15: Tempest in a Teapot


00:00:00   So Myke, can you explain beard oil to me?

00:00:05   I can try.

00:00:07   I noticed a new trend in the Reddit, which I'm kind of a...

00:00:12   I'm weirdly proud of.

00:00:14   People have identified me as a hipster now.

00:00:17   It's not something that concerns me because I self-identify in some ways to have hipster tendencies.

00:00:23   My music, Pitchfork Festival, you know?

00:00:27   This is no secret.

00:00:29   I think if we go back to maybe the second or third episode you self-identify as a hipster. It's not like a secret

00:00:35   What's really happening is that people have been listening long enough that they feel that they can openly tease you about it in the Reddit

00:00:42   That's what's happening

00:00:43   So people were mentioning beard oil

00:00:46   In the Reddit as a joke, and I let the people know that I use beard oil on my beard

00:00:52   Yes, and then I was deeply confused because I thought beard oil was the joke that

00:00:59   that "Oh, Myke is such a hipster that, like, an 18th century gentleman, he is shining up his beard with some kind of beard oil that obviously no modern person would use."

00:01:11   So that's why when you jumped in and said "Oh, why yes, I do use beard oil," I was confused.

00:01:17   And I just think it can't possibly be what I have in my mind, so I need to know what it really is.

00:01:24   It is oil that I spray into my hand from like a little container and then rub it on my beard

00:01:32   to make my beard soft and shiny.

00:01:36   Although I actually use a combination of beard moisturiser and beard oil together and I mix

00:01:44   them up in my hands and then put it on my face.

00:01:46   I have in some of the meetings that me and you have had, I have been freshly moisturised

00:01:50   and oiled that morning.

00:01:54   Okay, okay, so I'm thinking this is like shampoo and conditioner for your hair,

00:01:59   but it sounds like not because you wouldn't wash it out in the shower.

00:02:03   No, it is meant to be put on after showering. Some people use beard shampoo, but I don't do that.

00:02:10   Do you just use regular shampoo for your beard?

00:02:13   Only when it's super, super long.

00:02:15   But not right now.

00:02:17   It's too short now, okay.

00:02:19   You're going to be messing with the pH balance, Gray. You've got to think about these things.

00:02:23   Okay, okay, so it's... it's... I'm trying to think of it this way. It's like face moisturizer, but for beards?

00:02:32   And your beard hair needs this because beard hair is rougher than head hair? Is that why this is a thing?

00:02:38   Yeah, yeah. You've got to take care of it if you want it to look good, because otherwise it would just get all like bristly and straggly and gross.

00:02:45   Like, do you put anything in your hair? Do you use any kind of hair product?

00:02:49   No.

00:02:49   Nothing?

00:02:51   No.

00:02:51   Okay, well, you know, you know that people do right in the world, like they put

00:02:55   things in their hair to style it.

00:02:56   Like I also currently gray, I using a sea salt spray in my hair.

00:03:01   That's my current, uh, uh, hair product that I enjoy is a sea salt spray.

00:03:09   Okay.

00:03:11   This is all true.

00:03:14   I, I, I, I just accept it as true.

00:03:17   All right.

00:03:18   I don't know anymore what things you make up

00:03:21   and what things you don't.

00:03:23   It's all just true hipster stuff is the way that it sounds.

00:03:27   - Yeah, I went to my barber yesterday.

00:03:28   This is not a sponsorship or promotion,

00:03:33   but I really like my barber.

00:03:34   It's a little chain in London called Murdoch.

00:03:37   And I go there and I go in and I see the guys,

00:03:41   they've all got beards and nice haircuts.

00:03:44   And it looks like an old style barber shop.

00:03:47   course. And I go there and they give me whiskey if I want it or beer and then I go and get my haircut

00:03:52   and I'm chatting with the guy and then I have a like a hot towel on the face kind of scenario

00:03:58   and a shave with the cutthroat razor. It's my pampering. It's it's and then I go and get a

00:04:04   little fancy coffee afterwards. This is my life, Gray. The joke in the Reddit where all the Cortex

00:04:13   school kids hang out was that Relay desperately needs a podcast called Beard

00:04:18   with Myke and some other hipster. And it feels to me like this is just

00:04:23   inevitable now that within the year there's going to be a beard podcast.

00:04:28   There's a pen podcast so I don't see why there can't be a beard podcast on Relay.

00:04:33   My only concern with that is people tend not to like it when my beard gets too

00:04:37   long and if I had a beard podcast I would grow my beard very long because I

00:04:41   So I'm happiest when my beard is big.

00:04:45   But most people in my life tend not to like that.

00:04:47   - Yeah, I've seen you with a beard that is

00:04:50   what I would think of as far too big,

00:04:52   but you seem like a happy guy.

00:04:54   - You saw me the day before I went

00:04:56   to get my beard cut last time and it was horrific.

00:04:59   I think I had an animal living inside there at one point.

00:05:02   - Yeah, it was a bit much.

00:05:04   So I guess to slightly transition things,

00:05:08   are you going to get your beard nicely trimmed and done up?

00:05:11   Are you going to go to your little spa somewhere to get all pampered before your talk at the

00:05:18   release notes conference that you're going to soon?

00:05:20   That was exactly what I did yesterday. Because I'm going away on Tuesday.

00:05:27   So we have spiffy mic right now. Are you getting nervous? It's a big talk. You're the keynote

00:05:34   speaker at this conference that's coming up.

00:05:38   Yeah, I'm getting a bit nervous.

00:05:41   I'm trying to imagine myself doing well.

00:05:44   I'm trying to just implant that that thought into my brain

00:05:48   of me being on stage and doing really, really well.

00:05:51   But it is a little bit nerve wracking.

00:05:54   I feel prepared, not as prepared as I could be, but I still have more time.

00:05:58   But I feel pretty prepared.

00:05:59   I've put my talk together. I'm rehearsing it.

00:06:01   I presented it to my girlfriend, who always provides good criticism

00:06:06   where needed. She doesn't hide behind that stuff.

00:06:09   so I feel like I'm ironing out some kinks.

00:06:14   Yeah, it should be fun.

00:06:18   I'm looking forward to it.

00:06:19   This is being recorded beforehand,

00:06:21   and then we will see how it goes

00:06:23   after hand on the next episode of Cortex.

00:06:26   It was a disaster.

00:06:29   Yes, and because podcasts exist in this bizarre time,

00:06:33   at some point in the future when both episodes are out,

00:06:35   people who are listening to this episode right now can just jump to the next episode

00:06:39   to hear how it went. If they want... It's like time travel.

00:06:43   In the worst possible way. Yeah, in a totally ineffective

00:06:47   "you can't bet on anything" kind of way. But I'm gonna bet on you doing well, Myke.

00:06:51   But we'll find out. Oh, I appreciate that. Thank you.

00:06:55   So you have finally found a good use for mind maps, right? I don't know if I would say that I have found

00:06:59   a good use for mind maps, because I don't use mind maps.

00:07:03   But there was a thing that happened on Twitter, which I would classify as mind map follow-up,

00:07:10   that I was really enjoying.

00:07:12   I don't remember exactly who started it, but someone made a mind map showing the connection

00:07:20   of all of the various hosts in a corner of the podcast universe.

00:07:25   And I thought, "Oh, this is a thing that I find really interesting."

00:07:28   And I wanted to encourage it.

00:07:30   So I retweeted it and then over the next few hours we were getting several different versions

00:07:35   of people intensely trying to mind map out, show all the connections in the greater podcast

00:07:43   universe.

00:07:44   And I found this thing just delightful.

00:07:46   I like how you say hours.

00:07:48   This lasted for days.

00:07:49   Oh yeah, did it?

00:07:52   Sometimes I don't go on Twitter for a while.

00:07:53   No, I was getting these for days and days.

00:07:57   people who are trying to one-up themselves to this one that you've picked out that I'll

00:08:01   put in the show notes, which is just ridiculous it's so large.

00:08:04   Yeah, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna open this up now so I can look at it because at least

00:08:09   the last time I looked I thought this was probably the best one because trying to mind

00:08:15   map out the podcast universe is a, is a challenge in information display.

00:08:21   Yeah.

00:08:22   do it so that it is comprehensible and that it is followable and also comprehensive, it's

00:08:28   not an easy thing to do.

00:08:31   And this one I think achieved a nice balance of having lots and lots of podcasts to look

00:08:37   at and also being relatively clear to actually look at.

00:08:41   This is by @Flo on Twitter.

00:08:43   I like this quite a lot.

00:08:44   Although the only thing I was thinking about with these mind maps is you do have a bit

00:08:48   of a problem of whether or not you should count hosts or guests on show.

00:08:55   My feeling is that the only way to make it sensible is to talk about permanent hosts,

00:09:00   and there's enough overlap in the podcast world that hosts doing multiple shows is enough

00:09:05   of a thing that you can just about connect up everybody.

00:09:09   But then you get into the question of what is a host?

00:09:11   What's a permanent person on a show?

00:09:13   And at the center of this mind map is the incomparable radio theater, which feels like

00:09:19   it's cheating a little bit to me because it doesn't exactly have hosts.

00:09:23   It's like an old-timey radio show that draws from a lot of different places.

00:09:27   So it is rather relatively super connected in the center.

00:09:31   But I'm on the edge about whether or not all those connections should count.

00:09:35   Like, for example, I'm connected to the radio theater and I'm in it but not credited.

00:09:40   Oh, really?

00:09:41   Yeah, I have a couple of like really random lines here and there,

00:09:45   which are uncredited, which I prefer because I think it's more fun.

00:09:48   I think I'm going to be reprising my role as man soon, which I'm excited about.

00:09:54   Oh wow. That's very exciting. Background person number four.

00:09:59   But yeah, so I highly encourage these podcasting mind maps. The thing...

00:10:06   Let's encourage them to end now. I'm happy that this one exists.

00:10:11   No more, please.

00:10:13   No, but see Myke, see Myke, here's where I want to take this.

00:10:15   Here's where I want to take this, and I think you're going to like it.

00:10:17   I think you're going to like it.

00:10:19   I don't think I will.

00:10:21   What this makes me think of is

00:10:23   six degrees of Kevin Bacon

00:10:25   about the connections between

00:10:27   all of these people who are hosting various shows.

00:10:29   Yeah, okay, I like this.

00:10:31   What I want, what I want

00:10:33   is someone to do

00:10:35   a six degrees of Myke Hurley

00:10:37   database.

00:10:39   you are a good person to be the Kevin Bacon of podcasts.

00:10:44   Yeah, I really want this to happen. This is a great idea.

00:10:47   Because you have been on enough podcasts with enough people that you are highly connected.

00:10:55   Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon works because Kevin Bacon is not like is not the hugest superstar

00:11:04   of the movie world. Like it's interesting how connected Kevin Bacon is.

00:11:08   And so I think six degrees of Ira Glass would be deeply uninteresting to me.

00:11:14   It'd be like, "Oh, boring."

00:11:16   Like, I don't really care at all.

00:11:17   So I want six degrees of Myke Hurley.

00:11:20   I want a database somewhere where we can type in podcast people

00:11:26   and see how many connections to Myke Hurley

00:11:28   or be able to type in podcast people and see how many connections to connect each other.

00:11:34   That's where I want this to go.

00:11:35   That's the next step, people.

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00:13:37   [Music]

00:13:38   Should we talk very quickly about the fact that your iMac exploded?

00:13:41   Okay, it didn't explode.

00:13:43   Well, I mean, I feel like probably something inside did. That's the way that I imagine it.

00:13:47   Like when computers go wrong, like it's like inside. That's what I imagine happens.

00:13:51   I'm just a little trail of smoke just pops out, but you barely ever see it.

00:13:55   It's more like that sad sound that some Macs make when you force quit them by holding down the power button,

00:14:02   which I'm convinced some Apple engineer did on purpose.

00:14:05   Do you know what I'm talking about?

00:14:06   I'm talking about. It sounds like two pieces smash into each other inside.

00:14:09   Okay, I don't know what kind of made of gears Mac you're using over there.

00:14:14   Steampunk. Yeah, exactly.

00:14:18   But on several of the Macs that I have owned, I noticed they all make this

00:14:23   sound when they get into a state where it's frozen. There's nothing you can do

00:14:26   except hold down the power button, and it's a sound like *meow* I think it is

00:14:30   designed to sound like you have wounded an animal

00:14:33   because Apple doesn't want you to do it very often.

00:14:36   I swear that they've engineered it on purpose, because I feel bad every time I do it, and it's like,

00:14:41   "Oh no wait, don't feel bad, this is an inanimate object." But it still loops into that part of your brain.

00:14:46   But the long and the short of it is, I had what I believe is

00:14:51   an HFS+ error totally ruin my main computer.

00:14:57   And so right now I am talking to you on my little laptop

00:15:02   top because it is the working computer that I happen to have. But yes, it is a tale of woe about what happened to me and my computer one day when I was just minding my own business.

00:15:13   Do you have plans in place to deal with these types of things? Do you have backup plans? Or do you just be like, "Well that's that now and then, no more work"?

00:15:21   Well, this is exactly the case of "two is one and one is none"

00:15:27   because my life now requires that I have access to a working computer

00:15:34   and I have always been aware that having the laptop in my co-working space

00:15:39   acts as an emergency backup to the main computer in my house should anything happen to it

00:15:45   and this is exactly what has been the case

00:15:48   I mean, as I'm talking to you right now, the laptop is on the table and I have the big, dead black screen of the Mac right behind it, like, looming over the laptop screen looking at me.

00:15:58   Do you remember me, Gray?

00:16:00   Yeah.

00:16:02   So it's, um, this is exactly what this moment is planned for, and this thing that you can do where you kind of shuffle down hardware into other uses as you acquire new hardware,

00:16:15   this is the moment that pays off when the newest version breaks because you have a fallback and

00:16:20   even though I'm finding it barbaric trying to work and do the podcast stuff on this laptop because the screen just seems

00:16:28   Unusably small for all of the stuff that I'm used to when I'm doing a podcast it is

00:16:33   Accomplishable so I've recorded an episode of hello internet on that

00:16:37   We're recording on cortex now and I'm going to be shortly recording hello internet again, and it doesn't interrupt the workflow because

00:16:44   because the big computer, if that was my only computer, it would be a real problem this week

00:16:49   to not have it available.

00:16:51   Well, we just wouldn't be able to do this.

00:16:53   Yeah, that's what I mean. We'd have to run out and just spend some time getting and setting up a brand new Mac

00:17:00   and even though the thing broke, I just haven't had time to be able to dedicate to trying to fix it

00:17:06   because other things need to happen. Shows are scheduled, projects are due.

00:17:10   things need to keep moving and for the time being I just need to grab the laptop and go.

00:17:15   You buying a new computer?

00:17:20   Yeah. I have ordered

00:17:25   a new computer because in some ways this disaster couldn't have happened at a better time

00:17:30   because it happened on Friday I think

00:17:35   and there were rumors on the wind that Apple was going to have an announcement

00:17:39   early in the week about new iMac computers

00:17:43   available. And so I thought, "Okay, well, I don't really have

00:17:47   time to fix this right now. I might as well wait and just see." And of course, they did come out

00:17:51   with a new iMac, so I was like, "Oh, alright. Time to order this right away."

00:17:55   So I have one being shipped to me as we speak.

00:17:59   Did you lose any data? Okay, so here's the thing.

00:18:03   This needs a little bit of explaining.

00:18:05   I mentioned before that

00:18:07   I believe I had what's called an HFS+

00:18:09   error on the computer.

00:18:11   I'm going to talk about HFS+

00:18:13   briefly. I'm going to let you, Myke,

00:18:15   find all of the shows

00:18:17   where John Saracusa talks about

00:18:19   HFS+ and what is terrible about it

00:18:21   in vastly better detail

00:18:23   than I am going to describe here.

00:18:25   So people who want to check that out can go

00:18:27   find it in the show notes.

00:18:29   But very briefly, there's this kind of problem

00:18:31   that can happen on a computer where, if you think about it, there's three parts to using a computer.

00:18:39   There's the program that you're using, there's the operating system, and there's the physical hard

00:18:45   drive upon which the data is stored. And so let's say you're doing something like you're editing a

00:18:51   picture and you say, "Oh, I'm going to edit this picture, I'm going to make some changes, I'm going

00:18:54   to change the contrast and the color," and you click save. And what happens then is the program

00:19:00   tells the operating system, "I'm saving this file,"

00:19:03   and the operating system tells the hard drive, "Write down this information

00:19:07   that has changed," and the hard drive is supposed to do that perfectly fine.

00:19:11   The way Apple happens to structure their operating system

00:19:17   is that there is not an extra layer

00:19:20   of check here. So what happens is when the operating system says,

00:19:25   "Write down this series of numbers hard drive," and the hard drive

00:19:28   writes down those series of numbers.

00:19:30   There's no moment where the operating system does

00:19:33   what any person trying to say read a credit card number

00:19:36   over a telephone line would do,

00:19:39   which is ask the hard drive,

00:19:41   "Hey, could you read back those numbers

00:19:43   "so that I can check with the photo editing program

00:19:47   "that the numbers were the same?

00:19:48   "Could you read that back just once?"

00:19:50   - Yeah, and don't worry about the noise in the background.

00:19:52   That won't affect anything.

00:19:53   - Yeah, exactly.

00:19:55   And when you consider that over the lifetime of a computer,

00:19:58   it is not improbable that you have written trillions of ones and zeros to the hard drive

00:20:05   and it has to get it right every single time without checking.

00:20:08   It's going to get it wrong at some point.

00:20:10   So I had an error pop up on my computer

00:20:15   where basically said, "Hey, the number of files that we expect to be in this folder

00:20:20   is not the number of files that are in this folder."

00:20:22   And so I thought, "Uh oh, that's an HFS+ error."

00:20:25   And looking back on it, the thing that I mentioned on the previous podcast about iTunes not having anything in its folder,

00:20:31   that was probably a sign that there was something screwed up with HFS+ and the file system on my computer, right?

00:20:40   That's exactly the kind of thing that you would expect if the hard drive is making mistakes writing down what the operating system is telling it to do.

00:20:49   Yes, when you just made that big sound of like, "Ohhhh, that was exactly the sound I made when I first discovered this error was occurring."

00:20:58   So the reason that I tell this long story is so that you, dear listener, can understand that there's a kind of error that can happen

00:21:09   where it is not obvious for a long time that an error has happened.

00:21:15   because it's not until you go look at your files and try to open them

00:21:20   that you will discover that the hard drive didn't write things down correctly the first time

00:21:24   and either the file is not openable or something in it has been destroyed

00:21:29   and I had a couple of little errors like that happen on my computer

00:21:32   where I went to open a file and it would just not open

00:21:35   and I was like "huh, so I should have noticed this sooner"

00:21:39   Now the terrifying thing, Myke, is I have

00:21:43   depending on how you want to count it, quadruple or quintuple backup systems in place for the data that I use.

00:21:54   I have various offline backup systems, I have various local backup systems.

00:22:00   But when an HFS+ error occurs, it spreads out and corrupts all of the possible backups that exist.

00:22:11   So the answer to your question, did I lose data?

00:22:15   Is yes, but I don't know how much.

00:22:20   And there is no way to resolve this problem.

00:22:26   So I found, excluding iTunes, the whole thing that I lost,

00:22:31   I found two things that were definitely corrupted by HFS+

00:22:36   which were not able to be recovered from backup

00:22:40   because the backups just copied the corrupted version.

00:22:44   And I wasn't able to go back in time far enough

00:22:47   to get an uncorrupted version, because that's what happens.

00:22:49   But this is not the backup software's fault.

00:22:52   Like, nobody has any way to know

00:22:54   that these errors are there.

00:22:56   And so they're just like, oh, okay,

00:22:57   I'm just copying the data.

00:22:59   All of this could be fixed if Apple changed

00:23:02   the way they structure writing data to hard drives,

00:23:06   and this system is very old.

00:23:08   And every year I hope that they're going to change this,

00:23:11   but it hasn't happened so far.

00:23:12   So the answer is, I may have huge amounts of data

00:23:16   that are corrupted, and I just don't know.

00:23:18   But I have found two big things so far that have been lost.

00:23:23   And it's like, oh God.

00:23:25   This is gonna be fun over the next six months,

00:23:28   slowly learning what things have been corrupted

00:23:31   and what things haven't,

00:23:32   and seeing if I have an old backup somewhere

00:23:35   of the uncorrupted thing.

00:23:37   So like time machine or Dropbox versions can't help?

00:23:42   Or can they help, but you just don't know.

00:23:44   So then by the time that you get to it,

00:23:45   it might be too late.

00:23:46   - By the time I get to it, it might be too late.

00:23:51   But you may ask yourself,

00:23:53   why would a man have quintuply redundant backup systems?

00:23:58   Why?

00:24:00   It seems like it's too many.

00:24:01   And the answer is, in my experience,

00:24:04   when one thing goes wrong, you're almost always guaranteed

00:24:08   that something else has gone wrong at the same time.

00:24:11   And the thing that went wrong for me here

00:24:15   is that my time machine, when this happened,

00:24:19   was not yet complete.

00:24:22   It had done one of these things where it started over,

00:24:25   and it was in the middle of trying to write

00:24:29   several terabytes of data, brand new,

00:24:31   to a time machine drive, and I didn't know

00:24:34   that it hadn't caught up, that it wasn't fully in place.

00:24:37   So the very day that my computer goes down

00:24:40   is the same day that I realize

00:24:42   I don't have a complete time machine backup.

00:24:46   (laughing)

00:24:49   So anyway, that's my long story about,

00:24:52   I don't know if I've lost data or not.

00:24:54   We will see.

00:24:56   - That's harrowing.

00:24:57   - Isn't it though?

00:24:59   And there's nothing you can do about it.

00:25:01   - No.

00:25:02   So I've had a taste of your world, YouTube.

00:25:07   - Oh yes, yes.

00:25:10   - Cortex has a YouTube channel, right?

00:25:12   Because some people like to listen to the shows there

00:25:14   and it's also good for new people

00:25:16   to find the show as well, right?

00:25:18   - Yes.

00:25:19   - You had previously been managing the YouTube channel,

00:25:22   but as was agreed of us, you handed over the keys to me

00:25:25   after doing a couple of them

00:25:26   and you created a tutorial video for me.

00:25:29   so I could understand what I needed to do.

00:25:32   I don't think there's anything about this process

00:25:35   that I like.

00:25:36   (laughing)

00:25:39   So first off, I had to buy Final Cut Pro,

00:25:42   which is not cheap.

00:25:44   The actual creation of the videos is mostly fine,

00:25:48   but Final Cut produces ungodly file sizes.

00:25:52   Like I don't know what it's doing

00:25:55   to create the file sizes that it creates.

00:25:57   Like the project files are like a gajillion terabytes.

00:25:59   It's ridiculous. They're just so large.

00:26:01   It's like this is an audio file

00:26:03   and

00:26:05   a one screenshot

00:26:07   just extended across the audio

00:26:09   file, but it's like 15 gigabytes.

00:26:11   I'm like, what are you doing?

00:26:13   That is the funny thing to me, because

00:26:15   I was just working on the Hello Internet YouTube

00:26:17   channel earlier this morning

00:26:19   and creating the next video for that, because

00:26:21   I do manage the YouTube version of that

00:26:23   for Hello Internet, which is one of the reasons why

00:26:25   I was very happy to pass the Cortex

00:26:27   channel on to you when we were first talking about who would do what.

00:26:31   There were all these things I was like "yeah I'll do that, yeah I'll do that!"

00:26:34   Silly boy! I think it'd be great for you to learn more about video, don't you Myke?

00:26:40   Why don't you do the YouTube channel? What great practice!

00:26:44   Yeah exactly. So yeah I made a video for the Hello Internet channel this morning and when

00:26:50   I exported it from Final Cut Pro it was 38 gigabytes in size. I'm like "oh wow that's

00:26:55   That's rather large. But at least I can understand it because there's something moving on the screen.

00:26:59   But yes, when you upload the ones for Cortex and it pops out at 15 gigabytes

00:27:03   and it's an unmoving image for the duration, it's like

00:27:07   maybe someone hasn't optimized the compression over there at

00:27:11   Final Cut headquarters. So one of the things I did to get them down is I didn't

00:27:15   go with your crazy settings. I just went with HD. Because you would

00:27:19   create this screen console which is very helpful. And in it you mentioned how

00:27:23   I do this at 4K, but you really don't need to do that.

00:27:25   So I was like, okay, well I won't do that

00:27:27   because every time I was creating a video,

00:27:29   I had to delete things from my hard drive.

00:27:32   She's like, this is untenable, so I'm not gonna do that.

00:27:36   - How do you feel about the consistency

00:27:38   of the YouTube interface?

00:27:39   Do you enjoy the backend, that process

00:27:41   of flipping all the switches to get it ready to go?

00:27:44   - The YouTube interface is exactly what I imagined,

00:27:47   but 10 times worse.

00:27:50   which is in so much as it is a system

00:27:53   which clearly things have just been bolted on over time.

00:27:57   And every time they add a new feature,

00:28:00   they do not consider the other features that came before it.

00:28:03   So one of the things that exemplifies this the most for me

00:28:07   is the cards and annotations tabs.

00:28:10   - Ah, welcome, welcome to YouTube, Myke.

00:28:15   - So I had heard you and Brady talk about this stuff

00:28:18   on Hello Internet in the past.

00:28:19   I think when cards first came out and you were doing tests, right, to see what worked where and what didn't.

00:28:24   Yes.

00:28:26   I cannot for the life of me understand why these are different things.

00:28:30   Why are there two different things?

00:28:33   Yeah. So for the listeners, what Myke is talking about here is

00:28:39   on YouTube as a video creator, you can create a section of the screen which is

00:28:44   clickable for the user.

00:28:46   So you want to say, "Oh, listen to the latest show of Cortex,"

00:28:49   and there's a rectangle that overlays on the video that you can click on,

00:28:53   and then the person goes to the web page that you want to send them to.

00:28:57   But this thing where you draw a little rectangle on the screen,

00:29:01   it only works on the desktop.

00:29:04   If you watch that video on your mobile device,

00:29:08   you're not going to see that rectangle.

00:29:10   It just doesn't work.

00:29:11   And for years and years, YouTube creators were asking YouTube,

00:29:15   "Hey, can you make annotations work on mobile?"

00:29:18   Because mobile is now like half the traffic of YouTube

00:29:21   It's just enormous.

00:29:24   You look dumb in a video when you tell people to click on something

00:29:26   and half of them are watching on an iPhone

00:29:28   and there's no way for them to click on it.

00:29:30   Yeah, it sounds stupid. "Click at this below here!"

00:29:32   And it's nothing. There's nothing there.

00:29:34   Yeah, or like a very YouTubey thing, where people say

00:29:36   "Click on my face!" and go to the thing.

00:29:39   Oh, okay, but there's nothing that you can do.

00:29:41   But so rather than make annotations work on YouTube, there were whispers on the wind for quite a while that for whatever reason YouTube had decided that they were never going to do this.

00:29:53   They were never going to make annotations work.

00:29:55   So they introduced this entire parallel system called "Cards" which works on mobile and on the desktop.

00:30:04   and which it's so hard to even describe what it does, but it pops up like a little button on the top in the same place every time on the video

00:30:12   that someone can click on if they're on the desktop or tap on if they're on their mobile device and then go to the link.

00:30:19   But it's a two-step process. You have to click on the button and then you have to click on the link that opens up on the side.

00:30:25   the side. I think cards are done terribly. But the bottom line is if you are a modern

00:30:29   YouTube creator, you have to do both of these things if you want to know that everybody

00:30:37   can click most conveniently on a thing on the screen.

00:30:41   [laughter]

00:30:42   So, you are... you, dear Myke, are enjoying this now, of having to do what seems like

00:30:50   you should be only doing one thing, but you end up doing two things.

00:30:53   - Yep, and what that is is like this is a solution

00:30:58   to the problem that creates another problem.

00:31:01   It's not actually a solution,

00:31:02   it's just a thing that creates more problems.

00:31:05   Because now you have to do both, talk about both,

00:31:10   it just doesn't make any sense, and it can't overlap

00:31:13   because you can't put cards like in other places

00:31:16   at the screen like you can annotations.

00:31:18   Like I look at it, and I mean I don't understand

00:31:20   about the engineering of their apps,

00:31:22   But what I know is that YouTube use a proprietary video player

00:31:27   in their apps, especially on iOS.

00:31:30   They don't use a standard iOS player.

00:31:32   So just a part of it is like, why can't you just

00:31:34   find a way to make it work?

00:31:35   Yeah, that's the whole thing.

00:31:37   It's not as though YouTube is using the default stuff on iOS

00:31:41   to play videos.

00:31:42   And then you could say reasonably, oh, of course,

00:31:43   you can't make annotations work then

00:31:45   because you're using Apple's stuff.

00:31:47   You're not using your own thing.

00:31:48   But yeah, their whole thing is custom.

00:31:49   It's their own.

00:31:50   they control every pixel on the screen.

00:31:52   It's like-- - You can tap on the card,

00:31:54   which is on the video.

00:31:56   So why can't annotations be there?

00:31:58   - Exactly, exactly.

00:32:00   Yeah, the card is on the video,

00:32:01   why can't the annotations be there?

00:32:03   Who knows?

00:32:04   But what I think is interesting about you doing this,

00:32:08   because you've never used YouTube before,

00:32:10   is what is this experience like for a new person?

00:32:15   Like, I'm someone who's been doing YouTube for five years,

00:32:18   and so I understand, "Oh, okay, I get how we evolved to be here."

00:32:22   But how do you explain to the average person who just starts using YouTube for the first time

00:32:27   why there are these two seemingly at first identical systems that are redundant?

00:32:34   And nowhere on the page does it explain the most relevant feature,

00:32:39   which is that annotations work on desktop only, cards work on both,

00:32:44   But you probably don't want to use cards because almost nobody clicks on them.

00:32:49   That their click-through rate is terrible.

00:32:51   So...

00:32:53   There is no way I would have understood what to do without the video you made.

00:33:00   Mm-hmm.

00:33:01   Like, I assume that they have some kind of documentation,

00:33:05   but like on the face of it, the UI and most of the experience of uploading the videos to YouTube

00:33:12   is a system that you have to learn, but you cannot learn based on the user interface that you're provided.

00:33:22   Right.

00:33:23   You either have to be taught, or you have to go through a lot of trial and error.

00:33:28   And what probably I would have done is gone through a lot of trial and error.

00:33:32   I assume that that is what happens to the vast majority of users.

00:33:35   users. Because on the flip side of this, YouTube actually makes it really easy to

00:33:40   just almost accidentally upload a video and have it published immediately. That's

00:33:45   the way that it is it kind of wants to go is like upload this video and have it

00:33:50   published as soon as it's ready to be published and go. And I think you just

00:33:53   learn through trial and error of okay oh how do I set the title where did the

00:33:56   descriptions go oh I want people to click on things. That has to be what the

00:34:00   the vast majority of users do, is just do something wrong

00:34:04   and then try to realize for next time what it is that you need to do.

00:34:08   But this is why you can see that I have, just for the YouTube upload process,

00:34:12   I think my checklist is 20 items about switches to flip

00:34:16   and what box to fill in and what things that I want to put where every time I upload a YouTube video.

00:34:20   Because it is ridiculously easy to forget some part of it

00:34:24   or forget how some part of it works

00:34:28   you want to actually get it right every time.

00:34:31   I've uploaded three videos now to YouTube and every time I've done it following the

00:34:37   tutorial video that you created.

00:34:40   Because I just can't, I cannot understand some of the things.

00:34:43   Like you put the card in and then you have to set the duration period which doesn't even

00:34:48   make any sense.

00:34:49   Like and then you have to put the link in that you want and it has to verify it.

00:34:54   And like there's even parts of the interface, what I see is different to the interface that

00:34:58   you're showing me, which makes zero sense because it's the same account.

00:35:01   This is one of the other fun things that YouTube does, which is

00:35:04   I don't know if they're A/B testing or what, but they often

00:35:07   slowly roll out changes to different accounts

00:35:10   and the recent, and I might say

00:35:13   disastrous, update to the YouTube app

00:35:16   on iOS was a great example of this, where

00:35:19   the app updated, but lots of people were still

00:35:22   seeing the old interface, and it's like YouTube is rolling

00:35:25   out in stages. And so you can, as we have done this time, very often run into a situation

00:35:31   where two people are logged into the same account, but just on different computers,

00:35:37   and whatever the cookie is on one computer says the interface is going to be slightly

00:35:41   different than what the person sees on the other computer. And it's like, "Oh, okay,

00:35:45   that's super helpful for explaining stuff." I mean, again, I can conceive of why YouTube

00:35:50   does it that way, but boy does it occasionally cause some problems.

00:35:55   like all the time. I mean look so the thing is the way that the Cortex videos

00:36:01   are produced we want to make them in a specific way and that specific way has

00:36:04   been set by the way that you want it to be done. So if I was starting from

00:36:08   day one I wouldn't need to do it in the way that I'm doing it and I could learn

00:36:11   over time but my issue is like in trying to make a professional looking video

00:36:17   there is a ton of stuff that I need to do that I just wouldn't be able to

00:36:22   easily work out on my own. And the main problem for me is there is one company controlling

00:36:28   this experience. They can choose. It is not an organic thing. It is not the way it is

00:36:34   because that's just how it is. YouTube can make all of the changes that they want to

00:36:40   make this experience better, but instead they are a massive company. You have one team fighting

00:36:45   over cards, one team fighting over annotations, so they just decided to put on both.

00:36:50   Yeah, this is, as is a discussion for many people who make a living on the internet,

00:36:57   this is the kind of problem that you run into when you are dependent on someone else's platform for your business.

00:37:06   And so if you are dependent on YouTube for your video business, which you almost certainly are if you're making videos on the internet,

00:37:13   like YouTube is the place where you can make some money doing this, you just have to use their system.

00:37:19   and if you have an idea for a better way for this stuff to be done, well, do you work at YouTube?

00:37:26   Do you work relatively high up in YouTube? If the answer is no, then there's nothing that you can do about this.

00:37:31   Whereas, I imagine someone in your position, Myke, that you probably have a lot more control over whatever system it is that you are using for your back end for podcasts

00:37:42   because podcasts are not a centralized medium in the way YouTube is.

00:37:47   Yeah, I have never loved our content management system more than after I

00:37:53   uploaded this video to YouTube. Like our CMS is not perfect, there are bugs with it,

00:37:59   there's things that we would prefer, but if there's something I need to be

00:38:02   changed we just pay our developer a little bit of money and he fixes it or

00:38:07   changes it and we've done that constantly. We have complete control over

00:38:10   how our feeds are generated, how we publish our shows. I can't imagine now all of my

00:38:17   content being controlled so strictly by a company that could make any change or

00:38:24   decision that would affect my business. Like the more and more I know you the

00:38:29   less I understand how you managed to deal with this. Like I just can't I just

00:38:32   cannot understand how you reconcile this in your mind. I feel like it's like

00:38:38   the the standby flying thing right? Like that that that's it's that part of your

00:38:43   brain where it's like, well, you can accept that this is the way it's always been, so

00:38:47   this is the way I'm used to it, but I feel like you wouldn't maybe do it today, you wouldn't

00:38:52   go to a new system like this.

00:38:55   Well the answer is what I said before, that if your business is making viral videos on

00:39:01   the internet, YouTube is really the only game in town to do that. There isn't really an

00:39:08   option to do this in another way. And I have investigated all of the various alternatives

00:39:14   that are out there and all of them fall down in some key feature that makes it impossible.

00:39:19   So I deal with YouTube's ugly backend system because that's just the price that I pay.

00:39:27   And for me it's a little bit different than it is for you because I have learned each

00:39:31   of these pieces over time. And so for me it's like, oh, YouTube changes one thing at a time

00:39:36   here and there. As in, actually today, as I mentioned when I was doing the Hello Internet

00:39:40   video, I logged in and saw that, yes, YouTube had changed a piece of the interface for how

00:39:45   the videos are monetized. It's like, "Oh, okay. This is just going to be different now.

00:39:50   I can just deal with that." But there really isn't an alternative for hosting videos that

00:39:56   millions of people are going to want to watch, like, right in a very short period of time.

00:40:02   It's just it's not a it's not a practical thing to try to do on your own and

00:40:07   So that's why I put up with the YouTube system

00:40:10   There was one last thing I wanted to mention about this which is the processing

00:40:17   So when you upload a video to YouTube it uploads and then it goes into processing where what I assume they're doing at this point

00:40:28   and I actually watched a video that MKBHD did about this one, so I'll put it in the show notes,

00:40:33   is that they are taking a file and compressing it with whatever they'd use to compress it,

00:40:40   so it can be viewed at different file sizes, because YouTube create a bunch of different file sizes

00:40:44   that they deliver to people depending on the connection that they have.

00:40:48   The better connection that you have and the faster speed you have, the nicer resolution the video will be.

00:40:53   So I assume that that is what the processing system is doing.

00:40:56   they're also converting it into whatever their standards are behind the scene

00:40:59   because I will give YouTube credit that they can suck in

00:41:03   almost any kind of video and part of the processing is getting it all the same

00:41:09   behind the scenes so that it will just plug into

00:41:12   absolutely everywhere. So you can throw any video at YouTube and it will

00:41:17   pretty much suck it up and then spit out the different resolutions that they need

00:41:21   to play across every single player.

00:41:23   So I fully understand that and support that,

00:41:26   and the system is very clever and it makes sense.

00:41:28   The problem is there's no indication of what is happening.

00:41:31   So it takes an unknown amount of time to process.

00:41:36   You upload it and it just starts saying "processing".

00:41:39   And then I got an email to tell me that the video had processed.

00:41:42   So I went to it and it was horrible resolution.

00:41:45   So I was like, "Oh no, I've done it wrong."

00:41:47   So I deleted the file and uploaded it again.

00:41:50   But what had happened was it had processed but it processed like 240p.

00:41:54   Right, it had just processed the smallest version of it.

00:41:57   Yeah and but then after that point you have no idea of knowing when the high resolution files

00:42:03   are done. Like there's nothing in the interface in the creator studio to tell you what's happening

00:42:07   and what point it's at. Like you it's just you just sit and wait and it seems like such a strange

00:42:12   way of doing things that like once it's uploaded it then processes a bunch of stuff happens but

00:42:18   you as a creator get no feedback as to where it is in the kind of their system?

00:42:24   Yeah, I run into this when I upload my videos because try as I might to do things ahead of time.

00:42:32   I have almost always uploaded a video on the same day that I want to publish it.

00:42:35   And so I upload it, it goes through the processing phase, and it's available.

00:42:39   But since I upload my animations at 4K and 60 frames per second,

00:42:45   I never have any idea when that final high quality version is going to be available.

00:42:51   Sometimes it's available in a few hours.

00:42:53   Sometimes it takes days.

00:42:55   And sometimes I have a few older videos where it just never became available.

00:43:00   For whatever reason, it just never got a high quality version.

00:43:03   And because YouTube's system doesn't allow you to go back and replace videos,

00:43:07   it's just, "Oh, okay, I guess there never will be a 4K 60 frames per second version of that video."

00:43:13   Because... who knows?

00:43:15   So yeah, they're not great about giving you feedback of an ETA for when processing will be done for all of the various file sizes.

00:43:24   It's just the whole thing about the system is it is complicated and also opaque in many ways.

00:43:32   And I hate it and I want it to die.

00:43:35   But it's your job now.

00:43:37   It's my job now.

00:43:38   Have fun with that, Myke.

00:43:40   Go watch the Cortex YouTube channel, people. Make Myke feel like his job is worth it.

00:43:44   Yeah please, just go there and do something.

00:43:49   This episode is also brought to you by Smile and PDF Pen 7 for the Mac.

00:43:54   PDF Pen is the ultimate all-purpose PDF editor and now Smile has some great tutorials for

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00:45:34   PDF Pen 7 and PDF Pen Pro 7 require Yosemite and are ready for El Capitan.

00:45:40   Thank you so much to Smile for their continued support of this show.

00:45:43   (phone chimes)

00:45:45   - Oh, what do you got there?

00:45:46   - I have a protein bar here.

00:45:50   - Oh wow, we're really going head on with this one.

00:45:52   - This is like, it's like I'm in the movies now

00:45:56   and I'm trying to quietly unwrap something,

00:45:57   but it is totally impossible to do so.

00:45:59   - Terrible, terrible job.

00:46:00   - I'm sure no one can hear this.

00:46:03   I'm sure the microphone doesn't pick that up.

00:46:04   - You know we get Star Wars a day early here, right?

00:46:06   Did you know that?

00:46:07   - Oh yeah?

00:46:09   - Yeah, it comes out on the 17th, I think, or the 16th.

00:46:12   Basically, whatever day it comes out in America, we get it a day early.

00:46:16   Wow. Go UK.

00:46:18   I know.

00:46:19   It seems like they're asking the internet to pirate that movie when they do this.

00:46:22   Yeah.

00:46:23   I probably will not be going to see it the first day, simply because of how many other people will be trying to see it the first day.

00:46:29   Yeah, but we have the benefit of being able to go at like 11 AM.

00:46:33   Hmm. Yes, I guess you're right. This is the self-employed/unemployed benefit of being able to see movies at awkward times.

00:46:41   Like if I don't go to a midnight showing I'm just gonna go at like 11 a.m. the next day like I'm later today

00:46:47   I'm gonna book a ticket at that time for James Bond. You may have a point there. I might follow your plan

00:46:52   Should I like to go if I ever see movies now, I see them like the after early afternoon

00:46:57   Did we talk about this I don't know if we talked about this in person or on the podcast I can't remember anymore

00:47:06   Yeah. But the big advantage of when you're a self-employed person is being able to try and arrange your life in such a way

00:47:13   So that you are out of sync with the rest of the world. Yes, that is it's beautiful

00:47:19   Yeah, when you can make it work, it's amazing and I spent a lot of time figuring out

00:47:25   What is the nadir of crowds at my gym and I basically scheduled everything else in my life around that

00:47:33   Yeah

00:47:34   When can I walk into the gym and there is nobody in the back section where I go?

00:47:40   Great. That is now the unmovable block of time on my calendar.

00:47:45   And because that is slightly shifted from normal people patterns,

00:47:49   everything else about like, when I'm getting up, when I'm trying to cross the city,

00:47:53   it's like I'm always an hour and a half off of when everybody else wants to do something else.

00:47:57   And it is beautiful. It's beautiful.

00:48:00   A couple of times in the last couple of weeks I've been caught in 5pm rush hour tube traffic

00:48:06   and I have been horrified by it.

00:48:09   It's very, it's very, you very quickly forget what that's like and it's like "oh my god

00:48:15   this is terrible".

00:48:18   Very upset by it.

00:48:19   The same thing happened to me actually just recently.

00:48:22   Rush hour tube traffic.

00:48:24   Someone might be listening to us now in rush hour tube traffic.

00:48:27   I'm sorry if you're there.

00:48:29   But when you don't have to experience it for a long time, and then you go back, it seems

00:48:33   more horrifying.

00:48:34   Like, I used to do an hour and a half long commute, and I just kind of got used to it

00:48:39   during rush hour.

00:48:41   But then going back and just having to be on the Tube for 20 minutes, it was horrifying.

00:48:46   And all I could think of was when I made it to the other side, it was like, "Wow, I got

00:48:51   through that!

00:48:53   I'm still here!"

00:48:55   And it made me think there's an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David.

00:48:58   I don't know if you've ever seen that show, Myke.

00:49:00   Have you?

00:49:01   No.

00:49:02   Add that to your "to watch" list.

00:49:04   But it is good.

00:49:06   But the basic premise is that Larry David is a billionaire from having written Seinfeld,

00:49:11   and he lives this extraordinarily privileged life.

00:49:14   And at one point he's on a date with a girl and he's trying to tell her an impressive

00:49:18   story.

00:49:19   And his impressive story is that he went on the subway once.

00:49:25   of story. He drives absolutely everywhere. That little beat there is the same beat in

00:49:31   the show. He's expecting her to be super impressed that he took the subway once and didn't take

00:49:36   a private driver.

00:49:37   I've heard a lot about that show but I've never watched it. I've actually just downloaded

00:49:42   some of 30 Rock. I've never seen that show either but I've downloaded that for my trip

00:49:46   because somebody, I saw someone tweet about this yesterday, that the Amazon Prime Video

00:49:52   app on iOS lets you download videos to it.

00:49:57   So you can watch them on planes and stuff.

00:49:58   So you can keep them offline?

00:50:00   Yeah, and like, but it's not really restricted.

00:50:02   It's like seasons.

00:50:05   Like I've downloaded multiple seasons of shows.

00:50:08   You've just hit on two of my top three.

00:50:11   If I have to pick three top comedies, this is not in any particular order.

00:50:16   Of all time, I would say Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, and Arrested Development would be

00:50:22   be my top three of all time list. I love

00:50:27   Arrested Development so... There you go.

00:50:30   Alright, let's

00:50:33   let's talk about something a little bit

00:50:36   more meaty and serious than rush-hour

00:50:41   traffic and that's ad blocking. Mmm, it's

00:50:43   dangerous topic Myke. Yeah, I wanted to

00:50:46   talk about this because it's been in the

00:50:49   news recently quite a bit mainly because

00:50:49   of Safari content blockers coming to iOS. So Apple's enabled people to create

00:50:55   native ad blockers and there's been a whole thing around that and I don't

00:51:00   necessarily think we need to spend too much time discussing Apple's own system

00:51:04   of it. But effectively it made me think about ad blockers in general. So I wanted

00:51:11   to start off by kind of setting the scene for both of us and then I want to

00:51:15   talk a little bit about the business impact and kind of how that fits with

00:51:20   the stuff that me and you both do. So do you run any ad blocking software on any

00:51:26   device? Yes I do. I run ad blockers on my computers and now that iOS allows it I

00:51:34   am running ad blockers on my iOS devices. And what are you blocking? Everything?

00:51:41   Well, I have not yet settled on precisely what I'm going to use on iOS.

00:51:48   It still feels like the market is fresh and a leading contender that I'm also satisfied with has not been established.

00:51:55   For the moment, I am using OneBlocker on iOS and I am using Ghostery on the desktop.

00:52:03   Those are the things that I'm using for ad blocking at the moment.

00:52:06   Right. So I don't run AppLocking software. I don't run any of my computer. I have left

00:52:16   Peace installed, Marco Ahmet's Peace app, which is now just gone. Marco's still making

00:52:22   that app and has pulled it from the store. It's a whole different story for not another

00:52:26   time. And I have left that installed on my phone, but I don't use Safari on my iPhone

00:52:33   on my iPad, I use Chrome.

00:52:35   So I only ever, so I don't actively use it,

00:52:39   but if I say I'm in like Tweetbot and open a page,

00:52:43   the ads may be blocked if I'm using Safari View Controller.

00:52:47   So like if it's just loading the Safari browser within,

00:52:50   but it's not even something that I'm actively doing,

00:52:52   I just haven't turned it off.

00:52:54   Like I'm not trying to necessarily block ads.

00:52:58   - Right, but you still are.

00:52:59   - I still am, but not for the majority of my browsing.

00:53:03   And it's not really a thing that,

00:53:05   I only noticed this a couple of days ago

00:53:06   that it was still on.

00:53:08   So it's not really something that I care too much about.

00:53:11   I don't really feel the burning, burning desire

00:53:14   to block ads like many people do.

00:53:16   For a few different reasons,

00:53:18   I have these very conflicted views on this type of stuff.

00:53:22   And it kind of settles in a few different places

00:53:24   that I feel like I sit on and understand the views

00:53:28   of both sides in this argument,

00:53:30   which is the content creators, the websites, et cetera,

00:53:33   that are putting the ads on and why they're doing it.

00:53:35   And then also the readers and users of these sites

00:53:38   and products who are trying to just get to the content

00:53:42   without ads blocking their path.

00:53:44   So for example, a couple of weeks ago,

00:53:45   I spent 15 minutes trying to read an article on the web

00:53:49   without my attention being pulled away

00:53:52   by a flashing banner ad.

00:53:53   So I was just trying to read an article on a website

00:53:58   and there was a banner ad that was just flashing in my eyes.

00:54:01   And I was trying to do everything

00:54:03   to try and not see this flashing banner ad.

00:54:06   I tried to read the page,

00:54:06   I tried reloading it a bunch of times,

00:54:08   but it was just replaced with more flashing banner ads.

00:54:11   I then tried to load it into Instapaper,

00:54:12   but that website was doing something

00:54:14   in so much that if I loaded it into Instapaper,

00:54:16   it wouldn't load images.

00:54:18   So I ended up having to read it.

00:54:20   I refreshed the page enough times

00:54:22   that it just gave me a banner ad that was static,

00:54:24   and then I could read the article.

00:54:26   - I like that.

00:54:27   burning through their ad inventory. I don't care that the ad is there, I just

00:54:33   want an ad that is not actively trying to distract me. That's what a

00:54:38   flashing banner ad is doing. And that's where you end up in the problem, in that

00:54:42   the ads and maybe the sales teams of these websites or the other sides of

00:54:47   that person's brain, the sales type of part of their brain, what makes them

00:54:52   put these ads on their site, are there now to actively try to grab our attention

00:54:58   and pull it away from the content that is being presented. So this happens with

00:55:04   ads that slide in from the side, that slide in from the bottom, that obscure content

00:55:08   and that kind of stuff. This is kind of the practices in web ads today, where ads

00:55:13   are trying to obscure the page in some way to cover up the content so you

00:55:17   you can't avoid it. Now I wanted to just, we'll come back to this in a moment, but

00:55:24   I wanted to segue here into, in my mind, how I have reconciled the advertising

00:55:30   that we have against what I don't like about web ads. So I make my living on

00:55:37   podcasting and my podcasting living comes from the advertisements that we

00:55:42   have on the shows. Now our ads are there but there are a couple of different

00:55:47   things about the way that we do our ads. The majority of ads that we do are sold

00:55:52   by me. If they're not sold by me, they're sold by somebody else on the Relay FM

00:55:56   team. That is the way that it works for us now. We have some agreements with some

00:56:01   other parties, but we still have a control of what ads are booked and

00:56:06   the content of the advertisement. So we don't have a dedicated sales team who's

00:56:12   just trying to fill inventory. So we have a strong element

00:56:16   of creative control over the advertisement that we take. And also our

00:56:21   shows are structured around the advertisement spots. So like there isn't

00:56:27   an ad playing right now as I'm talking that is trying to hide what I'm saying.

00:56:34   There isn't an ad that pops in halfway for a sentence. You know like

00:56:40   we on this show we play little sound effects which clearly denote that an ad

00:56:44   has started. On other shows I would say or another host will say okay we're

00:56:50   gonna take time for a break to thank a sponsor. And it's built in such a way

00:56:55   that like you know we might tease what's gonna come up after the sponsor or

00:56:58   whatever but there isn't we're not trying to like distract the listener or

00:57:03   to pull them away from the content. And that's where I feel the difference is

00:57:07   because I don't care that the web has ads on it. I just care if those ads are

00:57:14   are going against what I am intending to do on the site.

00:57:18   That is kind of my feeling about advertising online

00:57:22   at the moment and how I reconcile it

00:57:24   against the way that I make money.

00:57:25   And I don't know if it's right,

00:57:27   but it's just the way that I have come to terms with it

00:57:30   and why I'm happy with what we do compared to

00:57:33   some of the stuff that I see online.

00:57:34   - Yeah, this is one of these topics that I am,

00:57:42   I am convinced that people get in a real state about it

00:57:45   in no small part because

00:57:49   it's fundamentally impossible

00:57:53   to have a perfectly consistent

00:57:57   opinion on it. I just think it's such a messy topic that extends to so many

00:58:03   things

00:58:03   it's very very hard to have something that is consistent all the way through

00:58:09   So for example, even your opinion, which I think is very well stated of "Oh, I don't like the ads that are distracting and I don't mind the other ads"

00:58:17   The practicality of it is there is no way for you right now to have an ad blocker that says

00:58:25   "Only distract the top 20% of the worst of the worst ads and let everything through"

00:58:34   That ad blocker doesn't exist.

00:58:36   And it would be hard to imagine how it could practically exist

00:58:40   given the large number of ad networks out there and constantly changing tactics and all the rest of it.

00:58:45   So you are in a situation where if you're using any ad blocker,

00:58:49   there is in a sense collateral damage that you don't want to happen in theory,

00:58:54   but that you can't help from having happen if you are using an ad blocker.

00:58:59   And so that's why it's very, very hard to have an opinion on this topic which is perfectly consistent with how you're acting or how you want things to be.

00:59:10   And I think that's one of the reasons why people get really upset about it and they have these big conversations about ad blocking.

00:59:15   Now in regards to the way that you make money, you also make your, maybe majority or at least a big portion of your money from advertising.

00:59:23   But the advertising that you do, you don't handle any of it, but it comes in different ways.

00:59:30   So you have the podcast ads where you have known individuals selling for you, and then you have the YouTube ads.

00:59:37   So I'm in a bit of an interesting position here because I'm on both sides of this, whereas you do make your income from advertising,

00:59:48   but it's also not the kind of advertising which is blocked by ad blockers.

00:59:52   As it exists right now, there are no podcast clients

00:59:56   which automatically skip TiVo-like the ads

01:00:00   that are in the middle of podcasts. You could imagine such a thing existing

01:00:04   but it doesn't exist at the moment. So I do make a portion of my income

01:00:08   from the YouTube ads that appear

01:00:12   at the start of my YouTube videos. So if you click

01:00:16   click on one of my videos, not every time but some portion of the time, there will be

01:00:21   a video before that.

01:00:23   And it's usually one of those videos that you wait five seconds and you skip or you

01:00:26   don't skip.

01:00:27   But that's an ad that makes up a portion of my income, and those are exactly the kind

01:00:33   of ads that are blocked by ad blockers.

01:00:38   So we can say that in a real way, some portion of my revenue is lost out upon because some

01:00:45   portion of the ads are being blocked from people who are watching my video on desktop

01:00:51   computers.

01:00:55   And on the flip side, I also make advertising income in the same way that you do with podcasts

01:00:59   where they're not blocked.

01:01:03   So I've been thinking a lot about this, and it's a tricky topic.

01:01:12   However, I feel like this latest round of people freaking out about ad blockers is a

01:01:20   bit of a tempest in a teapot.

01:01:22   I think this is really overblown in very many ways.

01:01:30   And the reason I think that is precisely because I look at the ads that appear automatically

01:01:39   on my YouTube channel.

01:01:41   And if I go back over the four years that I've been doing this, in terms of the number

01:01:46   of dollars I receive per 10,000 views on YouTube, it doesn't seem like it's changed over time.

01:01:53   It doesn't seem like it's gone dramatically down.

01:01:56   It's not as though the number of people who use desktop computers are constantly increasing

01:02:02   with ad blockers, right?

01:02:04   It seems like some portion of the population, some technically savvy and also probably distractable

01:02:13   or just able to accomplish this thing, some portion of the population installs ad blockers

01:02:19   and maybe that's 10%, maybe it's 15%, it's hard to know what that number is, but it seems

01:02:27   like once you hit that saturation point, ad blockers don't continue to spread.

01:02:32   we don't end up in a situation where year on year,

01:02:35   it seems like a higher portion of people

01:02:38   are using ad blockers.

01:02:40   And so I can only assume that on iOS,

01:02:44   this is going to be the same pattern.

01:02:46   - I think one of the things that's come about though,

01:02:49   like irrespective of how many people

01:02:51   now install ad blockers,

01:02:52   although it is undeniable that there are more people now

01:02:55   that block ads than there were before

01:02:56   because you couldn't do it on iOS.

01:02:57   So any change is more people, right?

01:03:00   - Right, any change is more people,

01:03:02   But that's... in some ways I don't know how many more people that would be

01:03:06   because the way I look at it is, especially with YouTube, we can see that over time

01:03:10   a higher and higher proportion of people are watching videos on mobile. And that number

01:03:14   just seems to keep going up and up. And I can only imagine that the same people

01:03:18   who installed ad blockers on their desktop, who used to watch videos on their desktop

01:03:22   and who are now watching videos on mobile, if they have the option to be able to

01:03:26   block those ads, they will take that option to block those ads.

01:03:30   Irrespective of the fact of how many people are using them or whatever now it has raised a new topic.

01:03:37   It's one of those things that ends up becoming a bit of a meme on the internet.

01:03:41   Now people are thinking about advertising again and they get upset at web ads and you know

01:03:47   people saying that there has to be a change and that kind of thing.

01:03:50   I just really struggle with it. I really struggle with it because if you block ads and you rally

01:03:57   people around you to block ads. You're affecting the livelihoods of people that don't have

01:04:01   control in it. Like writers and journalists. People like me and you who just want to make

01:04:08   stuff and they care about what they make and they just want to have a place to put it.

01:04:14   The more and more this stuff gets blocked the harder and harder it is for people to

01:04:17   make money in that way and that makes me feel uncomfortable.

01:04:21   Okay, I know what you're saying.

01:04:26   I know what you're saying, Myke.

01:04:28   But I'm not sold on this story.

01:04:33   So when I said before that it's a bit of a tempest in a teapot,

01:04:36   I think that in some ways what's happening here is a bit of almost

01:04:41   like the same kind of distortion that I have complained about with the news.

01:04:46   where the news in general focuses on things not in proportion to what they actually are.

01:04:52   And so with the ad blocker thing, if you imagine, say, there was a flu going around the world

01:04:59   that happened to only affect people who work in television newsrooms and in newspapers.

01:05:07   Nobody else would catch the flu, only they would.

01:05:09   I think you would hear a hell of a lot about this flu going around

01:05:14   and how important it is that we figure out how to come up with a

01:05:19   cure or preventative medicine for this flu because the people that it affects

01:05:24   are the ones with huge megaphones. And so the ad blocking

01:05:29   thing I think is a bit like this where

01:05:34   companies that are going to experience

01:05:38   some decrease in mobile revenue,

01:05:42   which I'm not convinced is going to be a huge number decrease in mobile revenue,

01:05:48   they also have enormous megaphones to complain about it.

01:05:53   You're just hearing a lot about this

01:05:56   in way disproportion to what it actually is.

01:05:59   Because even when you say someone like you or me were going to be affected by this,

01:06:04   Like, straight up, I am not going to be affected by this.

01:06:09   Like, if many more people use ad blockers, it won't affect my business very much,

01:06:17   because I have tried to diversify the business to protect against this.

01:06:22   So now, of course, the thing that people would say is not everyone is able to

01:06:26   diversify in this way. I have set up a Patreon account, and explicitly one of my rewards is

01:06:34   adblock absolution, which is the lowest, the lowest tier. If someone gives me a

01:06:38   dollar when I put out a video, it's a bit of a joke like that they have adblock

01:06:42   absolution from me. If ad blocking is going to affect any kind of company, it

01:06:51   seems to me that the places that are affected the most are just like these

01:06:58   the worst kind of aggregator websites that are on the internet.

01:07:04   Websites that they don't particularly have any individuals that you really care about,

01:07:11   that they're websites that are just producing an enormous amount of semi-anonymous content.

01:07:18   And I think those are the same kinds of sites that would have a very hard time

01:07:23   ever transitioning to any sort of membership model,

01:07:28   which is something that you see a lot of websites doing.

01:07:32   So for example, Vitici over at Mac Stories,

01:07:37   he recently started up a membership model.

01:07:40   Many, many websites are starting up a membership model

01:07:43   in addition to advertising as a way to diversify.

01:07:47   But a membership model, it works best

01:07:51   if you are producing things that some group of people

01:07:55   intensely care about.

01:07:58   And I think one of the ways that you get followers

01:08:03   or readers who intensely care about a thing

01:08:06   is you're producing stuff that is very high quality

01:08:11   or you're producing stuff where people feel like

01:08:15   they know you and they like the thing

01:08:19   that you are producing.

01:08:21   So if you are, let's say, a news website where

01:08:24   if 20% of people start using ad blockers,

01:08:28   if your revenue goes down 20%

01:08:31   and that's really damaging to your business

01:08:35   and you're also not able to convince any users

01:08:39   to sign up for any kind of membership,

01:08:41   I feel like yours was a business on the edge already.

01:08:46   Fundamentally, if you can't transition

01:08:48   other sources of revenue, it's in no small part because like nobody really

01:08:54   cares a lot about the thing that you're making. Like you're just you're just

01:09:00   another news aggregator or reprinter on the internet. You're not a thing that

01:09:07   people like enough to sign up for a membership. Okay I understand what you're

01:09:12   saying and I get where you're coming from, but the fact that the matter is

01:09:17   every individual that blocks ads is one individual who will not be contributing

01:09:23   money towards the website, towards any website. So let's pick, you know, we

01:09:30   will create a website called The Smurge. Right, excellent choice, excellent choice.

01:09:36   The Smurge is a technology news website which is very very large and The Smurge

01:09:42   employees a bunch of people who really care about what they do and they use ads

01:09:49   on their website. Now they are not a news aggregator, they create content which is

01:09:54   I believe, well I would believe if such a website existed is very good and I like

01:10:00   it. But they also have terrible ads in some places and if the smurge has a

01:10:07   million readers a day and 10% of those people go away and then it's 10% of

01:10:13   their income that they lose, right? And every single person, every one

01:10:17   individual adds and contributes towards this. So this organization now makes less

01:10:24   money than they needed and a lot of these companies they probably I would

01:10:29   assume spend what comes in. So they end up in a scenario where they have less

01:10:33   money than they did before. But everybody's still going to the website,

01:10:37   they're just blocking the ads now and now this company is suffering because of

01:10:43   that. And yes they may be using ads that aren't great but they are the ads that

01:10:48   exist because it's the only ads that they can use to fulfill the money that

01:10:52   they need. As a reader of The Smurge my question is if you are continuing to go

01:10:58   to their website and read their content what gives you the right to think you

01:11:02   get it for free.

01:11:04   Okay, so I was talking before about how

01:11:11   it's very difficult to have a morally

01:11:13   consistent opinion on this topic that I

01:11:14   think it's fundamentally impossible.

01:11:18   There is a level to this

01:11:20   argument which I think is

01:11:22   a level kind of a level above what is

01:11:26   happening in the particulars with

01:11:27   ad blocking.

01:11:29   And it's one of the things that over

01:11:31   the past year I think I've really come down on it or clarified my thoughts on this, which is...

01:11:37   I'm trying to think of a good comparison, but it's almost like in United States law when you have

01:11:43   tricky court cases, one of the things that judges will try to do is they say "okay, well let's try

01:11:48   to look at the Constitution and what are the broad principles that the Constitution is laying out,

01:11:53   and let's try to not get mired down in the details of this." I almost feel like there's a kind of

01:11:59   implied technology constitution.

01:12:03   And if I were writing it, I would have one of those elements be that

01:12:08   a user should have control in as much as is possible

01:12:14   over the machine that they are using. If there's a case that's very complicated

01:12:18   and it's on the edge, you should err in favor of the user

01:12:23   having control over their machine. And I think this is one of these cases

01:12:29   where I would err on the side of the user having control

01:12:32   so that yes, there is there is kind of no moral argument to say

01:12:39   I am correct in that I should be able to view a website without

01:12:42   having to participate in the implied contract of viewing the ads.

01:12:47   I don't think you can make an argument for that. It's like, well,

01:12:50   it's not right. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's stealing, but I think it

01:12:54   falls into the category of things that are like

01:12:56   copyright infringement. Not stealing, but not great.

01:13:02   But nonetheless, I am more in favor of users being able to control their

01:13:08   machines, and I think that ad blocking is one version of that, where it's like, "Okay,

01:13:14   fundamentally what's happening here is that my computer

01:13:17   is receiving data from another computer, and I wish to

01:13:21   manipulate that data in some way, and

01:13:25   I'm going to come down on that side if the situation is unclear.

01:13:30   Like, I think that would be one of my more guiding principles.

01:13:33   But it doesn't mean that everybody's happy, right?

01:13:35   Like, that principle absolutely means that some people will be upset.

01:13:40   But it's kind of like freedom of speech in America, right?

01:13:44   Freedom of speech doesn't mean that everybody's happy, right?

01:13:47   That's not what it's trying to achieve.

01:13:50   but it's like a guiding principle for difficult decisions.

01:13:55   - So you're talking about control,

01:13:56   right, having the control of your machine.

01:13:59   - Yeah. - So I think

01:14:01   the implied argument that you're making there

01:14:03   is that the control is that you get the right

01:14:06   to enable an ad blocker.

01:14:08   - Yeah, basically, that's what I'm saying.

01:14:12   - What if the control is you just don't go to the website?

01:14:14   - Without a doubt, that is an option, right?

01:14:17   user can say, "Oh, I'm simply not going to visit the website."

01:14:21   And that can definitely be their behavior, but I'm trying to take the

01:14:25   difficult case here of someone is explicitly saying,

01:14:29   "No, I want to go to the website. I want to visit the Smurge every day.

01:14:33   I want to click refresh hundreds of times, and I never want to see a single

01:14:37   ad on the Smurge." And I'm saying that, "Okay,

01:14:41   even in that situation, if we have to make a broad decision,

01:14:45   I think it is better to err on the side of user control

01:14:50   than it is to ensure that a company

01:14:53   does not miss out on revenue.

01:14:57   And again, I am in the category of these things.

01:15:00   People use ad blockers when they watch my videos,

01:15:02   and I know that, and I know that I lose out on revenue

01:15:05   because of that, and I'm still fine with this decision

01:15:07   of I'm not going to morally condemn anybody

01:15:10   who has only ever watched my videos with an ad blocker on

01:15:15   and has never donated to my Patreon.

01:15:18   I will not morally condemn that person.

01:15:21   - But what is the control

01:15:23   that you feel that you're giving away?

01:15:24   Is it the control of what the page looks like,

01:15:27   or is it the control of the trackers

01:15:29   that many of these websites use to track your information?

01:15:33   - When I mean control, I'm kind of talking about

01:15:37   a general purpose computer situation,

01:15:40   like, oh, I have a machine in front of me

01:15:41   that I can program.

01:15:42   Now, I absolutely know that at this very moment, there are angry Android users firing up their

01:15:49   email clients to tell me about how Apple has totally locked down iPhones and you can't

01:15:53   do anything with them.

01:15:54   And if you're so in favor of user control, why are you using an iPhone?

01:15:57   I totally understand that.

01:15:59   I'm just saying I'm in favor of more control.

01:16:02   I'm not looking for absolute control with my device.

01:16:06   So I think this is a situation where

01:16:08   Apple has allowed the user to do a thing

01:16:11   and some people are taking

01:16:14   advantage of that option and I think that they should be able to do that.

01:16:18   But there is definitely, um,

01:16:20   it's so bound up in the

01:16:23   ad side of things, but there is definitely a privacy

01:16:27   argument to be made. And when I first started running Ghostery a while ago

01:16:31   Ghostery is an ad blocker but also just a tracking blocker

01:16:35   on the web. And I hadn't used it ever,

01:16:38   but they have a little option where it'll pop up a little bubble at the

01:16:40   bottom

01:16:41   which will show you all the things on the page that it blocked.

01:16:45   And I have to say I had my breath taken away

01:16:50   by how many things

01:16:53   were loaded up on so many websites.

01:16:56   I just could not believe the number of trackers

01:17:00   that appear on normal websites.

01:17:03   It was quite astounding, and I specifically went around to some sites just to see, like, what is where

01:17:11   and the amount of stuff that is keeping track of where you are going all the time is much bigger than I would have thought

01:17:18   And I think I should have been more aware of this than I was, but my internetting experience is relatively constrained

01:17:27   don't go to a lot of general websites. My experience is I spend a lot of time on Reddit

01:17:34   and Twitter and Hacker News and I follow some individuals on the web that I like, but I

01:17:40   don't really go to a lot of broad websites. Like, let's say, our Theoretical Smurge. That's

01:17:45   exactly the kind of site where to exist that I wouldn't necessarily spend a lot of time

01:17:49   on. But seeing the way some people in my family use their devices, I can see what other people's

01:17:57   internet looks like and it's sometimes horrifying.

01:18:00   Like, my wife definitely complains about these horrific ads that follow her around on the internet.

01:18:06   And I've heard other people talk about how, you know, like stuff follows you from site to site.

01:18:10   And I've seen people I know just have difficulty even trying to navigate websites.

01:18:15   And so this is what I mean about the control of the device that you're using.

01:18:20   of, "You know what? This is my machine

01:18:24   and I don't want ad companies following me from place to place

01:18:29   advertising things that I just don't want to see." And it's like,

01:18:32   "I own this machine. I should be able to block this stuff."

01:18:36   Or, "I'm trying to get access to this information and I just want to make it

01:18:41   as clear as possible." So that's kind of what I mean about a user having

01:18:46   control

01:18:46   over their own device? I'm very conflicted about this.

01:18:52   I think it comes across in the way that

01:18:56   I basically talk around and around it. I don't know how to feel

01:19:00   about it. The main thing, the main reason that I've left

01:19:05   peace installed is because the thing that I don't like

01:19:09   is how long it takes web pages to load and how large they are in some instances

01:19:16   because you know and I've left it only on my iPhone and only in apps like

01:19:21   Twitter because I'm usually so like for example looking because I only ever use

01:19:25   Safari in like when I'm in Tweetbot right because Tweetbot just opens it in

01:19:28   Safari in a Safari view that's because I tend to be out and about when I'm

01:19:32   looking at that so I'm burning through my data cap because websites are very

01:19:37   very large but whilst we've been talking I have unlocked my phone and gone to the

01:19:42   settings at like four times to remove piece and then I keep coming back

01:19:48   from it. I've heard this discussion from many people I've read about it from many

01:19:53   people many of my friends and it's most people take the exact view that you're

01:19:58   taking right now which is it's my device I don't want to see the crap that you're

01:20:05   showing me I don't want to be tracked by you so I am taking my right and

01:20:11   installing an ad blocker and I will never see the ads or I won't be tracked

01:20:15   by you anymore. But like there's just part of me that's like I don't know if

01:20:18   that is if that lines up with my morals as to what I think is acceptable. And I

01:20:26   also feel like for many people what they say is the biggest point is doesn't line

01:20:30   up. Like for example the people that that mainly complain about being tracked, what

01:20:37   if you just turned off the tracking but still saw the ads would you be happy

01:20:39   about that. And I think that most people would then go back on themselves and say

01:20:44   that they also don't want to see the ads as well.

01:20:46   Yeah, I won't back down from that. If there was an option to say just turn off

01:20:50   trackers and not also turn off ads, I wouldn't take it. I would block the

01:20:54   ads as well.

01:20:55   Which I believe basically everybody that uses a content blocker

01:20:58   would take that exact view. So I feel like that the tracking stuff is a

01:21:04   macguffin in the conversation. It's for many people an excuse to say why they

01:21:09   think it's okay to block the ads because companies shouldn't have the ability to

01:21:13   track them around the web? I just think that the tracking thing comes up because

01:21:16   for a lot of people it strikes them as creepy in a way and it is it's just

01:21:24   another it is another layer to add to this conversation. I think that perhaps

01:21:29   what is the creepiest intersection of tracking and advertising is I saw this

01:21:37   article, I'll leave it to you Myke to find it for the show notes, but it was

01:21:42   some report about a product that Google is developing which they

01:21:46   called Google Match. Did you come across this? I think so. So the outline, this is

01:21:53   one of these stories where I was thinking did somebody at Google float

01:21:57   this so they could see public reaction before they're actually going to

01:22:00   announce it? But the broad outline as reported by like sources inside Google

01:22:07   was that Google's developing this program called Match, where an advertiser can upload email addresses

01:22:16   and specifically try to target those people with ads on the web through Google's system.

01:22:24   So if you have a database of a bunch of Gmail addresses, Google knows when those people are logged in,

01:22:30   are logged in browsing around in Chrome,

01:22:32   and you can advertise to those people specifically.

01:22:37   And I think that's the kind of thing people

01:22:39   would just find really creepy to know exists.

01:22:43   - Do you know who doesn't?

01:22:44   - Who? - Me.

01:22:46   - Yeah, you don't think that's creepy?

01:22:47   - No.

01:22:48   It's just like somebody sending a piece of mail to your home.

01:22:56   That's all there is.

01:22:57   So I used to work in marketing.

01:22:59   That was what I did for a living before this.

01:23:02   - You were one of these guys.

01:23:03   - So I know the power of data.

01:23:06   And why it's good to have this stuff.

01:23:08   Because part of the problem with web ads

01:23:11   is that they are too general.

01:23:13   They have the tracking data on you,

01:23:15   but they're still advertising to a broader audience.

01:23:18   And one of the great things about targeted email ads

01:23:21   and targeted mail, like postal mail,

01:23:23   is that you can give someone

01:23:26   something that is more specific to them.

01:23:27   So when it's used in the right scenarios, this could be really good.

01:23:31   You could get a tailored offer from your supermarket, which could be of benefit to you.

01:23:37   But like, you know, the fact that they have, they already have this email address.

01:23:42   They're going to advertise to you anyway.

01:23:44   Maybe it's best if the advertising that they get is targeted to you more

01:23:49   specifically, because to me, it's like nobody gets really creeped out that they

01:23:55   get junk mail or these offers sent to their home. That doesn't freak people out. That

01:24:00   is your home address that these people have. That is way more dangerous than an email address.

01:24:07   Like it doesn't bother anyone about that. Like people don't like that they get it, but

01:24:11   they're not like, "I need to move! I need to put an address blocker on my home and like

01:24:17   hide my door number!" Nobody does that. But it's the same if not worse in my view, and

01:24:23   will be millions of people that would disagree with me. But that's how I feel

01:24:27   about these things. That type of advertising is more likely for me to be

01:24:32   useful than the stuff that I see now. So point to Myke in that conversation.

01:24:38   That's an excellent point you scored there. And you are definitely right that

01:24:43   there's a bit of a sub argument in this conversation which is about targeted

01:24:48   advertising and in my mind there is some line which is crossed by the email thing

01:24:55   but in general I don't mind more targeted advertising and as an example I

01:25:01   actually think YouTube is pretty good with their pre-rolls most of the time of

01:25:05   broadly speaking guessing what I might be interested in. I have to say the more

01:25:10   and more I watch YouTube which is becoming more and more of a thing for me

01:25:13   the more ads I do actually watch.

01:25:15   Right. And so,

01:25:17   I have long thought

01:25:19   that the YouTube

01:25:22   5-second skippable ad is

01:25:24   the best ad unit

01:25:26   in many ways that exists on the internet.

01:25:28   Because

01:25:30   it only briefly takes your time,

01:25:32   and the amount of time

01:25:34   Google gets it right of like,

01:25:36   "Oh, you know what? I do want to watch this game

01:25:38   trailer before I watch this video,"

01:25:40   is surprisingly high.

01:25:42   high. And it's also funny just because my wife uses YouTube for her music collection.

01:25:50   I can see the ads that pop up on her computer sometimes for YouTube. And I can broadly see

01:25:57   that they have a whole different set of ads that they show her that I never even see.

01:26:02   But she's not getting ads for, you know, like, "Oh, the new Doom 4 trailer came out." That

01:26:08   never pops up on my wife's computer and I don't get her ads and vice versa and I

01:26:12   feel like oh that's just perfectly fine I don't mind that at all.

01:26:16   Yeah like all you get is like notifications of the new Rachel Platten

01:26:19   single and stuff like that right? Yeah that's exactly right. So I don't mind

01:26:26   that but there's something where the individual thing even though your

01:26:30   analogy about the house is absolutely spot-on it just it flips something in

01:26:33   my brain. And I also feel this from the opposite side where because I run a big email list,

01:26:39   like I have about 75,000 people on my email list on my website, I would feel like a monster

01:26:46   if I uploaded that database into Google's new advertising program and then told Google,

01:26:53   I want you to follow these people around with ads for CGP Grey sweatshirts wherever they

01:26:59   are on the internet.

01:27:00   I think that's a great business idea.

01:27:03   - This is the marketer inside you.

01:27:08   But this is the thing, is like,

01:27:10   almost certainly that would be a profitable thing to do

01:27:14   because web ads are just so cheap

01:27:16   and even if I just sold a couple sweatshirts,

01:27:18   it would probably cover the advertising costs,

01:27:21   but I would still just feel like a monster.

01:27:24   I would feel like I was reaching into individual computers

01:27:30   to show these people an ad that I want to show them.

01:27:33   And I would not be comfortable doing that at all.

01:27:36   (laughing)

01:27:39   Even if you think it's a great business decision, Myke.

01:27:41   - But,

01:27:42   but the people on your email list

01:27:45   are the people that will most likely want to know

01:27:47   there is a hoodie.

01:27:49   - The hoodies are super comfortable.

01:27:52   I'm actually wearing one right now.

01:27:53   - I'm sure you are.

01:27:54   Ding, ding, ding, ding.

01:27:56   - I really am.

01:27:57   - I believe you.

01:27:59   The other thing to this though for me is your email list is a targeted advertisement platform,

01:28:09   especially with the way that you run it, because people that subscribe to your email list can

01:28:14   check the boxes of the things that they want to hear more about.

01:28:18   So when Cortex began, we were able to tell those people that said, "I want to know about

01:28:24   CGP Grey podcasts," that this existed, that it's a targeted advertisement platform.

01:28:28   people opted in for it so it's nicer but that's the kind of thing right like that

01:28:33   is the way that this stuff works it's the way that this stuff grows because

01:28:37   whilst you are a restrained human being and maybe I'm not so much you sort of

01:28:43   see that as the beginning of something that could become very useful and

01:28:46   profitable because people are willingly giving you some kind of information right

01:28:50   but you see what I'm saying that your email list is a marketing platform for

01:28:53   you of people that care about what you do and that they're so like in the idea

01:28:58   of uploading these email addresses if it is your bank that does this because they

01:29:04   have an offer that they want to get to you but they can't get it to you that is

01:29:08   a great way for them to get that offer to you on the web I just I feel like

01:29:12   you're at full marketer mode here Myke it's something I really cared about like

01:29:18   so it was why I didn't like my job but I liked the fundamentals of what this

01:29:22   stuff was about? Yeah I know I know and it's it's one of these things where I'm

01:29:26   sitting here and I'm thinking I agree with the individual words that you're

01:29:31   saying when they're all together I don't like it one bit I don't like it at all

01:29:37   even though there's no part of it that I can argue with. This episode of Cortex

01:29:41   is also brought to you by the lovely folk over at igloo who make the intranet

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01:32:00   and you'll also be supporting this show. Thank you so much to igloo for their continued support

01:32:04   of cortex and relay FM. But anyway getting back to the content blockers. I can't see myself ever

01:32:12   seriously running an ad blocker and I think I'm gonna turn peace off again on

01:32:18   my iPhone. Just because as I expected would probably happen when I start to

01:32:25   talk about this I get very emotional about it I think. And I think it

01:32:31   is partly because my living is made this way with advertising and the

01:32:36   kindness of our listeners to support our advertisers. But you know I feel like I'm

01:32:41   not necessarily in that world because of the way that we we do our advertising.

01:32:45   Like if we had one big company that was selling our ads and there's nothing we

01:32:50   could do about it and it wasn't me and you, it was like random people talking in

01:32:55   the middle of our shows. Like we get pitches from companies that want to do

01:32:59   this and I'm like are you crazy? Like that's horrible. Right so like we do it

01:33:03   slightly differently so I feel a little bit removed from it but I still just I

01:33:08   I just can't help but feel for the people whose livings are provided by it.

01:33:13   Whether you think it's right or wrong,

01:33:15   whether you think that the smudge should or shouldn't exist and it's just

01:33:19   collateral damage that these people lose their jobs.

01:33:22   There's just a thing for me where I can't,

01:33:25   I just can't reconcile it in my brain. I just can't do it.

01:33:28   Yeah, I still, we, there are many points.

01:33:32   We have had a big long conversation about this,

01:33:34   but there's just a couple of things I want to try to reiterate as my main points

01:33:38   And the big one is, I am just not convinced that ad blockers on iOS will have a significant actual impact on the sites that have complained most loudly about ad blockers.

01:33:53   And the sites that complain most loudly about ad blockers seem, in general, to be the same sites that have the worst, lowest quality ads that exist anywhere.

01:34:05   I think there's a real overlap in that.

01:34:09   And I still say that the story is told

01:34:13   as though, like, "Oh, the smurge is going to have to close its doors

01:34:17   and we can't continue on in business." And I still

01:34:21   feel like, "Okay, look, if a 10% hit in revenue

01:34:25   forces you to close your doors, something was going to

01:34:29   make you close your doors anyway. Like, you were a terrible, unstable business

01:34:33   to begin with.

01:34:34   And if you can't find some other way

01:34:37   to earn money from what you claim is a valuable thing that you are producing,

01:34:43   like I'm not convinced you're actually making something valuable that lots of people care about.

01:34:47   Like if the thing that you are making is something that people want,

01:34:52   you should be able to figure out a way to make money off of it

01:34:56   that is not just the lowest of the low ads on the internet.

01:35:01   And I just want to have another little clarification point here for the listeners.

01:35:05   When I say the lowest of the low, I don't even mean like, "Oh, these pop-up ads or these ads that slide in from the side."

01:35:11   I mean just in terms of the ad rates that you get from these things.

01:35:16   And so, having had my foot in several of these businesses,

01:35:21   it can just broadly say, without being able to go into specifics,

01:35:25   that advertisers are the most willing to pay for podcast ads.

01:35:31   So an ad--an advertiser will pay the most for a podcast ad per thousand listeners.

01:35:38   And I think part of the reason that happens is because, one, the hosts are reading the ad themselves.

01:35:45   So there's some connection between the audience and the person who's reading it.

01:35:48   As--as I think you've always said, Myke, there's an implied endorsement there,

01:35:53   even if there isn't an actual endorsement.

01:35:55   I want to clarify that a little bit because that endorsement is a dirty word.

01:35:59   Right.

01:36:01   Because an endorsement says, you say this product is yes it's good.

01:36:05   And we have had conversations with some companies that we do not sell endorsements.

01:36:10   We sell sponsorships.

01:36:12   And a host can endorse a product if they choose to.

01:36:16   And many of the scripts that I write have a little section in that say,

01:36:20   if you would like to talk about your experiences with the product,

01:36:23   You can say that here, but we purposefully do not present ads in the first person unless they are an endorsement

01:36:31   otherwise, right is a read because I don't feel like we have to

01:36:36   specifically all use the products

01:36:39   But it's if we believe that it is a good product and a good fit like for example

01:36:44   Let's say that I mean we have smile as a sponsor on this show and I love smiles products

01:36:49   Other hosts of some of the other shows might not use them,

01:36:53   but they trust my judgment that they would read the ad

01:36:56   that the product is good because I use it and like it.

01:36:59   So we have as a group, so like there are other,

01:37:03   we have an advertiser on Mac Power Users who has a Mac app

01:37:06   that I don't use, but I know that Katie uses, so I'm happy.

01:37:09   Do you see what I mean?

01:37:10   Like it's like a-- - Yeah.

01:37:11   - If any of us can agree that this is a good thing,

01:37:15   then we will advertise it,

01:37:16   but it's not necessarily a personal endorsement

01:37:18   in every situation.

01:37:20   I just wanted to take that sidebar.

01:37:22   Sorry.

01:37:22   No no you please please do

01:37:24   right because this is an important point here

01:37:26   about why are advertisers

01:37:28   more willing to pay for podcast ads.

01:37:30   And part

01:37:32   of it is the host reading it.

01:37:34   Part of it for what you guys

01:37:36   do at Relay

01:37:37   and also what I do at Hello Internet is a selection

01:37:39   of podcast ads

01:37:41   and I do the same

01:37:43   thing. I don't use every single

01:37:45   one of the products that is advertised

01:37:47   on Hello Internet

01:37:48   But I will never say, "Oh, I love and use Product X,"

01:37:52   if I don't.

01:37:53   But if I have used a product and I do like it,

01:37:55   I'm totally happy to say it.

01:37:57   Like, I never wanna have an ad on that show

01:37:59   that I feel uncomfortable with.

01:38:01   But the next level down is that there are companies

01:38:04   that kind of sell mass podcast ads,

01:38:07   and I turned away from using those very quickly,

01:38:10   and the price of those were lower

01:38:12   because it felt like it was one step down,

01:38:14   where it wasn't like curation and selection

01:38:16   and something that I'm very happy talking about.

01:38:19   And I got much, much lower rates

01:38:21   for those kind of ads on podcasts.

01:38:23   But we're taking a step now from like curated,

01:38:27   intensely personal, if they can be ads,

01:38:30   down to the host is still reading it,

01:38:33   but it's slightly more mass market,

01:38:36   and it's not as carefully selected.

01:38:37   And it's like, okay, well now the price

01:38:39   has gone down a little bit.

01:38:41   Then the next level down is stuff like YouTube ads,

01:38:45   which as we have referenced before on the podcast,

01:38:47   pay so little compared to podcast ads,

01:38:51   like several orders of magnitude less.

01:38:55   And then below like the YouTube ads,

01:38:58   there are just like banner ads

01:39:01   and kind of your standard Google AdSense ads.

01:39:04   And man, if you're running that kind of stuff,

01:39:07   and to a large extent,

01:39:09   that's what I see a lot of these smurge-like sites running,

01:39:13   you have to generate enormous amounts of views

01:39:17   to get small amounts of money.

01:39:21   It, you just, ungodly numbers of views.

01:39:24   And so that's what I mean by like sites using these,

01:39:26   these bottom of the barrel ads.

01:39:29   They just don't pay very much.

01:39:31   And I just, I feel convinced that they don't pay very much

01:39:36   and the sites can't figure out other ways to do it

01:39:41   because they're not producing content

01:39:45   that people intensely care about.

01:39:47   That that's why it's very hard for them

01:39:48   to transition to other business models,

01:39:51   because if they're trying to start up a membership,

01:39:53   it's just nobody really cares that much.

01:39:55   And so that's also why they're using those same ads

01:39:58   and they're like stuck in this position.

01:40:00   But even all that taken together,

01:40:01   I'm still not convinced that their businesses

01:40:03   will go out of business,

01:40:05   because it is many steps to install an ad blocker on iOS.

01:40:08   And it is a complicated thing to do on the desktop.

01:40:10   And most users just never ever do that.

01:40:15   It's always going to be a small percentage of the audience

01:40:18   who are doing this.

01:40:19   - But my feeling about this is these things begin

01:40:24   and then they grow.

01:40:26   And I feel like this is a beginning of something.

01:40:29   So that's why I'm like,

01:40:31   I feel like I need to understand my stance now.

01:40:35   And I think I have,

01:40:36   I think this conversation has helped me solidify it

01:40:40   and I have turned off peace now.

01:40:42   If the situation remains the same as it has been,

01:40:46   I will not be using an ad blocker.

01:40:49   Part of it is it actually echoes something

01:40:52   that you said earlier.

01:40:53   Like my internet usage, the places that I go

01:40:56   is very limited.

01:40:57   I don't surf the world wide web.

01:41:01   Like the majority of stuff that I find is websites

01:41:03   I choose to go to or links provided by people on Twitter,

01:41:07   which are typically people I follow

01:41:09   that are owners and or writers of a certain website.

01:41:13   And I don't want any of those websites to go away.

01:41:18   So the way that I feel like I can do my bit for that

01:41:22   is to accept their ads no matter what they might be.

01:41:26   And if, because the situation,

01:41:28   I was happy before Safari content blockers.

01:41:33   I never complained and I don't complain now.

01:41:36   So I'm just gonna stick with how it used to be

01:41:38   and see how I go from there.

01:41:40   That's how I feel.

01:41:42   But I don't judge other people based on my own views

01:41:47   on this because everyone has their own reasons.

01:41:50   But I just feel like I wanted to share my thoughts

01:41:53   because I haven't heard many people talking on the podcast

01:41:56   that I listen to in the way that I am speaking.

01:41:58   So that's where I stand on this.

01:42:07   Look at you, moral Myke.

01:42:09   - That's what they call me.

01:42:12   - Oh yeah, is it?

01:42:14   - Now it is.

01:42:15   Do you have anything more you wanna say on this?

01:42:16   I have a lighter quick topic that I wanted to bring up.

01:42:20   - I don't know, the problem is I'm looking,

01:42:25   I have so many notes on this topic

01:42:28   and I feel like we have had a very convoluted conversation.

01:42:31   And as always, I'm very nervous when we are recording

01:42:35   about how it actually comes off.

01:42:36   in the end. Because the thing about podcasting versus, say, writing an article

01:42:42   is in podcasting when you're talking you're just saying things out loud and you don't have the

01:42:49   opportunity to think like "let me refine that sentence so it is clearer what I mean" and I feel

01:42:54   like I have just left behind me a long series of unclear sentences so maybe we'll have to

01:43:01   revisit this in the future. But I am looking at just so many notes, and I think this is just so

01:43:07   tied up for me in how people make their money online, and what kind of business models are

01:43:16   successful, and whether or not people have a right to demand that things work in a certain way. It's

01:43:21   very hard for me to pull this out, so I think for the moment we're just going to have to leave it as

01:43:26   it is because I don't know if an infinite amount of talking will clarify this successfully right now.

01:43:31   At the end of the show I have a little bit of follow-in for you which I didn't address earlier.

01:43:40   Can you explain for the listener what follow-in is, Myke? And also who was the creator of follow-in?

01:43:45   You are currently the creator of follow-in.

01:43:48   What do you mean currently? There's no currently. I am the creator of follow-in.

01:43:52   Okay, you are the creator. Congratulations.

01:43:56   So many people will be familiar with the term follow-up, which is something that we do at

01:44:01   the start of episodes, many podcasts do. John Siracusa, who we mentioned earlier, is credited

01:44:07   as being the, whilst not necessarily creator, the instigator, I guess, of follow-up and the idea of

01:44:15   where follow-up exists in a show right at the front and it's all that kind of... He set many

01:44:20   rules that many podcasters follow now. And then when me and Jason Snell started

01:44:27   Upgrade, Jason created something called Follow Out, which is where the

01:44:34   hosts of a podcast will give their thoughts or views on another podcast

01:44:38   that they listen to. Right, it's basically doing follow-up but not for your show.

01:44:44   Yes. You're doing follow-up for somebody else's show. And also providing feedback

01:44:50   feedback but not through an email.

01:44:54   So Gray recently created something called Follow In where he as a host of another show

01:45:01   on the same network asked a question of another host on another show via me.

01:45:08   So he asked Federico Vittucci of Mac Stories and Connected a question about something that

01:45:17   had happened on his show.

01:45:18   I'll put a link in the show notes to the episode.

01:45:19   right at the start you can go and listen to it. It's too much to go into right now.

01:45:22   It's follow-in because the way I was viewing it was I wanted to insert

01:45:28   via you a follow-up question for Federico on Connected. I mean I could have

01:45:36   just asked him on Twitter but I thought this was funnier to do this way. So now

01:45:40   Federico is reversing this process and he is inserting a follow-up question for

01:45:47   me I'm presuming, on this show through you. Just so people are up to date with all the

01:45:53   podcasting terms.

01:45:54   Yeah, just so. If the podcasting universe was not enough for you, you now have this

01:45:58   to contend with. So like many, many people, Federico was fascinated by your love of Fight

01:46:05   Song.

01:46:06   Okay, again, I never specified that I love Fight Song. I know that you're trying to make

01:46:10   this a thing. Fight Song was a tool that I used.

01:46:14   That song is in my head a lot, I want to let you know.

01:46:18   Even though I've only listened to it once, or maybe twice, but my problem was I listened

01:46:24   to one very small clip of that song multiple times.

01:46:28   That's what's in my head all the time as I was editing our last episode.

01:46:32   And Federico, like many people, sent me a screenshot of him listening to that song.

01:46:38   And then ask the following questions.

01:46:42   Has Grey ever been to a concert?

01:46:49   Rarely and mostly a long time ago.

01:46:53   So yes is the answer.

01:46:55   Yeah the answer is yes but I mean not in like...

01:47:02   I mean even now I'm stretching the definition of concert to mean live music.

01:47:07   I'm gonna say not in like eight years.

01:47:09   - Okay.

01:47:10   Did you enjoy it?

01:47:12   - Given my previous answer there,

01:47:17   what are you gonna speculate?

01:47:19   - Well, I would say no.

01:47:20   However, there could have been some like radical change

01:47:23   in you, you know, that you loved it then,

01:47:25   but now hate them.

01:47:26   - No, there has been no radical change.

01:47:30   I do not enjoy concerts and my limited experiences

01:47:35   with them have been, "Oh, this is a horrible combination of two things."

01:47:40   One, it's just boring. It's deathly boring, because there is never a scenario in my life

01:47:46   where I would pay attention to music with 100% of my available mind.

01:47:51   Like, "Oh, I'm supposed to just stand here and just watch you play music and nothing else?"

01:47:57   Like, are you kidding me? This is not adequately interesting

01:48:02   to justify this amount of attention.

01:48:05   And then secondly, for live music and concerts,

01:48:09   I always just feel, oh, I'm just listening

01:48:13   to a worse version of the song.

01:48:16   You could have gone to a studio and recorded this

01:48:19   and make sure that everything sounds right

01:48:21   and tweak it to be its best possible version,

01:48:23   but instead, I'm just listening to you sing it off the cuff

01:48:27   and you're not doing as good of a job as you could

01:48:29   in the studio because in the studio,

01:48:31   can spend the time to make it the best that it possibly can be. So no, not really a fan of concerts.

01:48:36   Didn't you once amass hundreds of people into a room and sit on a stage with some friends and talk

01:48:44   to them for a couple of hours? You're talking about the Random Acts of Intelligence show,

01:48:48   which was a one-off thing in Alabama, which was amazing and super fun, but it was also not the

01:48:59   five of us going up there and doing exact versions of things that we were already extraordinarily

01:49:06   well known for. For example, I didn't get up there and try to live go through the entire

01:49:12   script of my United Kingdom Explained video. That's to me what the concert stuff is like.

01:49:17   "Oh, I'm going to do this now, but I'm going to do it slower and with more errors because

01:49:21   I'm trying to do it live, whereas when I can record it and edit it, I can do it fast and

01:49:26   perfect every time and it's better. There's no comparison here. But you do

01:49:30   know that everybody in that room would have very happily listened to you read

01:49:36   that script, right? You do know that. I don't know that. I can't conceive that

01:49:40   people would want to hear that. Right, but see this is the difference because many

01:49:45   many thousands and thousands of people enjoy exactly what you are saying is so

01:49:51   horrible. I mean I won't say that they're wrong to enjoy it. That's the way they're

01:49:56   Their brains are wired, but I just don't understand this.