17: Dialing Down


00:00:00   I was looking at this package like "what the hell got delivered to my house? I don't understand what did I order that's about this size?"

00:00:06   Oh, I know what it is.

00:00:08   I like that you sit and look at the box and try and work it out before you open the box. Like, what's in you box?

00:00:13   We're going into a topic that I'm not really even sure how to explain myself. So this is a hard thing to start.

00:00:22   Yeah, I completely follow you and I think that this will come through in our

00:00:27   conversation today but I think to try and fill people in on what we're about

00:00:31   to start talking about today, you vaguely mentioned at the end of the last episode

00:00:37   that you were working on a blog post, right? And I ended up including it in the

00:00:41   show notes but we didn't talk about it on the show because it wasn't out yet,

00:00:44   you hadn't finished it. And this post was called "Dialing Down" which you put on

00:00:49   CGP Grey.com on your blog there and you're basically talking about

00:00:53   I'm gonna put words in your mouth and I'm gonna ask you to try and summarize it

00:00:58   what you've written basically talking about the effect that the internet has on your life and how you're trying to

00:01:04   Shut some of it out

00:01:07   Yeah, yeah, I think that's fair

00:01:15   That blog post came about in a bit of a strange way because I had been thinking for a while about trying to take a bit of a step back from the internet

00:01:25   And I mean the internet in a very very broad way right now which we'll talk about a bit more later perhaps

00:01:30   But I was thinking about taking a step back from the internet and it started with me thinking that

00:01:35   Oh maybe I want to just not be on Twitter as much as I am

00:01:40   So I started to write a tweet thinking, "Let me just say that I'm going to stay off Twitter

00:01:44   for a little while.

00:01:45   This will publicly commit me to being off Twitter for a little while, and I'll just

00:01:48   post it quickly and just kind of get on with the day."

00:01:51   But of course, Twitter has the 140 character limit, and so I tried to write something out

00:01:55   and realized, "I can't quite express my thoughts in this 140 characters.

00:01:59   Let me just quickly open up a text file and try to write out what I'm thinking and then

00:02:02   condense it down to a tweet."

00:02:04   And then, as these things go sometimes, I was later looking at a 1500 word mess that

00:02:11   I just kind of poured out on the page.

00:02:13   I was like, "I don't think this is a tweet anymore.

00:02:15   I think I am attempting to explain to myself something that I'm trying to do."

00:02:22   And so yes, last Thursday when we recorded that show, I kind of knew there was something

00:02:25   on my mind because I had this big mess of a draft of a blog post, but I didn't exactly

00:02:32   what it was. But over the next couple of days, which is relatively fast for me to actually

00:02:38   publish something, I wrote up this article about several areas that I want to turn down

00:02:47   in my life and I posted it on the website and this was a bit of a public commitment

00:02:53   device to myself to make sure that this is a thing that I was actually going to do.

00:02:59   Are you able to really explain why you feel the need to do this?

00:03:07   Because I mean, in a nutshell, you've cut some entertainment stuff out, which we'll

00:03:12   talk about, but the majority is you're basically removing yourself from a lot of social media

00:03:17   activity.

00:03:18   Yeah, okay, so in preparing for the show, I was thinking, okay, let me, I was walking

00:03:25   around and I'm trying to, as I do before the show, organize the thoughts in my head.

00:03:29   I think, "Okay, well, what is my... how do I explain in words this thing that I have

00:03:33   written?"

00:03:34   And I think that the most concise way I can come up to describe it is that I have been

00:03:40   aware, I would say largely since the summer, of this increasing feeling that I am overwhelmed.

00:03:51   But because of some events that happened in the last month or two, it's partly that I've

00:03:59   been working a little less because I've been focusing a bit more on my health.

00:04:05   And a couple of videos that just didn't work out, so I had to scrap them at the last moment,

00:04:08   so taking a bunch of stuff off my plate.

00:04:11   There were a few things that combined to make me realize that there was this disparity,

00:04:17   that I was feeling overwhelmed.

00:04:19   But if I sat down and wrote down on a piece of paper what are the things that I actually

00:04:24   have to do, how much time do I actually have to do them, the feeling of overwhelm was like

00:04:31   an illusion.

00:04:32   I wasn't genuinely overwhelmed.

00:04:35   I have spent a lot of time and effort, as we've discussed on the show, trying to arrange

00:04:39   my life in such a way so that it is the life that I want to live.

00:04:43   And one of the components of that is not being overcommitted to things.

00:04:47   So I rarely accept new projects.

00:04:50   I try to severely limit the number of things that I work on.

00:04:55   But somehow over time this feeling of overwhelm had been growing and I realized that it was

00:05:02   not in proportion to the amount of things that I was actually currently working on.

00:05:07   So this is me trying to figure out like where did this come from?

00:05:12   That's why I was partly writing this article is to try to figure out like what is the source

00:05:16   of this somewhat incorrect feeling.

00:05:20   And thinking back, the other time I can remember

00:05:24   feeling like this was when I was in college.

00:05:28   And I remember having a similar feeling of, "Boy, I'm really overwhelmed!"

00:05:32   But if I actually sat down and wrote out lists in my then

00:05:36   super cool Palm Pilot of the things that I actually had to do, it's like

00:05:40   "Well, do you really have an overwhelming number of things to do?"

00:05:44   It was a bit like, okay, the transition from high school to college was, well, actually you have way more free time than ever

00:05:51   and objectively you have far fewer things to do.

00:05:54   Like, so why does this feeling of overwhelmness in college happen when you just--

00:06:00   like, there's not actually more things to do.

00:06:02   And if anything, there's fewer things to do.

00:06:04   So that's kind of what I was trying to think through.

00:06:08   And the thesis point here was that the thing that was similar between then and now was recognizing that I have let a lot of inputs into my life.

00:06:25   And so in this conversation when I'm talking about the internet, what I really mean is I'm talking about all of these digital vectors, these digital sources of information that reach me in one way or another.

00:06:41   And so this includes things like, not just social media, so it's not like things like, "Oh, I'm on Twitter and I see what all these people on Twitter are doing and then I go over to Reddit and I look at all the stories on Reddit and then I check out Hacker News and I check out all the things on Hacker News."

00:06:54   It's not just that because I've been, well, not so much Twitter, but like with Reddit and Reddit-like places like Slashdot back in the day,

00:07:03   I've spent my whole life on sites like that.

00:07:06   That's not anything new, but it's over time there's been this increase in the number of things that deliver information my way.

00:07:15   So it includes things like, I use Instapaper, but I set up a system so that there's a lot of articles that just show up in Instapaper automatically for me to read.

00:07:24   And then I have this podcast app that I use which automatically is collecting all of these podcasts.

00:07:30   And so I had, over time, somehow ended up with several dozen different podcasts that I was listening to.

00:07:37   It's like okay, so all of these shows are always available for me to listen to and I'm spending a lot of time listening to them

00:07:43   whenever I'm walking around like this is a source of input and then on top of that there is just this

00:07:48   This other thing that happens when

00:07:52   You're doing well in your career like there's a lot of people who want your time and attention for various projects and so

00:08:02   There's just a lot of people who I interact with in a professional manner in one way or another who are instant messaging me or like

00:08:09   I'm suddenly on three different slack teams. It's like how did this happen?

00:08:13   I just think these things have just added up over time so that there are many many different ways that people can reach me.

00:08:19   So when I say the internet, I'm kind of referring to all of these things

00:08:24   together because they all come to me through the internet.

00:08:29   And so I think that's the conclusion that I've come to is that it is in aggregate all of these things together

00:08:38   many many many of which are

00:08:41   non-actionable

00:08:42   They're just information that is coming to me that I have chosen to have come to me that have led to this feeling of

00:08:49   Overwhelmedness that is like an illusion. It's not real

00:08:52   But I think that it's related to like the number of things that I am

00:08:58   letting into my brain, it's not related to the number of things that I actually have to do.

00:09:06   And we may talk about it later, but I think this has also had a bit of an effect on my work and my output.

00:09:13   So the result of you reading and consuming information

00:09:21   is

00:09:23   Doing something in your brain, which is making your brain think it has more to deal with than is

00:09:30   accurate. Yeah, maybe, maybe. The way I'm thinking about it is

00:09:36   the word that keeps coming to my mind is

00:09:39   fragmented. I feel like my

00:09:43   attention and my thoughts are

00:09:47   fragmented over a very large number of very small things.

00:09:53   And, at least for me anyway, I don't think that's an effective way to be.

00:09:59   So that's the way it feels. Like, all of this stuff coming in leads to fragmented attention.

00:10:06   One of the places I really first noticed this was actually with reading articles in Instapaper.

00:10:12   So I can't remember if I included this in the article or if I cut this because I thought it was boring, but...

00:10:17   Every day I have some time that I set aside for reading because I think it's a good activity to do and I also think it's

00:10:24   important for my work, so I have some blocks of time that are set aside for reading and

00:10:28   I don't know exactly when but at some point I seem to just have quite naturally transitioned from reading books to

00:10:37   much more reading

00:10:39   articles that were in Instapaper that were coming from blogs that I like from writers that I like and so I open up Instapaper and

00:10:45   and like just this collection of articles that I want to see is in there.

00:10:49   But I was aware of

00:10:51   after spending, say, 40 minutes sitting down and reading a bunch of articles

00:10:57   that I felt, I felt like exhausted after that process.

00:11:01   It didn't feel like, "Oh boy, this is something that I'm glad that I have done."

00:11:05   Like, I've sat down and I've spent 40 minutes going through a book.

00:11:08   At the end of that, I would feel like, "Oh, okay, this is good."

00:11:12   I feel interested in the argument that this person is making or I'm following someone explaining themselves over time.

00:11:17   No, instead I'm spending 40 minutes, but it's spread across 15 different articles that are perhaps

00:11:25   touching on, you know, 20 different topics all told between them.

00:11:30   And that just felt really tiring. It didn't feel like, "I don't think this is a good way to spend what I think of as reading time."

00:11:39   And so I think that helped kick off a little thought process in my mind

00:11:43   Like why do you feel tired after reading a bunch of articles in a way that you don't feel tired if you spent that time

00:11:49   reading a book? Because you've been engaged in the same activity for the same amount of time

00:11:55   Like what's different between these two things? And the answer is that somehow

00:11:59   following a single person's argument in a book

00:12:03   for that same amount of time is

00:12:07   is a better experience for me than reading a bunch of different authors talking about a bunch of different things over that same period of time.

00:12:15   I'm just trying to understand the way in which your brain could potentially be

00:12:21   working, right?

00:12:23   You and me both, man!

00:12:24   Yeah, I know.

00:12:25   Because obviously this is something that is unique to you in this way, but I don't think that it is completely unique.

00:12:33   So quite interestingly two days before you publish that blog post. I decided that I was going to

00:12:39   Take a week away from Twitter. So I was gonna

00:12:43   Take a complete week away. I logged out change. I have my girlfriend changed my password

00:12:48   I deleted all the apps from my devices and I didn't log in to Twitter to post anything for a week

00:12:55   And I spoke about this on a couple of episodes of another show

00:12:59   I do on relay FM called analog and I'll put links to those in the show notes

00:13:02   But essentially I wanted to do this for two reasons one

00:13:06   I felt like I was spending too much time on Twitter every day

00:13:10   and it was doing partly what you have explained and when I read your blog post and

00:13:15   Like this one line where you said he came to realize the overworld problem wasn't about the number of things to do

00:13:21   But was about the number of things he let into his brain

00:13:23   So that was something that I was definitely feeling and that I was allowing the world

00:13:28   to control my emotions in a slightly different and interesting way so people

00:13:35   weren't able to control my emotions directly it wasn't like friends family

00:13:39   co-workers or things that were happening in my life that should have an effect on

00:13:42   me but the thoughts and feelings of other people that I was reading was

00:13:46   affecting my emotions hmm in one way or another and or it was just a lot of time

00:13:53   spent every day where I could be doing other things where I was just consuming

00:13:59   tiny pieces of information from close to 600 different people. You follow 600

00:14:06   people on Twitter? Well I did. Okay I guess that's something that has changed.

00:14:12   This is like a long process I actually brought that number down from a thousand

00:14:16   to six hundred. Oh my god. Yeah over a few weeks because I could feel like something was

00:14:21   happening and then I decided to just cut my losses for a week and just not not go

00:14:25   there at all and you know the understanding that Twitter is a really

00:14:28   important source for me of information of news of way to keep up with friends

00:14:31   see what's going on in the world like it is a real important source for me but I

00:14:35   realized that the only way that I could come to any kind of solid decisions or

00:14:41   to try and learn anything was to go cold turkey mm-hmm so I could completely

00:14:46   understand what was going on and I set a bunch of rules myself. You can hear I'm

00:14:51   on the episode of analog like I could go to twitter.com/cgbgrow if I

00:14:54   wanted to but I couldn't read my own timeline and I couldn't respond to

00:14:59   people basically. You turned yourself into a Twitter lurker that's what you

00:15:02   did. Yeah effectively yeah so all I could do is just like peek in through the

00:15:06   window but I wasn't allowed to go and sit down at dinner with everybody. Right.

00:15:11   And I think I learned some pretty valuable things and I very quickly came

00:15:18   to the realization that it was probably better for me to be spending less time

00:15:24   there because I felt pretty productive during that week. I felt in control of my

00:15:31   own emotions in a slightly different way to usual and it really just allowed

00:15:38   me to kind of refocus what I wanted to do with some of my online life going

00:15:43   forward. So like now I'm I cut that number down from like 500 to 300 and

00:15:49   something. So I unfollowed a bunch of people. I'm disabling retweets from a

00:15:55   bunch of people. Like it's now a big process where I am attempting to go

00:16:00   through and have there be less tweets in my timeline. Because what I've

00:16:05   realised is if there is less stuff there it takes up less time to look through it

00:16:09   and it has the opportunity to make less of an effect on me in the long run.

00:16:15   So that was kind of the thought process that led me to do this, to take

00:16:20   this experiment and then to go forward from it. So I've learnt, but

00:16:24   more importantly than anything else I'm now thinking about it a lot when I'm

00:16:28   interacting online and trying to consider what this could be otherwise.

00:16:33   because I was fine without Twitter for that week.

00:16:37   Like I was totally fine.

00:16:38   - For the week without Twitter, you were fine.

00:16:40   - Yeah, it was like, this is okay.

00:16:41   Like I don't miss this as much as I thought I would.

00:16:44   (laughing)

00:16:45   But Twitter remains to be very important to my business.

00:16:48   Like I get a lot of news and information

00:16:50   which help inform the shows.

00:16:52   I promote the stuff that I do.

00:16:54   I see what other people are working on.

00:16:56   Like it still is very, very important.

00:16:58   So I'm kind of at a point where

00:17:00   I can't be without it completely, but what I can do is make more informed decisions and choices about the way that I interact with that part of my internet life.

00:17:09   So that's where I am and was with that, but you've gone way further than me.

00:17:16   Well, so it was interesting because we talked about this very briefly after the last episode.

00:17:24   because we stumbled upon that we were both doing the same thing at the same time.

00:17:29   Or I should say a similar thing at the same time.

00:17:33   And I think we're doing it for very different reasons.

00:17:37   But one thing that connects our modern quandary in a way is that

00:17:45   It is not possible to just totally step back from the internet for most people and for us in particular

00:17:57   where our lives are really dependent on the internet.

00:18:02   I mean, in some crazy way, the thing that I would really want to do is be right now in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains

00:18:13   with no internet connection and just a bunch of books

00:18:16   and thinking like, "Okay, I need to just do like this digital detox

00:18:20   and just think about some stuff and sort some stuff out

00:18:23   and just be here with my thoughts and my books and just do all of this."

00:18:26   But that is not possible with the modern world

00:18:33   and that is really not possible with my business.

00:18:37   Like, if I disappear from the internet for a couple of months

00:18:42   to be a crazy person living in a place without an internet connection?

00:18:46   That's a huge problem for me and my business.

00:18:50   So it's not something that can really be done.

00:18:54   That's also partly what I'm trying to express in that article that I wrote.

00:18:58   I can't turn these things off, off forever

00:19:02   but I'm trying to figure out how to

00:19:06   dial down these inputs. How to reduce them to a level

00:19:10   where I feel better about this.

00:19:13   But total elimination is not practical

00:19:16   and it's not possible. Although, for the

00:19:19   purposes of this experiment, there are a few things that I am totally eliminating.

00:19:22   But in the long run, it's not a thing that I could just say

00:19:25   "Oh, I'm just gonna give up Twitter. I'm never gonna look at Twitter again."

00:19:29   That's just not practical.

00:19:32   Or I should say something like

00:19:35   Reddit and just in general, conversations on the internet

00:19:38   on the internet where people argue.

00:19:40   Like, I'm not gonna give those up.

00:19:42   I love those.

00:19:44   Like, I really love them.

00:19:45   They're also part of my business,

00:19:48   as part of the feedback mechanism.

00:19:50   They're part of what I do.

00:19:51   So I can't give up internet feedback for business reasons.

00:19:55   And I can't give it up because it's something

00:19:57   that I just genuinely like as well.

00:20:00   But I'm just trying to figure out like,

00:20:01   where is the appropriate setting with these things?

00:20:06   So where is your information coming from now?

00:20:09   Because just to outline, you're restricting access

00:20:13   to Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and podcasts, right?

00:20:18   They're kind of the four main things

00:20:20   that are having restrictions,

00:20:22   and the restrictions vary depending on the service.

00:20:25   - Yeah, okay, let's go,

00:20:28   here's the most strict of the least strict maybe.

00:20:30   - Yeah.

00:20:31   - One of the biggest things that felt like

00:20:34   just too much of an input in my life was podcasts.

00:20:38   I had gotten into this habit of just listening to podcasts

00:20:42   at any moment in my life where there might be

00:20:45   the tiniest bit of boredom.

00:20:47   And so-- - That's what they're for.

00:20:49   - Yeah, I know that's what they're for.

00:20:51   I know, I know that we are on a podcast right now.

00:20:55   And maybe I shouldn't be telling people,

00:20:57   like don't listen to podcasts, and I'm not, right?

00:20:59   You should listen to all of the good shows.

00:21:01   But for me anyway, I just found that I was,

00:21:04   it was this very much reflexive go-to,

00:21:08   put on a podcast at every moment

00:21:12   when you can possibly have one listening.

00:21:14   And the way I set it up was that I had this endless playlist

00:21:17   that was just like the CGP Grey radio station

00:21:20   of like shows that CGP Grey likes.

00:21:22   And when one show ends, like the next show just begins.

00:21:24   And I just run through this endless, endless radio stream.

00:21:29   And so I felt like there was just too,

00:21:31   too much of this in my life.

00:21:33   And so what I have done for the month of November

00:21:37   is that I have uninstalled the podcast app

00:21:40   from all of my iOS devices.

00:21:42   So there's no podcasts on my phone.

00:21:46   And because I knew like there's this thing

00:21:48   in addiction circles where you talk

00:21:50   about substitute behaviors,

00:21:51   where you take, you have to decide like, okay,

00:21:53   you pick your poison, right?

00:21:54   You're going to remove one thing,

00:21:56   but you're very naturally going to fill it up

00:21:57   with something else.

00:21:58   And so I knew like, I'm probably going to just replace this with audiobooks.

00:22:02   And so I also uninstalled the audiobook stuff from my devices as well.

00:22:07   And my feeling was, okay, look, no spoken audio on my phone.

00:22:12   Like that's one of these things that I want to achieve because there's way too much of this.

00:22:16   So I want to do a month with none of this.

00:22:19   So that's probably the most extreme thing.

00:22:21   Or do you have any questions about that or should I go on?

00:22:23   I just have tears, that's all.

00:22:26   I have nothing more to say than that, really.

00:22:27   It is strange not listening to podcasts. That has been weird.

00:22:32   Well of course because they are the premium way to get any kind of information.

00:22:37   This is true.

00:22:39   Just go to relay.fm and you can choose.

00:22:42   Yes, this is very true. They are the premium way to get any kind of information.

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00:25:18   So after that, easy stuff.

00:25:20   Hacker News is a Reddit-like, oh god they'll really hate me saying that, but it's a Reddit-like

00:25:25   discussion board mainly focused on technology stuff.

00:25:28   I've blocked that from all of my various devices.

00:25:31   I have turned off all the things that automatically put articles into my Instapaper queue.

00:25:36   So that's just gone.

00:25:37   only things that are added to Instapaper are if I add something manually, which is very

00:25:40   rare.

00:25:41   I haven't logged on to Twitter at all this month so far, so very much like you, I'm not

00:25:47   going on to Twitter, I'm not posting anything on the account, I haven't looked at any @messages,

00:25:53   like I have no idea what's going on there.

00:25:57   I did set up a thing so that Twitter should email me if people direct message me or something,

00:26:01   but I just haven't even gone through my email fully to see if I've gotten any of those.

00:26:04   Oh god.

00:26:05   I'll set up an emergency system, but then won't check it.

00:26:10   - Yeah, that's pretty much what just happened.

00:26:12   It was like, oh right, I never set that up in my filters

00:26:14   that it goes to the top level, oh well.

00:26:17   - Never mind.

00:26:18   That was a funny thing for me,

00:26:19   like I was getting DMs that were important,

00:26:23   but I hadn't set anything up, I just let them go.

00:26:26   So when I came back after that week,

00:26:28   I was like, oh here are a bunch of things

00:26:29   that I actually really did need to know about, oh well.

00:26:32   - Yeah, I did have a little bit of difficulty with that

00:26:34   or there was a friend who was visiting London

00:26:36   and was trying to coordinate things

00:26:38   over direct message with me.

00:26:40   And it just so happened that they did that

00:26:42   moments before I fully shut down the system

00:26:44   and I was able to say, "Listen, over the next couple of days

00:26:47   "you need to instant message me.

00:26:48   "This is not, you can't do this over DM on Twitter.

00:26:51   "I will not see any of this."

00:26:52   But I'm going to London and I won't have a phone.

00:26:54   I don't know, man, you just gotta figure this out.

00:26:56   But I will not-- - This is your problem now.

00:26:58   (both laughing)

00:27:01   - It worked out fine.

00:27:02   As these things often do.

00:27:04   There's so few problems that are really problems, Myke.

00:27:07   - Sure.

00:27:08   - But yeah, so I'm not directly posting anything on Twitter.

00:27:12   I am using a system to still promote my stuff,

00:27:15   which we might come to later.

00:27:16   But I have not logged on to Twitter at all.

00:27:20   The most difficult one is Reddit

00:27:22   and what to do about Reddit

00:27:23   because I do like to post my stuff there

00:27:26   and I do consider the community of people on Reddit

00:27:29   who leave feedback a vital part of the work that I do.

00:27:33   So I can't just block Reddit everywhere.

00:27:36   That's the one that is still available to me to access.

00:27:40   But I pretty much haven't gone on Reddit

00:27:43   for the past, you know, whatever, 10 days or so.

00:27:47   I've failed a little bit on that,

00:27:49   but I mean, not wildly so.

00:27:52   So that's broadly speaking the outline

00:27:55   for what I'm doing this month.

00:27:57   - And what about YouTube?

00:27:58   - Oh yeah, YouTube.

00:28:02   So I have this account that I use to subscribe to a lot of YouTube channels.

00:28:09   I've never been a big YouTube watcher, but I've always wanted to know what people are

00:28:13   up to.

00:28:14   But I've logged out of that account.

00:28:16   At least you say bad things about YouTube, not just podcasts.

00:28:19   Yeah, there you go.

00:28:20   I don't listen to podcasts and I don't watch YouTube videos.

00:28:24   CGP Grey.

00:28:25   I make my living at both.

00:28:28   It's actually quite true.

00:28:29   So I have signed out of that account that I use to just follow stuff on all of my various

00:28:35   iOS devices.

00:28:37   And so this way I don't even see when I log in like "Oh, what have these various people

00:28:40   posted?"

00:28:41   Like I just don't even want to know what everybody else is up to.

00:28:44   So these are all of the various ways in which I have isolated myself from the world.

00:28:50   Alright so how is information coming to you?

00:28:52   Because you can't, you cannot shut yourself off completely from the world.

00:28:56   You cannot do that, right?

00:28:57   because that doesn't seem like a good thing to do, especially for a month.

00:29:01   So how is any information coming to you? How are you knowing?

00:29:06   I mean obviously not what's happening, you know, in the global economic whatever, because

00:29:16   neither me or you read that kind of stuff. But there are types of news and types of information

00:29:23   that I guess you deemed important enough to want to know about.

00:29:27   Like, how are you getting any of this type of stuff?

00:29:31   Or are you just not?

00:29:32   I mean, the thing is, you and I have never really been big news followers.

00:29:36   But there's a lot of stuff where if you just live on the internet, it's impossible not to be

00:29:40   ambiently aware of large events in the world.

00:29:44   But because I haven't gone on Reddit

00:29:48   or Twitter, I really have no

00:29:52   idea what's going on in the world for the last 10 days.

00:29:56   And I mean, thinking it through, it's like, oh, what's my biggest source of

00:30:01   input? It's like, oh, books?

00:30:03   I guess books now are my biggest source of input.

00:30:06   Like I've been reading a lot more.

00:30:07   So you're not really getting anything of what's happening now,

00:30:12   right? You're getting information, but it's not,

00:30:16   it's a different type of information completely.

00:30:19   It's like I've dropped down to just a much lower cycle time for any informational input

00:30:24   as, you know, a news cycle happens on a very short period of time

00:30:29   but now, for the last 10 days anyway, the stuff that's coming into my life that is new is

00:30:33   very, very, very largely books

00:30:37   or... I was gonna say a little bit of research that I've done for a couple of the videos that I'm working on

00:30:46   But even that, the video projects that I am currently focused on are not super research-heavy.

00:30:53   So even then, it's not like I'm happening to be on the internet, or on the web anyway, bouncing around from web pages quite a lot.

00:30:59   I really don't have any input.

00:31:01   Over the last week or so, I've felt an extra duty where sometimes I just send you a thing here and there.

00:31:07   So I'm like, "I think Gray might want to know about this."

00:31:10   So I just send you very little pieces of information every now and then, you know?

00:31:14   That's true, you have sent me a couple things, but those are almost all businessy things

00:31:18   that I need to know about.

00:31:20   But you're aware even then of like, I think maybe the normal channels it's harder to

00:31:23   reach him through.

00:31:24   I have had more than a few people in my life be like, "Jesus, you're really hard to

00:31:27   get in touch with just under normal circumstances."

00:31:29   I also don't know how to contact you at the moment.

00:31:32   It's a nightmare.

00:31:33   I'm like, do I, like if I send Gray an iMessage, will he kill me?

00:31:38   Like I don't know what the right way to contact him is.

00:31:41   Yeah, I've had several friends and family express the same disconcertment.

00:31:45   Which is like, "I just have a hard time getting in touch with you normally, and now I feel like it's doubly hard?"

00:31:50   Like, "Of anybody in the world, you seem like the person who least needs to become more difficult to contact."

00:31:56   And I'm like, "No, I think I do need to become more difficult to contact. You're lucky I'm not in that cabin in the Rocky Mountains right now."

00:32:02   The dream. The dream.

00:32:05   Yeah, not really. It's just like a thing to do as a vacation.

00:32:07   But, you know, you don't want to live there. Not forever. That's what crazy people do.

00:32:10   do. So how have you set up your devices as well? Like, knowing you as I do, you've done something

00:32:17   to them. Yeah, so let me talk about what has been the most practical thing that I have done that I

00:32:24   might suggest other people might want to try if they want to do something like this. I have always

00:32:29   been aware that, and I think we've even discussed on the show a little bit, that for me mornings are

00:32:37   a time that I have to get everything right in order to have the rest of the day go the way that I want it to.

00:32:44   So that any disturbance in the morning is bad news.

00:32:48   And so I like these things to be nice and regular.

00:32:51   One of the things related to this overwhelm problem that I was aware of was

00:32:55   while I have actually been pretty good about locking down my phone in terms of notifications

00:33:02   Oh, by the way, I did take off email from my iPhone as I fully expected that I would.

00:33:06   There's no more email on my iPhone.

00:33:08   Oh, so that didn't last?

00:33:10   No, it didn't.

00:33:10   It actually, it came off maybe like a couple days after that show went up,

00:33:14   when we did the follow-up.

00:33:17   That was me trying to solve a problem in exactly the wrong way.

00:33:20   It's like, "I feel like I'm not getting enough done.

00:33:22   Maybe I should add a constant source of stress and anxiety,

00:33:25   bring it closer to me, have it always be on my phone?"

00:33:27   No, that was a terrible idea, as I full well knew that it was,

00:33:30   But I was just trying something different and it didn't work out. But so anyway, I've taken mail off my phone

00:33:34   I'm normally very good about just not having anything have alerts on my phone, but nonetheless there are still some things that

00:33:42   My phone is very good for that. I want my phone to have alerts for so for example

00:33:47   instant messages from people who are close to me and

00:33:50   as I mentioned before I'm on several slack teams for various projects that I work on and

00:33:55   And there are channels on those Slack teams where if someone posts something, like,

00:33:59   "I need to know and I need to respond to this because it's business related."

00:34:03   So those are these two areas where stuff can come in to me and I do want to be able

00:34:07   to have access to it. But what I was finding was that

00:34:11   even if I set up the phone as I did, so that

00:34:15   it never makes a noise, it never beeps, but there is just in the

00:34:19   notifications or there's a badge that's like, "Okay, someone sent me an iMessage or there's a

00:34:23   message that I need to respond to. I was finding that that was one way that my

00:34:29   mornings were getting disrupted by input from the outside world that I was just

00:34:33   unhappy with. And it sounds really dumb that, "Oh, someone just instant messaged

00:34:38   you and like can't you just wait until after you're done with your writing

00:34:42   session for the morning like after you do your normal routine can't you look at

00:34:45   that later?" It's like, well, just knowing the badge is there is irritating. It's

00:34:49   like this little splinter in your mind or this grain of sand that's just a bit

00:34:53   of an irritation. And looking at it then, it's like, "Okay, well either I deal with

00:34:57   this now or now I have to remember that there's a thing that I need to deal with later."

00:35:01   I just didn't like this at all and I wasn't quite sure how to solve it.

00:35:06   But so then I realized, "Oh, I know what to do about this."

00:35:08   Now, a year ago, I was using the old iPhone 6, which I loathed for very many reasons.

00:35:17   And largely due to your influence, I eventually switched to the 6 Plus, which is a phone that

00:35:22   I like much better. You found the right path. It is, it is genuinely much better. The 6 Plus,

00:35:27   I quite like it. But because I buy my phones outright, I happen to have this old 6 lying

00:35:32   around that I just never quite did anything with. I never got around to selling it on

00:35:35   eBay or anything. So I had this old phone, and what I decided to do was I set up this

00:35:43   old phone, my 6, as this totally offline phone.

00:35:52   So it doesn't have a sim card in it, so there's no phone number, it doesn't have a data connection

00:35:57   on it.

00:35:59   The only couple of things that it has on it is my music collection.

00:36:03   Actually, I should pull up exactly what I have on it.

00:36:07   Where is my little phone there?

00:36:08   The little phone.

00:36:09   I should send you a screenshot.

00:36:11   See, now this is the problem though, it's like, oh wait, now I have two things to keep track of.

00:36:15   Yeah.

00:36:16   And I was just using it before, so hold on, I need to go grab it, I'll be right back.

00:36:19   Okay.

00:36:20   Eventually, he'll end up buying like four of these.

00:36:23   And then he'll have them in his different bags, and there'll be like four offline devices,

00:36:29   and two online devices, and he'll have to keep a catalog of them.

00:36:33   Hi, I'm back.

00:36:34   Hello.

00:36:35   Hi. Okay.

00:36:36   Alright, so I'm looking at my phone now.

00:36:39   So here are the things that I have on it. I was trying to, I didn't want to try to do it from memory because I sat down for a while and tried to figure out what do I need where.

00:36:46   So the thing that is on my little offline phone is Notes, which is where I just write down whatever pops into my head.

00:36:53   But they can't sync anywhere.

00:36:55   But it syncs when I get home, right? Like it connects to the wifi in my house.

00:36:59   Oh, it connects to the wifi. Right, okay. I thought that it was just like completely offline.

00:37:03   No, it's not completely offline. It just knows the WiFi in my house

00:37:07   and it also knows the WiFi at my co-working space.

00:37:11   So there are two places where it can connect and synchronize.

00:37:15   But yeah, I have notes, I have OmniFocus so that if there's a couple things that pop into my mind I can just jot them down.

00:37:19   I have music on there so I have something to listen to

00:37:23   and I have my usual few little places where I keep

00:37:27   documents as well just so I can add something to it if something pops into my mind.

00:37:31   And then I have my two health-related things, which is my exercise app and my food tracking app.

00:37:36   So those are the things that I thought, I want a device with me all the time where I can access these things.

00:37:43   To either add to a list, or to record the food that I'm eating, or to make a note of the exercises that I've done,

00:37:50   or I want to be able to listen to music somewhere.

00:37:53   But I don't want to have the whole world be able to reach me.

00:37:58   And so what I have done for the past 10 days is that when I get up in the morning,

00:38:05   I take this iPhone 6 with me out to do my normal routine.

00:38:12   Which is I go out, I go to my co-working space early before anybody's there,

00:38:16   I write for a little while, and then I go to the gym after that,

00:38:21   and then I come home for lunch. Like that's the first half of my day.

00:38:24   and I spend that whole part of the day just

00:38:27   totally disconnected from the outside world in a real physical way.

00:38:33   Gray, that makes me feel uncomfortable.

00:38:35   Well, yeah, why does that make you feel uncomfortable?

00:38:38   I can't imagine being completely disconnected.

00:38:41   It's weirdly liberating.

00:38:42   Like I would be constantly worried that people were trying to get in touch with me about something.

00:38:47   Yeah, they might be. I don't know.

00:38:49   I don't like that. I don't like that feeling.

00:38:51   [Laughs]

00:38:53   I don't know, I find it remarkably liberating in a way.

00:38:59   And I did the same thing with the iPad that I write with in the morning.

00:39:03   Which is, again, taking off instant message, taking off email, taking off Slack.

00:39:08   I took off all of these things, and so I have this iPad where really the only stuff that I can do on it

00:39:15   is directly related to what I think are the core,

00:39:20   unique things that I need to do

00:39:23   to keep my business moving forward,

00:39:25   which is primarily writing scripts.

00:39:29   Like that's what I need to be doing.

00:39:31   And so that iPad is almost useless for anything else.

00:39:35   And the phone that I have brought with me

00:39:36   is totally useless for anything else.

00:39:38   And so then I just go into the coworking space.

00:39:41   I actually removed the spare laptop that I had there.

00:39:43   So it's like, I don't even have a laptop in a cubby

00:39:45   think, "Oh, maybe I'll just check something on my laptop." It's like, "Nope, there's nothing

00:39:48   here for you except these devices that only do these very limited things."

00:39:53   Right. Can we just put a pin in that for one second?

00:39:57   Sure. Because I was going to say, one of the reasons that I think I can't

00:40:01   do this in the way that you can is the way that our businesses are different.

00:40:05   Oh yeah, well this is it. You work with people. That's your problem, Myke. People

00:40:09   rely on me to do things for them, which is fine. I

00:40:12   actually quite like that. But it's the reason that we couldn't do this is your

00:40:18   business primarily is quite solo. Intentionally, very intentionally. Yeah, you

00:40:25   and Brady have worked together, me and you work on something

00:40:28   together, but we're not so reliant on each other except for in certain times.

00:40:33   Right, and from my perspective those interactions like talking to you, talking

00:40:40   talking to Brady, and then more broadly, some other projects I'm working on, like the people I talk to related to those,

00:40:45   or as we were discussing before the show, like talking to my accountants, or talking to lawyers, or talking to any of these people.

00:40:52   From my perspective, all of this stuff can wait until I am potentially less effective, which is in the afternoons.

00:41:01   And that's the way I've set it up like this.

00:41:04   There's very few people who need me for anything first thing in the morning,

00:41:10   but then later in the day I can be open to interacting with people.

00:41:15   But I'm trying to preserve when I am most effective in the mornings.

00:41:18   But yes, this would be a disaster for someone who, say, ran a podcasting network

00:41:24   in which many people are constantly trying to reach him all the time.

00:41:27   Yeah. And also, I have a website that is under my control that can explode.

00:41:37   Yeah, at any moment it can explode. One of the times when you and I were hanging out in person, it exploded while we were having lunch. That was a very sad day for you.

00:41:46   That was the most catastrophic explosion that there has ever been.

00:41:51   Yeah, you look stressed. You look pretty stressed about it.

00:41:54   Well, part of the problem, if we can kind of pull back the veil a moment, was what made

00:42:01   that much worse was this was the exact day where I was trying to convince you to do this

00:42:06   show.

00:42:07   Yeah, I can understand from your perspective that it might have been less than an ideal

00:42:10   scenario where you're trying to pitch me on "I should do a podcast with Relay" and then

00:42:15   at the same time you're looking at your phone constantly because Relay was melting down

00:42:19   before your eyes.

00:42:22   That was a very stressful afternoon.

00:42:25   I imagine it was.

00:42:27   So that's why I don't feel like I could necessarily do that.

00:42:31   And it's one of the reasons why I will always get local sims when I travel.

00:42:37   I mean, Steven's really good at taking care of stuff like that when I'm away and vice

00:42:42   versa but if something requires my attention I need to be able to deal with it even if

00:42:49   it's just saying a yes or a no to something.

00:42:52   this is the thing that happens when you are running the business or the person at the top,

00:42:56   is you just need to give an approval to a thing. And again, even as a one-person business,

00:43:01   I'm aware of that moment where you are the guy at the top of the pyramid,

00:43:05   and someone just needs a go-no-go to allow them to move forward.

00:43:10   [

00:43:15   the majority of the platforms that you're a part of.

00:43:17   So it's kind of not really your responsibility

00:43:20   to take care of some of that stuff.

00:43:22   - Right, if YouTube goes down,

00:43:24   all I'm thinking is like,

00:43:25   well, someone somewhere is getting fired.

00:43:27   It's not my problem.

00:43:28   And I'll just wait until this goes back up.

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00:46:03   for their support of this show but anyway I want to talk about this these

00:46:07   magical devices that you have right so you have an iPhone and an iPad which are

00:46:12   not your normal iPhone and iPads which are now the devices that you're using

00:46:16   and they are pretty much shut off from the world right it's kind of that to

00:46:21   kind of recap that and they have very limited applications on them for this

00:46:25   reason. But these devices are not completely turned off from the internet

00:46:29   and the temptation of downloading the apps that you want. So how do you deal

00:46:34   with that? Broadly speaking what's what's happened over the past ten days is that

00:46:39   I have enabled restrictions on my own devices with a password that I know but

00:46:47   on this is one of the reasons why I like working with iOS devices is in some ways

00:46:51   It's much easier to do certain things than it is with your computer

00:46:54   And so actually I find locking down an iPad is way simpler than trying to lock down a computer

00:47:00   And so you can go into the restrictions area

00:47:03   And there's just tons of stuff that you can turn on and off and settings on your phone there

00:47:07   Like there's actually there's actually some things that are quite useful in there

00:47:10   Here's a little pro tip for anyone who uses Apple music by the way

00:47:13   You can go into restrictions and you can disable whatever the hell that thing is the Apple connect

00:47:19   You know the thing where it's like Twitter for musicians. You know what I'm talking about. Yeah. Yeah, if you disable Apple connect in

00:47:25   Apple music that little icon goes away and they replace it with the vastly more useful icon for your music playlists

00:47:34   but yeah, so anyway, I set up all of these restrictions for myself and so

00:47:37   Here's the thing the long-term plan is that it was supposed to happen last weekend

00:47:43   But actually it's going to happen this weekend is that I have been

00:47:46   Collecting all of my various devices and my wife knows something's up because she's like what's this pile of iPads doing here?

00:47:52   I was like, oh you're gonna be involved in this later. She goes, okay

00:47:55   What I'm eventually going to do is

00:47:59   And I think it should happen this weekend is I'm going to have my wife

00:48:04   Change the restrictions. Yeah code on my devices

00:48:09   That's it. Cuz this is what I did a Dina changed the password. She kept it in one password

00:48:15   Otherwise I was gonna log back into Twitter, right?

00:48:19   Yeah, so the thing is I have I have been actually

00:48:23   Quite impressed with myself about my own ability to not cheat on this that the restrictions

00:48:29   having my own restrictions passcode is enough of a barrier that I like

00:48:35   Whenever I'm tempted to do something you do something from muscle memory

00:48:38   For example, like I have definitely definitely caught myself a couple of times

00:48:42   on the computer, for example, going to type in "Twitter" like right at the beginning

00:48:46   and then the computer goes "We can't load this page because you edit it in the host file"

00:48:50   I was like "Oh right, yeah, I'm doing a thing where I'm not doing this, of course, you idiot!"

00:48:54   Right? I get back to whatever you're doing. So I have resisted

00:48:58   so far the temptation to change it myself

00:49:02   but I think it's much better if you even remove

00:49:06   that option. Just take away even the

00:49:10   the possibility of you doing this thing.

00:49:13   And that's why there's no SIM card in my phone.

00:49:17   When you're walking around, you're not going to be able to even try to do any of this stuff.

00:49:21   You just don't have the option, and I find that that is even more mentally freeing.

00:49:26   So I am almost certainly going to do the same thing where my wife is going to have passcode.

00:49:32   She's going to put it in 1Password. I can access her 1Password, like just in case she dies or something

00:49:38   in the middle of this. Like I don't want to find myself with no administrative password to any of

00:49:42   the devices that I use because she got hit by a bus. Like you know you have to plan for these

00:49:46   things. Yeah that would really be the worst thing in this scenario right? It wouldn't be the worst

00:49:51   but it would be pretty bad. Because you might actually need them in that scenario right?

00:49:55   This is something you have to deal with here. Exactly. You think I've got paperwork in the

00:49:59   house like on physical pieces of paper? No I've got everything on encrypted drives all over the

00:50:04   place. Right? So it's like, yeah, I would need that stuff. So the plan is to take away the options

00:50:09   in the future and again, I don't want to go through the details of it, but there is a lot

00:50:16   of interesting psychological evidence that points to the fact that when you remove options, just

00:50:23   it is easier for brains to focus on different kind of activities, even if those brains are

00:50:30   capable of resisting the option anyway.

00:50:33   You know, it's the old like, "Oh, someone doesn't eat chocolate,

00:50:36   but if chocolate is in the house, it turns out that this does have a kind of draining

00:50:40   effect on the person's mind over time, even if they never eat the chocolate."

00:50:43   Because some part of their brain is constantly running a loop, which is like,

00:50:47   "Don't eat the chocolate, don't eat the chocolate, don't eat the chocolate."

00:50:49   And you just remove that if you take it away.

00:50:51   So that's the ultimate plan. It's just taken longer for me to set up than intended

00:50:55   intended because I do have quite a complicated setup with various devices that I want to use in different ways.

00:51:02   And also, as I mentioned before, this difficulty of I can't cut out everything entirely.

00:51:08   Like if I really was just cutting everything out, this would be simpler.

00:51:11   But I'm trying to figure out like where can I get access to some things when I need them.

00:51:15   So I think I've mostly sorted that out and I'm going to turn over the keys shortly for the remainder of the month.

00:51:21   So then what will your device setup be? Will all of your devices be in this situation then where they're all cut off?

00:51:28   The plan is that I have an

00:51:35   offline phone, which is this companion device for the morning

00:51:41   largely for being able to jot down notes and go to the gym. I need something there to help me digitally with that stuff and

00:51:49   and an online phone, which is for the rest of the day,

00:51:52   so that normal people can contact me

00:51:54   and I can try to reply in a somewhat reasonable manner.

00:51:57   And I'm doing the same thing for my iPads.

00:52:02   I'm going to have an offline iPad

00:52:06   that is primarily about creation,

00:52:10   and then I've set up a second iPad,

00:52:13   which is about administrative work.

00:52:16   So I will have email on that iPad, I will have Slack on that iPad.

00:52:22   I will be open to the world on that, and so I will be able to switch between these two things.

00:52:27   And just to keep things simple, the computer that I'm talking to you on right now,

00:52:32   because it's much harder to lock down computers, I'm having the computer set up as an administrative/podcast machine.

00:52:39   So the laptop that I'm in front of, I record my podcasts on, I'll edit podcasts on, I will do animations on this,

00:52:45   and I will also have email available and Slack and instant message and all of that kind of stuff.

00:52:51   But I actually don't spend a whole lot of creative time aside from animation working on the computer

00:52:57   and I'm almost always somewhere else when I'm writing.

00:52:59   Like I go out to my co-working space or I am out somewhere at a cafe writing.

00:53:05   So I am just naturally physically separated from like the administration machine.

00:53:10   That's the idea here.

00:53:11   And so you've also removed the ability to access certain websites as well, right?

00:53:17   Yeah, on my computer I've locked down Twitter, Hacker News, and Reddit.

00:53:22   Those are not accessible.

00:53:24   And even on the administration iPad it's the same thing.

00:53:27   Although I have to say, Apple's ability to block websites on your iOS device

00:53:32   is the one thing that is absolutely terrible about it.

00:53:34   I've been playing around with it.

00:53:35   They have this filter setting that you can put on which is...

00:53:40   Okay, so if you want to ban a specific website, you have to turn on this adult website filter,

00:53:47   like you're handing an iPad to a kid, right?

00:53:49   And then you can specify, like, okay, it will automatically try to filter adult content,

00:53:53   and then you can specify, okay, also block Twitter, Reddit, and Hacker News.

00:53:57   But it's using some dumb algorithm to figure out what adult content is.

00:54:01   So on the couple times I've been trying to research stuff,

00:54:05   it's like, I can't figure out what it's using to block various pages,

00:54:08   but I'll be trying to hit a page that's like at the New York Public Library and it's like, "Oh, I'm sorry, this is adult content."

00:54:13   It's like, okay, obviously there's a word on this page that is in your filter and you're not allowing it through,

00:54:19   so it's not as great of experience on iOS.

00:54:21   I would love, were someone to make it, a content blocker for iOS that allowed you to put in a password

00:54:28   that would restrict certain websites.

00:54:31   Surely you can do that with the new system, that'd be my guess, right?

00:54:33   that you could create a custom content blocker

00:54:36   to block certain websites but that also requires a password to open up the content blocker.

00:54:40   I think someone should do that. OneBlocker already lets you block websites in particular.

00:54:44   You should add a password. Anyway, that's a side thought.

00:54:47   So you can set it up but you just can't secure it.

00:54:49   Right. What I would like to be able to do is be able to tell OneBlocker the thing that I use.

00:54:54   Block all of the ads, all the usual stuff. Block Reddit, Twitter, Hacker News, which it can already do.

00:55:00   But then I would like to be able to say to one blocker,

00:55:03   "Don't change any of these settings unless someone puts in the magic passcode

00:55:07   and then have my wife select a magic passcode."

00:55:09   That would be the preferred thing.

00:55:11   But I don't know of any content blockers that do that right now.

00:55:14   One of the things that you called out that you're using

00:55:17   is an application called Buffer.

00:55:20   And you're using this to post stuff to places.

00:55:23   And I've heard of this app before, but I've never really paid any attention to it.

00:55:27   Oh, you have to use Buffer, even if you're not doing this crazy thing that I'm doing.

00:55:31   Buffer is super useful.

00:55:32   I need you to tell me why then.

00:55:34   Okay, this isn't an ad or anything. I just like the service.

00:55:37   Buffer is this service that allows you to schedule tweets.

00:55:43   That's one of their primary little selling points.

00:55:46   So there are circumstances, say when you want to promote something,

00:55:50   where you want to set up the tweet in advance that's going to promote the thing,

00:55:54   thing but you want it to auto publish at a certain time and so you give buffer

00:56:01   your Twitter logon credentials and then you can go to buffer write out the tweet

00:56:05   and say post this tomorrow at 5 30 and so this is is not just Twitter as well

00:56:12   it's also used for a bunch of other services I think it works with Facebook

00:56:15   and I think it works with Google+ but no one will see anything you post on

00:56:19   Google+ because it is a ghost town sorry Google you should have made something

00:56:23   better but they will work with Google+ for anybody who you know cares about

00:56:27   that kind of thing. That's its primary selling feature is this scheduling thing.

00:56:32   What I'm using it for at the moment is when I post a podcast goes up or if a

00:56:39   video goes up or if an article goes up I'm going to use buffer to post that

00:56:44   announcement to my Twitter account and this allows me to do that without

00:56:47   actually logging into Twitter and seeing what's on my timeline who's that message

00:56:52   What about the people I follow? Has anyone of them messaged me? Like, I don't want to see any of that stuff.

00:56:56   So Buffer is allowed on my computer systems to allow me to interact

00:57:00   with Twitter indirectly. And actually, I thought I was only going to use it to promote

00:57:04   stuff, but it came up quite usefully when

00:57:08   last night or two nights ago, Brady and I were discussing

00:57:12   on Hello Internet the Future flag referendum, and we decided on the deadline

00:57:16   for that. And I thought, you know what, this is a thing I should post on Twitter to let people know.

00:57:20   And so I could just use Buffer, I could open that up, post when the deadline was for the flag referendum, hit click, and Buffer posted it just a couple minutes later.

00:57:28   So it's a way of being able to access the people who follow me on Twitter without going to Twitter. That's why I'm using it.

00:57:36   One of the things that you mentioned that I thought was quite interesting is that when you were talking about getting rid of following YouTube videos,

00:57:44   was that you wanted to stop the kind of pollution of ideas.

00:57:48   And also for YouTube, if you're working on a video

00:57:50   and you see somebody else has worked on something

00:57:53   that you won't can it.

00:57:54   And this reminds me of an episode of Hello Internet

00:57:57   where you were working on a flag video, right?

00:57:59   And when Mawaaz made a flag video

00:58:01   and then you canned your flag video.

00:58:03   - Yeah.

00:58:04   - So there has been a policy change at Gray Industries then.

00:58:08   - Well, I mean, this is just a thing

00:58:11   that I always kind of struggle with

00:58:13   because if you make your living in some kind of creative field, you want to make new stuff

00:58:19   or you want to do stuff that's from a new angle.

00:58:22   And there's this feeling like, "Oh, hacks just look at what's popular and copy it."

00:58:29   Like that's what a hack is.

00:58:30   And that someone who's trying to make something new is focusing on making the new thing.

00:58:35   But over the past several years, it feels...

00:58:40   Okay, the thing I'm about to say might not be true, but I'm saying how it feels to me,

00:58:43   is that there's just a larger and larger number of people who are doing

00:58:47   interesting educational content of some sort on the Internet.

00:58:52   Now, I say that might not actually be the reality, because what might be the

00:58:56   reality is what I think has actually happened, which is that

00:58:58   I have, over time, curated a list of

00:59:02   people who do interesting things that I am interested in

00:59:06   in this field. Because naturally, since I work in the

00:59:09   educational video field, I am interested in people who produce

00:59:12   interesting educational content. And I think that there's a way in which people

00:59:17   who do this kind of work

00:59:20   have a sense for what can be popular on the internet, what will people be

00:59:25   interested in,

00:59:26   when you look at topics that other people might just not

00:59:31   find that interesting. Okay, so one of the funny things that happens all the time

00:59:35   if you say make popular educational content,

00:59:40   is people constantly pitch ideas to you, right?

00:59:45   So you just meet people in real life

00:59:47   or just on the internet people like,

00:59:47   oh, you should do a video about this.

00:59:49   You should do a video about this.

00:59:50   - Yeah, I'd do this to you.

00:59:52   I did it to you like three days ago.

00:59:53   I think I did it to you before we started this show today.

00:59:56   - Yeah, well, I think you did.

00:59:58   And I've talked to other people who work in this field

01:00:03   And everyone kind of agrees that there's this sense in which you can just tell when a topic is not going to be interesting and when it is.

01:00:11   And you don't know what, like why that is, but it is like a skill to learning like what can be an interesting thing.

01:00:19   And it has very very little to do with how interesting it sounds when you first hear the idea, but like there's something else about it.

01:00:26   So there are many topics which will sound interesting on first pitch, but are actually just deathly boring to try to do.

01:00:33   And vice versa, the best ones are the ones that seem like they're not interesting at all,

01:00:37   but that you can make really interesting.

01:00:39   But so, since there's a lot of people working in this field,

01:00:43   I think there are a lot of people I have ended up following who have

01:00:47   antenna that are similarly tuned to the world as I do.

01:00:52   And so what I'm trying to do is be less aware of what other people are doing

01:00:58   because I think it's very natural that

01:01:02   other people are going to do the same topics that I want to do because

01:01:07   our antenna are all tuned to similar frequencies like we notice something

01:01:12   interesting or an idea comes across our mind and like we will agree like yes, this is an interesting topic to do and

01:01:20   It's that that flag episode. I think I sound particularly dejected because I had worked quite a lot on that video

01:01:25   I was distraught listening to it because I could just feel this like

01:01:30   Complete consuming sadness

01:01:33   I'm maybe more sensitive to it as somebody who also makes stuff

01:01:41   Yeah, right. So like I was maybe like projecting things that I'd done right that was like a similar kind of thing

01:01:47   But like I could feel like you've gone through something prior to this happening. Yeah

01:01:53   But so since that has happened

01:01:55   The the video was the biggest thing that would ever have occurred

01:01:59   but actually since that showed air like a similar thing happened again where it's like I was working on something and I was talking to

01:02:04   somebody else and

01:02:05   Very naturally like we had both identified an interesting thing in a topic

01:02:10   like I I really do think that there is something objective to be found in certain topics and some people can see that and

01:02:18   So it's just very very natural that other people are going to work on similar things

01:02:22   Now I am the one who was always trying to tell myself like nobody owns

01:02:27   the facts. Like, I wasn't the first person to do a UK video. People will do videos on the UK after me.

01:02:33   And so I shouldn't be thinking like, "Oh, I should always make something new that that someone else hasn't done."

01:02:38   But I think really in the last year, I've come to this this conclusion that

01:02:43   like looking at my list of topics and this, when I mean the list of topics,

01:02:48   I mean the big list of topics that I have, the 200 plus potential topics that I collect information on.

01:02:55   I don't think there's a single one in there anymore that someone somewhere hasn't done in either video form or on a podcast

01:03:02   And so this is just a thing that I need to get over like

01:03:05   stop intensely following what other people are producing and just

01:03:10   In a crazy way act like I am the only educational channel in the world, right?

01:03:15   I'm going to assume that nobody has seen anything that anybody else has done and I'm gonna try to just make videos

01:03:21   that I am interested in making and it doesn't matter if somebody else has done a video on that topic.

01:03:26   So that's one of the things that I'm trying to do.

01:03:29   But it connects into the like the overwhelm thing that I was talking about in the beginning because it led to this feeling of like

01:03:36   God, I want to race through and try to get all of these videos out into the world before anybody else gets them done.

01:03:41   And then I ended up working on like a lot of videos simultaneously because I felt like oh I wanted to get all of them out

01:03:48   into the world quickly.

01:03:49   But

01:03:51   working on many many videos all at once to try to get them out faster results in nothing but slower

01:03:56   progress on any of the individual videos. It's like, okay, this is not, this doesn't work at all. Like I'm working on

01:04:03   or before the I put the video up I was looking at the

01:04:07   projects that were in some state of activeness and it's like I'm trying to work on 20 videos at once.

01:04:12   This is just crazy. Like I'll take a whole year if I'm trying to work on 20 videos at once.

01:04:18   This is ridiculous. Like I just I absolutely have to cut this down and just be like, okay

01:04:22   look, I'm picking these two videos and I'm just going to work on them until they're uploaded and

01:04:29   If somebody beats me to it, okay, I'm still gonna finish this video

01:04:34   Maybe maybe I'll hold on to it and publish it like a couple months later

01:04:39   You know if I happen to know but for the most part

01:04:43   I'm just gonna try to avoid like what are other people working on and just focus on my own things

01:04:48   And what sort of changes do you think that this is gonna make then?

01:04:52   Because, I mean, look, I say the thing that you hear

01:04:56   every day, or that you did hear every day

01:05:00   your pace of videos has slowed down a lot

01:05:04   maybe in the last year? Oh yeah, oh yeah. This is all coming out of

01:05:08   me being unhappy with my video release

01:05:12   schedule in the last six months in particular. So since the summer, like I have not

01:05:16   been happy about the number of videos that I have gotten out. So I have not been happy about it,

01:05:20   and I was particularly irritated about it when there was one that was supposed to be for October,

01:05:25   but it just didn't work out that I was going to get it finished in time. And part of the reason

01:05:28   that it didn't get finished in time in October is that my brain was fragmented between a whole

01:05:35   bunch of scripts. So I had this idea of like, oh, there's one video that I definitely want for

01:05:39   October, but I found myself continually bouncing back and forth between a bunch of videos.

01:05:45   And like, as a one-person production house, it's just not possible, right?

01:05:50   I cannot be working on that many things simultaneously.

01:05:54   It's just too slow. Nothing's going to happen there.

01:05:58   So that's the other side of this coin then, isn't it?

01:06:01   That you haven't really spoken about so much.

01:06:03   Is that you're dialing down from your social interactions,

01:06:06   but you're also trying to be more focused in your work.

01:06:11   Yeah, I think a number of people took the dialing down title to mean that I was

01:06:15   dialing down the amount of work that I am doing. And that's not actually the,

01:06:20   that's not actually my goal at all. You'd be going in reverse at a certain point, Gray.

01:06:24   Yeah, it was really funny. To start deleting videos from YouTube.

01:06:29   That's the natural, that's the natural progression.

01:06:36   But yeah, so it is not about reducing the output.

01:06:41   But here's the thing, I don't know if I'm right about this,

01:06:47   but I think that this slow creep up of input in my life

01:06:52   over the past maybe two years and really reaching

01:06:58   some kind of threshold in the last year,

01:07:00   I think that the increase in that input

01:07:04   is related to this desire to work on a large number of things simultaneously.

01:07:11   I may be wrong about that. It wouldn't be the first time that I have incorrectly evaluated

01:07:16   the process in my own brain, but I think they're connected. That when I am receiving a lot of

01:07:23   information, it constantly makes me want to bounce to a different video topic. Like,

01:07:28   I catch myself thinking this a lot where it's like, "You know what? No, this is the video now

01:07:32   that I should be working on to get out as soon as possible.

01:07:35   No, this is the one.

01:07:36   No, that one that you were working on before?

01:07:38   No, that's the one.

01:07:39   Like, bounce back, bounce back, bounce back.

01:07:41   I would be inclined to agree with this hypothesis.

01:07:44   Yeah, so here's the thing.

01:07:46   You said before

01:07:49   that you had this feeling

01:07:51   and this is where we're a little bit different

01:07:53   but you had this feeling that

01:07:55   the way that you were on Twitter

01:07:57   was allowing

01:07:59   external entities

01:08:01   to affect your internal emotional state.

01:08:06   I don't feel that way.

01:08:09   I've always been relatively--

01:08:13   - You have no emotion.

01:08:14   - Yeah, I was trying to think of a way to phrase this.

01:08:16   Like--

01:08:17   - That's the reason you can't affect something

01:08:19   that doesn't exist.

01:08:19   - Yeah, it's a bit like,

01:08:21   people tell me that my videos suck

01:08:23   or that they don't like the way that I talk in my videos

01:08:27   or that they hate my podcasts.

01:08:29   I get this kind of feedback all the time

01:08:31   And I just feel like, okay man, you know, whatever.

01:08:36   I just, I feel that my internal emotional state

01:08:38   is not easily moved by people I don't know.

01:08:42   Right, that's, but that's just like a wiring difference,

01:08:45   right, if I was wired differently, I wouldn't feel that way.

01:08:48   However, I think my version of this is that

01:08:52   listening to lots of podcasts that are about interesting

01:08:59   educational things, or reading lots of articles on various topics, and jumping between discussion threads,

01:09:07   arguing about interesting debates.

01:09:09   I think that has the effect of shifting not my internal emotional state, but my internal focus state.

01:09:22   Like it keeps... like if my mind is casting a beam of light on the thing that I am currently working on,

01:09:29   all of these inputs keep knocking the light to somewhere else.

01:09:33   And so the light itself hasn't changed in brightness,

01:09:36   but it just keeps moving from spot to spot more than it should.

01:09:40   Now, I may be wrong about this, but this is one of the reasons why I'm trying this project.

01:09:47   This is one of the reasons this is happening.

01:09:49   I am inclined to agree with that notion because I think what it is is you are receiving too

01:09:56   much inspiration.

01:09:57   I think that's the problem.

01:10:00   As you're taking in all this stuff, more and more things are informing new ideas of

01:10:06   things to work on.

01:10:08   So the more and more stuff that you consume, the more ideas you have.

01:10:14   And that's why you end up with like 40 scripts on the go.

01:10:18   that may very well be the case.

01:10:20   And at the very least, when I think about

01:10:24   at some point I'm going to be dialing back up the inputs

01:10:28   I'm already trying to think about what

01:10:32   what ways of dialing up would be good, and what ways of

01:10:36   dialing up would be bad. And I think probably the clearest conclusion

01:10:40   that I have come to is that I should

01:10:44   should, just like I don't watch YouTube videos in the educational field and I

01:10:49   haven't for a long time and I think that that's a good decision,

01:10:52   like that that has definitely been a good decision, I think the next step of

01:10:56   that is with podcasts that this huge

01:11:00   collection of educational podcasts on interesting

01:11:04   topics, I think I have to get rid of all of them.

01:11:07   Oh okay, yeah definitely. Right, that when I go back

01:11:11   to saying where do I want podcasts in my life, you know, what kind of podcast do I

01:11:15   want to listen to? I have loved, I will always love spoken

01:11:20   word in all of its forms. This is just something that I really like.

01:11:23   I'm not going to remove this from my life because it's a thing that I like.

01:11:27   But this one genre, I think, because of my

01:11:33   field of work, I think this genre has to go.

01:11:38   If you, yeah, I'm surprised that you listen to shows like that.

01:11:40   If you'd identified that you didn't want to watch YouTube videos of this kind of topic,

01:11:45   a natural extension of that would be podcasts where they do, where they explain things.

01:11:51   Yeah, but even like on this show, a few episodes ago, we did the thing we were talking about,

01:11:56   that Planet Money episode. And we're gonna fire everyone and then fire the person who fired

01:12:03   everyone. Yeah, just fire everybody.

01:12:05   Yeah, it was great.

01:12:06   [laughs]

01:12:07   Oh, God, it was terrible.

01:12:09   But that's a show that I think is the kind of thing that I felt has slipped into my life over the past years without me noticing.

01:12:18   Because Planet Money felt like something, "Oh, this is covering a bunch of interesting topics,"

01:12:22   is not really directly in the field of things that I do.

01:12:27   It's sort of adjacent to it.

01:12:29   But I think a show like Planet Money is something that I should not listen to anymore.

01:12:33   I don't think it's good. I think it's too close in its own way to what I do.

01:12:38   So it shows like that that I will not be bringing back into my focus whenever it is that I decide to actually dial things back up.

01:12:47   Which might not be for a while. I was actually thinking today, it's very likely I might end up extending this for another month.

01:12:53   Like I might do this until the end of the year.

01:12:55   But you're only ten days in though.

01:12:57   Well this is why I'm not committing to this now, it's only November 12th.

01:13:03   But when I was thinking this morning about it, to try to talk about it for the show,

01:13:08   in some ways I felt like, "Oh okay, I cut all these things out of my life, and it has

01:13:11   had vastly less of an effect than I first would imagine."

01:13:16   My mornings are definitely better with the offline phone and the offline iPad.

01:13:21   So this is exactly how I felt, right?

01:13:24   I was like, "Oh, I was expecting to feel really desperate,

01:13:28   "but I actually feel just way better."

01:13:30   Which is, I guess it's good because now you know

01:13:35   that the reason you're doing it is a good reason,

01:13:38   but it's like, well, this isn't good.

01:13:43   This isn't the outcome.

01:13:44   This is too simple.

01:13:46   What does this mean that I never go back?

01:13:48   That was the problem that I was finding myself in,

01:13:51   was like, "Well, I can't stay away

01:13:53   because there are too many things tied to this that are important.

01:13:56   So I wanted to feel at least a little bad, but I didn't.

01:13:59   And maybe if I would have done a month, it would have,

01:14:03   the toll would have been a lot more than just a week.

01:14:06   But what I've noticed now is I've just, as I say,

01:14:10   I've learned some important things and I'm making a lot of changes.

01:14:12   And I'm feeling the effect of those changes in a positive way.

01:14:17   Like my morning routine of checking this kind of stuff

01:14:22   is like half the time that it used to be.

01:14:26   Mm-hmm. Right? That's great. That's kind of what I was hoping to get out of this.

01:14:30   But I feel like there's gonna have to be a point where you bring some of this stuff back in

01:14:38   and two months feels like a really long time. Doesn't it though? It feels like a really long time.

01:14:44   That's why I'm not at all saying that I will do this.

01:14:47   I'm surprised a month, right? Like a month is a long time.

01:14:51   See, I don't think it really is.

01:14:54   And here's my reasoning on this.

01:14:57   I think a lot of this stuff has to do with brain wiring.

01:15:02   For comparison, for comparison,

01:15:04   the other big change in my life,

01:15:06   and the one thing that has definitely, since September,

01:15:08   slowed down the amount of work that I'm doing,

01:15:10   is I've made massive changes in my diet.

01:15:14   So I've been trying to lose weight,

01:15:15   and the transition from the way that I used to eat

01:15:20   to the way that I currently eat has been a hard one that has taken a lot of energy out

01:15:25   of me. And that is largely about cutting down carbohydrates to basically nothing as much

01:15:32   as possible. And so this is my frame of reference is thinking about doing that. And I feel like

01:15:41   the effects of that were not really clear until like six weeks into it, where the first

01:15:50   few weeks were miserable. Like by the way, cutting out carbohydrates way,

01:15:54   way harder than cutting out Reddit or Twitter or Hacker News.

01:15:58   I feel like it's,

01:16:01   that has actually been quite astounding to me to realize this because it's like,

01:16:06   Oh, how on earth is that hard? Like,

01:16:08   I like Reddit and Twitter and Hacker News way more than I like bread.

01:16:13   Right. But,

01:16:16   But it turns out that bread is wired in at a more fundamental level of the brain.

01:16:23   It's like carbohydrates are written in the silicon of brain.

01:16:28   And then something like interest in Reddit and Twitter are written in software.

01:16:33   Like it's just much easier to change.

01:16:36   Yeah, so anyway, slight side tangent, but I would not have expected the relative difficulty of those things to be the way they were.

01:16:42   I would have thought they'd be exactly reversed.

01:16:44   Well, I don't know, like maybe the internet doesn't show up in a place that you don't expect,

01:16:48   where like carbohydrates do, you know?

01:16:52   Yeah, that's definitely true, but it's...

01:16:54   It has been surprising to me the number of times I have just simply failed about not eating

01:17:01   carbohydrates and it's like, "Wait a minute, my body was on autopilot when I wasn't paying

01:17:06   attention and like now I'm on the all-carb diet, like sitting here eating this baguette,

01:17:09   like I don't understand how this occurred."

01:17:11   Where did this big guy come from?

01:17:13   Yeah, it's like I just don't understand.

01:17:15   Whereas with the Reddit stuff, it just doesn't happen in quite the same way.

01:17:20   But I guess what I'm trying to say about this is having done the dramatically reduced carbohydrates,

01:17:26   I feel like I only really understand what that meant after having done it for quite a while.

01:17:33   And I feel like there might be something similar here with cutting down inputs into my life.

01:17:39   that this first week has felt relatively easy and relatively painless to quite a surprising degree.

01:17:47   The main thing that's different is like, "Oh, okay, I feel much happier limiting myself to

01:17:53   two scripts that I'm working on in the mornings. Like, this is great. I've made a lot of progress

01:17:58   on these things. I'm pretty happy about this." And then the rest of my day just kind of feels

01:18:02   normal. Like, I'm reading more fiction than I used to, but things just mostly seem the same.

01:18:07   I don't feel like there's been a big dramatic difference, but I suspect that maybe there's there's something

01:18:12   Going on that's more fundamental because when I say I haven't noticed a big difference

01:18:19   It also means that like this feeling of overwhelm is still kind of here

01:18:23   Right, like that's that's one of the things that hasn't changed

01:18:26   It does feel a little bit different

01:18:28   Like I feel better about the work that I'm doing but the overwhelm is there a little bit my mental metaphor for this

01:18:34   I started like I need a comparison. My mental metaphor is that it might be like

01:18:38   if you imagine there's a big lake with lots of boats that are constantly stirring up the lake and

01:18:44   If those boats were the input I've removed all of the boats and I'm standing on the shore

01:18:49   30 seconds after the boats have been removed saying why is this water still so choppy?

01:18:53   Why is it still so murky in the water?

01:18:56   It's like it takes a while to settle down

01:18:58   Buddy and like maybe a week is just too short of a time period to actually see the results of what it is

01:19:05   That I am doing and so that's that's one of the reasons why like a weekend. I'm thinking maybe two months, right?

01:19:12   Maybe I can push this until the end of the year, but I don't know maybe maybe at the end of November

01:19:17   I'll I'll feel like oh I have accomplished the thing that I'm trying to accomplish but I don't know. I don't know man

01:19:22   I mean, I assume that the thing that you've noticed that is the worst is podcast

01:19:26   I assume you're really missing those.

01:19:28   Right? That's the podcast, man.

01:19:30   They're great.

01:19:32   They are great, and that is by far and away

01:19:34   the thing that I notice the absence of the most.

01:19:38   Okay.

01:19:40   And even my wife has commented on it.

01:19:42   My wife and I have been married for quite a while.

01:19:44   We've known each other for a decade at this point.

01:19:46   And for as long as she has ever known me,

01:19:48   I have almost always had a pair of headphones.

01:19:50   Either in my ears or around my neck.

01:19:52   And she has commented, like,

01:19:54   And she has commented like,

01:19:56   "It's weird to see you come home from work

01:20:01   "and you don't enter with the headphones on

01:20:03   "and then like take them off to talk to me,

01:20:05   "or just being around the house

01:20:06   "and having the headphones on."

01:20:08   So it's definitely different to not have that.

01:20:12   And that has been one of the most noticeable differences.

01:20:15   And it is a little weird.

01:20:16   I actually, we saw each other in London the other day.

01:20:20   And this was more towards the start of this project.

01:20:23   But I had actually left the house without any headphones at all.

01:20:27   I had just totally forgotten to grab them because I'm not used to grabbing my headphones

01:20:31   to be able to listen to music.

01:20:33   Because I was so used to just, "Well, there's always headphones around my neck.

01:20:36   Why do I need to grab them?"

01:20:37   And so I found myself out in London for the whole day.

01:20:39   It's like, "I have no headphones."

01:20:41   I don't know if I have been anywhere in the past 20 years without headphones at hand.

01:20:48   It was just a very, very strange day and a strange experience.

01:20:52   I remember being horrified at this notion.

01:20:55   [Laughs]

01:20:57   Yeah.

01:20:58   I can't, I can't imagine. It's the same, right? Maybe, yeah, for maybe the last ten years, like,

01:21:05   I go everywhere with earphones or headphones. Like, if I went out for the day and forgot them, I would go buy some.

01:21:12   Yeah, I can be pretty sure that were I not doing this project, and had I discovered myself in central London without headphones,

01:21:21   I would have just bought a cheap pair of headphones for the day.

01:21:23   Yeah, I almost certainly would have done that.

01:21:25   On the whole, it seems like everything's going really well,

01:21:30   which there's just a part of me that just refuses to believe that.

01:21:33   Like there must be things that are hurting.

01:21:36   What do you mean by things that are hurting though?

01:21:39   This whole process, it sounds like it's perfect and that you're everything's going really well.

01:21:45   Like there must be some parts of your working life or just your life in general that are

01:21:50   just more difficult in a way that is frustrating, surely?

01:21:55   I mean when you say everything is going fine, I do sort of agree with that in the sense that there

01:22:00   haven't been major problems. But like I said before, it's not like, "Oh, I feel like all of

01:22:05   my feeling of overwhelm has just been completely lifted." I feel kind of remarkably the same as I

01:22:11   did a week ago, and that's why I'm also feeling that I might want to extend this for longer.

01:22:16   but it may very well be that the next time we record with each other in two weeks,

01:22:21   I'm going to be tearing at the walls, right, with my bare hands, thinking, "Oh man, like,

01:22:26   I've just been isolated too long, like, I gotta get the hell out of here." So Future Me may be

01:22:31   looking back at Current Me and thinking, "He wanted to more than double this? Like, is he a

01:22:36   crazy person? No, we're not doing this until the end of the year." Like, no way! That's not gonna

01:22:42   happen. Well that was one of the reasons that I wanted to talk about this today

01:22:46   in such a setting up kind of way. Because I mean with the way that you're thinking

01:22:51   now we could be talking about this for the next four episodes. How you doing

01:22:56   Gray? Still good. Who are you again? Yeah it's gonna be more and more like a phone

01:23:01   call with a hermit. That's what it's gonna be like. If you do this for two

01:23:07   months, how do you come back from this? I don't know. We'll have to find out in the

01:23:11   future. Oh by the way I have bought that cabin in the woods just just so you know.

01:23:16   Yeah you never you never know I might go what was what was the what was the guy

01:23:21   who like pulled back from the internet for a little while and then really did

01:23:24   just like completely leave the internet he wrote an article about it I don't know

01:23:27   months and months ago you know who I'm talking about. I do he was at the he was

01:23:31   at the verge. Yeah he was like oh I'm gonna try not going on the internet for

01:23:35   a little while and then six months later he literally did write an article

01:23:38   saying something like oh I've completely left the internet now I'm going to go

01:23:41   live in the woods. Paul Miller. He didn't use the internet for a year and then

01:23:46   quit his job at The Verge when he came back. And I don't really know what he does now.

01:23:51   But it's nothing internet based. A year is not something I'm ready to pre-commit to.

01:23:57   That's too much. Well, it keeps going up a month at a time. Yeah, maybe.

01:24:02   The reason why I was okay talking with this on the show is that this is a very difficult thing to try to talk about.

01:24:06   To talk about some of the internal stuff in your own work and in your own mind.

01:24:11   and it's doubly difficult when you work publicly on the internet, right, in a stage where everyone can see.

01:24:20   But I'm hoping...

01:24:22   The reason why I'm okay talking about it, though, is I think it is valuable to hear someone identifying a problem and attempting to fix it.

01:24:34   Alright, the details might not apply exactly to somebody else, but I really think that this is like an important life skill for people to have.

01:24:46   Is to recognize that you are the solutionator for your own problems.

01:24:52   If you recognize that there's something that is going wrong, you need to be the one who figures out the way to fix it.

01:25:00   and it might not be obvious the way to do it.

01:25:02   You might try stuff that is totally wrong.

01:25:05   And like I said during that conversation,

01:25:07   just a few episodes ago,

01:25:09   I tried the totally wrong way to fix a problem

01:25:11   that I was sort of aware of,

01:25:13   which was by adding email onto my phone,

01:25:15   which is the exact opposite of the thing

01:25:16   that I think I should be doing.

01:25:18   But I think it's just useful to hear someone

01:25:21   talking out loud about ways

01:25:23   that they are attempting to fix a problem,

01:25:24   because that's how you make your life better.

01:25:27   There's no other way to make your life better.

01:25:29   Today's episode is also brought to you by Fracture, the company that will take your

01:25:34   favorite images and print them directly onto glass for you to proudly display or give as

01:25:39   gifts.

01:25:41   The team over at Fracture really wanted me to say a huge thank you to all of you who've

01:25:44   been giving Fracture a chance to print your favorite photos.

01:25:47   They do these all by hand in their factory in Gainesville, Florida.

01:25:51   They check them all.

01:25:52   You just upload your photo to fractureme.com and they will print your favorite image onto

01:25:57   a piece of glass or a lovely piece of foam on the back so you can very easily hang it

01:26:01   at home or even just display it on your desk.

01:26:04   Now last time Grey mentioned the idea of printing your favourite video game levels or achievements

01:26:08   and stuff like that and putting those on the wall so I was having a think like what's something

01:26:12   else that you could maybe display that you really love at home and I thought what about

01:26:16   movie posters?

01:26:17   So you could maybe take your favourite movie posters or something like that and you could

01:26:20   upload them to Fracture and you'd be able to get them printed and displayed at home.

01:26:24   great would that look to have maybe in your movie room all these great images

01:26:28   of your favorite movies or your favorite DVD covers all printed out and displayed

01:26:32   at home. I love the thought of that and Fractures look so awesome when you get

01:26:37   them printed you're just gonna love them and they're really great to give as

01:26:40   gifts and with the holidays coming up Fracture really wanted me to mention that

01:26:44   if you're considering giving a fracture as a gift this holiday you should start

01:26:47   making plans now as their queue gets really filled up with these fantastic

01:26:52   holiday orders because they do make great gifts.

01:27:22   Let's talk about something fun, Myke.

01:27:24   Yes, what about that?

01:27:27   We both spent an obscene amount of money in the last couple of days on just really big

01:27:32   screens.

01:27:33   Are they just really big screens?

01:27:36   I don't know, Myke.

01:27:37   Well, right now it's just a really big screen because I haven't got any of the other stuff.

01:27:41   Yeah, so we have both purchased iPad Pros and we went out on the first day they were

01:27:50   available for sale to purchase them. Now I just want to be really clear about something,

01:27:56   listener. We convinced ourselves that the reason we were doing this was for you. Because

01:28:04   of course the thing that everybody would want to know is our first impressions of the iPad

01:28:10   Pro. So this was like a little fairy tale that Myke and I were telling ourselves on

01:28:15   launch day was, "We can't not go out and see if there are iPad pros to check out. We can't

01:28:22   not go and see."

01:28:24   So basically what was happening is we were talking about them, we were wondering if we

01:28:31   were going to order online or not, and then Gray tells me that he went and bought one.

01:28:36   He's like, "Oh, I got one!" I was like, "Oh, man!" And then I'm like, "I've got loads of

01:28:39   work to do today." And then Gray is just two devils on Eva's shoulder saying to me, "Like,

01:28:45   But what more important work could there be?

01:28:48   Right! I can't imagine anything you'd rather do than go out

01:28:54   and get an iPad Pro. I can't imagine anything that you would rather do.

01:28:59   So I did. I went out and bought one. But at the moment, like as we're recording

01:29:04   this, there are no accessories in the stores.

01:29:07   So the the Apple Pencil, which is the thing that I think me and you are both

01:29:10   most interested in, is not there. And neither is the smart

01:29:14   keyboard and I'm sure that by the next time we record we will both have them.

01:29:18   So people that don't like listening to us talk about the iPad are gonna be

01:29:25   really sad because now they can talk about it now and then we'll also talk

01:29:29   about it when we get the pencil as well. Yeah so we don't have the accessories

01:29:32   we're going to do some first impressions again because we need to write this off

01:29:38   as a business expense and if we talk about it on Cortex, now it is, I guess.

01:29:43   I think is how the accountants make this work.

01:29:46   But I do just want to tell you, Myke, from my perspective, how this came about.

01:29:54   That I have the iPad that is in my hands now. So on

01:29:58   Wednesday, which was according to Apple the day that iPads would be available

01:30:03   for pre-sale, and then they made some vague

01:30:05   comment about iPad Pros available throughout the rest of the week.

01:30:11   One of these non-committal things that they always like to do.

01:30:13   When they say, "Product launching summer."

01:30:18   When summer?

01:30:19   Who knows?

01:30:20   So, as we discussed in the last segment, I was doing my total normal offline morning,

01:30:25   which is that I got up, I went out to my office, I did a bunch of writing, and then I went

01:30:30   to the gym, and then I came home for lunch.

01:30:32   and this is the point at which I pick up my online phone now

01:30:35   and started talking with Myke and looking online about,

01:30:39   like, oh, what's going on with the pre-orders?

01:30:40   I was remarkably calm about this whole process.

01:30:44   Normally I wanna get the pre-order in straight away.

01:30:46   What I ended up deciding was I wanted to just take a chance

01:30:51   and go into central London and see if they happen to have,

01:30:56   at an Apple store, just a demo unit to try.

01:31:00   Like I just want to see the iPad Pro in person to get a sense of it because just like with so many of these products

01:31:07   You can look at every video of someone holding the object and every video of someone trying something out

01:31:13   But you don't have a good sense of it until you actually get your hands on it

01:31:18   So I thought okay. I just want to see if they have a demo.

01:31:21   I went into central London like at around

01:31:24   720 or so I

01:31:26   went into an Apple store and I go and take a look around and

01:31:32   I am a sad monkey because there's no iPad pros

01:31:37   visible for sale, I think.

01:31:39   This is a shame. I just want I just want to try it. But okay. Well, you know what I'm gonna do

01:31:44   let me just ask one of the sales guys because

01:31:48   Normally, normally I don't like talking to the sales people in stores if I can ever possibly avoid it

01:31:53   But the Apple people I don't mind because sometimes you can trick them into telling you things that they're not supposed to tell you

01:32:00   Which is delightful. Yeah, I did with the person I spoke to. Oh, yeah

01:32:05   What can you say what secret information you got I just was she was just being very nice but she didn't really seem to

01:32:13   She just seemed very like she wasn't sure of what was in right. Mm-hmm

01:32:19   She was saying yeah, we've got the keyboard and then was like, oh no, we haven't got the keyboard

01:32:22   board. She just seemed very unsure about it. So whilst I was waiting for my iPad to be

01:32:27   brought out from the back, I was just saying to her, I was like, "When did they arrive

01:32:29   then?" And she was like, "Oh, they arrived this morning." And I was like, "Didn't you

01:32:33   know that they were coming in?" She was like, "No, we had no idea. We just opened the boxes

01:32:37   and they were there and we didn't even know anything about it." And we were like, "Hang

01:32:40   on a minute, these boxes are too big." And it was just like, "Oh, oh, okay, okay." I

01:32:46   just like to ask them stuff like that.

01:32:48   Yeah, yeah. It's great to pretend like you're a bit naive sometimes to try to see what you can draw out.

01:32:54   I can't go into details, but I did once have someone tell me far more about the store's security policy than they possibly should have.

01:33:01   Well, I once had somebody tell me that some of the tables have cash in them.

01:33:09   Oh, yeah? No, that's not true. That's like an urban legend.

01:33:14   I've seen it, man.

01:33:17   But yeah, so it's fun to talk to the Apple employees.

01:33:22   And I am absolutely convinced, if anybody has worked as an Apple employee,

01:33:24   I would love confirmation of this, but I don't really need it because I know it's true,

01:33:28   that they go through some kind of training about how to have great conversation starters with people.

01:33:32   Because any time I buy something in any Apple store, they always have right on hand

01:33:38   some conversation starter to do while you're trying to do the whole waiting for the credit card transaction to go through.

01:33:44   Like, I know there's a three-ring binder somewhere that lists all of these things

01:33:47   and that they make them memorize a bunch to just start off, but...

01:33:50   So anyway, this is the perhaps only store in the world which I will walk up to one of the salespeople

01:33:57   without any hesitation to ask some things.

01:33:59   So, I go up to this guy who's just standing on his own

01:34:05   and I say, "Hey, do you know when the iPad Pros are going to be in the store?"

01:34:12   And he looks at me and he says,

01:34:17   "They're in the store right now." I go, "Oh yeah?"

01:34:22   He says, "Oh yeah."

01:34:27   He gives me this real like, "You've just come to the right guy" kind of look.

01:34:32   And what I thought he meant was

01:34:37   "Oh, they must have gotten a shipment, but you know, they're like he's letting me know a secret that I'm not supposed to know."

01:34:42   "They're in the back store room, but they'll be out tomorrow, right? Like that's what I think he's gonna tell me."

01:34:46   But what he actually does is he reaches for that little iPod sales terminal that they have, and he says to me,

01:34:54   "What are you looking for?"

01:34:57   (laughing)

01:34:58   Now again, I'm looking around the store,

01:35:00   there's not an iPad Pro in sight,

01:35:03   but this guy has like this devilish little smile on his face

01:35:06   about like he's gonna hook me up.

01:35:08   So I literally said to the guy,

01:35:10   "I feel like we're doing a drug deal right now."

01:35:13   (laughing)

01:35:14   Because it just, it felt like it was this secret thing,

01:35:17   like am I supposed to get an iPad?

01:35:19   Like I don't quite understand what's going on.

01:35:23   But so anyway, he's like, "Oh no, I can get you an iPad Pro,

01:35:26   Don't you worry and so we run through the details of what I want and so he taps the little buttons and he's like, okay

01:35:32   hold on I'll be right back and you know what he runs off and he

01:35:34   And he gets the iPad Pro and he comes over to me and then we start doing the like paying for it

01:35:41   Transaction but before I'm able to give him my card

01:35:44   this other person

01:35:47   Comes up and like waves him over so he steps away from me a little bit now

01:35:51   I'm looking around this other person isn't wearing

01:35:54   The uniform of the guys in the store. He's not wearing the security uniform

01:35:59   But you know that that feeling you have like this is clearly a person in charge, right?

01:36:04   Some people just radiate that aura and so this guy came over and I was like, oh, I wonder who he is

01:36:08   He has no markings on him

01:36:09   but he's obviously in charge and so this the sales guy goes over and talks to him for a few seconds and

01:36:15   I can't hear what they're saying

01:36:17   but this guy's like nodding at me and the salesperson is sort of like confirming yes, yes, and

01:36:23   And then they both come walking back to me and I'm like, "Oh, I don't like this. I don't like this one tiny bit."

01:36:29   And the guy says to me, "Oh hi, I'm the manager of this Apple store."

01:36:35   And he reaches his hands out to shake my hand. So I shake his hand. I'm like, "Hi?"

01:36:39   And then he says,

01:36:42   "Congratulations, you're the first person in London to buy an iPad Pro."

01:36:49   No!

01:36:50   Yes!

01:36:51   (laughing)

01:36:53   He says, "You're the first person in London

01:36:57   "to buy an iPad Pro.

01:36:59   "This is the first store that caught the delivery

01:37:02   "and in our little purchasing tracking system,

01:37:05   "you're the first person to buy one."

01:37:09   And then he says, "Do you mind if we do

01:37:13   "some publicity photos with you?"

01:37:15   - Uh oh.

01:37:16   - Right?

01:37:17   I am not the guy for this.

01:37:20   this is not the thing that I want.

01:37:22   - But they helped you out.

01:37:24   - But I said no.

01:37:25   - Oh great. - I said no to the guy.

01:37:27   Because all I'm thinking, I was like,

01:37:29   man, this is not what I want.

01:37:33   I really don't wanna be like on one of those photos

01:37:37   when Tim Cook is running through the iPad Pro sales numbers

01:37:41   at WWDC in the summer,

01:37:42   is like, I do not want to be this person.

01:37:45   And like, I don't like this stuff so much

01:37:48   that I don't even really like to be near the Apple stores

01:37:52   at the opening time for any of their launch products

01:37:55   because at least in central London,

01:37:57   they're just media circuses, right?

01:37:59   Like there's cameras everywhere.

01:38:01   At the Covent Garden Store in particular,

01:38:03   there's very often professional filming equipment

01:38:07   that's clearly being used by Apple

01:38:09   to like film everybody going into the store.

01:38:12   So I always stay away from all of these things, right?

01:38:15   - So what did you say?

01:38:16   Did you just say no?

01:38:18   I said, "Oh, I'm really sorry, but I'd rather not.

01:38:21   I'd really rather not."

01:38:23   - Okay.

01:38:23   - And 100% to the manager's credit,

01:38:27   he didn't push it a single time after that.

01:38:30   He wasn't like, "Oh, you know,

01:38:31   we'd really love you to do this."

01:38:32   But it was a bit of like an awkward moment

01:38:35   and it just felt like I really shouldn't be,

01:38:37   I shouldn't be saying no in this moment.

01:38:39   Like you were clearly waiting around

01:38:41   for the first person to do this.

01:38:43   So it was just a little bit awkward.

01:38:46   Okay, but so the story doesn't end here

01:38:48   because I wanna get the hell out of the store now

01:38:51   because this is not my ideal shopping experience.

01:38:54   I want things to go smooth and normal

01:38:58   every time I have a retail experience.

01:39:00   - Currently, this is the complete opposite

01:39:03   to the type of experience that you have

01:39:05   in so much as now people want to take your photograph

01:39:08   while you're buying this product.

01:39:10   - Right.

01:39:11   I was like, okay, I wanna go in, I wanna get a thing,

01:39:13   I wanna get the hell out of here.

01:39:14   But this is not the case.

01:39:16   But so anyway, now the manager is still standing there

01:39:20   and I'm trying to divert my attention back to the sales guy

01:39:24   about like, let's complete this transaction, shall we?

01:39:26   Like let's go through this as fast as we possibly can.

01:39:29   So I'm giving him again my card of like,

01:39:31   let's buy this, right?

01:39:32   Like can I just get this and get the hell out of here?

01:39:35   And of course, because this is the way the universe works.

01:39:39   The card that I give the guy to buy the iPad Pro,

01:39:44   it didn't work, right?

01:39:46   It was over the limit.

01:39:48   And as I have always discovered in life,

01:39:51   when one card doesn't work,

01:39:52   it means the other cards on the same account

01:39:54   are probably not going to work as well.

01:39:57   And so I gave the guy a second card that was in my wallet

01:40:00   and it was like, oh no, transaction declined.

01:40:02   And I was like, okay, I've just given two cards to this dude

01:40:05   and they're both declined, the manager's standing there.

01:40:08   And while that's happening,

01:40:10   some of the other salespeople have noticed

01:40:13   that the manager is standing by me

01:40:15   and that there's an iPad Pro on the table.

01:40:17   And I tried to like discreetly cover up the box

01:40:20   with my jacket, but like I've also not purchased this yet,

01:40:24   but like people are clearly noticing

01:40:26   and suddenly there's like four Apple employees

01:40:29   all standing around.

01:40:31   And one of the girls turns to one of the other guys

01:40:33   and goes like, "Is he the first one who bought the iPad Pro?"

01:40:36   And they go, "Yeah, he is the first one

01:40:38   "who bought the iPad Pro."

01:40:39   And this employee, she starts clapping, right?

01:40:43   Like clapping.

01:40:43   Now, again, I totally understand.

01:40:45   Like, for any normal person, this would be fine.

01:40:50   - No, nobody wants to be clapped.

01:40:52   (laughing)

01:40:55   - So this girl's clapping,

01:40:57   which then is obviously drawing the attention

01:40:59   of other people in the store.

01:41:01   And now I'm standing there as the guy,

01:41:03   two credit cards haven't worked.

01:41:05   And I'm trying, I'm like,

01:41:06   I just wanna exit this situation as fast as I can.

01:41:10   So fortunately, the third and final card

01:41:14   that I have in my wallet, it works.

01:41:15   The transaction goes through.

01:41:16   Okay, great.

01:41:17   I can't wait to get out of here.

01:41:19   The sales guy, sales guy, again, very nice.

01:41:21   Like we were doing a little bit of talking about like,

01:41:23   what am I gonna use it for?

01:41:24   'Cause they have their great little conversation starters,

01:41:26   but my focus is on like complete this, let's go.

01:41:29   So I'm ready to go.

01:41:30   I pick up the iPad Pro box, which is huge.

01:41:33   And this is the moment where I discover

01:41:34   it does not fit in the backpack that I brought with me.

01:41:38   - Yep.

01:41:38   - It doesn't fit.

01:41:40   And so I had to stand there with these Apple Store employees

01:41:45   who were all looking at me,

01:41:47   like wanting to talk about the first pro.

01:41:48   The manager who I had somewhat maybe rudely rejected

01:41:52   the press photos with and like the girl who was clapping

01:41:55   while the main sales guy ran off to get a bag.

01:41:57   And then he like, I was just sort of standing there like,

01:42:00   oh God, this is the most uncomfortable shopping experience

01:42:02   I have ever had in my entire life.

01:42:04   The guy finally comes back with the bag.

01:42:06   I could not put the iPad Pro in that bag fast enough

01:42:10   to then just scuttle out of the store.

01:42:13   It was, I was like could not get out of there any faster.

01:42:17   And when I was finally, finally out and back in the street,

01:42:20   it was like, oh, thank God, what a relief, what a relief.

01:42:24   - That is horrific.

01:42:27   That whole thing is horrific.

01:42:29   When you told me you had a funny story,

01:42:32   I thought it was gonna be like,

01:42:32   oh, this person told me something stupid.

01:42:36   That's not really a funny story.

01:42:39   That's like a sitcom or like, it's like that was written.

01:42:44   It's like somebody knew who you,

01:42:45   like what I imagine actually happened

01:42:47   was the manager calls the guy over,

01:42:49   he's like, that's CGP Grey over there, right?

01:42:51   Like you saw his card and then the guy's like,

01:42:53   yeah, he's like, great, I know how we're gonna do this.

01:42:56   (laughing)

01:42:58   I've had it in for this guy for a long time.

01:43:00   - Right, right, yeah, and he's getting the girl to clap.

01:43:02   Yeah, it's all staged.

01:43:03   The only thing that would make sense.

01:43:04   - The guy's pressing a cancellation button on your card

01:43:07   every time you put it in.

01:43:08   (laughs)

01:43:10   Yeah, the thing that I kept thinking

01:43:13   throughout that whole interaction was, why me?

01:43:17   Why did this have to happen to me?

01:43:19   I'm strolling in, it's halfway through the day already.

01:43:23   I should not be just by dumb luck

01:43:26   the first guy that's registering in their system to be,

01:43:29   everything I have done is to avoid this.

01:43:31   I would never go into a store

01:43:33   right when it opens on product launch day.

01:43:35   It's not gonna happen.

01:43:37   But even when I'm just trying to be super casual about it like this, this thing occurs.

01:43:41   So anyway, that's how I got my iPad Pro.

01:43:43   I almost now don't even care what you think about it.

01:43:45   But what do you think about it?

01:43:50   Why don't you tell me what you think about your iPad Pro?

01:43:55   I've been talking too much.

01:43:56   My thoughts are like really complex and I haven't fully formed an opinion yet.

01:44:02   Again, reminder for people. These are first impressions.

01:44:06   So we may very well change our thoughts later on.

01:44:09   - It's really big.

01:44:10   Like it's obscenely big, like it's crazy.

01:44:14   - When I first opened it, I had that box there.

01:44:18   And mentally in my mind, I was thinking,

01:44:20   God, this box is huge.

01:44:22   But I was thinking, okay, well, obviously though,

01:44:24   the iPad Pro inside must be smaller

01:44:25   because that's how packages work.

01:44:27   But then I forgot, no, of course, this is Apple

01:44:29   who makes boxes exactly the size of the thing.

01:44:33   And when I opened the lid,

01:44:35   I literally said out loud, "Holy shit, this thing is big."

01:44:38   (laughing)

01:44:39   My brain could not contain the thought just in its head.

01:44:43   This needs to be vocalized.

01:44:46   It's just way, way bigger than you think it is

01:44:50   from any of the videos that you've seen of it.

01:44:52   - And it also feels way bigger in portrait.

01:44:57   - Yeah, yeah.

01:44:58   - Which is obviously,

01:44:59   it's bigger in every dimension, right, equally,

01:45:02   but it just feels way bigger in portrait

01:45:05   than it does in landscape.

01:45:07   And I don't know why that is, but it does feel that way.

01:45:10   The speakers are really amazing.

01:45:12   So when I was like watching a movie on it, right?

01:45:14   And I thought to myself, this is the most iPad iPad.

01:45:17   - Yeah, what do you mean by that?

01:45:19   - Well, like everything that makes an iPad good,

01:45:22   it's got all of it more than any other iPad

01:45:25   has had before, right?

01:45:26   So like the speakers are really great.

01:45:28   So music and movies sound really awesome on it.

01:45:31   The screen's really huge, so movies naturally will look better on it.

01:45:34   So it's like, this is very iPad.

01:45:37   And I really like that.

01:45:38   I'm just really struggling with certain parts of it.

01:45:41   Like the software keyboard is great and horrific.

01:45:45   Yeah, okay.

01:45:46   So my thoughts mirror yours in that not that I think it's the most iPad of iPad, but I

01:45:52   keep thinking this is a computer without the computer.

01:45:57   I'm using it it feels like where's the laptop because the only time I have a

01:46:01   screen that is this size it's when I'm using my MacBook Pro and it feels like

01:46:06   oh I did I rip off the MacBook Pro screen but it still works oh okay like

01:46:10   this is this is just an interesting and interesting size to have and even though

01:46:16   my first thought was this thing is just comically ridiculously big later in the

01:46:22   day I was using it just for some normal work and I had it on a little stand like

01:46:26   like I would normally use and I was using a Bluetooth keyboard with it

01:46:29   and I thought, oh actually, I get used to this size almost instantly

01:46:33   because when I'm using it in this way it feels very natural

01:46:36   it feels like, oh this is just the laptop size

01:46:39   but, like you, I have some serious, serious thoughts about their software keyboard

01:46:50   and my thoughts are mainly, I do not like it

01:46:53   I do not like it one tiny bit and I am seriously angry about a thing, which is that they have removed the split keyboard option.

01:47:05   So for people who don't know, because this is somewhat of a hidden feature maybe, but on iPads in the bottom right hand side of the iPad there's a button that you can press and hold

01:47:16   which gives you an option to split the keyboard

01:47:20   into two pieces that then go to either side of the screen.

01:47:25   And the idea then is that you can hold the iPad

01:47:27   with two hands and thumb type like you're on your phone.

01:47:31   And for reasons unbeknownst to me,

01:47:36   this option is not available on the iPad Pro.

01:47:40   Like I would have thought it was just a bug

01:47:42   had I not had it confirmed in other reviews,

01:47:44   "Oh no, yeah, this is removed. This is not here anymore."

01:47:48   And I can't believe this because that split keyboard is the only way that I ever type on an iPad.

01:47:56   Like, when I buy an iPad, the very first thing that happens is split the keyboard and I never join it back again.

01:48:02   Ever.

01:48:03   And I just, I'm shocked that they took this away because,

01:48:06   if you, like, let's say you're looking at all the different iPads.

01:48:09   Pro, regular, mini.

01:48:12   And you were to ask someone, "Which of these screens least needs a keyboard that splits

01:48:20   so that you can type with your thumbs?"

01:48:22   I would say obviously the Mini, because it's so small already that most people could thumb

01:48:27   type if they're holding it with their two hands.

01:48:30   And that the iPad Pro, the biggest screen, most obviously needs a keyboard that you can

01:48:35   split so that you can type on either side.

01:48:37   But that's the one that doesn't have it, and I am absolutely, absolutely baffled by that

01:48:42   I do not understand it.

01:48:44   - Like I don't think I can hold this and thumb type on it.

01:48:47   Like I'm trying and I can't do it.

01:48:50   Because even in portrait, the screen's just too large

01:48:55   for me to be able to both hold and type on this thing

01:48:58   at the same time.

01:48:59   - Yeah.

01:49:00   - Like you have to have it supported against something

01:49:01   and type as you normally would on a keyboard.

01:49:03   Which I understand, because like, it's like,

01:49:07   well the screen's, I get it, right?

01:49:09   I know why this is happening,

01:49:10   but I don't know how I feel about it yet.

01:49:13   Like I don't know if it's a trade off

01:49:15   I'm willing to accept, I haven't come to that decision.

01:49:18   - Their decision to remove the split keyboard is,

01:49:23   I mean, this is the thing that happens with Apple.

01:49:26   Sometimes they make a decision

01:49:27   that they want you to use a thing in a particular way

01:49:30   and they're going to take away your option to do it

01:49:34   in a different way.

01:49:35   And most famously, ugh, I'm gonna forget the exact Mac

01:49:40   that it was on, but on one of the very early Macs

01:49:42   when they were switching to the graphical user interface,

01:49:45   they released a Mac that did not have any arrow keys

01:49:47   on the keyboard.

01:49:49   And the reasoning, as we have interpreted it

01:49:52   through like the historical lens,

01:49:53   is that Apple wanted people to be forced to use the mouse.

01:49:57   Right, so we're not gonna give you arrow keys

01:49:58   like you're used to with your command line programs.

01:50:01   You have to use the mouse whether you like it or not.

01:50:05   And I feel that like taking away the split keyboard

01:50:07   on the iPad Pro is a bit like taking away those arrow keys.

01:50:10   It's like, we are going to force you,

01:50:13   whenever you are inputting text on the iPad Pro,

01:50:16   that the iPad Pro is going to be on a desk.

01:50:19   It is not possible to stand up and input text

01:50:23   on the iPad Pro at the same time,

01:50:25   unless you wanna do the really awkward thing,

01:50:28   which is cradle it in one arm like a baby,

01:50:31   and then try to touch type with your other hand,

01:50:34   like through a hunt and peck mechanism to enter text.

01:50:36   Like that's the only way you're gonna be able

01:50:38   to do this standing up.

01:50:40   Like, I think that Apple is forcing it on the desk

01:50:42   for text input. And I think that's I think that's a

01:50:45   bad decision. I don't like that.

01:50:47   I don't like that at all.

01:50:48   It's like I'm I'm I'm kind of doing it right now,

01:50:52   but I'm not comfortable in the way that I'm holding

01:50:54   this thing.

01:50:55   So like I'm holding it right at the very bottom

01:50:58   and I'm typing with my thumbs and it's uncomfortable

01:51:01   to hold and I'm worried I'm going to drop it.

01:51:03   But the thing is, I do like the keyboard.

01:51:06   This is what my confliction, I like having the numbers there.

01:51:09   I like all the extra characters.

01:51:11   I don't like that it's only in US layout.

01:51:14   No matter what you do.

01:51:17   You can say, put it in UK layout and it changes the glyphs

01:51:21   but not the actual key sizes, which is madness.

01:51:23   So I have a tiny little return key

01:51:26   rather than the beautiful boot

01:51:28   that you find on a good UK keyboard.

01:51:30   And a sliver, a mere sliver of a delete key.

01:51:34   Yeah, the delete key is infuriating on the new one.

01:51:38   It's like, I will miss that every single time.

01:51:41   I don't understand why they have this bizarre delete key.

01:51:43   So, because I can't type on this iPad the way I want to,

01:51:47   the way I type on every single iPad that I own,

01:51:50   which is the split keyboard all the time,

01:51:52   I thought, okay, well let me just,

01:51:54   let me try to do this the Apple way

01:51:55   and type with their software keyboard.

01:51:58   Now, I have the additional problem

01:52:00   in that I use Dvorak to type.

01:52:03   Apple does not allow you to arrange their inbuilt keyboard as Dvorak. So I

01:52:08   Would be useless at trying to touch type on this keyboard

01:52:13   normally

01:52:15   but I have spent many many years of my life going back and forth between

01:52:19   QWERTY keyboards in schools and Dvorak keyboards that I type on and I am very good at looking at a QWERTY keyboard and

01:52:26   Typing on it. Like that is a thing that I can do. I can use both layouts fine

01:52:32   But looking at this software keyboard, I have an extraordinarily hard time trying to type on it.

01:52:39   Because it feels, or I shouldn't say hard, but just deeply uncomfortable.

01:52:42   Because it feels like, okay, this is roughly the same size as a regular keyboard.

01:52:48   But I still feel like I need to hold my hands very close together to try to have them in the right position to type on this thing.

01:52:56   It just, it feels cramped even though there's more space.

01:53:00   And the buttons on the side feel like they're way too big like this shift button the size of it is really wide

01:53:06   the keyboard just seems really uncomfortable to me and I

01:53:10   Thought maybe I'm just I'm just I don't know maybe I'm being overly critical

01:53:14   But there are a couple of apps on my iPad pro that when I load them up

01:53:18   They don't scale yet for the iPad pro and what it does is it loads up the old-fashioned keyboard

01:53:24   Instead and so I thought oh well. This is an interesting test. This is an interesting comparison

01:53:29   So the old-fashioned keyboard that doesn't have shift buttons on the side or a caps lock button on the side

01:53:35   Or this dumb really narrow delete button the one that's just on the regular iPad that everybody knows

01:53:40   That I can type with relatively easily on the iPad Pro

01:53:44   It's like oh, this is much more comfortable like take the old one, but just make it bigger

01:53:48   So I don't know I feel like this this new software keyboard

01:53:52   They're trying to they're trying to force people into using it

01:53:55   And they're also trying to pretend like "look at us with our full keyboard!" just like on a real computer.

01:54:00   But the experience of using it is,

01:54:03   for me, I would say

01:54:06   totally unusable. I can't

01:54:09   type on it like I would type on a normal QWERTY keyboard, and I can't flip it into thumb mode

01:54:14   so I can type as easily as I can type on an iPhone. It's useless to me as an input device. And so

01:54:21   My conclusion is well, any time I'm using this iPad Pro, I'm going to have to have a keyboard with it

01:54:26   which means I'm going to be getting that keyboard cover, even though I don't expect to really

01:54:32   like that keyboard cover,

01:54:34   I can see that I will never want to be somewhere with the iPad Pro without the option of at least using a physical keyboard

01:54:42   if something comes up where I actually want to type a bunch.

01:54:46   Whereas on any of my iPads now if I want to type on it a bunch I can do so perfectly adequately with my thumbs

01:54:52   But not an option here

01:54:53   But that doesn't necessarily mean that's a bad thing right because this is the thing that we don't actually know yet like

01:54:58   Because there are still loads of things that I love about the iPad in general that aren't text entry

01:55:05   Yeah, like the fact that I would have to use a keyboard of this. I'm not saying that that is necessarily a bad thing yet

01:55:11   Do you know what I mean?

01:55:12   Like it's like this could actually still be really awesome

01:55:15   But it just replaces my laptop for like 90% of the things that I use my laptop for

01:55:20   Yeah, well, this is what I mean by it's Apple forcing you in a particular direction like with the arrow keys, right?

01:55:26   They want you to use that built-in keyboard

01:55:30   I think it's pretty obvious that they want you to use that the the keyboard cover is what I mean

01:55:34   Like they want you to use that

01:55:36   It's a bit weird that they've launched the iPad Pro without anybody being able to buy it

01:55:40   Like it's a very strange decision like why not wait a couple days and sell them together, but okay, whatever

01:55:45   You wanted to do it this way for some reason

01:55:47   And so I may be I may end up being in a situation where I'm fine

01:55:53   Using the keyboard cover or I might just like I do with my iPads now to say like I will I always have a Bluetooth keyboard

01:56:01   With me anyway that I use and so it's not a big it's not a big deal

01:56:04   But it just seems irritating to me that to remove the split keyboard like they had to go out of their way

01:56:10   to remove this and to remove it only on the iPad Pro and that's the thing that bugs me about it.

01:56:16   And the other thing is that like there have been a bunch of people complaining about

01:56:20   the software keyboard and I feel like with this bigger iPad it's just another indication to me

01:56:27   like "Apple please, please sort out whatever the problem is with making third-party keyboards

01:56:34   reliable." If you want people to have something where it's like the space of a full keyboard and

01:56:39   and take full advantage of it. There's a lot of amazing things that you could do here,

01:56:43   but it's very hard to use those third-party keyboards without them constantly flaking,

01:56:46   which my impression of it from talking to developers is largely Apple's APIs.

01:56:51   I agree. I mean, I would like... Because it's kind of frustrating. It's like, we're going

01:56:56   to give you the ability to have these keyboards, but they're going to be really crap. Because

01:57:01   we can't... We're not giving... Whatever it is, we're not putting enough effort into making

01:57:05   them as good as they could possibly be.

01:57:08   Yeah, it feels like it just hasn't been updated.

01:57:12   And the third-party keyboard thing to me seems like a really sensible thing for Apple to do.

01:57:18   Because you think about, like, okay, what should Apple focus on?

01:57:21   Okay, they should focus on this core operating system and the core features that it does.

01:57:26   Should Apple be super concerned with worrying about every single keyboard layout

01:57:33   everywhere in the world and every combination that people might want to have?

01:57:37   I think that's a lot for any company to care about

01:57:42   and so it seems quite natural, like, okay look,

01:57:43   if there's someone somewhere that wants to do something

01:57:46   different with their text input, like, let them.

01:57:48   Let them make a keyboard that's exactly the way they want

01:57:51   and then they can put it on the store

01:57:52   and if other people want it, they can get it too.

01:57:55   It seems really natural to leave that to third parties,

01:57:57   but it's just not, the current state of it

01:57:59   is not acceptably usable.

01:58:02   What I've done is just mentally totally written off

01:58:05   the ability to put text into the iPad via the software keyboard.

01:58:09   So in a way I'm pretending like, "Oh, it doesn't even exist, and I just have to use this device with a keyboard."

01:58:13   And so that's my way of not getting angry about it. That's my way of dealing with it.

01:58:17   I don't know if that's good or not.

01:58:21   I don't know if it's good or not, but it's a way to make me calmer about the situation.

01:58:25   I'm just pretending there's no keyboard on this device.

01:58:29   That's my mental framework for the iPad. There's no keyboard.

01:58:33   I just I always have to use an external keyboard. That's that's just what I'm going to do

01:58:37   But anyway, that's my only major complaint about it. And of course, it's always easy to complain about stuff. But aside from that

01:58:45   my first impression is largely I

01:58:49   Love this thing

01:58:54   There there are things that annoy me about it as there are things that annoy me about every piece of technology

01:59:03   that I own, but overall I also f***ing love it. Because I can take two apps and I can

01:59:10   put them side by side and it's two iPads! It's like oh my god I love it right?

01:59:17   So obviously Federico on the network he's been testing one for a week of

01:59:21   Mac stories. He had a fantastic review, we did a great episode of

01:59:25   Connected with him talking about it and he is the iPad guy right? He does

01:59:31   all of his work from an iPad and hearing the way that he spoke about it after like using it for a week

01:59:36   It's like yeah, I can see how he got there. Like this thing is a beast and it's why I'm so

01:59:41   Anxious now to be able to try out with the whole package. Yeah

01:59:47   especially the pencil

01:59:49   Like did you see I don't know if you've seen this but it's weighted so it can't roll away

01:59:54   Oh Myke, I have read every single review that even passingly mentions the pencil, right?

01:59:59   And I have found all of them lacking.

02:00:03   Yeah, because they're not giving us--

02:00:05   because people aren't really talking about handwriting,

02:00:08   which is what me and you care about.

02:00:10   Yeah, I was realizing this morning

02:00:11   that the only person who's written review of the pencil

02:00:14   I would trust would be yours,

02:00:16   because everybody who's using the pencil

02:00:19   is some version of,

02:00:20   "Oh, I haven't written anything by hand in years,

02:00:23   but, oh, I can sign my signature with it, all right?"

02:00:25   It's like, "Oh, that is not sufficient

02:00:27   for what I am looking for."

02:00:28   Right? Like I am not asking if it is better than the machine that does my signature on the UPS package delivery guy

02:00:35   Like this is not what I want to know

02:00:37   What I want to know is can I be looking at printed text on the screen and make a little insert

02:00:43   Character and write above a sentence what I want to be added to that point in the sentence

02:00:47   Like that is the precision level that I am looking for. I don't know if they have that but yeah

02:00:52   I read every pencil review and it was like this is not even not even within

02:00:58   light years of the amount of detail that I'm looking for.

02:01:02   But even if, as we in past episodes have tried to

02:01:06   play down our potential excitement for the pencil

02:01:10   I can say that without a doubt, even if the pencil falls short

02:01:14   of what I want it to be, I will still use this iPad Pro

02:01:18   and absolutely love it. I was doing this morning, I was

02:01:22   writing script for a video that I'm working on, and one of the things that I

02:01:26   do a little bit on my iPad Air, but it's just so nice to do on the Pro is I

02:01:31   have the script that I'm writing on one side of the screen and then as a little column

02:01:37   I have a bunch of notes about the script that can just stay in place that can always stay in my visual field.

02:01:45   So one of the things I do when I'm writing is

02:01:47   to try to keep myself on track, I like to make little bullet points about

02:01:53   here are the three main points that this script should be about so that when I'm writing I'm kind of

02:01:59   comparing every paragraph to those three bullet points. Like does this reinforce one of these points or am I going off on too much of a tangent?

02:02:06   It's just really nice to be able to have lots of space where the whole script is there and I can also have these little

02:02:14   notes to myself

02:02:16   constantly visible on the side and not feel like I'm giving up a whole bunch of screen real estate to do it.

02:02:21   Like I could do it on the iPad Air 2 and I have been doing it for a couple of weeks now that things have finally been updated to iOS 9

02:02:29   But it is a much, much better experience on the Pro

02:02:34   And even a couple things like I installed, I think in the future as we were talking in the earlier part of the show

02:02:40   I am almost certainly going to set up the iPad Pro as my offline creation machine

02:02:46   But when I was just testing it out yesterday, I did install Slack.

02:02:50   And even there, I was getting some messages from the artist that I'm working with on the current project.

02:02:53   Slack is so good on the iPad Pro.

02:02:55   Oh, it is very good on the iPad Pro.

02:02:58   Because you don't have to swipe any panes, it's all there.

02:03:01   Yeah, you don't have to swipe any panes.

02:03:03   I was able to jump in and out of conversations.

02:03:05   The sketches and the storyboards that I was being sent, it's like,

02:03:09   "Oh, this is great, I can look at it on this nice big screen."

02:03:12   Like I have this, just this huge space to work on.

02:03:17   So I personally probably won't use it for that in general,

02:03:22   but I like, I thought, man,

02:03:23   this is just really nice to be able to do this.

02:03:26   I ended up reading a bunch of a book on the iPad Pro as well

02:03:30   as like, this is enormous

02:03:32   to have these two gigantic columns of text.

02:03:35   I really like not having to flip the page as much.

02:03:38   Everything is great.

02:03:40   So I know that we were pooh-poohing the software keyboard

02:03:43   in the beginning, and it is frustrating,

02:03:46   but with everything in life, there are trade-offs.

02:03:48   And if there's an iPad that, from my perspective,

02:03:51   has no functional software keyboard,

02:03:53   it's like, whatever, it's still amazing.

02:03:56   Maybe the pen doesn't work at all.

02:03:58   Okay, fine, I'm still absolutely loving this iPad Pro.

02:04:01   So I am quite the happy man here.

02:04:04   - Currently, the way that I feel about my iPad Pro

02:04:07   is like it's a member of my family,

02:04:09   which is there are things about it that drive me crazy,

02:04:12   but I just can't help but love it anyway.