The Talk Show

340: ‘Billionaires Have Beefs’, With Tom Watson and Daniel Agee


00:00:00   Hey, welcome to the talk show.

00:00:01   I have a very special episode with two first time guests, two of the people who

00:00:06   have started the new photo sharing site, Glass.

00:00:09   I have Tom Watson and Daniel Agee.

00:00:12   And before I get to them, I want to tell you about our first sponsor,

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00:01:59   Now onto the show with welcome Tom Watson and Daniel Agee.

00:02:04   Say hello.

00:02:07   Great to be here.

00:02:08   Nice to-- I was listening to your intro and thinking, man,

00:02:12   I guess we need to get on Squarespace.

00:02:14   That's something we need to do, apparently.

00:02:16   So you just have so much enthusiasm for it.

00:02:18   We need member areas.

00:02:20   Yeah.

00:02:23   For those who don't know, I linked to Glass back in August

00:02:28   when you guys launched.

00:02:29   I believe that's--

00:02:30   I think that's right when you launched publicly.

00:02:32   But tell people--

00:02:33   It was, yeah.

00:02:34   And the website, let's just get it out of the way for people who are curious

00:02:37   and want to start looking at it as we talk,

00:02:39   is at glass.photo, which is one of the coolest

00:02:44   ways of using these new modern TLDs for domains.

00:02:49   Pretty good URL.

00:02:51   Tell people what Glass is.

00:02:52   I'll start.

00:02:53   Why not?

00:02:53   So Glass is a photo sharing app for photography enthusiasts.

00:02:57   It's simple.

00:02:58   It's great.

00:02:59   It's straightforward.

00:03:00   And it's a member-driven community.

00:03:02   So instead of people signing up for a product

00:03:06   and just becoming the product through whatever means, ads, whatnot,

00:03:11   you just sign up.

00:03:12   You have a monthly membership fee.

00:03:15   And you get to be part of a wonderful photography community.

00:03:17   It's pretty straightforward.

00:03:19   It seems novel in 2022.

00:03:23   But to us, it seems very obvious and straightforward.

00:03:25   I don't think there's much more to it than that.

00:03:28   Daniel, maybe you have a fancier marketing spin on that one.

00:03:31   But I think it's really as simple as that.

00:03:33   Do you remember Flickr back in the day?

00:03:35   What if you paid for it?

00:03:36   It didn't get sold to Yahoo.

00:03:38   And there were users actively using it and a team behind it actively

00:03:44   developing it and increasing its use.

00:03:48   The features are coming out every month instead of every three years.

00:03:52   And we don't track anything at all.

00:03:55   As the head of marketing for Glass, that makes my job very hard.

00:03:59   I hate it.

00:04:00   But it's how things should be.

00:04:02   It's not a novel concept to just pay money for a service.

00:04:07   And yet here we are, 2022, paying for a service.

00:04:12   I know it almost sounds trite to describe Glass even more basically.

00:04:20   But I think it's important and fascinating to me.

00:04:25   If you have a Glass account--

00:04:27   I do-- @Gruber on Glass.

00:04:29   And when I decide to add a photo, I just pick a photo.

00:04:34   I post a photo.

00:04:35   I can write the first caption to describe what it is.

00:04:39   And then I post it.

00:04:40   And then for people who have chosen other fellow Glass users who

00:04:45   have chosen to follow me, they get on their first tab of their Glass app,

00:04:51   they get a chronological feed of the photos posted

00:04:55   by the people whom they choose to follow.

00:04:59   And there are other features.

00:05:02   But at a very high level, that's it.

00:05:05   What's going to pop into people's minds when I describe that,

00:05:07   they're going to say, that sounds like the original Instagram.

00:05:11   Instagram, it's the elephant in the room when we talk about Glass.

00:05:15   You can't not talk about Instagram, or at least Instagram of 2011.

00:05:22   Yeah, I mean, we can talk at length about it.

00:05:25   Daniel would love to talk about Instagram more.

00:05:28   I mean, I think we--

00:05:31   when I set out to do Glass, I've been talking to Daniel about Glass

00:05:35   since 2013, is that right, Daniel?

00:05:39   I'm trying to--

00:05:40   Yeah, it's been almost nine years this April.

00:05:43   Yeah.

00:05:44   And I was working at Facebook when we bought Glass.

00:05:48   When I was there, we Facebook bought Glass.

00:05:50   Or not Glass, sorry.

00:05:51   Instagram.

00:05:52   Wow, that was just terrible.

00:05:53   Yeah, when they bought Instagram.

00:05:54   Because that would be a terrible thing.

00:05:55   I do not want to get bought by anyone, to be clear.

00:05:58   But I was watching that and thinking, wow, I remember what happened with Flickr.

00:06:02   And what would become--

00:06:06   like what Instagram would become.

00:06:07   And I just didn't want to see that happen.

00:06:10   But it was inevitable.

00:06:10   So I was like, well, how do we make something else?

00:06:12   What could be done?

00:06:13   And so in 2013, I started--

00:06:16   I'm a product designer by trade.

00:06:18   And so I was like, I started making mocks and comps of different ways

00:06:22   to do something really interesting.

00:06:26   And inevitably, things take time.

00:06:28   And I didn't really get around to it, didn't have the right co-founder,

00:06:30   until I found Staphon, who's not on this.

00:06:33   But he's our-- the engineering co-founder does all the back end work for Glass.

00:06:37   And it just-- he was excited about it.

00:06:40   And Daniel obviously wanted to get involved.

00:06:42   But as like head of marketing community, we needed to build the thing first.

00:06:47   And it just kind of spiraled from there.

00:06:49   And yeah, sure, there's Instagram.

00:06:50   And it's a whole thing.

00:06:52   But maybe yet, I guess what you're saying, John, when you were talking about it,

00:06:55   is that Instagram of 2011, 2012.

00:06:58   And yes, there's definitely some interest there.

00:07:00   But there's the community that we want to create.

00:07:03   And that's like Flickr circa 2007, 2008 maybe,

00:07:10   where we felt like there was really a golden age of photographers coming

00:07:14   together and really being positive towards each other in their work online.

00:07:19   And we felt like we needed to do a different model with it.

00:07:22   And that model had to be not taking on venture capital,

00:07:26   not trying to go to the moon, but really just building an indie product that is

00:07:31   focused on this one community and to build it as big as we can to support

00:07:36   the efforts that we want to do.

00:07:38   Yeah, photographers have had a pretty raw deal on the internet.

00:07:42   Multiple times they have been the driving creative factor behind a platform.

00:07:47   And then they scale that platform because of their work.

00:07:51   And then that platform pivots to video or to full screen video

00:07:56   or to become a shopping app or to track every single thing you do across the internet

00:08:01   or to give teens eating disorders or to--

00:08:03   that's not what photographers want.

00:08:05   That's not what users want.

00:08:07   That's not what people want.

00:08:08   We just want to be able to connect with people we care about

00:08:12   and whose work inspires us on the internet.

00:08:14   And that shouldn't be this hard in 2022.

00:08:19   The path for Instagram, from what it originally was,

00:08:24   which was a lot like the description of Glass today, where you just--

00:08:28   you as a user pick photos, still photos to share.

00:08:32   And the people who choose to follow you see them in chronological order.

00:08:36   And you yourself see in your feed the photos

00:08:40   in chronological order of the people you chose to follow.

00:08:44   The path from there to what Instagram is today,

00:08:48   or even within just a few years of what it became--

00:08:55   I've been critical.

00:08:56   I think I'm pretty well known at this time as a pretty vocal critic

00:09:00   of Facebook for a lot of reasons.

00:09:02   Just a little bit, John.

00:09:03   Just a tiny bit.

00:09:04   But I'm going to try to be a little diplomatic here.

00:09:07   Because in some ways, I'm almost sympathetic to--

00:09:14   not necessarily-- I'm not going to quite say inevitable,

00:09:16   because there's always choices, and that's too much of an excuse.

00:09:19   But given that Instagram was VC-driven and had raised money

00:09:26   and then chose to sell to Facebook, which famously--

00:09:30   I forget exactly what year they sold.

00:09:32   Was it 2013 or thereabouts?

00:09:35   It was 2012.

00:09:36   2012.

00:09:37   It's 2012.

00:09:38   Which was, in hindsight, very early in Instagram's life overall.

00:09:44   But they grew quickly.

00:09:46   They sold for a billion dollars.

00:09:48   And it's almost like the Dr. Evil joke in Austin Powers,

00:09:54   where Dr. Evil, who's been frozen for 30 years,

00:09:59   comes up with a mastermind plan to take over the world

00:10:04   and tells the leaders of the world that he wants $1 million.

00:10:09   And everybody laughs, and he's what?

00:10:11   And his henchmen have to tell him that that's just not that much money

00:10:15   anymore, because it was--

00:10:18   the consensus was an awful lot of pundits looked at Facebook

00:10:24   buying Instagram for $1 billion as the height of folly.

00:10:29   And in hindsight now, it is seen as one of the great acquisition

00:10:34   bargains of all time, right?

00:10:37   Like, whatever Instagram--

00:10:38   It ranks right up there with YouTube.

00:10:40   It's right up there with YouTube.

00:10:41   YouTube or Apple buying Next, which

00:10:44   is different, because it was more of a cult.

00:10:47   Absolutely.

00:10:47   It's up there as a famously prescient acquisition.

00:10:50   When they bought WhatsApp a few years later,

00:10:53   I think it was $50 billion.

00:10:55   And I don't know if WhatsApp is worth more than Instagram,

00:10:59   but it certainly isn't worth 50 times more.

00:11:02   And it just shows--

00:11:03   it's just the changing times.

00:11:05   But these are crazy numbers, right?

00:11:07   Like, I'm not-- as a normal person, I just don't even get $50 billion.

00:11:14   It's mind-boggling.

00:11:15   You just lose track of how much money that is.

00:11:18   But given it-- to me, it's almost inevitable

00:11:22   that given the sums of money that are involved

00:11:24   and the intentions that Facebook might have had,

00:11:27   even if in some alternate universe,

00:11:30   Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion

00:11:33   and in the subsequent years had guided it in a way

00:11:38   that, for lack of a better focus group, the three of us

00:11:42   would have found more appealing, it still would have gone somewhat

00:11:46   in this direction.

00:11:47   I think it was inevitable for Facebook to steer it in a way

00:11:52   where engagement was a higher priority

00:11:56   than other positive descriptions of Instagram, of your--

00:12:02   do you agree or disagree?

00:12:04   I agree in a lot of ways.

00:12:06   I think Facebook's focus is entirely on growth.

00:12:10   Like, it needs to grow.

00:12:11   It's all about-- it's venture capital, growth at all cost,

00:12:15   expansion.

00:12:16   That's, like, incredibly important to its business

00:12:20   and its model.

00:12:20   And that's why it's focused on--

00:12:23   it's shifting its-- every product decision gets focused

00:12:27   through that lens.

00:12:28   And that involves engagement.

00:12:29   You know, right now, it's focused heavily

00:12:31   on YouTube and TikTok, because that's where the growth is.

00:12:34   And it sees those as competitors.

00:12:36   And so they need to focus their efforts on that,

00:12:39   and not necessarily on the photographers that started it,

00:12:42   for example.

00:12:43   That's not a critical group anymore.

00:12:47   I mean, the photos are great, and they want to share them.

00:12:51   But now video is more engaging, and TikTok's algorithms

00:12:54   are more engaging.

00:12:55   And so they need to focus that direction.

00:12:58   And with Glass, we needed to focus

00:13:01   on a different direction, which just so happened

00:13:04   to be a neglected group of people.

00:13:05   And they're very unhappy with Instagram, which is great.

00:13:08   It's great for us, because there's

00:13:10   an audience that wants to come check us out and see

00:13:12   what we're up to.

00:13:13   But I think that's where the lens is.

00:13:15   I mean, Daniel, wouldn't you agree?

00:13:19   Yeah, sure.

00:13:19   I think--


00:13:22   I feel bad talking about Instagram in this way,

00:13:24   when what we're really talking about

00:13:26   is how we funded this version of the internet.

00:13:29   Like, the wonderful, beautiful internet

00:13:34   doesn't really exist anymore.

00:13:35   And when it does, it's hard to come by.

00:13:38   Like, it's hard to find a newsletter.

00:13:40   And you can track it back to Google killing Google Reader.

00:13:44   You can track it back to Facebook harvesting data,

00:13:48   lying to newsrooms, and having--

00:13:54   like, inflating their video numbers so everyone pivoted

00:13:56   to a thing that didn't exist.

00:13:59   And we had mass layoffs.

00:14:01   You can point it to Sinclair buying up

00:14:05   every single newspaper and TV station in America.

00:14:09   Like, there are so many decisions

00:14:11   that were made along the way that

00:14:12   has made funding something on the internet pretty terrible.

00:14:17   Like, it requires you selling a big piece of your company

00:14:21   to people that just want you to grow, grow, grow,

00:14:23   want your data so they can sell it

00:14:25   to their other investments.

00:14:26   Like, the onslaught of information

00:14:31   on how to build a company for a founder

00:14:33   is pretty dire right now, right?

00:14:36   And the people that you are building for

00:14:38   end up being your investors and not

00:14:40   the people who use your product, not your members,

00:14:42   not your community.

00:14:44   And you just lose so much soul and joy

00:14:49   on what the internet used to be.

00:14:51   And I feel like the Simpsons old man yells at Cloud

00:14:56   in my mid-early 30s.

00:15:00   But like, god, I miss the old internet so much.

00:15:03   And so far, the only places that I've seen it easily replicated

00:15:08   is in paid communities.

00:15:11   Because when you're paying to be a part of something,

00:15:14   you care more, right?

00:15:15   Like, we've been around just over six months now.

00:15:19   We launched in the middle of August.

00:15:22   So we're at six and a half months.

00:15:24   In that six and a half months, we've

00:15:25   had to remove three spam accounts and one

00:15:31   abusive comment on Glass, right?

00:15:34   Like, we have thousands and thousands of users.

00:15:37   We have thousands and thousands of posts.

00:15:39   We have tens of thousands of comments.

00:15:41   And we've had to remove a handful.

00:15:43   Like, I can still count on both hands how many posts or comments

00:15:48   we've had to remove.

00:15:50   And like, that's huge.

00:15:51   That is like such a mind-boggling number to me

00:15:57   that it has stayed this small.

00:15:58   And it's because we have things like a community

00:16:01   code of conduct.

00:16:01   We have a very direct, no hate speech and no white supremacy

00:16:09   on the platform.

00:16:11   We have a paid service.

00:16:13   We use Apple ID only.

00:16:14   So that means it's your name.

00:16:16   And if you get banned, you can't just

00:16:18   go create another Apple ID that's tied to your name

00:16:20   and come on in.

00:16:22   And those things matter.

00:16:25   It just pays off.

00:16:26   And so there's-- you find joy like that

00:16:29   when you're subscribing to certain people's sub stacks.

00:16:32   And you can find a community in the discussion threads

00:16:35   that people write on sub stack.

00:16:37   You can find it in weird little newsletters,

00:16:39   weird little internet.

00:16:40   But it's so hard to find that sense of joy

00:16:44   because engagement algorithms are fueled by the opposite.

00:16:48   They're fueled by anger and rage and otherism and racism.

00:16:53   And then we just end up here.

00:16:57   God, that's sad.

00:17:00   One of my obsessions with everything is--

00:17:04   it's been this way.

00:17:05   It's just the way my brain is wired.

00:17:06   But I've always been sort of obsessed with form, especially

00:17:11   of media.

00:17:13   And I think it's easy to get lost.

00:17:17   And you just sort of stop thinking about it

00:17:21   because you get used to it.

00:17:22   And it's one of those many ways that the whole internet getting

00:17:27   worse has been a slow boiling frog thing.

00:17:30   And now we're all just like, well,

00:17:32   it's fine that we're sitting in boiling water.

00:17:34   But it's a fundamental difference with--

00:17:38   and people complain endlessly about certainly Instagram,

00:17:43   Twitter, just about anything going away

00:17:46   from chronological feeds to algorithm-generated feeds.

00:17:52   And it's like people say that.

00:17:55   And you know what they mean.

00:17:57   And it's just sort of-- it comes across as sort of, well,

00:18:00   wah wah, you're old.

00:18:02   If you're talking about chronological feeds,

00:18:04   you're old and you're complaining

00:18:05   about a world that's passed us by.

00:18:08   But if you stop and pause and think about it, to me,

00:18:11   as an experience, thinking about it

00:18:13   as a person who's used these things,

00:18:15   the experience of using something

00:18:18   with a chronological feed versus an infinite feed generated

00:18:22   by algorithms is way more profound than you would think,

00:18:30   given how much people talk about it.

00:18:32   Because to me, the defining characteristic

00:18:35   of a chronological feed for something like a photo sharing

00:18:40   site like Glass is now--

00:18:42   and I think about Instagram all the time

00:18:45   while I'm using Glass for this reason, which is that I think,

00:18:49   hey, let me check Glass today.

00:18:50   And I open the app, and I go to my feed, and new photos come in,

00:18:55   and I start looking at them.

00:18:57   And I scroll down, and I don't follow--

00:18:59   I don't know, I'm not quite sure how many people I follow,

00:19:01   but it's probably a few dozen.

00:19:04   It's not many.

00:19:05   And then within a very short amount of time,

00:19:08   I get to one from yesterday or the day before,

00:19:12   a photo that I had seen before.

00:19:15   And as soon as I recognize it, oh, I've

00:19:17   seen that one from so-and-so.

00:19:19   Then I know with certainty I'm caught up.

00:19:24   That's it.

00:19:25   I'm done.

00:19:25   And I can leave Glass and wait to come back in a day or two

00:19:31   when I'm interested in knowing if there's no photos.

00:19:34   And my mind is--

00:19:37   it's that feeling of checking an item off a checklist.

00:19:43   It's satisfying to so many people.

00:19:45   Even if you've got four errands to run,

00:19:48   I find it so satisfying to write them down, one, two, three,

00:19:51   four, and go out.

00:19:53   And as I'm doing them, cross them off.

00:19:56   And it's like with an infinite feed, you never catch up.

00:20:01   And I think it's like the human mind is just not hooked up

00:20:06   to deal with that.

00:20:06   It is a very strange thing that you now never

00:20:11   get to the end of your Instagram or Twitter feed.

00:20:14   There's never an end.

00:20:15   No matter how far you scroll, more things load.

00:20:19   And I honestly think that the infinite scroll

00:20:23   is more pernicious to the human psyche than we talk about.

00:20:31   I'm curious what you guys think about that.

00:20:33   How do you feel?

00:20:34   Well, I mean, going back to opening up

00:20:37   Glass versus Instagram, how do you feel when you're doing it?

00:20:42   One of the things that Tom spent a lot of time on

00:20:45   was the main feed design.

00:20:47   We don't have any names.

00:20:49   Everything's hidden behind gestures.

00:20:51   You have to tap in to see more information and to comment.

00:20:54   You have to tap in to use our version of a Like button.

00:20:58   So to use the product, you have to be a little bit more

00:21:02   intentional than you normally would when you're just

00:21:04   scrolling, double tapping, scrolling, double tapping,

00:21:06   scrolling forever until you're dead.

00:21:10   So how does that feel for you?

00:21:12   How does your brain feel as you're checking off that list

00:21:15   and in the actual activity?

00:21:17   Because that's a big thing.

00:21:18   How you feel when you're using Glass is so notably, for me,

00:21:23   calmer.

00:21:25   It's calmer.

00:21:26   It feels better.

00:21:27   It doesn't feel like your brain is on fire,

00:21:29   like opening up Twitter or Instagram does.

00:21:31   There's just nice things looking at you.

00:21:36   I'm not trying to be sold a linen jacket

00:21:39   or a piece of furniture or some faceless thing coming

00:21:43   from an Amazon store.

00:21:45   I'm just enjoying a photo.

00:21:47   Tom?

00:21:50   Yeah, I mean, I was going to jump in and say,

00:21:52   there's a lot of that.

00:21:52   I mean, the chronological feed, I was at Facebook when--

00:21:58   it's funny-- Adam Mosseri, who's now the head of Instagram,

00:22:01   was working on the--

00:22:04   was called Most Recent and Picked For You,

00:22:07   I believe is what it was.

00:22:08   And there was a switch between it and the design

00:22:11   to tie yourself in knots to try to have the default be

00:22:16   the algorithmic feed, but still allow people

00:22:18   to get to that chronological feed.

00:22:19   The issue is it's just less engaging.

00:22:22   And the nice part about having a different set of priorities

00:22:25   or Glass is that we don't have to have you always on it hooked

00:22:31   and constantly coming back to this infinite feed.

00:22:35   But we just want you to feel good.

00:22:37   We want you to--

00:22:38   it's not about getting eyes for advertisers.

00:22:41   It's about making you feel good about the product

00:22:44   and then listening to our customers and our members

00:22:47   and then doing and building a better product for them.

00:22:50   And it took a long time to get to this point

00:22:52   because we launched six months ago,

00:22:55   but we've been working on Glass since 2019.

00:22:58   It was the end of 2019.

00:22:59   It's almost-- I almost want to call it like a pandemic app

00:23:02   because we started kind of more in earnest

00:23:05   as the pandemic happened.

00:23:07   But we've just been working on it those nights and weekends

00:23:09   and on the side until we could really get to this point.

00:23:12   And it just-- it gives us that freedom to do these things

00:23:16   and to have a different set of priorities.

00:23:18   And it lets us prioritize things like the algorithmic feed.

00:23:21   It lets us prioritize your photos, like higher resolution,

00:23:24   better quality photos, because we have the membership.

00:23:29   We can have a feed that's calm like that.

00:23:31   And we can-- so much of--

00:23:34   I think a member posted on Twitter

00:23:37   like a comparison between the Instagram photo and then

00:23:41   a Glass, what it looks like on Glass.

00:23:43   And I commented like, oh, well, there's not--

00:23:45   there's not room for all these engaging buttons.

00:23:47   And they need those buttons.

00:23:48   And they need the light counts.

00:23:50   They need all that stuff in order to keep the system going.

00:23:53   I've worked on these platforms for many years.

00:23:57   After Facebook, I went to Pinterest.

00:23:59   And it's-- you see these--

00:24:02   I know that the tension is there.

00:24:03   I mean, people want to make great products

00:24:05   with these companies.

00:24:06   It's not that.

00:24:07   It's just the way the model works

00:24:08   and the way the business works.

00:24:10   But you need to have those things.

00:24:11   And so trying something with a different business model

00:24:13   allows us the freedom to do these things, which have

00:24:16   a different set of priorities.

00:24:17   Just to go back to the infinite feed, right?

00:24:24   And in traditional media, if it's print, it's impossible,

00:24:29   right?

00:24:30   It's literally physically impossible to buy

00:24:33   a magazine that never ends, right?

00:24:35   So if you-- let's say you're hopping on a train

00:24:37   to take a 90-minute ride from Philly to New York.

00:24:41   And I buy a magazine for the trip.

00:24:45   I can flip through the magazine.

00:24:47   And as I flip through page by page,

00:24:49   I spot articles I might want to read and maybe ads

00:24:54   that I want to look at as I flip through.

00:24:56   And then I get to the end of the magazine.

00:24:58   And I know with certainty I'm done.

00:25:00   And I can throw the magazine away.

00:25:04   And that's it.

00:25:05   TV was sort of the first infinite feed, especially

00:25:08   cable.

00:25:09   And it's like we can talk about the way

00:25:12   that, at least when I was young, how odd it sounds in hindsight

00:25:17   that most people only had like 10 channels.

00:25:22   And they would sign off at 1 in the morning

00:25:26   and play the national anthem.

00:25:27   And then they'd just broadcast static

00:25:29   until they started up with the local news at 6 in the morning

00:25:32   or something like that.

00:25:34   But cable runs 24 hours a day.

00:25:37   And when you think about the fact

00:25:40   that what they really want after you've watched

00:25:44   some show on CNN or any channel at 8 o'clock PM and at 830,

00:25:51   that show is over, the way they deal

00:25:54   with the transition to the next show

00:25:55   is always something to sort of keep you watching.

00:26:00   The hope is we'll give you some sort of--

00:26:03   if it's like live talking heads on a sports or news channel,

00:26:06   the two hosts talk to each other briefly as they hand off

00:26:10   from one show to another.

00:26:11   And if you think about are the programmers and producers

00:26:15   and directors of these shows trying

00:26:17   to get people who tuned in to the 8 o'clock show

00:26:19   to keep watching, please, please, please

00:26:21   watch the 830 show.

00:26:22   And then at 9 o'clock, they're going

00:26:23   to do the same thing for the next show.

00:26:25   TV is sort of an infinite feed.

00:26:28   And everybody knows other people who are--

00:26:32   they just like to have TV on in the background.

00:26:35   I'm the opposite.

00:26:36   I can't concentrate with the TV on at all.

00:26:40   But I get it.

00:26:41   Some people just like the background noise.

00:26:43   Everybody knows somebody in their family

00:26:44   who just leaves their favorite TV news channel

00:26:47   on in the background all day long.

00:26:51   But it's also limited in a way that the internet isn't,

00:26:56   where it's such a passive medium.

00:27:00   In Marshall McLuhan's famous words, TV is--

00:27:02   I think he describes it as cool, not warm,

00:27:05   because everybody sort of zombies out.

00:27:07   Whereas social media, you drive it.

00:27:09   You're the one whose thumb is on the screen doing the scrolling.

00:27:14   Nobody talks about doom watching TV.

00:27:20   It's doom scrolling Twitter and Instagram

00:27:23   and et cetera when things are bad.

00:27:26   And it all comes down to the limiting issue.

00:27:30   And it's obvious, but I really think it's worth delving into.

00:27:35   That the commodity that everybody is fighting over

00:27:39   and has long been fighting over because it's clearly limited

00:27:44   is human attention in the aggregate.

00:27:49   And you wind up with two different extremes.

00:27:53   And they're so different, I think,

00:27:56   where Instagram at this point is clearly

00:27:59   trying to take up absolutely as much of each user's time

00:28:04   each day as possible.

00:28:06   Keep them looking at Instagram for as long as they can

00:28:11   with the most interactions, likes on photos and comments.

00:28:15   And as Tom, I believe, just said, all the various buttons

00:28:21   underneath.

00:28:22   A lot of buttons.

00:28:23   A lot of buttons.

00:28:24   And watch some stories.

00:28:27   And please now, please, please, oh my god, watch some reels.

00:28:31   Can we pay you to make a reel?

00:28:34   And the opposite with something like Glass--

00:28:37   and again, it's literally the format

00:28:40   of my site, Daring Fireball, which

00:28:42   is chronologically ordered.

00:28:44   And if you read it either by RSS or by visiting

00:28:48   daringfireball.net's home page on the internet,

00:28:52   you can start scrolling down.

00:28:54   And when you first encounter a post

00:28:56   that you remember having read already, you know you're done.

00:28:59   There's nothing else there.

00:29:00   I don't put anything else there to say more like this.

00:29:05   And when you scroll to the bottom,

00:29:06   it doesn't just load more content.

00:29:08   And it doesn't direct you to other sites.

00:29:11   It is sort of a-- like my hyper focus on my readers' attention

00:29:18   is to value it so much, but not because I

00:29:20   want to take it from them, but because I

00:29:23   want them to feel like every second that they've

00:29:27   been kind enough to pay to me by coming to my website,

00:29:31   I would like to make sure they don't spend any more

00:29:35   time than they wanted to.

00:29:38   Exactly.

00:29:39   Yeah.

00:29:41   And like, man, weird--

00:29:43   it's like-- it feels like such a moral and ethical decision,

00:29:48   but it's also a business decision, right?

00:29:50   Like you and Glass are leaving so much money on the table.

00:29:55   Don't tell--

00:29:56   We could-- no, like there's a--

00:29:59   I know.

00:30:00   Don't tell my wife, though.

00:30:03   Right, exactly.

00:30:04   Like we got to keep this a secret.

00:30:06   There's so much more money in algorithms and just

00:30:10   endless advertising, but it feels bad.

00:30:13   And would you have the audience that you have today?

00:30:16   If that existed, no.

00:30:17   Would you have a bigger bank account?

00:30:19   Probably.

00:30:20   But is that trade-off worth it?

00:30:21   Once you reach a sustainable level,

00:30:24   it's like, what's the point of this?

00:30:25   Why am I doing this?

00:30:27   Why are we building this?

00:30:28   Why are we writing this?

00:30:30   And that was a question we had to ask ourselves.

00:30:33   And when it was--

00:30:35   push came to shove.

00:30:35   We care about our users.

00:30:36   We care about photographers, and we

00:30:38   care about how our brains feel when we use our product.

00:30:43   And like that--

00:30:44   I don't know, that matters.

00:30:47   I mean, Jon, I think I've--

00:30:49   I've followed "Daring Fireball" for a long time.

00:30:51   And I think-- Jon, I think you said

00:30:53   you wanted to write "Daring Fireball" for yourself,

00:30:56   I think, right?

00:30:56   You wanted to be--

00:30:59   yeah, like this is who I am.

00:31:01   I'm a Mac nerd.

00:31:02   I love this.

00:31:02   I want to read all about this stuff.

00:31:04   This is who I am.

00:31:06   And I think a lot of what we're trying to do with Glass

00:31:08   is we want to enjoy using this product.

00:31:10   We want to love working on it.

00:31:11   And we want to do it for photographers.

00:31:13   And I'm much better at building products

00:31:15   than I am as a photographer, but I love building products

00:31:19   for photographers.

00:31:20   It's been something I've done a long time.

00:31:22   You even linked to a project I did, I mean, two years ago--

00:31:27   I mean, forever ago, a couple of them.

00:31:29   And I'm thankful for both of them.

00:31:31   But it was just a bit of a passion of mine

00:31:34   to work on this stuff.

00:31:35   And so--

00:31:36   Which was that?

00:31:37   What was the old product I linked to?

00:31:40   I think you told me this before, but I forgot.

00:31:43   No, it's OK.

00:31:44   There's two.

00:31:45   One, this was early.

00:31:47   I was actually living in Japan at the time,

00:31:48   but I worked on a content management system.

00:31:51   And it was one of the first people to use--

00:31:53   it was called Manuscript.

00:31:54   And I used Markdown.

00:31:55   And it was like the Perl script version of it.

00:31:57   And you were like-- it was a PHP content management system.

00:32:00   It was terrible.

00:32:00   No one used it.

00:32:01   But I was young.

00:32:02   And you were like-- you wrote me back.

00:32:04   And you're like, you should really use the PHP version of it.

00:32:08   And I really should have, but whatever.

00:32:10   And then the other one was--

00:32:12   I made this old Flickr importing site

00:32:17   that was a way to buy prints from photographers.

00:32:20   And it was called Level and Tap.

00:32:22   And it was like a print sharing service.

00:32:24   And you could print photos from photographers.

00:32:26   And it was-- it was like 2009.

00:32:28   And I think the other one was maybe 2004.

00:32:31   I mean, I don't remember when you made Markdown.

00:32:33   But these things are forever ago now.

00:32:37   But they've been around the internet a long time building

00:32:40   these things.

00:32:40   And we just wanted to build something we really loved.

00:32:43   And after working at these big companies,

00:32:48   I didn't want to leave the internet without working

00:32:50   on something really, really meaningful to me

00:32:53   and to Daniel and to Staphon and others.

00:32:56   And it's been-- it's resonated.

00:32:58   And it's felt really good.

00:32:59   And we want to keep working on it.

00:33:02   So yeah.

00:33:03   Markdown was early 2004 when I first published it.

00:33:07   But it's funny that you say that.

00:33:08   And I won't go on a long Markdown-related digression.

00:33:11   But one thing when people ask me historically about Markdown

00:33:14   is that it's had a very weird, to me, lifetime popularity

00:33:19   wise, where when I first went public with it,

00:33:22   I was really pretty sure this was a great idea.

00:33:26   Because at least I was so happy because I

00:33:29   had, unbeknownst to the world, been writing everything.

00:33:34   I started doing Fireball in 2002.

00:33:36   Used to format all my posts in HTML.

00:33:39   And I started getting sick of that as I went and started

00:33:43   having these little scripts I wrote

00:33:46   to turn less and less raw HTML into HTML

00:33:50   before I actually posted it.

00:33:52   But then once I posted anything, any edits I had to make,

00:33:56   I was looking, staring at raw HTML source code.

00:33:59   And I thought, this is for the birds.

00:34:02   And secretly behind the scenes, as I was developing Markdown,

00:34:05   I was dogfooding it, meaning I was writing all my posts

00:34:10   in the prototypes of Markdown as it went.

00:34:13   And then every time I'd make a syntax change,

00:34:17   I'd have to go back and edit the last two months of posts

00:34:20   because I changed the rules for what an asterisk meant

00:34:24   or whatever the differences were.

00:34:26   And then three months go by, four months go by,

00:34:29   and it's more and more posts I've

00:34:31   got to edit every time I make a change, but it was worth it.

00:34:33   But by the time I went public, I thought, this is great.

00:34:36   Aaron Swartz, who was my top beta tester and muse and foil

00:34:41   for bouncing these ideas off, was even more enthusiastic

00:34:45   than me.

00:34:46   And as soon as I went public with it,

00:34:47   he sent more promotional things to other websites

00:34:53   saying, John Gruber's launched this thing, Markdown.

00:34:55   It is a fantastic idea.

00:34:57   He was 100% sure this was--

00:35:00   I mean, it's a shame he passed away tragically.

00:35:06   But he would be so happy but also

00:35:08   unsurprised by Markdown's almost absurd popularity today.

00:35:14   But anyway, long story short, the first few years

00:35:16   after I announced it, I was so--

00:35:19   it was sort of crickets chirping.

00:35:21   And it was like, I can't believe this.

00:35:23   I really thought this was going to take off.

00:35:25   And then it did take off, but only years later, maybe

00:35:30   like by--

00:35:30   took like three or four years before it really

00:35:32   started taking off.

00:35:34   And then very, very quickly, it became, in my opinion,

00:35:37   too popular, where it's like, no, no, you

00:35:39   shouldn't be using Markdown.

00:35:40   This is way too nerdy for the users that you're targeting.

00:35:44   You should just have a simple WYSIWYG thing.

00:35:46   Let people hit Command-I and make it italic.

00:35:48   This is too popular.

00:35:51   It was a very strange thing.

00:35:52   So I do remember that.

00:35:53   And in the early years, it was unpopular enough

00:35:56   that somebody could make a site and they were using Markdown.

00:35:59   And I'd find out about it and know about it

00:36:01   and be able to send them a note like, hey,

00:36:04   you should use Michelle--

00:36:05   Mikel Fortin's PHP Markdown.

00:36:07   It would be better for you.

00:36:09   Yep, that was the one.

00:36:11   Yep, I remember it and thinking, oh, yeah, I should do it.

00:36:13   But it was 2004.

00:36:16   So it was-- yeah, it was a long time ago.

00:36:18   Because I remember I was living in Japan in 2003 and 2004.

00:36:21   So yeah, that makes sense.

00:36:22   That makes you a very early adopter and somebody

00:36:25   who recognized it.

00:36:26   So it's great minds think alike.

00:36:28   It's no doubt that I'm such a fan of glass.

00:36:30   We obviously-- our tastes are largely aligned.

00:36:33   All right, let me take a break here

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00:39:04   All right, one of the things I wanted to talk about is you

00:39:07   guys--

00:39:07   you mentioned it before, but one of the--

00:39:11   well, at a higher level, I was going to talk about science.

00:39:13   I didn't sign in with Apple.

00:39:14   But at a higher level, at least right now, on mobile,

00:39:18   Glass is iOS only.

00:39:21   It launched in August solely on iPhone,

00:39:26   although you could run the app on iPad.

00:39:29   And I think about two weeks ago, three weeks ago,

00:39:34   you guys launched the iPad app.

00:39:37   Is that the right timeline?

00:39:38   Two weeks, yeah.

00:39:42   And coincidentally, I'm glad I didn't have you on two weeks

00:39:45   ago.

00:39:46   But as we speak, now you've launched a web version

00:39:50   at glass.photo that you can visit on the desktop.

00:39:53   So right now, it's iPhone, iPad, and web.

00:39:57   And I would love to hear you guys talk about why you

00:40:02   launched, or at least why it's still iOS only,

00:40:04   whether you have plans to keep it iOS only,

00:40:07   and how in the world did you do what seems impossible,

00:40:11   given my experience with certain other products

00:40:14   we've already talked about, to have an iPad?

00:40:17   I thought making an iPad app was impossible.

00:40:22   There's not a lot of users in iPad apps.

00:40:24   That's what I've heard.

00:40:26   That's the word around town.

00:40:27   Not a lot of people use iPads.

00:40:29   They just sell $20 million to nobody every year.

00:40:32   iPad users go to hell.

00:40:34   We don't need you.

00:40:36   We do.

00:40:37   We do need you.

00:40:38   Yeah, so we launched on iOS originally,

00:40:42   instead of Android, for the very obvious reason

00:40:46   of we're iPhone users.

00:40:49   It's not nefarious.

00:40:52   Android cameras are wonderful now.

00:40:55   Google Pixel takes wonderful photos.

00:40:57   But we don't use them.

00:40:59   We use iPhones.

00:41:00   And we needed to build a product for us.

00:41:02   And so we built it on iOS.

00:41:05   The reason we didn't launch with an Android app or an iPad

00:41:08   app was because it's really hard to build an app, y'all.

00:41:12   It is just really hard and complicated.

00:41:16   And so with such a small team, we

00:41:19   had to pick an ecosystem and get started.

00:41:22   So we picked iOS.

00:41:25   And then when we launched with iOS,

00:41:28   it was never going to just be iOS.

00:41:32   iPad was our dream.

00:41:33   I'm an iPad Pro only user.

00:41:37   That's the joy of being in marketing and community.

00:41:41   You don't need to design anything in Figma.

00:41:43   You can just use an iPad for everything.

00:41:46   It is wonderful.

00:41:48   And so every time Tom would send me a new build, I'd be like,

00:41:51   hey, where's our iPad app?

00:41:54   And he's like, it's coming one day.

00:41:56   And then candidly, over Christmas break,

00:41:58   our engineer just sat there and made it for fun.

00:42:02   And that worked out wonderfully.

00:42:07   I mean, we did do quite a bit of design work.

00:42:09   Come on now.

00:42:10   But yeah, you did.

00:42:12   But yeah, and the web is coming.

00:42:15   So we're in the alpha stages.

00:42:16   We sent you an early alpha.

00:42:18   Ah, OK.

00:42:19   Well, have I blabbed?

00:42:20   Do we need to take this out?

00:42:22   Have I blabbed a terrible secret that I wasn't supposed to say?

00:42:25   No, no.

00:42:27   No, no, we've totally announced we're not

00:42:30   quite as important as Apple to keep everything hypersecret

00:42:33   until the release.

00:42:34   We wanted our members to know that the alpha is coming

00:42:36   in.

00:42:37   We were actually testing it with a large number of our members

00:42:40   to get things going.

00:42:41   But yeah, we're hoping to launch in the next month,

00:42:44   I would say.

00:42:45   March would be great, maybe early April depending.

00:42:48   But it's going to be--

00:42:50   things take time.

00:42:51   It's always-- it's a process.

00:42:53   But yeah, I mean, it's been great to get

00:42:56   these multiple platforms out there.

00:42:58   And you mentioned signing with Apple.

00:43:00   Or I mean, I can talk about signing with Apple.

00:43:02   Or we can talk about which other platforms we want to go to.

00:43:05   But yeah, like Daniel covered, we love iPhones and iPads.

00:43:09   And so we made it for that.

00:43:11   And also our members, I mean, that

00:43:14   was the most requested feature when we launched was an iPad

00:43:18   app.

00:43:19   Follow right after with a web experience.

00:43:22   And so we were like, OK, well, that's

00:43:23   what we should be building for everyone.

00:43:25   It's nice and easy.

00:43:26   We have a great-- if you go to feedback.glass.photo,

00:43:29   we all have members.

00:43:30   They leave tons of feedback.

00:43:31   Sean, you've given us great feedback.

00:43:33   It's how we prioritize stuff.

00:43:36   I mean, it's really so simple.

00:43:37   And we talk about it all the time.

00:43:39   But when your customer is the people who are paying you

00:43:42   instead of advertisers, you can make very different product

00:43:44   choices.

00:43:45   It's really simple.

00:43:46   Well, one of the things I'll just say--

00:43:48   I mean, and people can go to your website

00:43:50   and see screenshots and stuff.

00:43:51   But here on the podcast, I'll just describe it.

00:43:54   The iPad version is not just a bigger version

00:43:59   of the iPhone version.

00:44:00   The iPhone version, given the nature of the iPhone

00:44:03   as a small screen that has a very sort of extreme aspect

00:44:07   ratio, is a vertical list of photos

00:44:13   that you scroll down with effectively a one column layout.

00:44:19   Whereas on the iPad, because it's a different screen closer

00:44:23   to square, you guys take advantage of it

00:44:26   by laying out the photos in a grid that fills the screen.

00:44:30   But it's not just a single column.

00:44:32   It is very-- and when you rotate,

00:44:34   you get a different layout because the orientation

00:44:37   is different.

00:44:37   And it's a long way of saying you guys put some really

00:44:42   serious design work into thinking about how would you

00:44:45   lay this out for a bigger screen as opposed to just making

00:44:49   a bigger version.

00:44:50   And we mentioned Adam Masseri at Instagram.

00:44:55   And it's perennial.

00:44:57   It popped up again just this week.

00:44:59   I think it was Marques Brownlee.

00:45:01   Yeah, Marques Brownlee posted a tweet that said, hey, it's 2022

00:45:06   and Instagram still has no iPad app.

00:45:08   And Adam Masseri engaged with him to his credit

00:45:11   right there in public in Twitter and sort of gave

00:45:15   their company line, which is weird, right?

00:45:20   The way Marques posted that is perfect

00:45:23   because they can say what they want about why there's

00:45:27   no iPad version of Instagram in 2022 lo these many years later

00:45:33   at a company that is not running out of money, to say the least.

00:45:40   But part of his thread is, he says, each surface adds overhead.

00:45:45   We support iOS, Android, the web, and Instagram Lite.

00:45:49   And Android is the largest.

00:45:52   Two, TikTok and YouTube are behemoths and it's probably

00:45:57   a word I'm mispronouncing, behemoths.

00:45:59   I don't know how you pronounce it, but I know the word.

00:46:01   Behemoth.

00:46:02   Behemoths, that's right, behemoths.

00:46:04   Where do I know that from a movie?

00:46:05   Oh, Reservoir Dogs, right?

00:46:09   The radio guy uses the word behemoth.

00:46:11   There it is, yes.

00:46:12   Behemoth.

00:46:13   Oh, man, live correction of my pronunciation

00:46:16   right here on the show.

00:46:17   People share more in messages than they do to store your feed

00:46:20   so we need to adapt.

00:46:21   So in two, he's more or less talking about their war

00:46:28   over people's attention with TikTok and YouTube, right?

00:46:31   And there they're already talking about the way

00:46:34   that, for example, Instagram is-- and he's

00:46:36   been clear about this, right?

00:46:38   To his credit, he's been kind of clear.

00:46:41   He said explicitly late last year that Instagram

00:46:44   is no longer a photo sharing site, at least alone, right?

00:46:48   Sharing photos is one of many things that it does.

00:46:50   And number two in his points here

00:46:52   of why they haven't prioritized making an iPad version

00:46:55   is they're too busy fighting with TikTok and YouTube

00:46:59   over people's time for their attention.

00:47:02   And then number three, we are leaner than you think,

00:47:05   meaning, hey, you might think we're huge.

00:47:08   Number three, let's--

00:47:10   I'm going to guess.

00:47:11   Number three is a tough one for me.

00:47:13   Number three is a tough one.

00:47:14   It's a tough one to swallow because I'm just going to--

00:47:17   I'm going to guess that no matter how surprisingly lean

00:47:22   Instagram's iOS development team is,

00:47:25   that it's not as lean as glasses.

00:47:29   Our one.

00:47:30   We got one.

00:47:33   Just won't someone please think of the poor, small, tiny

00:47:37   Instagram up against the behemoths of YouTube

00:47:40   and TikTok, please?

00:47:42   Let's take a moment and think about Instagram.

00:47:44   I am just-- I love how it goes from reasonable and thoughtful

00:47:50   and normal and then like, ooh, now we're

00:47:53   talking about like, ugh, your business model.

00:47:55   And now we're talking about how you're four people in a garage.

00:47:59   Great, guys.

00:48:00   Great.

00:48:00   There's got to be something else.

00:48:07   And I still feel even with as open as Adam Aseri has started

00:48:11   to try to be it seemingly over the last year or so about why

00:48:15   they don't have an iPad app, there's got to be something

00:48:18   else.

00:48:18   And I know I've seen the spitball theory.

00:48:21   And if you want to, maybe it's not a bad guess

00:48:23   to be as cynical as possible about what the explanation is

00:48:28   or what some of the explanations is.

00:48:29   But that there's something something ad tech-wise

00:48:34   where they feel they make more money per minute spent

00:48:37   while people are on their phones than they would on the iPad.

00:48:43   And I don't know-- they're a very data-driven company

00:48:46   famously.

00:48:47   I don't know if you've heard this,

00:48:48   but they collect an awful lot of information about the--

00:48:51   [LAUGHTER]

00:48:53   The interact--

00:48:53   It's news to me.

00:48:56   Every single thing every single person does in their app,

00:48:59   they collect and study and analyze.

00:49:00   But to me, it's almost like they can't quite

00:49:03   know what the difference in usage

00:49:06   is if they had an iPad app because as far as I know,

00:49:09   they've never secretly built an iPad app

00:49:12   and done any kind of A/B testing.

00:49:16   Maybe internally, I don't know.

00:49:18   But it doesn't seem like publicly that's ever happened.

00:49:20   That seems like the sort of thing

00:49:22   that would be all over the web the moment that it came out

00:49:27   for some people.

00:49:28   But they have reason to believe that there's

00:49:31   some reason that they really want people to use Instagram

00:49:36   on their phone and only on their phone as much as possible.

00:49:40   Do you guys think that?

00:49:42   I don't know what that would be, though.

00:49:44   It makes sense that there's some thing they won't say.

00:49:48   But whenever I do think about it--

00:49:50   and I thought about it a lot over the last couple of days

00:49:53   because by coincidence, he just had a Twitter thread talking

00:49:56   about it after Marques brought it up,

00:49:57   and you guys were coming on the show.

00:49:59   But yet, I'm still stuck.

00:50:01   It's like playing Wirtle, and you're on line four,

00:50:04   and you're looking at your first three guesses.

00:50:06   And you're like, well, it must be a word.

00:50:09   But damn if I can think of a word that fits this pattern.

00:50:12   I still can't think of why they don't have some basically

00:50:16   reasonable iPad app.

00:50:18   Do you guys have an idea?

00:50:21   Is there something we're missing?

00:50:24   The thing I heard back in the day,

00:50:26   and I just immediately believed without investigating it

00:50:29   further, is after Facebook bot Instagram,

00:50:35   and Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg had a beef,

00:50:39   he just killed the thing and said,

00:50:41   we're never putting it on iPad.

00:50:42   And now there's just an angry avatar of Zuckerberg's face

00:50:47   anytime someone brings up iPad.

00:50:49   That's the one I heard a decade ago

00:50:52   and believed without looking into it any further.

00:50:55   And that's why we don't have-- it's just personal beef

00:50:57   between billionaires.

00:50:58   Oh, I like that.

00:51:00   Your answer makes way more sense,

00:51:03   but I like the billionaire beef.

00:51:07   Yeah, I mean, mine is much more boring.

00:51:11   I think it's prioritization of resources.

00:51:14   Like Adam's saying, the lean bit is a little rich,

00:51:17   but the parts about them going after the other companies

00:51:20   and the iPad becoming less of a priority

00:51:25   because they put all their team's resources

00:51:28   behind all these new features and all this new stuff

00:51:30   is the most likely scenario.

00:51:33   I worked at Pinterest for almost five years

00:51:36   and was responsible for a lot of the design work,

00:51:39   and we did have an iPad app, and it was incredibly

00:51:42   engaging when I was there.

00:51:44   So people used it a ton.

00:51:46   So I'm not sure why that wouldn't hold up

00:51:49   because it's like it was a very immersive experience,

00:51:52   that product.

00:51:54   But maybe because of the way Instagram's ad columns work

00:51:56   and the way they would have to reconfigure stuff,

00:51:58   it's a lot more work than it seems from the outside.

00:52:00   And those are my best assumptions as to why.

00:52:04   I never heard about the personal billionaire beef theory

00:52:07   that Daniel has when I was there, but it's fun.

00:52:10   It's more than a day.

00:52:11   - It's possible.

00:52:12   Billionaires have beefs.

00:52:13   But it does bring up an interesting point

00:52:16   that I think happens a lot,

00:52:18   especially when we're talking about Instagram,

00:52:20   is that, excuse me, it feels like Instagram

00:52:24   was never allowed to be what it wants to be.

00:52:28   Instagram was built as Instagram,

00:52:31   and it was wonderful for a couple of years,

00:52:32   and then it got bought, and then ads started appearing,

00:52:36   and then Snapchat became a thing, and we had to add stories.

00:52:40   And the product of Instagram and what Instagram

00:52:43   was originally built to do and its obvious product,

00:52:47   Roadmap Forward, were shifted drastically

00:52:50   by the different needs of Facebook

00:52:53   versus what would have made a profitable app

00:52:55   for Instagram on its own.

00:52:57   And so now we have it becoming TikTok,

00:53:01   and we have it, remember Instagram TV

00:53:04   when they put the TV icon where your notification icon was

00:53:08   so you could get your monthly users up for Instagram TV?

00:53:13   It's a shopping app.

00:53:14   It's never been allowed to be what it wants to be,

00:53:17   it feels like, 'cause as a product,

00:53:18   it just wants to be a nice, fun place

00:53:20   to share stuff with friends.

00:53:21   And yet, because of how the business model works

00:53:25   for venture capital backed companies at this scale,

00:53:28   you just need all the data,

00:53:29   and so you just have to make it addictive,

00:53:31   and that's that, right?

00:53:33   And it makes me sad.

00:53:34   Oh God, it's so sad.

00:53:36   - We would talk about this like an earnest internet.

00:53:41   I think Daniel and I, we've had this conversation before,

00:53:43   and it's this like, we don't wanna sound old or fudgy

00:53:48   'cause we think there's a future in it,

00:53:50   and that glasses, our attempt at showing a different way,

00:53:55   making a scalable product like glass,

00:54:00   and even five, six years ago was pretty difficult,

00:54:05   but you know, and Amazon Web Services,

00:54:08   like scalable architecture,

00:54:09   you can do it with a very small and lean team,

00:54:11   and you can do these independent things,

00:54:13   and we could build a better place for all of us

00:54:16   and a more future forward looking place to spend our time.

00:54:20   I think I look back and wasn't wild about my decade spent

00:54:26   building social experiences on the internet,

00:54:29   but that was what I'm good at now.

00:54:31   Like I spent a decade getting good at that,

00:54:33   and I wanted to figure out a way to design a product

00:54:36   that felt really good in that way,

00:54:39   and like to spend time on it,

00:54:40   and you'd feel good when you're done with it.

00:54:43   And so it felt right to take a swing at it,

00:54:47   and Glass is the result of that,

00:54:49   and so that's where, yeah,

00:54:52   a little over two years into building it,

00:54:53   and six months out, we're just, yeah, anyway.

00:54:56   - You guys, I will put it in the show notes,

00:54:59   but somebody, I know, I think it was Daniel,

00:55:01   you mentioned somebody just had a side-by-side comparison

00:55:04   of how photos look in Glass versus Instagram,

00:55:07   and just how much more, they're smaller

00:55:09   because they have to make more room for stuff,

00:55:11   and there's just more extra buttons,

00:55:13   but at least they're still sized right for the device,

00:55:18   and I think they must know this,

00:55:22   but it's like my wife, she loves her iPad Pro.

00:55:26   She still has an old MacBook Pro that she uses

00:55:30   when there's still certain things

00:55:32   that are a little bit better to do on a Mac,

00:55:35   and she'll use the Mac,

00:55:36   she doesn't have a keyboard for her iPad.

00:55:38   She literally only uses her iPad as something

00:55:41   she pecks at on screen,

00:55:43   has no interest in Bluetooth or a keyboard case,

00:55:47   so she has to write a long email, she'll go to her MacBook,

00:55:50   but she loves her iPad, and for day-to-day computing,

00:55:54   it's her primary device,

00:55:56   and she uses Instagram on her iPad.

00:55:59   I see her doing it all the time,

00:56:00   and it's that feature that they've had

00:56:03   ever since they debuted it in 2011, the iPad,

00:56:06   where you can run unchanged iPhone apps on the iPad,

00:56:11   and they either show up as a ridiculous

00:56:14   little iPhone-sized window

00:56:18   surrounded by four-inch black bezels,

00:56:21   or there's always been, from the get-go, still is,

00:56:24   a 2X button that runs at double the size

00:56:27   to sort of resize to fit the aspect ratio of the iPad,

00:56:32   and that's how she, of course,

00:56:34   that's how she runs Instagram,

00:56:36   and I'm not nosy, I don't look over her shoulder much,

00:56:40   but I see her doing it,

00:56:41   and sometimes I see she's on Instagram,

00:56:43   and even with my not-so-great vision as I age,

00:56:48   I can tell just walking past her

00:56:52   how grainy everything is by blowing it up 2X,

00:56:56   and I'm sure, at Instagram scale,

00:56:59   there are, I guess, tens of millions,

00:57:03   but maybe more users who do use Instagram on iPad,

00:57:07   so where I'm going is, no,

00:57:10   they do not have a native Instagram app

00:57:12   designed for the iPad,

00:57:15   but people use Instagram on iPad.

00:57:19   They must know that they do,

00:57:21   and maybe it really is fewer people than we think.

00:57:25   I don't know, but it would drive me bonkers to be there,

00:57:29   and again, I'm trying to be as diplomatic

00:57:32   and as gracious to Instagram in this interview as I can be.

00:57:35   They do care about design, right?

00:57:39   Like, Instagram is not, and it never has been a junky app,

00:57:43   and they have some really interesting interactions.

00:57:47   They still do.

00:57:48   On iOS, they scroll really well,

00:57:51   which is always a hard thing to do.

00:57:53   It drives me, it's always been curious to me.

00:57:56   I use a Pixel 4 for Android testing.

00:58:00   It scrolls way better on iOS than Android,

00:58:02   which I can't, again, like the way that Marques points out

00:58:05   that it's weird that in 2022,

00:58:07   it's still a thing that they don't have an iPad app.

00:58:09   I also find it weird that apps don't scroll as well

00:58:12   in Android in 2022 as they do on iOS,

00:58:16   but they obviously care about things.

00:58:18   That would drive me nuts to know that,

00:58:20   and the other thing, and this is where having Glass on iPad

00:58:25   emphasizes something you know to be true,

00:58:26   but when you see it, it's more profound than you think.

00:58:30   Looking at photos bigger is nicer, right?

00:58:35   When you see, Ohm Malik, I know you guys did an interview,

00:58:39   or Tom, I think, at least, did an interview with Ohm months ago.

00:58:43   He's a great photographer,

00:58:46   and he's really become interested in it,

00:58:48   and he had a photo that was featured, I think, recently

00:58:51   by the Leica social media accounts.

00:58:54   He went on a trip to Antarctica

00:58:55   and just took this beautiful, beautiful photo.

00:58:57   I could look at that one photo of a mountain in Antarctica,

00:59:01   just like when you're walking in a museum

00:59:03   and a certain piece grabs you,

00:59:05   and I think everybody knows this experience

00:59:07   where you're kind of just, ah, nice, nice, nice,

00:59:10   and then a piece grabs you,

00:59:11   and you just stare at it for minutes and minutes.

00:59:15   That's part of the joy of going to a museum.

00:59:18   It's nice to see it on the biggest screen you possibly can,

00:59:21   and the iPad is so much nicer for that than the iPhone.

00:59:26   - It's by far my favorite way to experience it, the glass now.

00:59:30   I mean, it's so immersive, it's so big.

00:59:32   I mean, I guess I'm getting a little biased now

00:59:34   because I have a big iMac sitting next to me

00:59:36   where I'm using the web version,

00:59:37   and you get to see them even bigger.

00:59:39   You know, it's like the bigger the screen,

00:59:40   the more immersive it is.

00:59:42   We have a, we're working on some ways to make it,

00:59:45   you know, you can pinch better

00:59:46   and get it even more immersive,

00:59:48   but the priorities for it, but yeah, it's great,

00:59:51   and you know, we do our best to make the UI

00:59:55   as minimal as possible, get it out of the way.

00:59:57   Photos get like as much pixels as we can possibly give them.

01:00:02   We spend a lot of time like resizing the images

01:00:06   to the proper viewports,

01:00:08   so we, the way we like handle it,

01:00:10   we upload it, we keep the full-size image,

01:00:12   and we scale it appropriately to the viewport,

01:00:14   so you get the highest resolution possible

01:00:17   while maintaining bandwidth costs and storage costs for us,

01:00:20   so like we can handle that stuff,

01:00:22   so it's a lot of like prioritization,

01:00:25   whereas like when you're at a scale that's like of Instagram,

01:00:30   you have to, you can't, you have to optimize the images,

01:00:34   you have to down sample them,

01:00:34   you have to like keep them smaller,

01:00:36   you have to keep the quality lower,

01:00:37   and so we can do a lot of things

01:00:40   that lets you really just experience the photo

01:00:42   in a beautiful way.

01:00:43   - And wouldn't it drive you nuts?

01:00:46   I mean, wasn't it?

01:00:48   I can't help but think this,

01:00:49   and I know that, you know,

01:00:50   I'm not trying to squeeze all of your future plans

01:00:53   for Glass out of you,

01:00:54   I'm trying to respect your ability to keep some stuff secret,

01:00:57   I still feel a little guilty about blabbing

01:01:00   about the web version.

01:01:01   - No, you're fine.

01:01:02   - All right, all right. - No, you're good.

01:01:04   - But didn't having Glass out for a few months

01:01:09   and knowing that people were firing up Glass for iPhone

01:01:14   on their iPad and looking at things in an unoptimized fashion

01:01:17   as somebody, a product designer who cares about the details

01:01:21   and really driven by it.

01:01:23   And you know, it sounds to me like,

01:01:25   long story short, you spent a lot of the last decade

01:01:27   doing product design for, you know,

01:01:30   working at Facebook and then working at Pinterest,

01:01:32   these big, well-known, world-famous, mega social sites

01:01:37   of wouldn't you love to build something for yourself

01:01:43   and let your own personal priorities and tastes

01:01:46   be a higher priority than engagement and ad revenue

01:01:51   and whatever other priorities you could put lower down.

01:01:54   It had to be a little more like, you know,

01:01:56   oh my God, we really, we gotta get this iPad out

01:01:59   because we really want to have people see these things

01:02:04   as beautiful as we can make them.

01:02:06   - Oh, I mean, I designed the very first version of Glass,

01:02:12   both iOS and iPad, like I was the very beginning,

01:02:15   that grid existed from the beginning.

01:02:17   Like I just, I wanted it on the iPad.

01:02:20   We wanted to do it on the iPad and we started building it

01:02:23   and we were like, this is a lot,

01:02:25   we have to do one at a time.

01:02:27   Like we just immediately realized we could build them

01:02:29   in tandem and not have to wait another, you know,

01:02:32   six or nine months to get it out.

01:02:33   And we just thought like, that's a tough call,

01:02:36   but we prioritize it.

01:02:37   And yeah, I mean, of course,

01:02:38   that's why I started Glass in the first place.

01:02:40   It was like, okay, Bennett done these big scale things,

01:02:43   what's next, like, what can I do?

01:02:46   I want to build something beautiful

01:02:48   and I want to have the priorities be different.

01:02:51   And if I take on venture capital and start something

01:02:54   with that in mind, it inevitably leads

01:02:56   to a different outcome.

01:02:57   I even, I talked to Om about it early, you know,

01:03:00   'cause that's what Om does, he's in venture capital

01:03:02   and he's like, don't take anybody.

01:03:03   He was very explicit to us.

01:03:05   'Cause he's like, if you do, it changes the entire dynamic.

01:03:09   Right, like he was really supportive of us early on

01:03:11   and that was great.

01:03:12   He was like an early alpha tester

01:03:13   and gave us lots of feedback.

01:03:16   He's a great photographer, like you said,

01:03:17   and it was just really clear.

01:03:20   And so this was the way in which we could do this

01:03:23   to be entirely member supported.

01:03:25   I remember like upcoming,

01:03:26   you remember the upcoming website, right?

01:03:28   Like, you know, they got bought and then they had to go away

01:03:30   like, you know, and they tried to come back.

01:03:31   - It was Andy Bales.

01:03:33   - Andy Bales things, you know.

01:03:35   - And I forget who he, I know he had a co-founders and.

01:03:39   - Leonard Len.

01:03:40   - Yep, and they built a site where community events

01:03:44   could be posted on a calendar, like conferences.

01:03:46   And it was also at a time when there were more

01:03:50   community events and I'm putting COVID aside,

01:03:52   not even talking about it.

01:03:53   It just seems like, again, maybe it's 'cause I'm old,

01:03:57   but it just seems like too much stuff has become virtual

01:03:59   as opposed to real, but it was up and then Yahoo bought it

01:04:02   and root dot, dot, dot.

01:04:09   - Right, it's step three.

01:04:11   Step three, instead of step.

01:04:13   - That's enough information.

01:04:14   - Instead of step three profit.

01:04:16   - You're good, now we can stop.

01:04:17   - It's step three ruined it.

01:04:19   While we're going down memory lane,

01:04:26   I have it on my list of things to talk about.

01:04:28   Let's get it out.

01:04:28   Let's talk about Flickr and where Flickr,

01:04:32   they're still active.

01:04:34   I don't wanna act, I don't wanna talk about them

01:04:36   in the past tense, I still have an account.

01:04:38   I'm glad they're still around.

01:04:41   And they went through the same Yahoo ringer upcoming did

01:04:45   where they went into Yahoo and things did not go well

01:04:48   and now they're back out of Yahoo.

01:04:50   I think it's SmugMug who bought them

01:04:53   and is running them independently.

01:04:54   And there's some similarities there

01:04:57   where Flickr is not ad-based, I don't think.

01:05:01   I don't know, at least when I log in, I don't see ads.

01:05:04   And they have paid--

01:05:05   - If you're a member, yeah.

01:05:06   - Yeah, they have paid, or at least,

01:05:08   which I am a paid member.

01:05:10   So they were early on that,

01:05:13   hey, what if we monetize by having some users pay?

01:05:18   But the truth is to be, let's just say it,

01:05:22   as a relevant factor in people's day-to-day lives,

01:05:26   Flickr is not what it once was by far

01:05:29   and clearly, Instagram came in and ate their cake on mobile.

01:05:34   Flickr never became a phone thing.

01:05:36   I know they have an app, but it just never became,

01:05:40   to me as a user, it was of the web era of the 2000s,

01:05:47   like the early years of Daring Fireball,

01:05:51   that 2003, four, five, six, seven period of,

01:05:56   when somebody would make a cool new thing,

01:05:59   that cool new thing was a website

01:06:02   and you'd go to flick, you take out a vowel,

01:06:06   get the dot com, and have the hitch be,

01:06:11   this is a thing, oh, this is a place where you can

01:06:15   post photos and then follow your friends

01:06:18   and see their photos, and it's like,

01:06:19   oh, that sounds cool, and then you do it.

01:06:21   But where do you think they got lost?

01:06:24   It's always a bit of a mystery to me

01:06:27   how something that was cool and fun

01:06:30   and never to me made one catastrophic mistake

01:06:34   or went bad in a certain way,

01:06:37   but it just sort of faded out of relevance,

01:06:39   and I'm curious if you guys have any thoughts about that.

01:06:42   - Right, Flickr is, oh, God,

01:06:47   formative years on the internet for me.

01:06:49   It defined my photography style.

01:06:52   I posted in so many stranger groups,

01:06:55   just internet strangers complimenting my work

01:06:57   and telling me where I'm doing things wrong

01:07:00   and where I can do better.

01:07:01   It was wonderful.

01:07:02   It defined me as a photographer.

01:07:05   And the team behind the original Flickr was exceptional.

01:07:10   Heather Champ was their original community leader,

01:07:15   and she coined the term don't be creepy.

01:07:19   Everyone knows that guy, don't be that guy.

01:07:21   As they put that just encoded in their user agreement

01:07:27   from the beginning, and that was a huge inspiration

01:07:31   for our own code of conduct and having

01:07:34   a defined don't be creepy, don't be a white supremacist,

01:07:39   no hate speech, having that ingrained at the beginning,

01:07:42   we launched with account reporting and blocking

01:07:46   so we could know immediately,

01:07:49   and you could delete your account on day one of Glass.

01:07:54   We prioritized those community features,

01:07:55   and it cost us development.

01:07:57   We launched with features that we wanted,

01:08:02   and we launched without features that we wanted

01:08:05   because we knew those were more important.

01:08:07   And so talking about Flickr makes me,

01:08:11   that was my first love, my first love on the internet,

01:08:14   and then it just kind of went away.

01:08:16   They missed the boat on phones.

01:08:19   They had a really, really bad app.

01:08:21   I remember using it on an iPad.

01:08:23   At least they had an iPad app.

01:08:25   But the app didn't work great.

01:08:28   They didn't allow things to be easily shared

01:08:30   to other platforms, and then the people left.

01:08:35   As soon as there's something cool and new

01:08:37   that gets you eyeballs, you just kinda, they kinda leave.

01:08:41   We've been very clear when we've been talking about Glass

01:08:44   that Glass is a community, not a marketing channel.

01:08:48   If you're coming as a photographer

01:08:50   to try to build your business on Glass,

01:08:53   you're gonna have a hard time.

01:08:54   It's not that we don't want you to succeed,

01:08:56   but that's not what it's for.

01:08:59   It is built for sharing your work with other people

01:09:02   who can help you improve,

01:09:04   and where you can find inspiration from.

01:09:06   It's an inward thing, not an outward thing.

01:09:11   And Flickr had a lot of those same vibes

01:09:13   of this is about your own photography.

01:09:15   This is about coming in.

01:09:16   This is about learning more.

01:09:17   This is about growing, as opposed to,

01:09:20   this is about making money.

01:09:21   - I mean, and from my end, I think Flickr missed the boat

01:09:26   because of their inability to pivot to mobile quickly

01:09:29   and to make a really good app.

01:09:31   And then they lost that mind share,

01:09:36   and then Instagram just became the dominant player

01:09:39   in what it was for photographers,

01:09:41   how they grew their businesses.

01:09:42   This became this huge thing,

01:09:43   and this is before Facebook purchased them,

01:09:46   and this was 2010 is kinda when Instagram came on the scene.

01:09:51   And then they got bought by Facebook in 2012,

01:09:54   and I think Flickr was just, they were just slow.

01:09:58   And then I think they also maybe became slightly paralyzed

01:10:01   by having kind of an existing product

01:10:04   and having to make difficult choices

01:10:06   to streamline that product and let some of the stuff go

01:10:09   and refocus and refocus.

01:10:11   And so they just kinda kept building on it,

01:10:13   how products can get really overly bloated.

01:10:16   I mean, I'm thinking of Microsoft Ribbon UI.

01:10:20   - Yeah.

01:10:21   - But they would just,

01:10:23   I think that became a challenge for Flickr

01:10:25   to deal with that, and then having a great community

01:10:27   and how to manage that.

01:10:29   I think it's difficult.

01:10:30   I had friends who worked there,

01:10:32   so I don't wanna, you know,

01:10:33   because it's difficult to manage that product.

01:10:37   But I think some of the leadership changes,

01:10:39   I think really just being purchased by Yahoo,

01:10:41   maybe not having the resources they needed

01:10:42   to do those things,

01:10:43   maybe having a difficult time making those bets

01:10:45   and choices and changes.

01:10:46   There's a lot of reasons that pile up,

01:10:47   but I loved it too.

01:10:49   I still have one of my closest friends

01:10:51   I met through Flickr, and she's still my friend today.

01:10:54   And I think that's disappointing

01:10:57   that those things had to go away.

01:11:00   Although it still exists,

01:11:02   it's just not anything that it was.

01:11:03   And so a lot of why I built Glass

01:11:07   and why we built Glass together

01:11:08   is to bring back those really positive vibes,

01:11:13   that stuff that happened there at that time.

01:11:15   - I do think, and Tom, I think as a product designer

01:11:19   and experience designer, really,

01:11:21   I know that we could do entire products together,

01:11:26   entire episodes about what designer means.

01:11:29   But when you think about things from the inside

01:11:33   and how they should be,

01:11:34   to me, one of the problems with Flickr always was,

01:11:37   and even though the people were good, friendly people

01:11:40   who clearly cared about design,

01:11:42   and really the founders like Stuart and Katarina

01:11:47   and all the early employees who I knew,

01:11:49   like Heather, I know Heather personally,

01:11:51   and they're good people who love to make fun,

01:11:55   simple things that you'd say,

01:11:57   "Oh, that's a joyful little design."

01:11:59   But Flickr itself was always confusing

01:12:03   in certain ways to me.

01:12:05   And there were totally different ways to do batch editing

01:12:08   where one of them was loaded up in,

01:12:11   it might've even been Flash Player at the time.

01:12:16   And there was two entirely different ways

01:12:19   to do batch editing and different ways to make things

01:12:23   that you would think of as an album.

01:12:26   And I would get so confused.

01:12:27   I'd be like, "Oh, I just came back from South by Southwest,

01:12:30   and I have a whole bunch of photos I would like to share

01:12:33   that these are all photos that are group events

01:12:36   and friends I see from all over the world

01:12:39   who came to South by Southwest.

01:12:40   I'd like to make a little album of 20 photos and share it."

01:12:43   And I'd be like, "How the hell did I do that the last time?

01:12:45   I just did it at Macworld a couple, eight months ago.

01:12:48   What the heck do I, how do I do it?"

01:12:50   And I'd get lost.

01:12:52   And I feel like that complexity eventually caught up to them

01:12:55   and really did catch up to them at the moment of mobile.

01:12:59   That's what I think is that the iPhone came out

01:13:05   and they just, it really, in hindsight,

01:13:10   it just maps to me as the iPhone comes out in middle 2007

01:13:15   and Flickr's relevance started declining.

01:13:20   And it really picked up and you could detect it

01:13:23   at the time around the iPhone 4, 4S, 2010, 2011,

01:13:28   when it became less of an oddity,

01:13:33   like, "Hey, you have an iPhone," right?

01:13:35   Which all of us who had iPhones in the early years

01:13:37   remember what that was like,

01:13:38   where you would just be in the grocery store

01:13:40   and a random person would say, "Hey, is that an iPhone?"

01:13:43   Because I was doing my shopping list,

01:13:44   and I was like, "Yeah."

01:13:45   They had no idea.

01:13:46   It wasn't like somebody local who was like,

01:13:47   "You're John Gruber, the guy who writes "Daring Fire."

01:13:49   They had no idea who I was.

01:13:50   They were just like, "Hey, what do you think of the iPhone?"

01:13:53   But around that time where everybody started having an iPhone

01:13:56   it's, their relevance went down.

01:13:58   And I think back, it is, it's a sign of great CEO leadership

01:14:03   to be able to make a decision like Zuckerberg did to say,

01:14:09   "We have this thing, it's a runaway hit called Facebook

01:14:13   that is designed as a website you go to on a PC or a Mac

01:14:19   and load up in a browser window.

01:14:21   And we've got all these features that are basically,

01:14:25   roughly, if you took like,

01:14:27   if you were gonna do your prototypes on paper,

01:14:29   you could use like an eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper,

01:14:31   but it's the whole paper.

01:14:33   We're gonna redesign this for something

01:14:36   on a three and a half inch diagonal touchscreen

01:14:38   and all of the other limits of a phone versus a browser,

01:14:43   the slow internet of cellular, blah, blah, blah."

01:14:47   And they did it.

01:14:48   And, you know, Bill Gates had a famous moment like that

01:14:50   in 1997, where he wrote a company-wide memo at Microsoft

01:14:55   that they were gonna stop everything,

01:14:57   were rebuilding the whole company around the internet.

01:15:00   And, you know, for people who weren't around at the time

01:15:04   and paying attention to technology at the time,

01:15:05   you could say, "Well, that seems ridiculous

01:15:07   that it took until 1997 for Microsoft to do that."

01:15:11   But it really was true that up until that time,

01:15:15   computer networks were like proprietary things, right?

01:15:19   Like PC networks in the enterprise

01:15:21   were like based on Novell technology

01:15:23   and becoming a Novell certified engineer

01:15:26   was a way to get a career in IT.

01:15:29   And the idea that everybody would just use this thing

01:15:32   that was completely open source, what the hell is that?

01:15:35   And there's no company that owns the rights

01:15:37   to the HTTP spec and we're gonna do it.

01:15:41   And, you know, pivot the whole company from,

01:15:43   forget about proprietary networking,

01:15:45   we're gonna build for the web,

01:15:46   we're gonna make a popular web browser, blah, blah, blah.

01:15:48   Apple had moments like that under Steve Jobs.

01:15:51   Flickr never made that moment.

01:15:52   They never had that.

01:15:53   And I don't know if it was possible, right?

01:15:55   But I think it definitely would have required them

01:15:58   to cut a lot of features

01:15:59   and it doesn't seem like they ever had that in them.

01:16:03   - Yeah, and I think that's, you could point to that too.

01:16:07   And I often, like I don't, like I personally,

01:16:10   I'm not wild about the metaverse future

01:16:13   or the change to meta, but I often wonder if that is,

01:16:18   like I've been, you know, I worked with Marc for four years

01:16:21   and it was a small team.

01:16:23   I was like, there was only 10 designers

01:16:25   when I was at Facebook when we started, so when I started,

01:16:27   and it was small and I was in charge of mobile.

01:16:29   Like it was just this little thing in the corner, right?

01:16:31   Like it was, everybody had Blackberries

01:16:33   when I started at Facebook.

01:16:34   So it was like 2009 and I was like, I got an iPhone

01:16:39   'cause I was like, I'm not having a Blackberry.

01:16:40   You just don't want, you know, like it was like, it was fine.

01:16:43   But like, you know, I was wrong plenty with, you know,

01:16:47   bringing my product ideas to Marc

01:16:50   and him choosing a different one.

01:16:51   So I have no idea where that'll go,

01:16:54   but we could be looking back and be like, well, yes,

01:16:56   you look, they pivoted the whole company

01:16:57   and that was the right call.

01:16:59   I just, I don't really want it to go that way

01:17:02   in the internet.

01:17:03   You know, like I'm just not wild about the metaverse,

01:17:04   but that's just a personal thing.

01:17:06   Not because it's, might be where we're going

01:17:09   and maybe I'm just old.

01:17:10   So I haven't figured that out yet.

01:17:14   - You've just cursed, I guarantee you now,

01:17:16   the next time I have you guys on the show,

01:17:18   we'll be talking about the new version of Glass

01:17:20   for the Apple AR headset.

01:17:22   - Oh, I know, and I'm gonna be, I'm just,

01:17:26   I know that it's coming.

01:17:28   - God, do we have to do NFTs now?

01:17:30   Like, come on.

01:17:31   - No, no, we're not going there.

01:17:33   But, but, okay.

01:17:35   - I'm still hopeful.

01:17:36   I've just wanted to mention, I put this in print.

01:17:39   It is my sincere hope.

01:17:41   And I'm not saying that if they do use the M word,

01:17:44   that it means we're in trouble.

01:17:46   But I have, I'm very optimistic that whenever Apple

01:17:48   does have an event where they say,

01:17:50   and here's our next thing, it's this headset for AR and VR,

01:17:53   I don't think they're gonna use the word metaverse.

01:17:56   And I'm not saying--

01:17:58   - Oh yeah, they're gonna kill it.

01:17:59   We're getting a new word,

01:18:01   and we're all gonna use it immediately.

01:18:02   It's gonna be beautiful, I can't wait.

01:18:04   - The new word, we still get fearful

01:18:08   that there's gonna be some AR headset

01:18:09   and they're gonna call it glass or something.

01:18:11   - Right, right.

01:18:12   - You know, like, and we,

01:18:14   Daniel, every time there's an Apple event,

01:18:17   we watch it and hold our breath because we just don't,

01:18:21   you know, the reason it's called glass

01:18:23   is for the transparency of like,

01:18:24   what we're trying to do and all that,

01:18:25   but also the slang term that photographers use

01:18:27   to call their lenses, they call it glass.

01:18:29   So that's where it came from.

01:18:31   And my hope was always that, you know,

01:18:32   Google Glass really just poisoned the well for that word,

01:18:36   for anything related to AR, VR.

01:18:38   But who knows?

01:18:39   - I hope so.

01:18:40   - If I wanted a good time.

01:18:42   - I like your odds.

01:18:43   I like your odds that nobody else is gonna wanna use it

01:18:47   and Apple certainly wouldn't

01:18:48   'cause Google had sort of spoiled it

01:18:50   and it was there for the taking

01:18:52   for an entirely different concept, right?

01:18:54   The app, it works perfectly.

01:18:56   - Yeah.

01:18:57   - I think your odds are good.

01:18:57   All right, let me take a break here

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01:21:37   Home stretch.

01:21:40   I want to talk about the,

01:21:42   we've talked about the iOS only angle,

01:21:44   which is one aspect that limits the size of the market.

01:21:49   If you're on Android right now, it's tough luck.

01:21:51   I happen to notice,

01:21:53   I haven't written about it on Daring Fireball,

01:21:55   but I subscribed to the print version of The New Yorker

01:21:58   and I noticed their inside back cover

01:22:01   of the most recent issue was a house ad.

01:22:04   Presumably it just went unsold.

01:22:06   And so it's an ad for The New Yorker's own New Yorker app.

01:22:11   And it just says, read all the articles

01:22:16   and play games and puzzles on The New Yorker app.

01:22:19   And then on the bottom,

01:22:21   it just says it has the available on the app store button.

01:22:24   And then there's a QR code you can scan.

01:22:27   But it immediately jumped out to me.

01:22:29   They don't have a button for the Play Store.

01:22:31   And I scanned the QR code even to see,

01:22:34   does it take you to a picker

01:22:35   where you can pick Android or iOS?

01:22:37   And no, it's just the iOS version,

01:22:40   which I thought was strange for something

01:22:43   that you wouldn't think would be technically limited.

01:22:44   But as much as some people,

01:22:47   and Adam Masseri even pointed out Android is bigger,

01:22:51   but I suspect that Android,

01:22:53   that's sort of throwing shade at Apple

01:22:56   in terms of its importance to Instagram.

01:22:59   Like they may have more users on Android,

01:23:01   but I really doubt they think the Android audience

01:23:03   is more important than their iOS audience.

01:23:06   It's different and people don't, we don't talk about it.

01:23:08   We collectively don't talk about it,

01:23:10   but it's not like a completely,

01:23:14   it's not even vaguely a random distribution

01:23:17   of the interests and like artistic inclination, for example,

01:23:21   of iOS and Android users, right?

01:23:23   Like it's not surprising to me that Glass is iOS only.

01:23:28   It would be if with the exact same level of attention

01:23:34   and the exact same design, as much as it makes sense,

01:23:37   if it were Android only.

01:23:38   That would seem odd to me.

01:23:39   I've never, 'cause then all of a sudden I'd say,

01:23:42   it would be the first time in at this point, 15 years,

01:23:46   where I thought, wow, here's a cool thing for Android

01:23:49   that I'm missing out on, 'cause I'm not an Android user.

01:23:52   That has never happened to me.

01:23:54   I mean, and I mean that without exaggeration.

01:23:56   And I say that, it's like, well, of course,

01:23:58   John Gruber, he's a big fan of Apple's platforms,

01:24:01   but as a lifelong, or at least my entire lifelong

01:24:04   Apple computer user, going back to Apple II

01:24:07   when I was growing up, there were plenty of times

01:24:10   when I was jealous, envious of things that were PC only.

01:24:14   Certainly games, when I was more into games,

01:24:17   certainly can't be a lifelong Mac user

01:24:19   who had any interest at video games in your life

01:24:21   and not have been jealous of the PC gaming market.

01:24:25   And in like the late '90s of when the Mac was in trouble

01:24:30   and Apple was correctly described as beleaguered

01:24:32   and the whole, all right, Steve Jobs is back

01:24:36   and we're gonna build this new thing,

01:24:37   but it's gonna take us four years

01:24:39   to take what we bought from Next and ship it.

01:24:42   And even when we do, it's gonna be kind of slow

01:24:44   and take a couple more years to really get good.

01:24:47   There were things like Napster that were Windows only.

01:24:51   And then it took months and months,

01:24:53   and then third parties who were unaffiliated

01:24:55   with the actual Napster group,

01:24:56   there was a thing called Maxtr

01:24:57   that was a Mac Napster client,

01:24:59   and it was actually kind of fun

01:25:00   and really well done and made by,

01:25:02   but you missed out on stuff.

01:25:04   It wasn't true.

01:25:05   With the iPhone, it's not really true.

01:25:08   And then the other factor is that you guys are using

01:25:12   Sign In with Apple as your one and only

01:25:15   credential system so far.

01:25:17   And I'd love to hear your thinking behind that.

01:25:21   Because I think some people out there,

01:25:23   let's face it, with some of the criticisms

01:25:25   of the App Store and Apple's share that they take,

01:25:30   there are some people who in today's world would think,

01:25:34   launch a new thing, iOS only,

01:25:36   and build on Sign In with Apple as your identity.

01:25:40   And is it true?

01:25:41   Are you guys, for subscriptions,

01:25:43   they all go through the App Store, correct?

01:25:46   - That's correct, yeah. - Right.

01:25:49   So talk about that. - We leaned in heavily.

01:25:51   - Well, talk about that, because I think that's very,

01:25:54   it's a different perspective than a lot of people

01:25:56   would come up with for something that launched in 2021.

01:25:58   - Yeah, I think the, well, we're very lean.

01:26:05   Not to borrow, but there's just not,

01:26:08   we had to choose what we could build

01:26:11   and what we would have to do in building

01:26:12   all of the Sign In stuff up front.

01:26:15   We could leverage Apple's tools,

01:26:17   and that really was helpful for us.

01:26:19   Also the timing of it, I mean, like we were watching,

01:26:22   as Basecamp, 37 Signals was like,

01:26:27   going through their whole thing with the new mail client,

01:26:30   forgetting the name all of a sudden.

01:26:31   - Hey, hey, hey. - Hey.

01:26:34   - Hey, hey, thank you, yes.

01:26:35   And you're watching that and then seeing the 15%

01:26:38   go down, it's really opened it up for us

01:26:40   and allowed us to do it.

01:26:41   We don't, like, we're definitely wanting,

01:26:45   as we move to the web, like, to look into alternative

01:26:50   methods for logging in and signing in.

01:26:53   Mayor Stéphane, my co-founder and I,

01:26:55   we've been talking about it heavily

01:26:57   and what we should do and like alternative payments,

01:26:59   but like launching with Apple,

01:27:01   we wanted a premium experience for a premium product.

01:27:04   We knew that it's what we used,

01:27:06   it's what we were used to using,

01:27:08   it's what we know, it's what we love.

01:27:10   We wanted an iPad app, we wanted to play by the rules,

01:27:13   to, you know, work well with Apple,

01:27:16   and so we went there first.

01:27:18   It didn't seem to make sense in 2021 to launch,

01:27:22   like, our type of product as a web product first

01:27:25   and then bring it to the mobile experiences.

01:27:27   Like, it felt like it needed to be on a phone first.

01:27:30   Mobile first seemed extremely clear to us,

01:27:34   and so the logic just followed.

01:27:36   Also, it's just what we could build.

01:27:38   Like, we had an iOS engineer,

01:27:40   maybe we didn't have an Android engineer,

01:27:42   we just don't have a team for it.

01:27:43   It's not to say that we wouldn't try to bring a product

01:27:46   there to them at some point.

01:27:47   We have a lot of people who would like it to happen,

01:27:50   and I think we would like to.

01:27:51   It's just we don't have the expertise in-house.

01:27:56   - It's also an abuse factor, right?

01:27:58   Like, it is, requiring to do Apple sign-on only

01:28:02   is a massive load off of my mind and my plate

01:28:07   because you are you, right?

01:28:10   Like, you signed up as yourself,

01:28:12   you have your credit card attached,

01:28:14   that's that, we have the single sign-on, that's great.

01:28:18   It's next to impossible to create more than one spam account.

01:28:21   It's next to impossible to abuse the system, create,

01:28:25   we have a two-week free trial

01:28:27   at the beginning of every new member subscribing,

01:28:30   and that two weeks could easily be filled with spam

01:28:34   and then deleted if that was just a email, right?

01:28:38   Like, a spam account could,

01:28:40   like I mentioned earlier that we've only removed

01:28:43   like three accounts, one of those accounts

01:28:44   was a brand account who signed up

01:28:47   and tried to follow the entire platform.

01:28:49   Their user profile was their logo,

01:28:52   they had their link out to their new app,

01:28:55   and then they just tried to follow

01:28:56   every single photographer on Glass.

01:28:59   There's a fun little screen at the very end of Glass

01:29:01   if you follow all, whatever it is,

01:29:03   like 10,000, 15,000 accounts,

01:29:05   where it says you followed,

01:29:07   we need to do a better job of showing you people.

01:29:09   And like, they were trying to find that screen

01:29:12   that no one has seen because it's ridiculous

01:29:14   to follow all of the thousands and thousands of accounts,

01:29:18   and we had to remove them, right?

01:29:19   And that was it.

01:29:20   Then they were gone.

01:29:21   They, you know, they didn't show back up.

01:29:24   We updated and released a quick policy around,

01:29:26   hey, no brand accounts

01:29:27   if you're trying to sell their photographers, right?

01:29:29   Like, if you're a photographer who operates under a brand,

01:29:31   come on in, you're good to go, but no brand accounts.

01:29:35   And since then, we've had to remove zero brand accounts

01:29:37   'cause it didn't work, right?

01:29:39   Like, the attention that they were trying to garner

01:29:43   on our platform didn't work.

01:29:44   And that's huge, and I attribute that partially

01:29:49   to having Apple only ID for our sign-in.

01:29:53   - I recall the first time that,

01:29:55   I mean, the privacy angle from Apple too.

01:29:57   Oh, sorry.

01:29:58   - No, no, go ahead.

01:29:59   No, go ahead, go ahead, Tom.

01:30:00   - Oh, I just, I thought that, you know,

01:30:04   I mean, we were gonna, we wanted to use sign-in with Apple

01:30:06   because of the, you know, also the privacy angle

01:30:08   that aligned with our goals as a company.

01:30:11   You know, like we wanna, you know,

01:30:13   we don't wanna track your data, we don't wanna,

01:30:14   so there's like, you know, Google sign-in

01:30:16   and Facebook sign-in, and, you know, we just,

01:30:19   we chose Apple's because of the platform we started on,

01:30:22   but also just the privacy was really important to us,

01:30:25   and, you know, people can sign up,

01:30:27   and it causes us headaches sometimes

01:30:29   'cause like email addresses and connections,

01:30:30   but you have the hide, when you sign in with Apple,

01:30:32   you know, you could hide your email address,

01:30:34   which we think is great, you know, to help prevent spam,

01:30:36   and we like that ourselves, but, you know,

01:30:38   it can be challenging as a platform

01:30:40   because associating you with your account can be,

01:30:43   you know, difficult,

01:30:44   but we thought the trade-off was worth it.

01:30:46   - You can see why,

01:30:49   identity is an incredibly tricky problem for any service,

01:30:54   and whenever you talk, whenever I talk to anybody

01:30:57   who's been involved in running anything, you know,

01:31:01   and talking to Heather back in the day about Flickr,

01:31:03   and, you know, and success brings in

01:31:06   the undesirable elements, right?

01:31:09   And so it's so easy to see,

01:31:13   and the other thing too is it seems like

01:31:17   best practices are kind of hard to find,

01:31:21   and in a way, in some ways having like Stack Overflow,

01:31:26   and you can just, when you're writing a computer program

01:31:29   and whatever your language is, or, you know,

01:31:31   and you run into a specific problem,

01:31:33   and you just go to your favorite search engine

01:31:35   and search for it, and you go to like Stack Overflow,

01:31:38   and you get an answer and you do it,

01:31:40   is so much more convenient than the old days

01:31:42   of having these big phone book books from,

01:31:45   phone book thick books from O'Reilly.

01:31:47   But on the other hand, it was always kind of nice

01:31:50   to have programming books where it's like

01:31:52   JavaScript, the definitive guide, and it's like,

01:31:55   well, if it's in JavaScript, circa whatever the year was,

01:31:59   it's documented in this book, you know,

01:32:01   it's, you can like know it.

01:32:03   It's hard to find like the definitive guide to identity,

01:32:06   you know, and all of the little things like,

01:32:09   you know, how do you confirm an email address?

01:32:12   What do you do?

01:32:14   What's the best practice for sending someone

01:32:18   a six digit code versus putting a button,

01:32:21   or doing both, and sending them an email that says

01:32:24   you can either click here and it'll log you in,

01:32:27   'cause now your email's confirmed,

01:32:28   and how much do you let people do before they confirm

01:32:32   their email, like I've signed up with my good address

01:32:36   at example.com, and I've created a password,

01:32:39   and now I'm in, I've given you an email and password,

01:32:42   and you've sent a confirmation email address,

01:32:46   but a message to me, and I eventually need to confirm it,

01:32:51   so you know that it actually, I typed it right,

01:32:53   and I wasn't sending it to somebody against their will.

01:32:56   But at the meantime, what should I be allowed to do?

01:32:59   The list is, it would be a thick book to write

01:33:02   like the definitive guide to best practices for identity

01:33:06   on a mobile service, or any service right now.

01:33:09   So the appeal of sign in with Google, sign in with Twitter,

01:33:12   sign in with Facebook, it's obvious, and the downside,

01:33:17   I mean Apple spelled this out when they announced

01:33:19   the sign in with Apple, is the downside is,

01:33:23   turns out those companies weren't just doing it

01:33:26   out of the goodness of their heart,

01:33:29   they were doing it as, shocker.

01:33:31   - No.

01:33:32   - They were doing it as part of,

01:33:34   it was like win, win-win for the people who wanted to,

01:33:40   you're making a service, and if you let Google worry about,

01:33:46   and Facebook worry about the identity stuff,

01:33:48   well that's off your engineering team's plate.

01:33:50   Google and Facebook and Twitter collected information

01:33:54   about the users who were doing this,

01:33:56   and where they were going, and exactly how much time

01:33:58   they were doing, and the part that wasn't win-win-win

01:34:02   was that users didn't necessarily come out totally win-win.

01:34:06   Like on the one hand, it was a win in terms of convenience,

01:34:11   hey I've already got a Facebook account

01:34:14   and a Google account, now the only problem is

01:34:16   I just have to choose which one to use for this service,

01:34:18   and I trust those companies to some degree,

01:34:22   I know it sounds funny to trust Facebook,

01:34:23   you know they're not a fly-by-night company,

01:34:25   and so there's like a trust factor

01:34:27   of I'm not creating a new password,

01:34:29   I don't have a new password to manage,

01:34:32   but the flip side was the loss of privacy,

01:34:35   and we're all talking about that now,

01:34:37   and maybe we weren't, really, not even maybe,

01:34:39   we weren't 10 years ago.

01:34:41   - That's right, yeah, and I think that they're like

01:34:46   seeing it the way it is now, and we thought

01:34:49   we could trust Apple in this regard,

01:34:52   and that we could use their service for it,

01:34:54   and it would work well for, well just to help us

01:34:58   solve a lot of the problems.

01:35:00   John, do you know the service Letterboxd?

01:35:03   - Yes. - You know the

01:35:04   like, we review service services?

01:35:06   - I love it. - Do you like them?

01:35:07   - I absolutely love them, yeah.

01:35:09   - Yeah, and so Matt Buchanan, and I talked to him

01:35:13   pretty regularly about this problem,

01:35:15   and kind of how they've dealt with it over the last,

01:35:19   I think they're coming up on a decade now

01:35:21   of being in service, and they have a different

01:35:24   set of problems, because when they launched,

01:35:26   the freemium model was really popular,

01:35:29   so they have free accounts, and then you can

01:35:31   become a pro member, which is great,

01:35:32   but it creates a massive headache,

01:35:34   and we sometimes get criticized,

01:35:36   we offer a two week trial, and we've even extended it

01:35:39   for people if they need more time to evaluate the service.

01:35:45   But it creates a ton of spam accounts,

01:35:47   it creates a ton of headaches, it creates so much work,

01:35:50   and I talked to him about that, and I think

01:35:52   we opted for it, you're just a paid upfront membership.

01:35:58   Like I think that's the right approach for Glass.

01:36:01   It's something we considered heavily,

01:36:04   we continue to debate it internally,

01:36:06   how to continue to make sure we get enough growth,

01:36:09   enough membership, but we really feel like

01:36:12   that authenticity you get by requiring a commitment,

01:36:17   a small financial commitment, it's $30 a year,

01:36:20   it's not a ton of money to become this member,

01:36:23   it really changes the dynamic,

01:36:24   and Daniel's talked about it a lot,

01:36:27   and I think that's where we see some of the advantages

01:36:31   that other platforms struggle with,

01:36:35   and we hope that it can also be a model

01:36:37   where you just, you know, you'd be part of this community,

01:36:40   it's worth a little bit of your money and time,

01:36:42   and you'll get a lot out of it.

01:36:44   - A day or two after we launched the iPad app,

01:36:48   I sent out a tweet about what $30 a year buys you,

01:36:52   and a screenshot of our app privacy

01:36:54   next to Instagram's app privacy,

01:36:57   because the data linked to you on Glass

01:37:00   is your contact info, your photos, and your identifiers,

01:37:03   which I'm assuming is just the contact info, Tom?

01:37:06   Yeah, that makes sense.

01:37:07   - Yeah, it's just, it's like as little as we could do,

01:37:10   but we have to connect you to a few things.

01:37:12   - Right, yeah.

01:37:13   And then the data used to track you on Instagram

01:37:17   is your contact info, your identifiers, and other data,

01:37:20   and the data linked to you is health and fitness,

01:37:23   financial info, contact info, user content,

01:37:25   browser history, usage data, diagnostics, purchases,

01:37:28   location, contacts, search history,

01:37:30   identifiers, sensitive info, and other data.

01:37:33   What the shit, right?

01:37:35   Like, that is outrageous.

01:37:38   And we have people that complain that we cost $2.50

01:37:42   a month all the time, but like,

01:37:46   I would pay $3 to not have Instagram track me

01:37:50   across the internet, happily, right?

01:37:52   Like if I could pay Facebook 100 bucks a year

01:37:55   to forget me, sold, right?

01:37:58   Like, we are so cavalier with what we just give away,

01:38:02   and it's a bummer.

01:38:04   - What are the prices for Glass?

01:38:06   I think it's changed since you launched.

01:38:08   - Yeah, so we launched with 29.99 as our,

01:38:14   hooray, we're launching, but it was originally

01:38:17   gonna be $50 a year, $5 a month.

01:38:20   But after we got a couple of months of data

01:38:25   and finances in the bank, we realized that we could keep

01:38:28   our year subscription at $30.

01:38:31   So it costs $30 a month, or that equivalent in--

01:38:35   - $30 a year.

01:38:36   - $30 a year, sorry.

01:38:37   - Right, right.

01:38:38   With a nice little bonus, right,

01:38:40   and it's like the right level.

01:38:41   We do this, I think we have very similar pricing

01:38:44   at my paid dithering podcast, where it's, you know,

01:38:48   five bucks a month and something less than five times

01:38:51   12 a year as a reward for people who are willing

01:38:54   to commit to an annual schedule.

01:38:57   One of the things Flickr did, I think, great

01:39:01   back in the day, shifting from a totally free,

01:39:04   I mean, maybe they had to, 'cause they couldn't just make,

01:39:07   say everybody has to pay all of a sudden,

01:39:08   'cause they started free.

01:39:10   But when they added Flickr Pro accounts,

01:39:13   they had features, it was like you could upload more photos

01:39:18   or bigger photos, and you know, there were features

01:39:21   for Pro users, but the other thing they did

01:39:24   is they put a Pro badge on your avatar,

01:39:27   and I don't, I think it was kind of genius,

01:39:31   and Flickr always had a bit of a community

01:39:34   where people would comment on photos,

01:39:37   and I've, you know, how many people signed up for Flickr

01:39:42   just to get the badge, as opposed to actually needing

01:39:46   the Pro features, I don't know, and I also think

01:39:50   that part of it wasn't just ego and self-serving,

01:39:55   and, 'cause Flickr never had that sort of influencer

01:40:00   sort of mentality to the community at any level,

01:40:03   I think it was just that people had an affinity

01:40:06   for the service and the company and wanted to support it,

01:40:09   and the fact that you got a badge to show

01:40:12   that you're a supporter helped to do that.

01:40:15   It wasn't just, look at me, my, you know,

01:40:18   Daring Fireball logo, you know, avatar now

01:40:22   has a Pro badge on it, and it wasn't anything

01:40:26   like the weird way that people talk about blue checks

01:40:29   on Twitter, right, getting verified on Twitter

01:40:33   and Instagram is this, it has this enormous cache

01:40:38   that honestly I don't understand or get,

01:40:41   and even though my Twitter account is verified,

01:40:43   I never asked for it or signed up for it,

01:40:45   it was during that era after Matt Honan got hacked

01:40:49   through his Twitter account, there must have been

01:40:52   some list of people who were like Matt Honan

01:40:55   and I was on it, and it was like, they realized journalists

01:40:59   and people who were famous for doing stuff on the internet

01:41:01   were targets for having their accounts taken over

01:41:05   and they verified me without me even asking for it.

01:41:07   I'm not trying to be, it sounded like a humble brag,

01:41:10   but the Twitter Pro badge wasn't like that,

01:41:12   it wasn't like people ever talked about it,

01:41:14   but I can't help but think that it helped them

01:41:16   that people had an affinity for the service.

01:41:19   And I'm just curious, like you mentioned it,

01:41:21   you know, you guys do have a two-week free trial,

01:41:24   but that is, to me, the missing what if,

01:41:27   and it sounds like you don't really have plans

01:41:29   to have a permanently free tier,

01:41:33   or, you know, like never say, I know, never say never,

01:41:36   but it sounds--

01:41:38   - This is not immediate, but I think we've considered,

01:41:41   you know, how do we broaden it, like how can we,

01:41:45   a lot of photographers would love to have more people

01:41:47   on Glass to see their stuff and how can,

01:41:49   you know, they would love free accounts,

01:41:50   but we kinda spin around in loops as to what the value

01:41:54   would be for the community and how does that really work,

01:41:56   we never say never, but it's just not

01:41:57   on our immediate roadmap.

01:41:58   - Trade.

01:41:59   - When you, oh, so go ahead.

01:42:01   - Well, trade-offs all the way down.

01:42:03   - Yes, all the way down, but it would be interesting,

01:42:06   we've talked about pro accounts, you know,

01:42:09   something that's like more, more features,

01:42:11   more things that we could offer to those members

01:42:14   who really have a strong affinity towards,

01:42:17   we have some, you know, super fans,

01:42:19   and how can we do more for them?

01:42:22   So we have, that's something we'd like

01:42:24   to really look into more.

01:42:26   - Man, you really are just dragging out

01:42:28   our whole roadmap out of us.

01:42:29   (laughing)

01:42:31   - Well, I know that I'm only telling you

01:42:33   what you already know, which I'm sure

01:42:36   you've encountered yourselves, but, you know,

01:42:39   and it's not like I'm out here like John the Baptist

01:42:42   proselytizing Glass to every single person.

01:42:45   - I mean, if you could be, that would be great.

01:42:47   That would actually be really wonderful for us.

01:42:48   - We would appreciate it, yeah, we would appreciate it.

01:42:50   - But there comes a point, though,

01:42:52   when you want to tell somebody who maybe is,

01:42:55   you know, bemoans the loss of the Instagram

01:42:59   they fell in love with 10 years ago

01:43:02   and isn't as happy with where it is today,

01:43:04   and, you know, you could even,

01:43:06   you don't even have to talk about features

01:43:08   like Stories and Reels and just talk about

01:43:09   how many ads there are.

01:43:11   I counted the other day knowing that you guys

01:43:13   are gonna be on the show, and it was,

01:43:16   one out of every four posts in my timeline

01:43:18   was sponsored, sponsored entry.

01:43:21   And I know that fame, you know,

01:43:23   part of the reason they're so profitable

01:43:25   is their sponsored entries are better

01:43:27   than almost all ads on the web.

01:43:30   They are more relevant to me,

01:43:32   and I've got, you know, I'm a watch nerd,

01:43:34   and eventually I go down a rabbit hole

01:43:37   on Instagram of watches, and then of course

01:43:39   for the next few weeks I see ads for watches,

01:43:41   but which aren't the worst ads to show me,

01:43:43   you know, it's not the worst, but it is,

01:43:45   it's so, there's so many of them.

01:43:48   It's like one out of every four posts,

01:43:50   to me, is just an absurd ratio.

01:43:55   But you know.

01:43:56   - It's an incredible shopping app.

01:43:58   It is a wonderful shopping experience.

01:44:02   It's just not a really great place

01:44:03   to share your photography.

01:44:04   You know, we talked about doing an ad campaign

01:44:09   where we would buy ads on like Twitter or Instagram,

01:44:14   where it's like your photos deserve more

01:44:16   than a shopping app, or your photos deserve more

01:44:19   than this dumpster fire, or your photos deserve more

01:44:22   than the revived Tumblr at WordPress.

01:44:26   Your photos deserve more than a WordPress site, right?

01:44:29   Like, and then we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it.

01:44:32   Right, like we couldn't bring ourselves

01:44:34   to buy the advertising space on Instagram

01:44:38   to tell people that this mattered more,

01:44:40   and like is that moral stand costing us users and growth?

01:44:45   Absolutely, right, like, but you know,

01:44:49   like how you make these decisions across your brand

01:44:54   and across your company matter.

01:44:56   You know, like it's one thing for us to say

01:44:58   that we're all about privacy, but it's another to launch

01:45:01   with account deletion on day one, and Apple ID sign on.

01:45:06   It matters that we aren't feeding the machine

01:45:11   that we think is, you know, like slowly killing the internet

01:45:14   and ourselves mentally, right?

01:45:18   To try to get a couple more users, right?

01:45:20   Like the hundreds of users that we would get

01:45:22   from that ad campaign aren't worth what we would have

01:45:25   to give up as a company.

01:45:28   - Yeah, it's a trade-off you're very well aware of,

01:45:30   of when you tell people it's a paid service,

01:45:34   and yes, there's a two-week free trial,

01:45:35   and you know, you can do it as much as you want,

01:45:37   get the full immersive experience of being on Glass

01:45:40   for two weeks before you're charged a penny,

01:45:43   and if you don't like it, it really is,

01:45:45   Apple ensures that it is easy to say, you know,

01:45:48   cancel this before I get charged.

01:45:50   But you tell people that if they wanna stick with it,

01:45:53   they have to pay, and there's a, they don't wanna say it

01:45:56   'cause everybody is upset about the way Instagram

01:45:59   has gone south and the number of ads.

01:46:00   On the flip side, there's a lot of people who are still like,

01:46:04   "Eh, I don't wanna pay for a thing."

01:46:06   It doesn't matter how nice it is, it's, you know,

01:46:08   and it's natural, right?

01:46:09   Like if you didn't have a limiting factor in your brain

01:46:13   of at least thinking twice before any new subscription,

01:46:17   you know, you'd run out of money, right?

01:46:20   Because there's subscriptions left and right,

01:46:22   and so of course people have a natural,

01:46:25   okay, I mean, think twice before I subscribe to something.

01:46:28   It seems like you guys are aware of that though, and,

01:46:31   you know.

01:46:34   - Yeah, we're trying to find the right trade-off.

01:46:36   I think it's just like, can we, you know,

01:46:38   and you know, we will, we wanna make more tools

01:46:41   for photographers and more things,

01:46:42   and so like, as we grow, we can find other opportunities

01:46:46   to explore it, but it's just, yeah, right now we have to,

01:46:49   we have to focus on like the paying membership

01:46:53   and listening to them, and it resonates

01:46:56   with a lot of members.

01:46:57   So you know, we just, we're, yeah, you know,

01:46:59   I don't know if we belaboring the point.

01:47:01   - Right, no, that's, it's a good answer, you know.

01:47:03   But all right, last question, and it's long similar lines.

01:47:06   I wonder how much, what your perception is

01:47:09   of how much glass feels, looks, seems,

01:47:14   or maybe just is for semi-serious photographers and up,

01:47:21   you know, like where that line is.

01:47:27   I mean, you know, it's right there on the name.

01:47:29   Like glass is, comes from lingo that photographers use

01:47:34   to talk about their lenses, whereas if you're talking

01:47:38   about people who have ever bought a lens, right,

01:47:43   it's a limited subset of the number of people

01:47:47   who use, who shoot photos, right?

01:47:50   Point and shoot cameras with built-in lenses

01:47:52   were always more popular than SLRs back

01:47:54   when every camera was a dedicated camera.

01:47:57   And glass has, to me, decided,

01:48:02   I think you're striking a very interesting balance

01:48:07   of being very welcoming and not coming across

01:48:10   as camera nerd snobby, but there is sort of a vibe

01:48:15   that an awful lot of people on glass are,

01:48:19   even if they're not professional,

01:48:21   they're prosumer photographers.

01:48:23   And I'm curious, you know, how you guys see glass

01:48:28   in that regard.

01:48:30   - One of my favorite things that's happened on the platform

01:48:37   is seeing people who join with their iPhones

01:48:42   and then within a month or two post

01:48:45   that they bought their first camera, right?

01:48:47   Like it just makes my heart explode with joy.

01:48:51   I'm like the Grinch on Christmas,

01:48:53   grows three sizes every time it happens.

01:48:55   And so, you know, like there are people that join glass,

01:49:00   look at the photos and go, oh, well, like, holy shit,

01:49:02   these are way better than mine.

01:49:04   And like, same feeling, y'all.

01:49:06   Like I have that same, you know, imposter syndrome.

01:49:10   I was a professional photographer for years

01:49:13   and yet I'm still like, I don't know.

01:49:15   Like my stuff isn't as good as some of these people.

01:49:17   And it's like, that's the point, right?

01:49:19   Like it is with how we've been trained

01:49:22   to think of attention on the internet as a competition

01:49:27   and that there are only a limited set of eyeballs

01:49:29   and there's only a limited set of information

01:49:31   and money available, right?

01:49:32   Like Instagram and the social web for the last decade

01:49:37   has like really trapped us in this scarcity mindset

01:49:41   around skill and joy and fun.

01:49:46   And like that's bullshit, right?

01:49:49   Like we don't have to feel that way.

01:49:51   And because of how we built glass, you know,

01:49:56   like we launched as comment only,

01:49:58   we didn't have anything we call our likes appreciations,

01:50:01   but they came three months after launch

01:50:05   because we wanted to set comments as a lower friction,

01:50:10   lower value, more engagement thing.

01:50:15   'Cause right now, right?

01:50:16   You know, like on Twitter and on Instagram,

01:50:19   like you don't really comment that much.

01:50:21   It's a, you know, like you hit the fave button,

01:50:23   you hit the heart button and you keep going

01:50:25   or you, you know, you retweet something,

01:50:27   but like having a conversation and talking

01:50:30   has become this higher value thing

01:50:31   that you only do for a couple select few people.

01:50:34   And so, because that was the only way

01:50:36   that you could interact on the platform

01:50:38   for the first three months,

01:50:40   we set this really great groundwork

01:50:42   of people sharing their work and commenting about it

01:50:45   and asking questions.

01:50:47   And then this really wonderful thing happened

01:50:49   where people just started sharing their knowledge, right?

01:50:51   Like it's like chefs, right?

01:50:54   You know, like chefs have cookbooks, you know,

01:50:57   like Rene Redzepi, the head chef of Noma,

01:51:00   writes a cookbook every few years,

01:51:02   best restaurant in the world.

01:51:03   He's not worried about going out of business, right?

01:51:06   Like the technique that he has

01:51:07   and how he cooks the recipes and the context

01:51:12   and the skill matters,

01:51:14   but that doesn't mean he can't share his recipes.

01:51:16   He can't share his knowledge.

01:51:17   And yet creatively, we get like so bogged down

01:51:20   and like keep everything.

01:51:21   I remember in 2009 on Flickr, I asked a comment.

01:51:25   I was like, "Hey, I really love this editing style.

01:51:27   How do you do it?"

01:51:29   And he just wouldn't answer.

01:51:31   The guy was like, "Nah, I'd rather keep that private."

01:51:33   And then like six months later,

01:51:34   he responded to the comment again.

01:51:37   And he was like, "I don't know why I did that.

01:51:38   That was really weird of me.

01:51:39   I'm just using VSCO filters, man."

01:51:41   And I was like, "What's VSCO?"

01:51:42   And then I learned about like VSCO's presets.

01:51:45   You know, like having that level of sharing

01:51:50   is so weird and hard for photographers.

01:51:54   We think that if we share how we edited a photo

01:51:56   or the metadata or the specifics of how we made a thing,

01:52:01   it disappears and now it's just not ours.

01:52:05   And we like hoard it when like sharing it

01:52:07   makes all of our work better, right?

01:52:09   Like the more that you share your work,

01:52:11   the more that you share your technique,

01:52:13   the better you're gonna get.

01:52:14   And like seeing that happen on glass

01:52:17   is mind-blowingly joyful, right?

01:52:20   Like it just warms our hearts.

01:52:22   And like, you know, that has been our biggest signal

01:52:25   for product market fit as we've been getting,

01:52:28   you know, like as we've been reducing our churn

01:52:30   and getting more subscribers,

01:52:31   we've been like focusing on this,

01:52:33   but like the community health aspect that we're seeing

01:52:35   with people sharing their knowledge like that

01:52:38   and like recommending other photographers in the comments

01:52:40   has been wonderful to see.

01:52:42   - I think it's fascinating.

01:52:45   There's always a debate of whether you call them likes

01:52:48   or loves or hearts or stars or favorites.

01:52:52   - Oh my God, we called it.

01:52:53   So we use the sparkle emoji.

01:52:56   And when I was talking to Tom about using that emoji,

01:53:00   he was like, cool, sparkles.

01:53:01   I thought that was our internal company name.

01:53:04   And it turns out everyone else on the team

01:53:06   thought we were really gonna call it sparkles.

01:53:08   Like we were just gonna launch with sparkles.

01:53:10   And like, there was like internal debate.

01:53:12   Like, I don't know if we can launch this feature.

01:53:14   That then I was like, why,

01:53:15   why are you pushing back on this?

01:53:16   Like the name's dumb.

01:53:18   And I'm like, oh yeah, it is.

01:53:21   Oh my God, y'all, we're not calling it sparkles.

01:53:23   We're calling it appreciation.

01:53:24   And then it was like, oh, that's great.

01:53:25   Great, great, great.

01:53:27   - It's such a good word.

01:53:28   - This did happen.

01:53:29   This did happen.

01:53:30   - I do think that's interesting.

01:53:33   Clearly, I mean, I don't think anybody

01:53:35   who's gonna be surprised to find out

01:53:37   that three months in when appreciations

01:53:40   were added to the glass experience,

01:53:42   there are no public appreciation counts.

01:53:45   So like if I'm scrolling down and I hit that photo

01:53:48   I just spoke about with Om, which has a wonderful,

01:53:52   wonderful thread of comments.

01:53:54   But again, it's not like Instagram

01:53:55   where a popular post has 1100 comments.

01:53:59   And so how could anybody even read that, right?

01:54:01   Like nobody reads all of that.

01:54:03   You know, it's a couple of dozen comments

01:54:05   talking about the kit that he used

01:54:06   and the trip that he was on

01:54:08   and the way that this photo makes them feel.

01:54:11   But there's no thing that says that this photo

01:54:14   has so many, 500 appreciations or something like that.

01:54:17   It's just, if I appreciate it

01:54:21   by hitting the Sparkle button,

01:54:23   Om finds out that Jon Gruber appreciated your photo,

01:54:26   but that's it.

01:54:27   It is private for him

01:54:28   and I don't think anybody would be surprised by that.

01:54:30   And therefore, there's nothing to be gamified, right?

01:54:35   Which is clearly what has happened with other sites.

01:54:39   Is there anything else that you guys want to--

01:54:40   - Yeah, you had the hindsight.

01:54:41   - Anything else you want to bring up

01:54:42   before we call it a show?

01:54:47   - We should have talked about the iPad app

01:54:49   and how we have it more than like the two of us.

01:54:52   iPad app, everybody, go download it.

01:54:55   It's really great.

01:54:57   - There's your ad campaign, Glass,

01:54:59   the photo sharing service with an iPad app.

01:55:03   - So we did an Apple in app event on the App Store

01:55:09   and that was literally the copy.

01:55:11   It was like, finally, you can enjoy a photo community

01:55:17   on the iPad.

01:55:19   It was great.

01:55:19   It was great.

01:55:21   They let the finally end.

01:55:22   Yeah, just use the code, talk show for a month off.

01:55:30   - Ooh.

01:55:31   - Oh, that's a joke, but we should really do that.

01:55:33   That's not a joke anymore.

01:55:34   - Yeah, we can do that.

01:55:36   - Give me a minute.

01:55:37   Don't post this in like the next two minutes

01:55:39   and that code will work, everybody.

01:55:41   Talk show, free month.

01:55:43   Use your iPad, it's great.

01:55:45   We're not gonna track you.

01:55:47   We're not gonna make your brain feel bad.

01:55:49   It's just gonna feel nice.

01:55:50   It's gonna feel like a nice little massage.

01:55:53   - Well.

01:55:55   - I don't have anything more.

01:55:56   It's been wonderful talking to you, John.

01:55:58   - Oh, well, thank you, guys.

01:56:00   I would just like to thank you for your time.

01:56:02   Of course, this was, I thought, a very fun

01:56:05   and insightful conversation,

01:56:07   but thank you for making Glass, honestly,

01:56:09   'cause I honestly feel the other thing,

01:56:11   and I know, Tom, you talked about how you had this idea

01:56:14   nine years ago, you know?

01:56:16   And then it takes six years before you crack open

01:56:19   a text editor and start actually making the thing,

01:56:22   but I know that there's an untold number of people out there

01:56:26   who've had it in their head, like,

01:56:27   as Instagram changed course and became something different,

01:56:30   to think, couldn't somebody make something

01:56:33   that's just photo sharing and has these different things?

01:56:38   And I'm just so glad that somebody did it,

01:56:40   and it brings a bit of joy to me every single day.

01:56:45   It really does, and just a little,

01:56:47   because it's not an infinite scroll.

01:56:50   (laughs)

01:56:51   - Well, we appreciate it. - It needs a little.

01:56:53   - Well, what I mean-- - It's a little joy.

01:56:54   - It makes me, that sounds dismissive.

01:56:58   You're right, it sounds like a backhanded compliment,

01:57:00   but I mean it as a fronthanded compliment,

01:57:03   whatever the opposite is, where it also,

01:57:06   there's no downsides to my love for Glass

01:57:09   because it's never like, oh, what happened?

01:57:12   90 minutes went by and I just wasted it all,

01:57:15   infinite scrolling on Glass, right?

01:57:17   Like, there are no trade-offs to becoming

01:57:20   a Glass aficionado because you don't lose your time,

01:57:24   your attention and privacy aren't abused,

01:57:27   and all you do is see photos that make you happy,

01:57:31   and perhaps, as we just talked about,

01:57:33   teach you more about creating, composing,

01:57:37   editing photographs that look more like the ones

01:57:41   that you see that you like.

01:57:43   - We had a member a couple of weeks ago in an email send

01:57:49   that they love that they don't lose time on Glass,

01:57:53   they spend time on Glass, right?

01:57:55   Like, nothing about it is mindless, it's all intentional,

01:57:58   they're choosing to continue to look at photos,

01:58:00   they're choosing to explore categories

01:58:03   instead of just like, oh shit, like, I just,

01:58:06   where did those 45 minutes go?

01:58:08   And that was like a perfect way to distill it down,

01:58:13   and I was like, thank you for making my job easier

01:58:15   by explaining this perfectly, you're great.

01:58:19   - That is absolutely perfect.

01:58:20   Well, Daniel Agee and Tom Watson, thank you for your time,

01:58:23   and everybody, of course, I'll toss it out there,

01:58:26   Glass.Photo, what a domain name, easy to remember,

01:58:31   and I want to thank our sponsors today

01:58:34   who were Squarespace, where you can build your own website,

01:58:38   and Trade Coffee, where you can sign up

01:58:42   for a coffee subscription, a very freshly roasted coffee

01:58:46   that is uniquely suited to your taste,

01:58:48   thanks to their little quiz, and of course,

01:58:50   Mack Weldon, who has, because of them,

01:58:54   my entire closet and drawer is full of their clothes,

01:58:57   and my body today.

01:58:58   Thank you, fellas.

01:59:00   - Thank you. - Thank you, John.