00:59:15 ◼ ► We're doing great the way we are. So if something like this can open up and go off to the side and do its own thing and throw a bunch of money at a bunch of celebrities for a brief time, fine. That's probably not going to affect us at all.
00:59:28 ◼ ► And so as long as we keep making this show and shows like this, and as long as you all keep listening to shows like this in apps like this, they don't have any power over us. No one can stop us from doing this.
00:59:40 ◼ ► All that can stop us is you and us. And hopefully we won't do that. And finally, before I finish this rant, I will just say the world of these huge podcasts, big podcasting, I don't listen to any of them.
00:59:55 ◼ ► And I bet I'm not the only one. Yeah, they have a lot of listeners. But the biggest podcasts in the world, if you look at the amount of listeners the biggest podcasts in the world have, and then you look at the numbers from all the various surveys of how many people in the world listen to podcasts,
01:00:12 ◼ ► there is no podcast that has like 40%, 50% of the market. None of them are that big. The reality is people listen to all sorts of podcasts, big and small. And while I'm probably one of the few people that doesn't listen to any massive shows, like I literally listen to no massive shows.
01:00:34 ◼ ► Same. Like I think the biggest show I listen to is Hello Internet. And whenever people have issues about dynamic ad insertion that all the big publishers are doing, I have to rely on my users to tell me whenever there's a problem with dynamic ad insertion.
01:00:50 ◼ ► Because I listen to zero podcasts that use dynamic ad insertion. Which means I listen to zero podcasts from any of the big publishers, NPR, Slate, like all the, like zero. Because frankly, I find most big produced podcasts boring.
01:01:07 ◼ ► To me, it's like reading Reader's Digest. It's like I'm killing time here by listening to this, but I'm not, like I get to the end and I feel like I've had candy for dinner. It's like I need intellectual nutrition, I just didn't get it.
01:01:20 ◼ ► Like I get to the end of, or if I even can get to the end, and there's so much fluff. There's like, I listen, I don't want to point fingers, but there was an episode of a big podcast that everyone pointed me to last week, and so I finally went and listened to it.
01:01:36 ◼ ► And I could barely get through it, because there is so much overhead and fluff and wasted time and promos and ads. And then at the end, and they're so like, fakely produced, like they try to sound like they're casual talking to you, but you know it's all written ahead of time.
01:01:53 ◼ ► It's all, you know, scripted and you can just feel the money being set on fire around you as you listen to this massive bloated show. And then at the end, I'm just like, I got nothing out of that. That was valueless. Why did I listen to that?
01:02:07 ◼ ► Like, I don't listen to any of the big shows. The great thing about podcasting is that you can listen to what you want. There is something out there about what you want. If you want to hear an hour of weekly news about pens, there's a great podcast about that called The Pen Addict on Relay FM.
01:02:27 ◼ ► Like, there's something for everything. There's something for every interest. I don't have time to listen to any of those big shows, because I have so many shows about things that interest me a lot more that are made as smaller productions.
01:02:44 ◼ ► I have so many shows that I love that I don't have time for anything I merely like. The reality of podcasting is it's such a huge and diverse world that if all the big shows, you know, if some big portion of them got up and did their own crazy thing, I think we'd still have something over here.
01:03:07 ◼ ► I think we'd still be okay. And whether we would be or not, I'd still be here. And if any of you want to still be here, you can still be here too and nobody can stop us.
01:03:18 ◼ ► I don't want to burst your inspirational bubble, but the dawning of the industrialized timber industry, they clear cut all those old growth forests, which was stupid, but they did it because they had the technology. And I think that's actually not far from me to give advice to these companies that are trying to become the Facebook of podcasting.
01:03:40 ◼ ► But there is a strategy that will work if anyone is daring enough to do it. It's the same way they did it in all the other industries. People were asking the chat room before about, you know, like the reason a celebrity would go to luminaries, because a luminary jumps a bucket of money on their head.
01:03:53 ◼ ► And as Marco pointed out, like, yeah, they'll give you more money than you could have made on your own for the first month or year, because luminary is giving you basically VC money at that point. It's not, you know, the math doesn't work out.
01:04:04 ◼ ► It's not as if it is a sustainable relationship where luminary gives you millions and millions of dollars more than you would normally get. And then luminary is also profitable. No, they're burning VC money to do that.
01:04:14 ◼ ► The strategy that would work and, you know, luminary, Marco mentioned how much money luminary is spending on this. You have to be like so many businesses, so many other businesses, you have to be willing to spend or rather your investors have to be willing to spend lots and lots of money for a really long time.
01:04:34 ◼ ► Because during that time, you're going to be giving money to celebrities and other popular podcasters way out of proportion to their value that they would get outside, because that's the only way you keep them. The only way you keep them is you say, work with us, because we'll give you more money than you can make on your own.
01:04:48 ◼ ► Even after our cut, we'll give you more money, because we're not giving you, it's not a sustainable business, we're giving you our investors' money, right? We're funneling that money into you. If you can keep doing that long enough, it's in the interest of all the most popular shows to be on your network, because it'll be like, we could make seven times as much money.
01:05:03 ◼ ► Yeah, they're taking a cut too, but we're still making seven times as much money. I don't know how they're making it work, but let's go for that ride. Eventually, if you get all the most popular podcasts in like that, and you could only get them on your platform, and you grow the user base of podcast, which I think the thing that another thing you're missing, Marco, is the idea that the people listening to podcasts now is a tiny fraction of the potential audience for podcasts.
01:05:26 ◼ ► So take the entire current podcast audience and let them never change, and just take the whole rest of the potential podcast audience and have them all go to Megaluminary that has billions of dollars in VC money.
01:05:37 ◼ ► The only reason anyone would ever invest billions of dollars of VC money into this crazy plan is they think, at the end of it, we will own podcasting, and owning podcasting is a business as big as Facebook or Apple or Amazon, right?
01:05:50 ◼ ► I don't know if that's actually true. It probably isn't true, which is why this will probably never happen, but that is the winning strategy in most of these sort of winner-take-all, potential winner-take-all situations with network effects is put money in, so much money that the self-interest of all of the most popular content producers pulls them all into your platform until there's nobody outside your platform.
01:06:13 ◼ ► Then you turn the screws. YouTube kind of did that as well, only they did it more organically. They didn't pull in all the people. They invented the people, but once they invented them, they realized they're all trapped.
01:06:22 ◼ ► They're all like, "And we're really popular, and we should..." Oh, it's too late. You're in YouTube.
01:06:29 ◼ ► So that's a slightly different strategy, but for this thing, for spoken word, audio, or whatever, you could put enough money in to get critical mass so that Luminary essentially becomes podcasting, right?
01:06:44 ◼ ► It makes sense for everybody involved, because the people who are just there for the ride would presumably cash out with their millions at the end of it and be like, "Well, we destroyed podcasting, but we made a lot of money along the way," and they would just go on their way, and it would be fine.
01:07:06 ◼ ► The hundreds of millions of dollars is not enough, because as much as I said, the podcasters would be like, "Well, we can make seven times as much money." They also kind of know, "Yeah, but when does that ride end? Is it sustainable?" People can do the math.
01:07:19 ◼ ► You really have to have so much money, and you also have to kind of be ruthless and realize, "I don't care about the health of podcasting. All I care about is that I'm going to make a huge amount of money for a short period of time, and then I'm going to disappear," or whatever.
01:07:34 ◼ ► A lot of content creators are just not bound for that, but I think there are still things to fear, because the potential audience for podcasting is huge, which means there's a lot of other people out there that could be pulled in, and you can get them by just dumping money on content creators.
01:07:49 ◼ ► So far, by the way, no one has come and dumped a bucket of money on our head, but in our case, I think it would actually take a lot of money.
01:07:56 ◼ ► But everyone has their price, and so if anyone wants to fund a luminary-like business with literal hundreds of billions of dollars, you can own podcasting, and at the end of it, I hope it was worth it.
01:08:07 ◼ ► You know, you said something earlier that I want to get back to. You mentioned that the current market for podcasting is only a fraction of what it could be. I'm not sure how tiny that fraction is. I mean, I could be proven wrong on this, obviously. I'm frequently proven wrong by underestimating how big something can get.
01:08:27 ◼ ► But if you look at things that are kind of nearby, like talk radio, talk radio is huge, but it's not as huge as TV. It got big up to a point, and I don't think talk radio is massively growing.
01:08:45 ◼ ► It's not spreading hugely, like doubling every year or whatever else, and I don't think anybody's assuming that at some point every person in the world will listen to talk radio. It reached its natural point, its natural market share, probably at least a decade ago or probably many decades ago, and then it just kind of leveled off.
01:09:05 ◼ ► And it's fine. It's not tiny. It's not dying. It's just fine. And podcasting, every medium has that point. You know, magazines never got bigger than a certain size, and now they're probably declining pretty sharply now because of the internet, but podcasting, every medium has a natural saturation point.
01:09:27 ◼ ► And podcasting might not, like it's already bigger than most people think, and we might be near the saturation point already. I don't know. No one knows that yet. If you assume it's going to get as big as Facebook, I think you're going to be disappointed.
01:09:42 ◼ ► If you assume it's going to even get as big as video of any sort, YouTube or TV, I don't think it's going to get anywhere near it. I think video is always going to be way bigger than podcasting.
01:09:53 ◼ ► And so like, you look at where podcasting is already, and it's already massive. It's already way bigger than most people think it is. We might be closer to its saturation point than a lot of people might be thinking.
01:10:08 ◼ ► And I don't think it's saturated yet, but I also don't see it exploding the way something like YouTube has.
01:10:16 ◼ ► I mean, a lot of it is bound up in technology, and it's difficult to find analogs because radio had to compete with television and movies eventually, and obviously radio used to be bigger.
01:10:26 ◼ ► But if you were to do a survey and say, if you were to go back in time to a pre-podcast time, a post-television and movies but pre-podcast time, like the early 90s or something, and say what percentage of the US population listens to the radio more than once, at least once a week,
01:10:43 ◼ ► that percentage would be pretty high because all of our cars come with radios in them, and there were tons of radio shows, and it's not saying which particular show, but it's saying do you listen to the radio at least once a week?
01:10:54 ◼ ► That would be a pretty high percentage. And even though we all have televisions, I feel like that is a reasonable comparison because television and movies and all that stuff still exist, but there are many situations in which audio is the better or only option, like when you're driving or if you're just hanging around the house and doing chores or whatever, you might have the radio on, right?
01:11:11 ◼ ► So I feel like that is a rough estimate of the total audience, and according to the thing I just Googled in two seconds, who knows how accurate this is, the percentage of the US population that has listened to a podcast weekly is 17 percent.
01:11:27 ◼ ► And I feel like that is way below the percentage that listens to the radio at least once a week.
01:11:34 ◼ ► This is a 2018 podcast. It's a lot higher if you go what percentage of the population has ever listened to a podcast in their lives, that's 44 percent.
01:11:44 ◼ ► How many listen to it once a month? It's 26 percent. But how many listen weekly? It's 17. But I think if you listen to how many listen to the radio weekly? Way more than 17.
01:11:52 ◼ ► So yes, there is a saturation point and it's not like Facebook, but it's not 17 percent. And that's the US, which is a country with lots of radios basically and lots of people have the capacity to listen to podcasts.
01:12:04 ◼ ► So you're right that it's a good point that it's not like cell phones or Facebook where your total addressable market is the entire earth, but I don't think it's 17 percent.
01:12:15 ◼ ► So I think there's definitely more audience to come. And honestly, like I mentioned this a few times, like when this has come up, even though we all find it easy to listen to podcasts, it could be easier.
01:12:27 ◼ ► Not that I'm saying overcast, it's overcast fault or something, but like you do need to know they exist and understand that there's an app for it and understand how to use the app and stuff like that.
01:12:37 ◼ ► Apple installing a podcast app by default is good, but smartphones themselves are fidgety and like there are still more barriers than the radio where if you bought a car, you got a radio with it at a certain point, whether you wanted it or not.
01:12:49 ◼ ► And, you know, people figured out to turn them on and tune in. That was basically it. Like so there are other barriers that keep the saturation point lower than radio.
01:12:56 ◼ ► But you think eventually all that will be overcome. We should be able to at least get to radio levels of penetration, post television and movies radio levels of penetration.
01:13:06 ◼ ► Didn't you write a blog post, Marco, once in your past? No. Didn't you write a blog post about podcast money is coming or something like that?
01:13:17 ◼ ► Right. That's what I could swear that this was a post I've read and I could not find it, which means I'm not big enough apparently.
01:13:33 ◼ ► I don't know. It's just I feel like that was very much a solid prediction that I think the big money is absolutely coming.
01:13:43 ◼ ► The question is just whether or not it will change the landscape. And obviously that's what we've been discussing for the last half hour or whatever it's been.
01:13:50 ◼ ► But I'm curious to see where this goes. Obviously I have a vested interest in it because this is my livelihood.
01:13:58 ◼ ► But I don't know. Every time I start to get optimistic about it, I think, "Oh, don't underestimate what money can do."
01:14:06 ◼ ► And then I get sad about it. And then I think, "Well, as you guys have said, this ship has kind of already sailed and it's unlikely that any one group can really take over this entire industry."
01:14:16 ◼ ► I don't know. I flip-flop so often back and forth about it. But I do know that I don't particularly care for this exclusivity that is becoming very trendy these days.
01:14:30 ◼ ► And I hope that the three of us are never put in a position that we feel like we need to do some sort of exclusive thing in order to continue to be compensated for the work we do for this show.
01:14:42 ◼ ► And certainly sitting here now, knock on wood, there's nothing that indicates that we're at that point. But you never know what the future will bring.
01:14:51 ◼ ► Yeah, if you want to be optimistic after I got all my investors thinking, you can go back to Marco's point where it's a combination.
01:14:59 ◼ ► So if you put enough money in, you can take over podcasting. But the only way anyone will ever put in that amount of money is if owning podcasting is worth more than the amount of money they put in.
01:15:11 ◼ ► So if the total addressable market of podcasting, the total amount of... What do you get if you own podcasting?
01:15:18 ◼ ► If that amount of money is not enough to make up for how much money you'd have to put in to own it, then no one ever will own it.
01:15:26 ◼ ► Because no one's ever going to just keep funneling in money unless they have some kind of math that says, "And once you own podcasting, boy, you'll be Facebook."
01:15:34 ◼ ► And you won't. So you'll be less than Facebook, but still it'll be worth those billions you put in. I don't think anyone has done that math.
01:15:41 ◼ ► And these companies that are putting in this money, I think their bet is, "Maybe it doesn't actually take that much money.
01:15:46 ◼ ► Maybe we get one or two good shows and a couple hundred million dollars and make a cool app and have lots of marketing, and we could probably take over podcasting."
01:15:54 ◼ ► And thus far we think, "You're probably not going to take over podcasting. Maybe you'll make some kind of sustainable business.
01:16:00 ◼ ► Maybe there'll be consolidation, and Spotify will buy these things up, or Luminary will buy things up, and maybe the consolidated one will be big enough."
01:16:09 ◼ ► This is all kind of going on over there, but no one has come in with the billions and billions and billions and just say, "Look, we're coming in and we're going to own it."
01:16:18 ◼ ► Even Amazon, probably the most textbook example of pouring tons and tons of money into a business, they're like, "Oh, I know we're not making much profit now, but boy, if we own this business,
01:16:27 ◼ ► 10 or 20 years from now we'll start turning that dial and all of a sudden the profit comes in."
01:16:31 ◼ ► It took them a long time and a lot of years and quarters of not particularly good profits or no profits at all to get to the point where they could start to turn the dial and say, "Now we can start turning a profit."
01:16:43 ◼ ► But they did that with slow organic growth. Someone known came out of nowhere and said, "I've got $300 billion so you can own online retail."
01:16:53 ◼ ► They started small and built up and built up and built up and built up and didn't make big profits and built up and didn't make big profits and built up and built up and kept reinvesting and then they began Amazon.
01:17:03 ◼ ► These companies are coming in with a bigger bang than Amazon did. Amazon started small and just selling books or whatever, but I don't think their bang is big enough to own podcasting, to Marko's point that they're late.
01:17:14 ◼ ► Maybe owning podcasting is just not worth what it would take to pay everybody to get in on this. Although if someone wants to try to pass hundreds of millions of dollars, we'll help you try.
01:17:26 ◼ ► The name of our exclusive podcast will be "Why Your Podcast Network Is Going to Fail While We Take Millions of Your Dollars." It's a very contrarian angle. They would love it.
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01:19:24 ◼ ► Alright, we should probably do something that's a little less navel-gazey. So our friend, Garime Rambo, has posted some more stuff over the last few days.
01:19:36 ◼ ► And I don't know that we need to go on and on about this for too long, but let's just kind of at least talk about it for a minute.
01:19:42 ◼ ► Apple Watch authentication beyond just computer unlocks. So for those of you who maybe don't have an Apple Watch or think they're too cool for Apple Watches,
01:19:51 ◼ ► ahem, my co-host, the idea here is that if you have a reasonably modern Mac, but nevertheless it can be older than the Macs that have like touch bars and things,
01:20:03 ◼ ► you can use your Apple Watch to optionally unlock your Mac. So you sit down at your Mac and you like hit the keyboard or you know open up the lid.
01:20:10 ◼ ► And it'll pause for a couple seconds and see if your watch is physically near it. And if so, and if the watch is unlocked, it will go ahead and unlock your Mac.
01:20:18 ◼ ► Which is super convenient and is, I didn't even really think about this until recently when I was hearing somebody talk about it. Maybe it was Jason and Mike,
01:20:25 ◼ ► or I guess Jason Snell on Upgrade. But one way or another, it is something that works almost every single time.
01:20:34 ◼ ► Of all the magic that Apple has promised us over the years, this might be, this and iMessage, which I know some people have not had good luck with iMessage, but I always have.
01:20:43 ◼ ► This and iMessage are probably the two most reliable Apple things that I use on a regular basis.
01:20:48 ◼ ► And so the idea here that Guy has come up with, or that he has discovered, is that you can potentially use the same mechanism for other things where a Touch ID equipped Mac would allow Touch ID to work.
01:21:01 ◼ ► So an example of this is maybe authenticating with sudo in the terminal. Maybe this would be something like a 1Password or something like that.
01:21:09 ◼ ► And I would love to be able to authenticate with 1Password via my watch. That would be extremely cool.
01:21:16 ◼ ► So this is one of those classic Apple things that as soon as you hear about it, I feel like it's a smack in the forehead.
01:21:22 ◼ ► Oh, of course they would do this. Why wouldn't they? But I didn't think about it until Guy Rambo had posted this thing on 9to5Mac.
01:21:31 ◼ ► So I am really into this. This is the first of a few that we'll talk about. But any thoughts from either of you guys, even though you don't believe in the Apple Watch?
01:21:45 ◼ ► I've done the Apple Watch unlock and reliability hasn't been great for me, but more importantly it's not as fast as Face ID. It's just not.
01:21:57 ◼ ► So it's a good idea and they should make it better. And this is definitely a great way for authentication to work.
01:22:03 ◼ ► But Face ID is also a great way for authentication to work. So they should do all these things.
01:22:07 ◼ ► When you were describing this, I was picturing my mind Marco with an Apple Watch strapped to his bare ankle.
01:22:13 ◼ ► So he could do the convenient unlock stuff. But it's got to be touching your skin to stay unlocked.
01:22:18 ◼ ► So it would just be under his sock, but he would be wearing his fancy watch. But still, because he would be in proximity, he could use it to unlock all his stuff. That's amazing.
01:22:32 ◼ ► Marco, I'm assuming this would be obviously more than enough encouragement for you to eschew your fancy man watches and use an Apple Watch instead?
01:22:47 ◼ ► Alright, moving on. Siri Shortcuts, Screen Time, and other iOS features coming to the Mac with 10.15, which is the next version of macOS we assume.
01:22:54 ◼ ► There's been a lot of discussion and actually Upgrade was a really good example of this. What does that really mean, Siri Shortcuts?
01:23:01 ◼ ► Because, you know, Siri means everything to everyone these days as to shortcuts. But it sounds like Siri Shortcuts is the only thing that Guy had spoken about directly.
01:23:10 ◼ ► But then he pontificated that, "Oh well, if you've already got Siri Shortcuts where you can set up a 'Hey Dingus, resume overcast' and it will do that, well, why wouldn't you allow all of shortcuts?"
01:23:24 ◼ ► You know, the thing that was once known as Workflow, why wouldn't that come to the Mac? And this scares a lot of the old-timey Mac users because that makes all of us, well not me, but it makes John wonder perhaps if something like Automator or AppleScript will go away.
01:23:39 ◼ ► Then again it appeals to the new Mac users like the Mike Hurleys of the world who don't really want to worry about Automator or AppleScript or stuff like that. Maybe you could use shortcuts on the Mac, which would be really exciting.
01:23:50 ◼ ► I think I'm enthusiastic about the idea of shortcuts coming to the Mac. I don't really use AppleScript personally. I have a few times in the past, but it's not something I use often.
01:24:02 ◼ ► And I do use shortcuts sort of a lot. Now naturally I'm perfectly happy doing other sorts of scripting and coding on my Mac.
01:24:15 ◼ ► Now again, we're extrapolating quite a bit from the thing that Guy had said, which was just Siri shortcuts. But I don't know, Siri shortcuts doesn't really do much for me. I almost never use them even on my phone.
01:24:25 ◼ ► Shortcut shortcuts, though, that I'm interested in. So John, how do you feel about this?
01:24:30 ◼ ► Shortcut seems like a cleaner, more modern version of Automator. In general, like screen time and other features that are on iOS, it always seemed weird to me. Not weird, because we're used to it by now. But features coming out on iOS and the Mac doesn't get it for no good reason.
01:24:46 ◼ ► Like, screen time is perfectly appropriate for the Mac. You're in front of a screen and it would be great for the OS to keep track of what apps you're using. There have been third-party apps that do that for a long time. Marco makes one that will quit an application if you haven't used it in a while or if you're using it too much, I forget.
01:25:03 ◼ ► Anyway, so great, Apple makes an OS-level feature that tracks all that for you, not on the Mac for no reason. So it's great that that's coming. Siri shortcuts in general is similar in that you see it on a phone or an iPad and you're like, "Oh, I see." You get a series of steps and you can connect them together.
01:25:19 ◼ ► It almost looks like Automator, right? I'm sure the workflow people are probably inspired by things like Automator because there's been prior art in this area. Why is it not on the Mac? Well, on the Mac you've already got Automator, so why do you need this? Well, because Shortcuts is newer and it does newer stuff.
01:25:34 ◼ ► Granted, it mostly communicates with iOS apps, but soon those are coming to the Mac too, so it makes perfect sense that eventually all those things that are on iOS will come to the Mac. As for whether it's actually a replacement for Automator or a replacement for AppleScript, I think I talked about this when I was on Automators.
01:25:51 ◼ ► There's still a place, especially on the Mac, for a true successor to AppleScript. AppleScript is probably not long for this world for a variety of reasons. And honestly speaking, I've never been a big AppleScript fan, but I've always been a fan of what it can do.
01:26:09 ◼ ► So having a cool GUI tool like Shortcuts where you connect together blocks and do conditionals and do toy programming and make an easy way to make auditions definitely should exist. In fact, I think there should be an even easier way. I feel like Shortcuts is kind of in the middle, but there also should be a harder way.
01:26:26 ◼ ► And it should be officially supported in a good, well-behaved Mac app, should support all those things, not just you can only use Shortcuts to automate this app. Shortcuts should be a friendly shell around. You should be able to essentially write programs with real code that hook into the same things that Shortcuts hook into, like an API. What I'm basically describing is a modern successor to AppleScript.
01:26:48 ◼ ► So I hope that eventually exists. Shortcuts is not it, but Shortcuts definitely has a role to fill, so it should be there.
01:26:55 ◼ ► Next, and finally, we have WWDC 2019 for developers, and that includes new Siri intents for media playback, search, voice calling, event ticketing, message attachments, train trips, flights, airport gates, and seat information. Tell me more, ladies and gentlemen, about media playback.
01:27:13 ◼ ► Obviously, we don't know anything, but I would love to be able to say, "Hey, Dingus, play such-and-such by so-and-so on Spotify." And I know that there are competitive reasons why Apple would never want to allow that.
01:27:30 ◼ ► But my second most requested Siri intent would be, "Hey, Dingus, play the latest episode of Accidental Tech Podcast on Overcast," which I would also love. So Marco, I know you don't really know anything, but how do you read into this? What was your take on this?
01:27:47 ◼ ► I mean, I have my optimistic take, which is like, you know, if they're going to say, like, "Media playback intents," that, to me, sounds like it's probably going to be really good for me, because, you know, like, right now, like, I mean, I guess it depends a lot on implementation details.
01:28:05 ◼ ► Like, current Siri shortcuts are so extremely limited, you can't even have, like, a parameter in them that changes. So, for instance, Overcast has a shortcut that you can set for setting the sleep timer.
01:28:20 ◼ ► When you create the shortcut, I have to specify how long you're setting it for. So when you say, you know, if you create a shortcut to, you know, set the sleep timer for 10 minutes, you can't then use the same phrasing to say, "Set the shortcut for 30 minutes," like, "Set the time for 30 minutes."
01:28:37 ◼ ► Like, any shortcut you create cannot have parameters that change. It is fixed in whatever parameter set it was created with. So even in places where there are obvious, like, slots for a variable to go, where, like, I want to do the same thing that I already have a shortcut for, but with a different value in place of the value that's there, you can't do that in today's system.
01:29:00 ◼ ► And so, the idea of, like, a general purpose Overcast shortcut, you can't have a shortcut that says, you know, "Play a playlist in Overcast," and then each time you invoke it, specify a different playlist. You can't do that.
01:29:12 ◼ ► You can't specify a different podcast. Like, everything has to be separate. If you want a shortcut, one to open up the latest episode of ATP and one to open up the latest episode of Upgrade, you have to make two different shortcuts for that, with two, like, specifically different phrases that, you know, you have to use those exact phrases to get that exact variable, and that's it.
01:29:29 ◼ ► So, anything that goes beyond what we have today has to address that, like, number one. Like, that, to me, like, if you want to make media playback better, you have to first address that.
01:29:42 ◼ ► And then, once you have, like, the variables, which, by the way, like, the structure with which you create the shortcuts in the code does have that. Like, you do specify places where you're having variables.
01:29:57 ◼ ► There's just no interface for people to create them where those variables are flexible, and there's no ability, seemingly, for you to call them, or, you know, to summon them with your shortcut phrases with different variables in them.
01:30:10 ◼ ► But, like, the structure in the code does seem to be there to support that, so hopefully we're getting that. But anyway, so for media support to be useful, you need that first.
01:30:19 ◼ ► But then, beyond that, there has to be some way for Overcast to provide to Siri a list of what you can be talking about.
01:30:30 ◼ ► So, if there's a parameterized shortcut with a variable that's, like, a name of a podcast, so that you can just say, "Hey, dingus, play podcast X in Overcast," where you didn't previously create a shortcut for that.
01:30:44 ◼ ► There needs to be a way for Overcast to tell Siri, either in advance or maybe very quickly in response to that, "Here's a list of things they could be asking about."
01:30:54 ◼ ► And here's all the, you know, all these phrases of, like, basically every podcast you subscribe to, like, "Here's the things that the user might ask about," and so that way it can support parameterized queries properly and quickly and responsibly.
01:31:07 ◼ ► None of that infrastructure exists yet, and so I hope that what they're actually talking about here is that kind of thing that then could be used for all sorts of things.
01:31:20 ◼ ► Like, once you have that, you can do a lot of different intent styles, number one being media playback, really.
01:31:27 ◼ ► That's, I think, the most commonly used one in practice, and so I hope that's really what this is about, and if media playback happens to be a result of that, great, I'll take it.
01:31:39 ◼ ► But what we really need first is for intents to basically have, like, variables and things that can change, like, parameters that can change in them every time they're invoked.
01:31:50 ◼ ► All right, we also hear some news about Marzipan from Gee. "Integration with the touch bar/menu bar, including keyboard shortcuts, should be possible. Multiple windows should be possible. Split view apps ported from iOS will have the ability to be resized by dragging the divider, and its position reset by double-clicking the divider just like native Mac apps."
01:32:09 ◼ ► That's exciting and slightly surprising. I mean, I guess it makes sense if you really embrace auto layout.
01:32:15 ◼ ► "Enabling Mac support for an existing iOS app is as easy as checking a checkbox in the target settings and Xcode, much as you would to add iPad support to an iPhone-only app. In theory." Am I right?
01:32:29 ◼ ► Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. And then, C. Tran Smith added, "So the Marzipan SDK is just the iOS 13 SDK all along, a checkbox in your iOS project settings. What will that mean for the separation between UIKit and AppKit?
01:32:43 ◼ ► The iOS SDK doesn't include Mac frameworks like AppKit, AppleScript, etc. So how do you get those sorts of things into a Marzipan app?" And I don't think any of us really know, but it's an interesting point.
01:32:52 ◼ ► So the one checkbox thing, you can say the exact same thing about iPad apps. Like, if you have an iPhone app, and you want to make an iPad app, you can go into the target thing, and you can check "works on iPad 2," and you can hit "build and run," and it will build and it will run.
01:33:09 ◼ ► And you will get a blown-up iPhone app on your iPad. And you don't have to make any other changes, and you can have an iPad app, technically. You know, if it's like a feature checklist, you can say, "Check, I have an iPad app," and it is really that simple.
01:33:23 ◼ ► And so if the Marzipan target works the same way, where you can just check another box in that list and say "works with iPhone, iPad, and Marzipan," great, you can build and run, hit that checkbox, build and run, and probably, with no other work, have a Mac app.
01:33:40 ◼ ► Now, the iPad app that you get out of doing it that way looks ridiculous and isn't very good. Like, you'll have, like, everything is full screen, like, all your iPhone controllers will be blown up to full screen, everything will be, like, full screen transitions back and forth with navigation and everything, everything sliding up, taking over the whole screen, sliding down, taking over the whole screen, and, you know, nothing is taking advantage of the screen size.
01:34:05 ◼ ► There's a lot of built-in iPad functionality that you weren't taking advantage of, so to make a good iPad app, you have to do a bit more work than that.
01:34:13 ◼ ► Could you even get that checkbox thing through the store, though? Because as soon as you said you can check a checkbox and get a Mac build of it, the icon assets alone that you're missing would probably mean you couldn't pass app review with your checkbox-enabled iPad app, right?
01:34:30 ◼ ► It will show a bunch of warnings when it builds saying you don't have the right icons in your icon set.
01:34:36 ◼ ► Yeah, I think it will actually just scale them. So, I don't think, and I don't think they actually reject you for that.
01:34:43 ◼ ► Yeah, I don't think they do that. Anyway, so, like, you can make an iPad app with one checkbox, but to make it a good iPad app, you have to do a bit more work. You have to, and they provide APIs for you to do that.
01:34:56 ◼ ► They provide things like the split view controller, which you mentioned a minute ago, which is, like, the thing that allows you kind of like mail to have a left pane and a right pane.
01:35:05 ◼ ► And the left pane is like a list, and you can click a thing on the list, and the right pane changes. It's the detail view.
01:35:11 ◼ ► So, there are, like, extra things. There's popovers. There's the different ways you can present a, like, a pop-up view controller that doesn't take over the whole screen.
01:35:20 ◼ ► So, you can have the little sheet in the middle of the screen. So, like, the iPad API basically allows you to take an iPhone app and do a few changes to make it a much better iPad app than the initial version that you just click the checkbox and ran.
01:35:34 ◼ ► What I think all of this sounds like is a very similar thing for making an iPad app into a Mac app, where you hit that checkbox for the marzipan target, and you can hit build and run, and it will probably just run, and you will probably have what basically feels like the crappy home app that we have today on Mac, which is this awful, like, iPad app in a window, which is an even more egregious example,
01:36:01 ◼ ► because even the regular home app in its native home on the iPhone is still terrible and confusing, but regardless, you know, you're going to be able to hit that one checkbox and have an app with no other effort, probably.
01:36:13 ◼ ► However, you're going to need to put in some effort to make it a halfway decent, visually passable, functionally passable Mac app. But it does seem like, you know, a combination of this reporting and as well as Steve Trout and Smith's various blog posts about, like, how he's been playing with the existing marzipan stuff in Mojave and, like, all the different APIs that are there to do things like make Mac toolbars and, you know, menu bar integration and touch bar integration and everything, that's all there now.
01:36:42 ◼ ► Like, he's been playing with it over the last couple of months, like, in these various blog posts.
01:36:46 ◼ ► So, it's going to be the same thing as, you know, making the iPad app decent, which is you will have to take advantage of a few new Mac APIs that will take your iPad app and make it a little more Mac-like, and if you do a really good job, you can make a really good app that way.
01:37:06 ◼ ► Like, you know, based on Steve Trout and Smith's blog post, it looks like a lot of that support's already there, like, from what shipped a year ago.
01:37:13 ◼ ► So, they've had another year to work on it and presumably they're going to make a much bigger push this summer and maybe they brought more of their own apps over with marzipan.
01:37:21 ◼ ► And so, I'm actually really excited about this reporting because it sounds like whatever version of marzipan we get this summer is not half-baked.
01:37:31 ◼ ► It sounds like it is, you know, at least three-quarters baked. It sounds like it's, like, it's providing a lot of possible functionality with probably minor changes.
01:37:41 ◼ ► Like, you know, again, like, Steve TS was able to get things like native toolbars and everything with no tool support because he's hacking it all and with seemingly very little code change.
01:37:52 ◼ ► And so, when we actually have the real tools that allow us to do this much more easily, it's going to take no time at all.
01:37:59 ◼ ► And so, again, it's going to be just like making iPad apps where, like, I think if you just put 5% more effort in to your iPad app, you can have a pretty nice Mac app.
01:38:09 ◼ ► And that's, I'm just, I'm very much looking forward to that because it did basically work that way on the iPad and now we're going to have that same thing happen on the Mac where not every marzipan app is going to be good,
01:38:21 ◼ ► because not every iPad version of a previously iPhone app is good, but I think Apple, it sure sounds like Apple is going to be giving us the tools such that those of us who care to make good Mac apps out of our iPad apps will be able to do it pretty easily.
01:38:39 ◼ ► I like to see this integration with the touch bar and stuff like that. The question about AppKit and how you might access actual Mac frameworks from a marzipan app is interesting because the easiest way to add integration to lots of Mac features quickly is to provide sort of shims to get to the existing AppKit functionality.
01:38:58 ◼ ► But, you know, the toolbar stuff I think and stuff he's been demoing his blog post isn't doing that. I just feel like the way forward is not to provide shims to carbon, cocoa, whatever random stuff that's on the Mac now, but just to make all the stuff in UIKit.
01:39:14 ◼ ► That's what I assume they're doing, but we'll see when this stuff gets disassembled. They're not going to re-implement the menu bar, I assume. It's going to be the same old menu bar, it's just you're going to be able to populate menus from marzipan, but you're not populating menus using an entirely new code base to control the menu bar, I have to assume.
01:39:34 ◼ ► So, this is going to be a little bit of a stew, but the real question is from your own code inside your own app, can you just start using AppKit at that point? If you just write that code and include AppKit and start going off, will it compile and run? I don't know the answer to that. Maybe Steve Trout and Smith already knows, but I don't know yet.
01:39:53 ◼ ► I'm sure that will feature prominently in the marzipan sessions. By the way, we need to have at least three or four shows where we try to figure out what the hell they're going to call marzipan.
01:40:05 ◼ ► I've been calling it this for a year, and I just feel like that one's not going to... I mean, they call it Jaguar Jaguar. No, sorry, they call it Jaguar Jaguar. That's what they call Jaguar.
01:40:13 ◼ ► But that was the last time I can recall a fanciful code name making it all the way through, and it led to a series of cats over the last several years.
01:40:22 ◼ ► Android's already got the food, the sweet food thing going on with its alphabetical candy OSes, so I really hope they don't call it marzipan.
01:40:47 ◼ ► UIKit is UIKit is UIKit. It's the new UIKit. I mean, they could add another letter. UIKit for everyone.
01:41:00 ◼ ► Well, I've got it. We already know the answer to this, right? It's UIKit Plus. Plus is all fun.
01:41:12 ◼ ► No, we're talking about the name of the framework. There's going to be sessions that say, "Learn about, essentially, the marzipan."
01:41:19 ◼ ► "How you can port your iOS apps to that." But what is the name of the framework? It's not a name that consumers would be faced with.
01:41:33 ◼ ► It is UIKit for the Mac, but I think it would just be called UIKit. The sessions may be called using UIKit on the Mac or whatever.
01:41:42 ◼ ► Obviously, the actual framework, I'm assuming, will still just be the headers or whatever. The import statements will just be UIKit or whatever it is today.
01:41:50 ◼ ► I assume. But the name for the... What's on the slide? The name for the effort? I guess they could say UIKit for the Mac.
01:41:58 ◼ ► I keep thinking they're going to try to go for some kind of universal thing, because it's not just for the Mac. It's also for tvOS, right? In theory.
01:42:07 ◼ ► Well, the Apple Arcade thing was like the games will be available on iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV.
01:42:16 ◼ ► And I know games don't use much of UIKit, but the bottom line is to launch anything on any one of these platforms, you have to essentially have an application that can run on these platforms that are subtly different in interesting ways,
01:42:25 ◼ ► even if it's just a very, very thin wrap around Unity or whatever. So I assume there is actually a way to make... To easily build from a single code base something that runs on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and tvOS.
01:42:41 ◼ ► But we'll see. That's what WWDC is all about. Now, speaking of leaks, this was just more days of leaks about more features, and the WWDC leak is like, "Here's what they're going to announce at WWDC."
01:42:57 ◼ ► The only thing I've seen you get more stressed about than the Mac Pro is any sort of plane travel. That is the only thing I can think of.
01:43:06 ◼ ► We should do this last item before we wrap up the AR thing. New Swift-only framework for AR. Swift-only framework. It's time for that because we've got ABI stability finally.
01:43:16 ◼ ► So we can start introducing Swift-only frameworks. This will be for augmented reality and a companion app that lets you make AR stuff visually. Human pose detection.
01:43:26 ◼ ► So that would be neat. I'm sure they'll have some fun demos with that where people do weird poses on stage.
01:43:31 ◼ ► And for game developers, the OS support for controllers with touchpads and stereo AR headsets.
01:43:38 ◼ ► Who makes a stereo AR headset that works with iOS devices? Maybe somebody already does. I don't know.
01:43:47 ◼ ► I don't think we're going to see Apple's glasses this year, but Apple continues to lay the groundwork for Apple's glasses.
01:43:53 ◼ ► Alright, thanks to our sponsors this week. ExpressVPN, Linode, and RightPoint. And we will see you next week.
01:45:39 ◼ ► And, I don't know, there's probably a million other things that I'm not even thinking about that I want.
01:45:47 ◼ ► And I don't know how Apple can't, I don't see a future where Apple doesn't disappoint us.
01:46:16 ◼ ► I mean, you could fit the laptops in there if you really cram them, but I feel like there's just no room with my giant Mac Pro reveal with lasers.
01:46:23 ◼ ► I think it matters a lot, like, how much they try to make the WWDC keynote also, like, patch things up with Pro users.
01:46:34 ◼ ► Because they might not. Like, it might just be focused on developers, even though developers are a huge segment of their Pro users.
01:46:39 ◼ ► But they might have so much on the software front that they don't want to mix the messages or they don't have time.
01:46:47 ◼ ► Like, last summer, they released laptops last summer, but they didn't announce them at WWDC and they released them in July.
01:46:58 ◼ ► Like, we're hearing enough rumblings on that front. I do think they're coming pretty soon.
01:47:02 ◼ ► Probably this summer, but it could be another one of those July releases instead of June.
01:47:06 ◼ ► They don't necessarily need to be on stage. I mean, because I feel like you could do this if the Marzipan stuff is as big as it's going to be.
01:47:18 ◼ ► Plus the Mac OS. I mean, you know what I mean. Like, they'll do the Mac thing and they'll do the iOS.
01:47:22 ◼ ► We've had new keynotes like that where there's no hardware and it's just basically like, here's the new versions of the OSes and there are headlining features for the new versions of the OSes and that's it.
01:47:31 ◼ ► Yeah, but I feel like with Marzipan, like, it's a whole ton of work that's mostly, like, under the hood.
01:47:44 ◼ ► Well, you're going to want to see how you can take your app from iOS and make it a Mac app.
01:47:50 ◼ ► How do you deal with menu bars and menu commands and insertion points and cursors and toolbars and all these Mac-isms?
01:48:01 ◼ ► But in the keynote, you show off apps that use those features. Look at this app. Doesn't it look like an app app? Mac app? Ha ha, it's actually a Marzipan app.
01:48:08 ◼ ► And here's the new Marzipan version of messages and you can actually send with lasers. Speaking of lasers, like, plenty of things to show of all their Marzipan apps and how they no longer look like garbage.
01:48:16 ◼ ► Right? That's the keynote for... And then State of the Union is how did we do this and how can you do it to your app?
01:48:21 ◼ ► Yeah, I guess that's fair. But yeah, ultimately I think, like, if new laptops are coming this summer...
01:48:29 ◼ ► Like, they were able to do a July release last summer because they were just speed bumps. There was almost no change.
01:48:34 ◼ ► But the ones that sound like are coming this summer might be the changed ones with, like, the whole new keyboard type.
01:48:42 ◼ ► Yeah, 16-inch new keyboard, whole nine yards. They would definitely want to have an event for that because it's pretty big.
01:48:49 ◼ ► They could do like they did with the new iMacs. It's bigger than the new iMacs and they had, like, separate press events on various coasts for that. They could definitely do that for the laptops.
01:48:56 ◼ ► I think it's way bigger than... It's way more important than the iMac. Because the iMacs, again, speed bump. This is going to... Like, these are going to look visually different.
01:49:03 ◼ ► Like, it's going to be a different model. So I think they're going to want to announce it at an event. But they don't have any events in the summertime.
01:49:11 ◼ ► Like, there's no event between WVDC and September, usually. So if they're going to release these in the summertime, we're probably going to hear about it then.
01:49:19 ◼ ► Yeah, I mean, you could fit it... Like I said, you could fit it in the keynote, especially if it's just the 16-inch. You do all the OS stuff. Here's the new OS. Here's Mars event. Maybe here's a couple of Swift features. Maybe, you know, blah, blah, blah.
01:49:30 ◼ ► Then you do the one and only new laptop, which is the 16-inch with the new keyboard and everyone's excited by it. Then you end with your Mac Pro teaser.
01:49:37 ◼ ► I don't know what to bring to the keynote because Jon and I are going to be there and presumably will be seated either next to each other or near each other.
01:49:50 ◼ ► And I don't know what I'm going to do if you do not get your Mac Pro teaser. Like, do I give you tissues? Do I give you a Sprite? Do I give you actual alcohol?
01:49:59 ◼ ► Listen, if there's no Mac Pro news at WWDC, my consolation prize will be seeing tons and tons of people wearing my vengeful Mac Pro, trash can Mac Pro angel t-shirt.
01:50:11 ◼ ► As I walk down the hallways, I just want to see everybody's backs, just these huge wings just spreading out from this huge thing just looming over all of us like a demon from hell.
01:50:19 ◼ ► Because that's what it will be. It will be this goddamn trash can. It's been with us for, then it'll be like seven years. And if they have a teaser, then I will look at those same wings and say, "Goodbye, trash can."
01:50:35 ◼ ► Oh my god. I say this, you know, snarky in a jokey way, but I actually am genuinely somewhat worried for your well-being if you don't get a teaser during this event.
01:50:46 ◼ ► I mean, 2019 is long. Any day can be a Mac Pro day in 2019. Summer is not the end of 2019. There's still time. Last year I was kind of, you know, not heartbroken, but I was disappointed when I learned before WWDC that basically don't expect any Mac Pro stuff at WWDC.
01:51:05 ◼ ► And then I was like, "Okay, fine. This is disappointing, but next year it'll happen." And now it's time for it to happen in 2019. If it doesn't happen at WWDC, it's just, I just want to be in an audience. I want to see, like, you know what I mean?
01:51:21 ◼ ► Because if they do it in a press event that I'm not going to go to or be invited to, right, it's not the same as me just like looking at a web page, right? I want to be in an audience.
01:51:29 ◼ ► Do you remember when the trash can was announced? I don't remember which WWDC it was because it was 34 years ago.
01:51:48 ◼ ► What I was going to bring up though was that it was a relatively quiet part of the keynote because it was just Schiller talking. And then if I recall correctly, there was just unbelievable bass with the volume cranked past 11 to like 25.
01:52:05 ◼ ► And it was, as much as I love to snark about the Mac Pro, like it was impressive. Just sitting in that room witnessing this happen was impressive. And of course all these nerds, like even me, I don't, even then I didn't really care about the Mac Pro.
01:52:18 ◼ ► But I was swept up in the moment because it was freaking cool. And so in that sense, I really do hope that you're there for some sort of teaser reveal or whatever.
01:52:27 ◼ ► I remember that presentation. It was great. Like how the dramatic, dramatic music and the video and they're showing, I was doing a thing where they show it like really close. You can't even tell what you're looking at because like the whole thing is still on the screen and the fan blades and all the other things.
01:52:39 ◼ ► But then once they get to the part where they're like, they're talking about it and like the music part is over, they're like, they showed a picture of it next to the Tower Mac Pro and it looked like like a Lord of the Rings force perspective thing where there was like a full size human, but he's really far away from the camera.
01:52:53 ◼ ► So it looks like a Hobbit. Like, is that graphic? Right? Because it looked next to a cheese grater tower. It looked comically small. Like it was like, that's not how big it actually is, though. Right? Like, is this meant to be humorous?
01:53:06 ◼ ► It's like, nope, that's how big it actually was. It's like the not if we say trash can, but it would be the world's worst trash can. You'd fill it with three balls of paper. It's very small. And it turned that turned out to be a problem long term for Apple.
01:53:19 ◼ ► And so I remember seeing that slide going, all right, so that seems small. It would produce cool. It was definitely cool. And it was out there. I think it was in like a Lucite tube, kind of like the original iPhone where you can look at it and everything.
01:53:30 ◼ ► In fact, we had an episode about a week earlier where you said it's not like they're going to have a Mac Pro out in the tube, like after the keynote. And then they did exactly that.
01:53:50 ◼ ► And that's the case for a true Mac Pro successor. And unlike now, there was no point where Apple had a meeting and said, hey, guess what? We're making a new Mac Pro. So it was totally up in the air whether we'd ever see a new Mac Pro at all.
01:54:00 ◼ ► Unlike now where Apple has said they're going to make one. It's just a question of when. So that was totally out there. That was another thing that made that reveal great.
01:54:07 ◼ ► We were in a situation where we were like, I guess Apple's just not doing Pro Max anymore. And they were. And that's why it was exciting. The excitement faded as the years moved on. And the Mac Pro still couldn't output to a 5K Retina display. Anyway, 2019.