The Talk Show

129: ‘90 Minutes or Bust’ With Guest Ben Thompson


00:00:00   90 minutes or bust. I think we have the title already.

00:00:03   I remember when people used to complain when the show was over an hour.

00:00:09   Yeah, and then you just gave up on it. I got bitter actually because someone recommended

00:00:16   my podcast on Twitter, which I appreciated, and which I will add because people are going to

00:00:21   bitch that I'm recording with you and I haven't recorded Xplo all summer. We're going to record

00:00:26   the next episode later later today. So I'm back. I'm podcasting. But someone's like, oh, yeah,

00:00:33   but the problem is, you know, all those podcasts go on forever. They need some good editing. I'm

00:00:36   like, I spend hours every week editing our podcast to keep it to an hour. Don't let me in with

00:00:41   Gruber. I was very I was upset. Well, I know what they mean, though. I and I, you know, it would be

00:00:46   a very different show, though. You know, it's, it's, have you heard of this? The slack? I think

00:00:52   I think it's called the Slack Variety Pack.

00:00:55   - No, I don't think so.

00:00:57   - It's new.

00:00:58   Yeah, Slack Variety Pack.

00:01:02   If you just Google Slack Variety Pack, you'll find it.

00:01:05   So it's a podcast that Slack is sponsoring-ish.

00:01:10   It's not, the people who are making it

00:01:13   are not Slack employees,

00:01:15   but they don't even get names or credit.

00:01:17   And this is all, you know, as by design.

00:01:21   But it's so, you know, it's sort of like

00:01:23   the way that like,

00:01:26   I think like, wasn't like the Milton Berle show,

00:01:30   like the Texaco Star Hour or something like that.

00:01:33   The Texaco is something, you know.

00:01:35   So it's just a podcast with the name,

00:01:37   the Slack Variety Pack,

00:01:38   and there's very, very minimal Slack promotion in it.

00:01:42   But it's like each little 20 minute episode

00:01:45   is like a series of three or four minute,

00:01:49   very edited, like NPR style segments.

00:01:52   It's sort of like NPR for nerds.

00:01:55   - Right. - And it's really good.

00:01:56   I did an interview with them for an episode

00:01:58   that's coming up, probably not, maybe like a month,

00:02:01   seems like they're like a month ahead

00:02:03   or something like that.

00:02:05   But I listened to a few episodes before I agreed to do it

00:02:07   and I was blown away.

00:02:08   It's like NPR, very edited, tightly, tightly edited.

00:02:11   Which is great and I love it

00:02:13   and I've subscribed to the Slack Variety Pack

00:02:15   And in theory, I could do a show that is similarly edited.

00:02:19   I mean, and, you know, but I don't.

00:02:23   (laughing)

00:02:24   - But I think it's fine though,

00:02:27   because like this ends up being,

00:02:29   and you put it as like the director's commentary

00:02:31   for "Daring Fireball,"

00:02:33   which, you know, is very tightly written and edited.

00:02:36   So it kind of makes sense that it's the opposite.

00:02:40   And yeah, I think both serve a role.

00:02:41   I mean, the talk show is great

00:02:43   when you're like cleaning house or something.

00:02:45   and it's, or I mean, now you know where I categorize you.

00:02:49   - Right, or driving, walking on, doing errands

00:02:53   or something like that.

00:02:54   No, it's exactly, to me though,

00:02:55   that those two forms are very traditional in radio,

00:02:58   where MBR has been NPR

00:03:00   and has done these tightly edited segments.

00:03:03   I mean, for those of you outside the States,

00:03:04   NPR is, the US is National Public Radio,

00:03:08   and it's very, I would say,

00:03:11   I think it's outstanding quality and very well regarded.

00:03:14   And they have shows like All Things Considered

00:03:19   and what was the show that was,

00:03:22   Ira Glass's show, This American Life.

00:03:25   - This American Life, yeah.

00:03:26   - That are famous for the quality of the writing

00:03:30   and the broadcasting, but also they're tightly edited.

00:03:33   And on the other side, talk radio has been a thing

00:03:36   as long as there's been radio.

00:03:37   And that's more like what my podcast is like.

00:03:40   And most of the podcasts in our racket are like.

00:03:43   It is funny that I think we have this mini discussion every time I'm on because I think

00:03:50   you messaged me 90 minutes or bust and I think I just replied with a straight LOL.

00:03:54   I'm surprised it wasn't an emoji.

00:03:57   Yeah, I'm rusty.

00:03:59   I'm a little off my game.

00:04:01   What would be the emoji?

00:04:02   I'm jet lagged too.

00:04:03   I'm jet lagged too.

00:04:04   I'll get out.

00:04:05   It's 6.53 am here and I've been awake for like six hours.

00:04:06   What would be the emoji you would throw at me?

00:04:08   The poop?

00:04:11   - I really like the emoji with the one eye open

00:04:14   and the tongue sticking out.

00:04:15   - Right, I gotcha.

00:04:17   You've had a busy summer.

00:04:18   You were traveling in the States

00:04:19   and now you're back on the other side of,

00:04:22   what do we call the Atlantic, the pond.

00:04:24   What do we call the Pacific?

00:04:26   - The Pacific is the big pond, I don't know.

00:04:28   - Big pond.

00:04:29   (laughs)

00:04:30   - It's definitely a lot bigger than the Atlantic,

00:04:32   I'll tell you that.

00:04:33   - I'm sure that's exactly what,

00:04:34   well, I know, in fact, I've done it.

00:04:35   I know what it feels like when you're flying over it.

00:04:39   - I had a particularly rough one this time because,

00:04:41   Yes. I mean, it was just me and my two kids. My wife every summer comes back a

00:04:45   couple weeks early. We've only done two summers. But that's like her annual

00:04:50   vacation. She gets two weeks of filming around. But I realized that I haven't

00:04:58   done the like, because my parents are in the Midwest, so go from Chicago to Taipei,

00:05:01   there's no direct flight. So you have to connect. And prior to that, we were in

00:05:06   Seattle. And then last year, we did an overnight stay in Seoul, Korea on the way

00:05:10   back. I hadn't done the one trip all the way in a while. So I forgot just how brutal it

00:05:16   was. Then to make it worse, our flight going got moved forward an hour and a half and our

00:05:20   flight going back got delayed. So it actually ended up being 26 hours door to door. Two

00:05:25   hours at the airport in Chicago. So yeah, it was rough. The kids were awesome. They

00:05:31   were pretty experienced at this point. But man, it was hard.

00:05:34   O'Hare? Had to be O'Hare. Yeah, O'Hare. My parents are in this weird spot. They're

00:05:40   outside Madison but to the south of Madison where they're far enough from the Madison

00:05:45   Airport and close enough to O'Hare, it doesn't make sense to fly from Madison, but that means

00:05:50   you have to drive two hours to O'Hare, which just adds a whole layer of stink on top of

00:05:55   the entire endeavor.

00:05:56   I was thinking of Midway, which is…

00:05:58   Oh, that's awesome.

00:05:59   Midway doesn't make any sense for international travel.

00:06:03   Yeah, I think that…

00:06:04   I hate Southwest, but I think most of it's because in Chicago it's only Midway, which

00:06:09   which is on the south side of Chicago,

00:06:10   and it is just awful to get to.

00:06:12   So I've sworn off that.

00:06:16   - It's good though.

00:06:17   For me, I've liked it over the years

00:06:18   because it's good if you just wanna go to downtown Chicago.

00:06:22   - Right, that's right.

00:06:23   - You fly into mid, and Southwest has tons of flights

00:06:26   every day between Philly and Midway.

00:06:29   So you have tons of options,

00:06:31   and then you get off and you just walk right over

00:06:35   to whatever, the CTA, and you get a card,

00:06:38   20 bucks on it and it's like the end point for the I think it's the orange line you don't have to like pay attention

00:06:44   You just get on an orange train and next thing, you know, you're downtown. It's actually pretty pretty good

00:06:48   But for anything else, you know, you gotta go to a hair

00:06:50   But it's good though. I mean I mean air travel. I mean it sounds so cliche but like I

00:06:56   Used to swear off

00:06:58   You know, I I phoned I've been doing this for what 13 years now and I saw off ever flying us airline or the Pacific

00:07:05   But I've jumped full back in with United

00:07:08   Basically because they have all their cross-specific planes now have Wi-Fi and power at their seats.

00:07:15   Which is, it's unbelievable what it, I mean, yeah I know the whole Wi-Fi thing has been done, but because they actually have satellite Wi-Fi which works way better than that go-go crap.

00:07:23   And it's relatively, it's stunningly cheap, it's like $16 or $17, and man it just transforms the whole flight.

00:07:31   Oh my god, this is gonna, we're easily on pace for a 90 minute show since we haven't even touched any.

00:07:36   - I'm not touching it.

00:07:37   Can I just tell you I had the worst go-go experience ever

00:07:40   a few weeks ago.

00:07:41   I'm trying to remember if it was coming home from WWDC.

00:07:46   That would be months ago, but it was sometime this summer.

00:07:49   Might have been coming home from WWDC.

00:07:52   And Amy was out with me, and we're flying home

00:07:55   on US Airlines/American.

00:07:59   It's all one thing now, but they've, I don't know.

00:08:01   They're like in this weird one boat,

00:08:03   one foot in one boat and one foot in the other.

00:08:06   - Right. - State right now.

00:08:07   We get on, and I've, 'cause of Philly,

00:08:10   Philly is a huge US air hub and has been forever,

00:08:14   so I mean, that's where I'm platinum

00:08:15   and that's where I fly all the time.

00:08:18   And I always just book my go-go when I get on the plane.

00:08:21   That's what I've always done.

00:08:23   And I've heard that you're supposed to book

00:08:24   a day in advance or whatever,

00:08:26   and it just never occurred to me.

00:08:27   So we get on the plane and I'm looking at the go-go options,

00:08:30   and there are no options to get service

00:08:34   for more than an hour other than,

00:08:37   and the hourly rate was, I don't know, onerous.

00:08:40   It was really expensive,

00:08:41   other than signing up for a monthly subscription.

00:08:44   - And then you can't unsubscribe, right?

00:08:47   - Yeah, when you get a monthly subscription to Go-Go,

00:08:51   there is no way to cancel it.

00:08:53   You have to call them or email them.

00:08:56   - Which you can't do from a void.

00:08:58   - And it's 50 bucks.

00:09:00   - Oh, they're a terrible company.

00:09:02   I mean, it seems criminal,

00:09:04   but I did have a flight later that month,

00:09:07   and I knew I was flying at the,

00:09:08   it was, it had to be WWDC,

00:09:10   'cause I knew it was June,

00:09:11   and I knew I was flying again at the end of June.

00:09:13   And I thought, you know, it actually would work out almost,

00:09:17   you know, like the 50 bucks isn't that bad, so I did it.

00:09:20   I felt so bad, but I was watching, it was so fun.

00:09:25   It felt bad, but I was watching this woman

00:09:27   one row up across the aisle from me on her tablet.

00:09:32   And I think it was actually, it was interesting for a few reasons.

00:09:34   I think it was a Kindle tablet, not an iPad.

00:09:38   And it's very unusual for me to see people using tablets on,

00:09:42   you know, regular consumer type people using consumers on iPads.

00:09:45   And all she was doing was over and over and over again trying to get on the Wi-Fi

00:09:48   and get the, you know, just let me pay for Wi-Fi for this flight.

00:09:52   And she's looking at the options and she's like, and I could see, and

00:09:55   she was like reading all the fine print and thinking, you know,

00:09:58   I could see what she was thinking, you know,

00:10:00   that there must be some little fine print thing

00:10:02   like click here to just get a pass for this flight.

00:10:05   And she couldn't find it.

00:10:06   She spent like 25 minutes trying to sign up for Wi-Fi.

00:10:10   - Well, what's bad is, I mean,

00:10:12   obviously they have a monopoly and a captive audience,

00:10:13   all that sort of stuff and all, you know,

00:10:15   no real incentive to provide decent service.

00:10:17   But the thing that's kind of nasty is I use them.

00:10:22   I used to use them a lot when I,

00:10:23   I used to travel a lot with Microsoft.

00:10:25   And so I had like a monthly account or whatever like that.

00:10:28   And so I experienced the impossible to cancel thing.

00:10:30   Um, but they now, if you sign up, they.

00:10:35   Opt you into storing your credit card with them and give

00:10:38   you no option to opt out.

00:10:39   Right.

00:10:39   And so like they will keep your credit card no matter what.

00:10:42   And then, so I, I, I bought it and then I logged in and immediately

00:10:46   remove my credit card and needs to say four days later, I get on return

00:10:50   flight and my credit card is still there.

00:10:51   So not only do they opt you in without, without giving you an option, they

00:10:56   actually failed or lied to actually remove

00:10:59   when I told them to.

00:11:00   Yeah, they're an awful company.

00:11:02   And the satellite-based stuff is so much better.

00:11:05   I think they're watching satellite service,

00:11:06   but yeah, I hope they die.

00:11:07   I mean, they're, it's really bad.

00:11:11   - The only thing that's good about the monthly plan

00:11:12   is it seems like if you do agree to this $50 a month thing,

00:11:16   you can then have your laptop on

00:11:20   and put it away under a seat or something,

00:11:23   and then you get out your iPhone,

00:11:25   you can get on with your iPhone.

00:11:26   And then when you go back to your iPad, it's still on.

00:11:29   As opposed to the, every time you log on

00:11:32   with a second device, you're logged out

00:11:33   of the previous device that you--

00:11:35   - Oh, interesting.

00:11:36   That's nice, yeah, for sure.

00:11:38   All right, well, we're not gonna,

00:11:40   we have to do this 90 minute thing.

00:11:41   - Yeah, we're gonna get it, we'll make it.

00:11:44   Best flight--

00:11:45   - Not like anything happens in August, so.

00:11:47   - Best customer service flight experience I've ever had

00:11:49   was a Southwest flight out of Midway.

00:11:54   it was at one of the C4 conferences, so it was probably like 2007 or 2008. And in

00:11:59   Philadelphia, the subway lines are colored and like the blue line runs

00:12:05   east-west, orange line runs north-south, and there aren't like, there aren't

00:12:11   multiple colors on the same track. And I knew from previous years that to get out

00:12:15   to Midway, I knew which it was this, you know, because it was the same hotel, you

00:12:19   I go to the station, go up the steps,

00:12:21   and take an orange train on the right.

00:12:25   And that'll be going the right direction.

00:12:26   I remembered it.

00:12:27   And so it was me and another guy

00:12:28   who was at the conference, actually.

00:12:30   And actually, I guess I was the one who raced up.

00:12:33   I raced up the stairs and there was a train already there.

00:12:35   And I was like, this is my lucky day.

00:12:37   And I jump into the train and I look

00:12:39   and I recognized a face from the CIFAR conference,

00:12:41   like somebody else who attended.

00:12:43   Didn't know him.

00:12:44   I think he knew who I was.

00:12:46   So I sat down and we just started talking.

00:12:49   and we made quick friends,

00:12:50   and it was a great way to pass the time.

00:12:52   And then all of a sudden I thought,

00:12:53   "You know, this is taking longer than it usually does."

00:12:56   We like, we look out the window,

00:12:59   and it does not look anything like what I remember

00:13:02   the trip to Midway looking.

00:13:03   And it ends up that in Chicago,

00:13:05   they have multiple colored trains

00:13:07   that take the same track. - The same life, right.

00:13:10   - Actually, maybe it was my fault.

00:13:12   It might've been that we were going up the steps together,

00:13:14   and I told them, "Quick, get on."

00:13:16   Now that I think about it.

00:13:18   (laughing)

00:13:19   If you're out there--

00:13:20   - If you're down in the loop, yeah,

00:13:21   they're all on the same track.

00:13:22   - I don't remember this fellow's name,

00:13:24   but if you're out there listening to the show

00:13:26   and you remember this, I'm very sorry.

00:13:28   Well, it ends up we were way out in North Chicago

00:13:31   and it was not a good neighborhood.

00:13:34   And we asked, got off, we recognized the interstate,

00:13:39   got off and I asked a CTA employee,

00:13:40   hey, what's the best way we can get a cab?

00:13:43   And they were like, get back on the train

00:13:45   and go all the way back downtown.

00:13:47   And I'm like, are you joking?

00:13:49   And they're like, there are no cabs out here.

00:13:50   There's no cabs.

00:13:52   So that's really, and I was like, are you serious

00:13:56   that that's like the best way?

00:13:57   And they're like, yeah, the best way for you

00:13:58   to get to Midway would be to get back on the same train

00:14:00   you were just on going the other way,

00:14:01   go all the way back down to where you were

00:14:03   and wait for the train that you should have gotten on.

00:14:06   So what I'm doing is I take out my cell phone

00:14:09   and call Southwest and I'm thinking I am screwed.

00:14:14   and during Fireball was just barely off the ground,

00:14:18   rebooking for hundreds of dollars more

00:14:21   was gonna be seriously an expense

00:14:23   that I was not prepared for.

00:14:25   I call Southwest and tell 'em,

00:14:26   and the woman says, "Hi, I have another flight

00:14:30   "leaving 70 minutes after the one you were on.

00:14:33   "How about that one?"

00:14:34   And I was like, "Yeah, how much is it gonna cost?"

00:14:35   She was, "Nothing."

00:14:36   I was like, "Really?"

00:14:38   And she was like, "Yeah, it's the same price,

00:14:40   "so don't worry about it."

00:14:41   that will make you a happy customer for a very long time.

00:14:45   - I was like, I'm going to be about an hour late,

00:14:48   so that is absolutely perfect.

00:14:50   And she was like, okay, thanks for flying Southwest.

00:14:52   And it took like three minutes,

00:14:55   and I went from having an absolutely horrible day

00:14:58   to having, I actually felt better

00:15:00   than if I had just made my flight.

00:15:02   - That's the thing, that is the thing

00:15:03   about customer service that, there's two things,

00:15:07   I think about customer service

00:15:08   and also about like just buying stuff,

00:15:10   that makes such a difference. I mean, a good service experience can actually make something

00:15:16   better than it was originally. Like even if you're dealing with a broken product or something

00:15:19   like that. I had to do the, you know, I had to do the, I also got my Apple watch replaced.

00:15:24   I think we talked about this on Twitter or whatever. The Taptic Engine was failing, but

00:15:29   yeah, I mean, it's still not the, you walk in and they give you a new one on the spot

00:15:34   because they now they have to mail them in with the watches, but still it took two days

00:15:38   and they called me up and they gave me a brand new watch and like the fact I didn't have to like

00:15:44   hassle them about it or like you know it's it's just it makes a big difference for sure yeah

00:15:49   but that it's interesting though you mentioned the the uh I'm gonna I'm gonna hijack the conversation

00:15:54   okay um because why you're here obviously a big thing about if you were up in the middle of

00:15:59   nowhere was now you could call an uber much more easily and they're much better at serving you know

00:16:03   serving underserved areas than than cabs have ever been.

00:16:07   Yeah, I do. I wonder about that.

00:16:09   Yeah, well, the Uber thing is interesting in general, but I do

00:16:13   hope at some point we get to the the Uber this is a long

00:16:16   extended segue to like cars and ride sharing and all this and I

00:16:21   am I would love to get your thoughts about the the

00:16:25   seemingly all but confirmed Apple car because I am still a

00:16:30   little baffled about the whole thing. But we don't need to do

00:16:32   to now, but I would love to.

00:16:35   - Yeah, well, why don't I take a moment here

00:16:38   as we rocket towards our 90 minute episode length.

00:16:42   I'll take a moment here and thank our first sponsor

00:16:44   and then we can do that.

00:16:45   We can just talk about the Apple Car stuff

00:16:46   that's popped up in the last month or so.

00:16:50   'Cause I don't think I've talked about it

00:16:51   and I know you haven't because you've been off the air.

00:16:54   But let me take a moment and thank our first sponsor.

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00:19:12   Replacement blades are two bucks each or less.

00:19:17   You can get eight pack for 15 bucks,

00:19:18   16 pack for just $25.

00:19:21   Really, really great stuff.

00:19:23   And really nice packaging.

00:19:26   great heavy feel to the blade.

00:19:28   Everything is just really nice.

00:19:29   My dad, out of the blue, unprompted by me,

00:19:32   I guess he like loads my website,

00:19:34   I don't know, once a week or something like that,

00:19:37   just to see what I'm up to.

00:19:38   Not the sort of person who buys stuff like this online.

00:19:44   He told me he saw that they were a sponsor of my thing.

00:19:48   I swear to God, I didn't tell him go buy this.

00:19:49   He went and did it on his own.

00:19:51   He was like, man, this is really nice.

00:19:53   So there's a testimony.

00:19:55   dad Bob Gruber tells you that Harry's razor blades and shaving cream are

00:20:01   really nice. Also my dad is a notorious cheapskate. Does not listen to the show. I

00:20:07   hope he doesn't. But he's pretty tight-fisted. Thought it was a great

00:20:13   deal. In fact, I don't think he would have done it if not. So there you go.

00:20:17   There's a testimony from my dad. Go check them out. Like I said, go to harrys.com

00:20:23   and use the promo code "Talkshow".

00:20:26   Know the, I don't know what I said at the beginning of the read, but at the end here,

00:20:30   just remember, "Talkshow", know the, and you will save five bucks off your first purchase.

00:20:35   So that $15 starter kit is just ten bucks.

00:20:38   My thanks to Harry's.

00:20:40   So how did you end up with a Mac way back in the day if your father was a notorious

00:20:46   cheapskate?

00:20:47   Oh, that's a great question.

00:20:50   Well, first part is, and I've told this before,

00:20:54   when I was growing up, I did not own a computer.

00:20:56   And because my parents would not buy me one,

00:21:01   and a lot of my friends were having trouble

00:21:03   getting their parents to buy them a computer.

00:21:05   They were relatively expensive in the 80s.

00:21:07   And the line most of my friends got was,

00:21:09   I'm not gonna spend all that money,

00:21:11   you're not gonna use it.

00:21:12   And my parents' explanation to me was,

00:21:14   we're not gonna buy you a computer

00:21:15   because if we do, you're never gonna leave the house.

00:21:18   (laughing)

00:21:19   This is true.

00:21:20   And I resented it deeply, 'cause I wanted nothing

00:21:22   in the world more than a computer.

00:21:24   But I have to say that there was, you know,

00:21:27   there's some merit to their argument,

00:21:29   and they in some ways knew me better than perhaps,

00:21:32   you know, I know myself.

00:21:34   And I, you know, I don't know,

00:21:36   I certainly read a lot more books and novels as a teenager

00:21:39   than I would have if I owned a computer.

00:21:42   - That's interesting, because like I tend to kind of like

00:21:46   resent my parents for a similar reason.

00:21:48   Like they, I didn't really, you know, have access to a computer or was never really pushed in that direction, even though like, you know, kind of wonder like, well, if I had been into that before I went to school, like what, you know, what track would I be on now?

00:22:02   Would I be, you know, a, a programmer?

00:22:05   Would I have started my own company or whatever, blah, blah, blah.

00:22:07   And, um, obviously in, in the end, it ended up working out pretty well to end up having much more of a kind of literary background, a lot of reading, um, water writing.

00:22:17   I did the student paper thing as well.

00:22:19   But it's interesting you kind of put it,

00:22:21   say that word resentment,

00:22:23   'cause it's something I thought about as well.

00:22:25   But it actually probably turned out for the best.

00:22:28   - And in high school, now I did have a pretty good

00:22:30   computer science teacher in high school,

00:22:34   and we had a little lab.

00:22:35   Mostly Apple, I guess by the time I got to high school,

00:22:39   they were mostly Apple II GS's,

00:22:41   and I think there was one Macintosh.

00:22:45   And I appreciated the Macintosh greatly.

00:22:48   I really did, and I enjoyed my time on it.

00:22:50   But I chose to spend most of my time on the 2GS

00:22:54   'cause that's where I was most familiar.

00:22:55   And for writing the programming assignments I had,

00:22:58   I was most familiar with the tools.

00:23:00   But then when I went to college in 1991 at Drexel,

00:23:05   you had to have access to a Macintosh.

00:23:07   Now that didn't mean you had to buy one,

00:23:08   'cause there was a lab, but I mean,

00:23:10   effectively though, it was highly recommended

00:23:12   that all incoming freshmen buy one.

00:23:14   And the student discounts at the time were tremendous.

00:23:17   I think it was close to 50% off.

00:23:19   It might have been like 40% off.

00:23:21   - Nice.

00:23:22   - So I got a Macintosh when I was a freshman in college.

00:23:26   And it was a big reason,

00:23:27   one of the reasons I wanted to go to Drexel

00:23:29   is that I knew that if I got a computer

00:23:30   when I was a freshman,

00:23:31   I certainly wanted it to be a Macintosh.

00:23:34   - Interesting.

00:23:35   Oh, it's funny.

00:23:36   I mean, my parents tend to be more on the frugal side as well

00:23:41   shall we say.

00:23:44   I don't know, it's funny, I would not normally think of you as being frugal.

00:23:48   Oh, I'm not.

00:23:49   Nor of myself.

00:23:51   So it's just, we, I think, had a similar reaction to that.

00:23:56   No, my sister is, though. My sister's two years older.

00:23:59   Oh, my sister is the same way. She's incredible.

00:24:02   That's funny.

00:24:03   Yeah, you know, knows where everything is, you know, actually balances the checkbook, etc., etc.

00:24:10   knows which store has certain items that are cheaper than the other store.

00:24:14   I'm so grateful for it. I honestly want to switch all my credit card usage to American Express just

00:24:19   because their Apple Pay implementation actually shows every single charge. Whereas I also have

00:24:26   a couple other cards. They only show the charge on your phone when you charge it

00:24:30   with using Apple Pay. But American Express, every single charge with the card will show on your

00:24:35   on your phone as a notification.

00:24:36   - Yes, yeah.

00:24:37   - Which I think is great because I don't wanna be bothered

00:24:40   to go through my statement every month

00:24:42   and make sure there aren't fraudulent charges.

00:24:44   So the fact that it pops up every time is fantastic.

00:24:48   It hurts me that only American Express does that.

00:24:51   - I totally love that.

00:24:54   Now is that, yes, and I know exactly

00:24:57   where I was going with this.

00:24:59   So that only works though with Apple Pay,

00:25:04   even though it, like you said,

00:25:06   you have to have an Apple Pay device.

00:25:08   And that means, like for the couple of weeks

00:25:11   over the last year where I've switched back

00:25:13   to my iPhone 5S for testing,

00:25:15   like when I first started testing iOS 9,

00:25:17   I didn't wanna put it on my 6, so I put it on 5S.

00:25:21   And I swear, not the size of the screen,

00:25:25   the biggest thing that I missed

00:25:26   was getting those Amex notifications.

00:25:29   I honestly, there was a day where my heart skipped

00:25:32   and I thought, wait a minute,

00:25:34   Is this busted?

00:25:35   I'm not getting, I was like, oh, it's because it goes through.

00:25:37   It doesn't go through the Amex app.

00:25:39   It goes through Apple Pay and what they call the wallet now, but used to be called Passbook.

00:25:44   Well, it's wallet in, is it?

00:25:47   Nine.

00:25:48   I think it's still Passbook on iOS 8, which by the way, I've never, yeah, it's gotten

00:25:52   a, I haven't put it, I haven't installed iOS 9 yet.

00:25:55   I never installed anything early.

00:25:57   You're smart, but I'm so used to iOS 9 that I'm talking about it as though it's the present

00:26:00   version.

00:26:01   It's that good to me.

00:26:02   Yeah.

00:26:03   has gotten, even on iOS 8, it's so much better than it used to be. I've actually been pretty

00:26:10   impressed with it. Does iOS 9 fix the removing flights or hotel stays that you've already done,

00:26:16   like in the past? No, I don't think so. Ah, that's like the one killer.

00:26:20   But like the whole like- Does it do them automatically?

00:26:21   Yeah, because they stay in there. You have to dismiss each individually, which if you're

00:26:26   traveling with your family and you have like four tickets on your passbook, you have to go through

00:26:31   and dismiss each one individually, which is really annoying.

00:26:34   But that said, the way it uses location and time data

00:26:38   to have the thing there instantly available,

00:26:41   I've been very impressed and happy with it.

00:26:43   - Yeah, I really, really missed it when I went back.

00:26:47   So anyway, that's how I got started with the Mac in 1991.

00:26:50   Even though I knew it from the '80s,

00:26:52   from having used it and spent some time on it

00:26:54   in high school.

00:26:55   What about you?

00:26:56   - I started out with, when I went to school,

00:27:01   I built my own PC and I actually started a little business on the side, putting PCs

00:27:07   together for people. I was like, you know, Michael Dell prodigy or something.

00:27:10   Um, but, uh, no, I, so I put it together in my own PC and upgrade it with

00:27:15   different parts and all that, that was that I did that all the way through

00:27:18   school. And then, uh, I didn't get a Mac.

00:27:21   I got a Mac when I came to Taiwan in 2003.

00:27:25   And I think I had a laptop that I bummed off like an ex-girlfriend or something.

00:27:29   I think it was broke and like if I fix it, can I have it?

00:27:32   Um, and, and I did fix it and then she wanted it back and then I had it.

00:27:35   And you'll say at some point she could be my ex-girlfriend.

00:27:38   I don't think it was about that.

00:27:39   Um, but, uh, but yes, around that time, actually it was when the, uh, the first

00:27:46   like flat screen iMac came out.

00:27:49   Uh, not the, not the, not the one with the arm, the one where like

00:27:53   the screen was the computer.

00:27:54   Um, it was all white and like, I just thought that was just awesome.

00:27:58   I used a Mac a bit in school, but mainly at the newspaper to do layout.

00:28:08   But not much, but I thought that computer was so cool and I liked it so much that I

00:28:12   ended up buying an iBook.

00:28:14   I don't know what happened in the transition to buying that.

00:28:17   But I didn't have any money then at all.

00:28:19   I think it was probably just a matter of that got me in the door.

00:28:23   So that was when Tiger, around Tiger, I think it was Panther, I think Tiger came out a couple

00:28:28   months after that and yeah I use a Mac pretty much since then I was the

00:28:34   head of like the Mac Club at Kellogg like because back you know helping

00:28:38   people like actually Kellogg being a business schooler you know they provided

00:28:41   they had Windows PCs but to use a Mac you know it's a little a little more

00:28:44   difficult and so it kind of blew everyone's mind when I left Kellogg to go

00:28:48   work at Microsoft because I was kind of known as the the Mac Apple guy but

00:28:55   Microsoft is good. Windows, I think, this is really interesting actually. Windows isn't

00:29:01   that bad. There's things I like about it better than a Mac. Some of the window management

00:29:06   stuff I think is actually pretty great. And actually I've installed a couple of utilities

00:29:10   on the Mac to replicate some of it. It's called BetterSnapTool. It lets you basically

00:29:15   move Windows around with the keyboard. It's pretty great. There's a free endorsement.

00:29:23   The problem with Windows, and this is kind of counterintuitive, was the application situation.

00:29:29   The third-party apps just all sucked.

00:29:33   Obviously the Microsoft apps were good and much better on Windows than they are on the

00:29:37   Mac, but things like OmniFocus or a Twitter app, just all this basic stuff.

00:29:47   The Mac was even back then, I guess it wasn't that long ago, but it was so much better than

00:29:54   the Windows situation where everything, at best, you could find something third party,

00:29:59   but it'd be super ugly.

00:30:00   It just looked like crap and the monetization would be weird.

00:30:07   Actually the biggest problem I had with using Windows was not Windows, it was not having

00:30:11   enough apps, which at the time I told some people that and they totally didn't believe

00:30:15   Oh, no, that's the big advantage Windows has but even by then for a consumer sort of I wasn't consumers working enterprise obviously, but but for

00:30:23   Personal app usage the situation was was pretty dire even then and obviously it's it's only gotten worse since then

00:30:31   Yeah, have you ever used a Moom?

00:30:33   The couple of these utilities mo om

00:30:37   It's I have I don't use it. I don't but if I were to use a Windows management utility

00:30:43   - Yeah, it's probably what I would get.

00:30:44   I'll put some links in here.

00:30:46   Just another utility, you know.

00:30:49   I kind of agree.

00:30:51   I don't use any third party utilities for that anymore,

00:30:53   but I do kind of agree that managing a bunch of open windows

00:30:57   on OS X with the stock stuff is kinda convoluted.

00:31:02   - It's kinda hard to--

00:31:04   - Keep it orderly.

00:31:05   - Once you get used to the snapping stuff,

00:31:06   it's pretty awesome.

00:31:08   - Truth be told, I haven't used Windows

00:31:12   since like, I think I used it for like a few weeks

00:31:16   on a contracting job in 2000.

00:31:18   I don't know.

00:31:21   - Yeah, no, which is understandable.

00:31:25   - 2003.

00:31:26   - No, I mean, once I left, I went right back to the Mac.

00:31:31   - Do they still have like the C drive, right?

00:31:33   Like if you buy like a brand new Windows machine,

00:31:38   you still have like a C drive, right?

00:31:40   they do I think it might be less exposed like I think you know your default view

00:31:45   in the explorer is more like you know your documents and pictures and stuff like that

00:31:49   but that said there's aspects of Windows

00:31:53   the Windows Explorer app like the actual file management that

00:31:56   that are better than the Mac and like

00:32:00   the way you can have I mean maybe it's more power user stuff but you can actually

00:32:03   view the tree like the left

00:32:05   and like have the apps on the right or you can like cut and paste

00:32:08   Like, just, I don't know, I think it's one of those things

00:32:11   where if you're always used to the Finder,

00:32:15   you would think it odd,

00:32:16   but if you've used it the other way,

00:32:18   I don't know, I definitely--

00:32:19   - Yeah, we will never finish in 90 minutes

00:32:21   if we get started on the Finder,

00:32:22   because I'm still not used to the OS X Finder.

00:32:25   If you're used to the real Finder from the classic Mac OS,

00:32:30   then it's all just ugly and brutal.

00:32:33   That's where the action was.

00:32:36   I think in general, Mac OS users and people who like the old Finder and Spatial Finder

00:32:42   are what up.

00:32:43   It seems to me tend to be more mouse-centric in their usage of the computer.

00:32:48   Was that a fair characterization?

00:32:51   I don't think so.

00:32:52   I think for some people that is true, but I wasn't.

00:32:54   And once you learned some of the keyboard shortcuts for the old Finder, it was great.

00:33:02   command up would go up a level command in the list view,

00:33:07   which is what everybody, you know, everybody's smart used.

00:33:09   You could command left and right to close up,

00:33:12   open and close levels of hierarchy,

00:33:14   and option command left right to do the whole,

00:33:18   you know, subfolders too.

00:33:20   And then you can type ahead,

00:33:22   and you could type ahead to select,

00:33:24   you still can, a lot of these things still work,

00:33:25   but in the old Finder, it never screwed you over

00:33:28   and it kept stuff open, and you could do stuff like,

00:33:31   You still can, but like, just start typing the first few letters of something and it selects the first thing that matches the first few letters.

00:33:38   Without entering any kind of command or anything, you just type it.

00:33:41   I don't know, I learned to use the keyboard very quickly with the old Finder.

00:33:46   And it was always very fast and it never felt like I had to wait for anything.

00:33:49   But that's another show. I'll save that show for when Syracuse is on.

00:33:54   Yeah, I was going to say, I think my perspective is distorted by having him talk about the

00:34:01   Spatial Finder.

00:34:04   It's kind of been a multi-decade campaign at this point, I think.

00:34:09   And we didn't even talk about Chromebooks either, which I actually do really like.

00:34:18   What else?

00:34:19   What do you remember?

00:34:20   Windows 95 came out this week was the 25th anniversary of Windows 95.

00:34:25   No, because I didn't have a computer because I was in high school.

00:34:28   So when I got a computer or when I built my computer, I think that Windows 98 had either just come out or was about to come out.

00:34:36   So I think I started with Windows 98. I'd used Windows 95, but no, I wasn't part of the whole line up and do it.

00:34:47   I was following like I was following the news at by that point

00:34:51   I think I'd subscribe to actually I think I'd actually subscribe to some computer magazines

00:34:56   I was still in high school like we did those old like fundraising drives, you know, resell magazines door-to-door

00:35:01   Oh, yeah, just in retrospect just kind of ridiculous

00:35:04   But so I was I was subscribed to a few of them. So I definitely followed it

00:35:09   Even from afar but no I was not a part of it

00:35:13   But I did enjoy your your your YouTube linking

00:35:17   in response to it.

00:35:20   - It was something.

00:35:22   I thought it was, I still thought it was garbage.

00:35:25   It was just better looking garbage than Windows 3.1.

00:35:28   It did stop-- - Well, I mean--

00:35:30   - It did stop your eyes from bleeding,

00:35:32   but it did actually manage memory competently.

00:35:35   - Yeah. - This is more

00:35:36   than you could say for the Mac.

00:35:38   - Well, you know, but the Mac at least, I don't know.

00:35:40   I've favored user interface design over lower level,

00:35:44   you know, Mac OS of the era definitely had problems,

00:35:46   and it was showing its age.

00:35:49   But I would say 1995, it wasn't quite even there yet.

00:35:52   I would say at that point,

00:35:53   there were still advantages to be had

00:35:55   by having an operating system that was so low to the ground

00:35:58   that memory wasn't managed like that.

00:36:02   - Right.

00:36:03   Well, I think it speaks to how good the user interface was.

00:36:07   People talk about Apple dying,

00:36:09   but the fact that they didn't die speaks to how good it was

00:36:13   because the reality is on almost every conceivable metric

00:36:16   feature angle, I mean the Mac was pretty hopelessly behind. It was way more expensive and way

00:36:22   worse performance.

00:36:23   Yeah, that was really, I think that it, by '96, '97 it was, the fact that the operating

00:36:32   system was so crufty under the hood and that memory was all shared was definitely a problem

00:36:40   that they knew and that's why, you know, that it came to a head and that's why they bought

00:36:43   next. But the machines of the time were not unusable. They weren't bad. I mean, you know,

00:36:49   you could make them bad, though. That was one of the things that people got. And if you used a stock

00:36:54   Mac, this is the thing that people don't remember, if you used a stock Mac and you did not install

00:36:59   third-party extensions, you would have a pretty stable experience. The thing that really kind of

00:37:06   did that in were web browsers. It was even the good ones at the time had a tendency to really lock up

00:37:13   up your machine.

00:37:13   But the people who would complain and say like,

00:37:16   I had a Mac in 1994 and it crashed all the time,

00:37:19   they installed all of these system extensions

00:37:22   that were all running in the same memory space

00:37:24   as everything else.

00:37:25   It was more or less like people were making

00:37:27   their own operating system.

00:37:29   - Right.

00:37:30   - But that's a long story.

00:37:32   - Yeah, we're doing everything we can

00:37:34   to not meet our goal, I think.

00:37:35   - Yeah.

00:37:36   You mentioned before, let's move on,

00:37:41   Let's talk about the Apple Watch and the Taptic Engine.

00:37:46   I think that among the top problems with Apple Watch,

00:37:50   now low these many months in,

00:37:51   I think the Taptic Engine is one of the top problems,

00:37:55   and probably the only hardware problem.

00:37:57   Or no, I guess I have a second hardware problem.

00:37:59   I have a list of three top Apple Watch problems,

00:38:02   and one of them is the Taptic Engine,

00:38:03   which I don't think is good enough.

00:38:05   - Yeah, what's interesting is I think that's arguably

00:38:09   killer feature of the watch. Like that was what I missed the most when I didn't have the watch for

00:38:15   three days was back to buzzing in my pocket. Like that was really annoying. And so yeah, I think

00:38:23   the fact that it's a hardware problem is magnified by the fact that it's so, I think, central to the

00:38:29   value that the device does provide, which to me is all about, you know, is the notifications and

00:38:36   and some of the complications.

00:38:38   I have said for a long time and maintained

00:38:40   that it was a mistake to launch with these hybrid apps.

00:38:42   I think they just ruin the user experience.

00:38:46   But the Taptic Engine is great,

00:38:48   except for the fact that,

00:38:49   especially in the stainless steel models,

00:38:50   it seems to be failing for a lot of people.

00:38:53   - Yeah, I think that,

00:38:58   and do you think that's true?

00:38:59   Do you think it's a lot of them in the stainless steel?

00:39:00   'Cause that was what my review unit was that had a bad one.

00:39:03   - That's what, I mean, based on Twitter responses,

00:39:05   I mean, when I posted that mine is failing,

00:39:08   I got quite a few responses

00:39:10   and it seemed to be all stainless steel models

00:39:13   that were having problems.

00:39:14   And if you remember, I think it was the stainless steel

00:39:16   models that were the most delayed too,

00:39:18   getting out the door.

00:39:19   Remember there was the story about like one supplier

00:39:22   of taptic engines, they had bad ones.

00:39:25   So I don't know, there seems to have been,

00:39:28   there seems to be some sort of common thread here

00:39:31   involving the stainless steel models and the taptic engine

00:39:33   and there being a problem.

00:39:35   I think that there's too many people who've had them fail.

00:39:40   Maybe not so much that it really hurts the platform,

00:39:44   but it's obviously a problem.

00:39:46   And I think even in the ones that don't fail,

00:39:49   it's not good enough.

00:39:51   And I could be wrong,

00:39:53   'cause it was one afternoon 11 months ago,

00:39:57   11 and a half months ago now,

00:39:59   when I first got to see the prototype,

00:40:02   late pre-production Apple watches that they had

00:40:05   at the event last year,

00:40:07   six months before they actually shipped.

00:40:10   But what I recall from the ones

00:40:11   that I got to put on my wrist there,

00:40:13   the Taptic sensation was better.

00:40:16   And it wasn't, it was just more satisfying.

00:40:20   It felt more like a tap, whereas this,

00:40:24   and more like something that you couldn't miss.

00:40:27   Like the ones that they had a year ago just seemed to me

00:40:30   like they had like hit this sweet spot between

00:40:33   you're not gonna miss this,

00:40:34   but this isn't going to startle or annoy you.

00:40:39   - Right.

00:40:39   - It was just, it was very humane

00:40:42   is the best way that I could put it.

00:40:43   In the way that if I were standing behind you

00:40:47   and you were talking to somebody

00:40:48   and I needed to get your attention,

00:40:49   I could tap you on the shoulder in an appropriate way

00:40:52   depending on the urgency of the matter.

00:40:55   Like is this seriously an emergency?

00:40:57   I would tap you more aggressively.

00:41:00   If it was just, I do hate to interrupt,

00:41:02   but I just want to let you know I have something for you.

00:41:04   I would tap you in a certain way on the shoulder

00:41:06   and you could interpret that.

00:41:08   The watches I remember from September just sort of had that

00:41:11   and I really thought this is a huge aspect of the thing.

00:41:14   Whereas the watch I wear now,

00:41:16   I just, I do miss taps.

00:41:20   I don't think, in fact, I know that it's not defective.

00:41:22   I don't think I don't have a watch

00:41:25   with a defective Taptic Engine.

00:41:26   It just isn't that great though.

00:41:28   And I feel like it needed to be, or it needs to be.

00:41:31   And I feel like it's one of those things

00:41:32   that next generations, they're gonna figure something out

00:41:35   to do it better.

00:41:36   - Yeah, I think it's interesting.

00:41:38   I think my new watch actually,

00:41:39   I feel it's not as good as my original watch

00:41:42   when I first got it.

00:41:43   Again, it's hard to measure

00:41:44   'cause you're going based on memory.

00:41:46   But the, so the way it failed was it went from feeling

00:41:49   like a tap to feeling like a vibration.

00:41:52   Like, so it was like it was getting loose or something.

00:41:54   And so, and that had less of a sense of the tapping

00:41:58   'cause it's just kind of just this buzzing on your wrist

00:42:00   as opposed to being that very distinct tap.

00:42:03   And I do think my new one,

00:42:04   well, it's tighter than the one that was failing.

00:42:06   It still feels more vibratey than like a tap

00:42:10   that I recall.

00:42:14   Again, I recall it was from when I watched first got it

00:42:16   or if it was from the event also.

00:42:17   But yeah, I think that, yeah.

00:42:21   And it's interesting.

00:42:24   I'm curious if the smart ones are different

00:42:26   or the sport ones are different.

00:42:27   But like I said, it's my favorite feature.

00:42:31   So hopefully they do clean it up.

00:42:34   - All right, I need to sneak in here

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00:47:41   What what are you what are your other two problems?

00:47:44   Well, actually I'm gonna renumber them and I'm gonna say that tapped a quad tapped again Jen disappointing

00:47:49   I'm gonna number that number two. I'm gonna say number one is that apps are slow and whereby apps I mean anything that goes between

00:47:56   the phone and the watch

00:47:59   Like not just third party. I think the third party stuff is is really just embarrassing as the months go on

00:48:04   It's unusable and in some days

00:48:06   It's just seems worse and the end but then even the built-in stuff it can be can be

00:48:12   Sometimes it's like it just works and you're like this is the future and other times

00:48:16   It's like I hit the little weather

00:48:17   You know the temperature thing on my face to open the weather app and it just spins and spins and spins

00:48:22   Yeah, I'm in an weather is too slow. Yeah, and I've got a good connection, you know, I'm at home and Wi-Fi

00:48:27   you know everything should work just fine and something

00:48:30   Somewhere it it you know, it doesn't work

00:48:34   So so I have to two comments on that one for what I agree about whether being way too slow

00:48:40   And it's frustrating to the other thing that's really irritating is whether doesn't update based on your location

00:48:46   You have to open up the watch app in your phone and change the default city

00:48:49   Which to me is it seems like such a miss?

00:48:52   I mean, I'm sure it'll be fixed but it's like because I travel a lot

00:48:56   So I've this relatively regularly. Um, one thing that's great about the Apple watch is I made a travel face

00:49:03   Basically where as leaving from Chicago, I had the Chicago time

00:49:07   I had Tokyo time where we were switching planes and I had Taipei time where we're going and

00:49:10   I also had the chronograph to measure how long we'd flying and the timer to measure how long until like we were supposed to land

00:49:16   It was awesome. Like I usually will fly with the little computer, you know

00:49:21   The flight path in front of me just mainly to see that all the time

00:49:26   But the watch was actually way better because I could immediately see the time whenever I wanted but the fact but so it's it's it's almost

00:49:33   A great travel thing. I just wish would update when when you get there. Yeah

00:49:36   Third I'm gonna say is this is one that does not affect me, but it absolutely affects

00:49:42   Amy my wife

00:49:44   Workouts killed the battery

00:49:47   It yeah, she you know when she and it's one of the read, you know

00:49:50   And it's clearly it's heavily advertised as a reason to buy the watch is as a you know workout

00:49:55   measuring fitness companion and it just you know she goes to the gym and she

00:50:03   comes back and she could leave with the hundred percent charge and comes back

00:50:06   and her watch is under 50% and then not with without enough to get to the end of

00:50:13   the day so I don't know if it's you know the exact type of workout she's doing I

00:50:18   don't know if other ones I think the fact that hers is 38 instead of 42 has a

00:50:22   a factor in that. But that's a real like one day of of battery life. It does seem like

00:50:30   that's, you know, it seems crazy compared to what watches were like before Apple Watch

00:50:34   where you have to charge your damn watch every night and that can be a problem. But it's

00:50:40   it when it works. It seems like yeah, that's I can get used to I can handle this. This

00:50:44   is okay. But if you can't get through the day, it's a deal breaker and doing a workout

00:50:49   and having it not get through the day is a real problem,

00:50:53   I think. - Yeah.

00:50:53   - My last item is sort of a sub-item of the apps

00:50:58   or slow thing, it might be related to why

00:51:01   sometimes they get slow.

00:51:02   I think that sometimes there's a finicky connection

00:51:06   between the watch and phone.

00:51:07   And I feel like it has to be, ideally,

00:51:10   especially for the prices they're charging it,

00:51:12   it really ought to be 100% thing.

00:51:15   Like, when you connect a keyboard to a Mac

00:51:19   through USB, it always works, right?

00:51:22   Like, if it doesn't, you know that you just,

00:51:25   you've got a bad keyboard, right?

00:51:27   - USB or Bluetooth?

00:51:28   - USB, and I think it's, I think Bluetooth is the reason

00:51:32   that this watch, you know, but that's not my problem, right?

00:51:35   You know, if you've spent $1,000 on an Apple Watch,

00:51:38   the fact that Bluetooth is very difficult to program

00:51:41   and has all sorts, you know, whatever, not your problem.

00:51:44   It should work as reliably as USB, as plugging--

00:51:48   - Let me guess, you wear your watch on your left wrist

00:51:51   and put your phone in your right pocket.

00:51:53   - I do.

00:51:54   - Yep, I'm sure that's why.

00:51:56   'Cause the human body is a,

00:51:58   it's like we're a big sack of water.

00:52:01   - You know what though, my wife has had more problems

00:52:03   than me with this, including recently,

00:52:06   and she seldom carries her phone in a pocket.

00:52:09   It's usually in her purse or something like that.

00:52:12   She doesn't usually keep it in a pocket.

00:52:15   And sometimes it's like it just says

00:52:18   they're right next to each other.

00:52:19   And not often, not often,

00:52:21   but it was just like a week or two ago.

00:52:23   But her phone and her watch,

00:52:24   and she isn't running any beta software on anything.

00:52:26   She's not running OS betas.

00:52:29   But her watch was showing the I can't see the phone icon,

00:52:33   the red, scary red icon.

00:52:35   And they're right next to each other.

00:52:36   And getting them to see each other again,

00:52:39   it's the best thing we could figure out to do

00:52:40   was to reset her watch

00:52:45   and then restore it, repair it, restore it from the backup

00:52:48   that she had on the phone.

00:52:50   It just seems like something you should never have to do

00:52:53   for a luxury. - Wow, that's pretty bad.

00:52:55   Yeah.

00:52:57   - And it was weird, it was like, you know,

00:52:59   that the magic repairing, like where you point your camera

00:53:02   at the cool animated QR code equivalent,

00:53:07   but that they made look not ugly,

00:53:10   that wasn't working for her.

00:53:12   And even though I know that that's,

00:53:13   I was there with her when she paired it originally it and and it was you know in any kind of lighting like really good

00:53:19   Midday lighting with lots of sunshine just wasn't working

00:53:21   She had yeah, I had the I couldn't get a parent when I was at the Apple store gave my new one

00:53:28   For some reason the genius ended up doing it

00:53:32   And I just think that it's got to and I think Apple probably I think that they're aware of this because I think that's how high

00:53:38   their aspirations are. But all these little fiddly little problems are fine

00:53:42   for something like the Pebble that's aimed at a certain like that sort of

00:53:46   people who Pebble advertises to and when you charge the sort of prices that

00:53:49   Pebble advert you know charges people you know this sort of finicky trying to

00:53:56   get one piece of technology to talk to another is just what we're used to and

00:54:00   that's acceptable. I think that Apple has raised the bar with so many other things

00:54:05   in their ecosystem and with the pricing that they charge and the sort of, you know, consumer

00:54:14   accessible luxury message that they're putting forth, it's just not acceptable.

00:54:21   It's interesting you talk about the luxury angle.

00:54:22   I will say the, beyond the apps, which again I think, I feel like the fact that it shipped

00:54:29   these hybrid apps was very concerning to me as what it says about Apple as a whole.

00:54:34   who someone should have said no to that um that that aside the the luxury angle like the the the

00:54:41   biggest issue i have with the watch and i've still worn it every day and i missed it when it was gone

00:54:47   um but is i do i'm not like a some watch connoisseur i only have one swiss watch that i got

00:54:53   for my wedding for my in-laws um but i i miss wearing it like i miss going into like i'm going

00:54:59   to a nice store and i can be dressed you know jeans and a shirt but you know if you're wearing

00:55:04   like that nice watch like it's there's a certain sense and feeling that comes from from that and

00:55:11   I don't get that from the Apple Watch I have the stainless steel with the stainless steel band you

00:55:15   know it's you know relatively high model but it definitely well I absolutely think that it looks

00:55:22   a lot better than the competing smart watches and that's fine I guess people may agree or disagree

00:55:28   it still feels pretty geeky and not like a luxury item. Even if the quality's nice,

00:55:34   the workmanship's nice, I miss not having that luxury item. I don't know, I'm wearing it anyway,

00:55:42   Parks and I'm a geek in part because like I said, I find the notifications, or I more find the not

00:55:48   buzzing in my pocket really nice. But I get what they're going for with that. At least for me,

00:55:55   I'm not sure that they delivered on that specific point.

00:55:57   - Yeah.

00:55:58   You're just traveling.

00:55:59   How do you find traveling with the Apple Watch?

00:56:03   - No, it's great.

00:56:04   Like I said, I find it,

00:56:05   I think it's great because the multiple watch faces

00:56:09   you can set, like,

00:56:10   I set up like a custom watch face just for the trip,

00:56:13   which was super, super valuable.

00:56:16   And because I'm lazy, I don't,

00:56:18   I have zero battery life issues.

00:56:19   Even flying that 26 hour trip,

00:56:22   (laughing)

00:56:23   No problem as far as battery life goes.

00:56:27   - It is true.

00:56:27   If you don't do a workout, it does get outstanding better.

00:56:31   I find that it's half great for traveling

00:56:34   and half terrible for traveling.

00:56:37   And I'm not sure-- - Interesting.

00:56:39   - So like, I do think that the directions are pretty great.

00:56:42   We just had to-- - Oh, see, I never used that

00:56:45   because-- - We just had to drive

00:56:47   somewhere and we don't have like a dashboard GPS type thing.

00:56:51   I find getting the directions on my wrist

00:56:53   while I'm driving the car to be just terrific,

00:56:56   absolutely terrific.

00:56:57   And I know I'm thinking about it,

00:57:00   you know, that it's gonna tap me

00:57:01   when I got a turn coming up,

00:57:03   and I can glance and see it.

00:57:04   It's really, really like it for that.

00:57:07   I like it for little things like as convenient as it is,

00:57:09   if you've got like a boarding pass on the watch,

00:57:12   in a way like you said with Passbook,

00:57:14   that it just comes up,

00:57:15   be like, knows you're at the airport,

00:57:17   and it just comes up.

00:57:18   'Cause how many, especially when you're traveling with kids,

00:57:21   A lot of times your arms are full

00:57:23   or you just don't feel like digging through.

00:57:25   It's pretty cool for stuff like that.

00:57:27   Oh, I remember on the Amtrak train one time

00:57:32   and I had my boarding pass on the watch

00:57:35   and it's just so great 'cause on Amtrak

00:57:38   you sit down and you wait and they come around

00:57:40   and get your tickets.

00:57:42   And so instead of having to sit there with your ticket out

00:57:43   or fish it out of your pocket or something like that,

00:57:45   you just show 'em your wrist

00:57:47   and it's already right there.

00:57:48   Really great.

00:57:49   The thing I don't like about traveling with the Apple Watch

00:57:51   is I really don't like having to set up another charger

00:57:55   in a hotel.

00:57:57   - Oh, right.

00:57:58   - It really, like when we were at Disney World last month,

00:58:01   it really was, it was like, I just gave up on it.

00:58:04   I was like, I'm just gonna wear my old watch every day.

00:58:06   I'm just, just forget it.

00:58:07   I'll put the Apple Watch back on when I go home

00:58:09   because it just got to be too much where I just,

00:58:11   we just had too many, you know,

00:58:14   three phones and three Apple Watches was just too much.

00:58:16   - Yep.

00:58:19   Especially if you're staying in an older hotel room

00:58:21   that doesn't have many outlets or relatively inaccessible.

00:58:25   - Most hotels, even, well, it is probably a factor of age,

00:58:28   but even at some nicer hotels, it's hard.

00:58:31   The one we were at at Disney had the additional problem

00:58:34   where it was sort of like a lot of the sockets,

00:58:37   they were loose, and so sometimes you'd have a charger

00:58:40   in there and it wouldn't.

00:58:41   But then it's like the three,

00:58:42   it's like we just have a tangle of these white cables,

00:58:44   and it's like you just look for a lightning or the thing

00:58:47   and you plug it in.

00:58:48   It happened to me the one day as I attached it to the thing

00:58:52   and I went to bed and I woke up in the morning

00:58:53   and it was dead and I was like,

00:58:55   "What the heck, how'd that happen?"

00:58:55   And I started pulling on the thing

00:58:57   and it wasn't plugged into anything.

00:58:59   It was just an unplugged in Apple Watch charger

00:59:04   and I was like, "You know what, to hell with that.

00:59:05   "I'm putting this away and I'll wear it when I go home."

00:59:08   - Yeah, no, that's definitely a good point

00:59:10   and I think it's kind of one of those ones

00:59:13   that will never go away.

00:59:16   - It does give me anxiety.

00:59:16   - If you think about it.

00:59:18   It gives me anxiety though.

00:59:19   - What do you think about it?

00:59:20   - Here's the anxiety I get.

00:59:22   The anxiety I get is then when I don't wear it

00:59:26   and we're at this theme park and I walk 10 miles,

00:59:29   I'm not getting any points for it.

00:59:30   (laughing)

00:59:32   - Yeah, so like the gamification is working against you.

00:59:35   - Yes, absolutely.

00:59:37   - Yeah.

00:59:38   It's funny, the whole like,

00:59:42   I haven't turned any of those notifications off.

00:59:46   I will tell you the hour notification to stand up is really irritating when you're on a plane.

00:59:53   I haven't turned it off, I think, out of some misguided notion that it would be bad for

01:00:00   my health to turn it off, even though I never listen to it.

01:00:07   I think I've talked about this on the show before.

01:00:09   I think that, and again, I say this knowing that Famous Last Words is trying to tell some

01:00:15   engineer what seems like it should be easy. So I'm not gonna

01:00:19   say it should be easy. But it seems to me like it should be

01:00:21   possible for the watch to make a very educated guess that you are

01:00:26   on an airplane. Because it knows when you're at an airport. Right.

01:00:32   And it's that's good point, right? And especially if it

01:00:36   knows that it has a passbook, or as it's now called an iOS nine

01:00:41   wallet entry for a flight and it knows what time the flight is and if it can

01:00:48   somehow then I don't know I guess it doesn't have an alt altimeter right but

01:00:55   there ought to be some it just seems to me like there ought to be some kind of

01:00:58   way that it can figure out that you're probably on a plane and maybe it could

01:01:01   even ask you maybe they could even say are you gonna be on a plane are you

01:01:05   getting on this flight and then not ask you for that I have to admit that that

01:01:09   is I find that to be terribly annoying too because especially like in this you know second third

01:01:14   fourth hour of a flight when you're really starting to get antsy and you're like I just

01:01:17   wish this goddamn plane would get to where it's going and then your watch is like stand up move

01:01:21   around and it's like screw you Apple Watch you know I'm so one I laugh at your second third fourth

01:01:28   hour characterization after my my 13 hour flight yesterday um two they the the standing indicator

01:01:37   like can't figure out whether you're actually standing or not either. It just goes at the

01:01:41   10 minutes to the hour no matter what. Which is kind of annoying when you're walking around,

01:01:45   it taps you on the wrist and says, "Hey, you ought to stand up."

01:01:47   That's weird though. Sometimes it seems to know that you have been standing and it doesn't show

01:01:53   it to you. I don't get it every hour at the 50-minute mark. I get it.

01:01:58   Yeah, who knows? Maybe I don't.

01:02:01   But there are some times when I am up and I get it and then it's like, "Come on." I don't know.

01:02:06   Anyway, those are my top complaints about the Apple Watch.

01:02:10   Yeah, I think that's all fair.

01:02:14   I, for the record, remain pretty bullish on it.

01:02:17   Just because I think the arc of technology...

01:02:21   One thing that I think is interesting is even when all these apps are coming,

01:02:24   I'm still a little skeptical about the app situation.

01:02:26   I think I said this on the show previously, that what matters for one area doesn't necessarily matter on the next one.

01:02:34   Just because apps matter on the phone. I don't think it's necessarily the case they matter for the watch

01:02:37   where I think the watch remains super compelling is

01:02:41   you know as a way to interact with the world around you, you know, and like

01:02:47   when you can start your car with it or unlock doors with it or

01:02:50   identify yourself with it like that's when it's it's becomes just a must-have and

01:02:56   Really transformed what you do in the meantime, like I've been very pleased with the notification stuff

01:03:02   Um, and, uh, yeah, I just wish that I just wish that Apple.

01:03:07   I, they just shouldn't have shipped the third party apps at all, but I've said

01:03:11   that like four times and you haven't taken the bait yet, so I'll let it be.

01:03:13   I know.

01:03:14   I mean, I, I, I even asked Shiller about it in the live show, you know, was it,

01:03:18   you know, what was the thinking if you knew you were going to have, uh, This

01:03:23   fuller SDK just a few months later, even though, yes, announcing it in June

01:03:28   doesn't mean it's shipping, it's not going to ship presumably until next month

01:03:31   September. But even so, if that 1.0 watch kit had never existed, right now, there'd be some

01:03:39   jackass out there writing articles and having written them all summer that Apple Watch is dead

01:03:44   because it doesn't have any third-party software. But in the grand scheme of things, it would have

01:03:49   only gone five months without... Right.

01:03:52   Without... And saying something is like, and all the reviews would have dinged the Apple Watch

01:03:57   for it, but like, oh, but of course it will be rectified soon. Like that's a very different

01:04:01   than like, the watch is slow. Because like, if you don't interact with the apps at all, the watch,

01:04:08   in my estimation, is perfectly acceptable. And the new Apple that's not quite so secretive,

01:04:14   the Apple that had Jeff Williams at Recode's conference in late May, just say that he could,

01:04:25   you know, coyly say that, and this ties in with what you want to talk about, that cars are the

01:04:31   ultimate mobile device. You know, more or less not saying yes, we're working on a car, but really

01:04:38   towing, getting right up to the line. I think that that Apple, today's Apple, could have also said at

01:04:45   the exact same event, you know, maybe at Re/code that yes, we are working on an SDK for Apple Watch

01:04:51   and we'll have, you know, stay tuned for WWDC next month.

01:04:53   - Right. - You know.

01:04:55   - No, I totally agree. - It could have come out.

01:04:58   You know, and it even could have come out,

01:04:59   maybe it could have even come out at the,

01:05:01   when they had the event in March where, you know,

01:05:04   the second event where they, you know, seeded the things

01:05:06   and even said, you know, and, you know, stay tuned,

01:05:08   you know, for WWDC and we'll have, you know, this thing.

01:05:11   - Well, and not just that, but like, this is,

01:05:14   that's what Apple does.

01:05:15   Like, I mean, when you're,

01:05:16   I'm sure it probably irks you that one of your,

01:05:19   one of your best articles is not on daring fireball.com. Oh, I've said that before.

01:05:23   Yeah, the one I made that mistake once. Yeah, the mac will like this, how Apple rules like

01:05:30   their version ones are supposed to be under under featured like there's there's

01:05:37   there's a there's two, like things that a product should be measured on one is the features,

01:05:43   but the other one is like how done it is like how complete it is. And by complete, I don't mean that

01:05:48   it's fully featured, I mean that the features that are there work perfectly.

01:05:52   And like what Apple's always been good at is, yes, well, this is a version one, it's going to be

01:05:58   missing a lot of stuff, but whatever is there is going to work really, really well. Remember the

01:06:02   iPhone one? Like that is arguably the most stable iPhone of all, right? I mean, that thing was

01:06:07   incredible for what it was, even though it was missing all kinds of like basic stuff, you know,

01:06:15   copy and paste and all that, all this very stuff that we can all name. But what was there worked

01:06:21   perfectly. Better in general, at least in Apple's mindset, to ship without a feature at all than to

01:06:26   ship with a crappy version of the feature. Exactly, exactly. And that's what so irks me

01:06:32   about the watch or concerns me as an Apple observer is to me the app situation is adding

01:06:40   because to check a box and it's adding

01:06:43   a poor implementation of it,

01:06:45   instead of taking the lumps for, you know,

01:06:48   in reviews for missing something,

01:06:50   it added something in it and added it poorly.

01:06:52   And that's a problem.

01:06:55   - Yeah, it's almost like they took somebody at Apple,

01:06:57   and who knows, maybe everybody was in agreement

01:07:00   and there wasn't a fight about it.

01:07:01   But it seems to me like something

01:07:03   that maybe was an internal debate,

01:07:05   that there had to be some people in there

01:07:08   who thought the same thing we do.

01:07:10   And it makes me think that the faction that won out

01:07:12   and shipped it took the wrong lesson from the iPhone.

01:07:17   Because famously, and we know this in hindsight,

01:07:20   and famously with the original iPhone,

01:07:23   it didn't ship with a SDK.

01:07:27   And I don't think it would have under any circumstances.

01:07:29   Even if the whole company was unanimous

01:07:32   that we need to have apps for this thing

01:07:34   just like we do for the Mac.

01:07:36   In 2007, that still wouldn't have happened

01:07:38   because the OS was still, they weren't ready

01:07:41   to have public APIs, and that's one thing Apple's always,

01:07:44   or at least the next side of Apple,

01:07:47   actually even the non-next side,

01:07:48   I think it's been pretty good about over the years,

01:07:51   is that they, once they publish APIs,

01:07:53   they're pretty good about supporting them going forward

01:07:56   until they're deprecated.

01:07:58   They don't really change things like that.

01:08:00   But famously, there were people on,

01:08:06   Steve Jobs was on that side of it

01:08:08   that really thought that they didn't need apps.

01:08:10   That this, we can do all the apps we need.

01:08:12   That it would more or less be like what Apple TV

01:08:14   has been up till date.

01:08:15   Where not that they wouldn't have new apps going forward,

01:08:18   but they would be things like the YouTube app

01:08:20   or they would do them in partnership with somebody else.

01:08:23   And that if maybe if there was a Netflix app

01:08:25   two years later, Apple would write the Netflix app

01:08:28   and put it on the phone with API help from Netflix

01:08:32   and stuff like that.

01:08:33   That they could just do it all themselves

01:08:35   and have a dozen, you know, couple of dozen apps.

01:08:39   And that would be fine.

01:08:40   And that the other side was, no, we should, you know,

01:08:42   open this up and have an app store.

01:08:44   And they looked at how this went

01:08:46   and how the app store was so, you know,

01:08:47   has now become so essential to the success

01:08:50   of the iPhone and the iPad.

01:08:52   And just blindly said, well, therefore,

01:08:56   we need to do this for the watch.

01:08:58   And we need to have it right away.

01:08:59   - Yep.

01:09:00   I agree.

01:09:02   - Yeah, I, yeah.

01:09:04   I'm trying to think which apps I use. I use Overcast sometimes. But that's about it.

01:09:09   I don't use a single one. I tried the SPG Keyless entry. But yeah, it was too much hassle. You have

01:09:21   to go into the apps and you have to click it. It would work better if they had a beacon or

01:09:25   something so it came up automatically. That would be awesome. And so that's going to be my whole

01:09:29   vision about having your watch do stuff for you. Apple Pay on the watch is great. Just

01:09:36   double-click it and do it. It needs to be that easy to have your watch interact with

01:09:40   the environment. Actually, I opened up the app screen, find the SPG app, open it, then

01:09:45   you had to click to unlock key. It was a multi-step process that was totally not worth it. On

01:09:51   the phone, the phone worked great, maybe just because the phone's faster. You still had

01:09:56   to open the app, but yeah, other than that,

01:10:01   I haven't really touched an app at all in a long time.

01:10:05   - Yeah, I very seldom go back to that app screen.

01:10:09   And just for example, to time this 90-minute episode

01:10:11   of the talk show, I wanted to run a timer on my watch,

01:10:13   and the way I run a timer is I know that third over

01:10:17   from the left is the chronograph watch face,

01:10:21   which I love for doing timing,

01:10:24   because I just don't have to launch anything.

01:10:26   there's a button right there on the watch face that starts at stopwatch.

01:10:29   Yep. No, I put timer and I have timer and alarm on my watch face. And those are

01:10:36   that's what I use by far the most. Right. As far as applications go, and they work

01:10:41   well, because they're native to the watch. Like there's no, there's no lag

01:10:44   and using them they work quickly. Yeah, so it's it will be interesting long

01:10:51   term though. I mean, I think that, uh, I will see what happens with these

01:10:55   version two apps. I'm, um, I'll be interested to see which ones break

01:11:00   through if if any.

01:11:02   Oh, you know what, I was gonna stop. I was gonna move to a new

01:11:04   topic. But the other thing I knew I wanted to say something. I'm so

01:11:07   glad you said that is that I'm thinking, this is my hunch. And I

01:11:11   can't, I don't have concrete examples. But I my hunch, though,

01:11:16   is that the third party key isn't the app like the delivery,

01:11:21   Whether it's technically in code that's in a dot app bundle,

01:11:25   that doesn't matter. But it's the concept of an app, what

01:11:29   faces a user and in iOS parlance, an app is a thing

01:11:32   that is an icon on the home screen and you launch it and

01:11:35   then it gets the whole screen and then you interact with it

01:11:38   until you hit the home button and go back to the home screen

01:11:41   that is full of apps. And Apple Watch has that right. They have

01:11:45   this thing full of apps and you launch it and takes over the

01:11:47   screen. I just think it's the wrong metaphor. Yeah, or package. To me, what's interesting

01:11:56   and what works best from third parties right now are the notifications and the ones that

01:12:00   are smart and that you can tap and get a list of buttons that give you options to do things

01:12:06   like with the Do app that I use for certain reminders.

01:12:09   And I have you tried Outlook yet from Microsoft, the email client? They have an excellent Apple

01:12:15   watch app actually for that exact reason.

01:12:16   You get a notification on email, you scroll down and there's archive, delete,

01:12:20   delay to later, or like whatever, whatever the actions you want to do on an email.

01:12:24   And yeah, it's all within a location layer.

01:12:27   And so actually that is actually an application that I use, even though I

01:12:31   never actually launched the application.

01:12:33   Right.

01:12:33   You're not really using it in the app metaphor.

01:12:35   You're using it in this notification metaphor and you don't, you know, the

01:12:38   people who put that together, aren't writing a whole app.

01:12:41   They're just saying, okay, after this notification, here's a list of the

01:12:44   actions we want to present and then you do these actions and yes they've

01:12:48   written an app that has code that when you say archive knows and you know it

01:12:52   tells the app okay take that email message and move it to the archive

01:12:55   folder but it's it from the user it doesn't feel like using an app and the

01:13:00   other thing that I think might be a big deal it with watch watch OS 2.0 are the

01:13:06   third-party complications yes being able to put those complications on your watch

01:13:12   faces I think could be a real step up and within a month or two everybody is going to

01:13:18   be like I can't believe we lived without this because I've got my favorite thing.

01:13:21   I've got my Yankee scores right here on my watch or whatever your favorite thing is.

01:13:26   But then again, again that's not really, that's not an app.

01:13:30   It's not using it as an app.

01:13:31   It's using it as this little thing on a face that you can tap and launch the app but that

01:13:36   you don't really think of it that way.

01:13:39   Yeah, I think in the key thing here is all of them are are

01:13:43   and this is where the watch is compelling is the degree to which it it integrates with like the

01:13:50   External world as opposed to being like all included into an app like an app on a phone

01:13:55   What makes the phone amazing is the phone anywhere you go?

01:13:58   You're connected to the internet and all apps as you know, you've written about a ton like you have the web

01:14:03   you know

01:14:06   HTTP is

01:14:07   thriving, even if www is, you know, kind of on the decline in

01:14:11   mobile. And if you that's what makes the phone remarkable is

01:14:15   the way it keeps you connected to the internet everywhere. But

01:14:19   that that implies a different user experience where you're

01:14:21   inside of an app because you're what you're not actually

01:14:24   inside inside the app, you're inside of Facebook, or you're

01:14:26   inside of Twitter, or you're inside of whatever, you know,

01:14:29   the New York Times or whatever, whatever it might be. Whereas

01:14:32   the watch, if you think about that complication, what what

01:14:34   it's doing is that complication is putting the information into like your external world

01:14:41   or the notification is like interrupting what you're doing now and the context that you're

01:14:45   operating in is not contained within the device it's like your world's context and I think that

01:14:51   hints at why I'm still boss on the watch and why I think you know in the long run this will be not

01:14:57   just a luxury but much more of a must-have device is the degree to which it will let you

01:15:04   like integrate computing with everything around you. The physical world not just the virtual

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01:17:32   - Well, whatever, I'm not good at centimeters.

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01:19:35   I will say I quick did the conversion of the centimeters to inches

01:19:40   using Spotlight which I used to be, speaking of third-party resources, I used to be a huge

01:19:45   launch bar user.

01:19:48   Yeah I can't get used to life without launch bar. Well I was for a very long time

01:19:53   but basically what happened was their

01:19:56   copy/paste functionality had this weird bug for like a very long time

01:20:00   and everyone complained about it

01:20:01   and so I gave up and ended up using another

01:20:04   another clipboard manager, which by the way, I will say like that's the number one reason I don't use the

01:20:10   Chromebook, which I always talk about loving, more than I do is because I can't live without a clipboard manager.

01:20:17   It's always something, right?

01:20:19   So I tried out, like let me try just using this and using Spotlight.

01:20:25   I did have to add, I cheated because I'm not using pure Spotlight.

01:20:29   I added something called Flashlight.

01:20:30   So Flashlight adds a bunch of additional functionality just to Spotlight including the ability to

01:20:36   like I can search directly in different domains or there's all kinds of stuff that adds on

01:20:41   to it to make it much more launch bar like with a lot of custom actions that you can

01:20:45   do.

01:20:46   But I have to admit I've been with it for like six months now.

01:20:50   I'm pretty happy with it.

01:20:51   I've never heard of Flashlight.

01:20:52   I will put this in the show notes.

01:20:55   Yeah, I couldn't use straight Spotlight.

01:20:57   I have to have the stuff that Flashlight adds.

01:20:59   - One second, I'm gonna put it in the show notes.

01:21:01   Here I am.

01:21:02   That's me pasting it into the show notes.

01:21:04   So that gives it, I give it a 50% chance

01:21:07   of making it into the actual show notes.

01:21:10   How we doing on time?

01:21:11   We're at--

01:21:12   - We're running pretty long.

01:21:13   We're at an hour and 16 minutes.

01:21:15   So we have 14 minutes technically.

01:21:16   - To do the rest of the show.

01:21:18   I don't know.

01:21:18   We might run slightly long, but that's not too long.

01:21:21   We're not more than a minute longer.

01:21:22   - I really generally do wanna get your thing

01:21:24   on this Apple car thing.

01:21:26   So here's my conundrum in a nutshell with the Apple car thing.

01:21:30   Is the issue I have with, obviously there's lots of smoke and think there'd be fire.

01:21:35   There's two possible outcomes here.

01:21:38   One is that Apple produces like a normal car,

01:21:40   which I think they could do a good job in electric car and be very competitive.

01:21:44   Except that I have questions about the long-term trajectory of the car market,

01:21:48   particularly with the rise of things like Uber and car sharing and that sort of thing.

01:21:51   I think in the long run, car ownership is likely to decline, which seems odd to launch

01:21:59   into that.

01:22:00   The other option is to do the self-driving car, which I think is certainly the long-term

01:22:04   trajectory.

01:22:05   But then I question Apple's competence in pulling off a self-driving car, which seems

01:22:11   to fit much more to Google's strengths, particularly the data-intensive approach they're taking

01:22:18   to it.

01:22:19   I just, I mean, clearly there's lots of smoke here,

01:22:23   but it just, I don't know,

01:22:25   it doesn't seem to quite add up for me.

01:22:27   I mean, maybe this comes from my, like I said,

01:22:29   you said use Apple Maps for the watch.

01:22:31   I don't because it's unusable here in Taiwan.

01:22:35   I tried it when I first got the watch

01:22:37   and it told me to make two illegal turns,

01:22:40   both of which would have gotten me killed.

01:22:42   So I don't know.

01:22:44   So I'm baffled about the whole thing, to be honest.

01:22:48   I'm not baffled, I can't figure out what I think.

01:22:51   - Just a rehash, as of this recording,

01:22:54   we are recording on Wednesday, August 26th,

01:22:57   show will probably be out tomorrow,

01:22:58   but some of the smoke that's appeared in the last,

01:23:03   over the summer is a whole bunch of hirings at Apple

01:23:07   that people have spotted from LinkedIn profiles changing

01:23:10   and et cetera of car people of various sorts.

01:23:15   It doesn't even matter going through them one by one.

01:23:18   It's a whole bunch of people with experience

01:23:19   in the car industry or from Tesla or from BMW

01:23:22   or what have you.

01:23:24   And it doesn't make any sense for Apple to have hired

01:23:26   all of them if they're not making a car

01:23:28   or something car related.

01:23:32   And then there was the thing, who got that scoop

01:23:34   where Apple is trying to book--

01:23:36   - The Guardian did, the test track.

01:23:38   - Yeah, at a test track that, and I took issue with it

01:23:42   and just, my point was that the Guardian's headline

01:23:45   was something about Apple, you know,

01:23:48   shows that Apple is working on an autonomous car.

01:23:51   And I didn't see that as being evident

01:23:53   that it was an autonomous car.

01:23:55   - Right, it could have been a normal car.

01:23:57   - Yeah, and what people said to me in response

01:23:59   was that it's not just a test track,

01:24:00   it's like a little fake town,

01:24:02   this area, it's a gold naval base

01:24:06   somewhere in San Francisco or something,

01:24:08   and that it doesn't make sense for anything

01:24:09   other than an autonomous car,

01:24:12   because if you wanna test a regular car,

01:24:13   you can test that anywhere.

01:24:14   I'm not sure that holds though,

01:24:16   because I think Apple definitely wants testing area nearby,

01:24:20   so the fact that they could get a test track in Detroit

01:24:23   or something like that, that doesn't help them.

01:24:25   And who knows, maybe there are some minor

01:24:28   autonomous features, collision detection

01:24:31   or something like that that they're working on,

01:24:32   but that it's not really a self-driving car.

01:24:34   Because the thing to me, and maybe I'm wrong,

01:24:36   I hope I'm wrong, I think self-driving cars sound great.

01:24:39   I really hope that they come sooner than later.

01:24:42   I hope, you know, it sounds fantastic.

01:24:44   It just seems to me though,

01:24:47   my gut feeling is that it's way off.

01:24:49   That's really far off in the future.

01:24:52   Not really, I don't know, 10 years old?

01:24:55   - It sounds like we're in the same boat here,

01:24:58   which is interesting 'cause some people, I mean like--

01:25:00   - It seems like we're far enough out

01:25:01   that Apple wouldn't need to wait for that

01:25:03   if they wanna get into the car business

01:25:05   and that they can do this iterative

01:25:07   and get in and start figuring out, you know,

01:25:09   how are they gonna sell them

01:25:10   around the country and the world.

01:25:12   - Right, right.

01:25:14   - And get in and start doing that

01:25:15   before they have the self-driving aspect down.

01:25:19   And then come out with the self-driving car

01:25:25   at the same time that they would have anyway.

01:25:27   And on a longer scale, like what I was saying before

01:25:30   about the App Store for the iPhone,

01:25:32   that it didn't make sense,

01:25:33   even if they had been 100% internally committed,

01:25:36   which they weren't,

01:25:37   but even if they had been internally committed to,

01:25:39   we should do an app store for the iPhone.

01:25:43   It didn't make sense for them to wait until 2008

01:25:46   to ship the first one.

01:25:47   The one that they shipped in 2007

01:25:48   was totally worth shipping when they did.

01:25:51   I think it would be totally worth Apple, if they could,

01:25:53   shipping a car in 2020 that is sort of traditional

01:25:57   in terms of how you drive it

01:26:00   and doing a self-driving car in 2025.

01:26:03   - That's that, I like that.

01:26:04   That makes sense.

01:26:05   And because like there's still clearly

01:26:07   significant market for for a car now and for all the various reasons like I mean

01:26:12   beyond the you know Johnny I've loves cars but also just from a pure finance

01:26:18   perspective there's a lot to like about Apple doing a car and yes and the other

01:26:23   thing is if they started out with normal cars they could outfit those cars with

01:26:27   all the sensors and stuff to start gathering data that would go into a

01:26:34   self-driving car. Like what's, you know, Google can put a bunch of mapping cars

01:26:39   in the road, Apple can could theoretically get a bunch of like actual

01:26:43   cars in the road gathering data, improving, you know, their their data set

01:26:48   and their algorithms and that sort of stuff. That's, having it, thinking of it as

01:26:52   being a multi-stage process, that's one of the more satisfactory answers I

01:26:57   figured. Thank you, this has been productive, I appreciate it.

01:26:59   I just wrote them down but I've had them in my head and it's dangerous for me to

01:27:03   to walk around with things like this in my head

01:27:05   that aren't written down.

01:27:06   So now I've got them written down.

01:27:07   But I've got three reasons why I think it makes sense

01:27:09   for Apple to be working on a car.

01:27:11   One is financial.

01:27:14   Cars are expensive and they are a big business.

01:27:17   There are millions of cars sold in the world

01:27:20   and they sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

01:27:22   So that's a good, in general,

01:27:26   that's a good business to be in.

01:27:29   Two, the market is ripe for technical disruption.

01:27:33   And it is, it's already happening with the move

01:27:36   to electric drive trains and stuff like that.

01:27:40   Power sources and the way that drive trains

01:27:43   are changing based on that.

01:27:45   And self-driving is another area,

01:27:49   I guess it's unrelated.

01:27:51   I guess you could have a self-driving car

01:27:52   that runs on gasoline and you can certainly

01:27:54   have an electric car that isn't self-driving.

01:27:56   But that's two big areas though

01:27:58   where there's enormous technical disruption.

01:28:02   And so the market is obviously going to change.

01:28:05   I think the car market is going to look a lot different in 20

01:28:08   years than it does now.

01:28:09   And that's not necessarily true now

01:28:11   from where it was 20 years ago.

01:28:13   The top car makers today are pretty much the same ones

01:28:16   as the top car makers 20 years ago.

01:28:18   And the cars are technically very, very similar.

01:28:21   I don't think that's going to be true 20 years from now.

01:28:24   So it's a good time to get in.

01:28:26   And, like as a 2A subpoint on that,

01:28:31   when computers come into a new market,

01:28:35   and there's the old standbys,

01:28:38   and then there's the computer companies,

01:28:40   it's the computer companies that seem to do better

01:28:44   building the old thing,

01:28:47   than the old thing makers are at computerizing their things.

01:28:52   - Right, so like the RIM example.

01:28:54   - Yeah, RIM is a perfect example,

01:28:56   where RIM built these phones and pagers,

01:29:00   and all of a sudden it got to a point

01:29:02   where these things could be real computers.

01:29:05   And I know that's sort of an arbitrary distinction

01:29:07   saying that today's smartphones are real computers

01:29:10   and the RIM models from 10 years ago were not,

01:29:13   but I stand by it.

01:29:16   And that companies like Apple were better at making phones,

01:29:20   even if like the, and famously,

01:29:22   they're like the first phone dropped calls a lot,

01:29:25   whether that was AT&T's fault or Apple's fault or whatever.

01:29:28   Apple got better at making phone antennas a lot quicker

01:29:31   than RIM got at building computers.

01:29:34   And I think that the same thing could happen with cars.

01:29:37   If computing matters, I think Apple's gonna be able

01:29:39   to make a car easier than even BMW or Mercedes.

01:29:44   Companies with good, well-run companies with good histories

01:29:47   are gonna be at making computers.

01:29:49   - Well, there's this, oh sorry, go ahead.

01:29:50   - Well, my third factor is very simple.

01:29:52   The car market has always been, for 100 years and counting,

01:29:57   a market where design matters.

01:29:59   Yep.

01:30:01   And that plays into Apple's strengths.

01:30:03   Well, not just that.

01:30:04   I would add a couple of things.

01:30:05   When the rumors first came out, I

01:30:07   wrote a very similar article saying there's actually

01:30:10   a lot of things here that make sense.

01:30:11   And you nailed most of them.

01:30:13   I would just add, from the design matters perspective,

01:30:22   the making electric cars gotten a lot simpler. So, or electric

01:30:27   cars relative to a mechanical car is a much simpler thing to

01:30:30   build like electric motors are much more well, you're not

01:30:33   you're an actual car like is a controlled explosion happening

01:30:37   constantly. And so the level of refinement needed to build like

01:30:41   a quality engine and all that sort of things is much different

01:30:45   and a much different skill set than than electric car where so

01:30:48   it's much easier to enter the market now than than it was. And

01:30:51   And what happens is, and I think you were driving at this, because having engine expertise

01:30:58   and knowing how to build a great combustion engine is no longer a price of entry, that

01:31:05   changes what matters, the priority.

01:31:09   So it used to be that you first off, making a good engine was table stakes, and then you

01:31:14   could get to the "user interface."

01:31:18   But now that the engine is no longer a price of entry, what matters most changes because

01:31:25   there's new table stakes.

01:31:27   Just look at what BMW's name stands for, right?

01:31:31   Bavarian Motor Works.

01:31:32   Bavarian Motor Works, exactly.

01:31:34   And so this gets to my second point, which is that the reason why I think you said that

01:31:39   the list of top makers will be very different in 20 years than it is today is it's anytime

01:31:45   because of this fundamental change from mechanical to electric, and again, this is not even touching

01:31:49   on the self-driving stuff, which I think you perfectly articulated is going to be a separate

01:31:53   event. Because you have this shift from mechanical to electric, everyone's starting from the

01:32:00   same spot, objectively. This is like going to mobile, right? Everyone's like, "Oh, Microsoft

01:32:06   missed mobile." Microsoft didn't miss mobile. They were on mobile earlier than anyone else.

01:32:10   The issue was that what mattered in mobile, it was a brand new paradigm, being good at

01:32:14   the desktop didn't advantage you on mobile.

01:32:18   In fact, if anything, it made Microsoft worse off because the temptation to take the desktop

01:32:25   paradigm and stick it onto mobile was overwhelming.

01:32:29   That's exactly what they did, right?

01:32:31   Windows Mobile actually had a start button that you pressed with the stylus and it popped

01:32:35   up a menu, like a Windows 95 menu.

01:32:40   And I think it's probably going to be the same challenge with cars.

01:32:46   It's not just that the mechanical guys no longer have an advantage over the electric

01:32:50   guys.

01:32:51   It's that they're actually at a disadvantage because they will be much less capable of

01:32:57   truly starting with a fresh sheet and rethinking what a car means.

01:33:03   And if you start with the idea that it's going to be an electric car and all that other stuff

01:33:07   that has to do with mechanical engine goes away, then yeah, you have something like Tesla

01:33:12   having like a 17 inch screen in their car, right? Because that's actually much more important.

01:33:18   And I think that's a reason why in these big transitions, the big players actually end

01:33:23   up completely transforming.

01:33:26   And look at my reasons. Number one, they're expensive and people spend a lot of money

01:33:30   on them. Two, it's a market ripe for tech disruption. Three, it's a market where design

01:33:35   and has historically mattered.

01:33:36   Those are the same three things going on with the watch.

01:33:41   People spend a lot of money on the watch.

01:33:43   It's ripe for technical disruption.

01:33:46   And what I mean by that is that we've reached a point

01:33:50   where you can build a Unix computer

01:33:53   that runs in a watch size device,

01:33:55   which is, and that's networked,

01:33:58   which is a point of disruption.

01:33:59   So that's, you know, whether or not, you know, who knows,

01:34:01   maybe the digital watches are gonna die again.

01:34:04   Maybe it'll be a fad like the '80s.

01:34:06   But there certainly seems like it's a time for disruption

01:34:08   because it wasn't possible before and it is possible now.

01:34:11   And three, it's a market where design matters.

01:34:14   Well, that's absolutely, I mean,

01:34:15   I don't know that that's more true for any market

01:34:18   other than watches.

01:34:19   Maybe, you know, the only other thing you can compare it to

01:34:23   would be women's fashion, you know,

01:34:27   in terms of the importance of design

01:34:29   and the incredible variety of it that's out there.

01:34:32   So the exact same reasons I think that Apple got into watch market are exactly the reasons

01:34:36   they'd get in the car market.

01:34:38   And it's exactly the same reasons they got into the cell phone market.

01:34:41   They're expensive.

01:34:42   It's a market that's ripe for technical disruption in an area where Apple's expert and design

01:34:48   matters.

01:34:49   Well, I would add, I guess the thing I would phrase about the technical disruption, I would

01:34:53   refine it further to say it's not just that there's technical disruption, it's that what

01:34:58   used to be a mechanical object is becoming a computer and Apple is a computer company

01:35:03   and a car today is a mechanical object with all these computers stacked on top of it

01:35:09   like some models have like nearly 100 microprocessors but if you think like the

01:35:14   reason why there's 100 different ones that are all distinct and they all you know in why it's

01:35:18   hard for your typical mechanic to even service a modern car is because they're all kind of tacked

01:35:23   on, right? But if you start with the assumption that an electric car is a computer with wheels

01:35:31   attached, then it becomes very obvious that a computer company is going to have an advantage

01:35:39   in the long run. And that's the same with the phone. It was no longer a phone with, you know,

01:35:45   calendar functionality or email functionality. It became a computer that could also make calls.

01:35:51   And that flipping of the paradigm is what makes it

01:35:55   an attractive market for Apple, for Google,

01:35:58   for the big software companies.

01:36:01   - Yeah, and I think you're exactly right,

01:36:03   and your example that the entrenched market leaders

01:36:07   are the ones who have the hardest trouble zooming out

01:36:10   far enough to go back and just start over.

01:36:13   The phone's best example that I can think of,

01:36:15   and I know I've harped on this for years,

01:36:18   is the fact that the iPhone doesn't have a green

01:36:20   make a call button and a red hang up button.

01:36:23   And I'm sure, in fact, I know I've mentioned it before

01:36:26   and I think people have pointed,

01:36:28   there are certain phones that came out before

01:36:29   that didn't have those things, but very few.

01:36:33   They're way off in the corner of phone history.

01:36:36   Every single mainstream cell phone that was ever made

01:36:39   before the iPhone had, in fact,

01:36:41   the colors almost never changed.

01:36:42   They had a green button to make a call

01:36:44   and a red button to hang up the call.

01:36:47   So getting rid of those buttons was just like a huge,

01:36:50   and really just relegating the phone to an app status.

01:36:54   And I've said this before too, I think in hindsight,

01:36:56   I think if there's a mistake that Apple's made

01:36:58   in the, what's it been, eight years since the phone,

01:37:02   I feel, I really wish that they would further reduce

01:37:05   the magical nature of the phone app.

01:37:10   I don't want, I would like to reduce an incoming phone call

01:37:14   to the same sort of notification I get from anything else.

01:37:17   - Oh, totally.

01:37:18   Well, why should it take over my screen and do, yeah.

01:37:21   - Like, sure, let me set a ringtone.

01:37:23   So if I have the volume on, it'll play the ringtone,

01:37:26   but I don't want it to take over the whole screen.

01:37:28   And if I have it on silent,

01:37:30   I just want it to drop down a little window shade at the top.

01:37:33   Phone calls are just not that important to me.

01:37:35   So if anything, I feel like Apple has fallen behind

01:37:37   in reducing the fact that the phone should be just an app.

01:37:42   - Yep.

01:37:44   magical features, you know, like when you get a phone call the way it takes over no matter what

01:37:47   you're doing. But for the most part, they and I don't think any of the existing phone makers

01:37:52   would have made that jump. No, I that's exactly right. They could have, but they didn't.

01:37:57   Right. Well, that's always the thing. And this is the this is why startups succeed and why

01:38:01   incumbents fail it like the incumbent usually has more experience, they have more capital,

01:38:06   they have more money to invest. But all that pales in comparison to one your incentives,

01:38:13   and two, your kind of preconceived notions.

01:38:16   Like, if you, like when Microsoft came up,

01:38:19   if you want to characterize the OS or computer as like a square,

01:38:23   like make it a physical object,

01:38:25   like they were motivated to make the most perfect square in the world

01:38:28   that fit this new paradigm of a PC.

01:38:31   The problem is when the phone came along,

01:38:34   what you needed was a triangle.

01:38:35   And Microsoft was so invested in everything about their corporation

01:38:39   and everything about their organization,

01:38:40   and their incentives were perfectly aligned to make the best squares in the world,

01:38:45   which meant they viewed the triangle as an attempt to push the square into it.

01:38:52   Whereas if you started from scratch with the triangle, it's not just that you are starting

01:38:59   from the same place as Microsoft, so you have an equal chance to them. You actually have a better

01:39:04   chance because you know what you're targeting and you don't have all that baggage and cruft.

01:39:10   So famously disruption, it's not just that Microsoft,

01:39:13   there's a financial aspect where they wanna keep

01:39:15   the old financial stream, but it goes deeper

01:39:17   than just finances.

01:39:19   It's like the very way people think,

01:39:21   like is conditioned for a certain view of the world.

01:39:25   And it's incredibly difficult to break out of that,

01:39:28   particularly in a large organization where this stuff

01:39:31   is like, is embedded deep in the culture

01:39:33   and the way people think about things.

01:39:36   - We just, we've gone over 90 minutes,

01:39:37   but I'm just gonna call time out here,

01:39:40   and I'm just gonna say that the remainder

01:39:42   of the show doesn't count.

01:39:44   (laughing)

01:39:45   I wanna take a moment here during this timeout

01:39:47   and I wanna thank our third sponsor

01:39:49   and it's our good friends at Casper.

01:39:51   Casper sells an obsessively engineered mattress

01:39:54   at a shockingly fair price.

01:39:56   Just the right sink, just the right bounce.

01:39:59   They take two common technologies from modern mattresses,

01:40:02   latex foam and memory foam,

01:40:04   and they put them together for just the right version.

01:40:08   You don't have to sit there and choose

01:40:10   between four different mattress types.

01:40:12   They've figured out one that's great

01:40:15   and you just pick the size you want and that's it.

01:40:18   That's all you have to do.

01:40:18   It is so easy.

01:40:20   That to me is like the best thing about Casper

01:40:22   is that you don't have to sit there

01:40:23   and think well do I want this one that has more memory

01:40:27   or the one that has more bounce or whatever.

01:40:29   No, they just figured it out.

01:40:30   They figured out the right mix and that's it.

01:40:33   Seems crazy, seems even crazier

01:40:37   than buying eyeglasses online.

01:40:38   but they've got the same type thing.

01:40:40   Look, you just call up, they send it to you.

01:40:43   It's a risk-free trial.

01:40:45   I think it's 100 days.

01:40:47   It's something like that.

01:40:48   Yeah, here it is, 100 days.

01:40:49   You get 100 days with the thing.

01:40:51   Buy a Casper mattress.

01:40:52   100 days, if you don't like it, ship it back to them.

01:40:57   Their mattresses are made in America,

01:41:00   and their prices are just blowaway good.

01:41:03   Really, just remarkable.

01:41:05   If you don't believe me, go to a mattress store

01:41:06   and try to find high quality mattresses at these prices.

01:41:09   500 bucks for a twin, 950 for a king,

01:41:13   and all the sizes in between are in between 500 and 950.

01:41:18   It's an outstanding price point for a really good mattress.

01:41:24   I, it just, it still blows me away

01:41:27   when I think about when I got,

01:41:28   they sent me one of these things last year.

01:41:31   It comes in a little box.

01:41:32   You cannot believe that there is a full-size mattress

01:41:34   in this little box and it's got instructions.

01:41:38   Kind of weighs as much as you'd think a mattress would weigh

01:41:40   but it is an incredibly small box

01:41:42   because it doesn't have springs and stuff like that.

01:41:45   That stuff is like ancient technology.

01:41:47   It's all just foam and they just, I don't know,

01:41:49   somehow vacuum pack it into this thing.

01:41:52   So you put it in a room where you want the mattress.

01:41:54   That's the most important thing.

01:41:55   Listen to the box and then you open the box the right way

01:41:59   and it's just, it makes cool noise

01:42:01   that I won't try to replicate as it just sucks in the air

01:42:04   and then all of a sudden, boom,

01:42:06   you've got a mattress in your room.

01:42:07   It feels like you're living in Back to the Future

01:42:11   or something like the future of Back to the Future

01:42:13   where you put a little pizza in the thing

01:42:17   and 10 seconds later you got a full pizza,

01:42:19   except instead of a pizza, it's a mattress.

01:42:22   Does that make sense?

01:42:23   I hope so.

01:42:25   Could not be an easier way.

01:42:26   I've got a whole bunch of tweets, I've been retweeting them.

01:42:28   People are buying these things

01:42:30   and they all say the same thing when they tweet.

01:42:31   They're like, "I thought it was crazy

01:42:33   to buy a mattress online, but I've been listening to this thing on the talk show and I did it

01:42:39   and it is. It's a great mattress. I think, and I don't have this here in front of me,

01:42:43   this might not still be true, but I believe it was true for a while. He said, "If you

01:42:47   live in Manhattan, you can get a Casper mattress delivered same day by some cat on a bicycle,"

01:42:54   which is crazy, absolutely crazy.

01:42:57   So just dial it up at, what is their website?

01:43:02   I think it's casper.com, but I do know the code.

01:43:05   The code is the talk show,

01:43:07   and you'll get 50 bucks off by using that code.

01:43:11   So go to casper.com, use the code the talk show,

01:43:15   and you'll save 50 bucks off.

01:43:17   So my thanks to them.

01:43:19   Let's wrap it up.

01:43:23   I gotta wrap this thing up.

01:43:24   'Cause timeouts can only last so long.

01:43:27   I have one last thing that I wanted to talk about,

01:43:34   and that was this Amazon thing in New York, New York Times.

01:43:38   Did you see this?

01:43:39   - I did, I wrote a lot of it, a lot.

01:43:41   I wrote two daily updates and an article.

01:43:43   Yeah, so first off, I haven't written about it at all.

01:43:49   So I'll let you talk.

01:43:51   Well, first off, there is an article just today, we're going on Twitter about someone

01:43:56   who used to work for Amazon who left on maternity leave and got cancer at the same time.

01:44:02   Yeah, and I saw that both got cut off from her insurance, and which was claimed to be

01:44:08   a mistake.

01:44:11   And then when came back, like all our direct parts reports were gone, and she was basically

01:44:14   marginalized and resigned a few months later, which you know, certainly, and so I think

01:44:20   Just to be clear, that sort of behavior and all the kind of anecdotal allegations

01:44:26   of treating someone with a miscarriage poorly, the cancer patient, like that's

01:44:31   a horrible and, and deserves to be condemned the strongest possible terms.

01:44:36   And I will say, uh, I believe that it happened because if you're in an

01:44:42   environment where they're pushing so hard, uh, if you're, if you're running

01:44:47   right up to the line, like you're going to go over it sometimes.

01:44:49   So I actually tend to believe that there is some truth to that stuff.

01:44:54   So that aside, just to be super clear, that shouldn't be tolerated.

01:44:59   And I hope that this will produce changes.

01:45:02   Secondly, though, the issue I had with the New York Times article specifically was,

01:45:11   and this sounds really silly, but was the tone of it.

01:45:14   Like there's all these kind of throwaway lines like, oh, you know, basically kind

01:45:18   of mocking the person who was so excited about getting a frozen doll to someone or like,

01:45:22   "Oh, they're working so hard so you can get scotch tape."

01:45:25   It was kind of the snark and the disdain and the condescension that I felt it had that

01:45:33   really rubbed me the wrong way.

01:45:35   The reason it did was, the fact of the matter is I know a lot of people that work at Amazon.

01:45:41   I lived in Seattle.

01:45:42   I personally chose not to work at Amazon because I had a family and it's not great for that.

01:45:48   by all accounts. Everyone knows that. But on the flip side, where had I been single, I think I

01:45:52   would have loved the opportunity. I love the idea of an environment where you should challenge

01:46:00   something. If you think something's wrong, you stand up. If somebody has a bad presentation,

01:46:03   you tell them it's a bad presentation. That happened to me at Apple. I got totally torn

01:46:06   apart one time at Apple. I think I did cry at my desk. I came back, and it led to me doing some of

01:46:14   the best work I've done in my career. And not only that, it instilled in me the understanding

01:46:20   that you can dig deeper and go down a deeper level and get something better. And I think that plays

01:46:25   out in what I do today, like really wanting to deliver something beyond and I can trace it back

01:46:30   to that happening. And I'm pretty hesitant to all these people are paid very well. They all choose

01:46:37   to work there, they could all get jobs somewhere else. And I'm a little hesitant on my high horse

01:46:43   and say that I need to take care of them and what they do. If you want to talk to me about

01:46:47   Amazon's warehouse workers, I'm happy to have the conversation because they're in a much worse

01:46:50   position. But the white collar workers, that kind of aspect irked me about the article.

01:46:56   Dave: Yeah, you've covered everything I wanted to cover and kind of put your finger on it better

01:47:01   than me. To me, I hear what you're saying about the condensation about, like you said,

01:47:08   said that they're busting their asses for 20 hours a day,

01:47:12   answering emails after midnight to send scotch tape

01:47:15   to people overnight, or to do it in one day instead of two.

01:47:19   And I agree with that, and I feel like that's sort of like

01:47:22   saying that New York Times writers are busting their asses

01:47:25   to send pulped up dead trees to people every morning,

01:47:29   365 days a year.

01:47:31   You're kind of missing the point.

01:47:33   It does make people happy when they have a good experience

01:47:37   Amazon, right? Where you're like, you know, you're some pair of boots breaks and you can get like the

01:47:43   exact right pair of replacement shoelaces and they're there the next day. That's actually really

01:47:48   cool. Whereas like in, you know, pre-Amazon or if Amazon doesn't have what you're looking for,

01:47:52   like where do you go to get a specific kind of shoelaces? Like in the real world, like

01:47:56   they've made the world a better place. And I know there's other places where you can buy shoelaces

01:48:00   than Amazon, but Amazon's often the place I go to first. So I agree with that.

01:48:03   It's the thing which I at the beginning like if you have a great service experience like it actually brightens your whole day that thing

01:48:09   You order something at Amazon and shows up a day early like it's it's cool

01:48:13   It and it's okay that it's cool. Like we're we're humans like not everything has to be like our

01:48:19   Eating our vegetables. Yeah, and the other thing that really got me about it was the way that they I thought the article really conflated

01:48:27   Entirely different aspects of it like exactly what you said if there are HR problems like like a lack of

01:48:34   Tolerance, you know poor poor

01:48:37   Poor responses after a maternity leave or an illness leave or something like that. That's really bad

01:48:43   I mean that's over the line and it really it's like a red alert going off, you know

01:48:47   Like that's like a siren should be flashing if it's that you had a crummy idea or poorly thought-through idea

01:48:53   and you were told this is a crummy idea

01:48:56   and it's poorly thought through, that's harsh.

01:48:58   And I've been there, I mean, I think everybody has.

01:49:00   I mean, I've been there.

01:49:01   It hurts, but it's the way it works.

01:49:03   And I don't know how that's different than other companies.

01:49:05   How is that different than Pixar,

01:49:07   which has a famously ruthless,

01:49:11   not ruthless meaning mean or personal,

01:49:14   but just in terms of being really, really hard

01:49:16   to get a story through?

01:49:18   And they always say over and over and over again,

01:49:20   everything starts with story,

01:49:21   and they have this story-making process

01:49:23   that's entirely collaborative,

01:49:25   and you have to keep coming back

01:49:27   to the same group of your colleagues and peers

01:49:30   and presenting your story,

01:49:31   and they're gonna pick it apart

01:49:32   and tell you everything that's wrong with it,

01:49:34   and you keep coming back.

01:49:35   That's how they make Pixar movies.

01:49:37   Pixar movies don't get made,

01:49:39   and they don't have the track record

01:49:41   that they have of one hit after another

01:49:42   by having story meetings where they wanna make sure

01:49:45   that whoever's presenting feels good coming out of it.

01:49:48   - Oh, totally.

01:49:49   And Apple too, there's that anecdote, actually when I was at Apple, I got to hear Johnny

01:49:53   I speak and he shared it then but it was repeated in that New Yorker article where John, I think

01:49:59   it was coming out of a meeting and either I was asking Jobs why he was so critical or

01:50:05   I've confided in Jobs that he was disappointed in the presentation.

01:50:09   As I heard it in the story, it was I've confided in Jobs that he was disappointed in the presentation.

01:50:16   And Jobs said to him, "That was a very selfish thing to do."

01:50:20   And I was like, "What?"

01:50:21   I was trying to be nice to the guy.

01:50:23   And Jobs was like, "No, you were trying to make him like you.

01:50:26   You were concerned about him not liking you if you were honest about the mistake.

01:50:30   Actually, you're doing him an incredible disservice and you're doing a company disservice,

01:50:34   and you should be ashamed of yourself."

01:50:37   And I was like, "Whoa."

01:50:38   He was super pissed at Jobs, he was saying.

01:50:41   But it totally transformed the way he viewed his job and what he did.

01:50:45   If he wasn't honest with what was in front of him, he was doing everyone a disservice

01:50:52   in the pursuit of wanting people to like him.

01:50:55   That was just deadly for him and for the company and all that.

01:50:59   And I mean, Bezos says he doesn't want to be like Microsoft.

01:51:02   People don't want Microsoft being this infighting and all this backbiting stuff.

01:51:07   The reality is the old Microsoft, at least legend has it, back in the '90s when Gates

01:51:11   was there. Vicious. And vicious in a like, "This sucks." Like, "It should have been

01:51:18   better." And frankly, when I was there, the issue that I had with Microsoft was the

01:51:24   – like, the reason I didn't get promoted my first year was I was told my "what"

01:51:29   was great but my "how" was poor. Like, basically, I was told I was too blunt and

01:51:34   like people like felt uncomfortable with my – what I said in meetings. And like – and

01:51:40   And so what happened was you do get the backbiting and viciousness because that always exists

01:51:44   because we're humans, but that all happens back channels and behind the scenes, right?

01:51:48   And this is what, like, far better it happened in the open than in these back channels.

01:51:53   And where Microsoft, I think, has gone wrong in some respects is all that viciousness never

01:51:58   went away.

01:51:59   It just got taken off the top table and being visible to everyone.

01:52:02   It got stuffed underneath, and then you get this toxic environment that, I mean, needless

01:52:08   and you used to say I left every two years.

01:52:11   But I don't know, sorry, that was a bit of a rant.

01:52:13   - No, that's all right.

01:52:14   One thing I remember as a last thought

01:52:17   is I took a screenwriting class in college

01:52:19   and I enjoyed it greatly and it was taught by

01:52:21   a guy who used to work on Alf

01:52:25   and he worked on a bunch of,

01:52:26   everything from PBS shows that were totally serious

01:52:29   to like the Alf Saturday morning cartoon show.

01:52:32   And he said that, and we had these crits every week.

01:52:35   Everybody would, you'd have to hand in your writing

01:52:38   on a certain day and then there were copies,

01:52:40   this is pre-digital, and everybody got a copy

01:52:43   at the end of the class and then you'd have to read it

01:52:45   for the next class and then we'd have a crit

01:52:47   and everybody would discuss each other's work.

01:52:49   And he said, this is how Hollywood works.

01:52:52   You criticize the work, not the writer.

01:52:55   It's not personal.

01:52:56   You don't say, you should have done this.

01:52:57   You talk about like, the character should have said this

01:53:00   or the dialogue isn't right.

01:53:01   You don't say, like if you and I had both written something

01:53:04   and I wouldn't say, Ben, you did a crappy job

01:53:07   dialogue here. You just say, "This line of dialogue doesn't ring true to me. It doesn't sound like

01:53:12   something that this character would say. It's the work, not the person." That doesn't mean it

01:53:15   doesn't hurt when you walk away and you know that you've got a marked up screenplay that's full of

01:53:20   really, really astute criticism, but it's not personal.

01:53:23   Especially if you've invested yourself in the screenplay. And that's where it's tough, right?

01:53:26   Because the best work comes when you put yourself into it. And so to be able to manage someone

01:53:33   criticizing your work, and they may be doing it correctly, but you identify so deeply with it,

01:53:38   that it's hard to handle. I get that. I think we're on the same page. I get also the extra hours

01:53:44   thing. But again, these are adults making well into the six figures, particularly including

01:53:49   stock compensation. That's for them to decide. The truth is, I don't know anyone who works at a

01:53:57   successful tech company, particularly either one that Apple and Amazon kind of compete on the user

01:54:04   experience, which requires that much more perfection and attention to detail, or the

01:54:10   early stage of any company when they're building their competitive advantage that doesn't… I mean,

01:54:16   maybe this is part of people's reaction. They don't want to admit that there's a choice.

01:54:22   I do believe you can't have it all. You can't be an attentive father or an attentive husband and

01:54:28   be a senior vice president at Amazon. I don't think it's possible, or Apple for that matter.

01:54:34   And it's something that I don't think we like to talk about because we like to think about

01:54:38   Apple being this great company or Amazon being this great company. We love their products.

01:54:41   We don't want to like… I think there's an aspect of guilt almost that comes with these articles

01:54:47   and is part of why people react so strongly to them.

01:54:50   Yeah, I agree with that completely. Ben Thompson, I thank you for your time.

01:54:54   People can find more of your writing at Stratechery.com.

01:55:00   Yes, and I, season two of Exponent will be, the next episode will be coming out next week,

01:55:06   so I'm back in the podcast chair.

01:55:09   That is your podcast co-hosted with James Allworth.

01:55:13   Yes.

01:55:14   You guys talk about basketball.

01:55:16   No, we talk about basketball to the extent where I make fun of James for having no idea

01:55:25   about any sort of sport.

01:55:27   Did you see that though that, what's his name, he's back on Twitter, and the guy got fired

01:55:34   from ESPN.

01:55:35   Bill Simmons?

01:55:36   Yeah, Bill Simmons.

01:55:37   And he called out Steve Ballmer as being over his head on the Clippers.

01:55:42   Yep.

01:55:43   That was...

01:55:44   I cannot believe I just blanked on Bill Simmons' name.

01:55:46   That's what happens when you're 90 minutes into a podcast.

01:55:49   Anyway, thank you.

01:55:50   I will let you go and talk to you soon.

01:55:53   I look forward to hearing the next episode of your show.

01:55:57   - Sounds good, I'll see you soon.

01:55:58   - All right.