The Talk Show

335: ‘Blofeld-69-420’, With Guy English


00:00:00   Is it cold up there?

00:00:01   Yeah, damn cold.

00:00:02   It was like minus 27 today, which is minus 16 feet, guys.

00:00:07   It's cold.

00:00:08   Like when it gets double digit cold, the scale doesn't matter at that point.

00:00:12   It's cold.

00:00:13   When it gets to the point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit numbers converge?

00:00:16   Yeah, yeah.

00:00:17   You're in trouble.

00:00:18   You're in real trouble.

00:00:19   Yeah.

00:00:20   Kelvin starts looking.

00:00:22   Is that like the real number?

00:00:24   Yeah.

00:00:25   So I get it.

00:00:27   It's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on.

00:00:28   You haven't been on in a while.

00:00:29   You're a good friend.

00:00:30   I have stuff I want to talk to you about.

00:00:32   But I also thought, this is great.

00:00:33   I will have Guy on, and he's up there in Canada.

00:00:38   And therefore, I will not be tempted to complain about how cold it is in Philadelphia.

00:00:43   It's probably pretty cold.

00:00:44   What's it down there?

00:00:46   It's 27 as we speak, but it has been...

00:00:48   Oh, that's not so bad.

00:00:50   That's Fahrenheit, of course.

00:00:51   It has been down in the teens, and I think it was like 13 when I woke up this morning.

00:00:58   But just outside the city, like an hour, my dad said it was 9.

00:01:01   That's really cold.

00:01:04   That is...

00:01:05   That's, yeah, legit pretty cold.

00:01:07   It's funny because you...

00:01:08   I don't know if you want to go behind the curtain on this, but it's Saturday, and you

00:01:11   texted me this morning, "Hey, dummy.

00:01:12   You're doing it on a good day."

00:01:14   And I'm like, "Well, between COVID and the heat death of the universe outside, no, I'm

00:01:20   staying in.

00:01:21   So more than happy to chat with you about whatever the hell comes up."

00:01:24   How have you been, man?

00:01:25   What have you been up to?

00:01:26   Because it has been a while.

00:01:27   I've been...

00:01:28   I've been...

00:01:29   Spoke.

00:01:30   Well, we speak a lot, but I think the last time you were on the show, at least according

00:01:32   to Skype, which ridiculously I'm still using, that was November 2019.

00:01:37   But I think we did a Star Wars show somewhere in there.

00:01:40   I feel like we did, yeah.

00:01:41   Yeah.

00:01:42   And yeah, we text a lot, and I don't know.

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

00:01:49   every few months kind of thing.

00:01:51   It's pretty rare.

00:01:52   But one thing I realized, I got engaged, and I haven't spoken to you about that.

00:01:56   Congratulations.

00:01:57   Yeah, I just...

00:01:58   Let's just air all of her personal stuff on your show.

00:02:02   Yeah, she's awesome.

00:02:04   Amanda, if you know her.

00:02:05   So yeah, that's some personal news.

00:02:06   Cool, right?

00:02:07   Anyway, good catching up.

00:02:08   You didn't ask my opinion in advance, but I approve.

00:02:11   I don't know what I...

00:02:12   Honestly, I can't imagine you not approving.

00:02:15   If anything, you'd call her up and be like, "Look, you may want to think this one over."

00:02:18   Well, let me see here.

00:02:20   I don't know when the hell you were on.

00:02:22   Anyway.

00:02:23   It was a while ago.

00:02:24   We get together with Syracuse every now and then and have a holiday party.

00:02:28   Well, we have a holiday party, and Jon suffers with us as we talk Star Wars.

00:02:32   Well, he's either in a permanent holiday party or he's never in a holiday party.

00:02:35   I think he sort of has his own state of enlightenment.

00:02:39   Oh yeah.

00:02:40   Oh yeah, I don't mean that in a negative way.

00:02:43   Sometimes we tie one arm while talking about Star Wars.

00:02:47   Are you a fan of the movie Heat?

00:02:51   I think we've spoken about this before.

00:02:53   I think the first time I watched it, it turned me off for some reason.

00:02:56   Al Pacino goes over the top a lot.

00:02:58   Keeps me sharp on the edge where I gotta be.

00:03:01   I made fun of that.

00:03:02   It was so intense and a little over the top.

00:03:05   I've since revisited it a few times and I love it.

00:03:08   It's a great movie.

00:03:09   It's worth everybody fawning over it for sure.

00:03:12   I don't know what my initial thing was.

00:03:14   It could have just been to be contrarian in some way, but I don't think so.

00:03:18   I just think it hit me.

00:03:20   Sometimes I don't write Headspace to watch a certain type of movie.

00:03:23   Yes, absolutely.

00:03:25   And it's totally different than...

00:03:27   It's to me one of the biggest differences between reading a novel or even a comic book

00:03:32   and reading a serious graphic novel or a movie.

00:03:36   Because a movie, you start and you go right through.

00:03:38   And if you're not in the right mood, it's no good.

00:03:40   Whereas if you start reading a book that you thought was going to be good and you get a

00:03:43   couple pages in and you're just not in the right space, you just go do something else

00:03:46   and then you pick up the book the next day and maybe now you're in the mood for it.

00:03:50   Whereas a movie could really turn you off, and especially when you see it in a theater.

00:03:54   Because you've got no chance to pause, right?

00:03:56   You go out on a date or you go with some buddies.

00:03:58   I was definitely in college when Heat came out, 1995, and I could see that.

00:04:03   I had a really good friend in college and we were easily upper 90 percentile copasetic

00:04:10   on movies we liked and disliked.

00:04:13   At least 95%, right?

00:04:15   19 out of 20 movies.

00:04:17   We were either thumbs-upping or thumbs-downing the exact same movies and wildly disagreed

00:04:22   on Heat.

00:04:23   He was like, "I cannot believe that movie was terrible, interminable, didn't like it."

00:04:27   Wait, this was you thinking that or your friend?

00:04:30   No, my friend.

00:04:31   My friend Don.

00:04:32   And I couldn't believe it because I thought, "Did I just see the best movie I've ever seen

00:04:35   in my life?"

00:04:36   Yeah.

00:04:37   Yeah.

00:04:38   I think my reaction was that it was...

00:04:39   So I saw it in the cinema too.

00:04:41   I think somehow something tweaked me in one of the earlier scenes with Pacino, who I respect

00:04:47   a lot, but you've got to admit, he's a big actor.

00:04:50   Big presence in the scene.

00:04:52   And I think once that was in my head, things started to go downhill a little bit.

00:04:56   Once you've killed Juan, you may as well just go keep killing them all.

00:04:59   He says in the movie?

00:05:01   Yeah.

00:05:02   I don't know.

00:05:03   It's when the shooting starts and they're like, "Well, once you've popped one, they

00:05:06   get into a massive gunfight because, you know, whatever.

00:05:09   You're up for one.

00:05:10   You may as well just go for it."

00:05:11   And I think what I loved, or what was happening to me in the movie, was that it is incredibly

00:05:16   well made.

00:05:17   It is a beautiful movie.

00:05:18   It's tense.

00:05:19   It's awesome.

00:05:20   And I felt a bit like Pacino was a Muppet.

00:05:23   And he's obviously not.

00:05:24   I've seen it since.

00:05:25   But I think something in my head just got twigged such that his little, little somatic

00:05:31   tics just were heightened for me.

00:05:35   And so I went away.

00:05:36   I felt the same thing about Fight Club, which I have, again, since we visited.

00:05:41   Because I know Amy loves it.

00:05:42   I remember having this conversation with Amy and she...

00:05:45   I don't know if it was her advance, like, whoever.

00:05:47   People talking into going to see it again.

00:05:48   And it is great.

00:05:49   I like it again.

00:05:51   So I don't know.

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.

00:06:02   The one thing I read, a couple of points on Heat.

00:06:06   I would say that Pacino and De Niro, roughly the same age, came to be celebrated actors

00:06:14   in the '70s in the same era, worked with a bunch of the same directors, and just were

00:06:20   both in The Godfather II, but of course never had scenes together because De Niro played

00:06:25   young...

00:06:26   What's the name of the Godfather himself?

00:06:29   The old Corley.

00:06:30   Don Crowe.

00:06:31   Yeah, but what the hell was his name?

00:06:32   Michael?

00:06:33   No, what was Don Crowe?

00:06:34   How are we...

00:06:35   Well, whatever.

00:06:36   He played the same character.

00:06:37   Man, speaking of Syracuse, he is furious at us right now.

00:06:40   Sorry, John.

00:06:42   Sorry, John.

00:06:44   Yeah.

00:06:45   But he was playing young Don Corleone in the turn of the century, and Pacino, of course,

00:06:52   is Michael Corleone in the '50s, so of course they had no scenes together.

00:06:56   Vito Corleone, of course, was the name.

00:06:58   Vito.

00:06:59   Thank you.

00:07:00   His young Vito.

00:07:01   And they both played throughout their whole careers crazily, widely different characters,

00:07:08   incredible actors.

00:07:09   Part of the beauty of Heat is they were still at the peak of their careers, and now they're

00:07:14   finally going to be on screen together.

00:07:16   But one big difference between the two, and I think everybody agrees, is that Pacino went

00:07:22   in a certain direction where he's, in the later decades of his career, seems to always

00:07:28   be playing some variation on the Al Pacino guy.

00:07:31   And it's a guy who nobody else can play, but anybody who can do, like a comedian who can

00:07:36   do, what do you call it, impressions, can do an Al Pacino, right?

00:07:41   And his character in Heat is along those lines.

00:07:43   Give me what you got!

00:07:44   It could be, yeah.

00:07:46   I think that could be it.

00:07:48   Like he is being the most Al Pacino Al Pacino can be.

00:07:51   Right.

00:07:52   Whereas De Niro is totally into this Neil McCauley character who is very different.

00:07:59   And it's one of the things that is, one of the things I'm going to is that there's a

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.

00:08:13   And he brought up, he had one, he's actually done it three times with Heat, but in the

00:08:18   third one he mentioned that a month before Heat came out, Casino came out.

00:08:22   And just coincidentally, another big famous movie that stood up to the test of time, Robert

00:08:28   De Niro's in it, totally different character.

00:08:30   It's okay.

00:08:31   I see that, you know, you can look at him and say, yeah, he looks like Robert De Niro,

00:08:35   but holy moly, what a different character.

00:08:38   Whereas Al Pacino, you don't really get that, but it's, it, I don't know.

00:08:41   I feel that his Vincent Hanna, the detective in Heat, it works.

00:08:46   It's like the, it does, but I could see why if you're not in the mood for it, you may

00:08:49   not be in the mood.

00:08:50   The proximity to Casino may have affected my, I can't remember, I don't know, 95, who

00:08:56   knows what the hell was going on in my head, but the proximity to Casino may well have

00:09:00   adjusted my expectations for the movie, and that's why he tweaked me a little bit out

00:09:03   of it.

00:09:04   Sorry, I cut you off there.

00:09:05   No, that's all right.

00:09:06   Well, Heat's on my mind because the other day, last week, I was just scrolling through

00:09:09   Twitter and I saw a tweet from Michael Mann, who I don't even recall following.

00:09:15   He's not a very frequent Twitterer, but at some point over the years, I'm sure that

00:09:20   maybe there's some API to look it up when the hell I first followed @MichaelMann on

00:09:24   Twitter, but it seriously might have been like 10 years ago or more.

00:09:27   But there was a tweet from Michael Mann and it just said, "Heat 2 coming in August,"

00:09:32   and it was a video trailer.

00:09:33   And I'm like, "What?

00:09:35   Whoa!"

00:09:36   And I couldn't think of a better word.

00:09:39   As I wrote when I linked to it on Daring Fireball, I almost plots.

00:09:42   I got my mind almost popped.

00:09:44   And I was like, "How is that even possible?"

00:09:46   And it's not a movie, it's a novel, and he's co-written with Meg Gardner.

00:09:52   It's a novel that is both a prequel and sequel, like half of it takes place 10 years

00:09:58   before Heat, half takes place 10 years after.

00:10:02   And I'll read it, I don't care.

00:10:03   I love the movie so much, and Michael Mann has never done a novel before, so I'm interested

00:10:07   to see what he does.

00:10:08   And I can so totally see, once I think about it, how he wouldn't make a sequel or prequel

00:10:14   to it because he'd have to recast roles and maybe you wouldn't want to.

00:10:18   And I don't want to go into Star Wars here and talk about recasting Obi-Wan Kenobi as

00:10:21   a young actor, but I can see why he wouldn't want to do it with any of the characters from

00:10:26   Heat.

00:10:27   You don't want to cast somebody else as Neil Macaulay.

00:10:29   I don't think you can.

00:10:31   I don't think you can.

00:10:32   So you could do it in a novel what you couldn't do on screen.

00:10:36   But anyway.

00:10:37   The other thing is, I think if you tried to recast them in order to tell the story, you

00:10:42   would be constrained.

00:10:44   I think it's an artificial constraint.

00:10:46   If you don't recast them, then you're artificially constrained to using them as they are now.

00:10:51   At that stage in life.

00:10:52   Which is maybe not the story he wants to tell.

00:10:54   So at least by doing it in a book, he can tell whatever story he wants, regardless of

00:10:58   the availability of actors or fleshing out the world in a visual way.

00:11:01   Because he just has to write the actual story he wants.

00:11:04   Because it's a very self-contained sort of story.

00:11:07   How do you approach that without just making it feel like you're going back to the wealth

00:11:09   a little bit?

00:11:10   Yeah.

00:11:11   I don't know.

00:11:12   I'm intrigued.

00:11:13   We can talk about it.

00:11:14   Let's put a pin in it and talk about it at the end of this show.

00:11:16   The Star Wars stuff.

00:11:17   Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan Kenobi to me was very well cast.

00:11:23   And whatever people want to say about the prequel trilogy, which I'm a much bigger fan

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

00:11:38   nose.

00:11:39   I enjoy them for what they are.

00:11:42   But to me, one of the highlights throughout all three of them is Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan

00:11:46   Kenobi.

00:11:47   He...

00:11:48   Not that this makes a lot of sense, but he made Kenobi my favorite character, to be honest.

00:11:54   He's cool.

00:11:55   He's cool in the original trilogy.

00:11:57   He's this wise old guy.

00:11:58   He knows what he's doing.

00:11:59   He gets cut down.

00:12:00   He comes back from beyond the grave.

00:12:01   That's pretty badass.

00:12:02   He gives Luke a little bit of a mindfuck, which is weird.

00:12:06   The whole thing where he's lying to him is just kind of weird and makes him interesting.

00:12:10   But yeah, Ewan McGregor actually held those movies together for me.

00:12:14   I don't think that they're great films.

00:12:17   They're prequel trilogy.

00:12:19   But there's world building and stuff to commend them and things that I like about them.

00:12:23   Some of the production design is wonderful.

00:12:25   The music's pretty cool.

00:12:26   There's cool things about them that I think is...

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.

00:12:34   There's interesting stuff there.

00:12:35   Take the good stuff, leave the bad, and get on with life.

00:12:37   All right, here's where I'm going.

00:12:38   I'm going to ask you a question, and I'll put you on the spot because you haven't prepped.

00:12:42   But can you think off the top of your head of any other casting of the same character

00:12:48   with a new actor to make the character decades younger or older that you could think of that

00:12:53   you were fond of?

00:12:54   I have one in mind that was sublime.

00:12:56   I do.

00:12:57   I've got a couple just immediately.

00:12:58   The first one I don't think counts, but it's Spider-Man.

00:13:02   The various Spider-Men.

00:13:04   This works pretty well, but they're different characters.

00:13:07   I don't know if you've seen the most recent one, but maybe I won't get into that.

00:13:11   I have not.

00:13:12   I have not seen the most recent Spider-Man.

00:13:14   Anyway, Bond is good.

00:13:15   I really like Daniel Craig as Bond.

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.

00:13:31   Can I think of one that got de-aged?

00:13:35   Honestly if it was just you and me sitting in a bar, I would waste five minutes trying

00:13:37   to do this, but let's move on for the sake of the show.

00:13:40   Alright, I'm going to tell you who I'm thinking of.

00:13:42   And it's a tragedy because we died tragically young, but River Phoenix as young Indiana

00:13:47   Jones was unbelievable to me.

00:13:54   It was like I remember going to see that movie and had done the best I could at a young age.

00:14:01   I forget what year it came out, but I was in high school or very early high school and

00:14:05   it was hard to do the full media block out that I try to do now for movies because TV

00:14:10   commercials were unskippable.

00:14:13   So I think I knew that he was in it, I guess, but it opens with the sort of hoodwink where

00:14:19   there's a guy who you think is Indiana Jones because he's got a leather jacket and a

00:14:23   fedora and it's not.

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

00:14:37   down in a way that to me I love Robert De Niro as young Vito Corleone, but as much as

00:14:46   I love those scenes in The Godfather II, I never really buy that he's the same, that

00:14:52   he is Marlon Brando.

00:14:53   I can buy that he's Vito Corleone, but he's not Marlon Brando, whereas River Phoenix to

00:14:58   me felt like he was Harrison Ford.

00:15:01   Do you think maybe it's because Brando is so Brando?

00:15:04   Yeah, maybe.

00:15:05   In that role, it's big and it's meaty and his mannerisms are very specific to him.

00:15:10   I think if De Niro tried to pull it off, it seemed like an impression, which is definitely

00:15:14   what you want to avoid.

00:15:15   But yeah, River Phoenix killed it.

00:15:17   Again, man, when did he pass?

00:15:19   Like '91 or something like that?

00:15:20   '90, something like that.

00:15:21   Yeah, it was shocking.

00:15:22   Yeah.

00:15:23   Anyway, very sad.

00:15:24   Anyway, here's where I'm going with this to bring it back home to us talking about podcasts,

00:15:28   is I got excited about Heat.

00:15:30   I linked to this novel that's coming out and a couple of people on Twitter pointed me toward

00:15:35   this rewatchables episode, which was just a couple months ago in November.

00:15:40   It was the third time Bill Simmons had done a rewatchables about Heat, but what made this

00:15:45   one in November special was that his guest was Michael Mann himself.

00:15:49   Oh, wow.

00:15:51   And I was like, "Oh, I got to get that."

00:15:54   Definitely.

00:15:55   So I go to overcast and go to the rewatchables, which I don't subscribe to ordinarily, and

00:16:01   they only have the most 16 most recent episodes, which goes to the end of November.

00:16:05   So it might be like 17 episodes ago was the one that I wanted.

00:16:11   If not 17, it must have been 18, as I missed it by a week.

00:16:14   And I'm like, "Whoa, that's weird."

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

00:16:28   listen to it on the web page without being a Spotify customer or anything, but there's

00:16:35   no other way to get a download.

00:16:36   Of course, I nerded out a little and actually looked at the RSS feed source code, and that's

00:16:41   how I know that there's 16 episodes.

00:16:43   But I actually went into the web inspector to look at the Spotify player to see if it

00:16:48   was a wrapper around an HTML audio element, and then I could just find it.

00:16:54   And it's not.

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

00:17:14   files and one little snippet at a time.

00:17:16   And there is no, there even in the- Could be for dynamic ad insertion purposes.

00:17:20   I don't know.

00:17:21   But there's no easy way to do it.

00:17:24   So I just resorted to Brute Force, which is I set up a machine and used Audio Hijack.

00:17:33   I can't remember the last time I had to use Audio Hijack to get a podcast, but I just

00:17:39   played the Spotify thing on their web page and used Audio Hijack to rip it and then uploaded

00:17:45   it to Overcast as an uploaded file, which worked just fine.

00:17:48   I'm halfway through and it's remarkable.

00:17:51   But now here I am telling everybody, if you want to listen to it and you don't use Spotify,

00:17:55   you've got to just use Audio Hijack, I guess, to rip it.

00:17:59   Well, I worked for, that broke me bad, for a while.

00:18:02   When was that?

00:18:03   Years ago.

00:18:04   Early 2000s.

00:18:05   Oh man.

00:18:06   That's like when I met you.

00:18:07   I got out of the game business and into Mac software stuff.

00:18:10   Yeah, around 2004.

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

00:18:27   order to download something off the radio.

00:18:30   And often it was broadcast live at a certain time.

00:18:33   Like it was just doing radio feeds.

00:18:35   That was real common back then.

00:18:36   Yeah, yeah.

00:18:37   And it would go and record them and put them into iTunes as podcast episodes.

00:18:41   So it's, I'm amused that you're turning back to Audio Hijack to do a thing that I actually

00:18:48   wrote for them way back in the day.

00:18:49   That app got, A, limited use, B, everybody does podcasts now, except I guess somehow

00:18:54   this Spotify weirdness.

00:18:55   But yeah, and also it broke my heart because invariably a lot of this, it was support heavy

00:19:00   for sure, just because it's so many weird feeds and Windows Media was big at the time.

00:19:06   And to get that properly done, you needed a QuickTime plugin that was also screwed up

00:19:10   and it would block the whole stack anyway.

00:19:12   A whole bunch of weird and wonderful, annoying stuff.

00:19:14   Anyway, great, great company.

00:19:16   Those guys are awesome.

00:19:17   And obviously also a fan of the show.

00:19:19   So it's like on the one hand, yeah, Rogue Amoeba is great stuff and Audio Hijack is

00:19:24   just a tremendous tool for doing something like that.

00:19:26   Exactly.

00:19:27   And you just get like a full fidelity MP3 file and it couldn't be easier.

00:19:32   But it makes me feel a little guilty complaining about the fact that the Ringer's podcasts

00:19:37   have gone to this sort of, you can listen to all the recent episodes like a regular

00:19:43   podcast using whatever podcast player you want.

00:19:47   But if you want any of the archive stuff, you've got to be a Spotify user or sit there

00:19:51   and listen to it on a webpage player, which it's like, who wants to do that with an hour

00:19:55   and a half podcast?

00:19:56   I mean, I guess if you're working and you're listening to podcasts, that's fine.

00:19:59   But I'm always listening to podcasts while I'm like walking around doing errands or

00:20:03   just chores around the house or something like that.

00:20:06   But it made me feel guilty complaining about it because there's a bunch of old episodes

00:20:09   of my show that aren't in the feed because of when I first started doing this show on

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.

00:20:20   I have them, but they're not in the feed right now.

00:20:23   And I feel it's one of those terrible things that I've procrastinated on for literally

00:20:28   years and now I'm motivated to fix it.

00:20:31   But in the best episode in that bunch of missing ones is the interview I had with Rian Johnson.

00:20:36   Oh man, you're hurting me.

00:20:38   You're hurting me.

00:20:39   You're hurting me.

00:20:40   The best one in that set of episodes is the one that we did live on stage at WWDC.

00:20:44   Scotty Scott Simpson was there, Amy was there, Paul was there.

00:20:48   That's the best one.

00:20:49   But sure, Rian Johnson.

00:20:51   You know what though?

00:20:52   I have not annoyed with you, but I'd be like, man, I wish I could get that because I've

00:20:56   wanted to really listen to that one.

00:20:58   Adam Lissigore, or Paul, or Rian Johnson.

00:21:01   And that was great.

00:21:02   Obviously I haven't heard it in years.

00:21:04   Talking about Johnson's Looper, which is one of my favorite time travel movies of all time.

00:21:09   Time travel movies, I don't want to go on the whole side.

00:21:11   I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

00:21:12   Time travel movies are either awesome or utterly terrible.

00:21:17   It's almost like impossible to make a mediocre time travel movie.

00:21:22   I have very strong opinions about every one and Looper is one of the good ones.

00:21:25   But it's, I'm going to fix this.

00:21:26   I swear to God, I have all the stuff to do it and I'm going to make it happen.

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

00:21:46   readers and the sort of gestalt out there is RSS readers were a fad 15, 20 years ago

00:21:55   amongst the sort of early blogging nerd set.

00:21:59   And then when everybody went to Google Reader because it synced and it was the best way

00:22:03   to do it, and then Google just said, "You know what?

00:22:06   We're not interested in this anymore.

00:22:08   Google Reader," they pulled the plug and then all of a sudden people stopped reading

00:22:11   RSS feeds and RSS is "dead" except for a niche, blah, blah, blah.

00:22:17   Whereas it's actually more popular than it's ever been because 99% of all podcasts

00:22:22   anybody listened to come through RSS feeds, right?

00:22:25   There's Spotify and a few other things that are doing their own proprietary stuff, but

00:22:28   even Spotify makes a lot of their shows available as RSS feeds.

00:22:32   It's one of those things where the technology becomes such a substrate that it stops being

00:22:37   considered a technology and just is considered the thing that's there.

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

00:22:50   turn your light switch on.

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,

00:23:02   nobody really thinks about the way TCP/IP and DNS and all that works until Facebook

00:23:06   locks themselves out of their offices or something crazy.

00:23:08   But yeah, RSS is very much like that.

00:23:10   It's like a fundamental underlying thing that delivers podcasts, which are huge.

00:23:15   And it does so because I know you're aware of it just as a general broad thing.

00:23:19   An RSS file is basically like a little bit of a header and just a list of entries about

00:23:24   what each effectively episode's going to be.

00:23:27   But they don't need to be episodes.

00:23:28   They can be in case you have a blog, your linked list or your articles.

00:23:31   Do you put your full?

00:23:32   Guess what I don't do?

00:23:33   I don't use RSS anymore.

00:23:34   Well, I do, but not every time.

00:23:36   You could read every word I write through the Daring Fireball RSS feed.

00:23:38   At one point you didn't, right?

00:23:39   It used to be like a blur.

00:23:40   Yeah, but that was a long time ago.

00:23:42   And the long story short on that is that my idea was, well, if I put the full content

00:23:47   in, how do people see the ads?

00:23:50   And I was experimenting with ads in the early days.

00:23:53   And then I thought, well, wait, I could charge people for the full RSS feeds.

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

00:24:06   and stuff.

00:24:07   And the idea was for free, you could get the feed and it would have just the synopsis of

00:24:12   an article.

00:24:13   And then you would just know it's something new.

00:24:15   And then you double click it in your feed reader and go read it at my website.

00:24:18   And that's when I started posting the linked list posts, the short posts.

00:24:22   For the first two years of Daring Fireball, they didn't exist.

00:24:25   And I started posting those and I put them in the feed, but they were delayed by 24 hours.

00:24:31   And so the idea was if you were a member, you'd get them right away.

00:24:35   And if you were not a member, you got them 24 hours after they were posted.

00:24:39   And that got annoying really quickly to me because there was sometimes I, a lot of stuff

00:24:43   I post has no relevance to breaking news, but when it does, I want it to be out there.

00:24:48   It was crazy that it was, here's my hot take.

00:24:51   And the way that I might've written about it was as though it had just been announced.

00:24:55   Apple just announced whatever.

00:24:57   And I'm writing about it the next day like it's breaking news.

00:25:00   You know, to somebody who's subscribed to the free feed.

00:25:02   But anyway, the long story short is that none of that membership stuff worked with Google Reader

00:25:07   because Google Reader was a great lip passcode.

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.

00:25:17   Whereas a membership feed has to be for 50.

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.

00:25:25   And I thought, well, what can I do to make these people happy?

00:25:27   And I thought, well, what if I sold weekly sponsorships?

00:25:30   Well, guess what? That's turned into my career.

00:25:33   I think that's fascinating though, right? Like you...

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.

00:25:40   You stumbled backwards into it. Like I think you didn't stumble back.

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?

00:26:06   Yeah. I'm never quite clear on what the distinction is between a native ad and a...

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.

00:26:43   And then there's only 52 spots a year.

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.

00:26:59   But I gave a talk at the XOXO conference in Portland.

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.

00:27:18   An RSS feed is just a single XML file. It starts and then it ends and that's it.

00:27:26   And there's no mechanism built into the concept of RSS for paging, for lack of a better term.

00:27:34   And paging, to me, has been damaging to the collective psyche of the world where...

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?

00:28:00   Probably.

00:28:01   Playing with a build of Buzz's Twitter app.

00:28:05   What was it called?

00:28:06   There was...

00:28:07   This is Buzz Anderson.

00:28:09   Right.

00:28:10   And who did he work with? Was it Nevin?

00:28:11   Yeah, it was Nevin. It was Buzz and Nevin who built...

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.

00:28:20   Birdhouse.

00:28:21   Birdhouse. That was it.

00:28:22   No, no, Birdfeed.

00:28:23   Birdfeed.

00:28:24   Right?

00:28:25   Birdhouse was Adam's thing. Adam Leesicourt's thing.

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.

00:28:42   Birdhouse was just for crafting drafts of tweets because we tweeted so carefully.

00:28:48   And Birdfeed was one of the first breakthrough third-party Twitter clients.

00:28:52   And I...

00:28:53   You had the infinite scroll thing, which I was like, that is exactly...

00:28:55   I remember sitting with you and being like, this is how it should work.

00:28:57   This just makes the most sense.

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.

00:29:26   You know, one of the cool things about Twitter was it predates the iPhone.

00:29:31   It's coincident in that the original thing was just text messages.

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.

00:30:03   It might still be, and the fact that you can send an SMS that is...

00:30:07   As a feeling, it's... Yeah. It's a bunch of connection codes that like string stuff together.

00:30:10   Yeah. It strings like multiple ones together.

00:30:13   But I think one actual SMS message by definition is limited to 160.

00:30:18   And it's probably not characters. It's almost certainly bytes.

00:30:21   Yeah. I forget the... I forget exactly how it works, but there is a... It piggybacks on just cell data stuff.

00:30:28   I can't remember... I don't want to be making it up to the office.

00:30:31   But it is true, though.

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.

00:30:51   Yeah. Which is a brilliant idea, right? That's smart. Like, legitimately smart.

00:30:56   And I know Twitter descended into a hellhole, but mostly the whole world has.

00:31:00   But that's still like a really cool idea. And the fact that they are...

00:31:03   Like, their longevity for a social media platform is pretty remarkable, I think.

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

00:32:05   without downloading the 300 episodes in between that one and this one.

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.

00:36:14   Oh, well, thank you very much.

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.

00:36:21   We're forty eight minutes into this.

00:36:23   Yeah, I know. Three ditherings.

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.

00:36:38   I guess maybe summarize that. Summarize what you and Ben talk about.

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.

00:37:33   Like the way in is comic books are the same way. Right.

00:37:36   Nobody took comic books seriously or almost nobody serious took comic books seriously.

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.

00:37:48   Games, comic book, Star Wars, that kind of thing. They've all...

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.

00:39:52   And he shared a couple of private emails with me.

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.

00:40:15   It doesn't diminish their opinion on their preferred form of art.

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.

00:42:16   Oh my god, it's like you cannot tell me that those are not really good 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.

00:42:55   John Slattery is Roger from Mad Men, plays Old Man Stark, I forget his name.

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.

00:43:54   And he still doesn't fight anybody. He just saves lives, which is awesome.

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.

00:44:50   It's hard to go wrong with Richard Pryor. But they did.

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.

00:46:36   Right, you had to go campy as opposed to making it serious.

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.

00:47:15   In a way that doing it...

00:47:18   Reproducible.

00:47:19   Right, and it was reproducible and you couldn't do it by hand. It was too painstaking.

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.

00:47:55   Anyway, there you go.

00:47:57   Can I tell you, I'll just tell you that.

00:47:58   I hope I got that right.

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.

00:48:50   Understandably so.

00:48:51   Why would he not think that?

00:48:52   All he knew, it was a kids movie about ray guns and spaceships.

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.

00:49:21   Which was wonderfully parodied by Mel Brooks's Spaceballs.

00:49:24   Yeah.

00:49:25   Right?

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.

00:49:37   Just by the shape of the ships and the size of the ships, it's cinematically.

00:49:41   Do you know one thing that I think is underappreciated is that like the laser blasts just miss.

00:49:45   Like they're...

00:49:46   Yep, yep.

00:49:47   Yep.

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.

00:49:54   It's just this big mass of metal moving through space with just chaos going around.

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!"

00:50:16   That's awesome.

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.

00:50:26   But I know it's a very long tangent there, but it's the way media, new media comes in.

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.

00:50:57   And to see Clark too.

00:50:58   Yeah, you'd buy it.

00:50:59   Asimov.

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.

00:51:17   And that's exactly the dismissiveness of video games, right?

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.

00:51:51   Just one one.

00:51:52   That was a long road, man. But man, you brought it back.

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.

00:52:24   I don't have it in me. He had it at the time.

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.

00:52:36   He's like, you know what, I should walk away from this now and sell it.

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.

00:52:55   Even if George Lucas lives to be 102, it's still going to be a thing.

00:53:00   Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon at this point.

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.

00:53:23   I guess I should if I'm being like financial analyst dude or business analyst.

00:53:27   But yeah, no, 4 billion. Great thing.

00:53:30   Also, I think he legitimately respected the work that Disney company did.

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?

00:54:24   Right, no, probably not. Well, I do think though that there was a...

00:54:29   I think he was very happy to Jedi Mind, just to bring it all together.

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.

00:54:42   Was it Scott McNeely? I almost said Scott McNulty.

00:54:45   No, Steve Jobs working for Scott McNulty would be awesome.

00:54:47   God, I hope Scott McNulty listens to this show.

00:54:50   I hope so, yeah.

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?

00:55:14   And the gun that was to Pixar's head...

00:55:16   I don't think it was going to go to Geffen or whatever those guys were.

00:55:19   No, DreamWorks or whatever.

00:55:20   DreamWorks, yeah.

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.

00:55:50   Right.

00:55:51   And Pixar would have had to go with all of their own IP afterwards.

00:55:55   So there was... it wasn't completely...

00:55:58   Do you think they had him a little over a barrel?

00:56:00   Well...

00:56:01   But I don't even know if he would be fighting it.

00:56:03   But it wasn't the easy sell that Lucasfilm to Disney was.

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.

00:56:19   Right?

00:56:20   Yeah, a little bit.

00:56:20   That must be a fascinating room to be in.

00:56:24   And I don't think Jobs ever gave two craps about his own personal wealth other than just being comfortable and...

00:56:31   He was going to be fine.

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.

00:56:46   I don't think he cared. He was like, "I'm rich, what do I care?"

00:56:49   And in like one of the last...

00:56:50   I don't need to go to space. I'm fine.

00:56:52   One of the last things he built or created before he passed was a $500 million mega yacht.

00:56:58   It wasn't like he was hurting for money, but he wasn't in a race to accumulate wealth.

00:57:03   But I just feel that there was an edge to Steve Jobs where he did not want to get...

00:57:07   He did not want...

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.

00:57:17   Right?

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.

00:57:39   At least, you know, the Western world.

00:57:40   It is the biggest purchase Microsoft ever made, which is weird, right?

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.

00:57:54   Even after they started with Xbox, right?

00:57:57   Where they were...

00:57:58   Let's say pre-Xbox gaming...

00:58:02   In the 90s even, we never spoke of gaming PCs.

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.

00:58:25   And PCs always had a more vibrant game market than the Mac.

00:58:32   Even 80s, 90s.

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.

00:58:49   Let's just say 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."

00:59:01   So the thing about Microsoft...

00:59:04   But you would never think... even then, even with... not to interrupt you, I'm sorry, but...

00:59:08   No, no.

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.

00:59:16   I think they introduced it like CES, and they promoted it as heavily as they could.

00:59:21   But you would have never thought at the time that their biggest acquisition would be a video game studio.

00:59:27   It would have been bananas, even after they came out with Xbox.

00:59:31   I agree.

00:59:32   So, back then, Microsoft was just... I think the antitrust thing just settled.

00:59:39   It was around that era where they'd have been castigated.

00:59:43   I think they were castigated? Man, I don't know why I'm asking you to pronounce something.

00:59:47   That's a dumb...

00:59:48   I know that one! Castigated!

00:59:49   Castigated. Thank you.

00:59:50   Yeah, they'd been castigated by the courts.

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.

01:00:28   Well, no, it wasn't...

01:00:29   They definitely suffered from that. Go ahead.

01:00:30   Yeah, that was your baby.

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...

01:00:38   No, it's rent-seeking. It's rent-seeking on a PC platform. That was it.

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.

01:01:02   Yeah. Most people...

01:01:03   If you wanted to...

01:01:04   Well, everybody... is that me at the time? But sure, yes. Definitely.

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...

01:01:14   All of them.

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...

01:01:28   Linux wasn't as much of a thing, man. It's like...

01:01:31   Right.

01:01:32   It's not even now. It is, obviously, but like...

01:01:34   Right. Their argument was...

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.

01:01:57   And things like in the '90s...

01:01:58   Back in the '80s, like mid-'80s, '90s, definitely. We had... Remember Amiga? That was awesome.

01:02:03   Yep.

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.

01:02:58   Windows cloned it.

01:02:59   To say the least.

01:03:00   Well...

01:03:01   No, but it was true.

01:03:02   It came out okay.

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.

01:03:55   I think they might have had a minimum width if it was a really short length.

01:03:59   Probably. I'm just being drawn.

01:04:01   It was pretty small.

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.

01:04:32   This has nothing to do with Activision and Microsoft, but...

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.

01:06:52   Yeah.

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.

01:08:01   Great decision by Gates and Jobs.

01:08:04   Whatever the...

01:08:05   Whatever the animosity to be honest with you.

01:08:07   It actually was true. It was not difficult for me. And I know, I think we mentioned this...

01:08:12   Siracusa is why.

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.

01:08:34   Which really dates me. But I was really good at Marathon, and I was really into it.

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...

01:08:48   Steve showed it off!

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.

01:09:15   I was never good at it. Never thought the graphics were that good.

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.

01:09:41   In college, I was an enormous, I was a Sega Genesis maniac.

01:09:45   Oh, man.

01:09:46   Altered beast.

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.

01:10:33   You went out on top, man. That is a good game.

01:10:35   The greatest, it's the two greatest moments of my video game playing life. I will tell them to.

01:10:42   Please don't tell me you played as Oddwell.

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.

01:12:19   My second greatest moment...

01:12:21   Matt, I did not know that. I knew you loved that keyboard.

01:12:23   Oh, it was a good game.

01:12:24   I didn't know the origin story of it.

01:12:25   Oh, it was a great...

01:12:27   Matt, that's like taking your swords from a defeated enemy or something.

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.

01:12:41   Was he doing like...

01:12:42   And then the other one was...

01:12:43   I don't know. Man. Again, tangent. Crazy long bong moves, like just...

01:12:46   No, he did...

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?

01:13:13   I would go over to my buddy Casey's house and play Goldeneye.

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.

01:14:23   Oh, I believe it. I'm writing in Showtope. YouTube Goldeneye.

01:14:28   I'm going to look up the link in my YouTube history.

01:14:32   It kind of felt like...

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.

01:15:46   You can't count the clicks. It's like one, two, three, four.

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.

01:17:16   Exhastration, like the hand-sleeving kind of thing.

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.

01:18:36   Yeah, the thing goes with it ended up being the same way too.

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.

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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...

01:22:17   Slighted in some way.

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...

01:23:39   Is that even a separate business unit?

01:23:42   I guess.

01:23:43   CEO is some made up name anyway.

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.

01:24:34   I suppose we're...

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.

01:27:22   I hate to keep singing Ben Thompson's praises on this show.

01:27:25   Yeah, me too. I don't like that guy.

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.

01:28:01   And I know it's not approved.

01:28:02   He should be.

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.

01:31:35   So, Spencer.

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.

01:33:58   Switch is a great name.

01:34:00   Switch is a great name.

01:34:01   The Wii was pulled out of nothing, but it worked. It was memorable.

01:34:04   Yeah, Nintendo has a charm to it that they can get away with shit like that.

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."

01:34:19   Because if you didn't have a Trinitron display, your display was crap.

01:34:23   It helps that it was good stuff and a cool name.

01:34:27   Walkman? Man, Walkman.

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.

01:34:38   Yeah, no idea where they came up with it.

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—

01:35:12   Do you think they were riffing off Pac-Man?

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.

01:35:19   But it would be interesting to know.

01:35:22   Anyway.

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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01:37:15   Today, that's memberful.com/talkshow.

01:37:20   Any other podcasts you do on the old Memberful?

01:37:24   Do you know what? I was about to interject, because I didn't know if you wanted my colleagues to...

01:37:30   Pull a Merlin. Pull a Merlin. What happened? Did you fall down?

01:37:34   No, I got so excited about your sponsor that I mentioned I knocked my microphone off my desk.

01:37:38   So I do a podcast on The Incomparable called Biff, which is about superheroes.

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.

01:38:03   To be perfectly honest, I do not see that money. I don't take any of that money.

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.

01:38:18   I just didn't feel like having to deal with that.

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.

01:38:29   But yeah, as far as I know, everything's been going great.

01:38:32   And it's a tricky problem to solve, because I think what we're...

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.

01:39:18   And it's a weird shift.

01:39:20   Well, I'll just say this.

01:39:22   I kind of want to pivot out of a work thing, or an ad thing here, and into...

01:39:28   Obviously, you run a subscription site, Benrud's run a subscription site.

01:39:32   A lot of people do. ATP has subscribers. There's a lot of stuff like that.

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.

01:39:48   I think Twitter has a lot of attachment due to subscribing to a certain point of view.

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.

01:40:19   It really does.

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.

01:41:09   But I like the...

01:41:10   Well, I just like it, though...

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.

01:41:32   The local newspaper was a big deal.

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.

01:42:15   It does.

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?

01:42:37   Yeah, yeah, exactly.

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?

01:42:51   It was back in...

01:42:52   Yeah, since November. Yeah, their stock has dropped like 40 percent.

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...

01:43:33   You said Microsoft, you meant Netflix.

01:43:35   I meant Netflix, but I meant...

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."

01:44:07   It's insane.

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.

01:44:45   And so I'm not watching what Jonas was just watching or whatever.

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.

01:45:12   Wait, you didn't...

01:45:13   Something happened.

01:45:14   You didn't do that because the way you say that, that does not seem even a joke.

01:45:18   No, it's... But who cares? I don't care. What do I care?

01:45:21   You'd be like blowfield69420.

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.

01:45:32   But it just speaks to the quality of Hulu's software, which is honestly not great.

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.

01:46:28   I think that I complain about. Nobody should be getting 480p video.

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."

01:46:44   Yeah, I think a little.

01:46:46   They're trying to like, "Yeah, we can monetize this." Is it a detriment to do that?

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.

01:47:31   Maybe it's one device and on the mid-range plan it's two or three. I forget.

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.

01:49:23   Nobody dies just for being there.

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.

01:50:10   I don't know. I don't know. Mad Men? George, pretty hot.

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?

01:50:43   So this is the thing, is…

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.

01:50:51   I agree.

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?

01:51:11   They've got twice the subscriber base of Disney Plus. That's Disney.

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.

01:51:34   They're the number one thing of this sort.

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%.

01:51:47   Okay.

01:51:49   Am I setting you off? Have I triggered you?

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.

01:52:01   Here's the thing.

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.

01:53:06   You're planting a seed, and you're hoping that a tree grows.

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.

01:55:43   That's adorable that you thought it was laser discs, man.

01:55:44   Well, you know what I mean though?

01:55:45   Laser discs.

01:55:46   Well, I don't mean laser discs in the capital-

01:55:49   Oh, discs read by a laser.

01:55:51   True.

01:55:53   Yeah, like actual DVDs and Blu-rays are fundamentally discs that are read by a laser.

01:55:57   So I meant capital L lowercase d, or lowercase l, lowercase d laser discs.

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.

01:56:29   I don't know.

01:56:30   Farty McFartron.

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?

01:57:14   Netflix names of all time.

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.

01:57:24   Alright.

01:57:25   I get it.

01:57:26   Go ahead.

01:57:27   Homestretch. Right before we recorded it.

01:57:29   Homestretch, man, are you kidding me?

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.

01:58:30   Yeah.

01:58:31   Which is...

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."

02:00:19   And it's not...

02:00:21   And John's hungover every Tuesday morning.

02:00:23   Yeah. It was bad.

02:00:25   Monday is not the weekend.

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.

02:00:52   Roger taking the stairs after oysters and martinis.

02:00:58   Right. Yeah. Got a little bit too involved with that.

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...

02:03:19   Do you mind if I spoil what your original plan was? Your and Amy's original plan was?

02:03:26   I don't remember. I guess you can say it. We'll beep it out if I don't like it.

02:03:31   You were going to do a show just about dunking on Planet of the Apps.

02:03:38   Oh yeah, that was true. That was true.

02:03:41   I forget what it was called because it had a great name.

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.

02:04:13   It wouldn't have been because you didn't have the material to do it with.

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.

02:04:48   Maybe we should do a Star Wars Spectacular and talk about it once the season's over.

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?

02:05:21   Oh, I could talk to Moltz any day of the 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.

02:05:37   Yeah.

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.

02:05:48   Well, I enjoyed it. Thank you, Guy.

02:05:51   I did too. Love you, man.