32: Dropping Acid


00:00:00   So, Gray, when we knew that we were going to be in San Francisco together,

00:00:03   I was thinking how interesting it would be to record Cortex in person, especially when you put

00:00:08   it on the calendar. And I was like, "Oh, look at this. We're going to be in San Francisco. It's

00:00:13   going to be a new experience, like recording in the same room. We've never done that before."

00:00:18   So here we are. We're in San Francisco, both in the same hotel, recording the show. But can you

00:00:24   Can you tell people where you are right now?

00:00:26   I am in my hotel room, talking to you in your hotel room.

00:00:31   This is the way podcasts were meant to be, Myke.

00:00:34   It never occurred to me that we'd be recording in person.

00:00:37   This is how I always envisioned this moment.

00:00:40   We're like in the same building and we're talking on Skype.

00:00:43   This is so inefficient.

00:00:45   No, but this is perfectly efficient.

00:00:47   You shouldn't do a podcast while looking at your podcasting co-host.

00:00:50   I feel very strongly about this.

00:00:52   You should only ever hear them because the audience only ever hears them.

00:00:56   And also it's super weird to record podcasts in person.

00:00:58   I would be so uncomfortable if I was looking in your little mic eyeballs right now and

00:01:02   trying to record a show.

00:01:03   I don't think I could do it.

00:01:05   I feel like you need to be starting this show by going like, "Live from San Francisco!

00:01:10   It's Myke and Gray!"

00:01:12   It's the Myke and Gray Variety Hour.

00:01:14   Yeah, even though we are in the same hotel room, it does still feel different somehow.

00:01:17   I don't know how, but it does feel...

00:01:19   I mean, maybe it's different because I had to see you

00:01:21   five minutes ago to grab your iPad to tether to

00:01:24   to do the show in the first place.

00:01:26   And so it was a little weird seeing you in person

00:01:27   doing the show, but yeah, so it does feel different.

00:01:30   - 100% of everything is different.

00:01:32   I'm not using the right computer.

00:01:33   I'm not using any of my own equipment.

00:01:35   I'm recording in front of a mirror,

00:01:37   which is really uncomfortable.

00:01:39   I've never recorded a podcast in front of a mirror before,

00:01:42   but I'm doing that.

00:01:44   - Right, but now just imagine that mirror was me

00:01:46   and how much more uncomfortable would you be?

00:01:48   That's why this is the right way to do this right now.

00:01:50   - Okay, that makes sense.

00:01:52   But we did actually record something in person,

00:01:54   didn't we, a couple of days ago as we record this?

00:01:56   - We recorded the first annual RelayCon in person.

00:02:01   It was a little surprise.

00:02:03   We kept it secret until the last moment

00:02:06   that I was going to be showing up at the end

00:02:08   to say hello to everybody.

00:02:10   - That was actually a lot of fun, right?

00:02:12   Because I think we met each other on Sunday or Saturday,

00:02:17   And we kind of had to keep you a secret in San Francisco

00:02:21   until Monday night, which even included,

00:02:23   'cause we had an event, we had an audience of people,

00:02:27   that as people were coming in, I asked you to not speak.

00:02:30   (laughs)

00:02:31   Like, don't talk to anybody,

00:02:32   'cause you'll give the game away.

00:02:33   (laughs)

00:02:35   - Yeah, it was a funny experience in the preparation

00:02:39   for the show, because obviously you and Steven

00:02:42   were doing all of the setup, like getting the stage ready,

00:02:45   and you have everybody there, and I'm there

00:02:47   because I want to see the environment, like where, what is this going to look like?

00:02:50   How is the stage going to be set up?

00:02:51   You need to be there in advance for one of these events.

00:02:54   But then as people started trickling in, I was just in what was a very natural

00:02:59   role, decided to play the antisocial nerd and just stand in a corner and look at

00:03:04   my phone for the entirety of the pre-preparation everybody's coming in the room,

00:03:09   uh, part of the show. And it's like, great. This is,

00:03:11   this is the perfect camouflage. I'm just going to stand here.

00:03:14   We're going to look at my phone.

00:03:15   I'm gonna go over the notes for what we're going to do on stage and

00:03:18   Hopefully no one will come up and talk to me which is exactly what happened. So perfect camouflage

00:03:23   Yeah, it went really well and this section that we do on stage together was really fun. I enjoyed it a lot

00:03:28   You gave me a great gift which was terrifying for me

00:03:31   Yes

00:03:31   For people who were not there in person the one thing that I think the the live

00:03:37   Viewers were able to see that I was able to see the best that was my absolute favorite

00:03:43   was the terror in Myke's eyes of having a

00:03:47   uncontrollable CGP Grey on stage

00:03:50   Like you there were quite a few times when I would start to say something and I feel like you suddenly realized

00:03:58   This is live. You can't you can't do anything now and

00:04:01   You didn't know what was going to happen

00:04:03   I was like start to tell a story and I could see in your eyes like what is he going to say and

00:04:09   And then I was a little bit mean because I thought,

00:04:12   you didn't know that I was going to bring you a little gift.

00:04:14   Nope.

00:04:15   I thought, "Oh, I know what I'll do with Myke."

00:04:17   When I come on stage, I will have it in my hand

00:04:20   and I will place it on the table right in between the two of us

00:04:23   and point to it to make sure that you can see what it is.

00:04:26   And you went to go grab it and I was like, "No, the mystery box is for later."

00:04:30   Yeah, and this is all off-microphone if I remember.

00:04:33   You were kind of just like, "Don't look in that now, leave it there."

00:04:35   And I'm like, "Oh, what is in this box?"

00:04:38   I didn't for one moment expect it was a gift.

00:04:41   I just didn't know what it was.

00:04:43   It was off microphone.

00:04:44   But I just-- it was a little bit mean, but I didn't want to kind of plant the idea in your head like,

00:04:47   "Oh, there's a mystery box on the table. What's in the mystery box? Like, what's in the box, man?"

00:04:51   Right, you'll find out later. You'll find out at the end.

00:04:55   And what was in the box, Myke?

00:04:56   A wooden bow tie.

00:04:58   It was the most beautiful hipster bow tie I had ever seen, and I thought I had to get it for you.

00:05:02   Well, the best moment is when I realized it was made of wood.

00:05:06   because I opened the box and just thought it was a nice bow tie.

00:05:09   And I was like, Oh, thank you.

00:05:11   And I picked it up and screamed, I think,

00:05:13   laughed when I found out it was made of wood and I put it on and I wore it for

00:05:17   the rest of the evening, uh,

00:05:19   and was worried that I was going to slice my jugular with it.

00:05:22   Cause every now and then I would move my head and I would feel a graze against

00:05:26   my neck. And I was like, Oh, hello.

00:05:28   But isn't this the epitome of fashion,

00:05:32   Myke that something is supposed to look fabulous,

00:05:36   but be terrifyingly uncomfortable. Isn't that what high fashion is? And you look very fashionable.

00:05:41   It's kind of like the MacBook Adorable, right? Like it looks fabulous, but there is just so much terror when you use it in case the battery runs out.

00:05:47   I will not let you besmirch the reputation of the MacBook Adorable like that.

00:05:51   I've been using it for whatever it is, you know, almost two weeks now since the last time we spoke about it.

00:05:56   I absolutely love this machine. I'm using it right now, and I'm sure you will be happy to know that

00:06:03   For the bargain basement price of $80, I was able to get an adapter that allows me to plug in the power and the microphone at the same time.

00:06:12   It's a total steal.

00:06:14   At the same time that Grey buys that adapter, he tries to convince me to buy a MacBook.

00:06:19   Mm-hmm.

00:06:20   And you got close, man.

00:06:21   I mean, I've liked them for a while, but when I had to put this MacBook Pro in my bag to travel here,

00:06:27   Mm-hmm.

00:06:28   Ugh.

00:06:28   It was like carrying 20 computers.

00:06:30   Like we said a long time ago, it's this brick of obligation.

00:06:33   It just feels heavy, it's huge, it's this thing that you have to carry.

00:06:37   And I'm feeling really smug about myself because everyone was saying,

00:06:40   "Oh, there's gonna be new computers at WWDC!"

00:06:43   And they weren't, so it's like, "Oh, yeah, even better decision to get my little MacBook to work."

00:06:47   Yeah, I wish I would have had the grey approach, because I would have done it beforehand.

00:06:51   Because there's no point buying it now, because then I'm bringing two computers home.

00:06:54   That would kind of suck.

00:06:56   Everything should be more grey.

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00:08:33   So the RelayCon event room was an interesting setup and it was different for both of us, I think.

00:08:39   For you, I guess this was maybe the first podcast you've ever done where what was said just was released?

00:08:48   Yeah, yeah, I mean that was a strange thing for me because...

00:08:54   For listeners who have never done something like a podcast,

00:09:00   when you are speaking and aware that a thing is going to be recorded,

00:09:06   you can just talk in a different way than you normally do.

00:09:10   Because you know, for example, if you say something and you mess it up,

00:09:13   you can just start again and you cut out the part that was messed up.

00:09:16   And this happens all the time on the podcast that I do, where you say a thought and then you go,

00:09:20   "Oh, wait, I just flubbed that. Let me like re-record a line and do it again."

00:09:24   And it's a better listening experience.

00:09:26   And I know that you do a bunch of your shows live,

00:09:31   and speaking with people who do most of their podcasts live,

00:09:34   they learn to just talk in a different way than I am on a podcast,

00:09:38   where they are aware that it is live and kind of, and like focused on that.

00:09:42   And I think there's a real difference, like these are two different skills.

00:09:46   talking live on a podcast or talking for a podcast that you know is going to be edited and released later.

00:09:53   And that's one of the reasons why we don't record Cortex live for the listeners,

00:09:58   whereas a bunch of relay shows, like, you can listen to them live.

00:10:01   You can, if you want, download the relay app and get little notifications for when those shows go live

00:10:06   and listen to them then.

00:10:07   But we don't do that because I prefer to talk for the recording.

00:10:11   But yes, this was different because I did know like, okay, this is going out live right now.

00:10:17   There are X number of people around the world listening to it, plus the people who are actually in the room.

00:10:24   And so that makes it a much more high pressure environment,

00:10:31   because you look like a total weirdo if you start to say a sentence and then you say,

00:10:36   "Oh, let me start again." And then you say the sentence again, you look like a broken human being.

00:10:41   like what's wrong with that guy?

00:10:43   - Ignore that.

00:10:43   (laughing)

00:10:46   - Strike that from the record people,

00:10:47   we're gonna do it again.

00:10:49   And so doing it live is much more intense,

00:10:53   but luckily in my former life I was a teacher,

00:10:57   which is like doing a whole bunch of live presentations.

00:10:59   And I have given other live talks on other topics

00:11:02   in my previous work and side projects.

00:11:06   So I am used to that environment.

00:11:08   So for me, it was just a question of mode switching,

00:11:12   of this is a presentation, this is like standing up

00:11:17   at the front of the assembly hall in a school.

00:11:20   And it's just a totally different mode.

00:11:22   So my brain actually didn't treat that at all

00:11:24   like I am recording a podcast with Myke

00:11:27   because I think I couldn't have done that

00:11:28   if I was thinking about it as a podcast.

00:11:31   I had to think of it more like I am doing

00:11:33   a tiny presentation and that's why,

00:11:36   we'll put it in the show notes,

00:11:37   people can listen to the live RelayCon recording.

00:11:40   But if you hear me talking there,

00:11:42   I think I saw a number of comments from people saying

00:11:44   that I sound really different.

00:11:46   And the answer is because it's presentation mode

00:11:49   and that is a skill that you can learn

00:11:52   but it's a very, very different thing

00:11:54   from what's happening now, which is,

00:11:56   I am alone in a hotel room talking to Myke

00:12:00   who is somewhere else.

00:12:01   - Like you spent the majority of the time

00:12:03   addressing the audience as opposed to talking to me,

00:12:06   which was very different.

00:12:08   - Yeah, and that was another one of those things

00:12:10   where sitting on stage, I could see

00:12:12   that you were having a bit of the like,

00:12:14   who the hell is this guy reaction?

00:12:16   - I've never seen you move the way you were moving.

00:12:18   Like your arms were all over the place.

00:12:20   You were rocking back and forth in your chair,

00:12:22   talking to the audience, cracking jokes, taking control.

00:12:25   I'm like, what is this man?

00:12:27   Who is this?

00:12:28   I don't know what he looks like anymore.

00:12:29   It's just somebody else they rolled in off the street.

00:12:32   It was very different for me.

00:12:33   There was like a moment where I was like,

00:12:35   "Ah, I need to change everything about what I'm doing."

00:12:38   Right, 'cause I had a whole, you know,

00:12:40   my, the way that I planned everything out,

00:12:42   I had kind of set questions for everyone,

00:12:45   which was a whole big kettle of fish,

00:12:46   because I had like just a couple of hours

00:12:49   to get everything ready from like keynote to show,

00:12:52   which was uncomfortable for me.

00:12:54   But when we set everything up,

00:12:57   I was trying to be like,

00:12:59   "How am I gonna help Greg get through this?"

00:13:02   But you just took control and ran with it.

00:13:04   I was like, my job is easy, I'll just scream at both eyes, there's no problem here.

00:13:08   But that's why the live viewers got to see the look in Myke's eyes, which I totally cherished,

00:13:15   of like, I am losing control in this situation, I don't know what's happening.

00:13:19   But you point out that it's a little thing, but if anyone's ever on stage,

00:13:25   like I made a conscious decision to do a thing which was sit further from you than I would

00:13:31   would if we were just talking to each other at like a lunch.

00:13:33   It's like I'm going to be further away from you.

00:13:36   And then I intentionally-- there are some photos

00:13:39   where you can see it.

00:13:40   But I am basically like 3/4 of the way facing the audience

00:13:44   and 1/4 of the way facing you.

00:13:47   And this is what I mean by you can learn presentation skills

00:13:51   if you do this a bunch.

00:13:53   Because it's a situation where it's like Myke

00:13:55   asks me a question.

00:13:57   And then I would turn to the audience to talk.

00:14:01   And if you're ever on stage and you do that kind of thing,

00:14:05   you can't help but talk in a louder, more animated voice

00:14:10   when you're looking at a group of people.

00:14:12   Because your monkey brain is aware, oh, there's

00:14:14   people way in the back over there.

00:14:16   They can't see you very well.

00:14:18   And so you have to talk much more loudly.

00:14:20   Whereas if I sat really close to you

00:14:23   and looked right into your eyes, straight at you,

00:14:26   you're going to talk in a different way.

00:14:30   But that's just like a trick to get your monkey brain

00:14:33   to act in a certain way that it wouldn't naturally do it.

00:14:37   This is like the staging of an environment.

00:14:40   So it's an interesting experience.

00:14:43   It's not necessarily like a thing

00:14:46   that I super like to do,

00:14:51   like live, high-stakes presentations,

00:14:54   But it is a totally like a learnable skill.

00:14:59   And it's a thing that you can get better at with practice.

00:15:04   - Did you enjoy it though?

00:15:05   Like was it, I know it's difficult

00:15:07   'cause it's difficult for me as well.

00:15:09   Like leading up to it, I just felt terrible, right?

00:15:13   Like I was just, I'm always like this

00:15:15   of any kind of speaking thing.

00:15:17   Right until the moment where it starts, I feel terrible.

00:15:21   And then as soon as it begins, I'm good to go.

00:15:24   But overall, I really enjoyed it,

00:15:26   and I'm very happy that we did it,

00:15:28   and I'm really happy that I was able to put the surprises in

00:15:31   that I was able to put in and structure it

00:15:33   the way that I did, 'cause I think it made it

00:15:34   a really fun event for people listening.

00:15:36   But did you actually enjoy being a part of it?

00:15:39   - Okay, so there's two separate things here.

00:15:42   The first question is, did I enjoy being a part of RelayCon?

00:15:46   And the answer is yes.

00:15:47   Like, it was fun to be there.

00:15:49   It was fun to have a little secret,

00:15:53   and then a surprise for everybody.

00:15:54   I was so excited.

00:15:55   I think when you listen to the audio and I get to that final segment,

00:15:59   you can hear me like I'm like so I'm like so giddy at that point.

00:16:02   Yeah, yeah. You're like you're like a little boy.

00:16:05   I know something you don't know.

00:16:07   Yeah, that's exactly what's happening there.

00:16:09   So having the surprise, you know, having a little bit of a secret.

00:16:12   That was fun.

00:16:13   And I also have to say, I am not a super social person.

00:16:18   And this whole week has been just incredibly draining

00:16:22   in a variety of ways for me.

00:16:24   But again, an event like RelayCon is a thing that I can mentally prepare for

00:16:29   and I can shift into a different mode for.

00:16:34   And so there's like the fun before of getting ready for the surprise.

00:16:39   And then on stage is a totally different thing.

00:16:44   This is this is like a moment of working.

00:16:47   And like I said before, it's it's a skill that you can learn

00:16:50   to get better at.

00:16:52   When I used to be like a student in school,

00:16:54   like in high school, I would hate public speaking.

00:16:57   And I think a lot of people probably have the experience

00:17:01   that they really, really hate public speaking

00:17:04   because the last time they did it

00:17:06   was when they had to get up and give a book report

00:17:08   or whatever at school.

00:17:10   Like, and it's not a fun environment.

00:17:12   That's not an enjoyable experience having to do that

00:17:15   because like, oh, it's school.

00:17:17   You have to give a presentation on a bunch of busy work

00:17:19   that matters to nobody and nobody cares about, not even your classmates.

00:17:23   You know, nobody's interested, you're not interested in the thing that you're talking about,

00:17:26   your teacher, quite frankly, is only feigning interest in whatever you're talking about,

00:17:30   none of your classmates care what you're talking about.

00:17:32   Like, that experience that most people have with public speaking

00:17:36   is just about the worst possible environment to ever experience what public speaking is like,

00:17:41   but I think it's most people's last memories of it.

00:17:44   And it wasn't until I was in college and had to start doing some presentations on

00:17:50   research material that I was working on, where it was, "Oh, I am now doing

00:17:55   a presentation on a topic that is of interest to me."

00:17:58   And then two people who are in the same field where they are interested in it,

00:18:03   and now that's a very different experience. And so

00:18:06   the relay thing falls into that event where

00:18:09   like I'm giving a presentation,

00:18:11   We're talking about stuff that is of interest to me, we're talking about like Apple stuff

00:18:15   and we're talking about programming and developments in the Apple world

00:18:19   and we're doing it in front of an audience of people who have flown from very far locations to be there

00:18:25   It's like that situation is totally different because the audience wants you to do well

00:18:29   and you're talking about a thing that is of interest to you

00:18:33   So it's much much easier to do that kind of thing than what most people think of as public speaking

00:18:40   So, for me it's still high stakes and I often have this little bit of experience of like almost like it's a bit of a blackout between stepping on stage and stepping off stage.

00:18:50   Like I really do just mainly have the memory of Myke's terrified eyes on stage.

00:18:56   And then when I think about it now I'm really thinking about having listened to the recording.

00:19:01   So it's almost like I black out for a little bit.

00:19:04   So it's hard to say that being on stage is super fun,

00:19:10   but it's a different experience than what most people are probably thinking of as public speaking.

00:19:14   But the thing that I really did like then is

00:19:17   I'm at RelayCon, I can prepare for this kind of event where

00:19:20   1. Giving a presentation

00:19:22   and then 2. I know that I'm going to hang out afterwards

00:19:25   and say hi to people in the audience.

00:19:28   And being prepared for that,

00:19:30   it's like, "Oh, this is kind of great!"

00:19:32   I get off stage and I have to say, the evening was me just kind of bouncing from person to

00:19:39   person and hearing a similar thing over and over again, which was great, which was people

00:19:45   talking about how listening to this show with us has either motivated them to start seriously

00:19:54   working on side projects or has helped them clarify their thinking about prioritization

00:20:02   in their life or helped them thinking through the reasons for doing stuff, making intentional

00:20:08   decisions and so like that was really great.

00:20:11   That was really great to just bounce around from people and they're like, you know, I

00:20:15   have one guy come up to me and so like he, you know, he started to teach himself programming

00:20:18   entirely because of listening to the show because he'd just been like thinking about

00:20:22   but then realize why don't I just start like this is a really sensible way to spend a bunch of my time

00:20:27   you know, and so that kind of thing is really nice

00:20:30   you know, you feel like you're having an influence on people who are hearing what you are saying

00:20:37   and it's nice to hear that kind of thing for me in person in an environment where I am prepared for it

00:20:44   like people are going to come up to me and they're going to say hi

00:20:46   and then like I'm ready to have little conversations with people

00:20:48   so it was fun, it was enjoyable

00:20:51   Yeah, I'm really pleased we did it and even for just that after part where I

00:20:57   think people can come up and say the shows that they like and what they like

00:21:00   about them and I love to talk to people about this sort of stuff. It's just nice

00:21:04   to be in a place where you have people telling you that they enjoy your work

00:21:10   and it makes a difference and I've heard people say this to me about

00:21:14   Cortex. We did a meet up in London before we came out to San Francisco and I met a

00:21:18   a few people there as well who were saying similar things.

00:21:21   Like, Cortex inspired me to do the writing project

00:21:24   that I wanted to do and stuff like that.

00:21:25   And it's really nice to hear that.

00:21:28   And it's especially nice to hear that stuff

00:21:30   when you can see someone's face as they're saying it to you.

00:21:34   - Yeah, I agree.

00:21:35   It's a different kind of feedback

00:21:38   than it is getting an email or seeing comments on Twitter.

00:21:43   It's just different when you're shaking the hand

00:21:46   the guy who's really happy that a thing in his life is different now.

00:21:50   It's a different experience to have that.

00:21:54   And like you say, I've never been out to

00:21:58   WWDC before. This whole week, in addition to even just the RelayCon

00:22:02   part of it, has that characteristic of what you were just saying of

00:22:06   there's this unique feeling when you have a

00:22:10   group of people who are together who are all

00:22:14   sharing the same or similar interests.

00:22:17   You know, it's just different.

00:22:19   And so I feel like at that RelayCon event,

00:22:21   it was not a bar full of strangers.

00:22:25   It's a room full of people

00:22:28   and everyone in that room knows

00:22:30   they can have a starting point

00:22:32   or a conversation with any other person in that room.

00:22:35   Right? You can just say,

00:22:36   "Hey, what are your favorite shows?

00:22:38   What do you like to listen to?"

00:22:39   Or, "What did you think about the event today at Apple?"

00:22:42   Like, everyone in that room can just start a conversation with somebody else,

00:22:46   and you know you have a commonality.

00:22:49   And that's really nice.

00:22:50   I think packs of monkeys, they really like that.

00:22:51   They really need that.

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00:24:58   So whilst here we have been engaging in a bunch of activities and a lot of those have been visits to places and one of the places that we visited was Facebook.

00:25:07   Yeah, hold on a sec here Myke. Because I just want the listener to understand what I was sold on coming to San Francisco this week and what I received.

00:25:18   Because... yeah, you know, you know there, Myke.

00:25:23   A long time ago, Myke convinced me to book a hotel room in San Francisco with the possibility of coming out for RelayCon and WWDC.

00:25:31   Back when this was more just like a glimmer in Myke's eyes, he wanted me to just put the reservation in the hotel room just so I had it just in case.

00:25:38   So I did it and it was fine.

00:25:40   And since that point, until right before the event, Myke kept selling me this line of,

00:25:46   "Oh, hey buddy, listen. Come on out. It's going to be really easy. There's nothing to do during the days.

00:25:53   You're going to have the whole of the days to yourself, really relaxed.

00:25:58   And maybe there's just like an event in the evening, but there's nothing to do all day long."

00:26:03   And so I had this vision of my trip as I'm going to come out here and I'm going to get up in the morning

00:26:10   I'm going to do my usual little routine. I'm going to find a lovely cafe somewhere.

00:26:15   I'm going to go. I'm going to do some writing and then I'm going to come back to the hotel.

00:26:19   I'll change into my exercise outfits. I'm going to go for a run along the bay.

00:26:23   I'll come back, shower, relax, get lunch, spend the afternoon reading, you know.

00:26:28   And then maybe in the evening there's some dinner I'm going to go to.

00:26:31   and this is going to be my time in San Francisco.

00:26:34   No, no, that is not what has happened at all.

00:26:38   - In my defense here, in between,

00:26:40   so this is your doing, not mine.

00:26:43   In between-- - This is not,

00:26:44   this is your doing, this is your doing.

00:26:46   - We can let the listener decide here.

00:26:48   In between me saying that to you and us being here now,

00:26:52   you said to me, you can manage my calendar.

00:26:56   - Yeah, but I thought, I vaguely thought

00:26:58   that this was what the evening things would be.

00:27:00   He's like, "Oh, my, you can manage my calendar."

00:27:02   - But also some daytime stuff.

00:27:04   And do you know what?

00:27:05   Like, we're gonna talk about our visit to Facebook.

00:27:07   And then at the end of this discussion, again,

00:27:09   the listener can decide whether this was something

00:27:11   that you are happy you did or not.

00:27:13   But you said to me, "You look after my calendar.

00:27:17   "You invite me to all of the things."

00:27:19   And I did that.

00:27:19   I just invited you to the things.

00:27:21   They weren't in your calendar.

00:27:23   You know, you didn't have to do them.

00:27:25   You lived your own life, man.

00:27:26   I just made some suggestions.

00:27:28   - No, I understand, I understand.

00:27:30   But it's one of these things where it's like little drip, drip, drip,

00:27:32   like for the past whatever it is, three months,

00:27:35   I feel like slowly piece by piece stuff has been showing up on my calendar of

00:27:38   like, oh, Myke invites you to this event. Myke invites me to this event.

00:27:41   And I just kind of accepted them.

00:27:42   And it wasn't until we were here that I realized what actually was going to

00:27:45   occur, which is every day,

00:27:48   essentially from the moment I wake up until the moment I sleep,

00:27:51   there is something to do.

00:27:52   Yeah. Quite frankly,

00:27:53   there was more on my calendar by the end of this week than I expected there would

00:27:56   be. I was surprised by it as well.

00:27:59   Yeah, and so I had already, in anticipation of this month of travel and this week in particular,

00:28:06   I've already like pulled back the amount of work that I was intending to do,

00:28:11   but even still I realized like, okay, I accomplished gray industries business-wise,

00:28:17   literally nothing during this whole trip.

00:28:19   Like I didn't open up a text file, I didn't reply to an email,

00:28:22   it's like nothing got done in that aspect because there was always something else to do.

00:28:28   And so what we were about to talk about is we took this, this trip, you know,

00:28:31   we essentially took like a whole road trip for an entire day. It's like, okay,

00:28:35   I thought I was going to have a day to myself. Like, nope, guess what?

00:28:37   You're going to be in the car with three other podcasters driving around all day

00:28:41   long, seeing a whole bunch of stuff. And then, you know, it was,

00:28:44   it was just crazy. It was, it was absolutely,

00:28:47   it was absolutely just a crazy busy experience, but not,

00:28:51   not what I imagined, which is like, Oh,

00:28:53   this is going to be half a vacation with some, you know, dinner events to go to.

00:28:56   like nope, every day, all day stuff to do.

00:29:00   But thank you for arranging it all, Myke.

00:29:01   - Oh, it's a pleasure.

00:29:02   So we took a road trip.

00:29:03   So it was me and you and Federico Vittucci

00:29:06   and Steven Hackett.

00:29:06   We took a road trip down to Cupertino.

00:29:09   We went to Apple's company store,

00:29:11   took some pictures outside of Infinite Loop.

00:29:13   We weren't allowed inside.

00:29:15   - No, we weren't allowed inside.

00:29:16   - We weren't allowed inside.

00:29:17   We were specifically not allowed inside.

00:29:19   You got closest.

00:29:21   You walked up to the door, right, to take a picture.

00:29:24   - Yeah, you guys were even afraid to walk

00:29:26   to the door for some reason. We weren't allowed in. The furthest I'm going is the sign in

00:29:31   the store. That was that for me. I decided if we've driven all the way down to the One

00:29:36   Infinite Loop campus, I'm at very least going to walk right up to the door and press my

00:29:40   face against the glass like a sad puppy dog and look inside like, "Hey, can we come in?"

00:29:46   Like inches away on the other side of the glass is a security guard giving me a severely

00:29:50   stern look like, "No, you're not coming in, buddy. You're not allowed in." Which was the

00:29:55   complete opposite to our next visit on our road trip which is to Facebook.

00:29:59   Where they let us go everywhere like we could go anywhere we wanted and it was amazing.

00:30:04   It was essentially a physical manifestation of the company's

00:30:10   corporate policies of Apple nobody comes in we're gonna we're gonna keep it

00:30:17   really tight and even you know I while we're down here there have been some

00:30:21   people who have been able to gain access through that front door, but even they have described

00:30:26   how you see nothing. They take you down just a hallway, like "I hope you enjoy looking

00:30:32   at the carpet in this hallway at Apple and then we're gonna kick you right out." This

00:30:36   is as far as the tour goes, so even if we had been able to get inside, we would have

00:30:40   seen nothing, is what I have gathered from everybody who got past that security barrier.

00:30:45   It's like, "Okay, but that fits with Apple. Everything I know about Apple, that's the

00:30:49   way they work and then Facebook was almost like too welcoming.

00:30:57   Come on in.

00:30:58   I accidentally moved in for a while.

00:31:02   The Facebook offices, I don't even know, I keep thinking of ways to try to describe

00:31:09   what this was like but when you walk through the front door at Facebook, it's essentially

00:31:16   Facebook, this is how I'm going to describe it.

00:31:19   It is like a walled city.

00:31:21   There's a perimeter of buildings around the outside.

00:31:24   So they do have a security barrier that you have to pass through.

00:31:27   But once you pass through that, the whole interior, it was a town.

00:31:33   It was a town on the inside.

00:31:36   There were main streets, there were restaurants, there were places to get your hair cut,

00:31:41   there were sign manufacturing shops, there were bicycles, there were libraries.

00:31:47   an arcade? It was an arcade. It was so strange and unexpected but it was just, "Oh, I feel

00:31:59   like I've walked through a building to get to the other side of this and I have been

00:32:05   transported to a very bustling, busy, sort of Disney-ified college town." That's what

00:32:15   it was all of a sudden. The way that you can kind of understand this is I went to

00:32:18   Facebook's offices and got sunburn. Yeah. Okay that's normal. I was like going, I was like

00:32:26   ah I don't need to put any sun cream on I'm going to be in offices for the day.

00:32:30   No it was inside outside is what it was. It was it was it was a town it was just

00:32:36   a fascinating experience but I also made the same mental calculation of do I need

00:32:40   to put on sunscreen today? Oh no I'm going to go see Facebook headquarters

00:32:44   and I'm mentally thinking of the pictures that I've seen. It's like, oh, it's some gigantic open office indoors.

00:32:49   Okay, obviously I don't need to put on any sunscreen. But no, we went to Facebook,

00:32:53   we all came home sunburned because we didn't realize that we were just going to a town.

00:32:58   We were gonna go to a town and we were gonna walk around and we were going to get ice cream,

00:33:02   we were going to have burritos, we were gonna sit outside, you know?

00:33:05   It was entirely unexpected.

00:33:08   But we did also go to the big open office. Like they have multiple areas and kind of the outside area is just one part of their overall campus.

00:33:19   But we did actually go and take a look in that. We spoke about this on the show before, didn't we? It's like the largest open plan office in the world?

00:33:28   That's my understanding of what it is. It's the biggest open plan office in the world.

00:33:35   When we were there, they were saying how they're busy building two more of the same size.

00:33:42   It's like, "Oh, we have the biggest of this thing in the world, but we need more. This is not adequate.

00:33:46   We need two more of the biggest open plan offices in the world."

00:33:51   So we did get to walk through that enormous space and see it firsthand.

00:34:00   I never felt like I could see the end of the room.

00:34:04   Even when we went up the stairs and kind of like looked over

00:34:08   at the kind of what was below, I just never felt like I could see the

00:34:13   end of it. I think they said something like the

00:34:16   loop of it is a half a mile or something like that.

00:34:19   It was one of those things where they kept giving crazy numbers.

00:34:23   Here's how many people are in this office space, here's how much it is to walk around the perimeter of it.

00:34:29   And we walked the entire length of it.

00:34:31   And it was a good long time to get from one end of the office to the other.

00:34:37   And it was really interesting to see how a company has made a decision to lay out a space.

00:34:47   And so, we'll find it for the show notes, but we did discuss just when we saw pictures of the open office layout.

00:34:54   We had a whole show where we kind of talked about open offices.

00:34:59   And the Facebook layout on the inside was interesting because it did feel like a huge space.

00:35:11   I mean the ceiling was forever above you and so everything just felt big

00:35:16   but you are right that they did a

00:35:20   quite a job of making sure that

00:35:23   You never had an unobstructed sight line to the other end

00:35:28   I think because if you did you would have vertigo and just fall on the floor and probably

00:35:35   Shiver for a while, right? Just having to see what that looked like

00:35:38   But by having these gigantic walls that constantly broke up your sight line,

00:35:44   I think that had I not known what it was beforehand,

00:35:48   I could have walked through that entire space and not noticed that it was a single uninterrupted room.

00:35:55   Like it could have fooled me into feeling like this is a series of very large rooms that are connected,

00:36:02   but not have noticed that it was a single uncontained space.

00:36:07   So that what I was expecting is this feeling of I'm going to stand at one end of this football field

00:36:12   and look to the other end of the football field and see rows upon rows and rows of desks.

00:36:17   You could not have that experience.

00:36:20   Even like you said, there was one point where we went up a little staircase

00:36:23   and had a high-level view of the space,

00:36:27   your sight line was still obstructed and I think that had to be on purpose.

00:36:32   Like they didn't want someone to be able to stand at the top of the space and be able to oversee it all.

00:36:37   Like they wanted to constantly cut off those spaces.

00:36:41   Is that how you felt about it? Like did you kind of have that same feeling like this is a bunch of big rooms?

00:36:46   Or like what was your reaction to it?

00:36:48   Well, there was definite like anchor points that you could see.

00:36:52   So whilst it didn't necessarily feel like rooms, it felt like zones.

00:36:57   Like that there was you knew you were in a specific place

00:37:00   inside of this big open office.

00:37:03   But I still just had like the feeling of,

00:37:05   and there's a picture that I took,

00:37:07   which is kind of like from behind you.

00:37:09   So you can kind of like see what a person's view is.

00:37:13   And it really always looked to me like it went on forever

00:37:17   in any direction that you looked at.

00:37:19   And I don't know how I felt about that.

00:37:23   because I can't even imagine how loud that place would be

00:37:28   when it was full.

00:37:33   So there wasn't really that many people there.

00:37:35   We went on a Wednesday, which apparently is a day

00:37:38   where lots of people work from home

00:37:40   to kind of break up the traveling end of the week.

00:37:43   But it felt like even though there weren't a lot of people

00:37:46   there, there was just like a base level of sound constantly.

00:37:51   And having worked in offices with just hundreds of people

00:37:54   in them, but open plan, it can get really like just loud

00:37:59   all the time.

00:38:00   And I just wonder how that would be in an office

00:38:03   that is of the incredible scale that that one is.

00:38:07   - Yeah, I mean, two little sidebars here.

00:38:09   The first is, yeah, we took this photo,

00:38:11   it'll be in the show notes.

00:38:13   We took a photo at this spot because this was the longest

00:38:15   uninterrupted sight line in the whole building.

00:38:18   So it was notable that when you turned one corner, there was a place that you could just look down for forever.

00:38:24   And so, I almost think that photo was a bit of an atypical shot from the inside of the Facebook headquarters.

00:38:30   But the thing you mentioned there, and I would love, now that I have met very many,

00:38:37   I know that a lot of people who work in San Francisco tech companies listen to the show.

00:38:43   And I have had this experience now of visiting Facebook.

00:38:47   We also visited Dropbox and I've been in the office buildings of a bunch of other like

00:38:52   San Francisco style tech companies and then also in London like I've been in the Google

00:38:56   headquarters and YouTube headquarters and I've experienced the same thing over and over

00:39:03   again which is every time I go in one of these open plan offices it seems like nobody is

00:39:10   at the desk.

00:39:11   So I have seen this over and over again.

00:39:14   I feel like nobody works in these companies.

00:39:16   I never see people at their desks.

00:39:18   And I've done it this time, I've done it last year,

00:39:20   same as you, I've done it in London.

00:39:21   And it always feels like I don't understand

00:39:23   why they're making these offices bigger

00:39:26   because nobody's here.

00:39:27   It's very strange.

00:39:28   But the thing that's weird to me is every time

00:39:31   I ask every tour guide at every one of these buildings

00:39:35   about it, and there is always an explanation.

00:39:38   They will always say, "Oh, today's a special day.

00:39:41   "Wednesday's people don't work in the offices."

00:39:43   It's like, okay, but I've been bumping into people who have been in Facebook at other days of the week,

00:39:49   and every one of them I have asked, "Give me an estimate for how many people were sitting at their desk when you walk through that space."

00:39:56   And nobody's given a number higher than 30%, right, when they were there.

00:40:01   When you asked, did they say that there was something going on? And everybody says the same thing.

00:40:05   They're like, "Oh, yeah, you always get some reason for why."

00:40:07   And I've had the same thing, like, when we went to Dropbox, it was the same thing.

00:40:10   "Oh, we've just moved into a new building, so there's not that many people here."

00:40:13   But then when I go to the YouTube headquarters and I look around, and it's the same thing.

00:40:16   It's like rows and rows of desks, maybe 15% of people at the desk,

00:40:20   and I ask the person giving me the tour at YouTube, like, "What? Where is everybody?"

00:40:23   They always, like, every single time there's some reason,

00:40:26   and so on an individual basis, you can accept each reason at its face value.

00:40:34   But when I compare it to the aggregate of, "Okay, I have now been to

00:40:39   ten different of these kind of offices in different locations,

00:40:44   and it's always the same experience,"

00:40:46   at that stage, like, I have to just discount whatever the individual reasons are.

00:40:51   And I have to fall back on, I think what we discussed when we first talked about these open plan offices,

00:40:58   that my experience of Google was

00:41:00   the people who work here will do anything to not be at their desks.

00:41:06   Like maybe you have enough employees on the rolls that you could have everybody sitting in the same spot at the same time,

00:41:12   but for whatever reason, like people are trying to work anywhere else that they possibly can.

00:41:17   And like that's what I've seen in other places.

00:41:19   And so the Facebook one, it seemed like the same experience of, okay, we're going into these open plan offices

00:41:25   And the day we were there, it couldn't have been more than 10% of those desks were filled.

00:41:31   But then you go outside and it's like, "Oh, it's a huge bustling town!"

00:41:34   Like, everybody's walking around. It's suddenly busy.

00:41:37   And so, I find myself really wondering about these office setups

00:41:46   and having the same feeling that you do of, "How efficient are these?"

00:41:52   are these or I also just keep finding myself running through the numbers of all of these companies and thinking

00:41:59   what are all of these people doing? Like I have a hard time understanding

00:42:05   what is occurring in these enormous spaces and

00:42:10   I don't know, sometimes I just find myself

00:42:15   wondering when people tell you, for example, how big the company was when they had a lot of users

00:42:23   and then they quadruple the number of users the company has, but the staff has gone up by 300%.

00:42:30   So you've quadrupled users, but you've 300% employees, or you've 1000% employees.

00:42:36   It seems like, again from talking to people about these types of things, it takes 50 people

00:42:44   to get the first 5 million people, but then takes 5,000 people to get the next 5 million.

00:42:50   Yeah, and something about this just always strikes me as strange.

00:42:55   But what I wonder is, are these companies paying a huge number of people, but those

00:43:01   additional individuals are working at like 10% capacity but it but like it

00:43:05   just doesn't even matter because the company has so much money that it can

00:43:10   spend that it still gets a return on investment for someone who's at their

00:43:14   desk like a tiny amount of time I don't know. So here's a thought on this those

00:43:18   initial people are potentially like company founders and people that were in

00:43:23   at the beginning you know maybe those people because the company means more to

00:43:29   to them. They work differently to people that get hired to do a job.

00:43:32   Well I assume that that has to be the case

00:43:35   and I also assume there's a bit of almost like an anthropic principle going on

00:43:40   here of

00:43:40   the companies that are able to have millions of users with 10 employees

00:43:45   those exist because they happen to get the right collection of

00:43:50   10 super productive people right at the start. Yep.

00:43:53   And you wouldn't hear about that company if it didn't have

00:43:57   those exact right ten people.

00:44:00   And so when you're expanding outward from there,

00:44:04   the company is so successful because it rolled

00:44:08   a twelve every time on the first

00:44:12   dozen employees that it hired. It's incredibly statistically unlikely,

00:44:16   but that's also why the company was incredibly statistically unlikely

00:44:20   successful.

00:44:21   I don't know, I just keep finding my mind circling

00:44:26   back to this and this feeling like I almost want to sit in the cafeteria of a bunch of

00:44:31   these companies all day long and just talk to everybody and be like, so what do you do?

00:44:36   And like, get like, show me on a spreadsheet how much time you're actually working on stuff

00:44:41   here.

00:44:42   Like how many hours is your butt in the seat that is theoretically assigned to you versus

00:44:47   how much time do you spend in the beanbag chair in the lobby?

00:44:50   Like, I just I just there's something about this.

00:44:52   I don't understand but find my mind continually circling back on.

00:44:58   It was absolutely fascinating to visit Facebook, but I almost found my mind unsettled by the

00:45:09   whole experience.

00:45:10   There was a weird moment where they have this enormous open plan office and then the whole

00:45:18   roof of this building is this stunning park. We climb up this circular staircase and all

00:45:27   of a sudden we are in the middle of this field of wheat almost. There's just like waste high

00:45:35   blowing grass in the wind and there's trees and flowers and like hummingbirds are zipping

00:45:41   by and there's good zebras. Dragonflies, the biggest dragonfly I've ever seen, I thought

00:45:45   was gonna take me away. Yeah, you know, and it's and we're standing up there and

00:45:49   suddenly like you have this is like view for miles around we're looking

00:45:54   across like this huge marsh and you see this the city in the in the distance and

00:45:58   it felt like I was transported to San Francisco's version of New York Central

00:46:03   Park all of a sudden like this is an incredibly well-designed park and it has

00:46:07   all of these little paths and but after walking through what felt like the

00:46:14   town from the 1960s TV show in the UK, The Prisoner. Like, so we're walking

00:46:19   through this manufactured, bizarre, pretend-o-town and then we go into this

00:46:24   enormous open office space that is bizarrely understaffed but there's a

00:46:30   reason but maybe it's always like this because it's like this everywhere that I

00:46:33   go and then all of a sudden we're transported to like this fantastic park

00:46:40   and then we're sitting in a gazebo hanging out with everybody. I really felt

00:46:45   my brain was just like I cannot accept any more of this. Like my brain was just

00:46:48   at capacity for experience and scale. It was like this is this is just

00:46:55   overwhelming in a way that is hard to define. Like I don't know if you had that

00:47:01   same experience but it was like I felt like my brain was really just ready to

00:47:05   to shut down by the end of the Facebook door.

00:47:08   - I just don't think I could work in an environment like it.

00:47:13   It is a fantastic environment,

00:47:16   but having worked in offices,

00:47:19   I just think I would struggle with it now.

00:47:22   Now, I mean, we both said this.

00:47:25   I would love to be in that environment working on my stuff,

00:47:30   'cause it's got everything that I need in it, right?

00:47:33   Like I could go there and I have access

00:47:36   to all these incredible resources,

00:47:38   but my feeling is just like I don't know

00:47:40   if I could do it inside of an organization,

00:47:43   but I think that's more of Myke's problem

00:47:45   with organizations issue than Facebook's issue,

00:47:49   because they, if you want to work in a company,

00:47:52   they have provided you with like the perfect office.

00:47:57   It has everything.

00:47:59   And there are a lot of complaints that people make

00:48:01   about this type of thing,

00:48:02   But when I was there, and like, you know, you can laugh about the fact that it has a barber shop in it and stuff like that, but when you're there, you're so far away from anything, like where Facebook is located, there's nothing around.

00:48:14   So if they don't provide it, people can't have access to these amenities.

00:48:18   Yeah, yeah. Without a doubt, like, if you, um, maybe we'll put a link in the show notes, but if you, like, just look at the satellite map of where Facebook is,

00:48:28   it makes sense that they have built a little walled city. Because all around it is just wrapping the highway. There's nowhere to walk to outside of it.

00:48:37   And so, like, if I was Zuckerberg and I was going to build a gigantic company,

00:48:42   I would have done the same thing he did in this idea of, okay, we just need to build all of the amenities

00:48:50   that a literal town's worth of people could need.

00:48:54   Right, we're going to need parks, we're going to need a place for people to do their laundry,

00:48:58   we're going to need entertainment for people.

00:49:00   I would have done the exact same thing.

00:49:03   I was saying to someone, I am half surprised they don't have apartments for rent in that complex.

00:49:09   They could build an apartment building and have some of their employees just live there.

00:49:13   And I'm sure people would happily live there because that Facebook campus is better than many towns I have passed through on travels in my life.

00:49:22   Safer as well.

00:49:24   Yeah, yeah.

00:49:25   Like, yeah, it is a fantastic question.

00:49:28   What is the crime rate on the Facebook campus?

00:49:30   I bet it is near zero.

00:49:32   Yep.

00:49:32   - Like I asked somebody, can you sleep here?

00:49:35   And they were like, you can take a nap,

00:49:38   but you can't sleep here.

00:49:40   You know, like I imagine there's like a,

00:49:43   do not sleep here, like just don't do it, right?

00:49:46   Because if people find out you're doing that,

00:49:48   that's terrible, like just stop it, don't, just go home.

00:49:51   - Right.

00:49:52   - But yeah, you can take naps.

00:49:53   Because basically I was angling for,

00:49:56   like yeah, some people do,

00:49:58   'cause that basically means, yeah, some people live here.

00:50:00   Right?

00:50:01   - They do, but they do.

00:50:03   - Yeah, and this is also where,

00:50:05   I remember, I can't remember what the details were,

00:50:07   but some story came out about some guy who was living--

00:50:10   - He was living in a rented van.

00:50:12   - Right, he got fired, but he and his buddy

00:50:14   just still lived on the campus,

00:50:15   working on their startup or something.

00:50:17   But having been to Facebook, it's totally understandable,

00:50:20   how does that happen, that you could just lose track

00:50:22   of a person and keep living in your company?

00:50:24   This is how it happens, because it's a town.

00:50:27   You can lose track of people in a town.

00:50:29   It was very overwhelming.

00:50:35   As you said, I also had the same experience of, okay, if my

00:50:40   brain got used to this after the first couple of days of just everything is new, everything is overwhelming,

00:50:46   it is in its own way. It's a fantastic environment and I could see, like you said,

00:50:51   somehow being my own person working in this environment where everything is incredibly convenient.

00:50:57   But if I was going to be an employee of a company, the Facebook office, I felt like, "I'm not sure that I could work here."

00:51:07   And it was interesting because we had the comparison just a couple days later where we went to the Dropbox headquarters,

00:51:14   which also had a lot of the kind of crazy San Francisco stuff of the way, like, "Oh, there's a bunch of open offices, and we have pink carpeting over here."

00:51:24   like here's a gigantic statue of like a silver panda bear that we have put in the center of the office

00:51:30   like they have all of this kind of crazy stuff so there was a similarity of feeling

00:51:34   but like the Dropbox place as far as an office went, like the scale of it was smaller

00:51:40   and I thought like okay if I was going to be an employee of a company

00:51:43   and I had to choose like do you want to work at Facebook or do you want to work at Dropbox

00:51:46   like just based on the environment it's like okay the Dropbox one was just like calmer

00:51:52   Like especially I was really aware that it was visually calmer

00:51:56   and like you said before, even though there was absolutely nobody

00:52:00   in that gigantic open office when we were there except maybe 10% of the seats

00:52:04   something about the way it was set up

00:52:08   this is like the dumbest phrase ever, but it felt like there was like

00:52:12   psychic noise. Like I kept thinking it is, like if I was here with a

00:52:16   decibel meter it would not be registering much sound

00:52:20   but I felt like it was loud. I feel like it was the way that we were

00:52:25   approaching it, right? So when we were in Dropbox, we were enclosed by these walls

00:52:29   that are around us, so we feel the space more, so we're whispering. But in the

00:52:35   Facebook one, like there's no walls, like the walls are a mile away. Yeah. So I

00:52:39   think we feel like we're outside, so we're using our outside voices. Yeah,

00:52:43   that's a good point because we noticed it right away in the Dropbox headquarters

00:52:46   of we were whispering as we're walking through all the various spaces. But if

00:52:50   - It felt like there were the actual same amount of people

00:52:53   in both is what it felt like, right?

00:52:54   - Yeah, it did, it did.

00:52:56   - Very, very strange.

00:52:58   I think I'm following the way that you feel about this.

00:53:00   If I was going to work for a company,

00:53:03   if I was going to take a job again,

00:53:05   I would prefer to be in an environment like Dropbox.

00:53:07   But if I was going to take my own personal business

00:53:11   and put it somewhere, I would want to do that

00:53:14   inside of Facebook, inside of their office.

00:53:17   And maybe, like, you know, the way that they set up,

00:53:19   I don't know the organizational structure,

00:53:22   but you might kind of feel like that there, you know?

00:53:24   And if that's the case,

00:53:25   I can see how it would work for people.

00:53:27   If they feel like they're running their business

00:53:29   inside of Facebook,

00:53:30   but their business happens to be search ads,

00:53:33   then I can see it working.

00:53:35   - Yeah, and it certainly, from the people that we spoke to,

00:53:37   it did have that feeling of,

00:53:41   like there are a bunch of companies within this company

00:53:44   just doing their own thing sort of unrelated to stuff

00:53:48   that other people are doing.

00:53:49   - And the other thing between the two companies,

00:53:52   Dropbox, it seemed like everyone was working

00:53:55   and there was a sense of people getting stuff done.

00:53:58   They felt like that.

00:53:59   Like in the cafeteria, we went for lunch there,

00:54:00   people were moving around fast.

00:54:02   Facebook, everyone was so chilled.

00:54:05   - I actually looked around the Dropbox cafeteria

00:54:09   and the thing that caught my attention was

00:54:12   everybody eating in the Dropbox cafeteria,

00:54:15   they were leaning forward.

00:54:17   they were leaning forward and talking to the people at their table and at

00:54:21   Facebook looking around, at least we were sitting,

00:54:23   I was really aware that everybody was like leaning back in their chairs and

00:54:26   talking.

00:54:27   Because it felt like we're a festival or something.

00:54:30   Yeah, it really did. It really did. Uh, so yeah, I, I, I,

00:54:35   I will reiterate your sentiments about working on our own things versus working

00:54:38   for a company and which environment would we choose. I think that is a,

00:54:41   that is an accurate summation of the experience of,

00:54:45   of seeing these places. Final little thing

00:54:49   that I just want to talk about with Facebook, because I mention it to everybody as my

00:54:53   favorite little detail from this tour,

00:54:55   which was Zuckerberg's

00:54:58   conference room slash office. You know, I was wondering if you were going to bring

00:55:03   this up.

00:55:05   I have to bring this up because

00:55:08   just as the Apple and Facebook campuses themselves were a

00:55:13   a reflection of the company's corporate policies.

00:55:16   Zuckerberg's office, to me, was just a perfect visual metaphor for what Facebook is.

00:55:25   And so, in this tremendously long office where there are people absolutely everywhere, at

00:55:31   the end of it we get to Zuckerberg's conference room/office space.

00:55:38   And what you have to imagine, listener, is we're standing in this big space, there are

00:55:45   desks absolutely everywhere in every direction, and in the center of these desks, in the absolute

00:55:53   center, not against any wall or anything, there is a glass cube that is Zuckerberg's

00:56:00   office.

00:56:02   So if he was in the inside of that, we could have just walked around the outside of his

00:56:09   glass office and looked at him from every single angle.

00:56:13   It's like, "Oh look, your life and work exposed to everybody.

00:56:19   Welcome to Facebook."

00:56:21   It was amazing.

00:56:22   Yeah, it was.

00:56:23   And I was so sad that he wasn't there.

00:56:26   You know?

00:56:27   Really sad.

00:56:29   Yeah.

00:56:30   It was weird.

00:56:32   And I just kept wondering,

00:56:34   what happens when you have meetings

00:56:37   with important people from other,

00:56:39   you can't have a secret meeting in that office.

00:56:42   Zuckerberg, you must have some secret bunker somewhere

00:56:48   so that when you're hammering out deals with Apple

00:56:50   or you're angry at each other

00:56:51   about your background audio processing

00:56:53   that was totally a mistake.

00:56:54   There must be a place that you can go

00:56:56   so that people don't see you arguing

00:56:59   with Apple executives about whatever.

00:57:02   Like you can't possibly be doing it in that office.

00:57:05   It was just, yeah, it was so weird,

00:57:07   but so perfectly Facebook.

00:57:09   - Inside of the arcade that we went to,

00:57:11   if you put the Konami code into one of the machines,

00:57:13   a door opens.

00:57:14   - It has to be, it has to be.

00:57:16   - And it takes you down to the Zuckerberg lair somewhere,

00:57:19   below the floor of Facebook.

00:57:21   - Somewhere in Facebook,

00:57:22   there are secret passages to other locations.

00:57:25   I refuse to believe otherwise.

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00:59:01   - All right, so, listener, I need to talk to you

00:59:05   for a minute directly here because we experienced VR,

00:59:10   and for me, for Myke, this was the first time

00:59:19   that we had a particular experience, like,

00:59:21   with the equipment that they had available there.

00:59:24   And since our day at Facebook,

00:59:27   we have been talking to lots of people about this experience with VR.

00:59:33   And I feel the need to kind of put something out there at first,

00:59:39   because you're going to be listening to us talking about this thing,

00:59:43   but it is a very hard thing to talk about.

00:59:47   And I have finally settled on the metaphor,

00:59:50   which is, oftentimes, people who have done hallucinatory drugs

00:59:58   will attempt to explain to you what the experience was like

01:00:02   and they are just limited by the words in the English language

01:00:08   and people who have done hallucinatory drugs

01:00:12   will also say something like, "It was an experience that just changed them

01:00:17   but they have a hard time articulating what that means.

01:00:22   But they say that it is a thing that will stick with them

01:00:25   for a month after doing the actual drugs themselves.

01:00:27   And I feel like what we are going to be now

01:00:33   is the equivalent of two guys who dropped acid together

01:00:37   and are going to try to explain to you what it was like.

01:00:40   And so we're gonna try to do our best,

01:00:43   but I think keeping that in mind

01:00:45   can kind of like help you along with this conversation.

01:00:49   And it also has my favorite quality of the experience of trying to explain a dream to someone.

01:00:57   And what you're trying to do is explain the emotional content of an event, not the event itself.

01:01:04   And so like there is a story that I, like there is a moment that I had in VR that I keep trying to explain to people.

01:01:10   Every time I do it, I feel like I'm explaining why something that happened in a dream was really important.

01:01:15   So I just want to put that out there to try to help you with this conversation.

01:01:20   Listen to the emotional content of what we are describing, not necessarily the literal description of what is happening.

01:01:30   The next 20 minutes are going to just sound like the most hyperbolic two people could probably ever be.

01:01:37   But the thing is, the four of us that tried it all talk about this the same way.

01:01:43   That's why I feel the need to say this because I know what we are about to sound like.

01:01:48   And I know, listener, how hyperbolic we are going to sound to you.

01:01:53   But it is because we are attempting to describe a thing that is fundamentally impossible to describe.

01:02:01   Like, it must be experienced, it cannot be described.

01:02:05   In the same way that I have heard people describe to me what hallucinatory drugs are like, but

01:02:10   since I have never tried them, like, I just know that there is an experience that a brain

01:02:15   can have that I haven't had that cannot be communicated in words, and I think VR is exactly

01:02:22   this.

01:02:23   There is an experience that can be had in VR that is impossible to explain in words.

01:02:30   So Myke, would you like to explain the words?

01:02:32   - I'm gonna dive head in and say that my life has changed.

01:02:37   Right, that something significant has happened

01:02:39   in my life now.

01:02:40   That means it will never be the same as before

01:02:44   because I have experienced something

01:02:47   that I didn't really know was possible.

01:02:51   And one of the things that we need to mention

01:02:53   at this juncture is the setup that we were given access to.

01:02:58   So I have used VR headsets, I have used the Oculus before,

01:03:03   but always with a traditional game controller.

01:03:09   I have not or had not played the HTC Vive or Vive

01:03:14   or however it is said,

01:03:16   which comes with their kind of hand controllers.

01:03:19   We were given access to the Oculus Rift demo unit

01:03:23   along with some of their touch controller demo units,

01:03:26   which was supposed to go on sale

01:03:28   when the product was launched, but were delayed,

01:03:30   and they're going to be coming out very soon,

01:03:33   if not basically by the time you hear this,

01:03:35   they'll be available for people to purchase.

01:03:37   So we were given access to this whole set of equipment,

01:03:41   and is this set of equipment

01:03:43   that has enabled the experience that we've had?

01:03:45   - Yeah, so the equipment that we were given,

01:03:48   for people who are not familiar with

01:03:50   the various levels of VR,

01:03:52   or who are just dimly aware that,

01:03:53   oh, there's VR stuff now,

01:03:55   is that we had the helmet that you put on

01:03:58   that completely encapsulates your field of vision.

01:04:00   So everything you see is like a 3D projection

01:04:04   in front of you.

01:04:06   - Which I was very surprised worked with my glasses.

01:04:09   (laughing)

01:04:10   - Yeah.

01:04:11   - 'Cause I had quite big frames, right?

01:04:12   I mean, every time I took it off,

01:04:13   my glasses went with the Rift.

01:04:15   But I could wear it with my glasses on.

01:04:19   - Yeah, I specifically put on contacts

01:04:22   because I was like, I want to experience this unobstructed.

01:04:25   If my glasses are going to have any hindrance at all,

01:04:28   I want to put on contacts, but.

01:04:29   - No, I wanted to test it.

01:04:30   I wanted to see if it could do it and it lived up to it.

01:04:33   - No, I was all like, my body is ready.

01:04:35   I'm prepared for this.

01:04:36   (laughing)

01:04:39   So then you also have these headphones

01:04:41   that go over your ears.

01:04:43   But then the key piece,

01:04:45   which at the time that we are recording

01:04:46   is not available to the general public,

01:04:49   are these two hand controllers.

01:04:52   So they're two little controllers, one for each hand.

01:04:55   They have a pair of triggers on them and a couple of buttons on them, but they are able

01:05:00   to act as virtual hands in the world.

01:05:06   And I think Myke is, like I had had zero experience of VR and this was perfect because I was actually

01:05:14   kind of waiting to try a system like this.

01:05:19   I almost didn't want to experience just the 360 degree field of vision that you can look

01:05:24   around.

01:05:25   I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of what that was.

01:05:27   I wanted to experience something where, no, I have hands in the world as well because

01:05:32   I suspected that the brain would have a particular reaction to this, which is exactly what I

01:05:40   experienced.

01:05:41   And talking to somebody else who was with us there on the day who owns an Oculus headset

01:05:46   and plays tons of games but plays them with a regular Xbox controller, like a regular handheld controller.

01:05:52   He said the same thing, like he was blown away by it, like it was an entirely different thing from just the headset.

01:06:01   Alright, so let me try to walk through what it is that I'm explaining here about that happens to your brain in virtual reality.

01:06:11   So, there were six people with us that day.

01:06:14   Every single one of us had some variation on a moment where a thing occurred in the virtual world

01:06:24   and we realized that our brains had just totally bought into the experience.

01:06:31   Each one of us has been repeating over and over to everyone who will listen,

01:06:35   to every person we can grab on the street, like, "You don't understand, I had this moment."

01:06:40   And the moment doesn't particularly matter, but all of us had this kind of thing.

01:06:45   So the basic description that we can give without getting into like,

01:06:50   "I was in a dream, and then I saw this thing, and I went over here,"

01:06:54   was they started us off on a first-person shooter simulation

01:06:59   that's designed to just get you used to, "Look over here,

01:07:04   you have these two hands in this virtual world, you can pick up objects."

01:07:08   So there's a very brief tutorial that you walk through,

01:07:12   and then you find yourself, essentially, if you've seen The Matrix, playing a Matrix game.

01:07:17   The world can slow down, there's guys who are coming after you,

01:07:20   you can teleport to different locations and you can shoot them.

01:07:23   And you're playing this game, and because you have virtual hands in the world

01:07:28   with these two controllers that you're using,

01:07:31   you're picking up weapons, you're throwing objects,

01:07:33   you're able to physically block objects that are coming into you.

01:07:37   And for me, my little moment of "my brain has totally bought into this" was

01:07:43   I accidentally in the game kind of dropped the weapon that I was holding

01:07:49   and you can slow down the world

01:07:53   and so I dropped the gun accidentally

01:07:56   I slowed down the world as the gun was falling

01:08:00   like I turned my head to watch it fall in slow motion

01:08:05   and just reached out with my virtual hand

01:08:07   grabbed it as it was falling, like at the moment that an enemy appeared in my peripheral vision on the other side,

01:08:14   like turned and shot him.

01:08:17   And then it was just... holy sh*t, like my brain just made this world real in this moment.

01:08:28   And this is what I mean by it, it's this dreamlike state, it's very hard to explain, it's not the big deal about like

01:08:33   about like, oh, I dropped a gun and shot a guy

01:08:35   and it was super cool.

01:08:36   It was like, no, this was the moment where my brain

01:08:39   just let go of its normal experience

01:08:43   of existing in the world and was existing in a place

01:08:48   so that you could have a reflex that would happen

01:08:51   unlearned just like in the real world, right?

01:08:54   Just like in the real world,

01:08:56   if something catches your peripheral vision

01:08:57   or like something drops off a table and you grab it,

01:09:00   You just react in a way that is just so natural and that you don't think about it,

01:09:05   which is very rarely an experience that you have in a traditional game unless you have practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced.

01:09:11   Like this was an event that occurred maybe two minutes into playing the game.

01:09:15   And that is the thing that makes the difference.

01:09:19   My brain just accepted these virtual hands, these are my hands.

01:09:25   Right, this train station that I am in,

01:09:28   I am in this train station,

01:09:30   and so if an object falls that I want to catch,

01:09:33   just engage all of the normal reflexes that you would in the real world,

01:09:38   and perform all of the actions that you would in the real world totally naturally.

01:09:42   And each one of us had some little moment like that

01:09:46   very quickly where you realize,

01:09:48   I...

01:09:50   As far as my brain is concerned,

01:09:52   I am here.

01:09:54   there is nowhere else, I am here.

01:09:57   - In this game, I had kind of two instances like this

01:10:01   which amassed a kind of one type of thing

01:10:04   that you're talking about.

01:10:05   So the first part for me is,

01:10:07   you start off in this train carriage

01:10:09   and part of the demo,

01:10:11   like part of the tutorial you would call it

01:10:13   is to try and get you to think like this.

01:10:16   One of the things that it does is it says like,

01:10:18   just look to your right

01:10:19   and there's like a Chinese takeout box.

01:10:22   And the tutorial just pick it up.

01:10:24   Like that's it, right?

01:10:26   No like press A to like just pick it up.

01:10:29   So you reach down with the hand that you can see

01:10:31   and you grab it and I pick it up.

01:10:33   And the way that I put it down

01:10:35   is a way that I would never put down something

01:10:37   in a video game.

01:10:38   Because I picked it up,

01:10:39   I realized what I was supposed to do

01:10:40   and I threw it over my shoulder.

01:10:42   And that was such a,

01:10:44   that's the way I would probably do that

01:10:46   in the real world, right?

01:10:47   Just pick it up, it's like,

01:10:48   "I'm done with this now."

01:10:50   And that, I remember the action

01:10:53   of just throwing it over my shoulder,

01:10:55   and immediately it clicked in my brain.

01:10:57   It's like, that was weird.

01:10:59   Why did I do that?

01:11:00   Why did I throw it rather than just let go?

01:11:04   - Right, right.

01:11:05   - And it was a very strange moment for me,

01:11:08   because then, from then on, I was like,

01:11:11   I've got this, and I've walked through the door,

01:11:13   just started picking up guns and picking off targets.

01:11:15   And it was like a media.

01:11:16   I was like, right, nailed it, let's do this.

01:11:19   And the other part for me, which was one of the kind of the cool reflex things was,

01:11:23   one of the things you could do in the game, what I think is the best possible thing in this game,

01:11:27   I think it's called bullet train, I think.

01:11:29   When you're able to slow down time,

01:11:33   you could grab bullets from the sky and throw them at people.

01:11:37   So like the bullets that were being shot at you, you could pick them up and throw them back.

01:11:41   There was a moment where I had a bunch of people around me

01:11:44   and my gun ran out of ammo.

01:11:46   So I just dropped the gun, slowed down time.

01:11:49   I leant backwards, turned my head to grab a bullet

01:11:53   that was behind me and then threw it at someone.

01:11:55   And it was like, "Um, okay.

01:11:58   Thanks, Badass Myke for doing that."

01:12:02   - Yeah, and again, it is that thing of

01:12:06   the game hasn't told you to do this.

01:12:11   This is just, it is as though you woke up one day

01:12:15   and you could slow down time, you would very naturally just start doing a bunch of stuff.

01:12:20   It wouldn't even occur to you not to.

01:12:23   And that is the different thing.

01:12:25   We keep saying, again, to everybody whose collars we can grab to bring them close to

01:12:29   tell them the truth.

01:12:32   We had this experience of being in these environments.

01:12:37   This was not like, I have had some amazing experiences playing super cool games, like

01:12:43   very, very fancy arcade car simulations, like the screens around you, like all of this kind of stuff.

01:12:50   And my reaction to all of those was the same of,

01:12:53   this is super fun, right? Like this is an amazing, fun driving simulator, like the machines moving around me,

01:13:01   like this is great, like I'm having a fantastic time.

01:13:04   But the experience of this Matrix-like shoot-em-up simulator was an experience of

01:13:12   I am there, right? I am there doing this thing.

01:13:19   And it's almost like I wouldn't even describe it as fun because it was just so intense.

01:13:25   And it's like, okay, I am just in this environment. This is really what's happening.

01:13:29   And it was not like, woohoo, reckless abandon.

01:13:34   It was just an experience that is very hard to articulate.

01:13:40   And I too, like you, feel like...

01:13:44   Again, reaching for metaphors here.

01:13:47   This is not even an appropriate comparison,

01:13:49   but I keep feeling like the only other day

01:13:51   that I remember having this feeling

01:13:53   was the day I got married,

01:13:56   where I remember driving home after getting married

01:14:00   in the car with my brand new bride,

01:14:02   and thinking,

01:14:04   "Oh, the whole of my life is different now."

01:14:07   And it's like, is that an appropriate metaphor

01:14:09   for experiencing VR, but it's like my brain is just reaching

01:14:14   for something that is similar.

01:14:16   And I feel the VR experience was the same way.

01:14:20   Just as in, oh, I had this life before I was married,

01:14:24   and then my life after getting married is just different.

01:14:28   And I feel like this is another marker.

01:14:31   Everything that came before VR is just different now

01:14:37   from everything that came after VR.

01:14:40   It's like I have experienced the moldability,

01:14:44   the plasticness of the human mind

01:14:50   and its ability to drop into

01:14:53   and accept fundamentally different environments.

01:14:57   - The one that I keep thinking of

01:14:59   is when I first tried the iPhone

01:15:02   and I just knew that everything was different.

01:15:05   everything that I thought I knew about technology had changed that day and everything that I

01:15:09   know about video games has changed but it's way more than that as well.

01:15:15   It's far more. It's far more than just video games. It's like this is kind of I feel so

01:15:21   crazy saying stuff like this but this has changed my perception of reality because I

01:15:25   have had a reality that isn't my own. I have experienced it.

01:15:29   This is why I open with the drug metaphor. Yeah because this is what we sound like.

01:15:33   But I also think that it is true, because I have had this same thing of just reality

01:15:39   feels different now in the same way that people who drop hallucinatory drugs, they will describe

01:15:44   to me that reality feels different.

01:15:47   Like I spent a thousand years communicating with the lamp in my room when I was high and

01:15:53   like now I just cannot look at a lamp and feel the same way again.

01:15:57   Like okay, you're a lunatic, but now I also feel the same way.

01:16:00   Even just this morning preparing for this podcast, I was walking around San Francisco

01:16:03   and as I always do, kind of like booting up into my head, what are we going to talk about?

01:16:07   But somehow my experience of walking around San Francisco this morning, my experience

01:16:12   of everything is just different after VR in this way that I cannot articulate.

01:16:17   It's just different.

01:16:18   It's just different.

01:16:19   So there was one other part that I wanted to talk about to try and further explain this

01:16:24   feeling.

01:16:25   So there was another game that we played.

01:16:27   It was more of a demo where they hook up two Oculus' together.

01:16:30   I don't think they're gonna release this

01:16:31   because that is an insane amount of work and money, right?

01:16:35   To hook up to complete machines.

01:16:37   But they've demoed this and it's toy,

01:16:39   it's they think they call it Toy Box or something.

01:16:41   And you were in one room and I was in another room.

01:16:43   And we're basically just in a room

01:16:45   with a lot of objects in it that you can interact with.

01:16:49   So we're like playing around, there's guns in there,

01:16:51   we're like shooting targets and stuff.

01:16:53   And then I saw a slingshot on the table

01:16:56   and I picked up the slingshot

01:16:58   and I just started firing pellets, I guess,

01:17:01   at phases and breaking them.

01:17:04   I don't remember the buttons that I pressed.

01:17:07   All I remember when I tell this story to people

01:17:12   is the action of firing a slingshot.

01:17:14   There were no instructions in the games that we played

01:17:19   because all you did was just interact with stuff.

01:17:22   There were boomerangs on the table.

01:17:24   I picked one up and I threw it and then I caught it

01:17:26   and I picked up two and threw them both.

01:17:28   It was like, I'm just in this world.

01:17:30   Like I am interacting with stuff.

01:17:32   Like I use my hands to interact with things all the time.

01:17:35   And my brain was like, we're going on this journey, buddy.

01:17:38   Like there is no problem I can deal with this.

01:17:40   - There is a little moment that was interesting

01:17:43   that all six of us did, and you could see everybody do it.

01:17:47   And even the people who saw the first of us do it

01:17:49   thought like, oh, that's funny.

01:17:49   But then they did it themselves,

01:17:51   which was when you, for the very first time,

01:17:54   boot into the world and you have these controllers in your hands, what happens is in your field

01:18:00   of vision what you see are basically a kind of outline of two blue hands.

01:18:06   And everybody did the exact same thing.

01:18:08   They raise up these hands and you kind of rotate them in your field of vision so you're

01:18:12   looking at these hands and you're seeing that they're moving the way the controllers move.

01:18:16   And then there's a trigger that you can pull which will close those hands so it's the grip

01:18:20   motion.

01:18:22   Every single person did the exact same thing.

01:18:24   They put their hands in their field of vision, they rotated them perfectly back and forth,

01:18:30   and then they pulled the trigger right in front of them so that the hands would open

01:18:33   and close.

01:18:34   I am convinced, I am absolutely convinced that every one of us did that because your

01:18:40   brain is remapping its movement protocol.

01:18:44   It's understanding what it can do.

01:18:46   And it's like, okay, I now can move my thumb,

01:18:50   my index finger, and then my other three fingers.

01:18:52   That's all I can do now.

01:18:53   This is what my hands do.

01:18:56   I'm in this world.

01:18:57   I completely agree with you.

01:18:59   Yeah.

01:19:00   - Right.

01:19:00   It is a brain accepting its hands.

01:19:04   And this is why it's so hard to explain

01:19:07   because after that moment,

01:19:09   we all had that same experience of

01:19:12   you don't feel like you're pulling a trigger

01:19:15   on a controller because your brain has just decided,

01:19:19   oh, these are my hands now, right?

01:19:21   And so even though in reality what you're doing is,

01:19:24   you know, you're pulling your middle finger closed

01:19:26   on a trigger, in the virtual world what's happening

01:19:29   is your whole hand is closing on an object.

01:19:32   And so the feeling is your whole hand

01:19:34   is closing on an object.

01:19:36   That's how it feels.

01:19:37   You don't feel that you're pulling a trigger.

01:19:39   And the closest I can come up with this

01:19:42   is I've seen some interesting descriptions

01:19:44   people who have had limbs amputated, but then some very advanced artificial limbs can do things like,

01:19:52   oh, they'll look for muscle pulls in the upper part of an arm to close the hand,

01:19:59   and so a person learns, oh, if they tense a certain part of their shoulder, they can open and close their hand.

01:20:04   But after a little while, what happens is they have a subjective sense of opening and closing their hand

01:20:10   because their brain has just rewired itself

01:20:13   so that, oh, this muscle group is how I open and close my hand,

01:20:16   I can see this artificial hand opening and closing on an object,

01:20:20   and the brain just learns this is what that is.

01:20:23   Like, I am absolutely convinced that the VR experience is the same thing.

01:20:26   It's the plasticness of the brain just accepting

01:20:30   these virtual hands are mine,

01:20:32   and I am experiencing the sensation of holding an object

01:20:37   because I can see it,

01:20:39   and the sequence of muscles that is needed to trigger to close the hand around this object,

01:20:45   that is irrelevant.

01:20:47   Because from the brain's perspective, it is always irrelevant.

01:20:49   Like the brain just knows it's sending out some electrical signal and it's receiving some feedback.

01:20:54   And this is what your brain does to grab an object.

01:20:57   And so it just accepts it and the startling thing is it accepts it so quickly and it becomes so real.

01:21:06   And I think if for those who haven't experienced VR,

01:21:11   there's a little... this is like the tiniest, baby-est thing that you can do to understand what we're trying to talk about.

01:21:18   But the human brain has this funny thing. I can't remember what it's called.

01:21:23   I think the name of this is something like tool sensation.

01:21:27   But if you take a pencil and a piece of paper in front of you and start drawing on the paper,

01:21:36   When you do that, focus your attention on the sensation of drawing.

01:21:44   And if you pay attention to this, you can recognize that you don't feel the pencil in your hand so much when you're drawing, you feel the tip of the pencil on the paper.

01:22:01   Yeah, this is why pen addicts love pens and paper, by the way, is that feeling?

01:22:05   Of course, right? I just realized I'm talking to the exact right guy.

01:22:09   But it's a thing that you don't think about it, but seriously, pay attention to this and you will notice that you have a physical sensation that is outside of your body.

01:22:22   You're having a physical sensation where the pencil meets the paper.

01:22:27   And of course, you don't have nerves in the pencil tip. There's no way for you to feel that.

01:22:32   But your brain has learned over the years of using a pencil that certain sensations of vibration that come back from the pencil,

01:22:40   like they map to certain visual experiences of the pencil on the paper,

01:22:44   and so your brain has learned to place a physical sensation at a point outside of your body.

01:22:51   And you can also sometimes notice this with like using a hammer and striking the head of a nail.

01:22:55   You physically feel the head of the hammer striking the nail, but you don't have any nerves there.

01:23:01   you don't have any nerves there, that's a sensation outside of your body.

01:23:04   Your brain is very willing to place sensation where there is none.

01:23:10   This happens all the time and you just don't notice it.

01:23:13   And VR is taking advantage of that.

01:23:18   It is leaning into the wiring of the brain and the way the brain wants to experience the world.

01:23:25   And so that's why we all have this "I cannot believe this experience"

01:23:30   experience because it felt like I had hands. I was picking up objects. I was throwing things.

01:23:35   Like Myke said, his memory is I picked up a slingshot because at that point he was 20

01:23:40   minutes into his brain mapping. These blue hands are my hands so I'm just picking up

01:23:44   stuff. He's not thinking about, oh, to perform this action I had to do quite a complicated

01:23:49   thing of pulling two separate triggers on two different controllers and locating your

01:23:53   hands. Like none of that. Like it's all just gone. It all just becomes natural.

01:23:58   - There was no coincidence in my mind

01:24:00   that as we all finished playing,

01:24:02   we were all joking about how we were picking things up.

01:24:05   Like, oh, I'm just picking things up

01:24:07   with my three fingers here and my index finger.

01:24:10   And I think that, I honestly believe

01:24:12   that we all made that joke because our brains were like,

01:24:15   hang on buddy, what's happening here?

01:24:17   These are different hands now.

01:24:20   Like we've just spent a bunch of time

01:24:22   with that limited movement

01:24:23   and now we're back to normal again.

01:24:25   And it did feel weird.

01:24:27   And it was incredible.

01:24:30   Absolutely incredible.

01:24:32   - I had a funny little moment with Stephen Hackett

01:24:37   of Connected where, I can't remember why,

01:24:39   but I was helping him transfer the gear off of him.

01:24:43   I helped get the controllers out of his hands

01:24:46   while the VR helmet was still on his head.

01:24:49   And he said he had a little freak out moment

01:24:52   because his brain suddenly registered

01:24:54   that he was paralyzed, right?

01:24:56   because the controllers were no longer in his hands,

01:24:58   and he was like, "I can't-- I have no hands anymore."

01:25:01   Like, he had-- his brain had just, like, a little freakout

01:25:03   because it's like, "Oh, the mapping is just gone.

01:25:04   I have no ability to influence the world."

01:25:06   It's a subjective feeling like someone cut off his hands.

01:25:09   And I've heard that mirrored by, um...

01:25:12   people who have just used, like, a-- like, a headset

01:25:16   where a game is less interactive,

01:25:17   but if there is a visual representation of the player,

01:25:20   like, looking down and seeing your hands,

01:25:22   but if you can't move them in the game--

01:25:23   Like, some people have said they have a weird, like,

01:25:25   paralyzed freak out about that. Like the brain does not like that. I think that again, this

01:25:30   is one of the reasons why these touch controllers, they're so important because they are what

01:25:38   grounds the brain in the world. They are what forces the brain to accept this input as just

01:25:45   a new physical location.

01:25:47   In that toy box mode, there was something that I need to address that we did. So it's

01:25:52   me and you playing together, we could look at each other and we would see like disembodied

01:25:56   hands and a disembodied head wearing an Oculus Rift. They were the graphical representations

01:26:01   of us both in separate rooms. We could also hear each other. They were microphones and

01:26:06   we could hear each other in our headsets.

01:26:07   Right, so I could look to my left and I could see Myke's head and Myke's hands. And also,

01:26:13   very strangely, Brain just totally accepts that immediately. Oh, that's Myke. Right,

01:26:17   Myke's just standing next to me. Even though he's in the other room, I had like a physical

01:26:22   presence of... Yeah, I had that too. I knew you were there even when I wasn't looking

01:26:26   at you. Right, like Myke is just next to me and that's also part of the tricks that they're

01:26:30   pulling with the audio and the way the headsets work is when you're just kind of like talking

01:26:35   out loud about what you're doing, I can hear you next to me and you're there. Like we are

01:26:40   at a virtual table together. That is the sensation. So I'm playing around and we're in this blue

01:26:46   room and there's this grey desk in front of us and that's where like all the toys are,

01:26:50   boomerangs and stuff. At one point Gray finds this like

01:26:53   puppet, a hand puppet, which I didn't like, right?

01:26:57   I actively disliked this puppet because he was

01:27:01   talking and moving the hand and I asked him to stop it and he did

01:27:06   but I really didn't like it. The brain mapping thing is so weird because I pick

01:27:10   up the puppet and immediately the visual

01:27:14   representation is that my hand is inside the back of a

01:27:17   puppet so I can make the mouth move. And again, it's just perfectly natural. So I moved the

01:27:21   puppet over to Myke, like I put it right in his face, and I'm like, "Hello, Myke!" Right,

01:27:25   making the mouth move open and closed. It was a horrifying puppet, Myke did not like

01:27:29   it.

01:27:30   So then all of a sudden, the room goes completely gray. Now I knew that gray had the ability

01:27:37   to change the environment that we were in.

01:27:39   Yeah, it was a bit of a funny situation because the game has two roles where one person is

01:27:45   the presenter. And so my perspective was I was able to essentially like reach out and

01:27:52   touch buttons that would move us to different tables in different locations that could do

01:27:56   different things.

01:27:58   So I thought we were in a different room. And then I hear, "Hello, Myke," but like,

01:28:06   "Hello, Myke." And I turn to my right, and Gray is massive. And then I realized he has

01:28:15   shrunk me. He picked up this special shrink ray and he shrunk me and then proceeded to

01:28:23   terrorize me in which Grey was throwing big things at me and he was like shooting me with

01:28:32   stuff and I was trying to like pick up the gun to shoot myself back to size but I couldn't

01:28:37   pick it up because I was too small. Right when you're too small you can't manipulate

01:28:40   any of the objects. Then he picked up the puppet again. I am going to put in the

01:28:47   show notes a video which I think best represents what VR can do to someone

01:28:53   which is me cowering and basically begging him to stop. I was like so I was

01:29:04   in joy I had an enjoyment of this but I was uncomfortable with it right like at

01:29:08   the same time it was like that mix of things because there was something

01:29:11   happening that I didn't like but I knew it was fun if you like it was like when

01:29:16   you go to like you may have never done anything like this but like London

01:29:20   Dungeons and places like that where you have a sense of fear but it's fun fear

01:29:25   because you know it's safe within the environment that you're in right right

01:29:29   so it's like a controlled fear like the adrenaline of it is all you get without

01:29:33   the actual dying part and I was kind of having that feeling because there was

01:29:38   nothing I could do and I was scared but like it's like nervous laughter and I'm

01:29:44   like just kind of cowering like basically approaching a field position at

01:29:47   one point. It was so strange. Yeah the thing that's interesting is I mean you

01:29:54   were genuinely having that that physical reaction like that is the thing that's

01:29:59   on the video is so interesting and talking to you about it later is like

01:30:03   what is the reason for you to cower right there there is no reason for that

01:30:07   Why am I putting my arms in front of my face? Why am I protecting my body? There's no point to do that

01:30:12   Yeah, there's absolutely absolutely no point to do it and it is fascinating and

01:30:18   Yes, so I eventually like and you know from my perspective I'm seeing a tiny mic on the table like hello

01:30:25   Right, like the giant puppet like hilarious for me. I eventually did, you know return you back to normal size

01:30:30   and

01:30:33   So then we swapped like I was able to hand you the shrink ray gun

01:30:36   Which by the way is only on the side of the person who's the presenter and so you couldn't have grabbed it anyway

01:30:41   So I hand you the shrink ray gun because I just I wanted to experience like okay

01:30:46   what was this thing and so then you shrink shrink me down and so again like the whole perspective shifts and

01:30:52   Again, it was it was amazing how much the brain just buys into it immediately of oh, okay

01:30:59   My perspective is showing me

01:31:02   everything around me being gigantic that I was looking at before, the perspective

01:31:08   is now from inches off of the surface of the table, it's not from above the table

01:31:13   anymore, and so looking over and I see a big mic and my brain just totally

01:31:18   buys into, I am now two inches tall standing on a table. There's

01:31:24   no reason that a brain has ever ever had that experience, but I think the inputs

01:31:29   are so seamless, combined with the motion of the hands in this virtual space, that

01:31:35   the brain's just, "Okay, this is what it is now. I'm just tiny on a table." And I knew

01:31:41   that my brain was totally bought in because when you shrink, the simulation

01:31:46   puts you right on the edge of the table, which I didn't realize at first. And the

01:31:51   only time I was genuinely startled in this oculus state, like the gun

01:31:58   simulation was just like I have to it was amazing slowing down the world and

01:32:02   matrix like teleporting around and just like assassinating people I just look

01:32:06   fantastic loved it but I was genuinely startled shrunk down on the table when I

01:32:13   turned and in my peripheral vision saw the edge of the table and then I turned

01:32:18   to see where I was standing and that was a time where I almost fell because in

01:32:23   the simulation I could see the edge and then like this tremendous distance down

01:32:27   And in the in the actual world like I am trying to turn around and then suddenly take a step back

01:32:32   Because my brain is like you were standing on the edge of a precipice and again

01:32:37   It was just totally bought into it

01:32:39   Then you know no doubt about it and my brain and body just reacted to an immediate sense of danger

01:32:45   that you did not realize you're standing two inches away from a

01:32:49   Subjective hundred foot drop it was it was astounding is absolutely astounding so I have another weird thing I

01:32:56   I have zero memory of shrinking you. I don't remember doing it.

01:33:00   You're telling me this. I cannot and I'm trying to like put it together in my brain.

01:33:07   I have from my perspective the game ended after the point where you shrunk me down.

01:33:12   I don't remember. I don't remember it.

01:33:14   Because it is so traumatic.

01:33:15   Yeah, I don't honestly don't remember anything else from that point. To me the game ended. How weird is that?

01:33:21   I don't remember doing it.

01:33:23   Yeah, well, I mean I am not surprised because

01:33:26   After our our day at Facebook, so, you know, we were looking at all the offices and then you know

01:33:33   We did this virtual experience together that again

01:33:37   I made a joke

01:33:38   But it was not a joke about how like this the six guys like the six of us who went through that thing

01:33:42   I said like, you know, like we are brothers in blood at this moment

01:33:46   Like we have gone through a thing together

01:33:47   All of us have had this incredible experience

01:33:50   All of us are trying to talk to each other about what it is like.

01:33:53   Like we had like this bonding event that is just unique in a life.

01:33:57   Is again, it sounds to the listener like crazy hyperbole, but it is not like that.

01:34:03   Is that is the subjective experience of this.

01:34:05   Our relationships as a group have changed because we went through this together.

01:34:10   Like categorically that is a fact.

01:34:13   Yeah.

01:34:14   That was without a doubt.

01:34:16   But so combine this with what I just found to be an overwhelming day at Facebook just in general with the scale of it all and all of this new experience and the bizarro town.

01:34:27   And then doing this virtual reality experience and we're driving in the car back and some of us were just talking and then alternately just quiet for long periods of time.

01:34:41   We're all just there in our own heads and then talking about it again.

01:34:44   We get back to the hotel room and, you know, again, going back to Myke's busy-

01:34:48   Busying up my calendar, you know, theoretically there was a bunch of stuff that we were supposed to do that evening.

01:34:55   But, you know, I went into the hotel room, I took a shower, and then my brain just said,

01:35:06   "Oh, those tiles on the floor, they look really nice, don't they?"

01:35:12   I was like, yeah, they do. They do.

01:35:14   So I like sat down like, hey, why don't you just lie down for a second?

01:35:18   My brain is telling me.

01:35:20   And I just lay down on the bathroom floor,

01:35:24   looking at the white ceiling, no joke, like three hours.

01:35:30   And what I think what was happening was, oh, no, I broke him.

01:35:34   My brain was like input buffer full writing to disk.

01:35:40   cannot accept any more input. I just needed to stare at a white wall for three hours.

01:35:45   Like totally awake, totally awake, not sleeping. Just like laying down and like there needs

01:35:52   to be nothing for a while while some part of my brain just processes the events of the

01:36:00   day. It was like nothing else. It was like nothing else.

01:36:05   Are you gonna buy one?

01:36:08   Yes.

01:36:10   Because the Oculus Rift is an investment, right?

01:36:14   Because you have to buy the Rift headset,

01:36:18   the touch controllers, and a capable PC to do this stuff.

01:36:22   And that is, it's quite a total that you get to

01:36:26   by the end of that.

01:36:27   - Oh yeah.

01:36:28   It is not a small investment.

01:36:32   My feeling is that I wanna see

01:36:35   when do these touch controllers,

01:36:37   when are they available to the general public?

01:36:39   Like I'm going to see when that is.

01:36:42   But to me, it's just no question.

01:36:47   Like I have to be able to experience this again.

01:36:51   You know, not in a demo environment, like on my own time.

01:36:56   And you know, I really think that this is a coming

01:37:01   phase change in technology in the way that you said.

01:37:05   Like you keep reaching for the iPhone experience.

01:37:09   like stuff is just different now.

01:37:11   And you know, like what was different

01:37:12   with the iPhone level touch screens

01:37:15   is they got the responsiveness down under a certain level

01:37:18   that you feel like you are, you know,

01:37:20   with a slide to unlock, for example,

01:37:21   you feel like you were moving an object on a screen

01:37:24   and you are directly interacting with the device.

01:37:27   You're not having a level of indirection

01:37:28   like with a mouse and with a keyboard.

01:37:31   And the VR experience is that same thing of like,

01:37:34   I'm in a world, I'm really here,

01:37:36   I'm really interacting with stuff.

01:37:38   And I feel like this is just,

01:37:40   this is just obviously a phase change moment in technology.

01:37:47   And one of the things I even keep thinking about is,

01:37:51   before they even load you into the game,

01:37:55   they have like a matrix style, like loading area.

01:37:58   They need a place for you to stand

01:37:59   to see that the machine is on,

01:38:00   like then where you're gonna select

01:38:01   what you're going to play.

01:38:03   And what you're standing in before things start

01:38:07   is just this beautiful zen garden house.

01:38:12   You know, and I'm just looking around

01:38:13   and it's like, oh, this is beautiful.

01:38:14   There's a tree over here, there's a little waterfall,

01:38:16   I have like this vision of the sky

01:38:19   and all the rest of this.

01:38:20   And even just that moment, I'm sitting there thinking,

01:38:24   well, this is an amazing work environment.

01:38:30   Like why wouldn't I have a virtual environment

01:38:36   in which to do work.

01:38:38   I can have a keyboard here.

01:38:40   I can have a screen here to type on.

01:38:42   The possibilities of this seem endless to me.

01:38:51   They seem absolutely endless, because what you are doing

01:38:55   is you are remapping the input into the brain,

01:39:01   and the brain is having an experience

01:39:03   in a different place.

01:39:04   And so this is starting with games, but this is applicable to literally everything that

01:39:14   you do.

01:39:16   Literally everything that you do eventually.

01:39:18   So yes, I want to get on board this train and experience this again and think about

01:39:27   it deeply in the future and see where this is going.

01:39:33   And so yes, I am definitely going to do it.

01:39:37   The biggest problem of course is in London, in small spaces, trying to figure out where

01:39:43   is this going to go, how does this fit in the world.

01:39:47   And I think that's the same problem you have because I feel like you're on board this as

01:39:51   well.

01:39:52   You're trying to figure out what's going to happen next.

01:39:53   I have an order placed, a pre-order for the Playstation VR headset.

01:40:00   which I have not tried, but all intents and purposes

01:40:02   is similar because you have the hand-based controllers,

01:40:06   they're different, but they are proxies for your hands,

01:40:08   right, that kind of thing.

01:40:10   And I think that having looked at the hardware

01:40:13   and what it's capable of, I think the Oculus

01:40:15   will probably give a better experience,

01:40:17   but if I got 75% of what I got with the Oculus

01:40:21   with the PlayStation VR, that's still more than enough.

01:40:24   All I need, I feel, at a base level,

01:40:27   is just an environment in which I can operate hands.

01:40:32   And those hands, like I've learned,

01:40:33   like it doesn't matter what the button arrangement is,

01:40:36   is how I'm assuming.

01:40:37   It's just my hands just need to map

01:40:38   to their new movement mechanism,

01:40:40   whatever that ends up being, right?

01:40:42   Like that's how I think it's gonna be.

01:40:45   So I'm, because looking at Oculus ship dates,

01:40:48   it's like September,

01:40:50   so I'm gonna wait to see what the PSVR is like.

01:40:52   And if that is good enough, then I'm gonna stick with that.

01:40:54   But if I try the PSVR and don't feel

01:40:57   like how I felt this week, then I will be investing, unfortunately, in the Oculus system.

01:41:04   Thanks, Andy and Jon.

01:41:08   Man. Yeah. Thanks so much to Andy and Jon, who made this day possible for us with the tour of Facebook

01:41:19   and access to the unreleased Oculus stuff. It was really a day that I will

01:41:28   never forget.