22: Statistics Aren't Everything


00:00:00   I don't think that... I maybe have like just a very small handful of shows if that...

00:00:04   um which have smaller audiences then... wait I don't know what I'm saying.

00:00:10   That sentence was not working you gotta start over abort abort abort.

00:00:14   Where am I? Who am I again?

00:00:16   You don't sound so great Myke.

00:00:19   Yeah I've been uh... I've had like the worst...

00:00:22   potentially the worst illness I could have bar one.

00:00:25   What is... now I need to know what is the bar one?

00:00:28   The worst illness I could have is laryngitis.

00:00:30   But what do you have now?

00:00:34   I have a throat infection.

00:00:35   You have a throat infection.

00:00:37   That is really damaging to my business.

00:00:39   That is a professional hazard in your line of work, sir.

00:00:44   I'm surprised it's taken this long.

00:00:46   You've not had any throat infections or throat related illnesses in the entire time you've gone

00:00:51   full-time with podcasting? That hasn't happened yet?

00:00:54   This is the first actual real illness I've had since I started Relay.

00:00:59   Like, this is the first thing that stopped me working.

00:01:01   I noticed that you were sick enough that you were pulling back from some podcasts

00:01:07   and not doing as much work as you normally would.

00:01:10   I haven't done any, which is, you know, that's...

00:01:13   I've really, like, I've been sick for maybe four or five days,

00:01:17   and I've done, like, some work one half day.

00:01:22   But I've dragged you out of bed to record Cortex here.

00:01:26   You make it sound, I mean I need to tell the listeners how nice you've been to me the last few days.

00:01:33   I know it's breaking your character, you know? That you're not just a robot.

00:01:38   You have actually been very nice to me. You've been very accommodating.

00:01:42   It's actually in character because it's much less about you getting better and much more about like,

00:01:47   "Oh, I don't have to record an episode this week."

00:01:49   week. I feel like you're, this is the thing, I feel like you're trying to give that impression,

00:01:54   but I like to believe that you genuinely care. I'm happy to let you believe that.

00:01:59   I tell you what though, it's been strange to actually be kind of in bed sick not working.

00:02:08   Because this is the first time that I've done this and it reminds me a little bit more of what

00:02:15   what it was like to work a job, you know?

00:02:17   - How so?

00:02:18   - Because when you work for yourself,

00:02:20   you kind of, you do things you wouldn't otherwise do,

00:02:23   like you work on your holidays, you know?

00:02:26   If you've got a sore throat

00:02:29   or you've got a stomach ache or something,

00:02:30   then maybe you're still more likely to just put up with it

00:02:34   than where previous you might be like,

00:02:35   ah, I don't feel that great today,

00:02:36   I'm not gonna go to work.

00:02:38   - Right.

00:02:39   - But now it's like, no, I can't work.

00:02:42   and that has been kind of a real peculiar thing for me.

00:02:45   Like I've had stuff coming in, I've had emails coming in

00:02:47   and I see what they are and I'm like, I just can't do this.

00:02:50   Like there's been some things that I've needed to do with

00:02:52   and I've been sending emails to people and I'm like,

00:02:54   I'm gonna have to get back to you in a few days

00:02:56   because I'm not really with it right now.

00:02:59   And I've been genuinely worried that I would agree

00:03:02   to something or say something that would be bad.

00:03:05   Like I had to send a few emails to some sponsors and stuff

00:03:08   to let them know that some of the shows were gonna be late.

00:03:11   And I read the emails back, and it

00:03:13   was like they were written by a nine-year-old.

00:03:16   I don't know why, but they were just written so badly.

00:03:20   And I was like, OK, I'm very pleased

00:03:23   I decided to take a few days to just rest.

00:03:26   Yeah, so this wasn't the time to be renegotiating quarterly

00:03:30   rates.

00:03:30   No.

00:03:31   Sponsors.

00:03:32   Although, I'm sorry to tell you that our sponsors now

00:03:35   pay us $25 an episode.

00:03:37   I'm sorry to sound great.

00:03:39   Looks like I need to update some spreadsheets in mind then. This might change some things.

00:03:43   Yeah, I've plummeted to the bottom of the list. I'm not just merely sitting at it anymore.

00:03:48   We have to start a whole brand new list.

00:03:52   I can't remember the first time that I was really sick after getting self-employed.

00:03:57   But, I mean, one of the things is since I used to be a teacher, I used to get sick way more.

00:04:03   Because you're exposed to kids all the time, which are super germy.

00:04:07   So it's just like getting throat infections or just getting sick was a much more frequent occurrence.

00:04:11   And you're talking all day, you know, you're putting stress on those parts of your body as well.

00:04:15   Yeah, yeah, you're busy all day, you're interacting with people, you know, it's unavoidable.

00:04:20   So it seems like since I became self-employed, I am sick much, much less frequently.

00:04:26   But I am aware of the same thing as you, which is it just...

00:04:31   Like in some ways when you're sick and you have a regular job, it's like a snow day, right?

00:04:35   It's like a grown-up snow day. It's like, you know what? I don't feel very well today. Maybe I can't leave the house

00:04:41   And you know because I'm just I'm not doing well

00:04:44   But in comparison to having to go into work, this is a holiday

00:04:49   there has been a weird part of me like once I

00:04:52   once I kind of

00:04:54   Settled into my illness where I was like

00:04:56   Whilst I feel terrible. It is kind of nice to just lay in bed and watch making a murderer

00:05:03   Mm-hmm, right which I watched over two days

00:05:05   Good, that's the only way to watch it. It's the only way to do it. See relaxing is the wrong word because I felt horrible

00:05:11   I actually haven't felt this ill years. Like I can't remember the last time I felt this bad like not in my adult life anyway

00:05:18   So I've I felt atrocious but there's still been this part where it's like this is slightly different to regular

00:05:26   But I have I want to come back to this in a minute

00:05:28   But there was one thing like you're saying about getting sick as a as a teacher which makes sense

00:05:33   I was sitting in the doctors and I was like, how are doctors, how are they alive?

00:05:39   Like all day they are seeing sick people, right? I don't understand how doctors stay healthy.

00:05:46   I mean, I'd be curious to know but my presumption is that they don't. My presumption is that doctors

00:05:54   are in an even worse position than teachers are. I bet doctors take an enormous amount of sick time,

00:05:59   Like they get sick much more than the general population.

00:06:02   They just have to.

00:06:03   They can't not.

00:06:04   But then I wonder, is this some kind of like special medication?

00:06:08   Doctor's Day.

00:06:10   They keep the good stuff to themselves.

00:06:12   The cure-alls.

00:06:14   Yeah.

00:06:14   That's one of the things that you get with your doctor's license

00:06:17   is also initiation into the brotherhood of good medicine.

00:06:20   Swink, wink.

00:06:20   That you can't tell anybody else about.

00:06:22   Like they give you a little nudge-nudge,

00:06:24   and they just give you a brown envelope.

00:06:26   Just take one of these one time and you're set.

00:06:30   But I think the general population feels like, oh doctors don't seem like they're sick but

00:06:34   it's a selection bias because you're only able to make an appointment with the doctor

00:06:37   when they're there.

00:06:39   So you always see the doctor when the doctor is healthy and you feel like, boy doctors

00:06:42   are always healthy, how are they not sick all the time?

00:06:44   I bet they actually are, they have to be.

00:06:46   It has to be, right?

00:06:48   You can't not.

00:06:49   They see sick people, like that is all they do.

00:06:51   They just talk to sick people, they touch sick people.

00:06:55   (both laughing)

00:06:57   They don't touch people most of the time.

00:07:01   They're alone and sick.

00:07:02   - Let's move on, this is getting too much.

00:07:04   This is getting too much.

00:07:05   - So go ahead, thanks for staying in bed.

00:07:07   One of the things that I think I've realized this time

00:07:12   more than ever is kind of how I am

00:07:14   in the kind of situation that I'm in

00:07:16   from a self-employed perspective.

00:07:18   Like I kind of work in a small company, right?

00:07:20   Like there's me and Steven and then there's a bunch of

00:07:23   like other people who do multiple different things,

00:07:26   you know, like hosts and we have people

00:07:27   that help out with other things, kind of like hosts

00:07:29   take on some like additional responsibilities

00:07:31   depending on the shows that they do.

00:07:33   But it hasn't been an issue for me.

00:07:37   People have filled in for me, that kind of stuff.

00:07:40   And it's been nice to know that like I have this system

00:07:43   around me that I didn't really know before

00:07:46   'cause I've never needed it or felt like I needed to use it.

00:07:49   Yeah, like we're all everybody's always kind of helping each other out.

00:07:52   Like if I'm busy with something or Steven's busy with something or whatever,

00:07:55   we might step in for each other.

00:07:56   But this has been like a week of me just not doing anything.

00:08:00   And at last I checked the business hadn't crumbled to pieces,

00:08:05   you know?

00:08:06   Yeah.

00:08:07   This is your first test of a bit of a support system with the tiny company that

00:08:12   you have built.

00:08:13   And it's really nice to know that it's worked,

00:08:16   Which made me think of you, all up there in your little ivory tower of one.

00:08:22   What do you do when you get sick?

00:08:25   I mean the answer is I don't work.

00:08:30   And everything comes to an absolute grinding halt.

00:08:34   Like there's no way around that.

00:08:37   It was actually just...

00:08:39   I was pretty sick for a couple days a few weeks ago.

00:08:44   And it was a similar thing, like, okay, well, nothing's going to happen now.

00:08:49   And there's nothing I can do about that.

00:08:51   And it's totally fine.

00:08:52   Yeah, I think it's maybe less of an issue because of the way that like our businesses

00:08:56   are made up.

00:08:57   Right?

00:08:58   Yeah.

00:08:59   The way that our business works and like with this show, this has to continue to be made

00:09:02   for money to be made.

00:09:04   Right.

00:09:05   Because of the way that our advertising comes in.

00:09:07   But it's different with YouTube, right?

00:09:09   The videos that are there, not that obviously don't make as much money as if you're putting

00:09:12   out new ones, but they still generate money.

00:09:16   Yeah, that is definitely one thing that I like about having the YouTube videos up on

00:09:22   YouTube is it provides a certain amount of semi-passive income.

00:09:30   I haven't tested it too long.

00:09:31   I mean, there has to be some kind of half-life for if I don't upload videos in a year, the

00:09:39   average daily views have to be going down.

00:09:42   I think the worst thing you could do is think about trying to test that.

00:09:45   You would push that too far.

00:09:47   Like a year.

00:09:49   Yeah.

00:09:51   If I'm sick, it's not really a huge deal

00:09:57   because I intentionally try to remove as many deadlines

00:10:02   from my business as possible,

00:10:04   which is one of the reasons why Cortex is always slightly annoying to me

00:10:08   because you and your schedules and your deadlines, it's like,

00:10:11   What is this thing in my life?

00:10:12   I have to be here at a time.

00:10:14   It's got to be like, oh, Myke, you know,

00:10:16   you're just so insistent about this.

00:10:18   Because everything else is like,

00:10:19   (mumbles)

00:10:20   you know, hello internet.

00:10:22   We'll get it out when it comes out.

00:10:23   When's the video available?

00:10:24   When it's done.

00:10:25   You know, like that's how I try to arrange things.

00:10:28   - I feel like you must have known

00:10:29   that this was gonna be the case though,

00:10:31   when we started this.

00:10:32   Or at least you feebly thought you could change me.

00:10:34   - Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking back then.

00:10:38   I was probably sick when we first started

00:10:39   talking about doing this.

00:10:40   and that's how you got me to agree.

00:10:42   There's something I think about is like,

00:10:43   I'm just really aware that deadlines in me,

00:10:46   we don't get along.

00:10:47   I know there's a whole very large group of people

00:10:51   who always talk about how they can't possibly

00:10:52   get anything done unless they have deadlines

00:10:55   to motivate them.

00:10:56   And I find that I am just the absolute reverse

00:10:59   that the more deadlines there are in my life,

00:11:03   the less I end up tending to work.

00:11:04   Like deadlines are anti-motivators for me.

00:11:07   - Oh, I hate deadlines,

00:11:08   but I don't think of the schedules as deadlines.

00:11:10   It doesn't-- - Still deadlines.

00:11:13   You got sponsors, you got people waiting for you,

00:11:15   they're deadlines, the deadline's built into that.

00:11:17   - Yeah, I mean, I can see why you would see them like that,

00:11:19   but to me it's just the knowing that if I didn't have

00:11:22   these things on a calendar,

00:11:24   there would never be anything done.

00:11:26   - That's a bit of a different thing, but anyway,

00:11:30   I guess the point that I was just trying to get is like,

00:11:31   this sort of goes along with being sick,

00:11:34   And one of the best changes I made for my own psychological life in the history of my own self-employment here

00:11:45   was when Patreon bought out Subbable, which was the platform that I was previously using to do crowdfunding.

00:11:51   When that transition happened, I had an opportunity to change from automatic monthly billing of the people who are supporting my YouTube channel

00:12:03   to changing that to only manually billing them

00:12:08   when I actually upload what I consider to be a quote,

00:12:12   real video, whatever that means in my head.

00:12:15   - Yeah, I can see how much that will have helped you.

00:12:18   - And I mean, here's the thing, like,

00:12:20   there is no doubt that I made more money

00:12:23   under the old system, right?

00:12:24   When it was like month by month

00:12:26   and like you're automatically billing someone,

00:12:28   but holy God, did that just add an enormous amount

00:12:31   of stress and anxiety to my life that I really,

00:12:35   I really did not want.

00:12:36   And so like, man, that was,

00:12:40   I debated it for a little while,

00:12:42   whether or not to make that change,

00:12:43   and I am so happy I made that change,

00:12:46   because it just, it felt like it eliminated

00:12:48   this constant deadline for my life.

00:12:51   It made every summer feel really guilty

00:12:53   if I was traveling with family

00:12:55   instead of working on other stuff,

00:12:56   because you just know like, man, when the 30th rolls around,

00:12:59   people are gonna get billed,

00:13:00   whether you made something or not,

00:13:01   like if you got it up in time and it's just, I hated that.

00:13:04   So I am so happy to have it this way now.

00:13:07   - Did you feel kind of guilty?

00:13:09   - Well.

00:13:10   - I mean, people knew what they,

00:13:11   like there was no guarantee

00:13:13   that there was a video being made.

00:13:15   - Yeah, yeah, like guilt is not the correct feeling.

00:13:18   It was just a constant source of anxiety.

00:13:21   - Yeah.

00:13:22   - And we've talked about this before, right?

00:13:23   Which is that when you are working for yourself,

00:13:25   it is very hard to separate when you're working

00:13:29   from when you're not working, personal time

00:13:31   from business time.

00:13:32   It's very hard to do anyway,

00:13:34   which is almost certainly why when you were laying in bed,

00:13:37   partly on death's door, part of you was also thinking,

00:13:40   this is kind of nice because I'm forced to not work.

00:13:43   - Yeah. - Right, like something else

00:13:45   is forcing you to let it go.

00:13:46   - There was nothing I could do.

00:13:48   So it was like, you can just not worry about this

00:13:49   for a few days because you have no option.

00:13:52   Like if you get up and try and go to that computer,

00:13:55   you will fall down before you get there.

00:13:56   (laughing)

00:13:57   - Right, you're gonna make a mess.

00:13:58   It's gonna be awful.

00:14:00   And so when the billing was just monthly,

00:14:06   any time, like as soon as the first of the month rolled around,

00:14:11   I just always had this anxious feeling of like,

00:14:13   I have to try to get something up now,

00:14:16   and until I have something up in this month,

00:14:19   it made it just impossible to not be thinking about work.

00:14:22   And not in a productive way, like,

00:14:25   oh, I'm this amazing machine doing all this work

00:14:27   all this work because I have this gun to my head every month.

00:14:31   It was just horrific unwelcome stress inducing anxiety.

00:14:35   And then in situations like when we're talking about now, if there was a time when I just

00:14:40   couldn't work or like family needed me or wanted me to be available or I was sick or

00:14:44   something, it was just awful.

00:14:45   Like I really hated it.

00:14:46   So this is a case where I was very happy to switch to a system that was like, I will make

00:14:50   less money under this new system and I will be so much happier.

00:14:54   Let me tell you the real benefit for this illness though.

00:14:59   Because I'm on a diet right now, right?

00:15:02   I can try to eat better.

00:15:03   Oh yeah.

00:15:04   I've lost six pounds this week.

00:15:06   Illness is great for weight loss, I have also found.

00:15:09   Yep, I am sitting proud on the scales right now.

00:15:14   I weighed myself yesterday and I was like, "Yes, illness!

00:15:18   Way to go!"

00:15:19   This is amazing!

00:15:20   I should get infected more often!

00:15:21   I'm so proud of you!

00:15:23   Well done, Myke.

00:15:25   Yeah, it brought me many weeks ahead.

00:15:28   So I'm very happy about that.

00:15:30   And I hope that I can keep this weight as it is.

00:15:33   Thank you, illness.

00:15:36   It'll come right back.

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00:17:59   FM.

00:18:00   Squarespace, you should.

00:18:02   So you hit a milestone, I think it was last week sometime, and you crossed two million

00:18:08   YouTube subscribers.

00:18:09   Yeah.

00:18:10   Is this a cause of congratulations?

00:18:12   Like I have and will congratulate you, but do you see it as something like that?

00:18:17   Is it a badge of honor, two million?

00:18:20   Uh, I'm glad the number's going up.

00:18:22   Once you hit one million, hooray!

00:18:24   But then is it like the next one, is it five?

00:18:27   Like is every million as exciting as the first million?

00:18:31   If I could start over again, I would celebrate every doubling from one subscriber.

00:18:37   that I would do. Man that would be a lot of celebrating. Just at the beginning though.

00:18:44   Yeah it starts to get sad quite quickly. That to me feels like the much more natural celebration

00:18:50   point is a doubling. Because a doubling is not based on any number system. It's just

00:18:54   it's okay you have twice as many as you had last time that you had the celebration. That

00:18:58   seems like the way it should be. But like this is not to belittle two million right

00:19:02   Because that is like a it's one of those numbers, you know that you can't even comprehend

00:19:08   Yeah, it just means nothing. Yeah, it's just so big. It's like okay. It's a population, right?

00:19:13   It's not even a number at this point. Like you can't group that amount of people together like it's it's an incredible number

00:19:20   but it's like, you know, it's the whole thing you end up getting and I

00:19:24   Had this a lot when working in finance like you get numb to numbers after you're around big numbers for a while

00:19:30   like they don't you see these huge numbers and it doesn't really mean anything anymore

00:19:34   yeah and you worked in a bank so you must have just seen numbers with crazy zeros on the end

00:19:40   of them just like yeah okay billion here a billion there it starts adding up to be real money after a

00:19:46   while like i just wondered that because obviously i imagine that when you hit one million that was

00:19:50   a real cause for celebration i've got to imagine that must have felt like you really achieved

00:19:56   Ok, so yes and no.

00:20:00   But this starts to get into some of the particulars

00:20:04   about the way YouTube does this.

00:20:08   And so, yes, I was super glad to hit a million

00:20:12   subscribers, but it's been very

00:20:16   clear over the time that I've been doing this

00:20:20   that YouTube algorithms

00:20:24   or like the way the system works has changed and so it's very hard to have a real idea of

00:20:31   This thing that I have a million of now is the same as when I had

00:20:36   200,000 of it just times five. Yeah, I don't know how much you can explain this

00:20:41   But the the longer that me and you've been working together the more attention I paid to YouTube

00:20:47   I watch more YouTube videos and I just pay more attention to what's kind of going on there

00:20:51   And I look at people's numbers more, and your numbers seem very atypical to what I see with

00:21:00   other people.

00:21:01   So now I don't watch very much YouTube, so you need to explain to me what you mean by

00:21:04   that.

00:21:05   So like you have 2 million YouTube subscribers, and your videos very frequently top 1 million

00:21:13   and more.

00:21:14   So you put out a video and it's like a million or 2 million views, depending on how popular

00:21:20   the video gets and you have some that are way more than that but on average it seems

00:21:25   like you get at least 50% that number.

00:21:28   Yeah I'd say like a million feels like an average video now.

00:21:33   If I got lower than 800,000 I'd be sad and if I get more than 1.5 million I'd be pleasantly

00:21:39   surprised.

00:21:40   So like a million is like your average right?

00:21:43   Right.

00:21:44   Looking at that.

00:21:45   people now and I see like 2 million subscribers, 100,000 views or like 200,000 views or half

00:21:52   a million. Or I see like someone with 16 million subscribers and their videos get 3 million

00:21:58   views. Or people that have the same subscribers as you and their videos are like in the tens

00:22:04   of thousands. And I don't feel like I fully understand how YouTube works. Because I know

00:22:11   as a person coming to YouTube, if I click that subscribe button, I want to watch the

00:22:17   majority of videos that are going to come in.

00:22:20   Like I don't subscribe to a lot of channels.

00:22:22   There are some where I subscribe to them and I pick and choose.

00:22:26   But it just seems that there is a real kind of disparity amongst the accounts that I look

00:22:32   at between what those two numbers mean in a way that doesn't really seem to make sense

00:22:39   in my brain.

00:22:40   Because I'm coming at it from podcasts. It's even harder to tell subscribers and downloads in podcasting.

00:22:46   But our numbers stay pretty stable and that really doesn't seem to be the way that YouTube works at all.

00:22:52   When I started with YouTube, it was very clear what a subscriber meant.

00:22:57   It meant someone had pressed that button and the way YouTube was set up, when that person went back to YouTube,

00:23:04   they would see a list of all of the channels that they had subscribed to and the newest video from those channels.

00:23:10   So it was very obvious and very easy to see new stuff as it was coming in.

00:23:16   But over time, and to the annoyance of a great many people, YouTube, like every other company that does this kind of thing,

00:23:23   has Facebook-ized the experience. Meaning that you might, like on Facebook, you might follow people

00:23:33   people, but Facebook is in the business of deciding for you what you want to see.

00:23:39   And so they use algorithms to determine "Oh you seem to interact with this

00:23:44   person a lot so we're going to show you more of their stuff and you and you

00:23:47   don't see you don't interact with this person as much so we're going to show

00:23:51   you less." Like Facebook does that, YouTube does that, I'm getting the

00:23:56   impression from some angry people on Twitter that Twitter has made some

00:23:59   and motions in the past few days towards this.

00:24:01   This is like an inevitable law of large media companies.

00:24:06   That they want to switch from systems

00:24:09   where you are telling them how you want to see things

00:24:12   to systems where they are algorithmically determining

00:24:15   for you what you're going to see.

00:24:19   And so now when people log onto YouTube,

00:24:21   there's the, they have a, I think it's called

00:24:23   like what to watch.

00:24:24   And that is YouTube's suggestions

00:24:27   about what you want to see.

00:24:28   I've got to say that what to watch.

00:24:30   I do watch a lot of videos that come from there.

00:24:32   The algorithm does work.

00:24:35   Like I find lots of videos that I want to see

00:24:39   from that suggestion.

00:24:41   - Oh yeah, don't get me wrong.

00:24:43   YouTube has some incredibly smart people

00:24:48   working on that algorithm.

00:24:51   - Have you heard of Google?

00:24:53   - Yeah, it's like, I'm not saying that it's bad

00:24:56   at what it does.

00:24:57   I'm just saying it's a different system.

00:25:00   And I genuinely think that for something like YouTube,

00:25:03   you can argue that it's a better system.

00:25:05   Do I like it better as a creator?

00:25:07   No, but does your average viewer probably watch more YouTube

00:25:12   because of their algorithmic system?

00:25:14   They have to.

00:25:15   I'd be shocked if they don't.

00:25:18   YouTube is obsessed with this notion of watch time,

00:25:21   like how much time do people spend on the site?

00:25:24   And they dedicate enormous computing resources and A/B testing and all kinds of stuff to figure out like what videos keep people on the site longer.

00:25:34   So I do not doubt in the slightest that it is effective.

00:25:37   But because of that, the way I view the subscriber button now is not, "Oh, this person has subscribed to my channel and they will see every one of my videos."

00:25:49   The subscriber button now is you sending a signal to the algorithm.

00:25:56   And the algorithm is going to decide how important it considers that signal to be.

00:26:00   And so, I mean, my guess is that when you see some really weird subscriber numbers,

00:26:06   like you say, you do sometimes come across people who seem to have subscribers in the millions

00:26:11   and view counts in like the tens or 20 of thousands, and it's like, what is that? Like, what's going on there?

00:26:18   And I think that's a case of the algorithm has decided that the people who have subscribed to this channel are not actually interested in seeing this channel's videos.

00:26:29   That's what's happening there.

00:26:31   That's why I put just very little mental emphasis now on those subscriber numbers.

00:26:38   Like, it's interesting. I'm glad when it goes up.

00:26:41   It's notable when I cross a big barrier.

00:26:44   But I used to be super obsessed with the subscriber numbers because it used to mean like when I press that publish button

00:26:51   X number of people are going to see this as a new thing

00:26:55   And now I know that when I press that button what really happens is almost certainly YouTube

00:27:01   Just like Facebook does is like testing with a random subsection of the number of people who subscribe to me to see how many people click on it

00:27:10   And then based on that it might recommend the video to a larger subsection of the number

00:27:14   of people who subscribe to me.

00:27:15   That's kind of what I presume is going on behind the background.

00:27:19   And that's just a totally different feeling than like, "Man, when I press this button,

00:27:23   two million people are going to see a thing."

00:27:25   That's not what happens, and so it makes that two million number feel very different.

00:27:30   Now it's almost like that number is a theoretical upper threshold of market exposure.

00:27:37   That's what the subscriber number is in some ways.

00:27:39   But if the number's going up, it's an indication to you that there are more people to see it.

00:27:45   Potentially to see it, yeah.

00:27:46   But it's, these things do not move in correlation to each other.

00:27:50   They don't necessarily move in correlation to each other, no.

00:27:53   I can very easily imagine that some channels would have a situation where people love to

00:27:58   subscribe to that channel, but the algorithm consistently learns like, "Oh, okay, but

00:28:02   they don't actually interact with the videos in the way that I expect, and so I just won't

00:28:06   ever show them very many videos from this channel like other stuff will always take

00:28:10   over.

00:28:11   Because what it's seeming to be coming clear to me is that doesn't really seem to be like

00:28:16   a pointable threshold that you have to hit to hit a certain level like if you cross a

00:28:23   million then your views will always be X. It doesn't feel like that that makes any sense

00:28:30   it's just so confusing to me because it must I mean is it worse you do you know where the

00:28:35   people are coming from? Like I don't know what YouTube statistics are like. Do you know

00:28:39   that like a lot of these people aren't subscribers and you're actually getting a lot of like

00:28:45   embed watches from whatever Daily Mail website or something?

00:28:50   The YouTube analytics are pretty good. They give you some sense of if people are coming

00:28:54   from external sites. There's always the issue of anyone who runs analytics programs knows

00:29:01   that you have this big catch-all category of like direct referrals where you have no

00:29:05   idea like really where the person came from, you just know that they hit a URL that sent

00:29:09   them there.

00:29:11   YouTube does the best that it can, but I always, whenever I have a chance to talk to anybody

00:29:17   who works at YouTube, what I want to know is how many of my subscribers saw this on

00:29:24   their screen when they went to the "What to Watch" section on YouTube.

00:29:30   I want to know what percent of people were even exposed to this or what percent of my

00:29:36   subscribers have asked for email alerts.

00:29:39   That's the one number they don't want to give you and I can totally understand from YouTube's

00:29:43   perspective why they don't want to do that.

00:29:45   They don't want channels I imagine being quite irritated to know like what do you mean you

00:29:48   only tested this with one percent of my audience and then sent it out to five percent of my

00:29:52   audience because it didn't do very well.

00:29:54   I think people would get quite angry about that if you know if that's what's going on.

00:29:59   I hear that stuff and it makes my skin crawl.

00:30:04   - Well, it makes your skin crawl

00:30:05   because Facebook's whole business model

00:30:07   is putting those numbers right in your face.

00:30:09   When I upload something on the CGP Grey Facebook page,

00:30:15   Facebook is always really happy to let you know,

00:30:18   oh, you have 20,000 fans on Facebook,

00:30:20   we sent this to 100 of them.

00:30:22   Would you like to pay us more money

00:30:25   to send it to more of the people who are fans of your page?

00:30:29   - It's just 'cause I don't work in that world.

00:30:31   'Cause I assume that maybe YouTube is doing something

00:30:33   like that as well, right?

00:30:34   Which is maybe, right?

00:30:36   Which is why you don't get all of the two million

00:30:39   every time, right?

00:30:40   - Yeah.

00:30:41   - And it's just the difference for me.

00:30:43   And with you with the podcast as well is that people

00:30:46   that click the button to subscribe to our shows,

00:30:49   they get every episode.

00:30:51   They choose whether they listen to it,

00:30:52   but it comes to them?

00:30:54   But then that's the crazy thing to me.

00:30:57   It's like, of course it does.

00:30:58   You've shown the intention.

00:31:01   You've pressed the button and then it comes to you.

00:31:05   Like there are just all these weird things

00:31:06   that YouTube seem to do.

00:31:08   Like sometimes I get push notifications for people.

00:31:11   Like I have a couple of channels

00:31:14   that I like to get notified about when a new video posts.

00:31:17   Sometimes I don't get those notifications.

00:31:20   - Right.

00:31:20   - It's like, and at that point, it's like,

00:31:21   what are you doing?

00:31:22   Like I've gone an extra step now

00:31:25   in trying to ensure that I see these videos,

00:31:29   but you're still not telling me about them.

00:31:31   That one, like I can't wrap my head around.

00:31:33   Or there was this one time,

00:31:35   I was looking through some pictures the other day

00:31:37   and I came across it the other day.

00:31:38   I got this weird, do you remember this?

00:31:39   I got this like really weird push notification

00:31:42   where it was like, "See the latest from CGP Grey,"

00:31:44   and you hadn't uploaded it in like six weeks.

00:31:46   Do you remember that?

00:31:47   - Oh yeah, that's right, that's right.

00:31:48   You just out of the blue got a push notification

00:31:51   about check out CGP Grey's latest video.

00:31:54   - Yeah.

00:31:54   some kind of tests right yeah that's my assumption here right like you you have just fallen into

00:32:00   the random five percent that they're doing a test on and that's why you got a push notification

00:32:06   that is like just the ongoing like weirdness of living inside of somebody else's system

00:32:12   yeah all of this is and and this is part of like a broader statistics see kind of discussion

00:32:19   I want to talk to you about because there are some significant differences in the way

00:32:23   the way that analytics and statistics work between the two businesses that you operate

00:32:28   in, right?

00:32:29   The YouTube and podcasting.

00:32:31   And one of the biggest ones is like how public and private numbers are.

00:32:37   So like with YouTube, you can't hide them.

00:32:41   Like they are there.

00:32:42   They're on the page.

00:32:43   They're under the video.

00:32:45   But in the podcasting world, they're not.

00:32:48   And by and large, podcasters tend to keep their numbers private. They just don't talk

00:32:54   about them. We don't share them. And I don't really know why that is, but because people

00:32:59   tend not to, nobody does.

00:33:01   Yeah, it's weird. It's like every podcast feels like it's in some kind of poker game

00:33:05   with all other podcasts.

00:33:07   Like you've said your numbers on Hello Internet before, and I nearly spat my tea out. Because

00:33:12   not only they are massive, but also it was the fact that you said them on the show. I

00:33:18   I was like, "Whoa, great, you've broken the secret code."

00:33:21   - Yeah, people don't like to talk about numbers

00:33:22   in the podcast world in a way that I find strange

00:33:27   because yes, I feel like I'm coming from this YouTube world

00:33:30   and you actually, I have to double check,

00:33:32   but I'm pretty sure that in the options somewhere

00:33:35   you can turn off the view numbers if you want to.

00:33:39   But nobody does.

00:33:41   - It's the opposite of the private agreement.

00:33:43   Everybody is just agrees that they'll just show

00:33:47   numbers to everybody. Even more so, it's a bit like when people turn off comments on their videos.

00:33:54   The problem is like, "Oh, you're one of those, right?"

00:33:58   "You think you're better than us, huh?" "Oh, you're such a delicate little flower,

00:34:04   like nobody else's thoughts can approach you. You're separate from the rest of us."

00:34:10   Taking away comments on YouTube, I almost always think is a worse thing to do than,

00:34:15   and just leave it open, right? Just leave it open because people hate it when you close the comments.

00:34:20   People just hate it. They're gonna find you and because you closed those comments,

00:34:26   they're gonna spend way more energy in trying to find you. So just leave it open.

00:34:30   It's just a funny cultural thing.

00:34:34   I have only once seen someone do the no-comments thing well, which was this YouTube horror series

00:34:43   called Marble Hornets, which is a Slenderman fanfiction horror series thing.

00:34:48   This is really an obscure corner of the internet here.

00:34:51   I don't understand any of the words, but carry on.

00:34:54   I'm gonna carry on. Slenderman is like this internet monster,

00:34:58   and these bunch of guys were making a little video that had Slenderman

00:35:02   hunting them down in every video, basically. And they were uploading them to YouTube,

00:35:06   and they disabled comments for sure, and I think they disabled the ratings

00:35:12   And it was one of those things where it's like, oh, okay, you have made this experience feel different

00:35:20   because I can't leave any feedback on this video. This video is just like this thing that exists here.

00:35:26   And so then if I want to discuss this, I have to go somewhere else.

00:35:30   And then it kind of fosters like all of these communities around those videos discussing what's going on.

00:35:35   I just Google image search Slenderman and I don't feel very comfortable anymore.

00:35:39   Yeah, it's super creepy. I think it's one of those things where it's just like it's just all the wrong proportions to make you feel like

00:35:45   Oh god, get this thing away from ya

00:35:47   Anyway that I will list marble Hornets as the only effective use I have ever seen of someone turning off the comments and it was

00:35:54   For a particular effect, but if I ever saw someone who would like hidden the their view stats on YouTube

00:35:59   I feel like I'd never stop laughing at them

00:36:01   Okay, that's the way you're gonna do this

00:36:04   All right

00:36:07   I don't really know why it started like in the podcasting world and I think because it wasn't public people just didn't

00:36:14   Why would you talk about it? Yeah, so everybody now just doesn't talk about it, but

00:36:19   You don't obviously you don't care to share

00:36:23   Yeah, I don't I don't really care. It's not especially you and Brady because you're both in the world of YouTube

00:36:31   It seems very natural just to talk about the numbers. Although again from my perspective

00:36:37   I feel like the YouTube analytics are crystal clear.

00:36:40   It's very obvious exactly how many people have watched your videos

00:36:44   and precisely when they have stopped watching and all kinds of crazy information.

00:36:49   There's plenty of stuff to complain about YouTube, but their analytics are beat by no one.

00:36:55   Whereas from my perspective, the podcast analytics always seem like, "Oh, come on!"

00:37:00   These crazy numbers that are hard to interpret.

00:37:03   And it feels like there's much more guesswork in the podcast world about how many people

00:37:07   even listen.

00:37:09   Because it's a bit of the reverse problem where sometimes if someone subscribes to your

00:37:14   podcast, there can be a podcast player on their iPhone which is downloading the episode

00:37:18   diligently every week, but the person never listens.

00:37:21   They could be dead.

00:37:22   Right, they could be dead.

00:37:23   With their iPhone still downloading shows.

00:37:27   And then there's also just some weird stuff where I am convinced that podcast analytics

00:37:31   don't capture people listening from the web in an accurate fashion.

00:37:35   So I always feel like the podcast stuff is just it's just crazy.

00:37:38   It's just all over the place.

00:37:40   When people ask me about Hello Internet Now, I know I say it's like, OK,

00:37:43   my 99 percent confidence interval is like, OK,

00:37:48   we have 200,000 listeners plus or minus 50,000 listeners.

00:37:52   That that plus or minus number makes me shudder.

00:37:56   I can't imagine that margin of error.

00:38:00   I don't understand why it is the way it is.

00:38:03   I think it's partly because we seem to have a huge number of people who listen on the

00:38:07   web as best analytics can tell.

00:38:10   Like our show, it's not as big as Hello Internet.

00:38:13   It's sizable.

00:38:14   I'm not going to tell you what the numbers are.

00:38:15   I was going to say, you're not going to discuss the numbers, Myke?

00:38:17   No, I'm not going to talk about them.

00:38:19   I can't do it.

00:38:21   Why?

00:38:22   I just can't do it.

00:38:23   You know why?

00:38:25   You can't do it because you are from the podcast world.

00:38:28   Yeah, exactly.

00:38:29   I can't talk about it.

00:38:31   I'll be breaking the secret code.

00:38:33   But our numbers are sizable, they're very large.

00:38:38   And they're relatively stable,

00:38:43   like they're going up, which is great,

00:38:45   so thank you everybody.

00:38:46   But they don't differ by like 20 or 30,000 a week,

00:38:52   like that doesn't happen.

00:38:54   I mean, there have been times that have happened

00:38:56   and I'm continuing to try and build my case

00:38:59   for the scheduling as the reason for this.

00:39:03   One day I really hope that you just test

00:39:06   Hello Internet on a schedule and then the variant stops

00:39:09   and then I win.

00:39:10   But until that day, I'm gonna carry on fighting

00:39:13   the good fight.

00:39:14   But yeah, that 50,000 swing, man,

00:39:18   yeah, that freaks me out.

00:39:19   That would keep me up at night.

00:39:21   You're lucky you do YouTube videos.

00:39:23   - Yeah, but you see, the reason why I think

00:39:25   I'm also very happy talking about these numbers

00:39:27   is because a plus or minus 50,000, so a spread of 100,000,

00:39:32   to me, a spread of 100,000 doesn't even register

00:39:37   on YouTube scales. - Exactly.

00:39:38   - Right, like, that's, like, you know,

00:39:40   YouTube scales is spreads of plus or minus 5 million.

00:39:45   - Yeah, if I had a comparative spread on a show,

00:39:51   I would honestly lose sleep at night about it.

00:39:55   (laughing)

00:39:56   - I talk about these numbers

00:39:57   when we talk about the subscribers on YouTube because

00:40:00   this is one of those cases where I think you need to figure out what statistics really matter

00:40:07   and what statistics don't.

00:40:09   And I used to place a huge amount of importance on YouTube subscribers as a statistic that I followed.

00:40:17   And now I don't. I hardly think about it.

00:40:20   And quite frankly, the 2 million thing really snuck up on me.

00:40:23   on me.

00:40:24   I made that video soliciting for

00:40:25   questions entirely because

00:40:27   I was like, oh, crap, if I don't do

00:40:28   this right now, I'm going to miss

00:40:30   the mark and then I'm going to look

00:40:31   like an idiot asking for questions

00:40:32   afterward.

00:40:33   Yeah.

00:40:34   It was just it just snuck up on me

00:40:35   too fast. And

00:40:36   then I had the same thing with the

00:40:39   podcast, which is like there as

00:40:41   well.

00:40:42   Listens feels like a number

00:40:44   that I should be obsessed with, but

00:40:46   I just really don't think about

00:40:48   it very much.

00:40:49   I don't think those are

00:40:50   necessarily.

00:40:52   I don't care to follow it on like a week to week basis.

00:40:55   It's not something that I focus on.

00:40:58   And I think it's very easy to get lost with following metrics that don't really directly impact anything.

00:41:07   Like it's very easy for, and I see people do this sometimes,

00:41:11   where people are super obsessed with how many followers they have on Instagram or Snapchat

00:41:16   or like whatever the newest social media thing is.

00:41:20   And I always feel like, "Okay, but does that number translate to anything with your business?"

00:41:29   Like I can't imagine that it does.

00:41:34   And I even have data to back this up.

00:41:36   Like I'm approaching 100,000 followers on Twitter.

00:41:41   Oh, are you?

00:41:42   Yeah, it's like 93 something now, I think.

00:41:45   Do you know what I just did?

00:41:47   What?

00:41:48   you that I'm not really in the right mental state. I just opened Tweetbot to search for

00:41:54   you to look at that. And in the search field I typed the word "Twitter". So I'm looking

00:42:01   for @Twitter to see how many followers they have instead of CGP Grey. There you go. Back

00:42:06   to full health. Myke's not fully back yet. He's 60% of the way here folks. Treat him

00:42:12   gentle today in the comments. So I want to mention this as a thing which is like people

00:42:18   People talk about, "Oh, it's really important to promote your business on social media."

00:42:22   I now find myself in the position that I have more followers on Twitter than most people

00:42:27   who are trying to promote a business are going to have.

00:42:31   But I like to do tests on Twitter with sometimes like track through URLs to see how many people

00:42:36   click on a thing, how many people retweet this or whatever.

00:42:41   I can tell you, even with a huge amount of followers, the number of people who click

00:42:45   on a URL is very small.

00:42:47   I think people end up thinking a lot about visible statistics because they're visible

00:42:54   and they're easy to track.

00:42:56   I see people think, "Ooh, how can I increase the number of people who follow me on Twitter

00:42:59   or whatever?"

00:43:00   And I'm like, "Okay, it's an easy thing to conceptualize, but I don't think it really

00:43:05   matters in terms of promotion as much as you think it does."

00:43:10   With something like social media, the relevant question is, "Do you enjoy this?

00:43:14   Are you having fun doing this?"

00:43:17   And if the answer is no, well then this is not a super effective tool.

00:43:23   And with a minimum amount of tracking you can see very fast that obsessing over these

00:43:29   statistics is not going to help you at all.

00:43:32   It just doesn't matter.

00:43:34   Because trust me, a dude with ten times as many followers on Twitter, if he tweets out

00:43:38   your link, it's not actually that big of a deal almost all the time.

00:43:43   Like it just doesn't matter.

00:43:44   I've definitely learned this over time.

00:43:45   If we have something, like if we're selling a t-shirt or whatever, if you tweet about

00:43:49   it you'll get some people, but you gotta talk about it on the show.

00:43:53   That's how people find out about it.

00:43:55   When they find out about it from the show.

00:43:56   That's where the actual audience is.

00:43:59   And it's like comparing the amount of Twitter followers I have to listeners that we have,

00:44:03   it very rarely even nearly matches up.

00:44:07   Either up or down.

00:44:08   It just doesn't make any sense.

00:44:10   a lot of this stuff is like they're just a bunch of different numbers and I look

00:44:15   at a lot of different numbers and just see how they move,

00:44:18   but there's no way to correlate a lot of these things together.

00:44:23   And I think that's the one of the key things that you learn after doing

00:44:27   something like this for a while is that you just want to see the numbers moving

00:44:32   in one direction and that will help you know something.

00:44:38   But there's no way that you can say, and it goes all the way back to what we were talking

00:44:41   about right at the start of this conversation, that those subscriber numbers mean you're

00:44:45   going to get that amount of video views.

00:44:47   Because it just doesn't mean that.

00:44:49   I am a firm, firm believer in trends over absolute value.

00:44:57   Yes.

00:44:58   That when you realize that, and you have to kind of go through a period of time of obsessing

00:45:07   about statistics before you realized that the value is in trends.

00:45:12   I used to put a lot more emotion, I think, into statistics than I do now.

00:45:18   If you ever really felt that way, like if you ever looked at the numbers

00:45:22   and and like really obsessed about them and thought like, this means it's good.

00:45:26   This means it's bad.

00:45:27   No, not in terms of video views or anything like that, because

00:45:35   I just feel like I have grown up so stewed in internet culture that I am very aware that

00:45:42   effort and quality are not necessarily related in terms of success in the way that people might want them to be.

00:45:49   That is so nicely put.

00:45:50   I have never had that feeling.

00:45:53   I've been in a few situations where I feel like I'm talking someone down from a cliff

00:45:57   when they have a thing that is very high quality but just isn't catching on for some reason.

00:46:02   Yeah.

00:46:03   But that's not how this works. It's like, yes, you might have put a hundred hours into this thing, but

00:46:09   that doesn't mean that it's going to be super viral on the internet. Like, that's just not how it works.

00:46:17   It's never worked like that. It will never work like that.

00:46:21   But people want it to as soon as they get into the game of making stuff.

00:46:27   However, the only time I was super obsessed with statistics, as I mentioned before, is when I was trying to switch to YouTube full-time.

00:46:35   And then I had a spreadsheet that was tracking progress to 200,000 subscribers that I filled out and looked at every day

00:46:43   and was looking at the numbers and the projections for how long is it going to take to hit this number.

00:46:47   Like, then I was super obsessed, but it's because I had a goal and I had a day by which I had to hit that goal,

00:46:55   otherwise I was going to be teaching for another year.

00:46:58   So then I was super obsessed.

00:47:00   But after that, like I have a whole lot of spreadsheets

00:47:04   that track a whole lot of things.

00:47:06   - Really?

00:47:07   - Which might be a surprise to some listeners.

00:47:09   - You would never have guessed.

00:47:11   - And I do track things,

00:47:13   but now it's almost entirely on a monthly basis.

00:47:17   That when a new month rolls around,

00:47:18   there's a bunch of things that I do.

00:47:19   And one of those things is I update some of the spreadsheets.

00:47:22   And I like to look at a lot of the stuff in my business on a 12 or 24 month average rolling timeframe.

00:47:33   That's a big timeframe.

00:47:35   It's a big timeframe, but it's the only way to smooth out something as irregular as the YouTube channel.

00:47:41   Yeah.

00:47:41   Right, because since some months I upload, other months I don't upload, sometimes a summer goes by and there's nothing.

00:47:47   Like there's I have to average out something like the revenue on that business over a 24-month

00:47:53   Timeframe because otherwise the the numbers are just crazy

00:47:56   It's just because the the differences between a month where I do something in them and a month where I don't are enormous

00:48:02   I feel like I check our statistics on a on a kind of a less

00:48:07   Regimented basis. So I check every show once a month to just plot them into a spreadsheet

00:48:14   And there are some shows where I check them more frequently.

00:48:17   And it's not... I don't feel like I obsess on them.

00:48:20   I just look at them and go, "Okay, like, we're tracking."

00:48:24   But I used to like really fret over them.

00:48:28   Why did you fret?

00:48:28   This was a lot earlier in me doing this.

00:48:32   This was before Relay.

00:48:33   I used to check the numbers like multiple times a day of my shows.

00:48:39   See that? Yeah, that is fretting.

00:48:41   That is definitely fretting.

00:48:42   And it was really because I used to kind of equate a lot more to like, this isn't the desperation phase

00:48:49   for me, right? The same as how you were in that phase leading up to leaving teaching.

00:48:54   I really equated like when the numbers hit x, I will be able to finally leave my job.

00:49:02   Although for me, I had no way of controlling it. It was like a purely mental thing.

00:49:09   I hadn't done the work to actually know what numbers they needed.

00:49:12   And it really wasn't until I could have my own business before I could ever do it anyway.

00:49:17   Like the numbers were never going to make sense because I could never control it, right?

00:49:21   But yeah, I used to check it a lot more obsessively.

00:49:25   And I was able to get myself out of it by thinking about it slightly differently.

00:49:30   And there's this talk that I listen to maybe once every year or two, and it's by

00:49:36   My man and John Gruber and that they gave this talk at self by self West in like 2004

00:49:41   And they talk a lot about this type of stuff like who are you making for and what I eventually was able to transition

00:49:49   Myself into is when I make these things and create these things

00:49:52   I try to make them good for people that I imagine in my mind

00:49:55   like specific people like is this person gonna like this and and when I was able to kind of

00:50:02   Work to that it helped me stop thinking about the numbers so much. I wasn't thinking about the masses of people

00:50:09   I was trying to think of specific people that might enjoy it my

00:50:13   Probably top favorite writing book is on writing by Stephen King

00:50:19   Which is a little bit difficult to recommend because you need to have already read a lot of Stephen King books to get the most

00:50:25   Out of that they talk a lot about that book in that talk

00:50:28   Okay. Yeah, it was like is that matches up with his

00:50:32   notion of the ideal reader. He talks about in that writing books for his wife as opposed to

00:50:39   writing books for millions of readers. That that's a much easier thing to think about

00:50:44   and also changes the way that you create things. I think there's definitely value in that notion

00:50:53   because, you know, if you're trying to think about the audience as a whole as like, okay, well,

00:50:59   guess what? The audience as a whole has no personality and the audience as a whole,

00:51:04   some people are always going to love the thing that you just made and some people

00:51:07   are always going to hate it. Like there's no direction to be derived from this thing.

00:51:12   People are always going to sit at the polar ends.

00:51:14   Right.

00:51:15   Well at least they're the ones you can hear from.

00:51:16   All of this comes down to, I think, trying to figure out like what is it that actually

00:51:20   matters for tracking in your business. And the lessons here are there's tons of stuff

00:51:28   that's easy to track that is totally pointless in tracking.

00:51:32   Yeah, all the stuff that's really easy to get numbers on is mainly the stuff you don't

00:51:38   need.

00:51:39   Yeah, I think there actually might be a direct relationship with that, right? Like the easier

00:51:43   it is to track, the less useful it is. If you run a business, almost certainly one of

00:51:49   the most important things to track is revenue. And so lots of my spreadsheets are various

00:51:55   things related to income and money flow and income diversity, which is a thing we should

00:52:00   talk about at another time, not now.

00:52:04   But like, that's what I track, and I track it over a long time and I want to just see

00:52:08   the trends.

00:52:09   Like, I don't really care about the absolute value, but I just want to see, like, are these

00:52:12   numbers going up?

00:52:13   Okay, that's great, things are fine.

00:52:15   If the numbers start going down, then I need to start thinking about changing stuff around.

00:52:19   But going to this notion of sometimes the most important things are the hardest things

00:52:24   to track is I'm really aware, like with Hello Internet, that we have a big audience, but

00:52:30   there's also some kind of crazy variance in the individual shows that I just cannot figure

00:52:35   out.

00:52:36   With Hello Internet, I think one of the most important things to me to be aware of is impossible

00:52:40   to track directly.

00:52:43   And it's how interested are the advertisers in buying more spots?

00:52:48   That's not a number that I can put on a spreadsheet, but it's a thing that I am aware of, which

00:52:53   which is like, okay, we have this audience,

00:52:55   it's wildly variant, but I know that advertisers

00:52:59   want to buy more ads than we want to sell them right away.

00:53:04   - 'Cause there's a funny thing

00:53:06   in that the numbers don't actually dictate that.

00:53:09   - I have some particular theories about like why I think

00:53:11   it seems like advertisers get a good response from that show.

00:53:16   - Yeah, I feel like I know it,

00:53:18   but we'll save that for another time.

00:53:19   - We'll save that for another time.

00:53:20   I have my own theories, but that is a perfect example.

00:53:23   There's nothing I can put on a spreadsheet to directly track this advertiser response.

00:53:30   But I just know that when advertisers go on that show, they are very happy.

00:53:35   And then advertisers want to block out a whole year and we find ourselves in these conversations.

00:53:38   We're like, "No, we will not sell you a whole year's worth of advertising in advance."

00:53:42   in advance. Like that's a great thing.

00:53:45   That's super important.

00:53:46   But that is impossible to track

00:53:48   in a in a statistically significant

00:53:50   way. But it is probably one of the

00:53:52   most important things that I'm just

00:53:53   aware of. Like this is a good thing.

00:53:55   One of the hardest things about

00:53:56   tracking that as well is there are

00:53:58   factors that have nothing to do with

00:54:00   you that you don't know.

00:54:01   Yeah. Yeah. There's so much that's

00:54:02   just out of your control.

00:54:03   Like budgets.

00:54:04   Yeah.

00:54:04   You have no idea what's happening in

00:54:06   those companies budgets.

00:54:07   Like you might have a company that

00:54:09   has bought your show every episode

00:54:12   for four years, then they stop.

00:54:14   You think it's you, but they just went out of business.

00:54:17   Nothing to do with you, man.

00:54:19   - This is something that as I have been more and more

00:54:23   in the business of the podcasting world,

00:54:26   I have discovered the seasonality of corporate budgets

00:54:29   and the importance of quarters.

00:54:31   When a new year rolls around.

00:54:33   It's to me, it's just like, again,

00:54:35   coming from the YouTube world where none of this stuff

00:54:37   matters that like YouTube just handles all of it for you.

00:54:40   I'm just so aware of like the annual cycle

00:54:45   and corporate budgets for advertising for podcasts.

00:54:48   It's so strange. - Yeah, I kind of got my head

00:54:49   around quarters.

00:54:50   I'm getting now starting to understand annual

00:54:53   a little bit more as well.

00:54:54   - Yeah, but it's funny to find myself having conversations

00:54:58   where I feel like the douchiest business person

00:55:00   in the world where I'm like,

00:55:01   yeah, we can revisit that in Q3.

00:55:03   - Let's touch base in the next quarter, Greg.

00:55:05   - I cannot believe I say things like that.

00:55:08   We can circle back in Q4.

00:55:10   What have I become?

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00:57:29   Alright, so talking about millions of views. There was this whole hubbub in the YouTube

00:57:35   world, which is so funny that I kind of sit on the very sidelines now, so like I see these

00:57:40   things start to pop into my life a little bit more.

00:57:44   YouTube drama!

00:57:45   Yeah, yeah. And a lot of my friends found out about this because of you. I don't think

00:57:52   I would have found out about it if it wasn't for you. And it's this whole thing about react

00:57:56   videos and I don't want to get into the whole business of it. I am assuming you

00:58:00   and Brady will probably talk about this at some point maybe, but I'll put some

00:58:05   links in the show notes to people if they want to find out exactly what is

00:58:09   going on or had gone on with this. Here's the thumbnail sketch for anyone who's

00:58:14   just listening now, has no idea what Myke is talking about. Basically two very

00:58:20   popular YouTubers put out two videos that were hilariously tone-deaf and

00:58:29   super corporate and the YouTube world reacted very very poorly to these and

00:58:38   lots of people were putting out videos complaining about what they had done or

00:58:43   the way they had done it. It was kind of a big pile-on and I came to this very

00:58:48   late but as soon as I saw those two videos I was like I cannot not make my own videos

00:58:55   about this. And so I did.

00:58:58   Yes. In an evening that will go down in history, I think, for CGP Grey, it's one of the most

00:59:07   like out of character days I've seen from you.

00:59:12   You always say this about things being out of character.

00:59:14   Yes, but they're in your... if they're you, they're in your character.

00:59:17   I get it, but...

00:59:20   Okay, you adapted your character that day.

00:59:23   No, this was just waiting to happen.

00:59:25   Yes, okay, it was only a matter of time.

00:59:28   But the reason I wanted to bring this up is that...

00:59:31   How long did it take you to create these two videos?

00:59:35   Okay, so I went back and took a look at the files,

00:59:40   like when did the file creation time happen?

00:59:42   happen because I was curious to know myself and essentially these two videos together

00:59:50   to make both of them took me less than 40 minutes to make from start to finish.

00:59:56   Alright, as we sit here today, they're about a week old and I've accumulated together

01:00:03   close to 2 million views, right?

01:00:07   this the single most profitable 40 minutes of your entire life right?

01:00:13   Yeah I think it is quite probable that that is the most money I will ever make per hour

01:00:20   of anything that I've ever done now or in the future.

01:00:23   Right.

01:00:24   Because it's just so little time.

01:00:26   As a man of tracking statistics, a man of tracking all of this kind of stuff, you've

01:00:34   got to have some kind of opinion about this.

01:00:36   Like what does this say?

01:00:37   Like why?

01:00:40   What does this say to you?

01:00:42   Well there's not always going to be things that you do this stuff with, right?

01:00:48   And it is kind of funny that you made some reaction videos and they were really popular.

01:00:53   It's quite ironic in the whole scheme of things.

01:00:57   Yeah I think this is part of the statistics conversation because I think it's really important

01:01:06   for people to be aware that statistics are just not everything.

01:01:13   And so if I was just an absolute cold-blooded businessman who only cared about the money,

01:01:23   obviously I should get into the snarky reaction video business.

01:01:30   And this is not an exaggeration.

01:01:33   I could probably 10x revenue if I did so.

01:01:38   At least 10x per hour.

01:01:43   Because these videos took no effort to do.

01:01:48   Everybody loves a good bit of drama and a good bit of an internet fight.

01:01:53   Like "internet fight!"

01:01:54   Everybody comes along and they want to see what everybody has to say about what's going

01:01:59   on.

01:02:00   Like these are very popular things.

01:02:01   There are always enough internet fights to get involved in to sustain a business.

01:02:04   Yeah, I mean the thing is, there's this whole bizarre, funny subsection of YouTube

01:02:11   that I mostly stay away from that is entirely devoted to YouTube drama.

01:02:15   And then of course, everybody knows like a pack of drama llamas, like they just draw

01:02:19   more drama llamas, like and it brings its own energy and audience and like these things

01:02:25   feed on themselves.

01:02:26   whole economy built around this kind of stuff. And it's hugely popular. It's just crazy.

01:02:33   And that's partly what these videos stumbled upon a little bit. It's like, "Oh, CGP Grey

01:02:38   got in on the action too and everybody watches the video." So yeah, from a business perspective,

01:02:43   it's stupid not to make more of these. But this is where, as I always say, I am trying

01:02:50   to build a life that I want to live, I'm not trying to make a company that maximises revenue

01:02:57   under all circumstances all the time.

01:02:59   Yeah, that's a really good way of putting it.

01:03:02   I don't want to make reaction videos all the time.

01:03:06   I don't want to follow YouTube drama.

01:03:07   Like, I just don't care.

01:03:09   I don't care almost all of the time.

01:03:12   And yeah, this stuff would be really easy to make.

01:03:16   Yeah, it would probably be pretty popular, but it's not something that I want to do.

01:03:21   And this is...

01:03:23   This is again those moments where there's a kind of conflict between the CEO of Grey Incorporated and the employee of Grey Incorporated, but

01:03:31   since I'm the same person, I can and do make decisions that are terrible business-wise,

01:03:38   but that are great personal life-wise.

01:03:42   And I think it's incredibly important to be conscious of that kind of thing.

01:03:49   Like to be aware of don't make business decisions that you won't be happy with.

01:03:56   Like I would just, I would hate doing nothing but this.

01:03:59   Now might I make one again in the future?

01:04:02   I don't know.

01:04:03   Maybe if another perfect storm like this that is just irresistible comes along.

01:04:10   But I'm not starting, you know, CGP Reacts.

01:04:13   It's just not a thing that I'm going to do.

01:04:15   It's not a thing that I have any interest in doing.

01:04:18   Like I like making the kinds of videos that I make.

01:04:22   I like making videos on topics that are of interest to me.

01:04:25   And I am just such a lucky bastard that there is a large enough audience of people who are

01:04:33   interested in the kinds of things that I make that I can do this for a living.

01:04:37   There's no reason that that should be, but it happens to be, and I am the lucky benefactor

01:04:42   of that.

01:04:45   But you know, you can and people do strategically go after big, popular audiences of stuff.

01:04:57   Well, people have different goals.

01:04:59   Like, it's the same thing for me.

01:05:01   There is a style of podcasting that seems to be extremely popular, which basically sounds

01:05:08   like it's made by public radio.

01:05:10   >> DARREN Alright, yeah, the NPR podcasts.

01:05:13   >> ANDREW Yeah.

01:05:14   >> DARREN And the Gimlet podcasts, which all sound the

01:05:16   same.

01:05:17   >> ANDREW Yeah, and I've dabbled in some stuff which

01:05:19   is stylistically close to it, but I could try and go further in that direction.

01:05:26   I could try more and more projects, but it doesn't interest me as much as the stuff

01:05:30   that I do. The people talking thing. That's the stuff that I like. It's the stuff that

01:05:37   we make. It's the stuff that we commission. Like this is my thing that I enjoy. Like this

01:05:44   is what I like to do. I'm again consider myself a very very lucky person that I get to make

01:05:51   what I like to make and people like to listen to it and I get paid to do it. And that's

01:05:57   awesome that's how I feel. There are people that feel differently but they're just motivated

01:06:01   by different things right it's not wrong it's just motivated differently like me and you

01:06:06   are motivated to do the type of thing that we like because it makes us happy but for

01:06:11   some people they just want to make the most money they can make and what that means is

01:06:16   creating videos talking about people fighting but the thing is the reason they make money

01:06:22   is some people like to watch those things they enjoy them.

01:06:25   Oh yeah, an internet fight done right is fun.

01:06:28   There's no way around it, like it just plugs into something that humans like.

01:06:34   I always want to be clear, I'm never quite poo-pooing people enjoying other kinds of content

01:06:40   because I think that's the kind of thing that you can't really control.

01:06:44   It's just whether your brain reacts to it or it doesn't.

01:06:46   Like, whatever.

01:06:47   I don't know, I sometimes get into arguments with people when they say things like,

01:06:50   "Oh, there's so much garbage on YouTube."

01:06:51   And it's like, but is it popular? Like then tons of people like it, you know, like who and who were

01:06:57   you to say like, "Oh, everybody should be watching Masterpiece Theatre," right? Like, well, should

01:07:02   they? Should they always like, "I don't watch Masterpiece Theatre all day long."

01:07:06   - Yeah, I like gossip and fighting as much as the next person.

01:07:09   - Yeah, who doesn't?

01:07:11   - And it's nice that there's a place for it. I just don't feel like I need to be the person

01:07:16   to make it.

01:07:16   Another YouTube version of this is, from my perspective, just low effort list videos.

01:07:24   Just like lists do really well on websites, lists do really well in video format.

01:07:30   And it's not like I'd never do a list, it's not that I don't think lists can't be done well.

01:07:35   But I know, I know that I almost certainly could have videos that were way more popular,

01:07:43   that are way easier to make if I just said,

01:07:47   "Ah, f*** it, I'm making lists.

01:07:48   I'm making lists from now on.

01:07:50   Here we go, right?

01:07:51   10 amazing places you've never heard of.

01:07:54   Seven things your body does you won't believe."

01:07:57   Right? And it's like, it stuff's really easy to do.

01:08:00   It's like, it's not hard.

01:08:05   And the siren song of it is, "It's not hard

01:08:09   and it almost certainly would be very popular."

01:08:12   Way more popular than what I'm doing now.

01:08:15   But I also know, like, I just don't want to make those.

01:08:18   That's not a thing that I want to do.

01:08:20   And, yeah, the business would love it, but I would not.

01:08:25   I would not love that.

01:08:27   So you just have to be careful.

01:08:29   Like I said before, I keep track of these graphs of business revenue over time.

01:08:35   And at some point, these graphs are going to level off.

01:08:40   It's just like at some point YouTube subscriber numbers will level off because there are only

01:08:46   so many people in the world.

01:08:49   There's only so much value that I can create in a day, in an hour.

01:08:55   But when I come to those points, I know and I'm very comfortable with the idea of like,

01:08:59   "Okay, revenue's leveled off, viewers have leveled off.

01:09:02   I'm going to be totally fine continuing to do what I do and I'm not going to feel like,

01:09:07   "Oh, I need to start going after list videos

01:09:09   "and reaction videos and all this other stuff

01:09:11   "to keep this graph going up."

01:09:13   Because this is the huge benefit of working for yourself.

01:09:17   I am not a public company.

01:09:18   I do not need to keep growing forever.

01:09:21   This is not one of my goals.

01:09:23   And it is very, very important

01:09:26   to keep that in front of mind.

01:09:27   Like yes, I have all of these spreadsheets,

01:09:30   but these spreadsheets are not the measure of success.

01:09:34   Like I view the measure of success

01:09:36   as having control over my life and being able to work on the things that interest me.

01:09:41   And I know for a fact that the opportunity cost of that decision is enormous.

01:09:50   I can put ballpark figures on just how enormous that opportunity cost is.

01:09:56   And it is breathtaking because...

01:09:59   I don't know, it's just like... I see these comments sometimes, right, where...

01:10:03   It's like I have advertisements at the end of some of my YouTube videos now.

01:10:06   Like I've done Audible ads, I've done Squarespace ads.

01:10:08   Maybe someday we can talk about why that's the case.

01:10:11   Actually it might be good for the diversity episode.

01:10:13   But sometimes I'll see comments from people who are like,

01:10:16   "Oh, what a sellout! I can't believe it. Look at that.

01:10:18   This guy put an Audible ad for Guns, Germs, and Steel at the end of his America Pox video.

01:10:22   What a total sellout!"

01:10:24   I always kind of laugh at those because it's like,

01:10:26   "Dude, when I sell out, you will know."

01:10:31   No.

01:10:32   Yep.

01:10:33   Yep.

01:10:34   Like, I don't think you have any idea the kind of offers that come across the table

01:10:39   of someone who consistently gets millions of views on YouTube.

01:10:47   I say no to tons of things that would make me a lot of money for very little effort because

01:10:56   I don't think that they're good decisions in the long term and because I think that

01:11:01   would make me unhappy to do. I've said no to a lot of stuff and it was a little

01:11:06   bit harder in the beginning because you feel like, "Am I an idiot?"

01:11:11   Trust me, sometimes there are offers that come along where it's like, "Hi, we're a

01:11:15   gigantic car company. We will pay you an enormous amount of money to make a video

01:11:20   about our car." And I was like, "Oh god, I'm gonna say no to this. Like, that is a huge

01:11:25   check, but I'm going to say no, but I am gonna wonder for a day or so, like,

01:11:30   "Am I an idiot? Why just a moron?"

01:11:33   Hi, I'm CGP Grey and I'm here to tell you about why this new Ford car is amazing.

01:11:38   Yeah, I mean that's basically what you get pitched sometimes.

01:11:41   Yeah, I mean when people see that video, that's when they'll know that you're done.

01:11:45   Yeah, that's when it won't be like "Oh, he's sold out!"

01:11:48   Like, you'll know. It's fine.

01:11:51   And you know, everybody does have their price, right?

01:11:53   But like my price at this stage is like,

01:11:55   "Can you pay me enough so that I never have to work again and can live a life of luxury?"

01:11:59   then I will do your car company commercial.

01:12:01   Like then that's fine.

01:12:02   Then we can have a discussion maybe.

01:12:05   But it's just, it's so important,

01:12:10   especially if you are the only person in your business

01:12:12   that you have to balance all this stuff

01:12:14   of like not only what will make me money

01:12:17   but like what will I also feel okay doing?

01:12:22   I don't think I've told this story before

01:12:24   but the hardest decision like this that I ever had

01:12:28   actually came literally the week after I had quit teaching.

01:12:33   So I was brand new, just on my own,

01:12:38   self-employed for the first time.

01:12:40   And as you are in that situation,

01:12:43   terrified that you might have made

01:12:45   the worst decision of your life.

01:12:47   - A little desperate too, right?

01:12:49   - Yeah.

01:12:50   - You feel like you're really...

01:12:51   - You're suddenly living on the edge.

01:12:53   - Yeah.

01:12:54   - Right, you don't know where money's coming from

01:12:57   And it's this moment of like, oh God, my own life is in my own hands.

01:13:01   Like I might have just totally messed this up.

01:13:04   Uh, and in particular for reasons I've alluded to in the past, like I also in

01:13:09   the process of leaving teaching, like might've totally screwed myself out of

01:13:12   being able to get another teaching job, but that's a, that's on the side there.

01:13:16   But so, uh, the week after I quit my teaching job, I had a phone call with

01:13:26   someone from a large publishing company.

01:13:30   And they had this offer for me, which

01:13:36   basically went like this.

01:13:38   We will write you a check that is more money than you have made

01:13:46   in the last four years right now if we can use your name

01:13:54   on a book about fun history facts that you won't write,

01:13:59   but that we will sell,

01:14:02   and you just mention it on your YouTube channel

01:14:05   that there's like CGP Grey's fun history facts book

01:14:09   that this exists.

01:14:11   - God.

01:14:12   Feels like a golden goose, right?

01:14:15   At that stage, like where you are,

01:14:19   like that's your security for the next four years.

01:14:22   - That's exactly what it was, right?

01:14:23   It's like someone is going to hand you peace of mind,

01:14:27   just the biggest safety net for the next several years.

01:14:32   The only thing you have to do is sell your name.

01:14:37   And it was one of these things like,

01:14:41   "Man, did I get in some arguments

01:14:43   "with some people about this?"

01:14:44   Because I didn't like that deal.

01:14:48   - Why?

01:14:52   I didn't like the deal because I didn't...

01:14:55   I thought, man, I don't want to have my name on some ghost written thing forever.

01:15:01   This is one of these things with business, like how much of an incentive do they have

01:15:06   to make this amazing?

01:15:09   I imagine not a huge incentive because what they're banking on...

01:15:12   So you would have gotten no say in the book at all.

01:15:15   Yeah.

01:15:16   is like, "Oh, here is a guy who has a big audience

01:15:20   of enthusiastic followers

01:15:24   and we're going to make more money off of all of these

01:15:28   people buying the first thing that he has made than the size

01:15:32   of this check that we're going to write. And we're just going to hire some ghost writers

01:15:36   to just churn this thing out in a weekend." I don't remember the details now, but they had some

01:15:40   hilariously fast timeframe, which is just, again,

01:15:44   indicates like, okay, well, you're not gonna make a great book here.

01:15:47   It may have been written already.

01:15:49   Yeah.

01:15:50   Like, they just needed to make a cover.

01:15:53   It very well may have been the case that this was something from some other aborted project

01:15:57   that they were just trying to figure out.

01:15:59   It was written and they were just waiting until some person said yeah.

01:16:03   Yeah, exactly.

01:16:04   You may have been the third person, right?

01:16:06   Yeah, you never know.

01:16:07   You never know with this stuff.

01:16:09   That was the hardest business decision I think I have ever made because I was in the absolute

01:16:17   worst negotiating position.

01:16:20   It was the thing that I needed most at that time, a shocking amount of financial security.

01:16:28   But I did say no.

01:16:30   And like I was saying, I got into arguments with people and the universal wall of consensus

01:16:36   was "you're a moron for not taking this." Like, what are you even debating? But sitting

01:16:44   here now, I am so glad that I didn't do that. That I don't have some kind of albatross around

01:16:51   my neck. You would never get over it. The way that I know you, that would always bother

01:16:58   you. Always. And I feel that same way about some of the things that come to me as business

01:17:02   deals for the YouTube channel. It's like, I don't want to make a video that somebody

01:17:07   else is just paying me to make that I have no interest in because the check was really

01:17:14   big. Again, it's like, sometimes you feel really dumb turning down these things, but

01:17:20   it doesn't change the fact that, again, as a one-person business, I have to live with

01:17:26   the thing that I am doing.

01:17:28   And if there's a really terrible book with my name on it,

01:17:33   I want to have written that terrible book, right?

01:17:36   I want to be able to look at that and go, wow,

01:17:39   that was my fault, I did a terrible job on that.

01:17:43   - At least I tried.

01:17:44   - Right, but it was me doing it.

01:17:47   What I don't want is something where like,

01:17:50   I have sold my name to be used on a thing and it's terrible.

01:17:54   I was like, "Oh, okay, that's awful.

01:17:57   "That's absolutely awful now."

01:17:58   And then in addition, the feeling of like

01:18:01   kind of having tricked my audience into making a purchase

01:18:05   that I had nothing to do with.

01:18:06   Like, man, none of this do I like.

01:18:08   I like none of it, but that's why, you know,

01:18:11   just like these surprisingly popular React videos,

01:18:16   it's like you can't use just the metrics

01:18:19   to make all of the decisions.

01:18:21   It's like those React videos were fun to make.

01:18:23   Maybe I'll do something like that again in the future,

01:18:25   but I'm not gonna chase that career.

01:18:28   And yeah, sometimes I get offers from companies

01:18:33   that on a pure return on investment basis

01:18:36   are like great deals,

01:18:38   but you can't evaluate everything in that way,

01:18:42   even if that's what you're using

01:18:43   to track some of the data in your life.

01:18:47   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Igloo,

01:18:50   the intranet you will actually like, not the internet.

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01:19:03   I know all the intranets that I've ever had to work with.

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01:20:23   Once again, that's igloosoftware.com/cortex. Thank you so much to igloo for supporting

01:20:28   Cortex and all of Relay FM.

01:20:31   Alright, Myke. There's a thing I want to talk to you about. And there's a thing that I wanted

01:20:39   to talk to you about so much that, contrary to my normal character, I was trying to convince

01:20:48   you a while back to record an emergency episode of Cortex. That's how much I wanted to talk

01:20:54   about this.

01:20:55   I have an iMessage from you which I feel like I need to frame and send back to you, where

01:21:02   you were basically asking me to do more work and I was telling you no.

01:21:08   This might be the only time in the history of our working collaboration together or ever

01:21:13   in the future. But yes, I was like, okay, we need to record an emergency episode because

01:21:19   I feel incredibly strongly about a thing and I need to get this out there. But obviously

01:21:26   here we are now, dear listener. Myke wouldn't do an emergency cortex and so now this is

01:21:31   in the regular show. Where do we begin this story of woe, Myke?

01:21:37   - It has been well documented that myself and Gray

01:21:41   love our iPad Pros.

01:21:43   - Yes.

01:21:44   - It is further documented that we love to use

01:21:46   our Apple Pencils with them.

01:21:48   From drawing with them, but also to use them

01:21:51   like pen tablets to interact with them,

01:21:52   to tap things, to scroll things, because it's nice.

01:21:56   If it's already in your hand, great.

01:21:57   You can just use it like your finger.

01:22:00   Currently, Apple have in both developer and public beta,

01:22:06   iOS 9.3. I'm getting too old to install betas.

01:22:10   Like I'm an old man now, I ain't got time for this kind of young man's game of installing

01:22:14   betas on your main machines. However

01:22:18   the night shift feature in 9.3

01:22:22   was one of those things that I was intensely interested in. I wanted to see how

01:22:26   it worked. No one else can show you screenshots or pictures, you have to see

01:22:30   it in person. And so I thought, okay,

01:22:34   Let me come out of retirement and install a beta on my main machine.

01:22:40   Every time I get out they pull me right back in.

01:22:43   Exactly, exactly.

01:22:44   It's always going to be something like this, but you know, this time it's this one.

01:22:49   And I really do mean that my iPad Pro is without doubt my main machine by miles.

01:22:55   It's got to be the thing that I am doing 90% of all of my computing on including my iPhone.

01:23:03   So I installed this and I was like, "Oh, wow, Night Shift, this is great."

01:23:06   And I was using the iPad to just read some stuff

01:23:09   and I was like, "Oh, what I really want to see is how this works with iBooks at night."

01:23:13   I open up iBooks and I have the pencil in my hand, as I always do,

01:23:17   and I go to turn the page in iBooks and I'm like, "Huh, that's weird.

01:23:20   The page doesn't turn with the pencil anymore."

01:23:23   Like, "Oh, as well, of course. This is why it's a beta. It's a bug."

01:23:27   And I keep using the iPad and I'm in Safari and I'm like, "Huh.

01:23:31   The web page isn't scrolling when I go to use this pencil to scroll in Safari.

01:23:37   That's weird. And then I opened a share sheet in GoodNotes, which is my handwriting application of choice,

01:23:42   and I wanted to scroll horizontally there to get to a different icon to send a PDF to.

01:23:47   I was like, "That's weird. It doesn't work here either."

01:23:49   So, of course, a diligent little person, I too, filed one of the little feedback things.

01:23:54   They have that little application that you can use.

01:23:56   I opened it up and I was like, "Oh, hey, just thought you guys would like to know."

01:23:58   Now, like there's a weird bug that I can imagine you might miss where it's like in iBooks and in share sheets

01:24:03   it doesn't scroll properly when you use the pencil.

01:24:06   I didn't really think anything about it until the second developer beta comes out and nothing has changed

01:24:13   and then the second public beta came out and nothing had changed.

01:24:19   And that's when I started to worry.

01:24:21   Because that's when it feels like this isn't a bug.

01:24:26   This is a decision.

01:24:27   My concern currently is that we have made this bed for ourselves.

01:24:34   What do you mean?

01:24:35   I think that when Apple introduced the pencil, it worked the way it did because

01:24:42   they didn't really think about it.

01:24:43   They created a device that allows you to manipulate iOS like a finger would just

01:24:49   because it recognizes touch.

01:24:52   So it's just, it is what it is.

01:24:54   and inside of applications stuff it scrolls UI just because it does, like they didn't

01:24:58   really think about it.

01:25:00   I think when they saw, my feeling is when they saw people like me and you, and not necessarily

01:25:07   me and you, but you know, using the iPad like a pen tablet and using the pencil like a stylus,

01:25:16   they decided that that wasn't right for our iPad and have removed the function.

01:25:21   That's what I think's happened here.

01:25:22   Yeah, this is what I am deeply, deeply worried about.

01:25:27   Because there are these certain things that Apple does which just feel super Apple-y.

01:25:33   And something about deciding that thou shan't use the pencil as you would use a Wacom tablet.

01:25:43   Like this is an Apple decision.

01:25:45   This is not how we want people using our amazing pencil that is for artists only to be

01:25:52   sketching in a museum in a way that we can film for an Apple commercial. Like this is the only thing we want you doing with this and

01:26:01   we don't want you using it any other way. It just it feels like the kind of thing that Apple

01:26:08   might decide and

01:26:10   I

01:26:12   have

01:26:14   never ever been more upset about any decision Apple has made than this one.

01:26:23   Again, assuming that it is a decision.

01:26:25   Because...

01:26:27   I mean look, we've talked about it before on this podcast, right?

01:26:32   I am a person who has had repetitive strain injuries in my hands for...

01:26:37   I mean since college going on 15 years now.

01:26:40   This is a thing that I can live with because it's a thing that I manage and in the course of those 15 years

01:26:47   Without a doubt the number one most effective tool for reducing

01:26:54   RSI has been using a pen tablet for the vast majority of my computer interactions

01:27:00   We just discussed it last time like the very excellent Wacom Intuos tablet, right?

01:27:04   Which is now sitting on my desk

01:27:06   which is an amazing piece of hardware that I can use to manipulate all parts of the computer.

01:27:12   Wacom doesn't say, "Oh, you can only use our pen tablet for drawing."

01:27:16   Wacom says, "No, you can use scroll bars. You can scroll up and down a web page."

01:27:20   Because it would be crazy to make you, say, on a desktop computer, pick up a mouse.

01:27:26   Like, "Oh no, you can only interact with web pages if you're using a mouse."

01:27:30   I mean, when we talked about it on the episode of Cortex, which I believe was "Brick of Obligation,"

01:27:36   is where I first talked about having the iPad Pro and having this Star Trek vision of the future for how people work,

01:27:47   with multiple screens on a flat table.

01:27:50   And it is really interesting to me that since getting the Pro, since getting the Pencil, my life has become so close to this.

01:27:57   We may discuss it next time, but I happen to have been traveling for the past two weeks.

01:28:02   Almost exclusively, I've been using my iPad Pro flat on a table with my iPhone.

01:28:08   This is how I do almost all of my work.

01:28:10   I saw my wife. She actually borrowed before I left my iPad Pro to do some research for traveling.

01:28:17   And she was sitting at a table with my iPad Pro, with her mini and with her phone, arranging a whole bunch of stuff.

01:28:24   Like this multiple screen thing is obviously

01:28:28   the future of computing, I think, for almost everybody.

01:28:31   Right, like just, you have pieces of paper on a desk,

01:28:33   you're gonna have a bunch of screens on a desk.

01:28:35   Like that's just the way it's gonna go.

01:28:36   - Because eventually they're gonna be that thin as well.

01:28:40   - Yeah, they're gonna be that thin,

01:28:41   they're gonna be that cheap.

01:28:42   And when I have conversations with people about this now,

01:28:45   they laugh at me and they go like,

01:28:46   "What are you crazy working on multiple iPads

01:28:48   like that, Tom?"

01:28:49   It's like, but look at how many business people

01:28:51   have multiple pieces of paper on a desk.

01:28:52   Like it's just gonna happen.

01:28:54   But my one big concern about this prior to the Pro is that manipulating these screens with your hands in what I always think of as finger painting position,

01:29:09   right, like you are doing finger paints, which is extending your fingers out, holding your hand in this horizontal position,

01:29:15   it's not comfortable to do all day long.

01:29:19   And as someone who has been very aware of RSI issues,

01:29:24   I'm very conscious of listening to my hands

01:29:28   and see if I'm getting any kind of feedback about

01:29:30   "Is this a potential for repetitive strain?"

01:29:33   And I am totally aware that if you want to use iPads all day long,

01:29:37   I can get repetitive strain injury from that.

01:29:40   I have gotten repetitive strain injury from using iPads in this position.

01:29:43   Now, some people go, "I use iPads all day and I never have a problem!"

01:29:47   Like, that's great, I'm happy for you, but not everybody falls into this category.

01:29:52   And so, when the pencil came, it was just amazing to me because I thought, "Wow,

01:29:59   I am looking at the next 10 years of my computing life.

01:30:04   I can use a precision-pointing tool to interact with a flat screen on a desk in a maximally comfortable way,

01:30:12   way in a way that I can do for 12 hours in a row without any problems.

01:30:19   And I know because I have been doing that.

01:30:23   Because I was so upset by what is happening with the betas, like I went through all the

01:30:26   trouble of rolling back my iPad because I thought, man, I can't use the iPad in this

01:30:33   hybrid way of like trying to switch back and forth between using the pen and then putting

01:30:37   it down or trying to awkwardly, like with my ring finger, scroll things on the screen

01:30:41   while still holding the pen.

01:30:43   Like, it's just an awful, awful experience.

01:30:46   And I am really worried

01:30:49   that if this is the decision that Apple has made,

01:30:51   what I am looking at is the future

01:30:55   of my computing experience

01:30:58   and the future of the computing experience

01:30:59   for anybody who has RSI problems

01:31:02   or just hand manipulation problems

01:31:04   being artificially crippled

01:31:07   because someone at Apple

01:31:10   doesn't want people to use iPads in this way.

01:31:13   That's what I am just so worried about.

01:31:16   The thing that annoys me the most about all of this is

01:31:19   if you didn't want it to do this,

01:31:21   you could have just done this from the start.

01:31:24   Yeah, you should have done this from the start.

01:31:27   Yeah. Because--

01:31:28   You've given it and now you are taking it away, right?

01:31:30   Yeah, I'm sitting here like almost trembling

01:31:34   with like fury and upsetness over this

01:31:37   Because like you gave me a taste of the computing future that I always want that I need

01:31:44   and now you are taking it away just because.

01:31:48   And this wouldn't be the first time that Apple's done something like this.

01:31:52   What this kind of reminds me of is the whole kerfuffle that happened over with the Today View on iPhones when they first came out.

01:32:00   And that was a case of like, okay, Apple allowed people to put things into this notification center

01:32:06   And everybody was calling them widgets and like, "Oh, let me build all these neat things for the widgets."

01:32:11   But Apple clearly had some idea of like, "No, this is the today view.

01:32:15   We only want you to use it to quickly access information about today.

01:32:19   You should look at your calendar and you should check the weather here.

01:32:22   But if you want to put a calculator in here, no, no, no. That's not how we envision you doing this thing."

01:32:29   And like they've eventually like seeded the ground on that, but it was a weird time where Apple was just...

01:32:36   They had some idea about how they want you to do things.

01:32:39   And it's like, "Okay, Apple, that's great, but if you give people tools,

01:32:42   they're going to come up with better ways to use them than you can think of every possible way to use the thing."

01:32:49   And I feel like this is the same case with the pencil.

01:32:51   Like, someone has an idea of how they want people to use the pencil,

01:32:55   but people like me—and I've been speaking to other people who use the pencil—

01:33:00   they want to use it like it's a Wacom tablet.

01:33:05   And I think being able to use it like it's a Wacom tablet is way more powerful than what Apple had envisioned for the pencil.

01:33:14   And they should roll with it. Like, go with this Apple. This is good for you. This is good for the users.

01:33:22   Don't artificially limit this because it's not how you envision people using your pretty tablet.

01:33:29   Why the f*ck do I have to use my finger?

01:33:31   Yeah.

01:33:32   Why does it have to be my finger?

01:33:34   - Yeah.

01:33:34   - I don't understand.

01:33:37   My thinking about this, so try and rationalize it,

01:33:42   I'm assuming that they have something else

01:33:44   that they wanna do with it, right?

01:33:46   That this doesn't allow.

01:33:48   And if that's the case, I can understand it if they tell me.

01:33:53   'Cause all I know right now is this is how it is.

01:33:57   Now, there is a, as we stand right now,

01:34:00   there is a strong potential that 9.3 will be released

01:34:03   with the iPad Air 3, which will also support the pencil.

01:34:07   So there might be more functionality coming

01:34:11   to the Apple Pencil, which could explain

01:34:14   why this is the case.

01:34:15   If that is the case, whilst I won't be happy with it,

01:34:19   I'll be more willing to accept it.

01:34:21   But if the reasoning is purely what me and you feel

01:34:24   right now, I consider it unacceptable.

01:34:29   I mean look, I cannot imagine a use case

01:34:34   that would justify this decision.

01:34:36   - No, neither can I.

01:34:37   But it's like if they have a reason,

01:34:40   something they wanna do,

01:34:41   I can at least see their thinking.

01:34:43   Right now, it just looks like they're just being petty.

01:34:46   - Yeah, I mean we discussed on one of the previous episodes

01:34:50   how the Pencil doesn't allow you to operate

01:34:52   what I think of as the meta user interface,

01:34:55   which is opening up split view,

01:34:57   pulling down notification center,

01:34:58   And we discussed on that episode, oh, that's kind of weird at first, but you can immediately see why.

01:35:04   That if you want to do edge swipe gestures with the pencil, you can't also have it activating that meta interface.

01:35:12   It just won't work. So it's like, OK, I can understand that if you have a drawing program, you want to be able to draw in from the edge.

01:35:19   from the edge. But if I'm on a web page and I want to use the Apple Pencil to scroll that

01:35:27   web page, what the f*** else would I be doing with that pencil on that web page?

01:35:34   Yeah, I don't know.

01:35:35   Right? Like, why do you just say, "No, you're not allowed to do that"? Like, here's the

01:35:39   feeling that I have from that is when I was running the beta, every time I tried to scroll

01:35:43   something I thought, "The iPad might as well just make an angry buzzing noise." Right?

01:35:48   that little sound that the Mac does when it does something you don't like it goes

01:35:50   "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

01:35:50   "Brrrr!" "Brrrr!"

01:35:52   And I feel like, "You know what? Why don't you just make the pro go, 'Brrrr!' every time I try to scroll with a webpage?"

01:35:57   Because that's the feeling that you're giving me.

01:35:59   "Oh, I opened a share sheet. I want to scroll horizontally in it." "Brrrr!"

01:36:02   "Oh, I'm reading a book. I want to scroll the page with the pencil because it's more comfortable for me to hold this pencil in my hand than to always do this with my fingers."

01:36:09   "Nope." "Brrrr!" "We're not going to let you do that."

01:36:12   It's infuriating and it feels almost aggressive towards the user because there's just no reason for it.

01:36:20   Now again, I do want to stress that we don't know if this is a decision within Apple,

01:36:26   but man, when it's been two betas later, it certainly feels like it's a decision.

01:36:31   We're preparing for the worst based on the fact that we know this company and I want to just

01:36:35   want to get this out there now. We use Apple products, we love Apple products,

01:36:41   we know this stuff happens, yeah it's really annoying, we're not going to switch to the

01:36:45   Windows surface, it's extremely unlikely because there are many reasons other than just this

01:36:51   that we use our devices.

01:36:53   Yeah, but that is precisely why this is so upsetting is because I look around and there

01:36:58   are no other options for all the things that I want to do including transition costs that

01:37:03   can do what I want to do.

01:37:05   Because it's like people are like "oh why'd you use a Windows tablet?"

01:37:07   It's like okay listen you don't understand.

01:37:08   I don't use one markdown text editor, I use five for different things.

01:37:13   Like, I have a lot of specific needs here that are only met by this ecosystem.

01:37:17   And so that is precisely why this is so upsetting.

01:37:20   It's like I don't have an alternative.

01:37:23   And I view in this moment, if Apple makes this decision the way that I'm afraid they're going to,

01:37:29   I am facing who knows how many years of having to use this thing in a limited way.

01:37:36   And like going back to one of our earlier discussions about jailbreaking,

01:37:41   I have never been so close to be tempted by jailbreaking

01:37:48   than I am with this vision of Apple releasing the software

01:37:52   and not allowing you to use the pencil to interact with all of the interface.

01:37:56   And I feel like Apple, what justification could you possibly have

01:38:03   to put me in a situation where I am making a decision

01:38:06   between, "Do I want to protect my digital security?"

01:38:12   or "Do I want to protect the health of my hands?"

01:38:17   That is the rock and the hard place that I find myself between.

01:38:22   Like, okay, am I going to jailbreak an iPad Pro in the future?

01:38:25   Because I can tell how much benefit I get from being able to use it like this.

01:38:29   Or am I not

01:38:31   and just going to accept that I'm going to have problems with my hands,

01:38:35   that I'm going to have to limit the amount of time that I spend on iPads,

01:38:38   as I have done in the past when I try to use them,

01:38:41   in the way that I have been gloriously using

01:38:44   perhaps my favorite product that Apple has released in the past five years.

01:38:48   That's why it is so upsetting.

01:38:52   And listen, listeners.

01:38:54   I want right now to try to call on the power of six degrees of separation.

01:39:00   Someone listening to this podcast knows someone at Apple who knows the team that is in charge of this decision.

01:39:11   I am deadly serious about what I am about to say.

01:39:15   I will fly to Cupertino at any time at my own expense for the opportunity to have five

01:39:29   minutes with that team to try and convince them to change this decision.

01:39:36   I am deadly serious about this.

01:39:39   This is how important this is to me because I am thinking about the health of my hands.

01:39:48   I am willing to go to great cost and vastly greater opportunity cost to try and influence

01:39:55   this in what I view as the only sane direction.

01:40:01   My ideal result here is the result that I think makes the most sense considering the

01:40:08   use case that we both desire is that this becomes a preference in accessibility.

01:40:14   Please, please let this become a preference in accessibility if nothing else.

01:40:20   Yeah. Like if that's the only thing I can get, Apple, if you have some kind of magic

01:40:25   that you think you're going to be able to do with the pencil by not letting me scroll in Safari.

01:40:30   I don't want it. I don't care.

01:40:33   I don't care what it is. You could offer me nothing that I would take in exchange for this.

01:40:40   It's just like if Apple came to my house and took away all my Wacom tablets and then disabled Wacom

01:40:47   tablets from ever working on my computer and they handed me a million dollars, I would say,

01:40:52   "Please give me the Wacom tablet back because I can't buy new hands with a million dollars."

01:40:57   That's the situation that I'm in here.

01:40:59   So...

01:41:00   [sigh]

01:41:02   I'm just, I'm very nervous about this, Myke.

01:41:05   I am very nervous about this.

01:41:07   [beep]