00:01:30 ◼ ► Well, we speak a lot, but I think the last time you were on the show, at least according
00:01:45 ◼ ► I don't like speaking on the phone, and you're one of the few people that I do, and it's
00:02:15 ◼ ► If anything, you'd call her up and be like, "Look, you may want to think this one over."
00:03:40 ◼ ► Whereas if you start reading a book that you thought was going to be good and you get a
00:03:50 ◼ ► Whereas a movie could really turn you off, and especially when you see it in a theater.
00:04:17 ◼ ► We were either thumbs-upping or thumbs-downing the exact same movies and wildly disagreed
00:04:32 ◼ ► And I couldn't believe it because I thought, "Did I just see the best movie I've ever seen
00:04:41 ◼ ► I think somehow something tweaked me in one of the earlier scenes with Pacino, who I respect
00:05:11 ◼ ► And I think what I loved, or what was happening to me in the movie, was that it is incredibly
00:05:52 ◼ ► It's sometimes, like you're saying, the way you consume media depends on sort of the preconditions,
00:05:57 ◼ ► like your starting point, rather than the actual thing that you're trying to experience.
00:06:06 ◼ ► I would say that Pacino and De Niro, roughly the same age, came to be celebrated actors
00:06:20 ◼ ► both in The Godfather II, but of course never had scenes together because De Niro played
00:06:45 ◼ ► But he was playing young Don Corleone in the turn of the century, and Pacino, of course,
00:07:01 ◼ ► And they both played throughout their whole careers crazily, widely different characters,
00:07:09 ◼ ► Part of the beauty of Heat is they were still at the peak of their careers, and now they're
00:07:16 ◼ ► But one big difference between the two, and I think everybody agrees, is that Pacino went
00:07:31 ◼ ► And it's a guy who nobody else can play, but anybody who can do, like a comedian who can
00:08:04 ◼ ► singer, the rewatchables podcast that Bill Simmons does, where they just, you know, same
00:08:08 ◼ ► thing that we do with Star Wars sometimes is talk for three hours about a two hour movie.
00:08:22 ◼ ► And just coincidentally, another big famous movie that stood up to the test of time, Robert
00:10:03 ◼ ► I love the movie so much, and Michael Mann has never done a novel before, so I'm interested
00:10:08 ◼ ► And I can so totally see, once I think about it, how he wouldn't make a sequel or prequel
00:10:21 ◼ ► a young actor, but I can see why he wouldn't want to do it with any of the characters from
00:10:37 ◼ ► The other thing is, I think if you tried to recast them in order to tell the story, you
00:10:46 ◼ ► If you don't recast them, then you're artificially constrained to using them as they are now.
00:11:07 ◼ ► How do you approach that without just making it feel like you're going back to the wealth
00:11:29 ◼ ► of as you and I reiterated numerous times on this show on our Star Wars Holiday Spectaculars,
00:11:34 ◼ ► than most people of our generation who seem to give them two thumbs down and hold their
00:11:42 ◼ ► But to me, one of the highlights throughout all three of them is Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan
00:11:48 ◼ ► Not that this makes a lot of sense, but he made Kenobi my favorite character, to be honest.
00:12:06 ◼ ► The whole thing where he's lying to him is just kind of weird and makes him interesting.
00:12:19 ◼ ► But there's world building and stuff to commend them and things that I like about them.
00:12:29 ◼ ► I don't want to say it's hipster to just discover them, but it's too easy to just hate on them.
00:12:38 ◼ ► I'm going to ask you a question, and I'll put you on the spot because you haven't prepped.
00:12:48 ◼ ► with a new actor to make the character decades younger or older that you could think of that
00:13:17 ◼ ► Yeah, but I'm thinking more that you and McGregor as the same character that Alec Guinness played
00:13:25 ◼ ► or as mentioned before, Robert De Niro playing a young Vito Corleone instead of Marlon Brando.
00:13:42 ◼ ► And it's a tragedy because we died tragically young, but River Phoenix as young Indiana
00:13:54 ◼ ► It was like I remember going to see that movie and had done the best I could at a young age.
00:14:13 ◼ ► So I think I knew that he was in it, I guess, but it opens with the sort of hoodwink where
00:14:26 ◼ ► But then once you see River Phoenix as young Indiana Jones, he's not just young Indiana
00:14:31 ◼ ► Jones, he is totally credible as young Harrison Ford and has the tics and mannerisms and stuff
00:14:53 ◼ ► I can buy that he's Vito Corleone, but he's not Marlon Brando, whereas River Phoenix to
00:15:10 ◼ ► I think if De Niro tried to pull it off, it seemed like an impression, which is definitely
00:15:24 ◼ ► Anyway, here's where I'm going with this to bring it back home to us talking about podcasts,
00:15:30 ◼ ► I linked to this novel that's coming out and a couple of people on Twitter pointed me toward
00:15:40 ◼ ► It was the third time Bill Simmons had done a rewatchables about Heat, but what made this
00:15:55 ◼ ► So I go to overcast and go to the rewatchables, which I don't subscribe to ordinarily, and
00:16:15 ◼ ► And there's a web page for the episode, but now that the whole Ringer network was bought
00:16:20 ◼ ► by Spotify, the only player on the web page is the Spotify player, which means you could
00:16:36 ◼ ► Of course, I nerded out a little and actually looked at the RSS feed source code, and that's
00:16:55 ◼ ► It's like Spotify either purposefully to make it, to actually defeat the ability to do this,
00:17:02 ◼ ► or through completely 1000% over-engineering, seems to load episodes not through MPPEG3
00:17:39 ◼ ► played the Spotify thing on their web page and used Audio Hijack to rip it and then uploaded
00:17:51 ◼ ► But now here I am telling everybody, if you want to listen to it and you don't use Spotify,
00:18:11 ◼ ► The app that I wrote for them was called Radio Shift, and the notion was that not everything
00:18:16 ◼ ► was podcast, so it would go and spin up a process in the background and connect to your
00:18:21 ◼ ► Windows Media audio file or whatever, however weird set of things that we needed to do in
00:18:41 ◼ ► So it's, I'm amused that you're turning back to Audio Hijack to do a thing that I actually
00:18:55 ◼ ► But yeah, and also it broke my heart because invariably a lot of this, it was support heavy
00:19:32 ◼ ► But it makes me feel a little guilty complaining about the fact that the Ringer's podcasts
00:19:51 ◼ ► and listen to it on a webpage player, which it's like, who wants to do that with an hour
00:20:06 ◼ ► But it made me feel guilty complaining about it because there's a bunch of old episodes
00:20:14 ◼ ► my own and I was at Mule and it's like, I don't know, just like a year or two of episodes.
00:20:31 ◼ ► But in the best episode in that bunch of missing ones is the interview I had with Rian Johnson.
00:20:52 ◼ ► I have not annoyed with you, but I'd be like, man, I wish I could get that because I've
00:21:04 ◼ ► Talking about Johnson's Looper, which is one of my favorite time travel movies of all time.
00:21:30 ◼ ► But the other sidetrack, which is nerdy, really nerdy, is that as magical as RSS has been
00:21:40 ◼ ► for podcasts, and it's, I wrote about this recently where people were talking about RSS
00:21:59 ◼ ► And then when everybody went to Google Reader because it synced and it was the best way
00:22:32 ◼ ► It's one of those things where the technology becomes such a substrate that it stops being
00:22:41 ◼ ► Like electricity on the wall, like nobody's, obviously the power can go out, but nobody
00:22:45 ◼ ► spends a lot of time each day thinking about what a marvel of technology it is when you
00:22:51 ◼ ► And RSS is like that, it's the carrier platform and it's built on top of HTTP, which again,
00:22:56 ◼ ► most people don't think about, or TCP/IP, which nobody really thinks about until, well,
00:23:19 ◼ ► An RSS file is basically like a little bit of a header and just a list of entries about
00:23:56 ◼ ► And so I had a membership thing in 2004, which is way before anybody had these memberships
00:24:02 ◼ ► that are now very popular and very successful for people and subscription only newsletters
00:24:07 ◼ ► And the idea was for free, you could get the feed and it would have just the synopsis of
00:24:25 ◼ ► And I started posting those and I put them in the feed, but they were delayed by 24 hours.
00:24:39 ◼ ► And that got annoying really quickly to me because there was sometimes I, a lot of stuff
00:25:02 ◼ ► But anyway, the long story short is that none of that membership stuff worked with Google Reader
00:25:10 ◼ ► The user asked us because they wanted to index it once and serve it to all 25,000 or 50,000 subscribers.
00:25:19 ◼ ► You know, for let's say I had a thousand members at the time would have to be indexed a thousand times and it didn't work.
00:25:35 ◼ ► And don't take this the wrong way. Well, whatever. I don't really care if you do because you're not going to be that mad at me.
00:25:43 ◼ ► But overly, you sat down, you considered the business model and you tried to implement it with a linked list that's a day late because I wanted to provide.
00:25:52 ◼ ► Like you came at it from providing value in ways that you can monetize rather than just being like, okay, here's all of this stuff and I'll sell some ads on top.
00:26:01 ◼ ► Like effectively, are they native ads? I guess they're native ads. They're in the same format, right?
00:26:09 ◼ ► Because it's not like you run ads that are not pretty clearly delineated as being ads, right?
00:26:14 ◼ ► No, it's... And that was the thing is that people who were trying to put ads in RSS feeds were putting like graphic ads at the bottom of each post and it sucked.
00:26:23 ◼ ► Nobody wanted to see that. And so the idea that the actual post itself would be the sponsored content but only once a week so it wasn't annoying.
00:26:31 ◼ ► And it would give it a cache because it was like it wasn't... As opposed to 10 ads for one tenth the price, it's one ad for 10x the price.
00:26:47 ◼ ► And it's really hard to stuff Punch the Monkey in an RSS feed. And at the time, those were the kind of ads that were pretty prevalent in 2004.
00:26:54 ◼ ► It's actually quite a while ago at this time. It might have been like 2014 or something like that.
00:27:02 ◼ ► So if you want an hour-long version of how I stumbled backwards into the revenue thing at Daring Fireball, you could watch that talk.
00:27:10 ◼ ► I will put it in the show notes. I just made a note. But the weird... Here's the weird thing about RSS for an ongoing, long-running podcast.
00:27:26 ◼ ► And there's no mechanism built into the concept of RSS for paging, for lack of a better term.
00:27:42 ◼ ► You don't think about it now, but all the social media we use, like Twitter and Instagram and whatever else you want to say, you never get to the bottom.
00:27:50 ◼ ► There is no bottom. When you scroll to the bottom of the view, it just loads the next bunch of them.
00:27:55 ◼ ► I remember sitting with you in Nutschields, someplace in San Francisco, Irish Bank, maybe?
00:28:14 ◼ ► Nevin Mergin, who's at Panicked Island. Buzz Anderson. I don't know what he's up to now, but probably still being a rocker.
00:28:29 ◼ ► When we tweeted so carefully that you might want to carefully construct your tweets over the course of a day or two, you'd use Birdhouse.
00:28:38 ◼ ► I used to always get them confused, even though they were both on my home screen in the early days of the phone.
00:28:58 ◼ ► Because the other ones, including the official Twitter way of accessing Twitter on an iPhone, was to go to m. on the web, go to m.Twitter.com.
00:29:09 ◼ ► And in some ways, that was perfect because m.Twitter.com didn't even show user avatars.
00:29:15 ◼ ► It just had names because we were on iPhones, which were on AT&T's Edge network, which had the bandwidth of tapping your finger on a stretched out piece of string.
00:29:37 ◼ ► Yeah. It was meant that you could... The character limit originally came... The 140-character limit came from the 160-character limit of SMS.
00:29:46 ◼ ► And I think... I forget if there was something magic about the 20 extra characters or if they just thought, we should reserve 20 characters in case we need them being Twitter for our own...
00:29:57 ◼ ► I forget if they actually did something with them or not, but SMS at the time was limited to 160 characters.
00:30:07 ◼ ► As a feeling, it's... Yeah. It's a bunch of connection codes that like string stuff together.
00:30:21 ◼ ► Yeah. I forget the... I forget exactly how it works, but there is a... It piggybacks on just cell data stuff.
00:30:32 ◼ ► Basically, there's unused bits of cell data packages, and they end up abusing those in a way to be able to get SMS messages.
00:30:38 ◼ ► Yeah, but Twitter was built... The idea was, well, of course, most of the time you'll read this stuff on the web, on twitter.com,
00:30:45 ◼ ► but you'll send your updates while you're out and about getting a sandwich or whatever from your T9 phone.
00:31:08 ◼ ► Yeah. But the thing I was getting at with RSS is we have a show that goes for hundreds and hundreds of episodes.
00:31:13 ◼ ► The only way to make them all of the archive available to regular, open podcast players is to include every episode you've ever done in the RSS feed.
00:31:25 ◼ ► Now, the RSS feed... Again, I don't want to get too technical here, but you don't include the actual audio file.
00:31:30 ◼ ► The entry in the RSS feed is just text, and one of the entries is an enclosure element, and it points to a URL where the audio is.
00:31:39 ◼ ► They don't download all the audio, or not even close, but they do parse the whole feed so they have a whole list of the episodes.
00:31:45 ◼ ► And if you just... So, if you... Let's say I fix my RSS feed and get every single episode that I've done with this version of the talk show back in there,
00:31:53 ◼ ► and you want to go listen to the Rian Johnson episode, you could just scroll down to episode 87 or whatever it was,
00:31:59 ◼ ► and it'll be grayed out, and your podcast player, tap it and say download, and it'll download the audio for it on the fly
00:32:10 ◼ ► I'm looking at ATP. Now, ATP, for a while, because I only do three episodes a month and they do 52 a year every year, like clockwork,
00:32:19 ◼ ► they long since passed me. I think this episode you and I are doing is 335 of the talk show. They're up to 466 on ATP,
00:32:29 ◼ ► and I just looked at their feed, and lo and behold, there are 466 item elements in their RSS feed.
00:32:37 ◼ ► So, even for a weekly show, it's tenable, and with zip compression, it's not that big of a download,
00:32:44 ◼ ► but I would imagine that I don't even know. I'm sure Marco would know. I could probably have him on and talk,
00:32:50 ◼ ► but let's say somebody does a daily podcast. At some point, it becomes untenable to have an RSS feed that contains every single...
00:32:57 ◼ ► After ten years, there's a scaling point where it's like, hey, I don't know, 4,000 items in the RSS feed.
00:33:05 ◼ ► It's getting out of control, but then how else does a podcast player listen to the old episodes?
00:33:10 ◼ ► Anyway, let me take a break here and thank our first sponsor, brand new sponsor. Oh, boy.
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00:35:27 ◼ ► I wanted to have you on. One of the other reasons I thought to have you on was the video game stuff.
00:35:31 ◼ ► Microsoft announced their intention to buy Activision Blizzard for sixty nine billion dollars.
00:35:37 ◼ ► I can't help but think it's sixty eight point seven billion. And I know it is totally juvenile to laugh about sixty nine.
00:35:45 ◼ ► But it really seems to me like if it was sixty seven point eight billion instead of sixty eight point seven, everybody would be calling it sixty eight billion dollar deal.
00:35:55 ◼ ► But it seems like most of the major news sites talking about it are going with sixty eight point seven.
00:36:00 ◼ ► I say official the editor's desk, Daring Fireball slash The Talk Show. It's sixty nine billion dollars.
00:36:07 ◼ ► Yeah, I'm with you. Sixty nine billion dollars for Activision and Blizzard. You guys had a great discussion about this on dithering, by the way.
00:36:16 ◼ ► I'm amazed you pulled that off. That is a good show. A tight fifteen minutes is I don't know if you've noticed it.
00:36:26 ◼ ► One time we've done one ad read and we're I swear to God, listeners at home, this is the top thing that it's on our list of things to talk about.
00:36:34 ◼ ► But yeah, great job on dithering. Whatever. That's my advert. Go go listen to that if you can.
00:36:41 ◼ ► I don't remember. I have podcast amnesia, but I remember what I wrote about it more than what we talked about because I really do forget what I talk about on podcasts.
00:36:49 ◼ ► But basically, to me, it solidifies the preeminent honestly preeminent place, at least financially, but probably in time, too.
00:36:58 ◼ ► Which is why it's so preeminent financially in pop culture where video games are right.
00:37:04 ◼ ► And older people tend to and probably among even people like in our generation, Gen Xers who are listening to the show, this show, we grew up in the video game era.
00:37:16 ◼ ► So even though we're now the middle aged adults in the prime of our lives, supposedly, lots of us play video games and spend lots of money on video games.
00:37:26 ◼ ► It's not like when we were kids and older people really dismissed video games as junk. Right.
00:37:40 ◼ ► And now our generation grew up with that and we take comic books super seriously. Like we treat it as a full fledged form of literature and art.
00:37:52 ◼ ► And it's... I think once you can go to the bank with a big sack of money, people start paying attention, which is ugly, but true.
00:38:00 ◼ ► Yeah, there was... not sad. It's sad that Roger Ebert died too young, but one of the last things I remember about Roger Ebert before he died was that he was in a long running public debate over the question of are video games art or can they be art?
00:38:23 ◼ ► And he was on the side of no, which to me is clearly wrong and Roger Ebert is another one of those people who I have definitely had over a 90% agreement rate with him on movies.
00:38:37 ◼ ► Maybe not quite 95%, but at least nine out of ten times his thumbs up or thumbs down for a movie I saw I agreed with.
00:38:45 ◼ ► But man, did I... and I'm not a big video game person anymore. It was when I was younger.
00:38:50 ◼ ► I'm obsessed with them and it's somehow... it's just something that I've let slip by for lack of time or anything.
00:38:59 ◼ ► It takes a lot of time. There's just an investment in time that gets fleeting as you grow up.
00:39:03 ◼ ► But even as somebody who as an adult does not really spend much time at all playing video games or staying up to date on the industry, man, I just knew he was wrong and was always wrong.
00:39:14 ◼ ► Pac-Man was art. It doesn't have to be Breath of the Wild or something like that to say, "Well, this video game is art."
00:39:22 ◼ ► I'm saying video games have been art from the beginning. Asteroids was art. It was like...
00:39:28 ◼ ► I agree and I know we share this sensibility because, not to give anything away, but we're always talking about dumb old projects and stuff that we enjoy and this comes up all the time, so I'm well aware of that.
00:39:38 ◼ ► One of the guys that I actually met through Oga Miba and I worked with on Death Revenge, which is a rhythm game for early iPhone.
00:39:45 ◼ ► This guy, Mark Johns, was one of the correspondents with Ebert going back and forth about whether video games are art or not.
00:39:54 ◼ ► I agree with you. I think Ebert got it wrong. And that's okay. I kind of like that he got it wrong.
00:40:00 ◼ ► There's a value to the consistency of his viewpoint and you don't need everybody from, I don't want to say previous generations, but everybody that is more accustomed to one way of doing things, to buy into the new way of doing things.
00:40:19 ◼ ► Scorsese, another guy who I'm positive we both just think the world of, complained about superhero movies.
00:40:26 ◼ ► And good for him. Because guess what? They're not casino that we were just talking about. They're not goodfellas. They are a different thing. They are fundamentally a different thing.
00:40:33 ◼ ► Now, does that make them any less of an art form? Or any less of a film? Or any more than is Pac-Man less of a game than something that has a strong narrative?
00:40:44 ◼ ► Yeah, Scorsese dismissed... and you know what? He dismisses wrong. I feel Ebert was dismissive of video games. And Scorsese wasn't dismissive of them so much, but said that they weren't cinema, they were theme park attractions.
00:40:59 ◼ ► Yeah, something like that. I forget. But yeah. And just to be clear, I'm perfectly sympathetic to his point of view. Not for me.
00:41:07 ◼ ► I talk to Molt and Dan Martin every week about silly superhero stuff. I enjoy it a lot. And I'm perfectly fine with him having the opinion that, "Look, this is not high cinema."
00:41:17 ◼ ► Sure. I don't even disagree with him. I just don't think that the point of everything needs to be what you find valuable in a form of art.
00:41:27 ◼ ► Although, I would say, things have less artistic value than others. I, for example, am not a fan of the Justice League. You don't have to argue about the Joss Whedon version or the Snyder Cut.
00:41:42 ◼ ► I sat through the whole Snyder Cut, but it took me... I watched it like it was an HBO series. It was like a ten-parter for me. I was like, "Oh my god, I'm going to sleep again. Time for bed. Twenty more minutes." Clearly, though, an enormous amount of artistic effort went into it. It just wasn't to my liking.
00:42:00 ◼ ► I'm also not nearly as big a fan. In the Marvel side, the ones with the Avengers, I'm less a fan of. To me, it is theme park attraction-y. It's probabilistic. And holy crap, do I love the Iron Man movies.
00:42:21 ◼ ► Iron Man 1 is a, swear to god, good movie. That is just a good film. I feel like, I don't know, maybe you watched it or not, but I do feel like you could have a conversation with Ebert about it when it came out.
00:42:32 ◼ ► About, "Hey, this is an actual... How do you feel about this?" Sure, he flies around. And the end, final act is, "I'm going to fight a bigger version of me and win." But it's a legit good movie.
00:42:44 ◼ ► And also Robert Downer Jr. getting to play... What was his name? Tony Stark from Mad Men. Roger from Mad Men meets, well actually that's his dad.
00:43:01 ◼ ► How perfect is that? That really makes sense. Roger from Mad Men gets a suit of armor, basically.
00:43:07 ◼ ► It's an interesting tangent because you and I are the perfect generation to know that superhero movies were deemed unfilmable until Richard Donner's Superman, which was the only exception. It was the only hit superhero movie of our entire childhood.
00:43:26 ◼ ► That is a legitimately good film. That is a film from '78, I believe? '78, I believe, or '79.
00:43:32 ◼ ► Yeah, like the year after Star Wars, very contemporary of that. Legitimately great 1970s film. The '70s were amazing for film.
00:43:42 ◼ ► And you get, oh, whatever, Mean Streets and a bunch of crostini stuff. You get Star Wars, you get Jaws, and you get this Superman movie, which was incredible. Like, mind-bloringly incredible. It still is.
00:43:58 ◼ ► There's little goosebumps from the theme song. I know John Williams, of course, is a celebrated composer of our lifetimes, especially for blockbuster-type movies and Star Wars and Indiana Jones and E.T.
00:44:10 ◼ ► Literally name any Spielberg movie and he's done the theme. But, man, Superman might be the best, at least the most perfect. It's just unbelievable.
00:44:18 ◼ ► It was like the exception that proved the rule. And the studio really screwed Richard Donner over. I don't want to go on a huge side tangent. The reason that the sequels went downhill very quickly was that the producers did not agree with Richard Donner.
00:44:34 ◼ ► And most of Superman II was actually shot by Richard Donner as part of Superman I, but the parts that weren't, they don't really gel together. Superman III started to get silly. I believe that's where Richard Pryor came in.
00:44:56 ◼ ► I don't know how you make a bad movie with Richard, or an unfunny movie with Richard Pryor, but they managed it. But Superman I disproved it. But the big problem was special effects, right?
00:45:06 ◼ ► So Star Wars was obviously super special effects driven, but it was almost like Star Wars, not even almost, I think it's by definition, it's like they figured out things they could do. There's the computer-driven spaceship stuff that Kubrick pioneered with Douglas Trumbull for 2001 that made spaceships look real.
00:45:32 ◼ ► And they used the same techniques and Douglas Trumbull and the same people even to make Star Destroyers look real in 1977. But then the other things, there just wasn't a lot in the Jedis that you saw, you only saw two, right? Darth Vader and Obi-Wan as an old man.
00:45:52 ◼ ► And neither of them really did anything special effects driven, right? The Jedi mind trick didn't involve effects, it just...
00:46:02 ◼ ► No, the land speeder was like Vaseline on the lens. A bunch of rotoscoping for the blades, I believe, are like shining lights on these weird rotating rods. I want to get back to man, weird.
00:46:11 ◼ ► But I'm just saying that Star Wars limited what was technically impossible, what was fantastic, to what they could film reasonably. Whereas, if you want to make a Spider-Man movie in 1977, everybody already knows what Spider-Man is supposed to be able to do. And if you can't shoot that with the special effects of the time, it's not going to work.
00:46:32 ◼ ► It's like the Batman '66 when he's walking up the wall and they've tilted the camera sideways.
00:46:40 ◼ ► Oh wait, man, it's killing me because Todd's listening. The Trumbull stuff was, you said computer-controlled graphics for all of this. The notion is that you've got a camera on a stepper motor and you've got your model on a motor.
00:46:54 ◼ ► And the computers would step and move the camera and take a photo and then step and move the camera for the model and the camera movements. And that would give you a TIE fighter flying by or the Millennium Falcon or the Star Destroyer sort of moving.
00:47:08 ◼ ► So the computer control was not, it wasn't computer-generated in a way, it was used to drive motors that moved big, physical, heavy things.
00:47:23 ◼ ► And the reason it needed to be reproducible was that the lights on the Star Destroyer were done in a separate pass than the actual paint job on the Star Destroyer. Like they would, I don't know if they'd turn the lights off, but they would film the Star Destroyer doing one move or camera pan over Star Destroyer.
00:47:38 ◼ ► Then they would turn all the lights off and just light up the little lights in the model and then film that and then composite them, one on top of each other, so that it would look like the lights were giving a glow. Which is why it needed to be so reproducible all the time because otherwise you couldn't stick in those special effects.
00:47:59 ◼ ► I've mentioned this, I know that, I don't want to, again, I don't want to go off on a tangent, but...
00:48:06 ◼ ► I know that I've mentioned this on our Star Wars Spectaculars before, but I have a very vivid memory of going to see Star Wars in the theater the first time with my dad. And it was just me and my dad, must have been 1977.
00:48:19 ◼ ► But it was already in our neighborhood movie theater, so Star Wars had been out for a while. It wasn't like May of 1977, but we went to see it because what they do with movies then, it was there'd be like first run movie theaters and then like second run, which would come out like months later.
00:48:35 ◼ ► And I wanted to go, that's all I could think about, and my dad took me to see it. And my dad wasn't like begrudging, but I could tell he didn't think he was going to like it.
00:48:45 ◼ ► That he thought it was going to be like the Flash Gordon shit that he saw when he was younger.
00:48:56 ◼ ► And we go to the movie theater and we get our popcorn, we get our seats, and a very vivid memory of being, even though I was very young, is the opening shot, which I believe I would hold up as perhaps the greatest opening shot in any movie ever made, is the blockade runner going and the lasers and then all of a sudden this spaceship.
00:49:16 ◼ ► You already think it's big. You're like, wow, that's cool. And then, oh, you have no idea what's coming.
00:49:26 ◼ ► But it's just unbelievable because it looks so real and it's so big and conveys this and conveys, you don't, they don't have to tell you which ship is the good guy and which is the bad guy.
00:49:41 ◼ ► Do you know one thing that I think is underappreciated is that like the laser blasts just miss.
00:49:48 ◼ ► Because it gives you the sense of scale of like, well, they're trying to hit it, but it's like everything's so big that it's not like a direct beam and you're going to cut it off.
00:50:01 ◼ ► It feels like a World War II movie where flak cannons are just going off as the bombers are coming in.
00:50:05 ◼ ► I remember my dad and he was on my left, just how vividly I remember it, he's on my left and he put his hand on my, like my knee, gave it a squeeze and looked at me and said, "Hey!"
00:50:17 ◼ ► This is the real deal. And then my dad loved it. He absolutely loved it, took it to see me again.
00:50:21 ◼ ► But it was that opening shot, it was the reality of it. It was like, okay, this is no kidding around.
00:50:31 ◼ ► Like when movies were new, they were dismissed as nonsense and that anybody serious would read novels.
00:50:37 ◼ ► But like when novels were new, you can find people on Twitter, like when novels became like a personal, something that literacy was widespread enough and book printing was cheap enough that people could buy their own novels.
00:50:50 ◼ ► Or like, all of Dickens' stuff came out serially. It was chapter by chapter and you'd buy it.
00:51:00 ◼ ► But it was high and snooty people would be like, well, this is just rotting the brains of the proletariat.
00:51:06 ◼ ► And every new thing that comes out and then TV comes out and the movie industry dismisses it.
00:51:10 ◼ ► Nobody wants to watch stuff on a tiny little glass tube in their house when they could go to the movie theater and see a giant technicolor picture or whatever.
00:51:20 ◼ ► That a film critic of, I would say the preeminent film critic of the 20th century, Roger Ebert, are certainly up there on the shortlist.
00:51:27 ◼ ► And without question, the most popular because he actually brought movie criticism to TV with Gene Siskel.
00:51:34 ◼ ► It was a person who is too focused on the previous medium being instinctively dismissive of the new medium.
00:51:44 ◼ ► But inevitably the new medium grows dwarf the old one. And that's the thing about the 69 billion dollar price tag for it.
00:51:55 ◼ ► And the comparison is, I mentioned this, is that when Disney bought Lucasfilm 10 years ago or 11 years ago, it was for 4 billion dollars or 5 billion dollars.
00:52:06 ◼ ► And it has been brought to my attention that George Lucas did not exactly shop it around.
00:52:14 ◼ ► He had, when he decided, you know what, I'm 68 or 69, however old he was at the time, and thought, you know, there needs to be another trilogy.
00:52:27 ◼ ► Still, I'm sure she must not be that old, but he had a young daughter who knew firsthand how long a trilogy would take him to do.
00:52:39 ◼ ► He more or less had it in mind to sell to Disney as the long-term steward of this franchise that would clearly, 10, 11 years ago, it was obvious Star Wars is going to be relevant pop culture wise long past George Lucas being alive.
00:53:02 ◼ ► Quite possibly could have gotten a higher price tag than what Disney paid. He was going to sell to Disney. They were like, how about 4 billion?
00:53:09 ◼ ► But even if he had said, I will sell this to the highest bidder, I don't think he was going to get it. It's not like he shortchanged himself.
00:53:17 ◼ ► No. Well, first of all, you will never catch me saying 4 billion for anything that's being shortchanged.
00:53:36 ◼ ► Oh, well, and especially, I know when it, I actually went searching for it and couldn't find good articles.
00:53:42 ◼ ► But when it happened, I remember him saying that one of the things he really respected was how much Disney, even in 2013 or 2011, 2012, how much respect the Disney company still had for stuff that Disney had made in 1930, 1940, 1950.
00:54:03 ◼ ► And that that's why he felt like this is the best hands my work, this creation could be in.
00:54:08 ◼ ► There is some negative stuff like that with the internal copyright extensions and all kinds of weird stuff, so that's not always great.
00:54:14 ◼ ► But along those lines, and it's sort of tangentially connected, would Steve Jobs have sold Next to Sun?
00:54:32 ◼ ► I think he was probably pretty happy to Jedi Mind trick the Apple board into having them buy it back rather than going working for Scott McNeely.
00:54:51 ◼ ► No, Scott McNeely, you're right. No, I thought you were going to go with Pixar, where he sold to Disney.
00:54:56 ◼ ► But I do think that the difference between Lucas selling Lucasfilm to Disney and Jobs selling Pixar to Disney was that Jobs extracted every dollar he could.
00:55:06 ◼ ► Even if there wasn't really a great Plan B, I think Plan B would have been to keep Pixar independent, right?
00:55:21 ◼ ► But the gun that was to Pixar's head, the leverage Disney had over them was that Disney owned the IP for the pictures they'd already made.
00:55:30 ◼ ► So if Pixar hadn't either maintained two different companies but a permanent relationship going forward, or, "Alright, we'll just sell ourselves and become a subsidiary of Disney,"
00:55:44 ◼ ► Disney would have been the one who had the rights to Toy Story and to Monsters, Inc. and whatever else.
00:56:08 ◼ ► And I also think you don't have to, as a distant outsider like we are, you could easily see the personality difference between George Lucas and Steve Jobs in that way.
00:56:24 ◼ ► And I don't think Jobs ever gave two craps about his own personal wealth other than just being comfortable and...
00:56:32 ◼ ► Yeah, he was never in a race to be richer than Bill Gates or if he were still around, Jeff Bezos.
00:56:38 ◼ ► I do think he may have actually redefined success to be whatever he was doing rather than whatever they were doing.
00:56:52 ◼ ► One of the last things he built or created before he passed was a $500 million mega yacht.
00:57:08 ◼ ► If Disney was going to buy Pixar and it was inevitable, they were going to get every goddamn 50 cents worth of value for it that they deserved.
00:57:18 ◼ ► So, getting back to the actual topic at hand, this Microsoft Activision Blizzard thing.
00:57:25 ◼ ► Clearly the $69 billion value is a testament to, I guess, the cultural share that video games have in our world today.
00:57:44 ◼ ► If you thought the Microsoft's big money splash would be on video games back in the 90s, or even 2000s, I don't think I would have believed it.
00:58:07 ◼ ► Because I think... and again, I don't want to go too far in technical weeds, but everything was so CPU driven that there was better PCs and slower PCs.
00:58:19 ◼ ► And if anything, a PC that was faster would be better for games and a PC that was slower would be worse for games.
00:58:34 ◼ ► But it wasn't a huge thing, and it certainly seemed incidental to Microsoft's interest.
00:58:41 ◼ ► Microsoft was making money just selling the operating systems and themselves selling Office and stuff like... you know, Office.
00:58:50 ◼ ► Whereas the Xbox, the original Xbox in 1999 or 2000 or whatever, seemed to be the first time where they were like, "Okay, let's see what we can do if we actually focus on games."
00:59:04 ◼ ► But you would never think... even then, even with... not to interrupt you, I'm sorry, but...
00:59:09 ◼ ► I agree with you though, that even then, with Xbox, where they were like... and Xbox wasn't like a quiet little thing, it was a huge focus.
00:59:21 ◼ ► But you would have never thought at the time that their biggest acquisition would be a video game studio.
00:59:43 ◼ ► I think they were castigated? Man, I don't know why I'm asking you to pronounce something.
00:59:52 ◼ ► I didn't like Microsoft growing up. I mean, they got the DOS deal in a weird... not shady, but somebody that happened to be out of the office, and they got the contract for DOS.
01:00:02 ◼ ► They did a lot of really shady stuff back then that involved charging people like Dell or Gateway per Intel CPU sold, like per PC sold, even if Windows didn't run on it.
01:00:17 ◼ ► Because somebody was going to pirate Windows and stick it on their PC, which really precluded stuff like BOS taking off or expanding the market for alternative operating systems.
01:00:31 ◼ ► Well, it wasn't just... they might have said that it was a piracy type thing, but I think that they did...
01:00:41 ◼ ► I think their public excuse for the contracts, which was basically if you wanted to license... if you... let's say you're Dell and you want to sell some Dell computers pre-installed with Windows, which obviously Dell wanted to do because an awful lot of people wanted to buy a Dell computer, take it out of the box, turn it on, and boot into Windows.
01:01:07 ◼ ► But if you wanted to... but Microsoft's licensing terms were if you want to sell any computers with Windows pre-installed and pre-licensed...
01:01:15 ◼ ► You have to buy a Windows license for every single PC you sell. And they said it was like a piracy thing because they were like... because if you sell them blank, literally like a PC with no operating system installed, which sounds ridiculous now, but was actually...
01:01:35 ◼ ► The argument was a constant joke. Guess what? Late '90s, very much a joke. That was not an avenue for success.
01:01:42 ◼ ► Right. But in the other big difference that's really hard, if you didn't live through it, it's hard to remember how viable it was, was that there... it really was an era where every couple years there might be a new operating system that would take over.
01:01:58 ◼ ► Back in the '80s, like mid-'80s, '90s, definitely. We had... Remember Amiga? That was awesome.
01:02:04 ◼ ► I'm not saying that should go on and everything, but that was a good OS. A lot of great things from Mac OS and...
01:02:09 ◼ ► They could do things that other computers couldn't do, like the video toaster for Amiga was editing digital video at a time when other computers, including the Mac, admittedly couldn't even play video at all. Literally. QuickTime didn't even exist.
01:02:24 ◼ ► It was a time rich with... I don't even like the word innovation, but with new applications, and I don't mean applications in the way we do a .app, but just like, how can we take what we now know about making chips and making software and come up with weird and crazy ideas?
01:02:41 ◼ ► And some of them were fascinating. Like Mac OS, the classic Mac OS, was predicated upon having a single user. Like, a single user, a single address space, and we're just going to do this awesome thing. And that made a lot of sense until it didn't. Right? Like, we discovered, evolutionary, that that didn't work out.
01:03:03 ◼ ► Obviously it came out okay. They're like a, what, three trillion dollar business at this point. But, you know, Windows was saying, "Oh, that's not a bad idea. Let's copy it." By the time they got Nt, they got some like serious OS people in there that were like Unix equivalent OS makers.
01:03:17 ◼ ► And, ultimately, things managed to converge to where we are now. But, there was a time where everything felt like a fertile field of just, "Hey, who knows what the hell is going on?" Like, B didn't even believe in window title bars that extended the length of the window.
01:03:36 ◼ ► Which looked really fucking cool. I love that look. And the more I think about it, I'm like, "That is just a, that's a nightmare. Like, why would I want my..." If my notes to John were just the middle finger emoji, I could not drag that into a round. It's tiny.
01:04:02 ◼ ► I'm trying new and interesting stuff all the time. I think that's a great place to be in. And as you're enjoying that vibe and things start to get constrained, I think generally you feel that the world, not the world, but the technology world you're invested in is closing in around you.
01:04:17 ◼ ► And I think that is echoed by classic Mac OS people making the transition to AppKit and Cocoa and stuff. And I think that Mac people as we transition to more of an iOS model are similarly dealing with that.
01:04:38 ◼ ► Well, but it speaks... I do think though it's an interesting tangent and very talk showy to just say it, even in the year 2000, after the DOJ problems, after the Xbox was announced, to say, if you would have told somebody then in the year 2022, Microsoft is still one of the two biggest companies in the world, you'd say, "Yeah, I believe that," because you'd think the future's bright for a company that they weren't like...
01:05:06 ◼ ► And you might say, I think at the time, I literally think at the time, if it wasn't Microsoft, Exxon might have been the biggest market company in the world. And you'd say like a fossil fuel company like Exxon has fallen way down on the list by the year 2022. You'd say, "Yeah, that makes sense." And not like in any kind of...
01:05:21 ◼ ► Yeah, but not in any kind of Greenpeace left wing super environmentalism perspective, just it seemed inevitable, right? It doesn't make any sense to anybody, even if you're, in my opinion, on the wrong side of where we should be policy wise on fossil fuels and worrying collectively about climate change, etc.
01:05:46 ◼ ► Nobody... you can't be a serious person and think that 100 years from now, vehicles are going to be running by burning fossil fuels. At some point, they're going away. Whereas what Microsoft was doing, and literally their name, they're focused on software.
01:06:02 ◼ ► It certainly seemed like it had a bright... no end on the horizon to where software is going to be relevant. You'd say, "Okay, sure. I'm sure Microsoft will be very relevant." And to hear that in 2022, they're still one of the biggest, most profitable and successful companies in the world.
01:06:21 ◼ ► No surprise to me, but if you found out their biggest acquisition by far, like over 2x, was a video game studio, you would be like, "What?"
01:06:32 ◼ ► So, I don't know, that adds up to me, my perspective on where the world was going 20 years ago, even though at the time I was a video game fan, literally bought, I think, the last console I bought for myself before I became a father and let my kid pick the consoles was the original Xbox.
01:06:54 ◼ ► Was that... oh my god, this was another fucking tangent. Was that difficult for you? Because there's just from old Mac people and myself, although I wasn't a Mac person back in the 90s, there's an animosity towards Microsoft. They were doing shitty shit that was not that cool.
01:07:11 ◼ ► People booed when Microsoft invested, I don't know what it was, like $85 in Mac. It was such a appealing amount. I think it was like $180 million. I think it was $150, but it was nothing.
01:07:25 ◼ ► It was so tiny. And just backstory on that, Windows Media stuff had used a lot of QuickTime-based code, and there was a bunch of lawsuits going on, and it was basically like, "Okay, how about you give us a bunch of money and pretend that you, or not pretend, but agree to keep doing Office, and we'll just call it quits and move on."
01:07:43 ◼ ► And Steve has to get up there and be like, "Hey, look, from Apple to win, Microsoft doesn't have to lose," which is one of the most brilliant things he's ever said, I know! I know, which is great. That was great guidance. That's amazing.
01:07:55 ◼ ► And guess what? Look at the world today. Number one and number two in market cap, Apple and Microsoft, I believe.
01:08:07 ◼ ► It actually was true. It was not difficult for me. And I know, I think we mentioned this...
01:08:14 ◼ ► Siracusa, I believe, has never owned an Xbox, and I believe that he erred on the side of distaste for them.
01:08:22 ◼ ► I think he's still a bit about buying Halo. Like, they bought Bungie. Remember, that was a real thumb in the eye.
01:08:28 ◼ ► Oh, yeah, because, well, Marathon was the last game, the last 3D shooter I was good at.
01:08:41 ◼ ► But, yeah, them buying Bungie hurt as a Mac user, because Halo, I believe, was going to be, before they bought them, was going to be...
01:08:49 ◼ ► I don't know if it was going to be Mac exclusive, but it was going to debut on the Mac.
01:08:52 ◼ ► Yeah, it was a showcase of the power of Macs, right? The PowerPC Plus, I think ATI cards at the time, like ATI whatever, Rage 128, something like that.
01:09:02 ◼ ► Here's my story on console. So, I never liked the NES, and I never thought the games were that great. I was never into the classic, original 8-bit NES Mario.
01:09:18 ◼ ► And I so despised that sharp-cornered rectangular controller that, obviously, I never owned one, but some of my friends did.
01:09:26 ◼ ► And I felt like I couldn't play for more than 15 minutes without my hands hurting. And I was, you know, like 14 at the time, and so my whole body was made out of rubber.
01:09:36 ◼ ► I was like, "Who makes a controller like this?" It was bananas how uncomfortable it was.
01:09:47 ◼ ► I loved the Genesis, but it was just like Mac versus PC, where it's Sega on one side and Nintendo on the other, and I was on Team Sega and totally skipped the Super NES for the same reason.
01:10:00 ◼ ► And then, in 1996 or '97 or so, bought the Nintendo 64, because there was no Nintendo or Sega rival at the time.
01:10:09 ◼ ► Again, I wasn't religious about it. I was open-minded. It was like I'd been not on Team Nintendo, but Nintendo 64 looked so cool.
01:10:17 ◼ ► And actually, my roommate was the same guy who I was talking about, the guy who didn't like heat, but I liked heat.
01:10:23 ◼ ► But we bought a Nintendo 64, and I guess this was actually the last 3D shooter I was good at, was Goldeneye, the Nintendo 64 James Bond shooter.
01:10:35 ◼ ► The greatest, it's the two greatest moments of my video game playing life. I will tell them to.
01:10:45 ◼ ► No, I forget who, we'd mix it up. But in 1992, my sophomore year of college, I had a Mac LC that came with this crappy keyboard. I forget what it was called, but it was a real turd of a keyboard.
01:11:00 ◼ ► And my arch rival for John Madden football on Sega Genesis was a guy who had an SE30, which is what I should have bought instead of the LC, but the SE30 came with the Apple Extended Keyboard 2, which is still to this day my favorite keyboard ever made.
01:11:17 ◼ ► And we made a bet, and we were arch rivals. I played with the Houston Oilers, who in real world were not a great football team, but they had a quarterback named Warren Moon, who in Madden football had unbelievable stats.
01:11:31 ◼ ► And my friend, I actually forget his name, but he played as the Eagles, who had this incredible defense. I had the team with this unbelievable superhuman quarterback.
01:11:42 ◼ ► He had a team with this incredible defense, and we played one game, winner takes all. Either I get his keyboard, or if I lost, I pay him $100 cash.
01:11:54 ◼ ► And you might think, wait, for a keyboard? But those keyboards were like $200 retail. And, you know, so he could use his computer, I would give him my keyboard.
01:12:03 ◼ ► I won the game, got the keyboard, and wound up using that keyboard until 2006 or 2007 or something like that. All the early years, every word ever written on Daring Fireball in the early years, written on that keyboard that I won in a 1992 game of John Madden football on Sega Genesis.
01:12:30 ◼ ► It was like I had him the whole game. It wasn't a blowout, but I was never... He never got within threatening distance, and he knew it. So like the whole fourth quarter, he knew he was going to lose. It was terrible.
01:12:47 ◼ ► Did he play by the block, or did he be like, I'm losing it, I gotta do something decisive?
01:12:52 ◼ ► No, I think his only chance to have come back would have been to get a turnover. He would have had to come in and sack the quarterback, get a fumble, and pick it up and run it in. I kept scoring, and he couldn't catch up. That was great.
01:13:04 ◼ ► But then maybe my better moment was playing Goldeneye with my then roommate. And for the longest time... Now, did you have Goldeneye? Did you have a Nintendo 64?
01:13:17 ◼ ► Yeah. I did not have it. I would rent one. I would enjoy it. But I was programming games at that point, I think. Poorly. But my thing was programming rather than playing.
01:13:28 ◼ ► Goldeneye was amazing. It was a recreation of the Goldeneye movie on Nintendo 64, only on Nintendo 64. And in the one-player mode was you playing as James Bond and more or less going through all the missions of the movie.
01:13:44 ◼ ► And it looked great. And the one-player mode was fantastic. And would have been well worth the price of the cartridge by itself. But the two-player mode was unbelievable.
01:13:53 ◼ ► Now, because it was a Nintendo game and there was no networking at the time, you played split screen. It was, I think, top bottom. I think it was top bottom, not left.
01:14:03 ◼ ► It was top bottom. And then cut down to four. Here's the thing. I almost texted you. Except, you know what, I was watching this at 2.30 in the morning the other day when I might have been having a holiday party. So I didn't text you.
01:14:14 ◼ ► But I watched a YouTuber about the creation, like the development of Goldeneye. And the multiplayer was jammed in at the last minute.
01:14:33 ◼ ► You need to watch it. Honestly, if we're having this discussion, it is remarkable how cool you can add just weird little features that come in at the last minute that really make it. Because that game is famous for the multiplayer.
01:14:46 ◼ ► Right. Well, and it ties into the Madden story because Madden was multiplayer on the same screen too. And they had these features in Madden where you would want to be deceptive. You could watch which plays the guy you were playing against were picking.
01:15:02 ◼ ► And we had both, if you were an obsessive player, you knew the whole playbook and you knew all the plays. And so they let you, like, as each successive year, there'd be like one year where the multiplayer was like, "Oh, this is a big problem because everybody can see what their opponent picks."
01:15:19 ◼ ► And they let it be that you could keep cycling through the plays after you made your selection and it wouldn't beep and tell you which one you picked. So that if I was playing you and I get to the play I want to call and I hit the button that says, "This is the one I'm going to run."
01:15:38 ◼ ► Or the defense I'm going to run. But then I can keep picking plays for a couple more seconds and cycle through them. So you don't know which one I picked.
01:15:50 ◼ ► And you would know how to get to the one you wanted very quickly and go very fast. And it worked out. But the GoldenEye was so interesting where you're playing split screen with somebody and you can see where they are because you could just look at the other half of the screen.
01:16:04 ◼ ► But they could do the same to you. So it was fair. It was very weird. But my roommate and I were dead even players for the longest time and we loved playing. We played like every day and we were like 50/50 and something happened over the end. It was definitely summer as the story will indicate.
01:16:21 ◼ ► It was summer and somehow something clicked and I got like a fraction of a second better than my roommate. And no matter what happened, I started winning every match. And even when it was like he'd see me and he'd be going to shoot me in the head and boom, I got him in the head and he's dead.
01:16:39 ◼ ► Every time. And for months and months we were like dead even and all of a sudden he could not beat me. Every time. And I don't know, all of a sudden one time he got so frustrated he ripped the controller out of the thing and threw it over his head.
01:16:55 ◼ ► And it was summer and we had the window open because it was hot and it sailed out the window and we lived on the third floor and it just went right out the window and shattered on the sidewalk. And it was the most satisfying victory.
01:17:11 ◼ ► I mean he didn't purposefully throw it out the window but it literally by accident went out the window and shattered.
01:17:20 ◼ ► And it was comical, it was a moment of levity and then we just, he had a car I didn't, we just got in the car and drove down to Walmart and bought another controller.
01:17:30 ◼ ► Because he was like being a gambling addict. You just busted, you get in your car, you go to the bank, get some more money out of the ATM and go back to the casino. It's like, well, let's go get another controller.
01:17:41 ◼ ► Okay, anyway, so I had the intention, there's a negativity there, right? There's a, is gaming valued so highly because it is a gambling form? And is subscription to gaming a part of that parcel?
01:17:57 ◼ ► I don't, maybe you want it to have more fun? Honestly, I would laugh with you all day about dumb video game stories. But it's a $69 billion valuation because video games have become a form of feedback that gamblers get that is now being subsumed in a subscription model.
01:18:17 ◼ ► I worry a lot about the pay to win games. And that's part of Microsoft's purchase is not just like the Call of Duty and stuff like that. But they get King which has Candy Crush and Candy Crush is about as close as you can get to a slot machine without being a slot machine.
01:18:39 ◼ ► But I don't feel the same way about a subscription. I know and World of Warcraft is the big subscription service that that Microsoft will get assuming that Activision thing goes through and it's 15 bucks a month. But you can't, if you get the more you get into it, it's still 15 bucks a month.
01:18:55 ◼ ► It's a time sink that you might be able to spend an unhealthy amount of time playing, but you can't spend more than $15 a month, which isn't that bad.
01:19:05 ◼ ► All right, let's take a break. I'm going to take a break here and thank our next sponsor. It's our good friends at Squarespace. Hey, you know Squarespace. It is the all in one tool for websites and online stores, including marketing tools and analytics.
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01:21:04 ◼ ► Ah, where were we? What were we talking about? Here's the thing. We've talked a little bit about, we've talked around the fact that 69 billion for Activision Blizzard is a whole bunch of money.
01:21:16 ◼ ► At the same time, it feels like you're buying some diamonds surrounded by shit that is on fire on your doorstep, right? The doorstep is that it's been delivered to you in a way in that, guess what? The stock prices have to amount to money you might've thought about doing.
01:21:36 ◼ ► By the way, Ben Thompson does a much better and more mature take on this stuff. But basically the bag is on fire. There's some diamonds in there and there's a bunch of shit around it. Choose your own adventure from there effectively.
01:21:48 ◼ ► Well, obviously there's a nice selection of IP, very popular games that have proven to be popular for a long term. Obviously there's a lot of talent at the game design and engineering level and the problems, the cultural problems, the lawsuit they have from the state of California, which Ben and I have emphasized, it's bad enough if it's individual lawsuits. Like some employee who feels legitimately was...
01:22:19 ◼ ► ...slighted or subjected to bad behavior. You can buy your way out of a problem like that by settling a lawsuit. Whereas when the state of California is coming after you, it's not good to say the least. And yet there still are a successful, proud company and how do you get out of it? To me it is. And I do feel like Microsoft knew it. This is my take.
01:22:42 ◼ ► Is Microsoft new? It's like where else are they going to go? Their way out is to sell. Their stock is depressed because of these scandals legitimately. And that's not, this isn't like Microsoft of old where they sandbagged the company, but it was an opportunity for Microsoft to buy somebody who they might have wanted to buy anyway at full price a year ago. And now you can get them at 50 or 40% discount.
01:23:09 ◼ ► To his great credit, Ben calls out the... I'm kind of black on his name. Because they elevated him too. Phil Spencer. Phil Spencer. Thank you. I had Phil Spencer in my mind and not the same people.
01:23:25 ◼ ► He elevated, his title is now CEO of gaming at Microsoft. That's how serious, and again, the $69 billion price tag shows how serious Microsoft is as a whole. And the fact that they've given Phil Spencer the title of CEO of gaming is...
01:23:45 ◼ ► But it is interesting that everybody is spinning this in a "metaverse" context. And it's just a word people are saying right now. But it is, from an actual... Hey, what are the practical implications?
01:23:59 ◼ ► It is interesting that Xbox doesn't really have a VR story at the moment. As opposed to PlayStation, which does, there is an actual PlayStation headset that you can buy and hook up to your PlayStation and play VR games.
01:24:15 ◼ ► And Xbox doesn't have it, but Microsoft does, right? With the HoloLens project, which has been high profile and it's very high fidelity. So obviously that needs to come together, right? Like the part of Microsoft working on HoloLens and the part that is spending $69 billion to buy Activision Blizzard need to get together.
01:24:37 ◼ ► First of all, I don't necessarily think that the headlines that are calling out this as a, for lack of a better term, a metaverse play. I don't think this is necessarily reactionary to Facebook's moves.
01:24:51 ◼ ► I do think that, yeah, I think Microsoft wanted to buy this company at maybe full price. And once it got to half price, somebody could walk into a room and be like, look, we were considering this kind of move earlier. It's half price now. Let's just do it.
01:25:10 ◼ ► That said, the metaverse angle, which keeps coming up is one of delivery, which is the eyewear, the mask and face, the immersion aspect of it.
01:25:24 ◼ ► The other side of that is making servers that can hold that many people interacting in that many ways. And that is a different problem than Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or anything that's gone before.
01:25:44 ◼ ► It's a real time non-deterministic by which you're meeting this a lot of UDP traffic often going on there. You never know exactly where a character is at any given time and you need to interpolate and make it all work out.
01:25:58 ◼ ► What we were talking about, Goldeneye, although that was all working on one machine, a multiplayer aspect is very difficult to coordinate and very different from a single viewer sort of perspective.
01:26:12 ◼ ► And if you think about Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or anything like that, or RSS feeds like we were talking about earlier, is that they are a series of sequential events.
01:26:24 ◼ ► And the truth is that in metaverse, in a massively multiplayer online game, events can come in that happened prior to the current timestamp.
01:26:43 ◼ ► And you need to reconcile that kind of stuff. And that is a more interesting avenue towards metaverse stuff than I think.
01:26:54 ◼ ► The fact that Activision Blizzard doesn't have presentation hardware or software tuned to doing so does not make them ineligible to be a great piece in an ongoing multiplayer world. You need to reconcile so many things on the internet to make things appear normal.
01:27:14 ◼ ► And they've got, what is it, 15 years of doing that? I can't even remember when. Will the Warcraft launch? They're good.
01:27:26 ◼ ► Alas, his interview with Phil Spencer the day after was amazing. And the one thing I forgot to mention on Dithering, but I will just say here, I might mention the next time we do Dithering, is it's a fantastic example where he does these interviews that are available to his Stratechery subscribers.
01:27:45 ◼ ► You can read it as a transcript or listen to it as a podcast. And listening to it was so much more interesting to me than reading the transcript would have been because you could sense a certain ebullence in Phil Spencer's voice. He was in a good mood after this deal was announced.
01:28:03 ◼ ► But I found it very interesting to just listen to his tone. And when Ben asked him about the VR question, I thought his answer, it did not seem to me, like one way to look at it is, okay, if you don't have a story about X, then you deflect.
01:28:20 ◼ ► And a perfect example of that would be back when Apple announced the color iPods that you could hook up to your photo library. So in addition to just showing album art and color, you could put your photos on your iPod.
01:28:34 ◼ ► And literally after the keynote where they announced it, like the first question Steve Jobs was asked by somebody in the media who got to see him in the hands-on areas, "Hey, what about video?" This iPod photo or whatever they called it didn't play video.
01:28:50 ◼ ► They were obviously thinking about it because they were renting TV shows and stuff on iTunes at the time. And a year later, they came out with an iPod that played video, but Jobs deflected and said, "Ah, nobody wants to watch video on a screen this size."
01:29:06 ◼ ► That was a total deflection. And Jobs was the master of it. You could write a whole book about times that Steve Jobs was asked about X because Apple didn't have X yet. And he said, "Ah, nobody wants to do X." And then a year later, Apple comes out and acts like they invented X.
01:29:24 ◼ ► Well, I'm completely positive that his rationale is, "Nobody wants to do X," and he didn't finish the sentence. The end of the sentence is, "Because it sucks."
01:29:36 ◼ ► Hang on a second. One of the three prongs of the iPhone introduction was "whitescreen iPod." Is that a stool that you want to sit on these days? Probably not.
01:29:55 ◼ ► At the time, if you wanted to watch an episode, I'm thinking at the time, "Lost" was a big hit. You could only watch it on the tiny two-inch iPod screen. And so the idea that it would be a three-and-a-half-inch diagonal widescreen, it really was a big deal.
01:30:14 ◼ ► I'm pretty sure there's a reason David Lynch is never going to do anything for Apple TV.
01:30:18 ◼ ► I was just watching that part of the keynote again, too, because I think we just hit the 15th anniversary or something, and everybody was watching it. And it's just such—we can't say it as many times—it's the canonical Apple keynote.
01:30:32 ◼ ► It's the one that everybody was always waiting for. They're never going to reproduce it. And it's not three products, it's one product. Are you getting it? It was a fantastic way of presenting it.
01:30:42 ◼ ► But the widescreen video iPod was actually an appealing product. If it had been its own product, it would have been a huge deal.
01:30:51 ◼ ► I do think that, but I have to feel—well, given hindsight, I feel like that was shoehorned in to make a rule of threes, rather than, you know.
01:30:59 ◼ ► But it is like thinking back to, I don't know, 1989, and somebody at Apple saying, "The Mac 2, 2 whatever, Mac 2 whatever the first one was, can do color."
01:31:11 ◼ ► It was, you have to admit, if you'd been a Mac user for five years, the fact that it could do color, even if it was limited to 16 colors, was a big step up, because previously every pixel was either black or white, and that was it.
01:31:25 ◼ ► But in hindsight, it does not seem like something to brag about. A widescreen video iPod does not seem like a bragging point, but at the time, it seemed like a big deal.
01:31:36 ◼ ► The thing that got me about Spencer's answer about the metaverse in VR was him more—and I didn't think it was deflecting. I thought it was actually very insightful, and it makes me think, "Oh, man, he is the right person to have as the CEO of gaming at a company like Microsoft," was basically—I'm paraphrasing a lot here—but basically, hey, screens are screens, and VR screens and headsets are awesome, and they're great, and we're looking at them.
01:32:01 ◼ ► TVs, monitors, phones, tablets, they're all screens, and the metaverse is all of that. You might be on any of those screens at any given point or no screen and still be participating in some other way.
01:32:15 ◼ ► I thought that was super insightful. I really do. There's nothing magic about a VR headset. It is obviously different, but it's only different in the way that a giant 70-inch TV is different than a 4-inch phone.
01:32:33 ◼ ► So, yeah. To underscore something that you said earlier, Microsoft is all about software, right? And he specifically says the hardware that you're running on is not really relevant.
01:32:47 ◼ ► And the doubling down of, like, it's not Windows everywhere, it's Microsoft everywhere. And if that is what they call xCloud, which I find hilariously Microsoft-named, like, I've come—I honestly have, I swear to God, I've come to admire Microsoft in the past 10-ish years kind of thing. I really do.
01:33:07 ◼ ► Their naming has always been hilariously bad, and I find that sort of charming. Like, I've come around, and I'm like, "Okay, xCloud. I get it. I get it."
01:33:15 ◼ ► Well, the funniest to me—the funniest to me was back when we were doing Vesper, and Azure was Windows Azure. It had nothing to do with Windows. Nothing!
01:33:25 ◼ ► They don't know how to name anything. They have no idea. And, like, xCloud is, "Okay, I see you took Apple's thing and stuck an X in it." And Xbox is a horrible—do you know what a great name is? PlayStation.
01:33:39 ◼ ► That is an amazing—that's a great name. What do you want to do here? You want to play stuff? DVDs, Blu-rays, games. You got it. Not a problem.
01:33:49 ◼ ► The Nintendo Entertainment System, equally, okay, nerdy, but any more nerdy than VHS, right? Like, video home.
01:34:07 ◼ ► Yeah. Sony, 90% of their stuff is named like the XDS 757, but when they come up with a hit name, like Trinitron, it was like, "Oh, man."
01:34:30 ◼ ► Walkman is—honestly, I swear to God, that's probably the—that's got to be in the top five things ever produced in 100 years.
01:34:41 ◼ ► Well, we've got the atom bomb, so that's not good. But in terms of consumer products, Walkman is pretty revolutionary.
01:34:51 ◼ ► Yeah, and I don't know why. It sounds good, it was memorable, and rather than focus on anything related to sound or audio or music, it was the fact that you could walk around.
01:35:04 ◼ ► That was the thing. It was like they keyed in on the actual thing that was different from everything that came before. But anyway, PlayStation—
01:35:14 ◼ ► No, I don't think so. But it's hard to say because it did come after, but I don't think.
01:35:23 ◼ ► All right, let me take a break here. Thank our third and final sponsor, and then we'll head into the home stretch.
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01:37:24 ◼ ► Do you know what? I was about to interject, because I didn't know if you wanted my colleagues to...
01:37:34 ◼ ► No, I got so excited about your sponsor that I mentioned I knocked my microphone off my desk.
01:37:43 ◼ ► And yeah, The Incomparable uses Memberful, and the way that it works is that subscribers can say, basically vote on the shows that they want to listen to and donate a portion of their money to.
01:37:57 ◼ ► And at least that's the way that The Incomparable does it. And it's great. It's been working out wonderfully.
01:38:08 ◼ ► I don't. Well, because I'm in Canada, it's a huge pain in the ass, and for a while I was at Apple, and I didn't know how that was going to work, and whatever.
01:38:21 ◼ ► Guess what, Jon? If you want to drink, hit up malts and just say it's on Guy's tab, it's probably going to work out for you.
01:38:38 ◼ ► And it's a little bit weird, because the Microsoft Activision Blizzard thing is going into subscription stuff, and I think a lot more stuff is going into subscription stuff.
01:38:48 ◼ ► And I want to disassociate this from that, but a company or sort of an approach that allows a broader audience to participate in a subscription model is worthwhile, I think.
01:39:04 ◼ ► Not necessarily because I don't necessarily think that everything you're going to do is going to make any money, and that's fine.
01:39:10 ◼ ► But being able to participate in an economy where you can make subscription money, I think is valuable in some way.
01:39:38 ◼ ► I think... And I realize this is a sponsor, and I don't necessarily want to associate the two, but OnlyFans has come up based on subscription stuff.
01:39:53 ◼ ► And it's an interesting perspective on value, right? It's value over time versus value for an item.
01:40:02 ◼ ► Well, I know that there's a lot of people who are resistant to the trend towards subscriptions for everything. I get it.
01:40:11 ◼ ► And I think it's always hard to move something to subscriptions. Again, the sponsor read from Emberful is over, but we can talk about it, because it does play into the game.
01:40:20 ◼ ► And to me, my mindset... And I say this, I've got dithering, which is entirely subscription-based, and it's doing very well, it's very popular, seems more popular than... Way more popular than the minimum, "Hey, if it gets to this point, we'll call it a success."
01:40:37 ◼ ► It's higher than that, which is great, and I enjoy doing it, and I think it's a fair price.
01:40:42 ◼ ► But the stuff I do at Daring Fireball is non-subscription now, even though I mentioned before I was doing subscription stuff back in 2004.
01:40:50 ◼ ► Maybe I'll bring it back in some form. I've been thinking about it. I like the idea, though, that everything I do at Daring Fireball, every single word I write and every single second of this podcast is free for anybody without a subscription.
01:41:04 ◼ ► I enjoy that, too, and the sponsorship stuff has made that financially more than feasible.
01:41:12 ◼ ► When I was a kid... Here's the thing I want to point out. I just want to say, when I was a kid, the only people who had subscriptions were huge institutions.
01:41:21 ◼ ► Even the local newspaper in Reading, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, it was the biggest political force or social force in the county.
01:41:34 ◼ ► Everybody I knew had a subscription to the paper and the cable company. That's it. And the phone, you subscribe effectively to telephone service.
01:41:43 ◼ ► AT&T, they're literally so big that they were the last monopoly truly busted up by the federal government.
01:41:49 ◼ ► That's who had subscriptions. It's a great business. It's so great now that anybody can do it for three bucks a month or five bucks a month or something like that.
01:41:59 ◼ ► And it's easy to unsubscribe. The difference between the old days was nobody could really unsubscribe from the phone service because who could afford to not have a telephone?
01:42:08 ◼ ► And I guess that... Well, a few things about that, but that actually brings us to our next topic.
01:42:16 ◼ ► It does. Yeah, people believe that subscriptions are bad, but inherently it is a vote of confidence month by month.
01:42:28 ◼ ► And I think where I want to take this conversation is to Netflix, where the sky is falling. Is that where you thought we were going to go?
01:42:38 ◼ ► Even in the article that I read, CNN1, was that this feels more... So I guess background, Netflix dropped what, 40 some odd percent over the past X weeks?
01:42:55 ◼ ► Yeah, I'm not sure if it is because guess what, everybody was signing up for Netflix and post-haunts, another thing I guess we can talk about.
01:43:02 ◼ ► And the notion is that, well, Netflix, The Sky Is Falling was a headline on CNN. And... No, it's not. No, it's not.
01:43:12 ◼ ► Because their subscriber base only grew 9 percent. And I get it. I'm not making light of the fact that if everybody was investing in Microsoft in October thinking it was going to be 20 percent,
01:43:24 ◼ ► and it's only 9 percent growth instead of 20, that is a disappointment and therefore the stock price will drop as a result. I get it. I'm not like...
01:43:37 ◼ ► Yeah, who cares? It doesn't matter. Because here's the thing, if you read that article, the notion is, well, eventually everybody's going to tap out at people to subscribe.
01:43:48 ◼ ► Yeah. I don't know if you've noticed the planet? There's a limit. There's a limit here. That's right.
01:43:55 ◼ ► Right. And 220 million subscribers and growing even if more slowly than previously expected. I don't know anybody who is, "Eh, Netflix, I'm going to cancel."
01:44:08 ◼ ► It's a really good business from a company. And I say this, I have a friend or two who work there, but I have the utmost respect for them. I think they have a great strategy.
01:44:20 ◼ ► I think their software is excellent, which really, to me, counts for something. And a lot of others, I'll just name it because I don't know anybody who works at Hulu.
01:44:30 ◼ ► But something happened to our... We have a shared family Hulu account. And you know how all these streaming services let you set up family profiles so Amy, John, and Jonas can each have their own history and share, remember where you took off.
01:44:49 ◼ ► Well, whatever happened, I'm the owner of the Hulu account and my username is blank. It is the less than symbol, lowercase B-L-A-N-K, greater than symbol.
01:45:03 ◼ ► And there's nothing I can do to change it. I cannot fix it. I can't make it say, "John, can't delete it because it's the master." I guess I could cancel.
01:45:23 ◼ ► It's not my... I've written a book and it's going into the Library of Congress for history under the name blank. It's my name in our shared family Hulu account.
01:45:37 ◼ ► And from a user experience perspective to remembering and being able to change your username, Netflix is great and they have great exclusive content and a great library of shared content.
01:45:51 ◼ ► Amy and I are actually mowing through Seinfeld, which I haven't watched since it was on.
01:45:57 ◼ ► And they spent a fortune to get the exclusive streaming rights to Seinfeld recently. Money well spent. It's great.
01:46:04 ◼ ► I wouldn't think... I've never given two thoughts to canceling our Netflix subscription.
01:46:10 ◼ ► And I complained and you can complain about little details like that you have to spend... you have to be on their premium plan, which is 20 bucks a month to get 4K.
01:46:20 ◼ ► And otherwise at 15 bucks a month, you're stuck at 1080p. And their $10 plan ridiculously is only 480p.
01:46:33 ◼ ► Do you think they're doing the same sort of miscalculation that you did earlier when you were like, "Well, the linked list items happen 24 hours later."
01:46:50 ◼ ► I think a little bit. But on their plus side, one of the things Netflix has, to me, spearheaded is a sort of open-mindedness about, "Okay, this account, this one paid account that has a credit card on file and that every 30 days or once a month, the charge goes through.
01:47:11 ◼ ► It has an email and it has a password and more than one person can technically, if they know the password, use that to watch Netflix.
01:47:21 ◼ ► They've never policed that and tried to cut down on... defined it. And all they do is make sure that concurrently there's a limit on the basic plan.
01:47:36 ◼ ► But it's generous enough that to me, nobody who's using it in any reasonable way runs into the limit.
01:47:43 ◼ ► I think that sort of underscores the first sort of Apple approach to this, which is, "Well, reasonably, you're getting your money."
01:47:54 ◼ ► Like, "We have sold your songs to iTunes and reasonably everything's going okay." And I think it gets back to a little bit of, sort of, "Well, I don't know. I honestly don't know."
01:48:10 ◼ ► But Adobe felt like they were being like, "Okay, guess what? Fine. Use Photoshop or Illustrator. We don't like it, but we're not going to be adamantly so opposed to it."
01:48:24 ◼ ► There is value in sharing, right? There's a reason everybody plays Wurdle and it has to do with just that cute little share button that is, like, innocuously.
01:48:35 ◼ ► "Hey, guess what? Here's how I did on my last game." It doesn't reveal the result. There's one result a day which makes everybody be able to compare each other's, I don't know, baseline, like, their guesses.
01:48:49 ◼ ► Like, you can see somebody else's Wurdle puzzle laid out before you and be like, "Eh, I get where they're going from." And that is an incredibly great hook.
01:49:00 ◼ ► To me, it goes broader. And I'm not, I'm pro-capitalism. I really am, but with limits. It's like everything in moderation.
01:49:08 ◼ ► And to me, the secret to a well-balanced society is a balance between lowercase s, socialism, to keep everybody at a reasonable, every single person at a reasonable level of well-being and taking care of them.
01:49:25 ◼ ► Or nobody goes hungry. Or nobody should not have a warm, safe roof over their head. I really do believe that. And there's countries around the world that, you know, and everybody, some people here in the United States, I won't say which side of the political spectrum, but one side of the political spectrum really looks as though it's a hellish nightmare living in, like, Scandinavian countries.
01:49:47 ◼ ► And in fact, they both, they really do manage an incredible balance of social programs to keep everybody at a certain pretty good minimal level of well-being and truly a capitalist economy.
01:50:02 ◼ ► It is definitely possible. You can argue about where the balance is, but there's a balance to be found. And we were talking about streaming services.
01:50:14 ◼ ► No, but what I'm saying is I do think, though, that taking it too far is the idea that you never actually look at, let's just say, Netflix is one of the biggest companies in the world at this point by Market Cap. They're a very large, successful company.
01:50:29 ◼ ► But at a certain point, why can't you look at a company like that and say, what they have is a very nice, sustainable business with a bright future ahead, and growth is not, doesn't have to be the only thing we look at, right?
01:50:44 ◼ ► That's my point. And that's where the sky is falling, CNN business take on Netflix really got under my skin.
01:50:52 ◼ ► Why can't you say Netflix is big enough that if their business is focused on providing top-notch streaming entertainment over the internet, that they're big enough?
01:51:02 ◼ ► And yes, you want to make sure they keep going, and shrinking would obviously be bad, but as long as they're not shrinking, they're clearly tops, right?
01:51:15 ◼ ► The old argument about, hey, Netflix is in a race to become HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix.
01:51:22 ◼ ► Well, Netflix obviously won that race, and I think HBO is doing a pretty good job with HBO Max.
01:51:28 ◼ ► HBO, I don't think, is dying. I think they're managing this transition well, but Netflix clearly eclipsed them.
01:51:39 ◼ ► How is that not a good place to be? And instead we get the sky is falling because their quarterly growth was 9%.
01:51:52 ◼ ► Have you triggered me? Well, you haven't mentioned anything about Fahrenheit for the past three hours, so you're okay. You're doing okay.
01:52:02 ◼ ► Wall Street is all about investment, and it should be. That's the job. The job is to invest in things that are going to grow, and hopefully return reward.
01:52:13 ◼ ► That's fine. The problem, in my view, comes when a company meets their maturity, and that they have addressed the problem at hand, and there is no more growth to be had.
01:52:30 ◼ ► If you sell wing sockets of a certain diameter, and you are the best at it, and everybody buys you wing sockets, there's only going to be so many wing sockets in the world that need to be sold.
01:52:48 ◼ ► And that's going to tank the stock price, because it's not going to grow anymore, which is fine, because investment, the word invest means like I'm going to give some money, and I hope that it's going to grow.
01:53:10 ◼ ► Watch the trees growing, and you're like, "What the fuck? You're not reaching the moon?" Yeah, yeah, a tree's never going to reach the moon.
01:53:19 ◼ ► There's a limit. There's a limit to the number of people that are going to subscribe to Netflix or anything else on the planet, whatever you're making.
01:53:26 ◼ ► There are only so many people, and they're only going to buy so many iPhones. And ultimately, when something like Netflix hits a subscriber max, is the world falling down on them? No.
01:53:42 ◼ ► No, the world doesn't brace them. They're a part of the world now. Why is that bad? I don't understand.
01:53:50 ◼ ► You and I have gone off on a tangent or two so far this episode, but it does tie together where one of Netflix's, they're explicit, they've already launched it, but they're moving into video games as part of your Netflix subscription.
01:54:06 ◼ ► And it ties into our discussion that video games overall have eclipsed the rest of the entertainment complex in terms of where people are spending their time and their money.
01:54:20 ◼ ► Netflix seems to have a plan to look at that. And to me, again, I don't invest in individual stocks because of what I do. I don't think it's appropriate.
01:54:30 ◼ ► If I were, though, Netflix would be a company that I would seriously consider putting money into as an individual company because I believe in what they're doing. I think they have a great product already.
01:54:40 ◼ ► I think they have good leadership. I think they have good talent in the company. It just seems like a great company.
01:54:48 ◼ ► And I think that looking at video games next as a long-term thing, something that you have to think this is not going to show up in the next three months as a major change.
01:54:59 ◼ ► But if they're looking at it now in a serious way, and they're still under executive leadership with, I know Reed Hastings was there, I think Ted Sarandos was too, but if not, certainly Hastings was.
01:55:11 ◼ ► They're still under the same management that managed the transition from Netflix being a company that sent you DVDs and Blu-rays in the mail, which is bananas, right?
01:55:23 ◼ ► I honestly believe, I swear to God, I'm not even joking, Reed Hastings deserves to be out there with, I don't know, like, gates, jobs.
01:55:32 ◼ ► They figured out a- in the world where watching movies at home meant spinning laser discs, they figured out a tremendous business model.
01:56:03 ◼ ► They figured out a great business model that made me, as a user of the old send them in, send them to me in the mail and I'll mail them back to you and you'll send me the next movie at the top of my list to a completely digital over the wire streaming service.
01:56:19 ◼ ► They managed it amazingly well. They had that brief hiccup where they were going to rename the mail-in thing to a different name and I forget, what was the name? I forget, it was awful.
01:56:31 ◼ ► But basically their idea at the time, they weren't going to give the future of the company the bad name.
01:56:37 ◼ ► They wanted to say Netflix, the great name, is going to be the future, which is all over the network, and we're going to give our legacy mail your discs around thing a goofy name.
01:56:49 ◼ ► And people freaked out because people, most people couldn't see that the future was clearly the streaming thing, whereas they knew it.
01:56:55 ◼ ► And I feel they have a plan to continue growing in the future. It's a video game, it's not going to show up in three months. Give them a break, this is ridiculous.
01:57:04 ◼ ► Right. Also, Netflix, what a great name, just in contrast to the Microsoft xCloud, what does that mean?
01:57:16 ◼ ► Is that like, now you support Excel formulas on Google Docs? I don't know. I have no idea. I really don't know.
01:57:30 ◼ ► I linked to Apple's new ad, Everyone But Jon Hamm. It's a fantastic commercial. Sometimes I feel bad linking to Apple commercials because I think, hey, I'm not getting paid to show Apple commercials. Maybe I shouldn't be showing.
01:57:44 ◼ ► But it's a great ad. And I love Jon Hamm. And I think people know this, or long time listeners know, that you and I had a years long thing where as long distance pals, we would watch new episodes of Mad Men as they aired together, simultaneous, a couple hundred miles apart.
01:58:06 ◼ ► And then we would text each other throughout the show. It's the whole thing that SharePlay is trying to do now has automated.
01:58:14 ◼ ► And here's the thing, I recall, I don't even know, like, it turns out, so this whole green bubble thing came up. I'm like, wait a second, I recall this with a good friend of mine. I think it was costing like 75 cents a pop.
01:58:32 ◼ ► I think iMessage came into play quickly enough, but we started when we were SMSing each other to do it. And it definitely, it cost us more to send our text messages throughout the show than it did to rent the shows on, or buy them on iTunes or whatever.
01:58:47 ◼ ► Because the other thing we did is we'd get them on iTunes, and at the time iTunes would have new episodes of Mad Men 24 hours after they aired on AMC, but the AMC ones, they were no good because they had commercials.
01:59:04 ◼ ► And I would rather wait 24 hours and pay money than watch the "free" version that came with my cable subscription on AMC and skip the commercials because it's too cinematic to spoil with commercials.
01:59:18 ◼ ► But then we would both spend all of our Mondays off the internet to avoid any spoilers from what had happened on Mad Men.
01:59:26 ◼ ► Well, here's the thing. Here's where it cemented a little bit was that I would avoid Monday entirely. And then I would just start tweeting Mad Men quotes.
01:59:39 ◼ ► Like we talked about Birdhouse previously where you'd want to workshop a tweet in your own head kind of thing. And then I just started tweeting, "Fuck it. I'm just gonna watch Mad Men and just tweet out quotes."
01:59:51 ◼ ► And you were watching them around the same time. And then it got, "Well, let's just do this in private." And so we started texting each other. And I swear to God, it must have been within three or four months.
02:00:03 ◼ ► I didn't know Amy that well then because these days she would have just called me up and given me shit. But it was like, "Look, you're costing us a significant amount of money basically to comment on Mad Men."
02:00:28 ◼ ► I swear to God, man. I stopped for the show. But I woke up on the outside porch with my neighbor walking down with her young daughter and a half-drunk glass of martini in my head.
02:00:43 ◼ ► I'm like, "Oh, hey. How's it going?" At like 6 a.m. while they were going to school. That was my great effort.
02:01:01 ◼ ► But anyway, it's a great ad. And my point, I linked to it right before we started recording the show. But to me, there's a huge kernel of truth to that Apple ad. The gist of the Apple ad, I don't want to... You catch on quick.
02:01:13 ◼ ► But the gist of it is Jon Hamm is in an ad for Apple TV+, talking about all these other stars who are in these Apple original content things. And none of them are Jon Hamm and why not?
02:01:24 ◼ ► Hey, Apple, what have I ever done to piss you off? And to me, it gets to a point that to me has been lost, which is that Apple slowly but surely and to me, and I know the word "quietly" gets overused, but "quietly" is building a nice little library of original content that you can only get on Apple TV+.
02:01:43 ◼ ► And the original knock against Apple TV+ was, "Hey, they've got like three shows and one movie. Who the hell is going to spend $5 a month on that?" But at the meantime, Apple was giving away Apple TV+ subscriptions to anybody who bought like anything over a couple hundred bucks from Apple.
02:01:59 ◼ ► They weren't really trying to get people to pay for it for the first year or two. And I don't feel like the news media as a whole has ever revisited their Apple TV+ is not going anywhere because they don't have enough original content.
02:02:15 ◼ ► Whereas it's a very typical Apple mindset where they're, "Okay, sure, we're not going to spend $69 billion to buy an enormous library of pre-existing content, but we'll build our own." And next thing you know, five years have gone by and they've got like 100 original movies and shows.
02:02:34 ◼ ► So I remember texting the ATP fellows a couple years ago about this, "Apple has a lot of money."
02:02:45 ◼ ► And they've got taste, right? And if CBS or anybody wants to compete with the amount of money that Apple's just going to keep spending year after year, they're going to get there. And here's the thing, they're not making shit. It's all pretty good. Not always to my taste, but I get, I'm like, "Okay, I see where your money went. Fine."
02:03:07 ◼ ► The other thing that set off first impressions was the Valley of the App show, whatever that was called, and Carpool Karaoke. And too many people...
02:03:44 ◼ ► Oh, we did. Yeah, we did. We had an idea. We went on, we were together probably in Vegas and we're making fun of the Planet of the App show.
02:03:51 ◼ ► And we had the idea that my wife and I would do a podcast every night after an episode of the show dunking on it.
02:03:58 ◼ ► Yeah, like a just watch, like a recap thing that would just dunk on it. And the thing is it wasn't even good enough to dunk on.
02:04:06 ◼ ► No, that was why we didn't do it. That was ultimately why we didn't do it. God, that would have been good. I wish it was worse so we could have done it.
02:04:17 ◼ ► Or better. I wish it had been slightly... It's like the Alan Key thing that the Macintosh was the first computer good enough to criticize.
02:04:26 ◼ ► It wasn't even good enough to criticize. I wish it had been better so that we could have dunked on it.
02:04:30 ◼ ► Right. Yeah, that would have been a good show. Anyway, I think streaming is good. I think Netflix deserves to be on top.
02:04:37 ◼ ► And I don't think people should be saying the sky is falling for them. Maybe. What do you say?
02:04:42 ◼ ► You and I have gone on long enough. I don't think we should... I don't think we... I've got it on my list of things to talk about the Book of Boba Fett.
02:04:52 ◼ ► Alright, Guy. It's good to have you on. So you're on the Biff podcast that's on the Incomparable Network. Is that the only regular podcast you're on at the moment?
02:05:01 ◼ ► I am. Yeah, I used to do a debug podcast so it was probably more relevant to your fans. And honestly, I think as a historical document worth checking out.
02:05:11 ◼ ► But yeah, if you want to hear me be dumb with John Moltz. Honestly, wouldn't you like to talk to Moltz every week?
02:05:24 ◼ ► Right. Yeah. Okay. And my good friend, Dan Maron, who I feel like I'm violently underplaying here, but, you know. In contrast to Moltz.
02:05:39 ◼ ► This has been a lot of fun and I swear to God, nobody's going to like this episode. This is not going to be fun.