The Talk Show

63: Would You Pay A Quarter For That?


00:00:00   So Glenn Fleishman welcome to the talk show. Thanks for having me on. All right, so let's just

00:00:04   run down the balls you've got in the air. So you're I think and I think this is new since

00:00:10   the last time you were on this show is that I think that you're now the owner publisher editor

00:00:18   or not editor. I'm not sure about that of the magazine. I'm everything. I'm the bottle washer.

00:00:24   Yeah, I think I was on just before Mark when I did the deal or a few months before it was

00:00:29   So, living longer than that.

00:00:31   Oh, no, it was actually, I think after I came on as editor,

00:00:34   yeah, when Marco sold everything, except his dog

00:00:38   and children and child in May and June,

00:00:42   it was a very funny time.

00:00:43   But yeah, it was a logical thing.

00:00:45   I mean, I love doing this and Marco's a programmer

00:00:50   and the cycle is really different

00:00:51   between being a programmer and a publisher.

00:00:53   And I think the timing was great

00:00:54   when he was ready to move on with his new endeavors,

00:00:57   do not no longer secret podcast thing.

00:00:59   All right. But anyway, you're running an entire magazine, a weekly magazine,

00:01:03   no biweekly.

00:01:04   That's correct. Fortnightly every two weeks.

00:01:07   Isn't, isn't biweekly one of those words that can mean two different things?

00:01:13   Yeah. It's like, can you quick annual perennial,

00:01:16   which means every year and which means, uh, they only once.

00:01:20   No, they both mean every year.

00:01:22   No. And annual plant. Oh, I think it's the plant annual, uh, in plants,

00:01:27   I guess is the thing is it only comes out once and a perennial will bloom again every

00:01:30   year.

00:01:31   I don't get it.

00:01:32   It's language. Language is a problem. Yeah, biweekly used to be, not sometimes people

00:01:36   say semi-weekly.

00:01:37   No, bi-monthly. Isn't bi-monthly? Bi-monthly can mean twice a month or every two months.

00:01:42   The language has evolved to where most people will say semi-monthly or twice a month and

00:01:46   then bi-monthly means every other month. But it's, yeah, it's becoming, in periodicals

00:01:51   it's becoming more common because publications are reducing their frequency. New York Magazine

00:01:56   is going to every other week now, for instance, after many, many years of being weekly.

00:02:01   Right. I saw that.

00:02:03   It's interesting.

00:02:05   Just read it off topic. I have a whole bunch of on topic stuff for this show. But there

00:02:13   was a, they have a great article. I don't think I've, yeah, I have not yet linked it

00:02:17   from Daring Fireball, but by the time the show comes out, I will have a cover story

00:02:22   on the new issue of New York Magazine about Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees embattled

00:02:27   superstar. And it's one of the finest pieces of journalism that I've read in a long time

00:02:34   because there's this whole thing where he's been accused of using performance-enhancing

00:02:38   drugs and he was issued a 211-game suspension. And he's fought it and nobody really knows

00:02:45   what the hell is going on. And this article, and I follow it as a Yankees fan, I've been

00:02:49   following the saga, you know, pretty avidly, I guess I would say, you know, all year long.

00:03:00   And still had no idea. Like, to me, it still has never been clear just what evidence they

00:03:04   had against him. They must have had something, blah, blah, blah. This article makes the whole

00:03:09   thing clear, and you really—it's really journalism at its finest.

00:03:13   mhmm. Yeah, it's a funny thing. Journalism is a problem because the best kind of journalism

00:03:18   that we think we like the most, that we, like, sticks with us and you may go back and read

00:03:24   or it turns into a book or it changes the law or whatever. That stuff is so ridiculously

00:03:30   unprofitable, it costs so much money to do that entire news organizations are devoted

00:03:36   to making enough money to afford to be able to do that sort of journalism.

00:03:39   Pete: Yeah.

00:03:40   Pete; Because it just, I mean, the Seattle Times, I always cite them because they're

00:03:43   a family-run paper and the family is really weird and they've made some really terrible

00:03:47   business decisions, but it's still 51% owned by the family that bought it in the 1800s.

00:03:51   And they will do things like spend $2 million for a two-year investigation into the Washington

00:03:56   State Court's ceiling documents inappropriately and cause massive positive political social

00:04:02   change.

00:04:03   They did not make $2 million off that, right?

00:04:05   I mean, everything else they did subsidized that $2 million so that could happen, and

00:04:10   they have to actually believe in their mission enough and believe that it gives them an aura

00:04:13   that keeps subscribers or brings subscribers in

00:04:15   that it was worth it.

00:04:17   And that's a hard sell.

00:04:19   - Yeah, and just, you know, this article I'm talking about,

00:04:23   just titled "Chasing A-Rod,"

00:04:25   and it is written by, hold on,

00:04:29   I've gotta go back to page one, goddamn pagination,

00:04:33   which I wanna get into, Steve Fishman,

00:04:36   who wrote this cover story.

00:04:37   - Related to me, of course, no, no, sorry.

00:04:39   - And it was a monumental effort.

00:04:42   effort. It really is, you know, and the best of feature-length magazine writing is much

00:04:49   closer to, in scope, to book writing than to, you know, article writing. It's closer

00:04:57   to a miniature book than it is to what, you know, to me an article is somewhere around

00:05:03   a thousand words.

00:05:04   Mm-hmm.

00:05:05   And once you get past that, you know, you're somehow, you're taking on something that needs

00:05:10   a lot more nurturing work. But this is a guy who traveled to Miami. That's where Alex Rodriguez

00:05:16   lives and a big part of the reason this article is so interesting is that he's the first journalist

00:05:22   who Alex Rodriguez had opened up to. And so he traveled to Miami and hung out with him

00:05:32   and was there. He spent time in New York in the, not a trial, but an arbitration hearing

00:05:39   with Major League Baseball.

00:05:42   You know, that's putting your ass in the seat in a room where there, you know, those things,

00:05:47   anybody who's ever been in a courtroom, you've ever done, you know, jury duty or even just

00:05:51   gotten out of jury duty, you know that all those things, they go slowly.

00:05:54   It's days, you know, of just waiting for what, you know, a couple of paragraphs.

00:06:01   And in the meantime, you know, the guy's a writer, bills have to be paid, you know, so

00:06:05   it takes money to gather, just to gather the reporting,

00:06:09   let alone the time it takes to write the actual article.

00:06:13   - Yeah, I remember reading,

00:06:14   Neal Stephenson wrote a piece for Wired years ago

00:06:16   where he traced fiber optic cable around the world.

00:06:19   And I read it and I thought, A, this is,

00:06:22   I mean, he's still, you know, top of his career,

00:06:24   but this is when he was really on the peak.

00:06:25   So he's getting massive amounts of advances

00:06:27   and selling millions of books.

00:06:28   And I thought, A, how much money

00:06:30   do they have to pay him for a fee?

00:06:31   But B, reading all the places he went,

00:06:34   I'm thinking he had like a $75,000 expense budget,

00:06:39   traveling coach, staying in two star hotels

00:06:42   because of the 50 places he went

00:06:44   and just the sheer amount of time.

00:06:46   It's astonishing the amount.

00:06:48   Yeah, I mean, that's the thing.

00:06:49   He's a thousand words.

00:06:50   You could talk to someone on the phone

00:06:51   and write a thousand words in a 20 minute conversation,

00:06:54   10 minute conversation and write about one thing.

00:06:56   But when you get beyond that,

00:06:57   you have to start to shape a narrative

00:06:59   and you have to start doing research.

00:07:00   You have to have things that go beyond

00:07:03   the obvious or a few quotations because otherwise, like, what are you writing about for that

00:07:07   long? There's not enough to say. I mean, people write philosophical essays that are

00:07:10   longer, but if you're writing about news and real things, then, you know.

00:07:14   Ben de la Torre Yeah, and so that's—I still feel—and

00:07:18   I feel like it's a good topic to talk to you about is, where does the money for this

00:07:24   type of work continue to come from as we move forward into a BuzzFeed-driven world?

00:07:29   That's what I'm asking. Where does it come from?

00:07:32   Um, you know, and I don't even know where to start, but with, uh, just stuff in the

00:07:40   last week, you know, where over Thanksgiving, did you follow, you had to follow this, this

00:07:47   Elan/Gail saga?

00:07:48   Oh yeah, that was, yeah, and I felt very bad for my sped about myself. At first I thought

00:07:54   it was hilarious, and I thought, "Oh no, wait, the guy's a dick," and then I thought,

00:07:57   no, this can't even be true, went through regret.

00:08:02   - For anybody who missed it, Elon Gale,

00:08:04   who I never heard of before,

00:08:04   but he's apparently the producer, executive producer

00:08:07   of a bunch of really shitty reality shows

00:08:09   like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and something else.

00:08:13   And over Thanksgiving, I guess on the day,

00:08:16   he tweeted a series of tweets ostensibly live

00:08:19   from a wifi equipped plane about a terrible woman

00:08:23   a few rows ahead of him who was,

00:08:26   know, berating the crew because their flight was delayed.

00:08:33   And this woman, you know, and it ends up, and then he sent her notes and drinks and

00:08:40   got really rude with her.

00:08:41   And that was the part, there's two weird parts to it.

00:08:43   Like the weirdest part is that it ends up the whole thing was fake.

00:08:46   He made the whole thing up.

00:08:47   But a lot of, you know, but it was all presented as being true.

00:08:50   And even on Twitter when people said, "Hey, is this fake?" and he denied it.

00:08:58   But the other thing too was that even if it was true, yeah, like you said, at first...and

00:09:06   it was like a slow boiling frog where his behavior to the woman at first, if it were

00:09:10   true, was kind of funny.

00:09:11   But then when he started sending notes to her that said, "Eat my dick," that's over

00:09:18   the line.

00:09:19   actually a really creepy thing to do, even if it were true.

00:09:23   I mean, that's sort of--

00:09:26   - Yeah, I mean, that kind of thing could get you arrested.

00:09:27   Everyone in the situation could get arrested,

00:09:29   and then she allegedly, he said she slapped him

00:09:32   and nothing happened, the police weren't called,

00:09:35   and it was a weird story.

00:09:38   Well, it started out, I mean, this is that,

00:09:41   he was channeling that rage we all have now

00:09:44   because the airlines pack us in,

00:09:46   and the flying experience is horrible,

00:09:48   and all the planes are full and everything is bad about flying.

00:09:52   And he did a great job tapping into that feeling where we see,

00:09:56   like, we feel like we are surrounded by horrible people.

00:10:00   Even if they're perfectly nice in other circumstances,

00:10:02   everyone is pushed to the limit.

00:10:03   And he's like, all right, you know, so I'm taking action.

00:10:05   It's like, all right, that's great.

00:10:06   Then it's like, oh, but you're a dick.

00:10:08   That you're being a dick.

00:10:09   It's like, ugh.

00:10:10   - The thing is, is it turned into a sensation.

00:10:12   I mean, then, you know, a multi-million page view sensation

00:10:17   on sites like Buzzfeed and I don't know if the Huffington Post picked it up, but I know

00:10:20   Buzzfeed did and probably did as much as anybody to drive it as a, I hate to say this, viral

00:10:28   meme, I don't know, or story. But here's the thing, even if it were true, it is kind of

00:10:35   bullshit to be the biggest story of the day and it ends up the whole thing was a hoax

00:10:40   and was rather easily verified as a hoax or at least nobody did any work to actually see

00:10:46   if it were true. And yet that, everything has continued to devolve. Even though everybody

00:10:53   knows that page views are so problematic as a measure of advertising in so many ways,

00:11:01   the publishing world has continued to, even knowing how poisonous this whole model is,

00:11:07   has continued to devolve in that direction. And I can't think of, it's as good an example

00:11:12   as anything.

00:11:13   Pete: Yeah, I mean, look, here's the example of where we're at, is that Business Insider

00:11:18   running, you know, they've got all kinds of opinions about them, of course, and how they

00:11:22   fight, they follow page views.

00:11:26   The bit that one of their editors wrote about his rebooked trip to China where it was paid

00:11:30   for by the Chinese airline, that whole crazy story, they got like 1.5 million page views

00:11:36   or something, a story about how he was traveling in the lap of luxury and he took a bunch of

00:11:41   of pictures and Henry Blodgett's awful thing

00:11:44   about being cramped and I don't know,

00:11:45   American Airlines flight last year or whenever that was,

00:11:47   that got hundreds of thousands of views.

00:11:49   So they figured out how to tap people's sort of

00:11:53   prurient or I don't know what it is like,

00:11:56   it's lolcat interest and turn it into massive traffic

00:12:00   and then they sell that massive traffic

00:12:01   at an incredibly, incredibly low rate.

00:12:04   So they have to have billions of views

00:12:06   to make any kind of real money in any case.

00:12:08   But they're finding people who will come and read the stuff.

00:12:11   So there is an audience for it.

00:12:12   - And there's no chance that that sort of crap

00:12:17   is going to go away.

00:12:19   And I'm not even saying it should.

00:12:21   I mean, and then, you know, and in some sense, you know,

00:12:23   like this Elon Gale guy, his professional career

00:12:26   is an example of that, you know, where--

00:12:28   - Yes, we have to remember how classy he is

00:12:30   in his day job too.

00:12:31   - Right, but it really does show you.

00:12:33   I mean, and if you watch, or even just tune in, you know,

00:12:38   halfway through any random episode

00:12:40   of one of these reality shows, with a critical eye,

00:12:44   you can really see just how the whole thing,

00:12:47   it really, the word reality needs dick quotes around it,

00:12:51   because it's, how could it be?

00:12:54   You know, like where these regular characters enter a room,

00:12:58   and somebody who they're ostensibly meeting

00:13:01   documentary style, you know, for real,

00:13:04   is already wearing a lav mic?

00:13:07   You know, it's like, it's almost like how can you possibly believe that this is real

00:13:12   if the people they're meeting, you know, in a restaurant or something have already

00:13:15   been mic'd?

00:13:16   Oh, I saw that the other day. Someone was mentioning that, like, if you see, if a random

00:13:20   person that someone meets in a reality show is already mic'd for sound, it's not a

00:13:24   random person. Like, oh, well, yes, but you don't--

00:13:27   Yeah, I think you must have seen the same tweet, right?

00:13:29   You don't think that's how-- it's a good tell. That was the same thing with the Elon

00:13:31   situation. As someone pointed out a couple days afterwards, said the picture where he

00:13:35   posted the note with the glass of wine, he couldn't have taken that because that would

00:13:39   have meant that he had gotten up and was standing next to her taking the photo before she, whatever,

00:13:44   there's no way that would have worked. Like, he, it doesn't make any sense. It's like,

00:13:48   "Oh, you're right." It was internally inconsistent. Nick Bilton at the New York

00:13:52   Times was actually looking at flight schedules and so forth and correlating them with tweets

00:13:56   and decided it was nonsense just based on that. It cracked me up.

00:14:00   That's funny.

00:14:01   I thought it was my first, I don't know,

00:14:03   something set me off on it right away,

00:14:05   and my first thing was that, and maybe it's my ears,

00:14:08   I don't know, like I've said this before in the show,

00:14:10   I worry a little bit, and it runs in my family,

00:14:12   that hearing loss in the men, in the Gruber family,

00:14:15   is sort of a problem.

00:14:17   So maybe it's just me, but I have trouble,

00:14:22   like when we sit, like if my family travels,

00:14:25   and Amy and I both take aisle seats,

00:14:29   and maybe Jonas sits in the middle next to Amy,

00:14:32   I have trouble hearing Amy across the aisle.

00:14:34   Like if, you know, like if I'm 7C and she's 7D,

00:14:39   I have trouble hearing her on this ship because,

00:14:43   you know, or on the plane,

00:14:44   because she doesn't wanna talk real loud, you know.

00:14:47   And he said she was, I don't know, five rows ahead of her,

00:14:50   three or four rows ahead of her?

00:14:52   - Oh yeah, yeah.

00:14:53   - It's really hard to overhear somebody,

00:14:55   Even if somebody was really, you know, sort of being abusive toward the flight crew, if

00:15:02   she's sitting five rows ahead of you, it's really pretty hard.

00:15:04   Plus, the whole thing, like, it was repeated endlessly over and over and over again that

00:15:09   she was Diane in 7A.

00:15:11   Well, 7A is a window seat.

00:15:13   So all this note passing nonsense, it's a little bit more possible if it's like a 747

00:15:20   a 242, you know, with two aisles, because then, you know, I guess he could only have to reach over

00:15:28   one person, 7B. But most planes on domestic flights are not 747s. They're, you know, they're,

00:15:38   forget the numbers.

00:15:41   Pete: They're not narrow-bodied, what they call them, they're mainline, but yeah, they're 727-900.

00:15:46   I just wrote Alaska has an upgraded Boeing that I really liked, I wrote the other day. It actually

00:15:50   has room, I could cross my legs.

00:15:52   But if it's a three seats aisle, three seats setup, then, you know, it's really, it would

00:16:00   be almost impossible to pass a note to somebody in 7A.

00:16:03   Right, but people were repeating this credibly, like, it got turned into news, it got cycled

00:16:08   into news incredibly fast without any actual documentary evidence except his tweets and

00:16:13   people's suppositions, even though if you'd stopped as Nick Bilton did or as you're thinking

00:16:17   about it or other people did looking at the photos, like, anyone with any journalist should

00:16:22   have used their powers of observation and pointed out that this was very clearly fake.

00:16:28   And he was probably, I'm actually curious if the guy himself was astonished that people

00:16:32   took it as real because he had, there were so many tells.

00:16:36   Ted: Yeah, I think he, I think, no, I don't think he was astonished. I think he tried

00:16:39   to fake it and he's, I forget, somebody else pointed out that he has a history of this

00:16:43   sort of thing.

00:16:44   Yeah, but it really shows you what he thinks of as reality. It's you know, it's you know

00:16:50   I guess it's what makes him good at his job, but it makes me think that you know, like I'm The Bachelor. There's probably

00:16:55   You know the like the the what's the idea with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

00:17:01   There's like a hero character on The Bachelor who's a guy and on The Bachelorette who's a woman and then they present them

00:17:07   I don't know a dozen

00:17:08   people of the opposite gender to pick from

00:17:11   And each week they kick one out.

00:17:14   That the person probably doesn't even kick them out.

00:17:17   The show probably tells them who to pick based on who's the most popular.

00:17:23   That it's probably all as contrived as the whole thing would be if it were run on the

00:17:26   up and up.

00:17:27   It's probably not even run on the up and up.

00:17:29   So, it's true.

00:17:30   And films and TV do that.

00:17:33   I think they have to, or they think they have to.

00:17:37   that came out several years ago,

00:17:40   The King of Kong, Fistful of Quarters, about,

00:17:42   yeah, which a great movie.

00:17:44   - The Donkey Kong. - Really interesting.

00:17:45   - The competition to score the perfect Donkey Kong game.

00:17:49   - Yeah, and there was a villain,

00:17:51   there's this guy Billy who ran a restaurant

00:17:53   and had maybe faked some high scores,

00:17:56   but probably gotten him and he was on the cover

00:17:58   of Newsweek or something in the 80s,

00:18:01   and this up and coming laid off school teacher

00:18:03   who is playing in his garage

00:18:07   and tops of the high score, so he's the hero,

00:18:10   you've got the villain.

00:18:11   Well, there was a piece, and I think it was Atlantic,

00:18:13   after the movie came out by a guy

00:18:14   who had been involved in the shooting a bit,

00:18:16   who said, "Well, Billy really isn't the way he was depicted."

00:18:19   They kind of emphasized things,

00:18:20   but they didn't make stuff up,

00:18:22   but they made him into a villain

00:18:24   because they wanted a goat in the film

00:18:26   for people to root against,

00:18:27   and actually he's much more nuanced,

00:18:28   as everyone is in life.

00:18:29   But it's hard to, I think film and TV

00:18:32   often remove the nuance,

00:18:33   because you can't tell a story as well in those mediums

00:18:35   without having, I don't know, unless it's a really good filmmaker, without having identifiable

00:18:43   people to root for and against. I mean, it's part of human nature, but it's also how a

00:18:46   lot of films are made.

00:18:48   Ben de Mello - Perfectly agree. But I think that stuff is not going to go away. I think

00:18:56   everybody, if you watch it, I think you should watch it with a giant grain of salt. And I

00:19:02   think that's to me is the interesting takeaway from this Elon Gale tweet hoax

00:19:06   thing is not just that his tweet thing was a hoax but what does it tell you

00:19:10   about you know these reality shows that dominate TV you know major network TV

00:19:19   today I saw another tweet a couple days ago from somebody I don't remember who

00:19:23   who just posited that if you showed today's reality shows to someone from

00:19:32   20 years ago, 25 years ago. They would think it was stuff from a dystopian science fiction future.

00:19:40   Pete: Oh yeah, or they might also, they might actually also see it for the false front it

00:19:48   presents. There's a bit in, it was The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, the Oliver Sacks book,

00:19:53   I think it's in that book, where he talks about being in a ward where there are people who had

00:19:57   at aphasia and other people, one group of people could not understand the meanings of

00:20:03   words, but they could hear words literally only. The other could not understand what

00:20:07   words meant, but they could hear the emotion behind it, it was two different neurological

00:20:10   conditions, and he watched them watching Ronald Reagan deliver speeches and they were all

00:20:15   laughing.

00:20:16   Pete: Huh.

00:20:17   Pete; Because Reagan was a perfect melody, in his description at least, of being able

00:20:19   to lie effectively in some combination, but if you could cut out either the meaning or

00:20:27   the emotional part, it was transparent.

00:20:29   And I have that feeling sometimes,

00:20:30   if you took somebody who hadn't watched TV,

00:20:33   you know, a bit out of culture,

00:20:34   they were often in some remote place,

00:20:36   they come back 25 years later and they watch reality TV

00:20:38   and say, "Why does everyone watch these fake things?

00:20:40   "These are made for TV movies, right?"

00:20:42   You're like, "No, no, this is supposed to be real."

00:20:43   And they'd say, "But it's so fake!"

00:20:45   You know, and we've become conditioned

00:20:47   to what we believe reality is supposed to be

00:20:49   as portrayed in those,

00:20:50   and we accept it more fully as reality.

00:20:53   Everything is worldwide wrestling foundation,

00:20:56   whatever it's called. It's all wrestling.

00:20:59   - Horrible people.

00:21:00   (laughing)

00:21:02   Acting horribly.

00:21:03   Right, I always think back, and the first thought I had

00:21:06   when I saw that tweet, and if you're,

00:21:08   I don't know who it was, but if, you know,

00:21:10   I apologize for not remembering.

00:21:12   That first thing I thought of was that show

00:21:18   that was on all the TVs in RoboCop,

00:21:22   where it was like that creepy, older, nebbishy guy

00:21:27   who was always surrounded by like really skanky models.

00:21:33   And no matter what happened, he had that catchphrase,

00:21:36   I'd buy that for a dollar.

00:21:38   - It's the best thing.

00:21:40   And you know, that dates back to the Corn Bluth story,

00:21:44   The Marching Morons.

00:21:45   Great science fiction story you can find online

00:21:47   from the 1950s.

00:21:48   The phrase there was, would you pay a quarter for that?

00:21:51   It was an homage to that.

00:21:53   In that story, an ad guy convinces

00:21:56   the supposedly stupidest people in society

00:21:59   to board rocket ships that land on the sun.

00:22:02   (laughs)

00:22:03   That go straight to the sun.

00:22:04   To get rid of all the excess population of idiots.

00:22:06   That's kind of a 1950s idea.

00:22:08   It's a fascinating story.

00:22:09   - I also thought of the old Stephen King,

00:22:13   I think it was a novella.

00:22:14   I think it was one of the ones he wrote under a pseudonym.

00:22:17   Richard Bachman. - Richard Bachman, yeah.

00:22:19   - The Running Man.

00:22:20   Which they turned into a Schwarzenegger movie, but sort of--

00:22:23   - Crazy film.

00:22:24   - The novella was a lot less Schwarzenegger-y

00:22:27   in a little bit, but it was really kind of spot on

00:22:30   about where TV's going, you know,

00:22:32   that it is sort of feeding.

00:22:35   Now, you know, obviously the king twist

00:22:38   was that they were actually trying to kill the protagonists,

00:22:41   and that is not going to happen.

00:22:43   But it does--

00:22:47   - I watched the season of Survivor

00:22:48   which they put people with no clean water supply and brain eating parasites on the island.

00:22:52   So you know, nobody died, but—

00:22:54   Pete: Close, right?

00:22:55   Alan: Yeah, I mean, that was a scenario.

00:22:56   People were doing—

00:22:57   Pete; Right, right.

00:22:58   They did have a medical crew nearby for anybody who came down with dysentery.

00:23:00   Alan; Well, it's true, but brain eating parasites, I mean, that's, you know, you're

00:23:02   pushing the limit there a little.

00:23:04   Pete; But it does sort of feed into, you know, the sort of dark side of our psyche that led

00:23:13   to, you know, the Roman Colosseum, right?

00:23:16   Where you know—

00:23:17   You know as long as you can brand the people as some sort of other

00:23:21   You know watching them destroy their lives you can take solace, you know, you take pleasure in it, right? Well, they're just

00:23:29   You know trashy housewives from Beverly Hills. So, you know watching, you know, one of them, you know

00:23:37   Drink herself into rehab on TV in front of the whole nation

00:23:44   somehow you take pleasure in it,

00:23:46   or at least you're supposed to.

00:23:48   - Sick fascination gets ratings and it gets page views.

00:23:52   And we are denying something about ourselves

00:23:55   as a society or humanity if we don't accept that.

00:23:59   But pandering to it,

00:24:01   we don't have to agree to pander to it.

00:24:02   And I think that's been that divide in culture

00:24:04   between highbrow and lowbrow,

00:24:05   is highbrow is we're not gonna pander.

00:24:07   You all, lowbrow people,

00:24:08   should lift yourself up to our level

00:24:11   so that you can appreciate this fine culture

00:24:13   that's actually what you should be watching.

00:24:14   And lowbrow is, look, we're just enjoying this stuff.

00:24:18   It's not serious, get off your high horse.

00:24:21   But the gap seems to get bigger and bigger for people

00:24:23   and people who feel like there's a cultural loss.

00:24:26   I mean, people are saying, you know,

00:24:27   that you can look at people writing in the 17th century

00:24:30   about terrible popular music and entertainment

00:24:32   and only the good stuff you could find in the salons

00:24:34   and those idiots in the streets are morons.

00:24:37   And I'm sure you can find it in Roman times and before,

00:24:40   like whenever there was culture, there was a divide.

00:24:42   but it somehow seems more obvious to us now

00:24:44   because it's so exposed.

00:24:45   We can all see and find the worst stuff

00:24:48   and see exactly how many people are obsessed by

00:24:52   and reading the worst stuff,

00:24:53   which we used to not be able to,

00:24:54   we didn't have to know that as much.

00:24:56   I mean, 'cause there were tabloids,

00:24:57   people read, you know,

00:24:58   the New York Daily News still exists

00:24:59   and all those are out there.

00:25:01   And that used to be the battle

00:25:01   between the New York Times and the tabloid papers.

00:25:04   So it's just more obvious and more people we know

00:25:09   that we wouldn't think would spread it

00:25:10   are passing on this stuff too, so it gets in our face.

00:25:13   - Well, compared to something like Buzzfeed,

00:25:15   even though Buzzfeed occasionally has really good features,

00:25:18   they had a really good feature I read about

00:25:20   a young man from Utah who disappeared in China

00:25:28   at the end of his mission and his family

00:25:30   has spent the last few years trying to figure out

00:25:31   what happened to him and their best guess,

00:25:33   and they really have some pretty, nothing confirming it,

00:25:37   but some pretty good circumstantial evidence

00:25:39   he might have been kidnapped by North Korean secret agents and taken to North Korea.

00:25:43   Pete: Oh my god. Unplausible, sadly, yeah.

00:25:45   Ted, in a way. At BuzzFeed, you know, which, you know, it's not their bread and butter,

00:25:50   you know, but they're, they are paying for some feature writing.

00:25:53   Pete Yeah, everybody is –

00:25:55   Ted But compared to, compared to most of what

00:25:57   BuzzFeed publishes though, something like the New York Post and the New York Daily News is

00:26:01   relatively highbrow today.

00:26:03   Pete Yeah, the, it, right, and the, well,

00:26:05   the, this is, here's the interesting trend, the long form journalism trend is that

00:26:08   A lot of sites that do, they make it up in volume.

00:26:12   So Buzzfeed, it's the same thing with Huffington Post to some extent, or political, I don't

00:26:18   want to argue political is different, but you need a business insider probably in this

00:26:22   camp too, is they need billions of very, very, very low paying page views to have enough

00:26:28   money to then afford to do stuff that will get higher ad rates because it's higher quality,

00:26:34   but requires more of an investment.

00:26:35   And BuzzFeed certainly, they've got this huge war chest of private investment and they

00:26:40   certainly have been perfecting the bulk model and they've been hiring more and more serious

00:26:46   journalists at the sort of top end of news reporting and long form end and are doing

00:26:51   good work there.

00:26:53   Much as I hate to say it, they're doing good work there.

00:26:55   And I think, you know, Digg actually is producing features now.

00:26:59   That's new.

00:27:00   Like, all the sites out there that produce any kind of volume are also now trying to

00:27:05   do long-form work? Well, let's get back to that. I'm going to take a break right now

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00:30:01   So anyway, I started the show talking about the balls you have up in here.

00:30:05   We only got to the magazine.

00:30:06   You're also still writing for speaking a magazine to the economist and talk about doing it the

00:30:13   right way and shooting for top-tier journalism and analysis. You've got your podcast, The

00:30:24   New Disruptors. Is that weekly? You do that every week?

00:30:27   Every week. I tape ahead, so it's slightly non-perishable, so I sometimes do batches

00:30:34   at a time, but just celebrated a year. This is a year of episodes. I skipped one episode,

00:30:39   I've done 50, episode 52 is this week on the anniversary.

00:30:43   All right, when we're recording this, I should say.

00:30:45   - Congratulations.

00:30:46   - Mr. Reza, thank you.

00:30:47   It's so much fun.

00:30:48   It's just, I love dealing with creative people.

00:30:50   Like I have this background in art, work in journalism.

00:30:54   I love collaborating.

00:30:55   I mean, my favorite thing is finding people

00:30:57   I like to work with and figuring out something

00:30:59   to do with them.

00:31:00   And so the podcast, like every week I get to talk to new

00:31:02   and interesting people who are just,

00:31:05   I keep trying to find, you know, I'm not a Pollyanna,

00:31:06   but I like people who are excited and happy

00:31:08   about what they do.

00:31:09   And that's kind of my Twitter problem too,

00:31:11   is people who are sad sacks, I tend to unfollow.

00:31:13   Like even if they're people I otherwise like,

00:31:15   like I don't want relentless negativity.

00:31:16   I don't need relentless positivity either.

00:31:19   But so the podcast, I find people who have just,

00:31:23   are just full of this incredible creativity

00:31:26   and enthusiasm and just engaged with life.

00:31:29   And then sometimes it's, you know,

00:31:31   really off-base stuff.

00:31:32   And sometimes it's like, you know,

00:31:33   these people are making a book or they have a business,

00:31:36   they do whatever, but it's just, it's so much fun.

00:31:38   - All right, I'm on your Twitter page, Glenn F with two N's.

00:31:43   - That's me.

00:31:46   - It says right now, just on your profile page,

00:31:51   180,091 tweets.

00:31:56   - Yeah, it's a little crazy, isn't it?

00:31:57   I've been on for, you know,

00:31:58   that's only 40,000 tweets a year or something.

00:32:01   I talk to people though,

00:32:04   Twitter is not optimized for @mentions,

00:32:06   So I will get blocked on Twitter during active things going on, and 95% of what I'm tweeting

00:32:12   is not, you know, quote unquote public.

00:32:14   It starts with an @ sign, so only people following me and the other person see it.

00:32:18   So I think of it as having a conversation, and Twitter counts that against you.

00:32:22   So I'll be going back and forth with someone, you know, quasi-publicly, but nobody on my,

00:32:28   none of my followers see it unless they happen to intersect with that other person.

00:32:31   So for some people, I'm being very talky.

00:32:34   You know, if you and I have a similar graph, then I'm very talky if we're going back

00:32:37   and forth, but to everybody else, they don't see it at all unless they've got, you know,

00:32:40   configured whatever.

00:32:42   So it's weird.

00:32:43   So in some ways, I'm really prolific.

00:32:44   Other ways, it's like, well, this is my chat tool.

00:32:46   This is my public chat thing.

00:32:49   So, let me ask you this.

00:32:53   With the magazine, the magazine is still completely funded by subscriptions.

00:32:58   Is that correct?

00:32:59   Yeah.

00:33:00   - I think, well, let's see, I have to put a proviso in

00:33:03   because we've started doing some work with Medium,

00:33:06   Medium.com, because they are doing their own experiments

00:33:10   with what people are gonna pay for for content

00:33:12   or look at for content.

00:33:14   So they're paying some publishers, including me,

00:33:16   to develop some new content that appears

00:33:19   exclusively there first.

00:33:20   So it's not this wonderful giant pot of money

00:33:24   they're throwing at me, but so some money for the magazine

00:33:27   could ostensibly be said to be coming from the net

00:33:29   after I pay writers for that,

00:33:32   but it's a pretty tiny amount

00:33:34   relative to the subscription revenue.

00:33:35   There's no advertising in Medium,

00:33:37   which is why it makes it a reasonable place to work with,

00:33:41   where I don't have to change the model of what I'm doing

00:33:43   or worry about people being irritated

00:33:45   by having ads in one place or another.

00:33:47   Sort of another publishing platform I'm trying out

00:33:49   and they're subsidizing that, which is kinda cool.

00:33:53   - Well, but if they don't have ads

00:33:54   and they don't charge for access,

00:33:56   then where are they ever gonna get money?

00:33:58   How is it not just burning up a pile of venture capital?

00:34:02   - Volume, of course.

00:34:04   No, that's the change bank.

00:34:05   Well, from what I can tell, it's funny,

00:34:08   they don't play it too close to the vest.

00:34:09   And I think Ava's talked about it in public a bit too,

00:34:13   is they're experimenting now.

00:34:15   I mean, this is kind of the Twitter model,

00:34:17   is Twitter, what was it, five years

00:34:19   before they ever started doing advertising

00:34:21   or doing anything to do with money.

00:34:23   And these are the same folks behind that, essentially.

00:34:28   It's some of the same folks and they're funding it,

00:34:31   I think, as a, hey, we don't know what's gonna happen next.

00:34:33   Nobody does.

00:34:34   This is the time to noodle

00:34:35   and we're gonna blow some money on noodling,

00:34:37   but they're trying to noodle

00:34:38   on the high end of the spectrum,

00:34:41   which is, you know, it's another one

00:34:41   of those great for readers things,

00:34:43   how it works out for publications and investors,

00:34:46   you know, to be determined,

00:34:47   but they're paying for content internally.

00:34:50   I mean, they made a blogging platform.

00:34:51   So this is the thing that's confusing right now

00:34:53   is Medium used to be one thing when it launched.

00:34:55   It was like a place where people who were invited

00:34:57   could use a new, essentially blogging platform

00:35:00   that has a really great editor, editing interface,

00:35:04   to post essays and stuff, right?

00:35:06   That was what it launched as.

00:35:07   And you had to be invited, and it was a little rudimentary,

00:35:09   but it was a very attractive way to write and read.

00:35:12   Then it became, well, more people are being invited.

00:35:14   Then it became anyone now can go sign up with Twitter,

00:35:17   or via Twitter account, authenticate themselves,

00:35:20   and post whatever they want in Medium.

00:35:22   And so it's a blogging platform, right?

00:35:23   And you can export all your stuff

00:35:25   in a format you can bring somewhere else,

00:35:26   but you know, you own your words,

00:35:28   they have a non-exclusive license, no ads.

00:35:31   But now it's expanded, as several months ago

00:35:33   they started hiring editors and they have,

00:35:36   they assign out articles.

00:35:38   They hired my friend Matt Bors, editorial cartoonist,

00:35:41   is their kind of on-staff guy,

00:35:44   and he runs all his stuff first there,

00:35:45   he's doing original work for them,

00:35:46   and he's contracting people like Rich Stevens

00:35:49   and Tom Tomorrow and so forth to do original

00:35:52   and reprint work on the site.

00:35:54   So now they're an editorial operation

00:35:55   that's doing cartoons and long form journalism

00:35:58   and other stuff and with editors.

00:35:59   And then the third thing is what they're doing with me

00:36:02   and a few other publications,

00:36:04   where they're subsidizing content in the interest of us

00:36:07   creating new high quality stuff that meets, you know,

00:36:10   good stringent editorial requirements,

00:36:12   but they don't have to pay for our editorial operations.

00:36:15   They don't have to build them themselves.

00:36:16   They're just paying us a fee and we're posting stuff

00:36:19   and we're seeing what happens.

00:36:22   So I think it's a great multi-tier experiment

00:36:24   and they keep improving the editing experience.

00:36:27   You, like I, have worked with a lot of

00:36:29   content management systems or CMSs over the year,

00:36:32   and they're all awful,

00:36:33   and Medium is the best CMS I've ever worked with.

00:36:36   It's not very flexible in that you're sort of like Apple.

00:36:39   Like, Medium and Apple have a lot in common.

00:36:42   You don't have a lot of choices,

00:36:43   but the choices are generally good.

00:36:45   If you don't like 'em, you're stuck,

00:36:47   but you generally like 'em.

00:36:49   So like, remember how Keynote, when it launched,

00:36:51   there were very few things you could do in Keynote,

00:36:53   But it was hard to make a bad presentation in Keynote,

00:36:55   like a truly ugly PowerPoint presentation.

00:36:58   The default setting in PowerPoint is ugly and bad.

00:37:00   The default setting in Keynote is attractive and reasonable.

00:37:04   It's still hard to communicate.

00:37:05   You have to work in Keynote to communicate

00:37:07   like you do anywhere.

00:37:08   So Medium's default is very nicely presented,

00:37:11   very straightforward, minimal formatting,

00:37:13   and it's a delightful,

00:37:15   distraction-free place to write as well.

00:37:17   So as a writer, I don't like writing in crazy environments.

00:37:20   I write in BB Edit, mostly.

00:37:22   And Medium is the closest thing to writing

00:37:24   and kind of a stripped down editor as you can get,

00:37:26   but you can throw images in, you can do limited formatting.

00:37:28   So that's kind of the thing is they've built

00:37:30   a really great CMS in which the backend writing

00:37:34   and administration is very, very, very close

00:37:37   to what the front end is.

00:37:38   Like when you switch from editing to publishing,

00:37:40   the difference is really tiny and that's kind of awesome.

00:37:43   It's very WYSIWYG and it's very direct

00:37:46   and that is huge in its own self.

00:37:48   And then they're trying all these models

00:37:49   to see what gets people to read.

00:37:52   And then I assume at some point, you know,

00:37:53   they will figure out what it is.

00:37:55   Do they put ads on like the decks

00:37:57   that are really unobtrusive but effective,

00:37:59   but don't feel like crazy banner advertising?

00:38:02   Or do they go to a subscription model or do they,

00:38:04   I don't know what they do, but I'm glad

00:38:06   that they're pouring some real money in

00:38:08   'cause newspapers aren't.

00:38:09   None of the conventional journalism sources

00:38:12   are really experimenting in this radical way

00:38:15   with what the future of a reading experience is.

00:38:17   I mean, this is almost a natural outgrowth

00:38:19   of what Marco's ideas have been with Instapaper

00:38:21   and with other Read It Later services about,

00:38:24   you know, what do people wanna read online?

00:38:26   They don't want cruft, they don't want nonsense,

00:38:27   and Medium is that.

00:38:28   It's no cruft, no ads, and very, very straightforward

00:38:31   reading in every platform.

00:38:33   - Right, and you're gonna lose, everybody's gonna lose

00:38:36   if your idea is what does everybody wanna read online?

00:38:39   What can we make that everybody is gonna wanna read?

00:38:42   'Cause no, you're not gonna do it.

00:38:43   And if you want to say, well, what is,

00:38:47   Most, what are most people gonna wanna read?

00:38:49   Well, then you're gonna end up

00:38:50   with some crap like Buzzfeed, right?

00:38:52   But what are, what is an untapped or under,

00:38:56   underserved market for what some people want to read online?

00:39:03   Right, and that's, you know, how about, you know, good stuff?

00:39:07   - It's like, what would a New Yorker be like

00:39:09   if the New Yorker didn't have its legacy

00:39:11   but had the same quality of writing?

00:39:13   I mean, I don't wanna promote Medium as being the New Yorker

00:39:16   but they're more on that end of things,

00:39:19   and people will pay, The New Yorker has not really ever

00:39:21   been a very profitable publication.

00:39:23   - Yeah, I've heard that.

00:39:24   - Yeah, on its own it wasn't,

00:39:25   and then Condé Nast has subsidized

00:39:27   in different ways for years.

00:39:28   I think it actually has made money for a while,

00:39:31   partly because probably reducing expenses

00:39:33   like everybody else, but The New Yorker is not

00:39:37   like this great engine.

00:39:39   Newspapers used to make 25 to 35% profit,

00:39:41   we talked about it the last time I was on.

00:39:42   I mean, these huge profit margins,

00:39:44   The New Yorker has probably made 1% profit

00:39:46   over its 100 or 90 years in existence.

00:39:50   So that hearkens back to what I was saying in the beginning

00:39:52   that like you don't do really great,

00:39:55   most of the time really great journalism,

00:39:58   really interesting stuff that you read

00:40:00   is not massively profitable,

00:40:01   but it should pay everyone involved.

00:40:03   So the New Yorker may not return money to investors,

00:40:06   but everyone involved in it gets that reporters

00:40:08   get paid well, the staff, the editors.

00:40:11   - What did you say?

00:40:11   It's like the heritage of the New Yorker.

00:40:13   what did you just say?

00:40:14   The, the, the, the, something about like the, the, I forget how you said it, but it was

00:40:20   perfect. It was the way that the New Yorker has such a great legacy. I don't know. What

00:40:24   did you say?

00:40:25   I don't even know. That's like, we need to go to the top.

00:40:28   Something about how they build on that and that it exists, you know, and that they're,

00:40:31   you know, the New Yorker still looks like the New Yorker.

00:40:34   Oh yeah, yeah. And I mean, that's the thing is they are doing what they call digital replica

00:40:37   publishing. And this, you know, this gets us into a different issue is what I know I'll

00:40:42   back to the, you know, is the magazine, you know, so about 97 or 98% of the funding is,

00:40:48   or of our, you know, net revenue is coming from subscriptions or it comes from some subscriptions.

00:40:53   And there's, we're in a very interesting position. I bring up the New Yorker because,

00:40:59   and this gets us into the whole newsstand, Apple newsstand thing, is that the New Yorker and a lot

00:41:07   of other publications because of how newspaper and magazine auditing is done for circulation,

00:41:14   they do a digital replica, which is the kind of Adobe or other bloated interface, right?

00:41:20   And that's, again, that's what brought Marco into making the magazine.

00:41:22   The first place was 780 megabyte downloads of The New Yorker for an issue on the iPad.

00:41:27   And you're like, what?

00:41:28   God's name needs 800 megabytes.

00:41:30   But they have to produce something that's very similar in form to the print issue to

00:41:34   get auditing, get the advertising.

00:41:35   that's their model, even though they're selling subscriptions digital only.

00:41:38   So, uh, in GigaOM a couple months ago,

00:41:41   they put this report in which they showed some of the numbers from the audited

00:41:45   circulation, the digital replica and print circulation of various publications,

00:41:50   including, you know, the top ones, New Yorker and so forth.

00:41:53   And it turns out they don't have very many subscriptions. I mean,

00:41:56   the New Yorker,

00:41:56   I think has a million print subscriptions and a hundred thousand digital only,

00:42:00   you know, replica subscriptions. And that's not a lot. And you know,

00:42:04   most of those probably don't come from the newsstand. They come from the New Yorkers

00:42:07   website or they could come from another app.

00:42:09   So...

00:42:10   Yeah, mine do, yeah. Because I was already a print subscriber.

00:42:12   Yeah, and you get a free, right, if you're a print subscriber, a lot of publications,

00:42:16   you're not going to the newsstand to subscribe. So, Apple had started the newsstand conceivably

00:42:20   as a way to take some of the really huge amounts of money spent on periodicals, bring it in

00:42:25   house there, take their 30% cut, and save the periodical industry because they were

00:42:31   are going to make it easy for people to subscribe,

00:42:34   lost subscribers would come back,

00:42:36   marketing would be cheaper and it would be worth 30%

00:42:38   because Apple was handling all of this

00:42:41   and it was a much stickier experience and blah, blah, blah.

00:42:43   And that's obviously turned out not to be true.

00:42:45   I think it's clear that Apple is not the savior

00:42:47   of the book industry or the periodical industry

00:42:50   and it's led to sort of where they are today with Newsstand.

00:42:55   The magazine is actually one of the more popular

00:42:58   publications and we shouldn't be on Newsstand.

00:43:00   And we show up in the top grossing list,

00:43:03   sometimes very close to the top.

00:43:04   And we should not, if the other publications were doing

00:43:07   as well as they should in selling on Newsstand

00:43:10   as their primary place for their digital subscriptions

00:43:13   to be purchased.

00:43:14   - I still think, and I think this is one of those like,

00:43:18   sort of, it's meta analysis,

00:43:21   but I think it's sort of underrepresented,

00:43:24   is on the day the original iPad was introduced

00:43:28   at that event.

00:43:29   And it kind of garnered a, at least in some quarters,

00:43:35   especially in the more mainstream.

00:43:37   I think that, you know, I certainly got it.

00:43:39   I really was impressed by the original iPad.

00:43:43   And I think a lot of other tech sort of public,

00:43:48   or at least like the people who get what Apple does

00:43:51   were very impressed right off the bat.

00:43:52   But the collective response in the mainstream media

00:43:56   was a sort of meh.

00:43:58   It's just a big eye for you.

00:44:00   But a big part of that was definitely

00:44:04   because leading up to the announcement,

00:44:08   when everybody knew it was gonna be a tablet, right?

00:44:10   There was, you know, for months in advance,

00:44:12   there was Apple's working on a tablet.

00:44:13   They're working on a tablet.

00:44:14   And then the day, you know, before the event,

00:44:16   everybody knew or thought they knew.

00:44:19   Everybody was pretty darn sure

00:44:20   that what this event was for was for this tablet.

00:44:24   They were gonna introduce a tablet.

00:44:27   But part of that was that it was also widely predicted that the tablet was going to save

00:44:35   the publishing industry, save the newspaper and magazine issue.

00:44:39   It was going to do for newspapers and magazines what the iPod did for music.

00:44:45   And I know that in hindsight, lots and lots of music executives still say they still think

00:44:49   that they would have been better off without it because the revenues are still lower than

00:44:54   they were at the peak of the CD era.

00:44:57   But that, you know, I think rational analysis will tell you that the CD era was an anomaly

00:45:03   because they, you know, right up until Napster, they were charging people 17, $18 for a hit

00:45:10   CD and people were buying them just to get like the two songs that they wanted on it.

00:45:14   Oh, well, there's also CDs were repurchasing.

00:45:17   Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes.

00:45:18   So you had that bubble when people, all the scratchy LPs were thrown out and they're like,

00:45:22   I'm getting this.

00:45:23   You know for me, you know, like I'm young enough there where my original music collection was cassette tapes

00:45:28   And I bought rebought a lot of stuff on CD. Yes

00:45:30   You know, I remember you know for me and this is totally true I remember thinking this you know when I was in college a

00:45:40   significant

00:45:42   Part of my net worth was my CDs and I didn't have a huge CD collection. I had I don't know maybe I

00:45:49   I don't know, 100 to 200.

00:45:51   I would just estimate I had somewhere between 100 and 200 compact discs.

00:45:55   But you could resell them, right?

00:45:57   You could – there were – there was a huge thing in the '90s where you go to a used

00:46:01   CD shop.

00:46:02   Yeah.

00:46:03   And you could resell – you could sell them for roughly 10 bucks, give or take, depending

00:46:09   on what it was, 5 to 10 bucks if it was in good shape.

00:46:12   So if I had 100 CDs, I could, if I needed the money, I could go and sell them and walk

00:46:20   out of the store with like $1,000, $1,500, right?

00:46:23   And that was actually a huge amount of my net worth.

00:46:25   I had a checking account that my parents occasionally put some money into.

00:46:32   I had a MAC LC that by the time I was in my third or fourth year of college, had greatly

00:46:42   appreciated and valued. And I had my CDs, you know? And I had a stereo system to play

00:46:48   them on. That's really all I had that if I really needed money, that's all I had to sell.

00:46:54   But the thing that was probably worth the most by the time I graduated were the CDs,

00:46:59   which is crazy if you think about it. There's no rational world. In a rational world, a

00:47:03   22-year-old who likes to listen to music shouldn't have to have $2,000, $3,000 tied up in their

00:47:08   music collection. It's ridiculous. But that's what they wanted to go back to. Anyway, music

00:47:13   executives today will argue, some will argue that Apple, that if it hadn't been for those

00:47:18   jerks at Apple, they'd have somehow come up with something that would have kept the golden

00:47:21   era going. But I think rational people would agree Apple did save them from a world where

00:47:26   everything had gone free.

00:47:28   And this is what we're seeing with cable TV too, is like the cable industry, the thing

00:47:32   that freaks them out the most is unbundling because nobody wants all those channels. Nobody

00:47:35   wants to pay $80 for 500 channels, they want to pay $20, $30 for like seven channels they

00:47:41   watch all the time.

00:47:42   Right. But anyway, there was this undercurrent. And I mean, it was literally, there were people

00:47:45   talking about it before they let us into the event. I was there, the other press people

00:47:50   then that was a widely talked about this. What are they going to do? I wonder if our

00:47:55   people who worked for newspapers and stuff were wondering, is my paper going to get involved

00:48:00   with this, whatever. And when the event came and finished without any kind of announcement

00:48:05   of anything like it. No mention of newspaper. I guess they had the New York Times app was

00:48:11   demoed at the event.

00:48:12   Darrell Bock But they were like, "Wait, it's an app, though.

00:48:15   It's not a thing."

00:48:16   Like, it's not a –

00:48:17   Ben Stuart And I think that fueled the mad response to

00:48:20   the iPad, because these, you know, from people who work at these publications who were hoping

00:48:24   that Apple – they kind of went into it with this perspective of, "How's Apple going

00:48:28   to save my publication? I'm worried about my job." And the event came and went with

00:48:33   no word about it.

00:48:37   I think it fueled that initial poor response to the iPad because they were so…and it's

00:48:43   only natural if you're worried about the future of your own job and your own industry.

00:48:51   It still is the case today if you're somebody who's…especially if you're a little bit

00:48:55   older and already established and you thought even just a few years ago that you had a career

00:49:03   for the rest of your working years,

00:49:04   it's not just that you're worried

00:49:07   that your publication's gonna go under

00:49:09   and you'll have to go to some other publication.

00:49:11   The worry is that if the industry shrivels,

00:49:14   there won't be anybody else to go to.

00:49:16   - Yeah, it's not irrational because there's,

00:49:19   I mean, this is the problem, the disruption problem

00:49:21   is when you have these huge changes in the economy.

00:49:24   In the past, I would say pre-digital,

00:49:27   there was still the issue of moving atoms around.

00:49:29   So even if you figured out a new way

00:49:31   make an atomic thing better.

00:49:33   Like this process shaves 80% of the cost off.

00:49:36   People were still used to paying the same.

00:49:38   Like you didn't suck all of the money out of the system.

00:49:41   What usually you did is you sucked some of the money

00:49:44   into a new segment of industry or new companies.

00:49:46   The old ones might collapse and you'd have bankruptcies

00:49:49   and stuff like that, but all the money didn't go away.

00:49:52   The publishing industry disruption is that

00:49:55   because I think bad decisions and bad ways of thinking

00:49:59   the 1990s that everything should be, this is that misreading of Stewart Brand, I hear it all the

00:50:04   time, is Stewart Brand said, "Information wants to be free." He was not, this is that Libris versus

00:50:09   Libra, or Gratis or Libra versus Freedom of Thought, right? He meant--

00:50:14   Pete L

00:50:14   He's meant-

00:50:15   - Frias and beer versus frias and freedom.

00:50:18   - Yeah, and so his statement,

00:50:19   if you read it more carefully in context,

00:50:22   was that you should be able to have accessed information,

00:50:25   not that you shouldn't pay for it.

00:50:27   I mean, of course he was advocating more availability

00:50:30   of information at no cost,

00:50:33   but also the availability of information in general.

00:50:36   And he was a publisher, he sold information.

00:50:38   He wasn't giving it away.

00:50:39   So I don't know why this infected things,

00:50:43   And I don't think it was people buying into it.

00:50:44   I think the publishing industry simply did not understand

00:50:47   the internet and thought it was a fad

00:50:48   because they'd gone through video text and whatever,

00:50:51   you know, executives going through generation.

00:50:53   Yeah, like all these things are like,

00:50:55   ah, the internet is a lot more people,

00:50:57   but it's ultimately, there's no money there.

00:50:58   No one's gonna care and it's gonna come and go.

00:51:00   So we'll put some time money into it.

00:51:02   There were people with a lot of forethought,

00:51:03   like Ken Doctor, who was at, I think he was at Night Ritter.

00:51:05   He wrote this book called "Newsonomics" a few years ago.

00:51:08   He was one of the voices in the wilderness,

00:51:10   did some smart things, but I think,

00:51:12   I didn't want to say he was advocating paywalls in the 1990s.

00:51:14   You know, it was, and it's not that we should all be paying

00:51:17   for all the journalism out there.

00:51:19   As a publisher who has a publication where I want you to pay,

00:51:21   I understand there are different philosophies

00:51:23   and ads can support some of it.

00:51:25   But like 95% of the money from advertising

00:51:28   locked up in these quasi-local monopoly publishing,

00:51:31   and you know, in some national publishing markets

00:51:33   where the only venue where advertisers could reach people

00:51:37   in print were through these very specific ways

00:51:39   that had extremely high inflated high profit methods.

00:51:43   That got sucked totally out

00:51:45   and it wasn't replaced with much, right?

00:51:47   Online advertising is a huge industry,

00:51:49   but it's so dispersed, it's so spread so thin

00:51:52   that even though it's many,

00:51:54   like tens of billions of dollars a year now,

00:51:56   it didn't go back to the previous high market gatekeepers,

00:52:00   but advertisers have found much more efficiency, right?

00:52:02   So the efficiency and the disbursement,

00:52:05   the distribution of people's attention

00:52:08   at the same time, just sucked so much money out.

00:52:11   There's no clear path for how to fund

00:52:15   what was funded for, you know, 100 plus years.

00:52:17   Like that journalism can't exist in the same form

00:52:19   because the advertising money just simply

00:52:22   isn't coming back at that intensity per reader.

00:52:27   And the subscription model is still developing

00:52:30   whether people are willing to pay enough.

00:52:31   And I'm an, the magazine is an ongoing experiment.

00:52:34   I don't think of it as a successful business.

00:52:36   I'll be honest, it is a very interesting thing for me to do as an entrepreneur, but I think

00:52:40   of it as an ongoing experiment in how people read and what they're willing to pay for,

00:52:45   and I feel like I'm on the front lines of the cutting edge of understanding that, because

00:52:50   we're trying to do something very independent that's new, that's very much of the internet

00:52:56   born digital, and yet we're looking to this old model of pay us something so you can read

00:53:00   it.

00:53:01   Well, and this ties, this relates right back to what we were talking about earlier in the

00:53:07   show where, you know, let's call it clickbait, right?

00:53:10   It's just empty garbage that has no lasting value but generates lots of traffic.

00:53:20   You know, effectively, you know, newspapers and magazines aren't, you know, even historically,

00:53:29   they're not innocent of that.

00:53:30   always some fluff right there's you know I like comics I love I used to love the

00:53:35   comics I used when I was a daily newspaper reader love the comics page

00:53:38   but let's face it it's not serious it's not what when people talk about

00:53:42   newspapers as serious institutions you know the comics page is not it you know

00:53:48   the New York Times famously you know does not have a comics page you know

00:53:54   there's the society pages you know a lot of newspapers have gossip columns stuff

00:53:59   like that. The thing is, because it was all bundled and you had to buy either

00:54:06   you were a subscriber who got the whole thing every day or you bought a single

00:54:10   copy every day, you bought the whole thing. And so the fact that expensive

00:54:15   investigative journalism, something where you put a team of two reporters to

00:54:20   investigate whether the mayor's office has been taking illegal contributions

00:54:25   from, you know, a construction company. You know, the sort of thing that local newspapers are really

00:54:31   the only institution that can uncover that sort of thing. The sports scores for the high schools. I

00:54:36   mean, that was a huge reason that people read newspapers at one point. Right. Right. And so,

00:54:42   you know, there might be a lot more people who check the scores on the sports page than who read

00:54:49   the, you know, the City Hall reporters daily filings but, you know, it was, you

00:54:58   know, it was all of a bundle and it wasn't, it didn't matter if that City

00:55:02   Hall reporting cost more than, you know, paying an intern to type the high

00:55:09   school basketball scores as they came in. You know, it was just considered part of

00:55:13   the institution whereas now with this page view model where you can see what's

00:55:17   making the money, it just, it corrupts the whole thing and steers the institution in the direction

00:55:24   of where the page views are coming from.

00:55:27   Right, and everything becomes vertical in this market, right? Is that you have the incredibly

00:55:31   crass page view acquiring like lowest common denominator, puree and stuff, is all one vertical.

00:55:36   It's all business insider for business news, it's all Huffington Post for sort of political gossip,

00:55:42   it's all buzzfeed for just nonsense, right? Or you know, or even the I Can Ask Hamburger,

00:55:47   or I Can Ask Hamburger, which has never, was never intended to pretend to be news or anything like

00:55:52   that. There are all these verticals for that kind of low common denominator that used to help

00:55:58   justify or buoy up the profits. And then there's a vertical for comics, right? There are different

00:56:06   comic sites, you have all these web comics artists, many of them making part or even a

00:56:11   very good living. It's a huge range of people there who they would previously have to be

00:56:15   in a paper and syndicated and most of the money would go to the newspaper and the syndicate.

00:56:19   They make it directly, right? So you have them too. Then you have this investigative

00:56:24   part, like the features part, the investigative part, the sports part, all verticals. The

00:56:28   trouble is the long form and investigative part doesn't really pay. Like, you can't…

00:56:34   So Paul Carr just sold or sort of quasi-acquired moved NSFW Corp, his publication, into Pando

00:56:44   Daily.

00:56:45   And like, you know, we all have, you and I, and we all have different feelings about Pando

00:56:47   Daily and it's kind of in bed with its investors in terms of like writing about companies that

00:56:52   funded it and whatever.

00:56:53   So there's, that's a whole thing.

00:56:55   But NSFW Corp, I subscribe to, is a very interesting and good publication and it was essentially

00:57:00   the investigative arm of a newspaper or magazine.

00:57:04   they ran these really long super in-depth features

00:57:07   and they paid people fairly well for it, they had a staff.

00:57:10   They ran through a million dollars and they could not,

00:57:12   I think they had several thousand subscribers by the end,

00:57:16   which is nothing in terms of being able

00:57:17   to produce the revenue you need

00:57:19   for the investors investing in it.

00:57:21   So it doesn't say that you can't,

00:57:23   and you know what I'm doing,

00:57:23   I still have a modest number of subscribers,

00:57:25   what I'm doing is sustainable and I'm trying to branch out

00:57:28   into different publishing methods

00:57:29   as I feel like the newsstand is not being as viable

00:57:32   it was, trying to do books and other things, but it's that in the past each part would subsidize

00:57:39   the other. And maybe you would do this incredible investigative piece and, you know, like Newsweek,

00:57:44   or no, Time, didn't Time have the cover story by Stephen Brill about medical bills?

00:57:48   Pete: Yes.

00:57:48   Pete; Yeah. So, Time could have sold, I don't know if this is true or not, but Time could

00:57:52   actually have sold a million copies on the newsstand more because this was a big, you know,

00:57:56   this is, that kind of thing that gets that much buzz actually used to drive newsstand sales.

00:58:02   They go back to the presses, they would print more copies.

00:58:05   So you could come out with a great newspaper story or a great magazine story and actually recoup some of the expense sometimes by selling more copies.

00:58:13   And there's just none of that now.

00:58:15   A million, 10 million extra page views might be tens of thousands of dollars.

00:58:20   It's not hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

00:58:22   So there's a mismatch now between what used to all be grouped as like one publication

00:58:28   and all these different verticals, each of which may not be sustainable separately, and

00:58:33   maybe they have to get squeezed back together.

00:58:35   And that's why I say like BuzzFeed has the high end, the features and stuff they're

00:58:39   doing, and the lowbrow, which is the, you know, the billion page view things.

00:58:43   They seem to be trying to tie those back together, to glue them together, to make both ends work.

00:58:48   Let's come back to that. I wanted to ask you a few questions about the new standard magazine.

00:58:55   Speaking of which, I'm going to take a break here and do an ad read, but I also absolutely, I must do an F.U.

00:59:02   I must do a follow-up from last week's show with Moltz where I was talking about Apple's bunny suit ad,

00:59:10   the one where they torched the Intel guy in a bunny suit, and I said it was for the G5.

00:59:16   It's not. John Siracusa very politely corrected me. It was that was from the G3 PowerMax.

00:59:26   The which were so far so old I'll put that I put a link to the ad in the show notes but it was

00:59:32   actually when Apple was still building beige boxes. It was from 1998. So I guess the candy

00:59:40   colored IMAX route but the equivalent industrial design PowerMax weren't yet.

00:59:48   It's a really old ad.

00:59:51   Had what's his name, Dreyfus was the narrator.

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01:02:44   So, let's try to figure out what the hell is going on with Newsstand.

01:02:51   I have some ideas.

01:02:55   So, I guess effectively Newsstand is what a lot of people, in terms of a goal, it's

01:03:02   what I think everybody was hoping for the first day the iPad was announced, which is

01:03:09   here's our, meaning Apple's, solution to how publishers can take advantage of

01:03:18   this platform iOS and the iTunes store where people are spending money. Right? I

01:03:27   mean that's the goal. It's Apple's solution to publishers who want to make money

01:03:31   from iOS users. Yeah and they special cased it. I mean that's kind of the

01:03:38   programmer's explanation, right?

01:03:39   Is they said, okay, you know, you still have to make an app.

01:03:42   We're not making a delivery format for you.

01:03:44   We're not like a Kindle where you make a Moby file.

01:03:47   - Or we're not like iBooks where you make,

01:03:50   you know, an EPUB file, right?

01:03:52   - Yeah, we're more sophisticated.

01:03:54   Like we want you to take advantage of this platform.

01:03:56   And that was, you know, I think publishers were like,

01:03:58   okay, you know, you're giving us a showcase

01:04:00   and we have to invest in this anyway.

01:04:02   We don't want to just publish EPUBs.

01:04:04   It doesn't give us control.

01:04:05   We want to do new things.

01:04:06   So it seemed like a reasonable deal.

01:04:07   And they were like, okay, I mean,

01:04:09   I think the initial deal was, and you know,

01:04:11   you linked to Marco Karpinen's essay a few months ago,

01:04:15   middle of October in iOS 7, the final straw for newsstand.

01:04:18   And he runs it down.

01:04:19   So I won't repeat everything 'cause you should read,

01:04:21   that's a great article everyone should read.

01:04:23   I took it to heart.

01:04:24   But there were like seven, he lists this off,

01:04:26   let's do seven unique behaviors that publishers were given

01:04:30   in the newsstand initially.

01:04:31   And one of them was you could change the cover of every issue.

01:04:34   You know, you can update your screen captures on iTunes

01:04:36   every issue, not just with new dot releases of an app.

01:04:39   You had a special place, you know,

01:04:40   you could download the background.

01:04:42   There were all these things that you could do

01:04:45   that were publication-oriented and like,

01:04:47   so that people using an iPad or iPhone

01:04:50   would look at the newsstand.

01:04:52   The newsstand was always front and center, right?

01:04:54   You could move the fake folder somewhere,

01:04:56   but you couldn't hide it inside another folder.

01:04:58   And it showed little tiny, tiny, tiny icons,

01:05:00   which in retina are not too bad, of the publication.

01:05:03   And the covers would change,

01:05:04   so you'd know if it had an issue.

01:05:05   had background downloads.

01:05:07   - Yeah, all this stuff.

01:05:08   - So that you could, you know,

01:05:09   if your publication was relatively big,

01:05:11   I mean, 'cause nothing's worse.

01:05:13   Like, let's say, you know, whatever the reason,

01:05:15   let's not say whether it's a good idea or bad,

01:05:16   but if each issue is 100 megabytes,

01:05:19   which is not that uncommon for some publications,

01:05:22   and if it's really truly photographic heavy,

01:05:26   maybe it has to be, but either way,

01:05:28   nothing is worse than saying,

01:05:29   "Hey, I wanna read the new copy of National Geographic,"

01:05:32   and you tap the thing and it says, "Wait for download."

01:05:35   And if you're out and about out of the house, not on WiFi,

01:05:39   you know, you may not even be able to get it.

01:05:41   Or if you do, you might risk going over, you know,

01:05:44   your data limit.

01:05:45   - So yeah, I think my suspicion is--

01:05:47   - So they had this thing,

01:05:48   so if you could download in the background,

01:05:50   that was a huge win.

01:05:52   And the only way you could do it

01:05:53   was to be in Newsstand for a while, or till Iowa 7.

01:05:56   - That's right.

01:05:57   So I mean, I, you know, based on the way

01:05:58   that Apple was talking to book publishers ahead of time,

01:06:00   it's clear they talked to tons of periodical publishers,

01:06:02   got them started, made sure that people,

01:06:04   their magazines were on board,

01:06:06   and they told them the 30% cut thing, I'm sure,

01:06:08   but there were plenty of stuff available for the iPad

01:06:11   pretty quickly from major magazines and newspapers.

01:06:15   And I'm sure they listened, Apple does listen.

01:06:18   Some people think Apple does not listen

01:06:21   to its customers or partners, and it listens.

01:06:23   It's just sort of like, you pray to God,

01:06:25   he doesn't always say yes, right?

01:06:26   He's always listening, that's the theory.

01:06:28   So you pray to Apple and Apple doesn't always say yes,

01:06:30   But the newsstand looked to me like it was a bunch of things

01:06:34   where they had actually listened, consulted,

01:06:36   and come up with something

01:06:38   that was intended to benefit both sides.

01:06:41   And my take is that it clearly has not worked out for Apple

01:06:45   and publishers have clearly not walked away from it,

01:06:49   but walked back from it in a way

01:06:51   that Apple is not getting the kind of return

01:06:54   it wants from it because Apple has not,

01:06:56   I would say, improved the newsstand.

01:06:58   It's made its utility as a specific destination worse

01:07:02   in Iowa 7, it's particularly bad, it's sort of ignored.

01:07:05   It's kind of like, let's just forget about it.

01:07:07   - And it's widely complained about.

01:07:09   I see it on Twitter, I see it in my email

01:07:11   from Daring Fireball readers,

01:07:12   widely complained about that, you know,

01:07:15   is something that you can't hide, you know,

01:07:17   that there's an awful lot of people

01:07:19   who don't have anything in their newsstand.

01:07:23   and just, and, you know, I don't wanna say

01:07:28   obsessive compulsive, but just, you know, fussy enough.

01:07:31   You know, there's nothing wrong with that,

01:07:33   being fussy and wanting to have

01:07:34   your home screens arranged just so, right?

01:07:37   That's sort of the mindset that attracts people to iOS

01:07:40   in the first place, that you care about details.

01:07:43   So yeah, I've got at the end, you know,

01:07:45   my first two home screens are organized

01:07:47   just the way I want them, and then pretty much screens

01:07:49   two through whatever, or three through for whatever,

01:07:52   are just a junk drawer of apps that I search for

01:07:55   if I need them.

01:07:56   But I can totally understand the mindset

01:07:58   of someone who just wants one or two screens

01:08:01   of just the things they use

01:08:02   and wants them organized just so.

01:08:04   And it just bothers these people

01:08:06   that you can't get rid of that newsstand icon, right?

01:08:09   I see more people talking about,

01:08:11   "I wish I could get rid of newsstand completely

01:08:13   "than talking about anything that's actually in newsstand,"

01:08:16   which is a problem, right?

01:08:17   - And that's the change.

01:08:18   I mean, iOS 7, so part of it is

01:08:20   you can hide the newsstand icon now.

01:08:21   You can't throw it away, you can't delete it

01:08:23   like a lot of the ups.

01:08:24   But iOS 7 is, the new stand was de-emphasized in importance.

01:08:28   You can put it inside another folder,

01:08:30   you no longer see the tiny, tiny icons,

01:08:32   which have more of a cue for people than I realize,

01:08:34   based on what I hear from readers,

01:08:36   they forget because they don't see the tiny icon changes.

01:08:39   The brain is an amazing thing.

01:08:41   If you subscribe to publications and in iOS 6,

01:08:45   every time you fire it up, it's on your home screen

01:08:47   or maybe your second screen, but you look and you go,

01:08:49   oh, that's different, your brain knows.

01:08:51   and even though you can't even make out the detail

01:08:53   at 100 pixels tall, you know it's different

01:08:57   and you tap it or there's a blue dot or whatever.

01:08:59   I mean, there's some indication.

01:09:00   Iowa 7, that's gone.

01:09:02   So people interested are telling me

01:09:04   they don't even notice the issue's changed.

01:09:05   I mean, I send out Iowa 7 notifications

01:09:07   as do other publications, but I'm only every other week.

01:09:10   People lose sight of it.

01:09:12   And then you can hide it entirely, which is everyone's,

01:09:14   which is fine.

01:09:15   Some people wanna do that.

01:09:16   Apple wanted them to do that.

01:09:17   But it also is that thing of like

01:09:20   de-emphasizing its importance to Apple,

01:09:22   the fact that you can hide it is a user request

01:09:24   and it's great they're doing it

01:09:25   because people who don't wanna use it can hide it now,

01:09:27   but it also shows that it's not important enough to Apple

01:09:29   to irritate people by making it stay on a home screen.

01:09:32   - Right, so it's sort of like the converse,

01:09:34   like it's a problematic design on both ends

01:09:37   because if you don't use it,

01:09:39   you know, you have to do something to get rid of it

01:09:41   and now they've added a feature where you can't.

01:09:43   But then if you do, like if say the magazine

01:09:46   is one of your favorite apps

01:09:48   or if you read the New York Times app,

01:09:51   which is a newsstand app, every day,

01:09:52   if that's how you start your day every day

01:09:54   is reading the New York Times app,

01:09:55   you can't put that app icon on your home screen

01:10:00   or in your dock.

01:10:02   It has to be.

01:10:03   It's permanently, it's enforced that it's one level deep.

01:10:08   And it's even worse, in my opinion, on iOS,

01:10:11   because it's such a flat, conceptually,

01:10:16   the design is so flat.

01:10:18   Like it's really and it's one of the strengths. I think it's one of the reasons iOS has proven to be so popular

01:10:23   with the general public is

01:10:25   That there is no hierarchy by default

01:10:29   Right, or I guess there is I guess they do actually put a folder in there's like you I think they changed at some point

01:10:35   When now there is at least one folder like in a brand new factory fresh

01:10:39   iOS install but it's certainly de-emphasized and and you know

01:10:44   I think that's a strength of iOS because I think hierarchy is a huge problem.

01:10:49   Even one level of hierarchy is a huge problem for most people, because if they don't see it, it's not there.

01:10:54   Yeah, it's right. Out of sight, out of mind is true, and people's attention is very scarce.

01:10:59   They have a lot of things they can do, and once you start routinely forgetting about something

01:11:03   and not being reminded about it, then it's an issue. Now, you know, I understand, so I should

01:11:08   point out, like this, I don't want to sound like I'm bitching and moaning about like, "Oh, people

01:11:11   aren't subscribing to my publication, cry for me. It's more like I know we're doing good work. I

01:11:16   know I write for The Economist, I write for other publications, the people contributing are doing

01:11:20   good, or you know, write for other publications that people think of as having a high degree of

01:11:25   quality. I know what we're doing is good work and it's always frustrating when you're doing good

01:11:29   work and you feel like you can't get an audience. That is a marketing issue that is separate and

01:11:33   that's my own problem, right? But when I feel like the people who, so there's a difference

01:11:39   who I can't find and don't care about the magazine or unsubscribe because they've lost interest in the content.

01:11:44   That is one category, right? The category that I'm having a problem with is the people who actually like the magazine, tell me they like it, and they're emailing me to say, "You know, I'm unsubscribing because I forget it exists because in Iowa 7."

01:11:57   Isn't that a frustrating problem? So, bottom line, let's just spell it out. Bottom line, if you could flip a switch and turn the magazine from a newsstand app to a non-newsstand app, you would flip that switch.

01:12:08   Totally totally and that's the thing and I don't think a lot of people know this

01:12:12   You can't and I'll make that's not to say you forever and ever you won't be able to but as it stands today

01:12:17   You can't there is no thing you can go to in iTunes connect and say take that

01:12:23   You know my app the magazine which is now a new stand app and make it a regular app even though

01:12:29   All the things that you get from new stand you could do

01:12:34   You know like background downloads and stuff like yeah

01:12:37   There's there's a little bit of recoding us sorry because there's a couple things that are used in the newsstand as I recollect that you have

01:12:42   To you and clean the background download. There's a different method which I think I can use now to Marco

01:12:47   I was just blogging about this. I mean Marco said the same thing

01:12:49   He wrote a blog post at Marco org and said if I was doing it today

01:12:52   I wouldn't put it in the newsstand and he's and he's right

01:12:55   I don't fault him for it because it made perfect sense at the time of course and it got a lot of attention

01:13:00   being in the newsstand, but Marco Karpinen,

01:13:03   he wrote in his entry too, he's like,

01:13:05   "They are a platform," his firm,

01:13:07   "and they are not recommending using the newsstand."

01:13:09   And I believe that I could actually reformulate the app,

01:13:13   resubmit it, but I would lose 100% of the subscribers.

01:13:17   Apple does not let you transfer the subscribers.

01:13:20   So, I mean, the ideal case for me is that

01:13:22   they would let users choose, not enforce this on users,

01:13:26   They would let users choose to break open the newsstand

01:13:31   and say either don't use the newsstand,

01:13:35   put all the apps on my home screens

01:13:37   or let me drag stuff out of the newsstand

01:13:39   but still give me the ability to change covers.

01:13:41   That's the ideal thing is give me the,

01:13:44   I mean, Apple wanted to give publishers and users

01:13:47   that sense of timeliness, that this is something new,

01:13:50   the cover changes, that was part of the design

01:13:53   and it's part of the one that I think

01:13:54   a really appealing part of the design,

01:13:56   even though, outside of me and The Loop

01:13:58   and a few other people, a lot of publishers

01:14:00   just take their newsstand subscription,

01:14:01   again because of this digital replica issue,

01:14:04   and they slap it on there with type

01:14:06   that's in negative one point size.

01:14:07   So that's a very appealing thing,

01:14:10   being able to show a new color.

01:14:12   - But think about this.

01:14:13   I think even the name newsstand itself

01:14:17   shows that the metaphor's a bit broken, right?

01:14:19   So newsstand is where you go to--

01:14:21   - It's skeuomorphic.

01:14:22   - Right, but no, but think about it.

01:14:23   what is the newsstand?

01:14:24   The newsstand is where you go and choose

01:14:27   from a whole bunch of things.

01:14:29   And most of the stuff on the newsstand

01:14:30   is stuff that you've never read.

01:14:33   When you go to a real life newsstand,

01:14:34   how many of the magazines are ones

01:14:36   that you've never even looked at a copy of?

01:14:39   Most of them, right?

01:14:40   And there's everything from celebrity gossip,

01:14:43   to sports, to world affairs.

01:14:46   A newsstand is something like the store, right?

01:14:52   The newsstand metaphor should be something in iTunes, where you go to pick a magazine

01:15:00   to read, not a place where your magazines, the ones that you've chosen to subscribe

01:15:06   to show up.

01:15:08   In the real world, when you subscribe to two magazines and a daily newspaper, you don't

01:15:13   go to the newsstand to get them.

01:15:15   They come to your house.

01:15:17   They're right there.

01:15:19   The magazine is stuffed right through the mail slot in your door.

01:15:21   It should be called "The Latest" or "News" or "My Subscriptions" or something like that.

01:15:27   You're right, the terminology is exactly that.

01:15:29   Right.

01:15:29   I will say the most fascinating thing about the newsstand when you go to the iTunes to see what they're listing there is apparently there's a lot of market for scantily clad tattooed women in tattoo magazines.

01:15:41   I had no idea.

01:15:42   The number, the sheer quantity of different titles in that market that show up among the top grossing newsstand titles is fascinating.

01:15:50   I guess it's like buying romance novels. Like, guys wanna buy tattoo mags because now they're

01:15:55   hidden away. The other advantage though is they don't show up on your screen. So if you're trying

01:15:58   to buy magazines you're embarrassed about now, they show up in the newsstand and the cover is

01:16:02   hidden. So that's the little brown cover for the newsstand.

01:16:05   AC/BS But I just think that in some ways the metaphor, you really just think about it. When

01:16:11   you subscribe to a magazine, a real paper magazine, they do the most convenient thing that they can

01:16:18   possibly think to do, which is we will just mail it to you.

01:16:23   We'll just put it in the mail, and it will show up,

01:16:25   a US postal carrier will literally put it through a slot

01:16:30   in the door of your house, and it'll just be there for you.

01:16:33   And newspapers do something just ever so slightly

01:16:36   less convenient, but you tell a newspaper,

01:16:38   here, take my money and give me a copy

01:16:41   of your paper newspaper every day.

01:16:43   They say, okay, we'll take it from here,

01:16:45   and every day, right outside your front door

01:16:48   in the morning, there will be, there it'll be.

01:16:50   Just walk right out your front door

01:16:52   and there's your newspaper.

01:16:53   - It's on your front porch, which is your home screen,

01:16:56   right, is that your metaphor?

01:16:57   - Right, well they're just making it

01:16:58   the most convenient thing possible.

01:17:00   And it's, they're not bothering you.

01:17:03   These are people, you know, this is what you've asked for.

01:17:05   This is only after you've given them money

01:17:07   and said, do this, drop this off every day.

01:17:09   Obviously, if you didn't want the newspaper

01:17:11   and if you, you know, like I live in an urban area

01:17:14   and there's local newspapers that, you know,

01:17:16   that'll stuff your front door with newspapers you didn't ask for. But that's a different

01:17:22   case. I'm saying with these subscriptions through the iTunes store, they should make

01:17:25   it as convenient as possible, which to me is exactly what you said. Let it – you can

01:17:30   put it right on your home screen or even on your dock, the icons that you see no matter

01:17:35   which home screen you're on.

01:17:36   And I really think that that just wasn't thought through and that the name itself,

01:17:41   really shows just how poorly thought through the metaphor is.

01:17:46   - It's, yeah, I mean, it made sense at the time though.

01:17:50   It's like every time Apple, 'cause it was a browsing thing.

01:17:52   When it started, it wasn't,

01:17:54   it wasn't here's the stuff you wanna read.

01:17:56   It was like, here's your portal

01:17:58   to the App Store listing of publications,

01:18:01   and then stuff will show up here.

01:18:03   And now it's, you know, now it's something else.

01:18:06   This ties back to my contention based on the looking

01:18:10   looking at where I know where I am,

01:18:11   'cause I know my numbers

01:18:12   and I can look at the top grossing lists in iTunes

01:18:16   for the iPhone and iPad and I can see where I sit

01:18:18   and I can look at those numbers

01:18:20   from the audited digital replica versions

01:18:23   that people are only subscribing to the digital version.

01:18:25   And I can say, as we were talking about earlier,

01:18:27   that people are subscribing through a website

01:18:29   or the print subscribers can get web stuff for free,

01:18:32   typically, and that's not counted

01:18:34   in the digital only subscriptions and the audited returns.

01:18:37   But I can see people are probably

01:18:38   subscribing through the website.

01:18:39   The Economist is probably not selling

01:18:41   most of its subscriptions through Newsstand.

01:18:43   They're selling them mostly through economist.com

01:18:45   and people have multimodal access and Android and whatever.

01:18:48   So I guess what that says to me is that

01:18:51   Apple didn't provide maybe a compelling enough front end

01:18:55   and as they've lost interest in it,

01:18:56   they've backed off more and more because Apple,

01:18:59   I always say this, you know, Apple eats its babies

01:19:01   and you may find that abhorrent

01:19:03   or you may find it wonderful.

01:19:04   It works out really well

01:19:05   if it's something you don't care about

01:19:06   and they focus their attention more on stuff that works.

01:19:09   it can be irritating if it's something that you like

01:19:12   and you're like, oh, why haven't you made iPhoto

01:19:15   actually good after this many years?

01:19:17   Like why have you lost interest in that Apple

01:19:20   and they don't make money off it

01:19:21   or it's not important to their core direction anymore.

01:19:23   Newsstand, in Iowa 7 showed to me that it's,

01:19:27   for the moment, they're pushing it off to the side,

01:19:30   they're not getting rid of it because what most publishers

01:19:31   are doing is they're making free apps

01:19:33   and the money for that app is coming

01:19:35   from outside Apple's system.

01:19:36   So Apple gets no benefit except in the desirability

01:19:40   of their platform for people downloading

01:19:43   and using the New York Times or New Yorker

01:19:46   or People or whatever app there is.

01:19:48   Those apps do not generate any return.

01:19:51   I mean, this one's a no return,

01:19:52   but those do not generate a substantial return for Apple,

01:19:55   probably in the way they conceived of it.

01:19:57   - Not enough to garner their attention.

01:19:59   - Yeah, it's an adjunct.

01:20:00   The apps are an adjunct to the entire magazine presence

01:20:03   for a magazine as opposed to the newsstand

01:20:06   the central point through which people then maybe go out and read on the web too, but

01:20:10   they come in through that way. And you know, that's life. So I'm not, you know, I hate to sound like

01:20:15   I'm bitching about like, like I'm not whining that Apple's lost focus on this. I'm more like, well,

01:20:19   damn, this, I thought it kind of worked okay. And it's not. So I mean, this is part of why I'm going

01:20:25   into all these different directions too. I've got a lot of different things going on.

01:20:27   Because—

01:20:27   But it's also true too that you're not asking a lot of Apple, right? Now, so that, that vague

01:20:33   idea that I talked about back in 2010 when a lot of people in newspapers and magazines

01:20:40   kind of had this vague notion that Apple is going to unveil some sort of boil the ocean

01:20:44   save the publishing industry thing was sort of thinking you know Apple is going to do

01:20:49   a lot of work and come up with something you know ingenious that's going to you know pump

01:20:54   infusal you know re-infuse money into this industry. That's hoping that Apple does a

01:20:59   lot. What we're talking about here is just a relatively minor

01:21:05   amount of attention to what's going on in newsstand. Whether it would be putting

01:21:10   the work in to allow a newsstand app to go non newsstand and keep it

01:21:16   subscribers or something like a setting in iOS that would allow a user to say

01:21:24   you know, use Newsstand for Newsstand apps. And then you talk, you know, on/off. And if you turn

01:21:31   it off, then it would say, you know, a little explanatory text, "Newsstand apps will appear

01:21:36   at the root level of your home screen." Pete: Exactly. And this is, you know,

01:21:39   I hear from readers, and again, I don't mean to sound, this is like, I'm not extolling what I do.

01:21:45   And you know, it's funny because I always feel like the magazine is something I inherited,

01:21:48   like Marco was my rich old uncle, and you know, I mean, this is a cash deal, right? We know this

01:21:52   is a buyout and so forth, but I didn't make the app and I love the app. And so when I

01:21:56   talked about it with great affection, I'm talking about Marco's work and I sort of forget

01:22:00   I own it sometimes. I don't think of myself as an app developer. But I do hear from, I

01:22:05   hear from readers regularly who say, you know, I don't really buy into the newsstand. The

01:22:08   only periodical app that I have that I really use is the magazine. I don't want the newsstand

01:22:12   icon. Can I just drag it out? And I'm like, well, if you crack it, you can. So it's, and

01:22:17   I hear, but I also hear that I'll see people talking on Twitter about, God damn it, I only

01:22:21   use the New York Times, I only use whatever. Why can't I just have that? And so the option

01:22:26   is now either hide your entire newsstand folder in a subfolder, which then you have to nest

01:22:32   into to bring up or double tap to double press to find it if you used it recently. Or, you

01:22:38   know, I figured out this workaround, this stupid workaround, I have a redirect. So you

01:22:42   can go to a web page at my site, I put it in the FAQ even, you bookmark the web page,

01:22:46   It's got an icon that you can make as a web app

01:22:49   on your home screen.

01:22:51   So you mark it as a bookmark on your home screen,

01:22:53   and then when you tap it, it loads the webpage,

01:22:55   does the redirect to the app, and it launches the app.

01:22:57   It's stupid, but it works.

01:22:58   It gives you an icon on your screen

01:23:00   that when you tap it, it launches the app.

01:23:02   And a number of people are like, oh, thanks for doing that.

01:23:03   But you know, it's like 75 people did that or something,

01:23:06   but I wanted to let people do it.

01:23:08   But it's that, at some level, it's that easy.

01:23:10   I realize in Apple's infrastructure,

01:23:12   allowing us to, as a new stand apps to come out

01:23:17   and like be a regular app.

01:23:19   And even if they disabled the cover change feature,

01:23:21   maybe that's not an option.

01:23:22   Like I'm sure there's some ugly plumbing there.

01:23:24   - They would definitely make the apps, if they did that,

01:23:29   whether you'd get to change it every issue or not,

01:23:31   I don't know, but you'd have to conform to that shape,

01:23:33   that round square shape.

01:23:35   - Yeah, something would be, yeah, exactly.

01:23:37   Something would be different 'cause they wouldn't,

01:23:38   Johnny Ives is not gonna allow that on the screen,

01:23:41   like a bunch of different shapes.

01:23:42   not after all the changes they made.

01:23:44   So I completely appreciate and understand that.

01:23:48   And it's not like Apple's trying to do anything to anybody,

01:23:52   me or the New York Times.

01:23:54   It's more like they didn't crack this nut.

01:23:57   And they're so good at cracking a lot of nuts.

01:23:58   And this one, they didn't crack.

01:24:00   And so they've kind of put it aside

01:24:02   and maybe they'll come back to it later

01:24:04   in the seventh cycle.

01:24:05   - Another thing that's occurred to me in this, again,

01:24:07   is not asking a lot of Apple would be,

01:24:09   perhaps the best idea would be just abandon the newsstand.

01:24:12   Just do an iOS 7.2, or I don't know,

01:24:17   we're already in,

01:24:20   - Yeah, it could be works.

01:24:22   - We're already in December, so maybe it's an iOS 8 thing.

01:24:24   But just get rid of it, and that's an Apple-like thing to do

01:24:27   don't even announce it, when they get rid of things,

01:24:30   they don't talk about it because it's sort of tacitly

01:24:32   acknowledging a mistake, just get rid of it,

01:24:35   and when you upgrade to iOS 7.2 or to iOS 8,

01:24:39   your newsstand apps are just on your home screen.

01:24:41   - Yeah, well, I'll tell you the other thing

01:24:42   that's interesting, of course--

01:24:43   - Or if you're an existing user,

01:24:44   or if you're an existing user,

01:24:46   newsstand just becomes a normal folder.

01:24:49   If you've got an existing installation

01:24:51   and then you can open it up and drag them out

01:24:53   and drag them back in.

01:24:54   So that it's still organized the way it was

01:24:56   before you upgraded, so there's no disorientation

01:24:58   of where is what happened to my icon.

01:25:01   But just turn it, just turn newsstand into a normal folder.

01:25:04   - Yeah, I mean, newsstand is the other thing

01:25:05   which drives people nuts, which is you can't tap on it

01:25:08   to get it to zoom out like you can with any folder.

01:25:11   So you, when you're in Newsstand,

01:25:14   even if you get there by a circuitous route,

01:25:17   like you exit, you know, you tap while you're in

01:25:19   a Newsstand app, you can't tap on the background

01:25:22   and exit the folder and go back up a level,

01:25:23   which I've seen so many people tweet about how,

01:25:26   it breaks the metaphor.

01:25:28   But okay, so here's the thing that Newsstand

01:25:30   has taught me though, or I should say

01:25:31   running a subscription publication has taught me

01:25:33   that's separate from Newsstand, but sort of tied in is,

01:25:37   It's very interesting after having spent

01:25:40   like the last 10 years on sort of writing with blogs

01:25:44   or daily sites or sites that update all the time,

01:25:48   having a cycle like this and dealing with subscribers

01:25:52   who get fatigued.

01:25:54   Like I know people get tired of reading a given site,

01:25:56   but it's fascinating to get email from

01:25:58   and talk to people who say they kind of ran out of steam.

01:26:00   And even when they say, I really like what you're publishing

01:26:04   I just don't have the time to keep up with it.

01:26:05   I'm like, we're doing five articles that are 1500

01:26:09   or 2500 words every two weeks.

01:26:11   And I'm like, really?

01:26:12   Like, and I'm a bad example

01:26:13   because I have very little time to read

01:26:15   now that I'm an editor.

01:26:16   I'm spending all my time editing, working with writers.

01:26:18   But there's definitely reader fatigue you get.

01:26:21   And that's kind of where the one-two punch is that

01:26:25   Apple sort of de-emphasizing Newsstand

01:26:27   makes it a little bit harder to keep existing subscribers,

01:26:31   makes it a little bit harder to get new ones

01:26:34   to deal with the churn.

01:26:35   'cause there's always gonna be churn.

01:26:36   And so it makes the equation a little bit more difficult

01:26:39   for me, especially as an independent publisher,

01:26:41   because I don't have a website

01:26:43   that people are used to going to,

01:26:44   even though you can go to the-magazine.org

01:26:47   and you can get a subscription there,

01:26:48   you can read all the articles there.

01:26:49   It's a full website, has been for nine months

01:26:53   and people mostly don't realize that,

01:26:54   which is fascinating to me.

01:26:55   But we don't have like a website

01:26:57   that people are used to going to

01:26:58   and this is the iOS adjunct or alternative,

01:27:02   where for every other publication just about,

01:27:04   They have a website which is where the traffic's at

01:27:07   and this is an upgrade from the mobile version

01:27:09   of their site.

01:27:10   The app is a better thing to read in.

01:27:11   So that's been an interesting thing to wrestle with too.

01:27:14   And I mean that's why I launched the Kickstarter

01:27:15   is we're doing a book because I need a different modality.

01:27:19   I can't have everything be resting on subscriptions

01:27:21   because subscriptions, especially 95% of it

01:27:24   being an Apple site, I have probably 5% of subscribers

01:27:27   coming from the web.

01:27:29   So I need to rejigger things so that all the revenue

01:27:32   and in one pot to make the engine go.

01:27:35   - I was working towards the Kickstarter.

01:27:37   I wasn't gonna let it slip.

01:27:38   - Oh, I know, no, but it's funny.

01:27:39   - You've always, you've wanted a Kickstarter.

01:27:42   You had a, what was your Kickstarter before?

01:27:44   You had a Kickstarter that didn't get off the ground.

01:27:47   - I had an ontological Kickstarter.

01:27:49   It was a Kickstarter campaign to write a book

01:27:53   about how to run a Kickstarter campaign.

01:27:55   - Right.

01:27:57   - And the special irony is it didn't fund.

01:27:58   But what happened is I kinda did everything wrong.

01:28:01   I thought I'd studied Kickstarter enough. I'd been writing about it for a couple years.

01:28:04   It's a good thing then, because then your book would have been wrong.

01:28:08   Oh, that's right. Yeah, if I'd funded it, I don't know what I would have said in the book. But

01:28:13   everything good that I'm doing in my life came out of its failure, which is, you know, that's my

01:28:16   lemonade stand, is like lemons of a veil thing. It's like 10 days into the Kickstarter, I'm like,

01:28:21   "Oh, I did this all wrong. People gave me advice. I should have asked more ahead of time." It had

01:28:25   funded about 10%, and I'm like, "It's not gonna fund." So, I just canceled it instead of having

01:28:29   the ignominy of hitting the end and not reaching the goal and launched the new Disruptors and went

01:28:34   to the XOXO Festival in September 2012, launched the podcast in December of last year, joined Marco

01:28:41   at the magazine in October of last year and feel like I now, I haven't learned all the secrets,

01:28:48   but now I really have a better sense of what makes sense to crowdfund, I think. And I think this will

01:28:55   be successful. Like we're almost halfway there. - Here's the deal. It's called The

01:28:59   The magazine, the book, which of course is the obvious title.

01:29:03   - How did that? - How did it not be?

01:29:04   So, and in parentheses, year one.

01:29:06   So it's the, pretty much it's the best

01:29:08   of the first year of the magazine.

01:29:10   And you want to do it both as a print and ebook collection.

01:29:15   - Yeah, that was the thing is I thought it didn't,

01:29:17   you know, it could do an ebook very easily, right?

01:29:19   That doesn't take a lot of time and effort.

01:29:21   And it wouldn't actually, it could be well-designed,

01:29:24   but you wouldn't get the full benefit

01:29:25   because I'd be thinking mostly about people

01:29:28   reading an EPUB, say, or Moby on a Kindle.

01:29:30   So it'd be relatively simplified.

01:29:32   So I thought, you know, we should put a stick in the sand.

01:29:34   Like we're electronic periodical.

01:29:37   Why don't we do a hardcover book

01:29:38   that's designed like a magazine?

01:29:40   So we have the magazine style of design

01:29:44   that we don't even do in the app

01:29:45   because the app is meant for simple reading.

01:29:47   We're gonna take advantage of the print medium

01:29:49   and then we'll produce a PDF, an EPUB,

01:29:50   and a Moby version of it as well, all without DRM.

01:29:54   None of that goddamn DRM.

01:29:55   You can read it wherever you want to.

01:29:58   Put it on every device you own, every computer.

01:30:01   But yeah, I want to do a hardcover book

01:30:03   so that it'd be something special.

01:30:04   And there'd be a reason people would be motivated

01:30:07   to be part of the Kickstarter,

01:30:08   'cause there was a reason for it.

01:30:09   It wasn't like, hey, I can't afford to make an ebook.

01:30:12   It's like printing costs a lot of money.

01:30:13   So I need to pull together people to make it happen.

01:30:17   - When did you announce this?

01:30:18   It was recent?

01:30:21   - Yeah, it was just before Thanksgiving.

01:30:22   The timing's a little off.

01:30:23   - I was hoping to do it early to be done before Thanksgiving

01:30:26   and then everything always takes longer.

01:30:27   - Oh, I know that.

01:30:28   - You know this feeling.

01:30:29   So I went again this year.

01:30:30   So it launched on, I don't remember the exact date,

01:30:34   I don't know what date it was.

01:30:35   It was two, it was a couple weeks ago.

01:30:37   It was on November 21st, I think.

01:30:41   The same day that I put out issue number 30 of the magazine.

01:30:44   So we're past a year in the magazine.

01:30:46   - We got a $48,000 goal.

01:30:48   - Yeah.

01:30:49   - Right now, as we record, it is at 22,555.

01:30:53   just a hair under 50%. But it was a big push at first, and I thought, just watching it,

01:30:59   like the first 24 hours, I thought it was going gangbusters. I still think you're gonna make it.

01:31:03   I think I am. The odds are good. The thing that's interesting, and so some Kickstarters,

01:31:07   there's like three typical Kickstarter profiles, like graphs. One is the, "Oh my god," and it goes

01:31:13   like, like a straight line up until the end. And that's like--

01:31:16   - Somebody asked for $100,000 to make a,

01:31:20   like the watch to turn your iPod,

01:31:24   your little square nano into a watch

01:31:25   and they ask for 100 grand and within three days,

01:31:28   they have 2 million.

01:31:29   - Yeah, and those build on themselves

01:31:31   because there's something appealing,

01:31:32   it's usually consumer products,

01:31:34   something super appealing about it,

01:31:35   or it's like a Veronica Mars where there's an enormous,

01:31:38   they have an audience of tens of millions of people

01:31:40   and a tiny fraction of that audience

01:31:42   is constantly discovering it and spreading it and coming on.

01:31:45   So you have this kind of straight line up,

01:31:47   or maybe it curves up and then tapers off

01:31:49   to like a straight line up.

01:31:50   So that's one kind.

01:31:51   One is this, one is like the,

01:31:54   does kind of badly, badly, badly,

01:31:55   and then suddenly they pull it off

01:31:57   and it goes boom to the top near the end.

01:31:58   They get a whole bunch of people.

01:31:59   Mine is the, apparently,

01:32:01   and I've heard this now since it launched,

01:32:03   I've seen it before, is actually much more typical,

01:32:05   is really huge first day or two,

01:32:07   then you have a nice gentle climb as you go along,

01:32:10   you cross 50% and then a nice huge spike at the end

01:32:14   the last couple days. And that's what, and so the statistics—

01:32:18   Jared: That third one is that this is why daddy drinks curve.

01:32:21   [Laughter]

01:32:21   Pete: Exactly. I know, that's, and you're like, so in my case, 48 grand, we raised $16,000 in 24

01:32:27   hours. Boom! And at 24 hours, it immediately tapered off because people saw like, oh, it's

01:32:32   gonna happen. We hit 33%, they're fine. I mean, literally, at that moment, 24 hours, it went to

01:32:37   that slower taper. And then so, in, you know, in the first day, it was 16 grand, the next 10 days,

01:32:42   or next 14 days, I'm sorry, has been,

01:32:45   or 13 days has been about six or $7,000,

01:32:48   which is much slower.

01:32:50   I have so many people are like,

01:32:51   "Oh, I'm gonna come in, just remind me before it's over."

01:32:53   I'm like, "All right, all right."

01:32:54   - You had a stat, you tweeted the other day

01:32:56   that was something like, it was like the percentage,

01:32:59   once you hit 50%, your odds are pretty good.

01:33:02   It was like 90% or something?

01:33:03   - Yeah, people have done this great crunching

01:33:05   and there's these charts you can look at

01:33:06   like for different projects of different values.

01:33:09   So for zero to $50,000 is one range

01:33:12   or whatever.

01:33:13   So you can look at this thing and you can say,

01:33:14   "Okay, where am I at?"

01:33:16   And once you hit, the sweet spot is,

01:33:20   once you've got half of your goal,

01:33:22   so for me that's $24,000 to $48,000,

01:33:25   and you're a $50,000 less project,

01:33:27   statistically once you reach half the goal,

01:33:30   you are 97% likely, or 97% of projects

01:33:33   that reach half the goal go on to at least fund 100%,

01:33:37   if not more.

01:33:38   So that's a great stat.

01:33:40   The thing about Kickstarter that's fascinating

01:33:41   is it's a 56% failure.

01:33:46   56% of projects do not fund.

01:33:49   But of those 56%, about a third get no pledges at all.

01:33:54   Somebody posts it and they do not tell anyone about it,

01:33:57   no one even does it.

01:33:58   Another third of the failed ones

01:34:00   get like less than 20% of the funding.

01:34:02   So there's this very narrow band

01:34:03   where people get between 20 to 50% of the funding

01:34:06   and they can't get all the way there.

01:34:08   But once you hit that sort of magic middle point,

01:34:10   it shows enough momentum that it's just a question

01:34:14   of time and that curve.

01:34:15   Most Kickstarter projects, the average project

01:34:17   when you take out the outliers like Pebble or Glyph

01:34:20   or the ones that super fund, Elevation Doc,

01:34:23   most fund at about 105% to 110% of the goal

01:34:28   because people come and they meet it

01:34:29   and they meet it at the end.

01:34:30   They're like, "Oh, they need, I'll raise my pledge

01:34:32   $10 to make it happen," or whatever.

01:34:35   So it's a, I don't wanna say it's a finely tuned art,

01:34:37   but I'm feeling happy about it.

01:34:39   you know, so I should come back. The reason I did it though is like, I like the stories we tell,

01:34:43   right? This is the whole thing. Like it's, this isn't a money-making endeavor in the sense that-

01:34:46   I was about to say, cause you kind of, I was going to come back to that. You kind of hinted at that

01:34:50   a few minutes ago where you somehow, you know, were bringing it up as a money-making event.

01:34:54   I was going to, I was going to tell you, you know, that's not that it's a bad idea to do this.

01:34:58   I think it's a great idea. I think looking at it as a money-making idea is not a good idea.

01:35:03   Oh yeah. No, I mean the diversification of the magazine from being only a subscription-based

01:35:07   periodical to being something that produces content in lots of different ways. That's

01:35:12   the money making idea. That's the I need revenue. I want newsstand now is 95, 92% of the revenue

01:35:18   that comes in is directly from Apple with their 30% cut. And I'd like that to be 25

01:35:23   to 30% in a year.

01:35:24   All right. Can I just put on my consulting ad here?

01:35:27   Yeah, absolutely.

01:35:28   For free. I'm not going to charge you any more.

01:35:30   Oh, good. Excellent. Excellent.

01:35:31   All right. But I am going to tell you how to make more money from the magazine.

01:35:34   Oh, good. Excellent. I want to hear this.

01:35:36   What you do is you sell one sponsorship slot per issue.

01:35:41   And there's a nice one full page ad

01:35:45   from that issue's sponsor.

01:35:48   Boom, there you go.

01:35:49   That would have cost like $50,000 in consulting fees

01:35:54   if you had to come on my show.

01:35:56   - I appreciate that.

01:35:57   - Have you, I mean, surely you've thought

01:35:59   about putting advertising in the magazine.

01:36:02   - Yeah, I don't have an objection.

01:36:04   - So I guess I have a structural objection

01:36:06   as opposed to say an ethical one.

01:36:08   So there's a mission thing,

01:36:09   which is that it's been sold as something that has no ads.

01:36:11   And so if it changes-

01:36:13   - Has it though?

01:36:14   Is that really true?

01:36:15   - It has, oh yeah, from day one,

01:36:16   Marcos pushed that out, I pushed that out as the idea

01:36:18   is there's no cruft and there's no ads.

01:36:21   - Well, I don't know.

01:36:22   I think you could renege on that.

01:36:24   - Well, no, I absolutely could,

01:36:25   but it takes, there's a threshold to overcome

01:36:27   to say like, okay, we said that

01:36:29   and now we're doing this other thing, all you subscribers.

01:36:31   So I'm not conscientiously opposed to advertising if it works, and especially that kind of model.

01:36:37   The sponsorship model, like this is why I like the podcasting model, is that yes, you

01:36:42   have ads on a podcast, but it's much more in the mode of this cooperative thing.

01:36:47   It doesn't feel like advertising the same way that horrible flashy banner ads feel like.

01:36:50   Right?

01:36:51   And I really think that the listening experience bears that out, where when you listen to terrestrial

01:36:57   radio, even on FM, it does seem to me like there's too many ad breaks.

01:37:03   And when you listen to AM radio, if you ever listen to like, just, you know, like just

01:37:06   for shits and giggles, like listen to the Rush Limbaugh show, there are so many ad breaks,

01:37:11   it is ridiculous.

01:37:13   The only show that I know of that doesn't have that problem is the Howard Stern show,

01:37:17   which does far fewer breaks, but does really long breaks, like where they put all the ads

01:37:22   into one stretch in the hour.

01:37:26   and people listen to podcast ads

01:37:28   because they don't feel like ads.

01:37:30   And so I could see doing, I love how that works

01:37:33   and people respond to it.

01:37:35   So having a sponsor for the magazine

01:37:37   where it's like one quality thing,

01:37:39   it's like this is a roadblock

01:37:40   and so-and-so is sponsoring this issue.

01:37:42   Here's an advertisement and we're gonna send you one email

01:37:45   or God knows what we're gonna do.

01:37:46   That doesn't seem antithetical.

01:37:48   The problem I have structurally though

01:37:49   is that subscribers are worth a ton of money

01:37:52   as a subscriber in advertising,

01:37:54   typically to reach the audience of the scale that I have,

01:37:58   there's not enough money in the ad side

01:38:00   to make that worthwhile.

01:38:01   - See, I think the problem is convincing advertisers

01:38:05   that it's not like buying an ad in another magazine.

01:38:09   - Well, that's exactly it.

01:38:10   Well, I did the math.

01:38:11   If you go to, I put this up at my website,

01:38:14   it's glog.glennf.com.

01:38:16   I did the math a few weeks ago

01:38:18   'cause people kept asking me about why I don't have ads

01:38:21   in the magazine.

01:38:22   I said, if it was the conventional model,

01:38:24   I would probably need as many as 20 million page views

01:38:26   a month to equal--

01:38:28   - No, I'm not saying your math is wrong.

01:38:29   I'm saying, nope, that's not--

01:38:31   - But I mean, that's right.

01:38:32   Oh yeah, exactly.

01:38:33   I've got like, we've done a lot of articles.

01:38:35   We have 150 articles.

01:38:36   I'm not gonna get, there's no universe

01:38:37   in which I can do that, right, to get 20 million.

01:38:40   So right, so with the current rates that are paid,

01:38:43   with the yield, with selling inventory,

01:38:45   and that doesn't even include,

01:38:46   you know, includes commissions to ad people,

01:38:48   but that doesn't include me having an ad staff.

01:38:49   I have to outsource it.

01:38:51   So I need 20 million page reviews, let's say roughly,

01:38:53   to reach what I'm getting from subscribers paying.

01:38:56   That's really hard, but one sponsor who is a supplement

01:39:00   to who makes the thing possible,

01:39:02   that's the extra revenue necessary to make the thing grow

01:39:04   or whatever, that's a different equation.

01:39:06   Someone might be willing to pay a sizable amount of money

01:39:09   to be exclusive and to reach them people in a tasteful way.

01:39:12   And that's again, the podcast model,

01:39:14   that's why it's valuable here

01:39:15   and it could be valuable there.

01:39:16   - But let me do my third sponsor.

01:39:19   And it's again, an old friend of the show,

01:39:23   long time sponsor and event apart. An event apart is an intensely educational two day

01:39:30   learning session, a great conference for people who make websites. And instead of being like

01:39:38   a once a year thing where you have to put on your schedule, book travel and stuff like

01:39:42   that, they effectively come to you. They've got events next year in 2014 around North

01:39:49   America there in San Francisco that's this month Atlanta Seattle Boston San

01:39:56   Diego Washington DC and I think that's just like the first half of the year you

01:40:05   know almost a monthly event go to their website find an event near you and you

01:40:11   will not be disappointed now an event apart was founded by Eric Meyer who I

01:40:17   I think easily you could say knows more about CSS than anybody walking the face of the earth.

01:40:22   And Jeffrey Zeldman, longtime friend of the show and one of the great proponents

01:40:29   of web standards and the whole thing is dedicated to the proposition that the creators

01:40:34   of great web experiences deserve a great learning experience.

01:40:38   These guys have one of the best speaker lineups of any conference I've ever seen.

01:40:42   If you build websites and you've not been to an event apart, you're really missing out.

01:40:48   If you have been to an event apart, you don't even have to listen to me because you know

01:40:51   how good it was and I'm sure you want to go back.

01:40:53   I've said it before too, they even have great swag, even just the stuff they give you, the

01:40:58   bad name badges.

01:41:01   Last time I was at one, they got a custom version of Field Notes, just a great conference.

01:41:07   Where do you go to find out more?

01:41:09   Go to aneventapart.com/talkshow.

01:41:15   Know the, just /talkshow.

01:41:17   They'll know you came from the show.

01:41:20   I cannot recommend this conference highly enough.

01:41:22   Go there, check the schedule, find one coming near you and you will not be disappointed.

01:41:31   This has been an obsession of mine.

01:41:34   It's not like a side obsession.

01:41:35   I mean, it really is.

01:41:36   I'm I run a business or two businesses if you count the show is a separate thing where it's you know

01:41:42   It's part of that. I mean I make my income I support my family on advertising, right?

01:41:47   But I've been obsessed with it all the way from before what I was doing was successful

01:41:52   you know before I knew whether it could work, but you know, I

01:41:56   I'm obsessed with it and I think it's so interesting

01:41:59   There's that I don't know

01:42:00   I mean who knows if Einstein even came up with it but that that quote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing

01:42:05   over and over again and expecting a different result. And that's the thing that drives me

01:42:09   nuts about the print as print publications move to the web and lose money is they still

01:42:16   keep trying to sell ads in a way that they've shown over and over and over again don't support

01:42:24   the publication. And why keep doing that? And it just seems and maybe I'm underestimating

01:42:33   how long it takes for a new medium to settle into our society, you know, and that to me

01:42:38   the web is this old thing and it's established and it's, you know, clearly here to stay.

01:42:44   Whereas, you know, what is it really? How old is it really? What, like 17 years old,

01:42:50   18 years old? And not in terms of when the first website wound up, but when like Netscape

01:42:54   appeared, you know, 1995, 96. Maybe, you know, TV 16, 17 years after the first TV sets were

01:43:01   sold still didn't know how to do advertising the right way. I don't know. But it's just

01:43:06   as frustrating to me because it's just crazy that they just keep doing it the same way.

01:43:11   And it's eventually you figure out what it is you have to sell. And what did print publications

01:43:16   have to sell? They could sell space on paper, including an entire page at a time.

01:43:21   Daishi They were monopoly. They were the only efficient

01:43:23   way to reach the audience in a locality or national level and advertisers knew that.

01:43:28   But what was the actual format? What they had to sell was space on printed pages, right? And it's

01:43:34   still what they have. What does TV have to sell? They have time, right? They can sell the whole

01:43:39   screen at a time, 30 seconds, you know, the fact that it, you know, we ended up with these 30

01:43:45   second spots instead of, you know, 60 second spots or whatever, it doesn't really matter.

01:43:50   But what they're selling is time, that's the same thing radio had.

01:43:57   And what do they have in the web? And the web, I think, has spent its entire time trying

01:44:03   to replicate the print idea that you're selling space on a page. And it's a disaster, right?

01:44:16   And it's just never made sense to me. Because what can you do in a magazine? I've said this

01:44:20   before. I know I've said this on the show before. But every magazine I read, what's

01:44:26   What's on the front?

01:44:27   A cover.

01:44:28   And what's on the cover is something that's obviously supposed to capture your interest

01:44:30   or intrigue you in some way.

01:44:31   And what's on the back?

01:44:32   What's on the back is a full-page ad.

01:44:35   Right?

01:44:36   Right.

01:44:37   And the better the magazine, the better the ad usually.

01:44:39   Yeah.

01:44:40   Right?

01:44:41   It's usually something from, you know, here's the new issue of The New Yorker just showed

01:44:44   up at my house today.

01:44:45   It's an ad for Breguet.

01:44:46   Breguet?

01:44:47   I don't know how to pronounce it.

01:44:48   It's a watch company?

01:44:49   Yeah.

01:44:50   Exactly.

01:44:51   Swiss watches or Apple or a Ryan fashion thing?

01:44:53   Right.

01:44:54   on the back of the New Yorker I would I I would guess that this is probably like a 10 or

01:44:59   $15,000 watch right?

01:45:02   Yeah, or Cadillac or BMW or something like that?

01:45:05   And what do you get in the first few pages of the magazine you get full page ads two page spreads these valuable things

01:45:11   Is it a is it inconvenient to you as the magazine reader?

01:45:15   No, because you know and a lot of the magazines there are things that I like

01:45:19   I don't I'm not gonna buy that $15,000 rich watch, but I like looking at it

01:45:22   I like to see that no, I like to look at the ad and see what the hell does it

01:45:26   $15,000 wish ones look like

01:45:28   And if I don't if I'm not interested at all in the ad it's a second to flip past it to the next page

01:45:35   The web it just doesn't work like that and all they do

01:45:38   Traditionally is sell these little two inch by three inch or long things and they just booger up

01:45:44   The web page like the back of the magazine right like the last few pages where they'll yeah

01:45:49   "Yeah, we'll take your 50 bucks and put a little ad alongside the article."

01:45:55   There is no thing that's the equivalent of a full-page ad on the web.

01:45:59   So just get over it.

01:46:00   What do you really have?

01:46:01   What are we down to?

01:46:02   The thing that the web and the internet in general has to sell is attention.

01:46:08   And the only way to sort of make that attention, to sell it in a premium way, is to sell less

01:46:14   of it.

01:46:15   - Yes, but it means that you have to be producing something

01:46:18   of such high quality that people have to discriminate.

01:46:20   I mean, it's a socioeconomic thing in part,

01:46:23   is that the New Yorker can sell its ads for a lot of money

01:46:26   because its demographics are so good,

01:46:28   and the advertisers have seen that that watch ad in the back

01:46:32   sells millions of dollars of watches or whatever,

01:46:34   it's selling hundreds of thousands of dollars of watches,

01:46:36   or it's part of an overall high-end branding campaign

01:46:39   that lets the watch be sold for $15,000

01:46:42   because it appears on the back of the New Yorker.

01:46:45   They get the cache of that too.

01:46:47   But it's, I think sites reveal way too much

01:46:51   about themselves.

01:46:52   Like you go to sites, I don't even wanna pinpoint it,

01:46:55   but like sites you would formally think of

01:46:57   as in the real world, they were terrific publications

01:47:00   with integrity and they're running remainder ads

01:47:02   that I know are bringing them in 50 cents or less

01:47:05   per thousand views.

01:47:06   They're running these things at the bottom

01:47:08   that show these terrible, read these other articles

01:47:10   that are spam or they're selling, you know,

01:47:13   some kind of Juju Berry thing or whatever.

01:47:15   And I'm like, where does that get you

01:47:18   that you made that extra, you know,

01:47:20   10th of a cent on that page?

01:47:21   It doesn't get you anywhere.

01:47:22   - I don't know. - That's what it comes to.

01:47:24   - But, so there's one point that I wanna make though,

01:47:26   which is that the Kickstarter,

01:47:28   so I'm actually using the Kickstarter

01:47:30   in what I think is the right way

01:47:32   for someone like me to use a Kickstarter,

01:47:34   which is probably most Kickstarters,

01:47:35   which is the $48,000, it's funny,

01:47:38   I mean, you know, I don't wanna,

01:47:40   I'm not trying to reveal my own salary,

01:47:41   But like the magazine is, it does well and I pay the writers well, but it's not how I make my living.

01:47:45   It's part of it. You know, it's still kind of a startup. It's an experiment and I love it.

01:47:50   But I make my living from a variety of things and I put most of my time in the magazine, but it's not where, you know, where I'm making my living from entirely.

01:47:56   So it's not like this isn't a disclaimer about like pledge 48 grand and I get 40,000 of it.

01:48:02   but I'm really using the Kickstarter the way

01:48:05   that is very useful when you really just need some capital

01:48:08   and you wanna give people a incentive to do it

01:48:12   because they like what you're doing,

01:48:13   but also you're giving them,

01:48:15   the reward is actually the thing you're making

01:48:17   as a result of raising the money.

01:48:18   So the book, you buy a book in the Kickstarter,

01:48:21   you get a book, that's great.

01:48:22   But I had a threshold to hit.

01:48:24   So 48 grand, that was in all my budgeting,

01:48:26   that gets me more copies to print, of course,

01:48:29   than I'm gonna fulfill.

01:48:30   I don't wind up with really any money at the end.

01:48:32   there's a little bit of margin of error.

01:48:33   - You end up with a garage full of books.

01:48:35   - Yeah, exactly.

01:48:36   Well, I've got a printer, so it's great.

01:48:37   So the goal is really, I wanna sell about 1500 books,

01:48:40   roughly, reaches the goal.

01:48:42   And 1500 hardcover books.

01:48:44   And it could be some mix, you know,

01:48:45   a lot of people could buy ebooks

01:48:46   or buy some of the higher level rewards, that's fine.

01:48:48   But roughly 1500 books,

01:48:49   I'm gonna print about 2000 books.

01:48:51   So I don't make really any money.

01:48:53   All the writers get paid again,

01:48:54   they get reprint fees, the designer, the printer,

01:48:56   everybody gets paid.

01:48:57   And I wind up with books, that's the outcome.

01:48:59   And then I have to sell,

01:49:00   I can sell any number of ebooks after it's done

01:49:02   and 100% of the cost has been paid for.

01:49:04   And I can sell, say 500 print books

01:49:07   or even do another run if those sell over the next year.

01:49:09   And that's where it actually benefits the bottom line

01:49:12   is the Kickstarter helps me come up with a capital

01:49:15   that's very high to do this right

01:49:17   and to do something that I think is worth

01:49:19   people's time and attention.

01:49:20   And then my reward for myself personally

01:49:22   is I have more stuff I can sell that's been paid for

01:49:25   in the process of producing this thing for them

01:49:28   as the result.

01:49:29   - That sounds good. - That's my math at least.

01:49:30   - All right, I can't let this close though

01:49:33   without talking about these,

01:49:35   to me, very creepy high-end pledge levels.

01:49:40   Now there's two things here.

01:49:41   You got four of these.

01:49:42   You've got a $5,000 pledge level.

01:49:44   You get a Lex Friedman visit and he comes

01:49:46   and gives you a shave and I don't know,

01:49:51   speaks in front of a group or something.

01:49:53   - He gets into a snuggie with you

01:49:54   and shows you Sutra positions from his book.

01:49:56   - Chris Higgins, same deal, five grand.

01:49:59   He'll visit you anywhere in continental US and again with the continental US

01:50:02   What you know if I if somebody lived in Hawaii, I know that it's a you know more of a flight

01:50:08   But hey Hawaii is beautiful. It's true. I can see I can negotiate I can see an escape, you know clause for Alaska

01:50:15   We can negotiate we can negotiate people want to if you want to send to Hawaii. They should talk to me

01:50:20   So Chris Higgins, this is a frequent contributor to the magazine just like Lex Hill Hill come

01:50:25   and

01:50:27   And then there's a Jason Snell visit, but the Jason Snell visit is 5001.

01:50:34   This is a grudge visit.

01:50:36   This is a grudge visit.

01:50:37   So I launched the Kickstarter and Lex and Chris were up there and Jason's like, "Why am I not there?"

01:50:42   I'm like, "Well, you know, it's sort of fun."

01:50:44   And, you know, I thought it'd be people react very strongly to Lex and Chris's pieces and they've done a ton.

01:50:51   They're the two biggest contributors, of course, to the history of the magazine.

01:50:53   So I thought it'd be fun.

01:50:54   And I asked them and they were game to do it.

01:50:56   If somebody wants them to come, it's fun. They'll come and give a talk.

01:50:58   They'll buy the people dinner.

01:51:00   Yeah, but what's with the 5,001?

01:51:02   So Jason's like, I'll do it. I'm like, Oh, that's great. You know,

01:51:05   what are you doing? He's like, I'll come, we'll tape it.

01:51:06   He said, I'll come and we'll buy people dinner and I'll tape it and comparable

01:51:10   with them. Like that's great. And he said,

01:51:11   but I have to be a dollar more than Lex and I said, done.

01:51:14   All right. And then here's the other thing. Then you are, you can,

01:51:18   people could buy a visit from you and yours is $8,000.

01:51:23   Now, how can you charge more than these guys

01:51:26   who you've doing this nice thing for you?

01:51:29   - I have this dear friend, a dear friend

01:51:31   who's given me great advice about the structural things

01:51:36   to do with promoting stuff.

01:51:37   And she said, "You can't, you're the editor.

01:51:41   You cannot list yourself as $5,000.

01:51:44   These guys are writers and they're perfectly wonderful,

01:51:46   but you really, you're the editor of the thing.

01:51:47   You should put yourself in more."

01:51:48   I'm like, "No."

01:51:49   And she's like, "Make yourself $10,000."

01:51:51   And I said, "No, that's ridiculous."

01:51:52   I said, I can do 8,000.

01:51:54   But I thought, I will take her advice because,

01:51:56   and you know, what's serious at some level is,

01:52:00   if you've ever priced out getting people

01:52:02   for speakers bureaus,

01:52:03   it is crazy the amount of money people charge.

01:52:05   And what I'm hoping is, I mean, to be actually serious,

01:52:08   the only reason I listed these,

01:52:09   I actually, they're quasi serious.

01:52:10   They come with books, you know,

01:52:11   and you send them people books

01:52:12   and it'll cover all the costs of someone coming.

01:52:15   But it's the idea of like, if you like the idea of this

01:52:18   and you want someone,

01:52:19   you wanna both support the publication

01:52:21   and help the thing happen, which I've got some great patrons.

01:52:24   - Or if you've already got like an event scheduled.

01:52:26   - Exactly, this is a booking fee.

01:52:27   And so if you have a group that wants to raise some money,

01:52:30   I actually took this partly from Amanda Palmer

01:52:32   because I know it's sort of funny,

01:52:33   but it's true is she does house concerts.

01:52:35   And I thought of this as like,

01:52:36   this is the house concert equivalent

01:52:38   of being a writer or speaker or whatever.

01:52:40   And she sold, I can't remember how many

01:52:42   in her million dollar plus campaign

01:52:45   and it's still fulfilling them like two years in

01:52:47   and the pictures are crazy.

01:52:48   It's like, you can have a rock star come to your house

01:52:50   snuggle with you as part of the her deal more or less.

01:52:52   Can I tell you, I've met Amanda.

01:52:55   Yeah, yeah.

01:52:56   And she's a great artist and her success is completely justified. No surprise. Again,

01:53:03   I would pay $5,000 not to have a house concert.

01:53:08   I know that. Someone come to your house. Which her deal was...

01:53:11   Right. Not because of her music. I would not like, I wouldn't want Bob Dylan to perform in my house.

01:53:17   I should point out these visits in my campaign. They will not stay with you there. It covers

01:53:21   hotel for them to stay. So they don't know what to say. Now, you know that story. I forget. It's

01:53:25   actually based on a true story. Uh, PT Anderson made it into a film punch drunk love, uh,

01:53:30   a really great movie, but it was about a guy in the movies played by Adam Sandler, but he's not,

01:53:34   it's absolutely not an Adam Sandler movie. I recommend this movie totally. But the idea was

01:53:39   that, uh, there were these, uh, 89 cent cans of like dinty Moore soup that you bought them. And

01:53:46   and on the back of the can of soup

01:53:47   was like a thousand miles on American Airlines.

01:53:52   - Oh.

01:53:53   - And he figured out that, you know,

01:53:56   that the miles, if you just compute

01:53:58   what's the miles roughly worth,

01:54:00   were worth way more than 89 cents.

01:54:04   So he just bought literally thousands of dollars,

01:54:07   thousands and thousands of dollars,

01:54:08   and thousands and thousands of cans of soup,

01:54:10   and cut all these coupons out and ended up with, you know.

01:54:14   Like a million miles?

01:54:16   Right, like he's like, he's, you know, he became like the most, you know, mild customer on American Airlines.

01:54:22   Uh, my mind works the same way where I often try to see the loopholes.

01:54:28   And I got to tell you, I know for a fact, because part of this is you get taken out to dinner.

01:54:34   I could rack up more than $5000 on a dinner.

01:54:37   It is true.

01:54:39   It is true.

01:54:40   I am.

01:54:40   I'm slightly concerned that someone will push the aisle.

01:54:43   We did not set a limit.

01:54:44   However, we hope that the people who would pay $5,000

01:54:47   would do it.

01:54:48   But oh, but the Amanda Palmer thing--

01:54:49   - I could easily, I could easily rack up

01:54:51   more than $5,000 on a dinner.

01:54:53   - Because she was doing house concerts,

01:54:54   she said a lot of her things were like 50 people

01:54:56   got together and put $100 into the kitty

01:54:58   and they got Amanda Palmer to come and swim with them

01:55:01   and snuggle in the closet and perform and whatever.

01:55:04   And I mean, that's, you know, hey, that's worth 100 bucks.

01:55:06   - All right.

01:55:07   - I don't know if I will snuggle for $8,000.

01:55:10   It might cost more, but I'm not Amanda Palmer either,

01:55:12   so I may not be in that camp.

01:55:13   - Oh, we should wrap up.

01:55:18   We've been on for a while, but it's been a great show.

01:55:20   We know I was gonna talk to you about Bitcoin,

01:55:22   but God Almighty, I have to have you back for another show

01:55:24   because we've expended the whole thing

01:55:26   on ads and publications.

01:55:27   - I will come back and blow you, I think I understand.

01:55:31   - You had a great piece, I'm gonna link to it.

01:55:33   I will link it up.

01:55:34   It's in the queue for "Daring Fireball,"

01:55:35   so it'll be through there.

01:55:36   But you have a great piece in "The Economist."

01:55:39   - This is a, yeah, this is a--

01:55:40   - I don't wanna get, we're not gonna talk about it

01:55:42   'cause we run out of time.

01:55:43   - I think I actually understand how it works technically.

01:55:47   I still don't get the currency side.

01:55:48   Well, we'll talk about it.

01:55:49   I'll talk about it.

01:55:50   - Yeah, it's fascinating though, right?

01:55:51   Even if you're-- - It's beautiful.

01:55:52   It's ridiculously elegant and clever at every level

01:55:55   and every level is insane at the same time.

01:55:58   - Right.

01:55:59   I wanted to mention this.

01:56:00   This is sort of off topic.

01:56:01   I don't work in it naturally, but I can't.

01:56:03   But when you were talking about

01:56:06   the history of "The New Yorker," right?

01:56:08   And I guess I'll tie it in as a wrap up of the show

01:56:11   of why it's worth having a publication

01:56:14   that can stand the test of time and build its own legacy.

01:56:17   So the new issue, the December 9th issue

01:56:21   of The New Yorker came to my house today.

01:56:24   And on the cover, it's a lovely cover

01:56:26   by his name is Istvan Banyai.

01:56:31   - Oh, I love his work.

01:56:32   - And it is a picture of McSorley's Old Ale House,

01:56:37   established 1859 and it's mostly monochrome but there's a little Christmas to it and including

01:56:45   a Merry Christmas in the window and a present on the ground a snow-filled street and I think

01:56:50   lower Manhattan and there's a guy out front playing a trumpet and a cute waitress inside.

01:57:00   Now the thing that caught my eye about this and I you know most of I've subscribed this

01:57:05   The New Yorker comes every week and I've got like a big stack. I mean literally, you know, like knee-deep in my office of unread issues

01:57:11   I can't keep up with it

01:57:12   I love so I love the New Yorker can't keep up with it every week

01:57:15   But I happen to know this because my friend Scott Simpson recommended this book to me a while ago

01:57:20   It's a book called up in the old hotel by James Joseph Mitchell. You ever heard of Joseph Mitchell?

01:57:25   Yes, Joseph Mitchell

01:57:28   Was a staff writer at the New Yorker. I think maybe when it was founded if not, he was one of the early hires

01:57:33   He started in 1939 and was for a few decades was one of the top contributors

01:57:38   And this is a collection of his work in the New Yorker. It is a wonderful book and what the kind of stories

01:57:45   He used to write were just like, you know

01:57:47   Just man on the street stories about the regular citizens of New York and he was one

01:57:53   I mean, it's it's one of the best books I've ever read and it was really great recommendation

01:57:57   I can't recommend it highly enough up in the old hotel

01:58:00   and the first story in the

01:58:04   In this book by Joseph Mitchell is

01:58:09   the old house at home and it's a profile of

01:58:14   McSorley's old ale house. Oh my gosh. Now this was written. Let me see. I have the book in front of me here

01:58:20   When was that written? I

01:58:22   Don't know if they give you the year. Maybe it's at the end. Hold on

01:58:25   It's a 21

01:58:26   And this is also about long form stuff.

01:58:28   And it's just a story about the saloon and who owns it and what it's like inside.

01:58:33   I think it was written in like 1939 or something.

01:58:35   No, I just found 1943.

01:58:37   1943.

01:58:38   Yeah.

01:58:39   1940.

01:58:40   No, 1940.

01:58:41   Oh.

01:58:42   It says in the book at least.

01:58:43   So here's a story about this old ale house that was established in 1859, the oldest pub

01:58:48   in New York City.

01:58:52   Continuously open I believe since 1859.

01:58:54   Oh, how?

01:58:55   And it was one of the most famous, you know, a great historically notable profile that

01:59:02   the New Yorker ran.

01:59:03   But I ran it 73 years ago.

01:59:09   And now here's the cover story and it's, you know, a picture of it.

01:59:12   And I think that's so great.

01:59:13   And I don't know how many readers of the New Yorker are going to know that.

01:59:18   But like as soon as I saw it, it was like, to me, it was like boom.

01:59:22   Like that's awesome.

01:59:24   a great follow-up too, which I just found the blog post at the newyorker.com about it,

01:59:28   and it's funded some additional cartoons for the site, and it's a slideshow showing Winnie

01:59:34   the Pooh wandering in.

01:59:35   Oh, yeah?

01:59:36   I don't know, have you ever seen Winnie the Pooh smoking a cigarette? Well, now you can.

01:59:41   The other thing that's interesting about Joseph Mitchell is—now, this is the foreword to

01:59:48   the book and it's written by David Remnick the current editor of the New

01:59:52   Yorker Joe Gould secret is is this I'm quoting from his David Remnick's

01:59:58   introduction Joe Gould secret is Mitchell's masterpiece that's the last

02:00:03   piece in the book it is also of course his last piece he never published again

02:00:09   for the next 31 years and six months Mitchell came to work almost every day

02:00:14   day and submitted not even a story for the talk of the town. No one was more esteemed

02:00:20   by the staff than this courtly soft-spoken genius, and no one but a fool would ask about

02:00:25   his silence. There were theories about what might have hindered him. Some great personal

02:00:31   sadness, the weight of reputation, the radical changes in New York. He admitted when he was

02:00:38   in his 80s, "I can't seem to get anything finished anymore. The hideous state the world

02:00:43   is in just defeats the kind of writing I used to do.

02:00:46   Pete: Oh my gosh.

02:00:47   Chris: So he, but that's the sort of, but he remained a staff writer, full-time employed

02:00:51   and came to work five days a week for 31 years and six months and never wrote another piece.

02:00:57   Pete; That is, there's something, wow, that's almost, it's an incredible self-abnegation

02:01:04   about that. You know, that was Tom Lehrer's comment about why after being one of the most

02:01:09   successful political humorists in America for years and years that he gave it up. I

02:01:15   mean he was a math professor, that was his full-time job, right? But he gave it up as,

02:01:18   he said after Henry Kissinger won the Nobel, or was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,

02:01:23   political satire became obsolete. Something of that nature. And it's like, yeah, that's

02:01:27   kind of it.

02:01:28   Craig T.

02:01:28   Interesting. I just thought that was so fascinating.

02:01:30   Oh, it's amazing.

02:01:30   I think it's so great that they would call back to that. Anyway, I wish that--

02:01:34   Is that your plan for Daring Fireball? It's just going to be a blank page for the next 31 years.

02:01:38   Every day, people will get up and look at the page, and there'll be nothing there.

02:01:42   That's probably how it'll end.

02:01:46   Not with a whimper, but with a hashbang.

02:01:48   Right.

02:01:49   Sorry.

02:01:49   Probably is how it'll end. People will just keep coming back hoping for something new.

02:01:55   Alright Glenn, thanks a lot. Everybody check out the Kickstarter for the magazine, the book.

02:02:00   And then check the show notes and read Glenn's piece on Bitcoin and Glenn's various bylines and 37 different weekly publications.

02:02:11   I try. Thank you John.

02:02:12   Alright. Thank you Glenn.

02:02:14   Thanks.