The Talk Show

363: ‘Deliberately Churned’, With Christina Warren


00:00:00   I will say, and I mean this with genuine sincerity, one of the ways that I have

00:00:05   grown as a person from early adulthood to where I am now is I'm more open minded

00:00:10   about everybody and anything, you know? And if you,

00:00:13   if you like dressing up in a Chewbacca costume,

00:00:16   Oh yeah, no, like I have friends who are Disney fans, like to be clear,

00:00:19   like I, I'm not, I'm being somewhat pejorative,

00:00:22   but I'm actually like, I don't really judge it that much. Right?

00:00:24   Like I think everybody could go too far on things, but I live in live and let live.

00:00:29   Right? Like, yeah, I have fun. We only live once. And exactly, exactly.

00:00:33   I'm just, I'm just saying I'm a fan, but I'm not like that hardcore level,

00:00:36   but I know people who are and I appreciate them and I consider many of them like

00:00:41   my friends. But yes, I'm a Disney fan.

00:00:43   I also think like many things in life being any measure of fan of Disney,

00:00:48   it's one of those things where crazy Disney fans is the definition is anybody

00:00:54   who's into it more than you. That's, that's true.

00:00:58   So there's lots of people out there who've never,

00:01:00   who don't like going to Disney parks at all.

00:01:02   Oh, right. And they would consider us crazy Disney fans.

00:01:06   100%. I just, you know, like I, I've, because I've covered, I, you know,

00:01:10   I've covered them professionally and I've done stuff like personally,

00:01:13   and I know people who are really into it and I'm like, wow, that's incredible.

00:01:17   Like I do not have that. Like I'm, I may be, and we'll talk about this,

00:01:21   I think we're going to talk about it more later. Like Taylor Swift,

00:01:23   I'm borderline right. But like, but Disney not really there,

00:01:27   but I do appreciate the company. And then this is such a nerdy thing about me,

00:01:32   but I love like business dynasties and,

00:01:36   and reading like the rise and fall and rise again of those things.

00:01:40   And Disney as a company other than Apple, I think is,

00:01:44   is one of the few companies that has had like a,

00:01:48   a genuine kind of resurgence after the founder who was so

00:01:53   emblematic of the company, you know, left or passed on.

00:01:57   And that to me as like a business story, like, so I'm a fan of the,

00:02:01   the products, I'm a fan of the brands, I'm a fan of the franchises,

00:02:04   but I'm also a fan of just like the history,

00:02:07   the history of the company is just fascinating.

00:02:09   I think I don't write about Disney much just because I've got others, you know,

00:02:13   I've got so much else to write about, but yeah. And I guess my intro,

00:02:18   yeah, it's not like my,

00:02:20   I've I've often told the story where when I started writing Daring Fireball,

00:02:23   I was like, I knew I had to have a blog and I knew I needed,

00:02:25   you need some kind of main beat. And it was tough for me to choose between

00:02:30   Apple slash tech and politics. And I, you know, I think,

00:02:33   I think the last 20 years have shown I probably made the right choice.

00:02:36   I think so, but Disney wasn't on the list. I don't like them that much,

00:02:40   but I do as an Apple fan, obsessive and a Disney fan,

00:02:45   the parallels between the companies are fascinating to me.

00:02:48   I wrote to a friend the other day that effectively to me,

00:02:51   they're in the same business.

00:02:52   They're both in the business of what I would call making the best things

00:02:57   in areas where best is always subjective,

00:03:02   but best is maybe pricey,

00:03:06   but it is attainable. Yes. That's, and to me,

00:03:10   anything Disney or Apple does should fit that definition. So for example,

00:03:14   what is the best car in the world? Well, right now,

00:03:18   I would say it's something probably something like a Maybach or a Rolls

00:03:22   Royce or, or if you're going for speed, you know,

00:03:26   like some kind of crazy Lamborghini or, you know,

00:03:29   $300,000 Porsche or something like that.

00:03:32   There's lots of areas where the best is, is super unattainable. Right. It is,

00:03:37   it is a crazy, but what is the best phone you can buy today?

00:03:41   It is iPhone four, iPhone 14 pro, right? That's it. And, and you, you know,

00:03:46   anybody with a thousand dollars can, can get one it's, you know,

00:03:50   they're all over the place and what's the best vacation that a family can

00:03:54   take. Absolutely.

00:03:56   And it's Disney and you can spend a ridiculous amount of money there,

00:04:00   but you can also be,

00:04:02   have a very similar experience and not spend that much. Right? Like,

00:04:07   I grew up going to Disney. So my father,

00:04:09   my grandfather used to do a lot of work in Orlando.

00:04:13   And so I spent a lot of the summers because my dad would be there a lot.

00:04:17   So we spent a lot of the summers in Orlando and would go to the parks a lot.

00:04:22   And I didn't realize, you know,

00:04:24   how lucky I was and how unique that was to be that way.

00:04:28   Like as a little kid until I was much older. Right. And, but,

00:04:33   but it is, you know, I've been to all the parks and in the old days,

00:04:36   I do think like in the nineties,

00:04:38   I think that universal studios Florida was a fantastic park and it had some

00:04:43   great rides. And for people like me who are really into movies,

00:04:46   it had some really, really unique and cool things,

00:04:49   but the overall best experience, how they treat you, how, you know, what,

00:04:53   what the, what the whole end to end experience is like,

00:04:56   like Disney has it nailed, you know,

00:04:58   whether you're doing it in California or Florida or Paris,

00:05:02   I haven't been to the ones in Asia, you know, but like that's it going on.

00:05:06   Their cruises, you know,

00:05:08   I've never been on their cruises because I don't want to go on a family cruise

00:05:12   with kids. I'm not, I'm not a parent. If they had an adults only,

00:05:16   if they had an adults only Disney cruise,

00:05:17   which would cost significantly more than other cruises, I would be so into that.

00:05:21   We have,

00:05:23   we have done the Disney cruises multiple times ranging from when Jonas was

00:05:27   younger to older. And we had the,

00:05:31   Amy and I had the same thought where it's like, man,

00:05:34   and we've done Royal Caribbean cruises with like my extended family,

00:05:37   my parents and my sister and her kid, you know, it's,

00:05:40   it has a fine cruise line too, but way less kids friendly.

00:05:43   Although I think all the show, I think Disney success is leading all of the other

00:05:47   cruise lines to put more. I think that 20 years ago,

00:05:51   the cruise lines typically, not that they discouraged kids,

00:05:56   but they didn't. It was an afterthought. It was an afterthought.

00:05:59   It wasn't part of it wasn't, they didn't realize that, Oh,

00:06:02   we can actually make this as part of the selling point.

00:06:05   You know,

00:06:05   there's a pool up on the top deck and there's always kids screaming in the pool.

00:06:10   And other than that, they're like, I don't know.

00:06:12   And now it's like, you, you gotta have game.

00:06:14   But Amy and I had the same thought about the Disney cruise where it's like,

00:06:17   man, we would, I would do this after, you know,

00:06:19   Jonas is out of the house except only if, you know,

00:06:23   there was a version without the kids it's, you know, but that's what it's for.

00:06:25   It's, you know, they know, they know, they know exactly what it's for.

00:06:28   I just, but the idea, and you mentioned the similarities to having a,

00:06:33   defining founder, right? Iconic, iconic,

00:06:38   iconic founder. And it's interesting to me to observe Disney,

00:06:43   but now we, here we are 10 or I guess 11 years after Steve Jobs is, is dead.

00:06:48   It is interesting to compare.

00:06:52   And that's the other thing that to me is fascinating about Disney as a company is

00:06:56   there's the initial,

00:06:57   how do they survive the passing of this iconic founder who sort of was the

00:07:01   guiding,

00:07:01   the guiding force, the chief product officer, that everything came from him,

00:07:05   right? Like, right. And they were all,

00:07:07   it was all Walt even, even in the company was named after him. Right.

00:07:11   Like even more than Apple in some ways.

00:07:13   I can't think of a company that up to that point was, I mean, the low pay,

00:07:18   maybe Ford, but like.

00:07:19   The logo is in his handwriting.

00:07:21   I mean, exactly. You know, like every bit of the company,

00:07:24   everything they did was, was his.

00:07:27   Yeah. Ford's a good example too, though. But, but the interesting thing is,

00:07:31   is fascinating is to see a company maintain its core

00:07:35   character over decades. Yes. And

00:07:39   I guess we should get to the news eventually, but it is interesting though,

00:07:43   to me in broad strokes,

00:07:45   Disney post Walt coasted for a while. Yeah.

00:07:50   It's struggled. It struggled hardcore.

00:07:53   James B. Stewart wrote the definitive book, I think on it, Disney war, which,

00:07:58   which is mostly about kind of the, the, you know,

00:08:02   rise and fall of Michael Eisner and the succession of Bob Iger,

00:08:06   who we'll talk about,

00:08:07   but it also goes into just that this was a company that was on the ropes that

00:08:12   very nearly in the seventies,

00:08:13   like if you look up until Jeffrey Katzenberg who Michael Eisner then kicked out

00:08:17   of the company, you know, like saved it with, with the animation studios.

00:08:21   If you look up into that point, like their core things,

00:08:24   they were really struggling and a lot of levels. Yeah. And that's my childhood,

00:08:29   right? My childhood is the seventies and the early eighties.

00:08:32   And in hindsight, looking at it, it's, it just,

00:08:37   you just Disney was Disney when I was a kid, they were just, it's, you know,

00:08:41   like the federal government and, you know, the shape of the globe and the,

00:08:46   you know, the,

00:08:47   it's just a thing that was there and it was never going to go anywhere.

00:08:51   But in hindsight, clearly, I mean, it's like the,

00:08:53   the conventional wisdom that Disney's movie quality went in a tank

00:08:58   after Walt died. It's absolutely true. It's 100% true. Right.

00:09:02   You look at it in hindsight where you really look at like, which,

00:09:05   which movies from the Disney's vaunted vault do kids today still want to

00:09:10   watch? None, none of them were from like the seventies.

00:09:14   And the animation quality was even bad. Right. It was,

00:09:19   they were cutting costs cause they, you know, they, they were struggling,

00:09:21   you know, the, the the Orlando project is what they call Disney world

00:09:26   was an enormous expense and, and, and Walt died before it was finished.

00:09:31   But that was a big gamble and obviously it's, it's paid off and then some,

00:09:35   but that was an enormous expense. And Roy Disney,

00:09:37   I think that he died not that long after Walt and, and it was,

00:09:42   it was a struggle, you know, but, but that's the interesting thing.

00:09:45   The brand,

00:09:46   I think probably for people probably didn't dissipate that much,

00:09:50   even if the quality dipped and even if the profits weren't there, you know,

00:09:53   as a kid, you're saying like, you still knew Disney was Disney.

00:09:56   And partially because of those iconic early years, right.

00:10:00   Then that, that stuff never went away.

00:10:02   And then I grew up like little mermaid like that. So, you know, when,

00:10:07   when the Renaissance happened, and so it,

00:10:10   it was interesting for me kind of realizing, Oh,

00:10:13   just a decade earlier, things were completely different. But yeah,

00:10:18   I just looked it up. Walt Disney world opened October, 1971,

00:10:22   Roy Disney died December 20, 1971.

00:10:26   So he barely made it to see the end of it, but you're right.

00:10:29   I think it's extremely, I think, you know, I mean, again, I mean, and again,

00:10:34   much, I know Walt was, I think he was in his sixties when he died, but you know,

00:10:38   he was certainly too young. Right. And he was going to keep going.

00:10:42   And so there's another similarity to Steve jobs,

00:10:45   not quite as tragically young, but it really is incorrect to me,

00:10:48   incredibly fortunate to Disney that he was there to spearhead the Walt Disney

00:10:53   world project, which is insane. I mean, and there's another, and,

00:10:57   and they only had, I think there really only was one shot at it, you know,

00:11:00   yeah, there really was. And we're gonna, we're gonna buy thousands,

00:11:05   our millions, I don't know, millions of acres of swamp,

00:11:08   swamp land in Florida. And in a part that nobody was there,

00:11:13   like nobody was doing anything there. Part of the reason my, my,

00:11:16   my grandfather, my dad were there in,

00:11:18   in the late eighties was doing some sort of, you know,

00:11:22   real estate development stuff. Even then, even, you know, at that point,

00:11:26   20 years post, you know, the opening, it was not a soup. Like there was,

00:11:31   there was still a lot of room to do more types of development,

00:11:35   but the,

00:11:36   the amount of money that that unleashed into that area by buying land in

00:11:42   one of what on paper would be one of the worst investments you could make.

00:11:46   You know, I read Neil,

00:11:50   I'll put this in the show notes, Neil Gabler's, Walt Disney,

00:11:53   the triumph of the American imagination.

00:11:56   It's a biography from 2007 and it's one of my favorite

00:12:00   biographies I've ever read because it, it, it was thick,

00:12:04   it seemed comprehensive,

00:12:06   but it kept moving and it didn't dwell on the stuff that I wasn't as interested

00:12:10   in. But it, the, the coverage of the, the,

00:12:13   the Walt Disney world in Orlando project was just, it's just,

00:12:18   it really made it seem how crazy it was and how half of the people were like,

00:12:22   yeah, this is a great idea because the whole,

00:12:24   the big problem with Disneyland is we don't have anywhere near enough land and

00:12:28   right across the street, there's like a Denny's and you know, uh,

00:12:31   now people are putting up holiday inns and stuff right across the street and we

00:12:34   don't have any control over this. Where else can we,

00:12:37   what can we do that would be different?

00:12:39   And instead of getting like a little more land, it was like,

00:12:41   why don't we buy a County, you know, size area.

00:12:44   Essentially why don't we do it? And, and, and that,

00:12:48   that is almost exactly like what they've.

00:12:49   They almost put it in New Jersey or I don't know about almost,

00:12:54   but they were seriously thinking about New Jersey.

00:12:56   Cause they were thinking about getting, you know, that,

00:12:57   that if Disneyland is for West coasters and let's do something on the

00:13:02   East coast, where are the people? Well, they're in the Northeast,

00:13:06   so we'll put it in New Jersey and then they're like, yeah,

00:13:08   but then we kind of have to close for, I don't know,

00:13:10   at least four months a year, maybe more in, you know,

00:13:13   for winter and what do you do? And then when this Florida thing came up,

00:13:17   they're like, well, but it's, it,

00:13:19   they just kept not being able to get past, but it's a frigging swamp.

00:13:23   It is just a swamp land. And it, again,

00:13:26   this is where Disney is very similar to Apple. It's a technology company,

00:13:31   you know, they call them imagineers and I know it's a cutesy name,

00:13:34   but they are frigging genius level engineers.

00:13:38   100%. The robotics work that they, that they did, that they've done, right.

00:13:42   And continue to.

00:13:43   And still do is, is absolutely mind blowing, you know,

00:13:46   and imagineers would be borrowed by all the studios for all kinds of different

00:13:51   projects. You know, I think George Lucas, you know, used them, Ridley Scott,

00:13:55   you know, Steven Spielberg for their, you know, projects,

00:13:58   even though if you look to the animation stuff, that's technology too,

00:14:01   even before they got it, you know, digitized, just the,

00:14:05   the way of creating like the assembly line and being able to get like

00:14:10   the, the way of, of, of doing what they did at scale in the thirties,

00:14:15   you know, and in the forties and fifties is stunning.

00:14:19   Every aspect of the parks is incredibly engineered, like not just the,

00:14:24   the imagineers who are doing all of the rides and the things like that,

00:14:28   but even like the layout and the architecture and, and figuring out, you know,

00:14:33   the logistics of, of handling the crowds. And I mean, it's, it's stunning.

00:14:38   The basic story that, as I recall from the book, I don't remember his name.

00:14:41   I don't need to look it up, but I, I swear I recommend the book tremendously,

00:14:44   but basically they, they found a guy who had been in the Navy, I believe.

00:14:48   He was like, he might've been even an admiral,

00:14:50   but he had been a major force in post world war two,

00:14:54   like reconstruction of Europe and Japan, you know,

00:14:58   like the Marshall plan and all this like mass, mass scale, uh,

00:15:03   civil engineering and brought him in and hired him. And he was like,

00:15:07   we could, you know, we could do this. We can,

00:15:09   we can fill in this land and redirect the water and, you know, and, uh,

00:15:14   obviously he was right. You know, it's, it's just an amazing act of civil engineering,

00:15:18   but, you know,

00:15:21   basically Disney went through a,

00:15:24   a furtive period, is furtive the right word? I don't know,

00:15:27   but a bad period after Walt, where they lost sight of quality, you know,

00:15:31   like I said,

00:15:32   their job is to make the best and their stuff wasn't the best anymore.

00:15:35   And they were coasting on reputation and that's the, that's,

00:15:38   it's exactly like the Hemingway quote about going bankrupt, where you, you're,

00:15:42   you're, you go slowly at first and then all at once and then all at once.

00:15:46   And it's like Disney was losing cache amongst kids and

00:15:51   pop culture mind share slowly.

00:15:54   And then it was eventually it would happen all at once. And then like you said,

00:15:58   Katzenberg came in and Eisner, I guess, you know, helped, you know,

00:16:03   at least gave him the authority and they started making movies that were,

00:16:07   you know, like Academy award-nominated beauty and the beast was not, you know,

00:16:12   very first animated film ever nominated for an Oscar only one actually,

00:16:16   because in 2001, they introduced the animated Oscar.

00:16:19   Don't even get me started on that. Right. What a, what a disgrace,

00:16:25   what a, what a terrible way to, a movie is a movie. You know what I mean?

00:16:29   I agree. I agree. I agree. And, and it is, it's one of those things, like,

00:16:33   they've, they've talked about introducing like, like almost like the populist

00:16:36   Oscar, you know, to try to like raise awareness.

00:16:39   And I feel the same way about that. It's like, no, a movie is a movie.

00:16:43   It's either the best and sometimes the best films of the year as judged by the

00:16:47   Academy and other people does align with box office. Sometimes it doesn't.

00:16:52   But yeah, I totally agree with that. Although I do, I do have to say,

00:16:56   I do love that the first winner of that Oscar was Shrek,

00:17:00   which a was a better film than monsters, Inc. And B.

00:17:03   I'm going to have to disagree on that.

00:17:05   I think it's better. I love monsters, Inc. I think monsters, Inc. Has more heart.

00:17:09   I think Shrek is both from its animation that it used.

00:17:13   And I think for me, I love the, I love the fuck you-ness of it.

00:17:18   I love the fact that, that, you know, I love the Katzenberg made it as such a,

00:17:24   a, a, a rebuke meant on, on, on Disney. And I do,

00:17:28   I do love that bit, you know, I, I, you know,

00:17:31   it's like a Larry Bird and magic Johnson coming into the NBA at the same

00:17:36   time type thing, where here the first year there are two,

00:17:40   two movies that clearly hold up decades later and

00:17:43   100%. And I actually, it's interesting. I think that if I watching it now,

00:17:47   in some ways I think I maybe have more fondness for monsters, Inc.

00:17:51   But at the time I distinctly liked Shrek better. Right. So,

00:17:56   you know, it's a, it's a good argument, but, but anyway,

00:17:59   the quality was back and they re, you know,

00:18:01   got back into building parks and, and doing it right.

00:18:06   And, and anyway,

00:18:07   it's interesting to me because Disney has obviously been around much longer.

00:18:11   They lost their founder decades longer, but they're,

00:18:13   they are a guiding light for Apple going forward in the decades to come,

00:18:17   like in the post, you know,

00:18:19   we'll eventually get to the post Tim Cook era where how can a company,

00:18:22   can a company maintain that its soul or,

00:18:26   or is it inevitable that it's going to,

00:18:28   they're going to decline to mediocrity and, you know, it's an example.

00:18:31   I think it is. I mean, I think, and I think that comes to, to, to Bob Iger,

00:18:35   who who's now coming back, right. Because he, he, you know, it went, it went,

00:18:39   you know, Walt Roy, there were a couple of other people.

00:18:42   Then Michael Eisner really did save the company. He also lost his way,

00:18:47   but he really did make some incredibly important decisions.

00:18:51   And then I think that other than, than Tim Cook,

00:18:56   I don't know if, if there's anybody else on the list,

00:18:58   at least in like a recent history who you could look at and say in terms of a,

00:19:03   of a CEO who really transformed an already iconic company into taking it to

00:19:08   another level. I don't know if you could say that about anybody except for Bob.

00:19:12   All right. Before we go to the Eiger and the two Bob's, let's,

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00:21:45   So drama real, real life succession style drama,

00:21:50   Sunday night, 11 o'clock the news breaks at 11 o'clock.

00:21:56   It was so late. I was, I was so excited. I was like, Oh my God.

00:21:59   Bob Chapek, who was,

00:22:02   who was Bob Iker's hand selected successor and was just

00:22:07   given a three year extension four months ago from the Disney board is

00:22:12   out and effective immediately.

00:22:14   And it's like one of my friends who texted me about it right off the thing.

00:22:17   It was like,

00:22:17   you know it's bad when the phrase effective immediately is in the press release.

00:22:21   Yeah. Effective immediately. And then, and then in like the thing,

00:22:25   we thank him for his service and that's the only comment. And that's like,

00:22:28   that's the, you know,

00:22:29   it's bad too when like the only comment about the per about the person that they

00:22:33   kicked out is we thank them for their service.

00:22:35   When you're in corporate comms and the phrase effective immediately,

00:22:39   you know, you're in crisis mode and this is why you're,

00:22:42   you're earning the salary. You are exactly when you're writing the press release

00:22:47   for a planned announcement,

00:22:51   a movie or a set of headphones or whatever it is your company does and you're

00:22:55   writing it. Sure. You know, you want to do a good job writing it,

00:22:58   but when, when effective immediately comes out,

00:23:00   you're earning your keep Chapek's out Iger, who,

00:23:04   when he stepped down as CEO and handed the reins to his hand picked selector or

00:23:08   successor took the job as chairman of the board, but was I guess out, you know,

00:23:13   and I just re-watched his interview with Kara Swisher at the code conference a

00:23:18   couple of weeks ago.

00:23:19   That was the same conference where Kara interviewed Johnny Ive and Tim Cook and

00:23:23   Loreen Powell jobs. And it was really, it's really interesting in hindsight,

00:23:27   really, really in her. I also, I had never seen,

00:23:31   I've seen Iger in interviews before,

00:23:32   but I'd never seen him so relaxed before as he was with Kara.

00:23:35   And I think it speaks to her inordinate talent as an,

00:23:38   as an on-stage interviewer,

00:23:40   Iger's talks like an Apple executive by which I mean

00:23:45   in plain language. It it's,

00:23:48   it's not corporate speak. He,

00:23:50   he just talks and,

00:23:52   and he clearly understands what he's talking about. And if he,

00:23:56   if he doesn't understand something, he'll just say, I don't,

00:23:58   I don't understand that. Or if he doesn't want to say anything,

00:24:01   he just won't say anything. I forget the example.

00:24:04   It was like a question from the audience, but he, he didn't want to,

00:24:07   it was like, he didn't want to speak ill of Netflix. And so he's just like,

00:24:11   I don't want to talk about that.

00:24:12   No. And I've really reminded me of the way Apple executives speak.

00:24:18   Jay Peck does not speak like that.

00:24:19   No, no. Jay Peck. And again, like you keep mentioning like hand and pick successor,

00:24:25   which is an important thing to note for sure,

00:24:27   because I think Iger realized and some of the reporting and,

00:24:31   and puck news and the Ankler both had really, really good reporting on this.

00:24:35   I love both of those publications, but, uh, you know, I think you,

00:24:38   but I think it was Matthew Belloni at a, uh,

00:24:41   pug news who said basically realized like the second he picked him,

00:24:44   that it was the wrong choice, but yeah, the, the dichotomy between

00:24:49   how Bob shape back responds and would say things.

00:24:53   If anybody listened to that earnings call from a couple of weeks ago versus how

00:24:58   Iger does just so stark.

00:25:01   It's, you know, and you think about this, I know everybody out there. I,

00:25:05   I think most people who are listening to the show are like me. I don't, I,

00:25:08   you know, we're not, this is not an audience of investors,

00:25:13   but you know, every three months,

00:25:15   all the companies we follow have their annual quarterly reports.

00:25:18   And for the most part, they're pretty dry, you know,

00:25:22   and most of the companies that I'm most interested in,

00:25:26   in recent years, haven't had much drama quarter to quarter. Now,

00:25:31   now 20 years ago, Apple had lots of quarter to quarter drama,

00:25:34   and I pay much closer attention because small swings in

00:25:39   max sales in the, you know, around the turn of the century could

00:25:42   genuinely, you know, could occasionally drop Apple to a loss. You know,

00:25:48   it's hard to remember, but sometimes Apple didn't have a profit each quarter.

00:25:52   Apple's quarterly reports have been like clockwork in certainly throughout the

00:25:57   Tim Cook era. And in terms of just pure,

00:26:02   is this person a good CEO?

00:26:05   You could look at the consistency of the growth and the lack of

00:26:10   surprises in quarterly reports and without knowing anything about what business

00:26:14   Apple is in, anyone would say, well,

00:26:16   whoever is running this company is an excellent CEO. That's the thing.

00:26:20   Investors do not want surprises. It is like top,

00:26:24   you know, and I guess in the theory that they might be happy if the surprise

00:26:30   were, you know, twice as profitable as you thought, or twice the revenue,

00:26:35   but when the news is going to be like that, nobody tries to hide it.

00:26:40   So it doesn't,

00:26:41   it never comes out as a surprise because they're,

00:26:45   they're crowing about it.

00:26:46   Whereas the big thing with the quarterly report that Disney just had,

00:26:50   which clearly in hindsight, you don't have to know the inside gossip,

00:26:55   sunk JPEG was,

00:26:57   I think there was growing descent over throughout the summer within Disney's

00:27:00   ranks. I'm with you.

00:27:02   I've recently subscribed to puck news and really am enjoying it.

00:27:06   I am really enjoying the quality to quantity ratio at puck

00:27:10   news. There's, you know, it's,

00:27:13   it's really high degree of stuff that I'm interested in.

00:27:16   Matthew baloney stuff is great. Did I pronounce his name right?

00:27:19   I think so. I think it's baloney. Yeah. I think I said it wrong,

00:27:22   but it doesn't b-e-l-l-o-n-i.

00:27:25   So it sounds like the lunch meat, but it's, it's right.

00:27:29   But he's absolutely well-sourced terrifically sourced. But the,

00:27:32   the big thing that sunk him was the streaming thing,

00:27:34   which is that Disney lost what? One, one,

00:27:39   1.5 billion. Yeah. Streaming on the quarter.

00:27:44   Yeah. And now they,

00:27:45   everybody knows that they've been losing money on streaming for years. Sure.

00:27:49   But JPEG had told investors that they were on pace to be profitable

00:27:54   by 2024, which isn't that far away.

00:27:58   No, it's not. No, it's not at all. And, and then to be,

00:28:02   to have the loss that great on,

00:28:05   on top of everything else and he sort of buried it,

00:28:09   like he was kind of talking about almost how great other things were and super

00:28:13   excited and like just the way that he, you know,

00:28:17   dropped that bomb was just completely incongruous with like what the tone should

00:28:22   be. Meanwhile, it's to your point,

00:28:25   investors don't like to be surprised. This is the sort of thing that traditionally,

00:28:30   if you know that this is not what people are expecting,

00:28:33   then you issue some sort of warning ahead of time,

00:28:36   similar to what Apple has been doing around iPhone sales because of some of the

00:28:40   various situations happening in China. You know, you,

00:28:44   you will issue a warning or, or kind of, you know,

00:28:46   maybe a correction on what, what your expectations for your earnings will be.

00:28:51   You typically don't just have this, this bomb thrown and then

00:28:55   have it like just be very laissez faire about it.

00:28:58   It's churn, you know,

00:29:01   is obviously a key concern in the streaming world.

00:29:04   That churn is the industry lingo for how many subscribers are you

00:29:09   losing and gaining and the way that, you know,

00:29:11   I'm sure almost everybody here listening has unsubscribed from

00:29:17   service A and subscribe to service B and,

00:29:21   Oh, no, it's a very common thing. I mean,

00:29:22   the cable business has been dealing with it for, for, for decades streaming,

00:29:27   especially Netflix had seemed to be somewhat immune because the amount of people

00:29:31   leaving was offset by the amount of people joining. Right. But,

00:29:35   but as we've seen, you know, with the,

00:29:37   with what Netflix has been going through for the last, you know, 10,

00:29:40   11 months,

00:29:41   churn is, is a big concern in the streaming market. And it, you know, yeah,

00:29:47   I remember the, one of the first ones I, I,

00:29:49   I deliberately churned was paramount plus a couple of years ago when the first

00:29:54   season of Picard came out, I was a huge, I'm not a huge star Trek fan.

00:29:58   And I would say actually I've sort of gotten away from it over the decades,

00:30:02   but in the nineties, I was an enormous star Trek, the next generation fan,

00:30:05   surprise, you know,

00:30:07   I'm gen X and I'm I was into star Trek the next generation,

00:30:10   but it was a great show. It holds up it. It's, you know,

00:30:17   at arguably to me as iconic as the original series and the original cast,

00:30:21   that's how, I mean, and that's a tough thing to follow.

00:30:23   So I knew I wanted to watch the Picard. I had friends who had watched it,

00:30:27   but I waited until the whole series was out and I had friends whose opinions I

00:30:32   trusted, you got to watch it.

00:30:33   So I signed up knowing I was going to watch all 10 episodes of Picard and then

00:30:38   immediately unsubscribed. So it was sort of like,

00:30:40   I treated it like buying it on, on iTunes, you know,

00:30:45   like when you bought when the only way to stream quote unquote stream,

00:30:49   a TV show through Apple TV was to just buy the episodes, you know, and I did,

00:30:52   I got it.

00:30:53   And I looked around Paramount plus at the time and I was like,

00:30:56   there is literally nothing else here that I want to watch or that I don't get.

00:30:59   What, you didn't want to watch the real world homecoming and, and, and,

00:31:03   and the challenge all stars?

00:31:05   Well, we got my Amy watches some stuff like that, but we have,

00:31:09   we still have cable TV and we have TiVo. And so there was nothing, you know,

00:31:13   I could see the appeal of keeping it if you cut the cord,

00:31:16   but as a non cord cutter,

00:31:18   I'm, I'm, you know,

00:31:20   I'm making fun of myself here because of those are some of the things that I

00:31:23   watch in paramount plus that I pay for,

00:31:25   even though I should probably just cut it.

00:31:27   I pay for it now again because I feel like it's gotten better.

00:31:30   Although I was just looking around the other day and I was like, you know what,

00:31:33   I don't really see anything left here, but they've, they've had some movies.

00:31:36   I liked the offer, the gut, the, the story of the Godfather they've,

00:31:39   that was really good. That was really good. But back in the day,

00:31:42   I just remembered, I remember totally, I signed up for it just for Picard,

00:31:45   paid $10 for the month and then immediately when I was done.

00:31:49   Well, so it was back then. I think the first thing it was,

00:31:51   it wasn't a still like CBS insider or something.

00:31:53   Yeah, it was, it had a weird name.

00:31:55   It had a weird name. And at that point I refused on principle.

00:31:58   I did wind up subscribing when it became paramount plus cause they had some deal

00:32:02   where it was like $50 for the year or something. And then I've stayed with it.

00:32:05   But what I did,

00:32:07   which was dumber slash maybe better was that I, you know,

00:32:11   like used a VPN to try to log into my Amazon account to make it seem like I was

00:32:15   in the UK. And, and, and then by doing that, I,

00:32:20   I ended up messing some stuff up on my account. I fixed it, but it,

00:32:23   but it wound up being more trouble than it was worth.

00:32:25   One of those things that seemed really clever at first and then the longterm

00:32:29   implications of it were like, Oh God, it's like, it's like when you had,

00:32:33   we did this with Jonas with a few things when he was growing up,

00:32:35   like sign him up with a fake age so that he could do something that had a

00:32:40   higher, but then all of a sudden he's screwed up and he's got some account,

00:32:43   at some service that says he's much older than he is and there's no way to

00:32:46   change it. And it's like, ah, that was dumb. But anyway,

00:32:49   I bring up churn because that's obviously the,

00:32:52   it's the whole ball game in terms of revenue coming in, you know,

00:32:58   subscribers times the subscriber, whatever they pay equals your revenue.

00:33:02   That's predictable, right? It's like, so that to me,

00:33:06   it's inexcusable to have a surprise loss like this for streaming. Now,

00:33:10   how can this possibly be Ben Thompson explained this to me is that the way,

00:33:13   at least the way Disney does it, I don't know if the way everybody does it,

00:33:16   but the way they account for the money they spend producing

00:33:21   content is they only account for it when it hits the

00:33:26   service. And of course, all, all,

00:33:30   all this stuff, you know, the star Wars shows and, Oh, I mean,

00:33:33   everything but reality TV and even reality TV is produced months in advance.

00:33:38   You know, it's always surprises me when my wife's watching something and it's a

00:33:41   new episode, but they're, you know,

00:33:43   it's the middle of summer and they're wearing winter coats or vice versa,

00:33:46   but obviously movies, major movies,

00:33:48   the stuff that costs the most money takes the longest to produce.

00:33:51   And Chapex explanation was something, something COVID.

00:33:54   And would they wound up with a glut of content that all had to come out and be

00:33:59   accounted for this quarter. But they,

00:34:00   how in the world did they not know it three months ago?

00:34:03   I was going to say they did like, you, you know, when you're,

00:34:06   you know, your scheduling, your scheduling, you,

00:34:08   you usually are going to know that three months in advance and you're going to

00:34:10   know, especially, and that is interesting about the accounting.

00:34:13   I don't think most other streamers do that,

00:34:16   but that does make sense from an accounting perspective that Disney,

00:34:19   that that's why this would impact things so much that,

00:34:23   but you know, three months in advance, you know, you have a,

00:34:26   maybe not every aspect of your programming schedule,

00:34:28   but you have a decent enough understanding of what's going to be coming out.

00:34:32   So it's, it's not like all of a sudden,

00:34:36   12 weeks ago, Lucasfilm sends an intern down the hallway,

00:34:40   Hey boss, Hey boss, and doors ready.

00:34:43   Right. You know, so, so, so to me, the only explanation would be, okay,

00:34:48   so you know, that you're going to be taking this hit for production,

00:34:52   that all those checks you wrote are finally going to be hitting your balance

00:34:55   sheet. So it's like, okay,

00:34:57   are you just hoping against hope that in this climate where,

00:35:01   you know,

00:35:02   the with inflation and everything else going on and people feeling uncertain

00:35:06   about 2020 and you know,

00:35:07   the continued competition amongst streamers that you're just going to have a

00:35:11   glut of even more signups.

00:35:13   Is that what you're just hoping against hope for that you're going to have so

00:35:16   many new signups that's just going to offset the content costs because

00:35:20   that's the only rationale I could see of not, you know,

00:35:24   noting that three months ago,

00:35:26   number one, there's no way it should have been a surprise. I it's inexplicable,

00:35:31   right? It had, it's like I said, it's not like,

00:35:32   it's not like Lucasfilm surprised them, Hey, Andor's ready or whatever else,

00:35:36   you know, was part of the quote unquote glut, but part B,

00:35:39   and I would say B is even more important.

00:35:42   This is the job of the CEO and the executive

00:35:47   suite where Bob cha, you know, what, you know, what does the CEO at Disney do?

00:35:51   He doesn't draw the cartoons. He doesn't engineer the,

00:35:55   the theme park attraction rides. He doesn't act, you know, you know,

00:36:00   we can make the exception that Walt Disney, you know,

00:36:02   another similarity between Apple and Disney was that Walt Disney hosted their

00:36:06   weekly TV show and Steve jobs famously hosted their keynotes and they did a good

00:36:11   job, but for the most part, they're not, you know, performers.

00:36:13   They're there to manage this stuff,

00:36:18   right? So like, Hey, and

00:36:19   something like COVID hits and it's a major unknown.

00:36:26   It is it every, you know, it,

00:36:28   one of the strange,

00:36:31   unique aspects of COVID is it affected every,

00:36:35   every industry. There's nothing. Yeah.

00:36:37   It's almost unimaginable to think of something that, that,

00:36:42   that is an industry that wasn't radically screeching

00:36:46   tires brought to a halt by COVID.

00:36:48   And so of course the production of live action dramas

00:36:53   was, you know, all halted.

00:36:55   And then after it began again,

00:36:59   had all of these other restrictions, you know, with masking and,

00:37:04   and not, I mean, masking is the least of it,

00:37:06   but all sorts of restrictions to keep people safe, you know, before, you know,

00:37:10   especially before the vaccinations were available, but you know,

00:37:13   even animated stuff because people, you know,

00:37:16   we're working in offices and now they have to work at home,

00:37:19   but they don't have the workstations that, you know,

00:37:21   they don't have the internet connections, right?

00:37:24   Like, you know, yeah.

00:37:27   Story meetings over zoom or WebEx or whatever the hell you're using

00:37:32   are not like a writer's room, you know,

00:37:35   they're you just can't create that dynamic and it's going to slow things down,

00:37:38   but that's the job that, you know, and the companies that have navigated,

00:37:44   you know, and there is no hall of fame for CEOs, but you know,

00:37:48   the ones who navigated COVID well, if there were like Tim Cook,

00:37:52   I think would be headed towards the, if there were a hall of fame,

00:37:55   he'd be headed there. And I think that the three things,

00:38:00   you know, who knows he's not done, so maybe there'd be something else,

00:38:03   but I would say the three things that he did was he probably in order,

00:38:07   kept the company going and the spirits and morale high after the passing of Steve

00:38:11   Jobs, without a hitch, he grew the company tremendously.

00:38:16   And three, he managed the company through COVID

00:38:22   seemingly without a hitch. I think that, you know,

00:38:25   we don't have time to get into it, but I think a lot of this,

00:38:29   I mentioned this a few episodes ago,

00:38:31   I sort of suspect the boring iPad pro updates this year are possibly a COVID

00:38:36   side effect that if not for COVID,

00:38:38   we might've had like a more significant redesign of that,

00:38:41   but still there are new, I, you know, but that's the management, right?

00:38:44   At some point like 18 months ago, or probably early in COVID,

00:38:48   they might've looked at the schedule and said, okay, first priority,

00:38:52   we got to keep the iPhones going. We're going to hit,

00:38:54   we want to hit these September or at least October dates with iPhone 12

00:38:59   and 13 and 14 going forward. What do we have to do to make that happen?

00:39:04   And then after that, we want to move the max to Apple Silicon.

00:39:07   What do we do? Which max in which order with which chips,

00:39:11   what do we need to do to do that? What do we need to do for iPad, you know,

00:39:15   and put these things in a priority and some of the things lower in the price,

00:39:19   but overall Apple has had a relatively normal,

00:39:24   you know, product update schedule, you know, maybe I really do suspect,

00:39:29   and they're not to type, you know,

00:39:30   that's part of Apple's culture is they're not going to leak behind the press and

00:39:33   say, oh yeah, we have, you know,

00:39:34   we were really hoping to do this whiz bang new design with iPad,

00:39:38   but we couldn't cause of COVID. They don't make excuses, but you know,

00:39:41   you look at it from the outside and it looks like they just sailed without a

00:39:44   hitch. But in the meantime, everything they make is made,

00:39:48   manufactured over in China or Vietnam or India or these

00:39:53   other places where you,

00:39:54   when you couldn't travel and famously a few years ago it was leaked by,

00:39:59   was it United Airlines?

00:40:00   It was United. United leaked it that they were their number one,

00:40:03   like a huge percentage of their business class flights to China from San

00:40:06   Francisco.

00:40:07   Yeah. They just had like a stint or probably still do now,

00:40:10   but they have like a standing order for 150 or 50 business class

00:40:15   seats every day from SFO to China every day.

00:40:19   Just think about that. It's just unbelievable.

00:40:22   It's a stunning amount of travel between Apple's California

00:40:27   employees in China for their normal. And obviously that all got shut down,

00:40:31   but they still kept coming out with products. That's the job of the CEO.

00:40:34   That's where you earn your keep. It's not like when everything,

00:40:37   when everything's going well,

00:40:39   your job as CEO is easy.

00:40:40   So Bob Chapek's job during COVID was to make sure they don't wind up with a

00:40:45   glut of content all in a one, three month period or something like that,

00:40:49   you know, to keep every,

00:40:50   to keep tabs on everything to reschedule things, to push things,

00:40:53   to pull things, to cut things, to cancel things.

00:40:55   It's that's his job. And so, yeah. And I think what you said about the way,

00:41:01   even the way it was presented in the call where it was just sort of an

00:41:06   afterthought really, really rubbed people the wrong way.

00:41:08   And then the other thing that's just bananas for a company as large

00:41:13   and ostensibly well run as Disney is then after the earnings call

00:41:18   the next week, they start talking about layoffs.

00:41:21   Yes. And he just puts it in a memo the way that he did it.

00:41:25   Like the HR people reportedly were, were not a made aware,

00:41:29   like they didn't know what was coming, you know.

00:41:32   The way that you would put in a memo that we're going to, you know, switch,

00:41:37   switch the key cards to NFC sensors.

00:41:39   So everybody's going to get a new key card next week to get the badge into the

00:41:43   buildings, you know, talk to your, if you don't get one by next Friday,

00:41:47   talk to your manager. And instead it's about layoffs. And it's like, well,

00:41:50   why in the world, if he knew it during earnings,

00:41:54   why wasn't it brought up before and discussed during earnings? Right.

00:41:57   Exactly. If you knew it and instead like it seems reactive,

00:42:02   whether it was or wasn't,

00:42:03   it seems reactive to the fact that the stock dropped precipitously after that

00:42:07   earnings report, both because, and again, this was things that, that, uh,

00:42:10   the Puck reported. And I think Ben Thompson made comments about this too,

00:42:13   you know, it was that it was, it wasn't the, it wasn't the earnings,

00:42:16   it was the way that was done and that the really made, I think the,

00:42:21   the drop that much more significant.

00:42:23   And then that made the layoffs seem reactive rather than something

00:42:28   that was actually thought out.

00:42:30   So they, you know, and I think as again,

00:42:35   it's outside my area of expertise,

00:42:38   but as somebody who somewhat follows the company closely and I think kind of

00:42:41   gets what they should be doing, I kind of think the board did the right thing.

00:42:44   And I think they completely did the right thing.

00:42:46   Yeah. And I think they're lucky that I,

00:42:48   I think they're lucky that Iger was willing to come back.

00:42:51   Yeah. Yeah. I, I think they're lucky that he was willing to come back.

00:42:54   I also got the sense, you know, he delayed his retirement.

00:42:58   I think it was three times, it might've been four, but he kept putting it off.

00:43:01   He didn't want to leave. It was clear he never wanted to leave. Yes.

00:43:05   Chapek was his hand-picked successor. And yes,

00:43:08   it does appear that he kind of figured out from the minute he made that pick,

00:43:11   I made the wrong one. And, and yes, he'd done some fairly,

00:43:15   not great things to some of his other successors by kind of stringing them

00:43:18   along and whatnot,

00:43:19   which is not uncommon for people in these sorts of roles. Succession is hard.

00:43:24   That's why it makes such a great topic for such a great TV show.

00:43:28   But you know, he didn't want to leave. And,

00:43:31   and he had wanted to kind of step back in, you know,

00:43:35   because he left in February literally right as COVID was happening. And,

00:43:40   and he saw what was going to happen and was like, Oh, well,

00:43:43   we need all hands on deck. So I'm going to have a much stronger day-to-day role.

00:43:46   And Chapek understandably, wasn't really thrilled with that,

00:43:50   but then politically played that completely the wrong way. Right. And, and, and,

00:43:55   and, you know, I don't want to fault him too much for his response to that.

00:43:58   I will say, I don't think he was a good leader.

00:44:00   I don't think that he had a good understanding of the whole business.

00:44:03   He was the Parks guy is that had been his previous role.

00:44:06   He'd run consumer product before that.

00:44:08   I think he'd run home video or been a VP in home video before that.

00:44:12   But so he'd had a lot of experience at the company,

00:44:15   but he just never seemed like the guy certainly didn't have the

00:44:19   respect of people the way that Eiger did. And, and even though like Eiger was also,

00:44:24   uh, you know,

00:44:25   lifer just didn't seem to rally the troops the same way,

00:44:29   but you know,

00:44:31   Eiger wanted to come in and really kind of take back over as soon as COVID

00:44:35   hit and, and was sort of sidelined a little bit, which, you know,

00:44:39   I understand that you need to make those decisions.

00:44:41   You've just given somebody else the job,

00:44:42   but we probably would have been better for Disney if, if, and,

00:44:46   and the market, if you let the person that everyone knows, you know,

00:44:49   steer the ship out of the crisis, but he'd never wanted to leave.

00:44:53   And so I think that, uh, there were reports again in Puck that Matthew Baloney,

00:44:57   wrote last week. So this was three or four days before the,

00:45:02   the surprise Sunday call where Eiger had been kind of talking to

00:45:07   analysts kind of on the side and, and sort of, you know,

00:45:10   not publicly criticizing Chapek, but privately being like,

00:45:13   this is not the right way. Right. And, and so, you know,

00:45:18   I think he'd taken some jobs, he made it clear, he didn't really want to retire.

00:45:22   They're lucky that he never wanted to leave and he's willing to come back.

00:45:25   But I do wonder in my, in my mind,

00:45:28   I kind of wonder like how much of this was him seeing this as his opening and

00:45:32   reaching out and being like, look, I love this company.

00:45:36   This is going to be my legacy too. I will come back.

00:45:39   I think in a way that most people,

00:45:42   I think there are very few people who are truly great at their jobs.

00:45:45   If they don't love their jobs,

00:45:47   you kind of need to love it to be great at it. In my opinion. I mean, I'm,

00:45:51   there's always exceptions, but, and in a way that like the,

00:45:54   the truly greatest athletes want the ball at the end of the

00:45:59   game, you know,

00:46:00   Tom Brady would rather be down three with the ball than up three watching the

00:46:05   other team at the ball. He's like, ah, then I'll win it. You know,

00:46:08   LeBron James would rather be down one with the ball and have the shot ball in

00:46:12   his hands than to have his team up one and try to defend it. That's, and so,

00:46:18   a crisis like COVID is where someone who loves being the CEO and loves doing it.

00:46:22   It's like, oh my God, you could see it, you know, from the outside.

00:46:24   Iger was like, oh my God, this is, you know, I thought everything was.

00:46:28   I was built for this. I've seen this other stuff I've, I've already helped,

00:46:32   you know, sear the company through so many different things. Yeah. This,

00:46:36   this is my moment. Yeah. So, so we, you know,

00:46:38   we're a family that vacations at Disney and often, and you know,

00:46:42   obviously didn't during COVID and then we went back this year and in hindsight,

00:46:46   there are a couple of red flags and it's especially a red flag,

00:46:51   given that JPEG came from parks. So should know better,

00:46:56   but the whole idea of the parks should be that this is a great place to have a

00:47:01   vacation and you will have a great time and want to come back.

00:47:05   You know, it's, it's a repeat business business.

00:47:09   And in just about every way,

00:47:14   I mean, it was cool that the only parts that were better was the fact that they

00:47:18   had all sorts of new attractions that finished construction, you know,

00:47:22   like a lot of the star Wars stuff down in Florida,

00:47:24   like rise of the resistance wasn't there the last time.

00:47:26   I don't even think the millennium. Yeah.

00:47:28   I think the millennium Falcon thing was post COVID too. So that,

00:47:32   that was all fun for us and that's great, but that's,

00:47:35   that was all stuff that was set in motion.

00:47:36   But the experiential changes that they made were all for the

00:47:41   worse. I brought up on dithering in the episode that came out today, the,

00:47:45   the fast pass thing,

00:47:47   where it used to be relatively simple and everybody got the same thing where it

00:47:52   didn't matter. You know,

00:47:53   you just everybody paid for a regular admission and then you'd get a number of

00:47:56   things where you can go and,

00:47:57   and instead of waiting in line for two hours to ride it,

00:48:00   you'd get a pass to say,

00:48:02   come back at one and one 15 in the afternoon,

00:48:05   and then you'll go in a special line. That's real short.

00:48:08   And in the meantime, you can't get other fast passes,

00:48:12   but then you can do whatever else you want to do at the park.

00:48:15   You can go meet characters or go do other things or get in line for something

00:48:18   with a shorter queue and then come back at a time and go on this thing.

00:48:22   And it was supposed to make it. So you spend less time of your day in line and

00:48:26   the system, but then they don't have it anymore.

00:48:29   And now they have this new thing and it's got some crazy name and you have to

00:48:32   sign up for it and you have to pay more now the pay more part in and of itself.

00:48:37   I know that's what lots of people are complaining about. It's, but it's,

00:48:41   it's not, it's, it's inequality brought to life, right?

00:48:46   And that's the, that's the thing.

00:48:48   It's not Disney parks have always raised their prices. It's famously, you know,

00:48:53   it's very expensive to take a big family vacation there,

00:48:56   but once you're in everybody's the same, you know,

00:48:59   everybody is a park attendee and they switched to this system where you,

00:49:04   you can, you can't quite buy your way to the front of the line,

00:49:07   but you can buy your way to, to get to a shorter line more often.

00:49:10   But it involves this crazy system where you have to be on the,

00:49:14   on the phone app or get on the website at like seven in the

00:49:19   morning each day.

00:49:20   So, so it's, it was adding these tiers,

00:49:23   which is getting rid of kind of the everybody in the park is,

00:49:26   is the same mentality and then adding this other level of friction to

00:49:31   it. So even if you have the money and you're willing to do that,

00:49:34   you also have to jump through these other hoops, which just to me,

00:49:37   just makes a terrible experience. I've,

00:49:39   I'm planning a big trip to Disney with some of my girlfriends for February,

00:49:43   and they've never been to Orlando before.

00:49:47   One of the people going is from Los Angeles.

00:49:50   And so she's been to the Disneyland, you know, probably hundreds of times,

00:49:54   but she's never been to Disney world.

00:49:56   And I've been dreading this new process because it's going

00:50:02   to require so much additional work that frankly,

00:50:04   like I'm willing to pay as, as gross as I kind of find those things,

00:50:09   like I'll, I'll pay more,

00:50:11   but I don't want to also then have to be online at a certain

00:50:15   time in an app,

00:50:17   it sounds happening things.

00:50:19   It is as miserable as, as it sounds.

00:50:22   And it does that sound like part of a fun vacation where every day,

00:50:26   every day you go for,

00:50:27   let's say you go for six days and every morning at seven AM,

00:50:30   you have to do that. Well, if you sleep in or,

00:50:34   or forget and it's 15 minutes late,

00:50:37   you might miss the best rides and it could throw your whole day's plans into a,

00:50:41   into disarray because, Oh my God,

00:50:44   the whole point of today was we wanted to go on the star Wars ride, you know,

00:50:47   and, and even worse, you've now paid for this, right? Like that to me, like,

00:50:51   again, I don't have a massive problem with the paying thing. I think that

00:50:55   I don't like for, for things like this may be introducing to your systems and

00:51:00   whatnot, but this is the reality. Like you can actually,

00:51:03   they have a limited number of these things. When we take my nephew,

00:51:06   I will almost certainly be doing this because I'll be going with some older

00:51:10   people and a toddler and I will pay to get like the,

00:51:14   like you can pay a certain amount of money and have guides who will take you

00:51:19   through and you essentially get fast pass, or at least you did. I'm not sure.

00:51:22   Who knows? He might've changed that whole system, but it would be, you know,

00:51:25   a few thousand dollars and you have somebody who will for eight hours basically,

00:51:29   you know, take you like on an insider's tour basically and,

00:51:33   and get you through like, you know, you know,

00:51:35   basically kind of first in line and that kind of stuff and, and like, okay.

00:51:39   And those systems have existed for a long time and you know,

00:51:43   that's how celebrities and other like well off people do it. And again, like I,

00:51:47   if I'm going with a two year old and if I'm going with, you know,

00:51:50   some people in their seventies, I'm doing that. I'm just, I,

00:51:53   I don't have the personal patience to go through it the normal

00:51:58   way. But if you're paying more for these fast pass things now,

00:52:03   because they've got these tiers and you're having to then go through the

00:52:07   ridiculousness of being online at 7.00 AM, like that's then what it makes me

00:52:11   angry. I'm like, okay, it's, if you make me pay, that's one thing.

00:52:13   Or if you make me go through these hoops, that's another thing,

00:52:16   but you're making me pay and jump through the hoops.

00:52:18   And like this is supposed to be Disney.

00:52:20   It's supposed to be a better experience than that.

00:52:22   And there's other aspects of this whole thing that, yeah,

00:52:25   in addition to the 7.00 AM thing to get on the blockbuster tier one

00:52:29   attractions, there's other things that you can do throughout the day,

00:52:33   but it's like, you gotta dig out your phone, go to the app and do this stuff.

00:52:37   And my wife is certainly more so than me and my son, you know, is

00:52:42   not really, you know,

00:52:43   likes the idea of going on vacation and then not being on your phone. Right.

00:52:47   But I think I honestly, I think that should be the point of a Disney vacation.

00:52:51   If you're going to have so much fun that your, your whole family won't want to be

00:52:55   on their phones. And I can imagine that maybe it even is,

00:52:59   but I can imagine that that's the premise of a commercial, right? Like, Hey,

00:53:03   here's this family and everybody's on their phones all the time and they're not

00:53:06   talking to each other.

00:53:07   Come to Disney world and everybody will be having such a good time and

00:53:12   enjoying each other's company that nobody's even going to want to be on their

00:53:16   phones. But meanwhile, they've designed this system.

00:53:18   They designed the system so that you have to be,

00:53:20   and so that you have to be connected to it. And,

00:53:23   and so you're giving your attention away.

00:53:24   To me it's such a weird thing that the parks guy would do this because it feels

00:53:28   like the sort of thing that somebody who worked on the app would do because

00:53:32   they're trying to build engagement so they can show their numbers of, Oh,

00:53:35   look how many people use our app. You know, so we're going to,

00:53:37   we're going to engineer the experience so that you're forced to use the app.

00:53:40   But like that's, that's not the case.

00:53:42   It looks like,

00:53:43   it looks like something that came from looking at a spreadsheet that said,

00:53:46   look at all the money we'll make by charging people for this. And yes,

00:53:49   that looks so good as opposed to putting the experience first. Now here's the,

00:53:54   here's an example.

00:53:55   I brought this up with Amy last night after recording dithering and she had an

00:53:58   even better example. It's much more clear there.

00:54:01   There used to be a thing it was for years, all the years that we went to Disney.

00:54:05   So I don't know, it's at least,

00:54:06   it was at least 20 years ago when they started it or 15,

00:54:09   but they had a thing called magical express. And what it was was if you,

00:54:14   if you were staying in Orlando at one of the Disney resorts, any,

00:54:18   any of them, any of their resorts, not high end resorts, any of them,

00:54:22   you could give Disney your flight info.

00:54:26   And when you land at the Orlando airport,

00:54:30   you go downstairs and you, you know,

00:54:34   like to wear like the car rentals are and stuff like that. And at the end,

00:54:37   there was a whole section clearly labeled Disney magical express and Disney,

00:54:41   Disney employees. So you got like the, you know, very friendly, great, you know,

00:54:46   really welcoming sort of people. And you'd say, you know,

00:54:51   this is the groupers and they say, Oh, okay, you're going to this resort,

00:54:55   go over there, wait in line. And then, you know, within 10 minutes,

00:54:59   you're on a bus on the way to your resort from the airport.

00:55:03   And you don't have to wait for your luggage. You just go,

00:55:07   you get to the resort and you check in and then you can like just,

00:55:11   you know, bring a change of clothes in your carry on. You know,

00:55:15   if you're going from cold weather to warm weather and then off you are to the

00:55:19   magic kingdom or Epcot or wherever you want to go,

00:55:21   and you come back in the afternoon and all your suitcases are there in your

00:55:25   room. And when, yeah. And when you leave, you could do the, you know,

00:55:30   you do the vice versa and it was free. It was just, it's just part of you.

00:55:33   Not, you don't pay extra for it. It's just part of being a guest.

00:55:36   So obviously that shut down during COVID right. And they looked,

00:55:41   I guess somebody looked at the numbers and said,

00:55:43   look at how much money we're saving by not running this service between the

00:55:46   airport and the resorts. And so they never brought it back. It's just gone.

00:55:49   And it's such a shame. It's it's the, it was so great.

00:55:53   And now it's like what you have to, you know, I don't know,

00:55:56   either rent a car or get an Uber. Right. And wait for your bags. I mean,

00:56:01   And wait for your bags. And it truly, and again, this,

00:56:05   it's just a Disney's magical express is a great name for it. It's just magic.

00:56:09   Not waiting for your bags at the stupid carousel is the,

00:56:13   it was, it really, and I remember the first time we did it, I was like,

00:56:17   I don't know if this is going to work. I felt very uncomfortable,

00:56:19   but of course it was great. It was bulletproof. They, you know,

00:56:23   and they've had, you know, and, and it's the way that Disney is this massive,

00:56:26   it's the whole reason Orlando is a major city. So yeah,

00:56:30   they have a lot of sway at the Orlando airport. You know, famous is,

00:56:34   here's an interesting fact.

00:56:36   Everybody knows you can't buy bubble gum at Disney parks because they don't

00:56:40   want people to speak to gum. You can't buy gum at the Orlando airport.

00:56:44   There's no, there's no bubble gum. And some people, you know, it's, it,

00:56:49   it's worth noting.

00:56:50   Cause I know some people like to chew gum on a plane to keep their ears from

00:56:53   popping, but they got to the Orlando airport to stop selling gum.

00:56:57   I mean, you know, again,

00:56:59   you're going to have a lot of sway when you are the quintessential reason that

00:57:02   people fly through. Right. And the biggest employer,

00:57:05   the biggest employer, all kinds of other things, but no, but that's a shame,

00:57:09   you know, but like, and again, like to me, like the magic express thing,

00:57:12   and I didn't know that that existed and I've stayed at resource there while I've

00:57:15   gone to the park. I just probably was one of those things probably was like,

00:57:18   offer to me. And I probably looked at them and was like, oh,

00:57:21   that's too good to be true. I'm not doing that.

00:57:23   It was as good as it sounds. It was, it was truly an amazing, you know,

00:57:27   in you again, I mean, you are paying a lot of money to stay.

00:57:30   This is my point. This is what I'm saying. And they're like,

00:57:32   that's the thing that to me sort of underscores. It's like, okay,

00:57:35   if you need to like, to me, the move there is don't get rid of this,

00:57:39   raise your prices some if you have to,

00:57:41   but keep it because that's part of why you pay what you pay.

00:57:46   It's a similar thing to Apple products.

00:57:49   Part of the reason you pay what you pay is a, you know,

00:57:52   the products generally are quite good and B at least for me,

00:57:56   and this is certainly the case with my family.

00:57:59   If something goes wrong and look over the years,

00:58:02   I do think that Genius Bar quality has, has dropped some,

00:58:05   and it's not as good as it used to be and whatnot,

00:58:07   but it is still far and away better than what you can get from almost any

00:58:12   other company.

00:58:13   And you know that you can go someplace and talk to someone and that they will

00:58:16   treat you well. And for a lot of us that is worth, you know,

00:58:21   that's part of the, that's part of why you pay what you pay,

00:58:23   which for me is why I'm super critical.

00:58:27   If I have a bad customer service experience with Apple,

00:58:30   because part of the reason I pay what I pay and go through what I go through and

00:58:34   get the Apple care and all that is because I'm paying for like a promise that

00:58:39   I'm going to have this better experience. You know,

00:58:41   that it's not going to be like if I buy an HP laptop and I'm stuck,

00:58:46   you know, in, in, you know, hell with various call centers.

00:58:50   It's the Genius Bar is the Apple's equivalent to this magical express, right?

00:58:55   They never had to do it in the first place. They could have just,

00:58:57   I think the stores would have been successful without it, you know,

00:59:00   from the iPod onward. And again, how do you account for it? Right? Like,

00:59:04   it's one of those ways where not having these divisional profit and losses,

00:59:08   really, it is part of what makes Apple, Apple,

00:59:12   where somebody could look at what it costs to staff,

00:59:14   all these Genius Bars and say, this is just an enormous cost sync.

00:59:19   Why don't we get rid of it and just have everybody go to the website and one

00:59:23   800 Apple help?

00:59:24   Yeah. I mean, I mean, I mean, I think the guy from,

00:59:26   from the UK that lasted like four months,

00:59:28   I think that that was sort of what he wanted to do. Right.

00:59:31   John Broward, right? Yeah. Brown it Brown, Brown, it something like that.

00:59:34   I think that Broward, yeah. The guy that, you know, they,

00:59:37   they kept for a hot second before they brought in Angela, Angela, aren't too,

00:59:41   you know, had fantastic customer service and, and was in detail at Burberry.

00:59:46   But yeah, I mean, I remember his like brief tenure

00:59:48   and they were smart enough to step in real fast and be like, Nope, this,

00:59:54   this is a negative. Cause I remember even those like four months or however long

00:59:57   he was there, you could see the changes them trying to implement.

01:00:01   It was very clear that he came from the sort of retail background where it was

01:00:06   all about, well, how much money can we make?

01:00:08   How much money can we save versus what's the best experience we can offer?

01:00:12   Right. And you know, it's, you know,

01:00:14   the bus ride from the airport to the resort is not a feature

01:00:18   attraction, but it's, you know, but they were also, they were,

01:00:22   they were Disney buses. They, they had,

01:00:24   they showed Disney cartoons on TVs above the seats for the, you know,

01:00:28   45 minute ride or whoever line it took. And when Jonas was younger,

01:00:33   he actually was enthralled. He was already excited to be there.

01:00:36   It was certainly more exciting than being in the backseat of a rental car would

01:00:39   have been, or, you know, there wasn't an Uber back then.

01:00:43   No. I mean, and I think you could make the argument that, that by doing that,

01:00:47   even though there's a real cost to it, you're going to get,

01:00:50   most people are going to then be able to go immediately to the park, right?

01:00:54   They might drop some things off, but they'll immediately go to the park,

01:00:56   which means they're immediately going to be spending money.

01:00:58   Yeah. And if they're not renting a car,

01:01:01   that means they don't have a rental car that they could take to Universal or to

01:01:05   SeaWorld. Right. Now it's,

01:01:08   it's just so Pennywise pound foolish. And it's such a great example. Now,

01:01:13   I'm not saying that because Iger's back that this Disney magical express is

01:01:16   going to come back, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. But to me,

01:01:19   it's emblematic of JPEG being in over his head and losing sight

01:01:24   that the first thing does the first and first priority has to be being the

01:01:29   best at blank and,

01:01:31   and finding those places where Disney can do things that only Disney can do.

01:01:36   And literally only Disney can do that.

01:01:38   Like universal does not have the size to have a whole wing of

01:01:43   the airport. They don't have the influence. They don't have,

01:01:46   they don't have the economies of scale, right? I mean, you know,

01:01:48   similar to the way that like Tim Cook has so precisely engineered the supply

01:01:52   chain and has such a giant leap ahead of so many other

01:01:57   companies. That's what Disney is like in Florida. You know, they,

01:02:01   they own Orlando, which like,

01:02:06   which to me also made JPEGs handling of, of this stuff, you know,

01:02:10   the political stuff over the summer that much like dumb too.

01:02:14   It's like never people's opinions of that stuff are it's like you

01:02:19   are literally the largest employer in the state, I think.

01:02:23   And, uh, you have an enormous impact on,

01:02:28   on tourism in the entire state, not just in Orlando.

01:02:31   It's like use that leverage. Don't let's don't,

01:02:35   don't let any politician, no matter what political position they represent,

01:02:39   if it, if it's not in, in your company's best interest, like what's the,

01:02:43   what's the use of having that sort of power if you're not, you know what I mean?

01:02:46   Like it just seems like, do you not understand what position you're in?

01:02:49   You shouldn't be trying to suck up to anybody like you're,

01:02:54   you're freaking Disney.

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01:03:37   I will bet I say this often when they sponsor the show that you are quite pop,

01:03:41   probably as a listener of this show signed up for memberships at a couple of

01:03:45   sites that are going through memberful.

01:03:46   And you don't even know they're going through memberful because that's how much

01:03:50   they allow the creator to put their brand first and just make it seem like you're

01:03:53   signing up for blank when it's really back ended by by memberful.

01:03:57   And they are so confident that if it's your brand and you're the one setting up

01:04:02   this thing and you do wind up wanting to move from memberful to something else,

01:04:06   you take your entire membership audience with you there.

01:04:10   There's no lock in there, you know, happy to do it.

01:04:13   That's a sign of confidence that you'll want to stay with them.

01:04:16   You can get started for free with no credit card required by going to

01:04:23   memberful.com/talkshow today,

01:04:27   go to memberful.com/talkshow, get started,

01:04:31   monetize your audience with memberships. So here's the thing with Eiger.

01:04:34   I'm let's switch to what do you think he's going to do?

01:04:37   What's going to be different under Eiger and Eiger has, again,

01:04:40   I referenced that interview did it code with Kara Swisher where he was perhaps,

01:04:45   I think when he recorded it, I don't think this was already in the works.

01:04:48   No, I don't think so. I don't think so.

01:04:50   Because I think if it were, he wouldn't have been as forthright as he was.

01:04:53   And yes, he was the chairman of the board. But you know, he, you know,

01:04:56   I don't think he would have been as forthright in his pessimism about being a TV channel.

01:05:03   No, no. And he left, I think, as chairman of the board in December.

01:05:07   Oh, he did. So he's not, he's not even

01:05:09   so he's, he had met at all. Yeah.

01:05:10   And actually that's the one interesting thing with him coming back as he's at

01:05:14   least not for now, he's not retaking that spot. Right.

01:05:17   The chairman will remain. Yeah.

01:05:19   Well, that makes even more sense why he was so forthright.

01:05:22   And there's already whispers that he might do things like maybe sell ESPN,

01:05:27   you know,

01:05:27   and start detaching Disney from cable TV as the source for watching their stuff on video.

01:05:36   Right. You know, in very broad strokes,

01:05:39   the future is internet streaming and the past is cable TV channels.

01:05:45   I don't know. I mean, ESPN is a weird one because yes,

01:05:49   there's so much money involved in that. Like ESPN,

01:05:52   even with how much it's fallen makes so much money that if you sell it,

01:05:57   it's like, I don't, it's like longterm. I think, you know,

01:06:01   de-emphasizing it short term makes sense and longterm, obviously it's going to go away.

01:06:05   But you know, even with all the trouble that, that CNN is having,

01:06:08   they're still going to have like, you know,

01:06:11   a ridiculous amount of profit for the year.

01:06:14   And that profit comes from the, the carriage fees. The same thing is true for ESPN.

01:06:19   Sorry, go on.

01:06:20   Well, I'm just curious where you,

01:06:21   where you think they're going and what do you do? What do the,

01:06:26   what's, what, what's going to change about streaming for Disney going forward?

01:06:31   Yeah. I mean, I think that's the interesting question, right? Is that,

01:06:37   so to my knowledge, Disney doesn't own one of like the,

01:06:41   the zoomies or two B's or the other like ad supported streaming services.

01:06:46   Those, I mean, if I were them, I would start looking at maybe,

01:06:50   it's been interesting. Some people have been talking about like,

01:06:52   could Disney acquire Netflix, which look,

01:06:56   that would have seemed crazy even a year ago. Now it,

01:07:00   it doesn't whether that would regulatory, you know,

01:07:03   be allowed to happen under those rules or not is a different question.

01:07:07   But you know, I do wonder like, could Disney buy Roku,

01:07:11   could Disney buy something else to maybe get into some of these other

01:07:15   spaces because they're going to lose the,

01:07:20   the hard part about moving away from being a, you know, a cable business,

01:07:24   a television business is that the money that came from that has not been

01:07:28   replaced and will not be replaced.

01:07:30   So you have to look at what are other,

01:07:33   either other areas you can get into or can you try to maybe optimize some of

01:07:38   those other services in some ways, which is why obviously, you know,

01:07:41   Disney is adding an ad tier and why, you know,

01:07:45   Netflix is doing that and why some of those, you know, free ad supported,

01:07:49   you know, streaming services have a tremendous amount of viewership,

01:07:54   which in some cases, if I'm Disney,

01:07:57   I'm thinking I've got all of this content that sure we can put it all,

01:08:02   you know, in a, in a big bundle and call it Disney plus or whatever.

01:08:05   But there's a lot of it that from a discovery standpoint and other aspects,

01:08:09   you know,

01:08:10   it was probably not going to get seen or used the right way.

01:08:12   Like could we package that in some ways and put some ad supported things on it

01:08:17   that could get a large amount of views and then also, you know,

01:08:21   hopefully get advertising dollars. I don't know.

01:08:22   Advertising. Everybody's always, you know,

01:08:26   somewhat annoyed by advertising ever since the dawn of advertising.

01:08:31   I don't know what anybody could pin as the first one, but you know,

01:08:35   too many ads on TV. You go back in time, too many,

01:08:40   everybody, it doesn't seem like I don't read as many paper magazines by far as I

01:08:44   used to, but people used to complain about all the inserts that would fall out.

01:08:47   You'd pick up a magazine and all of these inserts that,

01:08:50   that advertisers paid extra for would start falling out of the pages.

01:08:54   And I remember, you know, and in the flush times,

01:08:56   I remember like when wired magazine was new and it was like the shiznit,

01:09:01   you know, it was, it was like,

01:09:02   holy hell this magazine is even printed on better paper and the graphic design.

01:09:06   And it's like, Oh my God, look at how many ads there are, you know, but you know,

01:09:10   magazine ads are kind of awesome because you just flip, right?

01:09:13   You just turn the page if you don't like it, you know, just keep turning.

01:09:16   You're not stuck. Right.

01:09:18   And internet ads or computer powered ads

01:09:23   are different than anything. I've brought this up before,

01:09:28   where I remember the first time I saw Tivo, it was my friend,

01:09:32   Rich Segal's house when I took a job at bare bones software in 1999 or

01:09:36   2000 and he kindly invited me and Amy over for dinner at his

01:09:41   house and he had a Tivo and it, the,

01:09:44   there was a baseball playoff game on and after dinner he was like, you want to,

01:09:47   you know, before you guys head off, you want to watch some baseball.

01:09:50   And we watched it on his Tivo and I was like, Oh,

01:09:54   I mean it took like five minutes and Amy and like, Oh, I know what we're doing.

01:09:57   It was like a Friday and we're like, we're going,

01:09:59   we're going to go buy a Tivo tomorrow morning.

01:10:01   It was like within five minutes cause like, Oh, I see.

01:10:04   You just instantly pause and then you can fast forward these things.

01:10:06   So the original computerization of TV to me was the DVR

01:10:11   and Tivo was in my opinion, the best.

01:10:13   And the idea is filter your TV through this computer and then

01:10:18   you're in charge of the ads and you can just fall behind.

01:10:22   You could just watch stuff live. You go watch live sports,

01:10:24   but if you're willing to be five minutes behind,

01:10:26   you could just zip through the ads and for safe, you know,

01:10:30   watching the shows that you subscribe to and say,

01:10:33   I want to watch every episode of whatever the show was at the time survivor.

01:10:36   I remember it was a big show, but I mean, I know it's still a big show,

01:10:39   but we liked survivor.

01:10:40   But that was the show then. Yes.

01:10:41   And it's like, Oh, we're going to, we don't have to remember to tape it.

01:10:45   We don't have to program it.

01:10:46   You just said I like survivor and just tell the Tivo to tape it every time.

01:10:49   And then when we watch survivor,

01:10:51   we just blip blip blip right through the ads and we're in charge.

01:10:54   And now computers, if it's shifted all the way around where computers are,

01:10:59   and software are being used to make ads that can't be skipped.

01:11:04   And there's nothing you can do to skip them.

01:11:08   And they're every bit as unskippable as TV ads were.

01:11:12   Yeah. Except they're lower quality.

01:11:14   Except they're lower quality. They're worse.

01:11:17   Right. And they're so repetitive.

01:11:19   The ones because the inventory is so much lower.

01:11:23   The inventory is so much lower.

01:11:25   And so when you watch stuff with ad ad supported stuff on

01:11:29   streaming, it, it makes my mind explode.

01:11:32   I have a higher tolerance for way higher tolerance for television ads than Amy

01:11:37   way. Yeah. She has none. I mean, just none.

01:11:41   And the it's for part of it for me is cause I watched so much,

01:11:46   so much of my TV watching is sports and I like to watch live and therefore I

01:11:49   watch the commercials and I watch it.

01:11:51   But when I watch the streaming stuff and it's the same frigging

01:11:55   ad every single time and you can't skip it.

01:11:59   And it's like, this is maddening. And it's so,

01:12:02   at least there's a psychological element where at least before TiVo,

01:12:07   when TV was all real live, you know,

01:12:10   just over the air live or over the cable live,

01:12:13   you could at least justify the fact that the ads were there. Well,

01:12:17   that the ads pay for the content and what are you going to do? Right.

01:12:20   There's nothing that can be done. Whereas now, you know, that they've, they've,

01:12:25   there's some team of programmers who's working to make it unskippable and not

01:12:30   fast.

01:12:31   No. And, and I totally agree with you.

01:12:33   The only way where I'm kind of okay with it and like I will always pay for the

01:12:37   ad free version. And I think I've kind of become like Amy.

01:12:40   I'm somebody who used to have a relatively high tolerance for advertisements.

01:12:45   And I, I had a TiVo super,

01:12:47   super early because I worked at Best Buy in high school and college and was a

01:12:52   huge gadget fan. And like you, my first time I experienced it, I was like, Oh,

01:12:57   okay, this is, this is it. Like, this is fantastic. But you know,

01:13:01   for certain life things and whatnot, you would have to deal with commercials.

01:13:04   And I had like a, an okay tolerance, but over the years now I'm at the point,

01:13:09   like I see an ad on something I'm just like, no.

01:13:12   And I pay for ad free on most services where I will have an exception though.

01:13:17   Is if like the service is completely free and it's just sort of on,

01:13:21   on the background, then you know, I don't care as much. So something like,

01:13:26   like, like, like to be in there's Zumo and there's some other ones.

01:13:29   What bothers me and anybody who cared about the experience could fix this so

01:13:34   easily is that the, where they do the night,

01:13:37   the dynamic ad insertion has never at the actual designated ad breaks in this

01:13:42   content that was created for television.

01:13:47   And then oftentimes re edited for syndication for even more ads. Like there,

01:13:52   there are natural ad breaks in this content.

01:13:54   Like just use those points and then put your dynamic ad break in.

01:13:58   But instead they'll do it at like really weird times. And I'm like, okay, well,

01:14:02   this just takes me out of the entire experience. Let me, you know,

01:14:05   boot up my plex and, and, and watch this instead. But you know,

01:14:10   in terms, but, but I,

01:14:11   you can't argue with the results as much as people hate ads.

01:14:14   The number of viewers on these types of services is ridiculous.

01:14:19   So I don't know,

01:14:22   I don't think that it is going to recoup the money, but I do wonder like, again,

01:14:27   maybe Disney buys Roku or something like that who has a, uh, you know,

01:14:32   strong play in that, in that place.

01:14:35   And maybe that gets them something mixes some mix of subscription revenue and ad

01:14:42   revenue and a way to have a tier where you can buy your way out of the ads and

01:14:47   let people find their comfort level. And you know,

01:14:49   there's a lot of people with smaller budgets or just a higher tolerance for the

01:14:54   ads who would rather spend whatever they're,

01:14:56   they're comfortable as their monthly spend on subscription services would rather

01:15:00   have more services,

01:15:01   but have some of them or all of them with some number of ads than use the same

01:15:06   amount of money for fewer services with no ads. HBO, you know, I,

01:15:10   I think, you know, should never have an ad tier, but I also,

01:15:14   but HBO max isn't really HBO, right? It's,

01:15:18   and that's a whole side discussion that I've had before where they took this

01:15:22   unbelievably pristine brand and just, I mean,

01:15:26   they even added a color to it that it shouldn't have. There's no,

01:15:29   it shouldn't be purple.

01:15:30   No, no. Although I do have to say the one thing I will,

01:15:34   and I don't know if you saw the article that James B.

01:15:36   Stewart did in the times where he interviewed like 24 people who

01:15:41   had been part of the NT Time Warner merger.

01:15:44   Oh, you know what? I have it open in a tab. I still haven't read it. I,

01:15:49   I heard it's fantastic.

01:15:50   It's absolutely fantastic.

01:15:51   I'm really hoping that he's going to write some sort of book about like the last

01:15:55   five or six years happening, you know,

01:15:57   things happening at Paramount and Viacom and things happening at a Time Warner

01:16:01   and an AT&T and things happening at Disney because very few people

01:16:05   understand it and get to the nuances as well as he does.

01:16:08   But the one thing I do have to give, and this is all credit,

01:16:13   this is zero credit to Jason Keeler. This is zero credit to Unstanky.

01:16:16   This is zero credit to anybody involved in that side of the business and complete

01:16:21   credit to everyone who was in programming at HBO.

01:16:24   Many of the HBO max programs,

01:16:27   they might not have been like top tier HBO level,

01:16:30   but we're quite good.

01:16:34   Like I have to actually kind of give it to them on that. Like I was,

01:16:38   my big fear had been that that would be a complete, you know, just like,

01:16:43   uh, abomination of, of what HBO was and not all the content,

01:16:48   but quite a lot of it really, really good.

01:16:51   It's, you know, and I, I think they've straightened the ship a little bit.

01:16:56   And since launch, you know,

01:16:57   I feel like they've gotten HBO max more towards being HBO as HBO,

01:17:02   but it's, you know, that's the brand though. And that was the thing.

01:17:06   I remember when HBO was new as a kid, I've told this story too,

01:17:08   and it dates me, but I'd say when HBO was new, this idea that a,

01:17:12   they had like kind of newish movies, you know,

01:17:15   that like were out like a year ago or so,

01:17:18   which never came to TV back then. Right. And they had no commercials.

01:17:23   And it sounded like commercials. I remember, and it was like, uh, my,

01:17:26   I never went to Disney world when I was a kid. We used to, you know,

01:17:29   just my parents aren't really flyers. We didn't think big for vacations.

01:17:34   I kind of wanted to, but I wasn't, I also wasn't one of those kids.

01:17:38   It also just seemed like something we were, I don't know. It was just, yeah, I,

01:17:42   if my parents said we were going, I would have been yay, but I wasn't like, Oh,

01:17:45   I wasn't begging them to go. But I had friends who went,

01:17:48   I remember one friend, my friend, Dave went,

01:17:50   and he was telling me about space mountain and it just sounded like this can't be

01:17:54   true. It's a crazy,

01:17:56   wild, exciting rollercoaster and it's in the dark inside. What,

01:18:00   how is that possible? How can you put an entire, he's like,

01:18:03   you can't believe it. It's the fastest rollercoaster. I mean,

01:18:05   it's not the fastest, but as a little kid, he thought it was.

01:18:08   And you don't know, cause you only got on it like once or twice.

01:18:10   Cause you had to wait in line back then, but it's in the dark inside.

01:18:13   It was like, that can't be true. That's what I remember thinking about HBO.

01:18:15   They're, they're showing new movies or recent movies.

01:18:18   And there are no commercials. You just,

01:18:20   the movie starts and it just plays right through like a real movie that that

01:18:24   can't be. And it's like, yeah, that's the brand. So they,

01:18:28   but that's different, right? HBO was never, you know, they're,

01:18:31   they're sort of Apple-ish that way where they're not for everybody. You know,

01:18:34   there's, you know, there's no way that ABC, NBC, and CBS,

01:18:38   we're ever going to go ad free. It does it. It's unfeasible. It literally,

01:18:42   you know, there's no way to make the economics work. It's the balance, right?

01:18:46   You want the right balance. But the thing is, and you mentioned it,

01:18:50   if you're going to have ads, the ads are part of the experience, right?

01:18:55   I've made an entire career out of this. This is my,

01:18:58   my entire career is based on having an ad,

01:19:02   a free website,

01:19:03   Daring Fireball that is supported through ads and

01:19:09   doing the ads in a way that is win, win, win for everybody,

01:19:13   where the sponsors get a good,

01:19:15   hopefully get a good amount of attention and I curate them so that they're

01:19:20   of interest to the audience.

01:19:22   And so the audience is not annoyed by them and hopefully actually throughout the

01:19:27   weeks, every couple of weeks finds a sponsor that's like, Hey,

01:19:29   that actually is interesting to me. I would like to check it out.

01:19:31   And I earn an income and a podcast, right? I do these sponsorships.

01:19:37   I'll break for one again soon, but make it, I make it part of the show, right?

01:19:41   And I hope you listen, you know, and if you want to skip, you can skip.

01:19:44   And I'm never going to do anything programmatically and put the talk show on an

01:19:49   app so that you can't skip the frigging ads or something like that.

01:19:52   Never going to try it. I hope you listen,

01:19:54   but if you don't,

01:19:55   or if you've heard the sponsor before and you want to fast forward, fast forward,

01:19:58   you know, it's my job to try to make them interesting,

01:20:00   but then they come at natural points in the show. I don't listen to many,

01:20:05   I listen to Keith Olbermann show, which I really love. It's,

01:20:08   it's a podcast he started a couple months ago.

01:20:10   It's just his countdown show from MSNBC and podcast form. And he,

01:20:14   I love him. I love his show. It is a daily listen for me,

01:20:18   but the ads are pro programmatically inserted and they're terrible.

01:20:22   They are absolutely terrible at one point because they're programmatically

01:20:25   inserted. We, we were on vacation a couple of weeks ago and I started getting,

01:20:30   I think they guess, you know, they don't know much about me.

01:20:32   There's not much tracking, but they can guess that Olbermann's audience,

01:20:35   even though he's talking about politics and national news might be sports fans.

01:20:38   And so they had lots of ads for buying NFL tickets.

01:20:42   And the first time I got them,

01:20:43   they were trying to sell me Philadelphia Eagles tickets. And it's like, ah,

01:20:46   you know, somehow they geo located me. Right.

01:20:48   And then we went on vacation to Vegas for a week and I started,

01:20:52   then the next week I was catching up on his podcast and I was getting ads for

01:20:56   buying Los Angeles Rams tickets. And I'm like, what the hell? And it's like, Oh,

01:21:01   cause we were in Vegas and that's when I downloaded my phone,

01:21:04   downloaded the shows, but I wasn't listening cause we were on vacation and

01:21:09   a and, and,

01:21:10   and with the Apple's hydro geo location vaguely,

01:21:14   instead of telling me to buy Las Vegas Raiders tickets,

01:21:18   they somehow guessed I was closer to Los Angeles. Oh, okay.

01:21:21   But then the next week I started getting in programmatically inserted ads on

01:21:26   Keith Olbermann show in Spanish, Spanish. I don't speak Spanish.

01:21:31   I don't know what made them think that. I mean, it's crazy.

01:21:34   I don't know who paid for these ads on an English language news and politics

01:21:39   podcast that were in Spanish, but I got Spanish language ads. It's, it's crazy.

01:21:43   And occasionally the ads are misinserted.

01:21:47   They don't come at his breaks.

01:21:48   He has very natural breaks in the show where they're clearly supposed to be.

01:21:52   And every once in a while they're like mid sentence.

01:21:55   And then he comes back and says, you know,

01:21:57   then the segment ends and then he comes right back with the other segment and

01:22:01   it's like, Hey, that's the spot where the ad was supposed to be. You know,

01:22:04   like if a human being put the ads in there and they read the podcast editor,

01:22:08   you'd have to fire them or at least, you know, have a, you know,

01:22:11   have a talk with him first. It's,

01:22:14   it's crazy that you don't think of it as part of the experience.

01:22:16   And I feel like that's something that Disney really has to get right because

01:22:20   they can't, they're not Hulu. They can't just have shit ads. They, they,

01:22:23   and they have the added pressure that a huge part of their audience is

01:22:29   kids and family programming and advertising to kids is

01:22:33   fraught, right? You know,

01:22:36   I grew up in an era where they just bombarded us with ads for nothing but

01:22:40   sugared cereal and toys.

01:22:42   Yeah. And then, and then, and then they made, you know,

01:22:45   TV shows out of the, out of the ads that were within just one long

01:22:49   advertisement.

01:22:51   There was a, you know, around fourth grade for me, I watched GI Joe every day.

01:22:55   I probably saw 20,

01:22:59   20 to 30,000 laser rifle shots a week and not one person ever get hit,

01:23:04   but I saw a half hour commercial for GI Joe toys every day. But yeah, but did,

01:23:08   you know, obviously we as a society are way more attuned to,

01:23:12   to that sort of stuff. Disney should be at the forefront.

01:23:16   They should make an ad supported tier. That is the best ads,

01:23:19   best experience for ads that anybody's ever had and curate the ads and sell them

01:23:24   at a premium.

01:23:25   There's so much potential there that has been just lately overlooked

01:23:30   by the way the ad tech industry has just rotted out the brains of anything

01:23:35   that, that intersects with tech and entertainment or news.

01:23:39   I totally agree with you.

01:23:40   And I think that if anybody would have the power to have like to really exert

01:23:44   pressure and force a good product and also raise rates and get

01:23:49   good advertisers on board, I think it would be Disney. Like I honestly do.

01:23:54   I do too. All right, let me take that break.

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01:26:38   So let's segue from that to do a little,

01:26:41   I want to do a little on Twitter and Elon Musk.

01:26:43   I'm hoping to get the show out tomorrow.

01:26:46   I worry that it's already going to be out of date,

01:26:49   even if we turn it around at 24 hours.

01:26:53   My last episode with Anil Dash, I think it took 48 hours. And there was,

01:26:56   there was a part of that 48 hour turnaround was the night when

01:27:01   everybody thought Twitter was going to go under.

01:27:03   Yes. Yes.

01:27:05   I honestly thought, Oh my God, I spent, I had Anil on,

01:27:10   and we had what I thought was a great show. And it's all going to be moot.

01:27:13   If this thing goes down tomorrow.

01:27:16   Recent news in the Elon Musk steady as she goes steady hand at

01:27:21   the helm leadership of Twitter involves, let's see,

01:27:25   let's do it like a show previously on Elon Musk's

01:27:30   ownership of Twitter.

01:27:31   He laid off over about half the company and then issued

01:27:36   a mandate that the field team demand to sign this or,

01:27:41   or you're fired, right? It was like first prize, first prize, you keep your jobs.

01:27:45   You don't sign it. You're fired.

01:27:48   It's some sort of Elon Musk style of Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross.

01:27:51   Lots of people didn't sign it.

01:27:53   I think lots of people didn't sign it for good reason. I, you know,

01:27:57   people who did, because, you know, I know, and you know,

01:28:00   I don't want to easily sidetracked into the whole discussion of the H1B visas

01:28:04   and that people who are in the country with a job at Twitter and who need to keep

01:28:09   a job to stay in the United States. And, you know,

01:28:13   we're in a period of time where the economy seems to be heading South and lots of

01:28:17   big companies are laying people off or at least instituting hiring freezes.

01:28:20   So it's not a good time to be hunting for a job,

01:28:24   especially if you need it to stay here.

01:28:26   And so anybody who's staying at Twitter,

01:28:28   even though they kind of are sick about the whole thing, I don't blame them.

01:28:31   And I'm, you know, I don't blame anybody for, for, for keeping a job at Twitter.

01:28:35   There's some speculation that maybe the Twitter or Elon Musk and his

01:28:40   crackerjack team of idiot advisors perhaps even went through employees

01:28:45   and targeted, you know, thought we should keep these people because they can't

01:28:49   leave or are less likely to leave. So I don't blame people for staying.

01:28:52   But the fact that apparently a majority of the remaining employees refused to

01:28:57   click the stupid Google doc that says I agreed to be extremely hardcore,

01:29:02   no surprise, doesn't seem like they all got fired. Although, like,

01:29:05   I don't know. It's unclear what happened there. I,

01:29:09   it seems as though they did not do what he said he would do in the email.

01:29:13   Shocker.

01:29:14   Shocker.

01:29:15   But anyway, the latest updates in the recent days,

01:29:18   at least this week is that he said, Twitter's ready to hire again.

01:29:21   Come work. Who wants to come, come work here.

01:29:25   He's also cut all the perks, but, but they're ready to hire. So yeah,

01:29:29   that's great.

01:29:30   And the new thing is that all software engineers are going to need to send him

01:29:35   the CEO,

01:29:36   a weekly status report of everything they're working on that is formatted a

01:29:41   certain way that also includes code samples to him.

01:29:44   It's well, I think it's, I will say this,

01:29:48   I'll just cover my ass here and say,

01:29:50   I think it's a little bit unclear from the reporting on this,

01:29:54   whether they're going to is the two address for this weekly email

01:29:59   Elon@Twitter.com or is it, is it to your manager and then the manager?

01:30:03   No, no, no. These have an alias. They set up an alias.

01:30:06   But it's one address. It's not just send it to your manager.

01:30:09   No, it's one address. And, and then I believe the implication was like, he,

01:30:13   Elon is going to be, you know, because he loves to micromanage and,

01:30:17   and this has become very clear and I'm like, dude,

01:30:20   you do not have time to go through these reports.

01:30:23   Like his poor chief of staff, you know, like God,

01:30:27   it does sound, I know there's,

01:30:31   lots of people have described it as boomer mentality and Elon Musk is

01:30:36   not boomer. He's Gen X. And you know, and it's funny,

01:30:39   I think everybody out there who's seen this news is on a Slack and has

01:30:44   programmer friends, you know, it's and people, you know, I,

01:30:48   I've, I've been a Slack with a bunch of friends and a bunch of them said,

01:30:51   you know, I used to have to, you know,

01:30:53   everybody has a story where that's how you used to do stuff that is emailing,

01:30:57   but you like Apple used to have something.

01:30:59   I have a friend who worked at Apple like 20 some years ago and,

01:31:01   and Apple used to have something similar to this,

01:31:04   but it wasn't email Bertrand Cerlet, your code for the week.

01:31:08   It was once a week,

01:31:10   you'd email your manager with what you'd done and what you're doing next week.

01:31:14   And then it was your manager's job to sort of coalesce that into a smaller

01:31:18   report.

01:31:18   Here's what my team did this week and what they're doing next week.

01:31:22   And then that goes forward and it's, you know, it's a way to, to you want,

01:31:25   management should be keeping tabs on what's going on,

01:31:28   but it needs to go in some sort of hierarchy.

01:31:30   Yes. That's the thing I like. Okay. I do status reports at GitHub. You know,

01:31:35   I'm supposed to do them every week. Now I'm bad at status reports,

01:31:38   but you know, we do have,

01:31:39   like we have an issue where we kind of fill things out and whatnot,

01:31:42   but it doesn't go to Thomas Demke, our CEO. Right.

01:31:46   And it doesn't even go to like the head of product or engineering.

01:31:49   Like this is, that's the thing to me that is,

01:31:52   is completely unhinged about this.

01:31:54   It's not so much that should you be having weekly status reports for your teams?

01:31:58   Yeah. Should you be having,

01:31:59   maybe they should be part of like your scrum meetings. I don't know. That's,

01:32:02   that's fine. The CEO shouldn't be in my mind,

01:32:06   like concerning himself with this sort of thing.

01:32:08   Even if you only have 1200 people left at the company or however many are left

01:32:13   now, that's still way too many people.

01:32:15   There are,

01:32:16   but the funny part and I'm out of touch with the way that a lot of this stuff

01:32:20   works, cause I haven't worked on a team in a while.

01:32:22   And the last time I was on a team, it was for Vesper.

01:32:24   And it was just three of us and we'd, our, our tool was, you know, well we had,

01:32:27   but we had get, you know, you know, we did have source control, but

01:32:33   there are, I am aware of the fact that there are better, better tools for

01:32:37   status reports and, and,

01:32:40   and reviewing source code. Right. Then in the email,

01:32:44   I mean, honestly, like with screenshots of code, the screenshots of code,

01:32:49   screenshots of code is the dumbest thing. I'm like, it keeps coming up, right?

01:32:53   That's the thing. And the thing is, this is like, and I realize I'm biased because I,

01:32:57   I work at, you know, a place that our whole focus is developer tools, but yeah,

01:33:02   just send like the, just send, just send the git commit or if you know what I

01:33:06   mean? Well, that would be the thing. If you really do want to be,

01:33:10   be reviewing code,

01:33:11   the way to do it would be to send a link to like a, a commit, right?

01:33:16   And you're, you know, presumably, you know, the engineer obviously has,

01:33:20   has commit access to the, to the source controlled database.

01:33:23   And presumably Elon could get, you know, could get access to it,

01:33:29   but it would be links to the code, not screenshots.

01:33:34   Exactly. Exactly. It would be linked and say, okay, these are the candidates I made,

01:33:39   or these are the issues that I dealt with, or these are.

01:33:41   The screenshots of code thing is,

01:33:45   is really only just a hair more ridiculous

01:33:49   than the report from last week's episode of the crazy show where it was

01:33:54   everybody was supposed to print out.

01:33:56   Right. There's supposed to print out their source code. And then they're like,

01:33:59   Oh no, no, no, no, no. That could be a problem. Don't print it, shred it,

01:34:02   be prepared to show it on his laptop. And then I think after that,

01:34:06   they were like fly out here. If you're not here, it would be great.

01:34:10   If you could be here though, fly out to HQ and be ready to present code with me.

01:34:15   In, in these meetings,

01:34:16   because you're now the top of the top engineers who I feel like I have to

01:34:19   retain. And I'm going to reward you with that knowledge by,

01:34:22   by asking you to get on an airplane with no notice the week before Thanksgiving.

01:34:27   Yeah. The week before Thanksgiving on a Friday,

01:34:29   just come in and be prepared to show your code to me,

01:34:33   presumably so we can do some whiteboarding exercises.

01:34:37   The week before Thanksgiving. And apparently because of COVID,

01:34:41   and I think this makes very intuitive sense by all expectations,

01:34:45   it is supposedly going to be the most traveled week of

01:34:50   Thanksgiving ever in history. Cause a, the population keeps growing.

01:34:54   The world population just hit 8 billion this, this week, you know, by, you know,

01:34:58   not like anybody has a real head count, but the population keeps growing.

01:35:01   But because of pent up demand, right.

01:35:04   From Thanksgiving's missed over the last few years. And, and, you know,

01:35:08   we're out of the, you know, I personally,

01:35:11   I don't want to get an argument over the word pandemic, but COVID is not over.

01:35:14   COVID still serious, but the pandemic is to me clearly over look up the word,

01:35:18   pandemic and a dictionary. That's not what we're experiencing.

01:35:21   And so all the people who missed Thanksgiving's in recent years or who have

01:35:25   families all over, you know, sometimes I go here, sometimes I go there and,

01:35:29   you know, anyway, lots of travel. And he just expected people to get, I mean,

01:35:34   I don't even know if you could, I don't even know if you,

01:35:36   how could you book an airplane the Friday before this Thanksgiving on a whim?

01:35:40   It doesn't make any sense.

01:35:42   And I know it's people sometimes think that as soon as

01:35:47   somebody levels up in the stratosphere of being super

01:35:52   rich, that you lose all touch with the regular people, but it's, you know,

01:35:57   and of course,

01:35:57   Elon Musk famously flies around on a private jet because part of the drama with

01:36:01   him in Twitter is some kid.

01:36:03   Somebody, you know, takes the public data.

01:36:05   I think the bot is gross to be completely honest.

01:36:08   A lot of celebrities do it too. And people got mad at me. They're like, Oh,

01:36:11   you know, it's, it's public data. I'm like, you're right. It is.

01:36:13   I also think it's gross when, you know,

01:36:15   like Taylor Swift fans for years have been tracking her jets and,

01:36:19   and I've always been like, okay, you're creeps now.

01:36:22   Like you're actually like stalkers, but, but, but it is public data,

01:36:27   which is the hilarious thing, right? Like,

01:36:29   But I really do think I, and I mean this sincerely and I'm, I,

01:36:34   I'm as susceptible to getting spoiled by privilege as anyone,

01:36:38   I think anybody reasonable, but no matter how rich I suddenly became,

01:36:42   if I hit a power ball and became mega rich, you know,

01:36:45   $50 billion and I start, I buy a private jet.

01:36:49   I probably would buy a private jet if I had $50 billion. Why the hell not?

01:36:53   I don't know.

01:36:54   I really don't think I would forget that most people don't have a private jet

01:36:59   and that air travel commercial air travel is a pain in the ass.

01:37:02   I really don't think I would forget that.

01:37:05   Well, that's the thing. I mean, with all of this,

01:37:07   it's just like the complete out of touchness with reality. And then for me,

01:37:11   it's just the casual cruelty of every aspect of this, right?

01:37:14   Because you can do, you can do layoffs and,

01:37:18   and that is never, there's never a good way to do it.

01:37:21   And it's always going to be painful and you can,

01:37:24   you can have to make decisions to make them,

01:37:25   but just the casual cruelty of every aspect that he's taken to this

01:37:30   is, is beyond me. And then to see people like Marc Andreessen,

01:37:34   who he used to follow me on Twitter and then he blocked me on Twitter and I not

01:37:38   really sure what that was about, but that's fine. Tweeting that like if he,

01:37:41   if you know that, that if he were getting started today,

01:37:44   he knows exactly where he would work.

01:37:46   You have the implication being that he would be working at Twitter right now.

01:37:48   And I'm thinking you are so full of it.

01:37:51   Yep. There's no.

01:37:52   Absolute pathological liar.

01:37:54   There is no way in hell that if you're Marc Andreessen and you're coming out of

01:37:58   the University of Illinois, Champaign, whatever,

01:37:59   if you are on the precipice of creating one of the probably like three most like

01:38:06   important software applications of all time, right?

01:38:11   Arguably the most important, right?

01:38:13   Transformative transformative on, on, on another level, right?

01:38:16   Like doing all this stuff that you're going to say, yeah,

01:38:19   I'm going to go work for the guy that is going to micromanage me,

01:38:23   asked me to get on a plane the Friday before Thanksgiving with no notice to

01:38:28   print out my code or show screenshots of it, send him weekly status updates. Oh,

01:38:33   and he's going to cut all the perks. Yeah.

01:38:35   That's where I'm going to work. Oh, and,

01:38:38   and he's going to probably low ball me on the pay. Yeah.

01:38:40   That's where I'm going to work cause I'm going to learn so much.

01:38:43   Are you kidding me?

01:38:44   This is what I wrote about it and I still, I stand by it.

01:38:47   This is the part that to me, I just,

01:38:49   it boggles my mind except that I really think that the part of Elon Musk's mind

01:38:54   that should, and I think lots of people do, I don't think, for example,

01:38:58   I don't know Jeff Bezos. I've never met him. I, I, I've met Tim Cook,

01:39:03   you know, I, I met Steve Jobs.

01:39:05   I have met very successful billionaires or billionaire-esque type people.

01:39:11   I don't think any of those people, Bezos who I never met,

01:39:14   but Cook or Jobs or Satya Nadella,

01:39:16   would ever forget that normal people don't fly on private jets

01:39:22   and that air travel is a pain in the ass and that Thanksgiving is a major

01:39:28   holiday for travel. You know, I,

01:39:31   I think it boggles my mind how he's mismanaging the human resources and I don't

01:39:36   know what else to call it.

01:39:37   I know human resources has sort of become a generic term,

01:39:41   but people just mismanaging people and I guess that's what Apple calls it,

01:39:46   right? Like, uh, you know,

01:39:47   They call it like people management I think or something. Yeah, no,

01:39:50   but I totally agree with you and it's, and you know,

01:39:52   I've used to have a lot of friends who worked at Twitter and I've had a lot of

01:39:56   people over the years and many of them left before all this and then some of

01:40:00   them were laid off and then some of them quit.

01:40:03   I now don't have any friends to my knowledge who still work at Twitter,

01:40:06   but just seeing this, I'm just thinking, you know,

01:40:09   it just didn't have to be done this way.

01:40:12   It didn't. I, but I do think though, the explanation is that the,

01:40:17   as you alluded to that, the cruelty is the point. It's not, it's not a by-product.

01:40:21   It's not, no, I think it is the point. I think you're right.

01:40:23   It's an assertion of,

01:40:25   of dominance of the Musk and the

01:40:30   people he considers his peers or his lackeys over the, again,

01:40:34   I'm sounding like a left-wing zealot, but the proletariat,

01:40:40   right? The working, the working class of the company. And again,

01:40:43   the working class in a company like Twitter is very,

01:40:46   very privileged and has very good high paying jobs, right? It's, you know,

01:40:50   compared to the public at large, this is a great place to work, you know,

01:40:53   a great industry to be in. Right. It's, I, you know,

01:40:57   my grandfather was a coal miner who I, I bring this up all the time.

01:41:01   I always remind myself of it. My grand,

01:41:02   my mom's father was a coal miner who went to work after the eighth grade in a

01:41:07   coal mine and then died at 71 of black lung disease. That's a hard fricking job,

01:41:11   you know, you know,

01:41:12   sitting there and designing interfaces or coding them up is, you know,

01:41:17   a lot better than being in a dirty, dangerous coal mine. It's a good job, but

01:41:23   the whole point of this though, I just can't believe I really did.

01:41:28   I would just emphasize, I know I'm repeating myself from the previous show.

01:41:30   We'll move on. But I just, I really,

01:41:32   my optimism over him spearheading Twitter was all about the fact that I've,

01:41:37   surely he's going to make terrible mistakes in product designs and content

01:41:41   management decisions. But when he sees that they're terrible,

01:41:45   he can correct them. Those types of decisions can be fixed.

01:41:50   And you know, Tim Cook hiring John Browett to hire retail, guess what?

01:41:54   The guys doesn't get it and is taking it to the wrong company.

01:41:57   You can fire them after four months and hire somebody totally different.

01:42:00   Spoiling, polluting, whatever you want to call it,

01:42:05   the internal company culture and morale in the company cannot be fixed

01:42:10   easily. It, it, it takes, you know, it's like cleaning up a lake, you know,

01:42:14   or a polluted river. You can't just like de-pollute it. You know,

01:42:18   you don't just shut down the factory that had been spewing the chemicals in.

01:42:21   And then all of a sudden the water's clean. That's not how it works.

01:42:24   And that's what culture is like. And like you said, to me,

01:42:28   a company layoff is like human surgery. There, it's never good to have surgery.

01:42:33   You don't want to have major surgery. There's, it's never for a good reason.

01:42:36   And if you do though, they, they, they,

01:42:40   they want to make you as, as comfortable as possible. Right. I mean, you know,

01:42:45   I've had surgeries on eye surgery a couple of times,

01:42:50   you know, I've alluded to over the years before they, you know,

01:42:53   give you the anesthesia, they give you like a Valium or, or something like that,

01:42:57   you know, to just cause they know you're a fucking nervous wreck, right? You're,

01:43:00   you're, Oh my God, this is awful. I'm going to have eye surgery. And they,

01:43:03   you know, they start off with a Valium to just chill you out a little bit.

01:43:06   And say, Hey, this is, I do feel a little better.

01:43:08   And then they give you good anesthesia, really,

01:43:10   really good anesthesia with specialists who are just,

01:43:13   and they're like the nicest people in the hospital, the anesthesiologists,

01:43:16   like people who are going into the vague realm of being a doctor type person and

01:43:21   are very, very good with chemistry and, and,

01:43:24   and experts and very smart, but also are super, super empathetic.

01:43:28   They go into anesthesia because it's, it's, it's a human job. Right.

01:43:32   And a good company for layoffs has the equivalent of anesthesia.

01:43:37   This is sucks. You're having surgery. This is not good news. This is awful,

01:43:41   but we're going to make it as easy as possible.

01:43:44   Elon Musk did this like, like, like in the,

01:43:47   they're in the military and it's just, you know, sorry, you know,

01:43:50   I'm just going to have to, I'm going to have to, you know,

01:43:52   take out this bullet with pliers and stitch you up without any anesthesia here.

01:43:57   I'll pour some water on your wound. You know, it's just insane to me.

01:44:01   And now that he's already saying like, Hey, we're going to start hiring,

01:44:05   come to work here. It's bananas.

01:44:06   And I just knew that you would be amused given that you work at GitHub,

01:44:11   that the state of the art, his opinion of the state of the art for keeping tabs on

01:44:15   what your engineers is doing is please, please send me a screenshot of your

01:44:18   source code.

01:44:19   All right. I've got one more sponsor break and I,

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01:46:30   they've restored over 55 billion files for their customers.

01:46:34   Go to back blaze.com/the talk show.

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01:47:10   Before we, before we forget,

01:47:12   explain to me the whole Taylor Swift ticket masters situation.

01:47:17   Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So I,

01:47:20   I don't know how much this I should admit cause I got tickets to two shows.

01:47:23   That's okay. I've, I've spent, I look, you and I are lucky.

01:47:28   I've spent a fortune on some concert tickets. Luckily,

01:47:32   last tour, my wife and I are my wife especially,

01:47:35   but my wife and I are huge Tom Petty fans. And, and we got,

01:47:38   we spent a fortune to get like second row seats.

01:47:41   The last time he came through Philadelphia center stage, you know,

01:47:44   it was a fortune. I mean, probably not a Taylor Swift.

01:47:46   No, but it was great. No, but, but, but I also,

01:47:49   I got them like without having to pick, go through scalpers.

01:47:51   So I feel a little guilty that like, I mean, I still,

01:47:53   it took six hours for the first tickets for that process to happen.

01:47:57   But explain this to me,

01:47:58   like I'm a middle-aged guy who doesn't really pay attention to Taylor Swift and

01:48:01   is confused by how this could be so controversial because that's actually what's

01:48:05   going on.

01:48:06   No, absolutely. So, so Ticketmaster has done this thing and actually,

01:48:10   ironically, they piloted it,

01:48:11   piloted it with Taylor Swift for her reputation tour, which was in 2018,

01:48:16   where basically they had this thing called verified fans.

01:48:19   And it was supposed to be a way to ensure that actual fans got tickets and not

01:48:23   bots and scalpers. And the idea would be at least how it was run in the past.

01:48:28   This was not how it was run this time is that you would earn points by doing

01:48:32   things like watching her music video multiple times,

01:48:35   which people like me wrote scripts to do in the background while they worked.

01:48:38   And if you bought merch, uh, that also gave you lots of points. And so I,

01:48:43   you know, bought a lot of merch and so I was able to get really good seats.

01:48:47   So, so then they had this verified fan program where basically, you know,

01:48:50   you would get a text message, you put in like what shows were your priority.

01:48:54   They would basically, I guess, you know, kind of rank people based on,

01:48:57   you know,

01:48:58   the points and maybe there was some sort of random element and then you would

01:49:01   get a text message saying, okay, you're in, this is a link,

01:49:04   this is a code you have to put in to actually be able to buy tickets.

01:49:07   If you don't have this code,

01:49:08   you can't buy the tickets and it's supposed to be a way to try to cut down on,

01:49:13   on how many people would scalp tickets. Well,

01:49:16   and she also used that same program for Loverfest, which was like, she only did,

01:49:20   she was only going to do six shows period,

01:49:22   two on each coast and then two internationally.

01:49:25   But that show was supposed to be in July of 2020. And so that was canceled.

01:49:30   I also got tickets for that this time,

01:49:33   although they said they would give some priority to people who had tickets for

01:49:38   Loverfest from as far as we can tell that that didn't actually happen. They,

01:49:41   all you basically needed to get into the verified fan program was a ticket master

01:49:46   account. That was it.

01:49:48   And so millions and millions and millions of people signed up and ticket master

01:49:53   sent out more codes or more access where if every person bought the maximum

01:49:58   number of tickets, then apparently there were even tickets available to buy. Um,

01:50:03   so that was mistake number one, which was that, you know, this,

01:50:06   this program, which when Taylor had run it,

01:50:08   I think was actually fairly well run, like there's no perfect way to do it,

01:50:11   but it actually, you know, was,

01:50:13   was largely going to be giving credence to people who went through the process of

01:50:18   either spending money on her merch or, you know,

01:50:20   watching videos over and over again,

01:50:22   which doesn't mean that you're not going to scalp them,

01:50:25   but does I think make it less likely that you're going to be buying tickets to

01:50:29   just immediately resell. In this case, first, what happened,

01:50:32   there were a couple of different things.

01:50:34   First on the first day that tickets went up for sale and they did the East Coast

01:50:38   first. So I'm up at seven o'clock in the morning, Pacific time.

01:50:42   I was up really at six 30 and I was in the queue at 7am to get tickets.

01:50:47   And then there was,

01:50:49   and even though Ticketmaster has had problems with scaling before for Adele and

01:50:53   and other shows, the servers broke basically like,

01:50:57   like the line didn't move for hours.

01:50:59   And I think what eventually happened is they stopped selling tickets and had to

01:51:02   reboot things and they have a partnership with AWS,

01:51:05   so they should be better at this. But the system broke.

01:51:08   There were so many people who were online. Ticketmaster published a blog,

01:51:11   which they've now removed that I think apparently 15 million people showed up

01:51:16   and, and they just could not deal with the demand.

01:51:19   It was so bad that they had to push back the start of the West

01:51:24   Coast sales, which were originally supposed to start,

01:51:27   I think at like 11am Pacific and they had to push them back to like 3pm

01:51:31   Pacific and they had to move the Capital One presale.

01:51:35   So if you had a Capital One card, you could also order tickets.

01:51:38   They had to push that to the next day.

01:51:40   Originally it was all supposed to be the same day.

01:51:41   They had to move things around because of the influx.

01:51:45   So the first, so I was in line for,

01:51:48   it was four hours before I finally got my tickets for the show that I'd been

01:51:52   chosen to be able to buy seats for the first day.

01:51:55   Do you have to be there in front of it to make sure you're there?

01:51:58   Like you have to pay attention to it.

01:52:00   Yes. And that, that's the thing. Like if,

01:52:02   I knew a number of people who like were like, well, I've got to go,

01:52:06   I've got to try to transfer this to my phone.

01:52:07   If you transferred it to your phone,

01:52:09   like there was no guarantee that you would still be able to be in line. Right.

01:52:12   Like it was, you know, and, and, and it was also very clear,

01:52:15   like one device per person thing. Like if you tried to log in on another device,

01:52:19   they'd be like, Hey, you're already logged in on one device.

01:52:21   If you joined here,

01:52:22   we're going to kick you out of line on the other one and you're going to start

01:52:25   all over again. So I was lucky that I, you know,

01:52:30   work from home and had blocked my calendar, frankly,

01:52:34   that morning for tickets for that reason.

01:52:37   But it was one of those things where, yeah,

01:52:40   like you were kind of held hostage to the whole system.

01:52:45   So that was day one. Then there was the capital one presale,

01:52:49   which was also a disaster. And in that,

01:52:53   you just needed the first six digits of a capital one card to get in.

01:52:57   But then you actually had to use a capital one card to buy the tickets.

01:53:02   And then tragically for me, when I was getting Atlanta seats, my dad,

01:53:06   whose capital one card I was using,

01:53:08   his phone was off and he did not get the second factor texts that I needed from

01:53:12   him. And so my mom and I, if we go to the concert together in Atlanta,

01:53:17   I will probably be paying four or five times what I, what I paid,

01:53:21   what I would have paid. So that was tragic. Exactly. I was, I,

01:53:26   I knew better by the time the Seattle tickets went on sale a few hours later and

01:53:30   used a friend's card,

01:53:32   who I should have probably used from the beginning and she was on alert to get

01:53:36   me tickets, but that was another two hours.

01:53:39   Then the next day is when or two days later they're supposed to do the general

01:53:43   sale. So just to be clear,

01:53:46   that's two hours that you spent and wound up with no tickets because you

01:53:50   couldn't get the two factor code because you didn't anticipate that just

01:53:53   breaking in, you thought the card number and the expiration in this,

01:53:56   I thought that,

01:53:57   I thought the fact the card number was attached to my ticket master account and

01:54:00   all that. Yeah, I thought that would be enough and it wasn't. All right.

01:54:03   So that's two hours for nothing.

01:54:05   And then it was another hour and a half later that afternoon for Seattle tickets.

01:54:09   So now we're up to eight and a half hours to get tickets.

01:54:12   If I put all my time in cumulatively.

01:54:14   Then they said that there's supposed to be the general pre-sale or general sale,

01:54:20   I guess you could say it was supposed to be, so this was on a Wednesday.

01:54:23   This is the general pre-sale or general sale was supposed to be happening on

01:54:25   Friday.

01:54:26   And then ticket master announces that they are not going to be having the

01:54:31   general sale.

01:54:32   That apparently they've sold too many and they don't know how many are left or

01:54:36   something, which seems weird to me.

01:54:38   It's like you should know exactly how many tickets you have and they are

01:54:41   canceling the general sale. Meanwhile,

01:54:45   meanwhile, while you're in line for these tickets,

01:54:47   and this is what was so galling while you're in line for four hours or two and

01:54:51   a half hours or two hours for these tickets,

01:54:53   you can go to SeatGeek and you can go to SubHub and you can go to VividSeats and

01:54:59   you can go to other resale sites and people are selling the seats that they've

01:55:04   been able to receive for just ridiculous amounts of money.

01:55:10   Like just truly insulting amounts of money.

01:55:12   I heard Syracuse say on ATP last week that they were like $12,000.

01:55:17   Yeah, yeah.

01:55:19   And those are the prices before the SubHub fees because I went through something

01:55:23   similar where I did pay.

01:55:25   So my mom and I are taking my mom to see Adele in Las Vegas.

01:55:29   It'll now be at the end of January.

01:55:30   It was originally supposed to be in March and then Adele postponed and that was

01:55:34   the whole thing.

01:55:35   Where is she playing in Vegas?

01:55:36   She's playing at MGM.

01:55:38   Ah.

01:55:39   Oh no, not at MGM. Sorry, it's Caesars.

01:55:40   I was going to say,

01:55:42   Caesars usually specializes in the, what's the word for a big female singer?

01:55:47   Yeah, divas.

01:55:48   Divas. Yeah.

01:55:49   Yes.

01:55:50   Not that Adele is a diva in any negative way, but I know Cher and Madonna,

01:55:55   and a bunch of, yeah, Celine being the most famous.

01:55:58   Yeah.

01:55:58   Celine was there for a while.

01:56:00   Yeah.

01:56:00   Yes.

01:56:00   We did her whole residency at Caesars and Adele is only doing,

01:56:04   I think like 26 or 28 shows.

01:56:06   So Adele, I could understand I paid way too much for tickets and then SubHub

01:56:11   charges you a 50% processing fee on top of the ticket price.

01:56:15   So it's not just the ticket.

01:56:16   So it's the $12,000, but then SubHub would charge you another six.

01:56:20   It's, it's really, really gross.

01:56:22   Oh, I didn't pay that much.

01:56:24   I paid, I think 3,600 for two seats that are not good seats.

01:56:29   I should be clear on that.

01:56:29   Like that's what makes me angry.

01:56:31   They're not even good seats, but we're going, but I can sort of understand that

01:56:35   because it's a limited engagement thing.

01:56:38   There are 4,100 seats in the venue.

01:56:40   There are only 28 shows.

01:56:42   I get it.

01:56:42   Taylor Swift is doing 52 stadium shows every state.

01:56:47   She's doing 360 you know, seats.

01:56:49   So it was kind of like the, the YouTube setup as well as tons and tons of seats

01:56:53   on the floor.

01:56:54   So you're talking, I would probably say average 85,000 seats per stadium.

01:57:00   Some will be more than that.

01:57:01   And she's doing 52 of these.

01:57:02   So it's not the same level of demand.

01:57:05   Scarcity.

01:57:06   Right.

01:57:06   Right.

01:57:07   Scarcity.

01:57:07   So I think what's happened is, is it wasn't just so much like bots and

01:57:11   resellers, but it's regular people who, because of the pandemic and the

01:57:16   scarcity and things like, you know, with, with, with sneakers and with GPUs and

01:57:20   with video game consoles have just started to think, Oh, I can get on this,

01:57:24   on this, you know, grift too.

01:57:26   And I can make money by reselling tickets.

01:57:29   So I'm telling people, and I'm taking my own advice on this.

01:57:32   I know I will pay more than I was going to pay in Atlanta, but I'm not going to

01:57:37   buy the tickets until much, much closer to the date because there are enough of

01:57:43   them.

01:57:43   I think that it's like, okay, people who put this on a credit card and are making

01:57:47   a big bet are not going to get the money they think they will on this, like make

01:57:52   them start to feel like, shoot, you know, I've got, I'm now paying interest on

01:57:56   this.

01:57:56   You know, I made a bet on this, like buy them, buy them closer to the date because

01:58:02   prices I think will be a lot more sane.

01:58:04   But it was just, I think it was a combination of genuine demand, poor

01:58:09   planning and poor rollout on Ticketmasters Park from every aspect of both like how

01:58:14   they chose to run the program and their tech stack and then people wanting to, you

01:58:20   know, get the most out of tickets.

01:58:21   And then the fact that there aren't any provisions, you know, really in place to

01:58:26   stop people from doing things like selling tickets for $12,000 a piece, which Taylor

01:58:32   Swift doesn't love because she doesn't get the money for that.

01:58:34   That's see, that's the thing.

01:58:36   And I know people are, and I get it, you know, because I've, you know, I'm past

01:58:40   prime concert going age, you know, but I've been there.

01:58:44   And I get it and I totally get the artists frustration at it.

01:58:47   But the thing is that everybody sort of needs to take an Econ 101 class, you know,

01:58:54   and that it, to me, and again, I am no left wing populist on the capitalism front,

01:59:00   right?

01:59:00   I support capitalism as the worst system ever, except for all the other ones, right?

01:59:06   I really do believe it.

01:59:08   I feel the same way.

01:59:09   And to me, the root problem of these crazy prices is the general incoming inequality

01:59:17   that has taken root.

01:59:18   And again, that's a whole, you know, we could do a whole two hour podcast about

01:59:22   that.

01:59:22   But it is it's a it's a real problem.

01:59:24   And that the the the heyday of concert going in the 20th century for rock and roll

01:59:30   type, you know, pop pop cut concerts was when the middle class was growing in

01:59:37   income, you know, post World War Two through the 60s and 70s, when income in

01:59:42   the the the the difference between the richest people and the CEOs and the

01:59:49   regular working people was lowering, you know, and they were getting closer.

01:59:53   And everybody was more on more equal footing.

01:59:56   That's the root problem.

01:59:57   It and there's nothing even Ticketmaster, who's a villain, you know, such a great

02:00:02   company to have a villain.

02:00:04   You know, it's like the Darth Vader of companies, except that they're totally

02:00:07   except that Darth Vader wasn't clumsy and inept.

02:00:10   Right, but it's great to have a company to root against.

02:00:14   There's but the the root problem is incoming equality and that there are

02:00:19   people who can spend $12,000 on tickets and there's other people who obviously

02:00:23   can't and want to go to the show.

02:00:25   And the reason artists tend not just slightly 10, but largely tend to be on the

02:00:30   left side of the political spectrum, as opposed to the right is that the artists

02:00:35   are empathetic and they they're in touch with their that's that's the art.

02:00:39   They're in touch with their emotions and they do value their fans and they want

02:00:42   they want to play.

02:00:44   They really do like Taylor Swift isn't doing this for the money.

02:00:48   She really wants to go on tour so that her biggest fans can have the best time

02:00:54   seeing her big, huge, spectacular production in person and having this

02:01:01   experience.

02:01:01   They you want to play in front of your fans, you know, like I have the tiniest,

02:01:08   tiniest, tiniest, tiniest little similarity to this where at once a year I

02:01:12   did the live version of this podcast at WWDC.

02:01:15   And it's the hardest show to get in town.

02:01:18   It's you know, I do a show that is a hard ticket, but the part that makes it like

02:01:23   so special for me is that the audience is filled with people who really enjoy my

02:01:29   show and really want to see this interview.

02:01:31   It's not just doing it in the theater full of a thousand people who just are there

02:01:36   and vaguely interested.

02:01:38   It's a thousand people who did, you know, were like, did the work to get the

02:01:42   tickets and are enthusiastic.

02:01:43   Right.

02:01:44   And so I can't even imagine what that's like to do 50 performances in front of

02:01:49   80,000 people.

02:01:50   I mean, I would plot.

02:01:51   I mean, I couldn't handle it, the stress.

02:01:53   But you want them to be your fans and you want your fans to be able to afford it.

02:01:57   And you know that, you know, Taylor Swift knows that a lot of her fans are, are, you

02:02:01   know, teenage kids, you know, who don't, you know, that's the thing, right?

02:02:06   It's, it's teenage kids or it's parents, you know, and their kids.

02:02:09   And you want them to be there.

02:02:10   And you want them to be there.

02:02:11   But on the other hand, if somebody is going to make profit, $3,000 on the ticket,

02:02:19   shouldn't it be the fucking artist?

02:02:21   I mean, right.

02:02:23   No, and that's the thing.

02:02:23   Somebody's going to do it.

02:02:24   So it's, you know, it.

02:02:25   And Taylor Swift loves money.

02:02:28   Like rule number one of being a Taylor Swift fan.

02:02:31   It's so funny.

02:02:32   He's like, Oh, she cares so much about us.

02:02:33   I'm like, I do believe she really loves her fans, but she also really, really loves

02:02:38   money and she's great at merchandising.

02:02:40   And this has to be killing her that a, the tour is getting this sort of negative sort

02:02:44   of, you know, connotation and B that all these other assholes are profiting off of it.

02:02:48   Right.

02:02:49   Apple really people who work at Apple really love to make great devices and great

02:02:55   software and just have these great, great products, overall experience.

02:03:00   And you know what else?

02:03:01   You know, maybe like the engineers don't think about it, but you know what else?

02:03:05   Like Tim Cook really likes to do is make a lot of money.

02:03:07   You know, Microsoft likes to write great software and provide a fantastic world

02:03:14   leading industry, leading developer tools.

02:03:17   You know what else they like to do?

02:03:19   They like to make money.

02:03:20   That's, you know, that's it.

02:03:21   It goes hand in hand when you, and it ties back to the beginning of the show with Disney.

02:03:25   Right.

02:03:25   Disney wants you to have the best vacation in your life at Disney world.

02:03:28   And they want to keep a lot of your money for the privilege of it.

02:03:33   That's that is the system and that's the way it works.

02:03:36   But it's, it is so, this seems so bananas and broken to me that the it's, and again,

02:03:44   it comes to it, Ticketmaster is, you always know a bad company when, when they're huge

02:03:54   and they're influential and they're entrenched and monopolistic and they really don't

02:03:59   want you to think about them much at all.

02:04:01   Right.

02:04:02   Like they really don't want you thinking about Ticketmaster's role in all this and

02:04:07   they really, they, you know, they, they print it.

02:04:09   It's like trying to find the unsubscribed text in an email.

02:04:13   Right.

02:04:13   And it's like, how do you even make a font that small?

02:04:15   What, what, where, oh, you're going to make it six point type and light gray text on a

02:04:21   white background.

02:04:21   That's like what Ticketmaster does with the goofy fees.

02:04:25   Right.

02:04:25   And they come up, you know, there's some bizarre Orwellian, truly Orwellian department

02:04:31   that comes up with the name for these fees.

02:04:33   Right.

02:04:33   Convenience fee.

02:04:35   Handling fee.

02:04:36   Handling fee.

02:04:37   There's a, there's a convenience fee and a handling fee and a surcharge fee and a fee

02:04:43   for the, for, for printing the convenient fee.

02:04:46   I mean, there's just all of them and you look at it and it's like, holy shit, if I just

02:04:50   add up these fees, that's like a reasonable price for a show.

02:04:53   It's, it's.

02:04:54   No, it is.

02:04:55   It is.

02:04:55   I mean, so, so for some of my seeds, so Taylor did not do dynamic pricing, which some

02:05:00   artists have done, which basically lets Ticketmaster charge exorbitant stuff, depending

02:05:06   on what the demand is for a section.

02:05:08   But what she did do, because again, she loves to make money, is she had a bunch of like

02:05:12   these like VIP packages, which basically just mean this is a way that we're going to

02:05:16   sell a seat that would cost $550 for $800, but will give you a tote bag and the

02:05:25   opportunity to buy merch early without other people being around, which that's an

02:05:31   actual perk.

02:05:31   Please spend money on, you know, in this special area of the merch area and like a

02:05:36   lanyard and stuff.

02:05:37   And so one of the shows I had to buy one of those packages and in one of them I was

02:05:42   able to get them at face value.

02:05:44   But in both cases I then had like, you know, close to $200 in Ticketmaster fees on top

02:05:51   of that, which yeah, to your point is in some cases, and the fees I think are basically

02:05:56   the same across ticket prices.

02:05:58   So ironically it hurts people who are getting the less expensive tickets even more

02:06:03   because that means an even bigger percentage of their, of their ticket price is being

02:06:08   taken up by these fees.

02:06:09   And I mean, this, you know, the artists fighting against Ticketmaster, you know, most

02:06:14   famously exemplified Pearl Jam, you know, which is right back, you know, now we're, and

02:06:19   now we're talking about my Taylor Swift and that's, you know, prime for me.

02:06:22   And it's like, you go get them Pearl Jam.

02:06:24   And it's like, yeah, stick it to Ticketmaster.

02:06:26   And it's like, and then all of a sudden it's like, you know, Pearl Jam's playing.

02:06:29   And then, and then the very first time I saw Pearl Jam, which was in 2000, I used

02:06:34   Ticketmaster.

02:06:35   Yeah.

02:06:35   It, ah, it must've sucked to have to give in, but it's like, there was no way around it.

02:06:40   Cause there's no way around it.

02:06:41   Cause they have these exclusive deals with the venues where the venue.

02:06:44   And many of them are a hundred years long and you know, like, and it's interesting

02:06:49   cause like a Ticketmaster's only rival, which is a small, small portion of the market

02:06:54   AEG, they're actually the promoter for the Taylor Swift event.

02:06:57   So, you know, the fact that they didn't use Access, but they used Ticketmaster except for,

02:07:03   for two venues in Arlington and in Arizona, they used SeatGeek, which was interesting,

02:07:10   but that must've been a decision that those stadiums had.

02:07:13   But yeah, but now, you know, the DOJ has investigated into this stuff.

02:07:17   The Swifties are all learning about antitrust and monopoly laws.

02:07:21   You know, the Congress is doing its thing where they're, you know, bloviating about

02:07:26   stuff.

02:07:26   Nothing will probably change, but I am glad at least the discussion is happening and,

02:07:30   and you know.

02:07:33   Uh, but it was a cluster and I, I, I mostly just felt bad for, you know, people like I'm

02:07:38   lucky that I aid, that I was able to get, you know, seats for me and my friends and that I

02:07:43   have the money that I'll be able to pay whatever it winds up costing to take my mom.

02:07:47   Right.

02:07:47   Like I'm really, really fortunate that way, but I'm just disappointed for all the people

02:07:52   who spent hours out of their life to get nothing.

02:07:55   You know, it, it, it, this is one of those things where I, as much as my entire, both my

02:08:01   career and, you know, my personal interests are all, you know, just obsessed with computers.

02:08:06   It's like one of those areas where it's like not everything that gets computerized is better.

02:08:10   And I really have questioned whether ticket buying is better post internet than pre like

02:08:17   pre pre internet, like in my college days in the nineties or even high school, it was, you'd

02:08:23   call, it was always Ticketmaster, but you could either call like when a big concert was coming

02:08:27   to town and you call, they'd tell you what time to start calling.

02:08:30   And of course, what do you hear?

02:08:31   A busy signal, right?

02:08:33   And you keep dialing, keep redialing until you get through or you go somewhere and get in line.

02:08:37   And it was actually really close to Drexel's campus where the, well, they're probably at

02:08:41   Ticketmaster locations all over the city, but it was like right next to a Chili's over on like

02:08:46   38th street.

02:08:47   Anybody who went to Penn or Drexel in the nineties or eighties knows exactly where it was.

02:08:52   And you know, you'd go, you'd, you know, they, you'd know what time it was and you'd make it,

02:08:56   it was like getting in line for a WWDC keynote or anything like that with fans.

02:09:00   Right.

02:09:00   And you go and, you know, you know, you make a decision how much earlier than if they're going on

02:09:04   sale at 9 a.m., how early do you want to wake up and get in line?

02:09:07   But when you did get in line, you know, you kept your place in line.

02:09:11   And when you got to the front of the line, whatever the best available tickets were, were there

02:09:15   for you to get and you'd get them, you know, and, and if you really, you know, so the rule of

02:09:21   thumb back then for me was do it on the phone if you don't really care, but if you definitely want

02:09:27   to go, go get yourself in person.

02:09:29   Yeah.

02:09:29   Right.

02:09:30   I would just stay up all night and rather than risk it, but I remember doing it, staying up all

02:09:35   night so they could go get in line and getting in line for concert tickets, but at least you

02:09:39   freaking got them.

02:09:40   Like that's the madness of this.

02:09:42   Yeah, I've almost exclusively bought them online, but I do remember when Madonna toured in 2001

02:09:49   and it was her first tour in a really long time.

02:09:52   I was in high school and I was able, and it was towards the end of the year and I was able to like

02:09:58   convince my teachers to let me out early, like, like it was in the morning and I was able to

02:10:04   basically convince them to let me skip class so I could go to the grocery store where there was a

02:10:08   ticket master thing and get in and be in line so I could buy Madonna tickets at 8 a.m.

02:10:12   or whatever time they went on.

02:10:13   So.

02:10:13   Christina the charmer.

02:10:15   Yeah, basically.

02:10:16   I always taught.

02:10:17   I was one of my lessons to Jonas was the number one advice from me to you for being a student.

02:10:22   Get in good with your teachers.

02:10:24   You can never beat it.

02:10:28   No, you can't know when I was.

02:10:29   I was like, I was like, you know, and they were in there, you know, I'm like, I'm like 16 or 17 and

02:10:32   I've they were just like, fine, you can do it.

02:10:35   I was like, I promise I will make up the work or this or that.

02:10:38   I was like, I'll bring you coffee.

02:10:39   I'll bring you whatever, but I have to get these tickets.

02:10:41   Well, anyway, I'm glad you've kind of made sense out of this whole.

02:10:45   So I could see why this is big news and I am very glad I do not have teenagers who want to go to

02:10:51   the to this tour.

02:10:53   I don't know what the long term solution is.

02:10:54   I don't know.

02:10:55   I personally have seen it's I feel like the Vegas residency is one way out of this.

02:11:01   I don't think I mean, she's too big, Taylor, but she's too big.

02:11:04   This is the problem.

02:11:05   That's like the only other way she could do this.

02:11:08   Like if people have said, oh, well, you know, Garth Brooks, he just adds another show until he

02:11:11   sells out with her again.

02:11:13   You can't do it like so she's touring between in the US anyway.

02:11:17   She she hasn't announced her international dates between March and August.

02:11:21   Those are the only dates she can tour in the United States at stadiums.

02:11:24   When you're filling state when you're filling stadiums, there's nothing else you can do.

02:11:28   No.

02:11:29   And when you're selling out like like multiple night, like she's doing five nights in Los Angeles.

02:11:33   She and she kept adding shows anyway.

02:11:36   Where is she playing?

02:11:37   She's not playing it.

02:11:38   So far, is she?

02:11:39   Or is she?

02:11:39   Yeah.

02:11:39   Yeah.

02:11:40   She's she's playing five shows.

02:11:42   It's a fight.

02:11:42   She originally so far is like 90,000 seats or something like that.

02:11:46   Yeah.

02:11:47   Yeah.

02:11:47   So she was originally supposed to open so far.

02:11:50   So far is opening act was supposed to be her that was supposed to be lover fest.

02:11:53   I had tickets to that.

02:11:53   COVID.

02:11:54   Yeah.

02:11:54   Yeah.

02:11:55   Yeah.

02:11:56   So she's she's doing so far.

02:11:57   She's doing three shows at MetLife.

02:11:59   She's doing several and it's crazy.

02:12:01   We're talking.

02:12:02   I mean, so like for Los Angeles, I mean, I'm just doing some ballpark math in my head.

02:12:06   But I don't know how many you know, but it easily could be 400,000 tickets just for Los Angeles.

02:12:11   Absolutely.

02:12:12   Right.

02:12:12   Absolutely.

02:12:13   Easy.

02:12:13   Yeah.

02:12:13   So we're talking, you know, there's a and again, you can't, you know, I think that the Caesars well, MGM has a big arena.

02:12:20   But those like you said for Adele, it's like three or 4000 seats.

02:12:24   Exactly.

02:12:25   The math doesn't work out or I mean,

02:12:27   the only way she could, I think the only thing would help with her would just be adding more shows like if she did do and this is the hard thing to write like she wants to make music.

02:12:36   So if you don't want to tour the whole time, like you too, who has the highest grossing tour of all time, if you account for inflation or whatever, I think Ed Sheeran technically beats him now.

02:12:45   But Ed didn't do stadiums.

02:12:47   You two did only stadiums.

02:12:48   They did that 360 tour for two years and they had two US legs and they didn't they still didn't do as many US shows as she's doing just for this tour.

02:13:00   So yeah, I don't I think though a lot of it is we love to blame bots and bots are definitely part of the problem.

02:13:08   But I do think hopefully my hope is that a lot of it was just a lot of opportunist normal people who put a bunch of tickets on their credit cards and will hopefully have to sell them at closer to face value.

02:13:20   Hopefully, yeah, it's sort of as a feel of crypto or any of these scams, right?

02:13:24   But it's like anybody if anybody who thinks they've got a recipe for a quick buck, but that involves upcharging innocent people downstream, I have no sympathy for.

02:13:33   Same and my only hope the reason I'm a little bit hopeful about this is I watched what happened to the sneaker market and it's basically like dropped.

02:13:41   You have a lot of people who spent a ton of money speculatively buying sneakers thinking that they could resell them for ridiculous prices and now they can't and they're stuck with inventory and having to and then the problem is when you sell through these services, the services get a ton of the fees.

02:13:56   So it's kind of like selling something on eBay and you have to realize, oh, how much do I have to sell this for to even make my money back?

02:14:02   So that's my hope.

02:14:04   Thank you for explaining it.

02:14:06   Happy Thanksgiving to you.

02:14:08   Thanksgiving to you and your friends.

02:14:10   Thank you for making time to do the show.

02:14:12   I'm glad this worked out.

02:14:13   What a delightful discussion.

02:14:14   Everybody can well, at least as we record, they can still follow you on Twitter.

02:14:20   You're at Film Girl with an underscore.

02:14:23   Film underscore girl.

02:14:25   That's right.

02:14:25   Film underscore girl on Twitter, which is a website that I swear to God as I record still is up and running and exists and probably will be, but we'll see.

02:14:34   I want to thank our sponsors for this episode.

02:14:36   All of them.

02:14:37   Excellent.

02:14:37   Really.

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02:14:59   Thank you, Christina.

02:15:01   Thank you, John.