333: Pesky Human Issues


00:00:00   So, the two of us plucked out that $20 and we legitimately found $20.

00:00:05   That's how the plague began to spread.

00:00:07   Yeah, right.

00:00:08   It's a four-time better story than my previous story when I only found $5.

00:00:12   I'm not sure that's how stories work.

00:00:15   All right, so let's get started.

00:00:19   We are required by law to do some follow-up.

00:00:21   A friend of the show, allegedly, a friend of the show, Guy Rambo, has discovered an

00:00:26   expansion slot utility app in Catalina, which is for the new Mac Pro.

00:00:31   And I think we had seen a screenshot of this.

00:00:35   I feel like I've seen this before somewhere, but this had more information than I'd seen

00:00:40   previously.

00:00:41   And so tell me, gentlemen, what this is about.

00:00:43   So I don't pay attention to the internals of PCs anymore or about computers anymore

00:00:48   because I just buy whatever sized laptop or desktop I want.

00:00:53   I haven't had to worry about a tower since like college.

00:00:55   So what is happening here?

00:00:56   This is arranging PCI cards in the most efficient way possible?

00:01:00   So first of all, this is version two of this utility because version one of this utility

00:01:05   was made for John's computer and actually the one right before it.

00:01:09   Because it's a way-- and I don't know, John, was there even one before this for like G5s

00:01:13   and stuff?

00:01:14   There were similar things, but they only told you how you were doing.

00:01:19   They would show you all your expansion slots and memory slots and everything and show you

00:01:24   what's in them and then it would scold you if you have put things in non-optimal places.

00:01:30   And this is different though.

00:01:31   OK.

00:01:32   So there's a couple things going on here.

00:01:35   Number one is when you have desktop components, you have a lot of slots and people can kind

00:01:40   of arrange things that they want as opposed to like an iMac is kind of always optimized

00:01:44   in the right way and everything.

00:01:45   There's been a couple of things over time where like if you-- for certain chipsets,

00:01:50   there's like an optimal number of RAM sticks or it has to be like a multiple of two or

00:01:55   three or something to get optimal performance because there's like two or three memory controllers.

00:02:00   And there's similar things, although two that work a little bit differently, with PCI Express

00:02:05   lanes and PCI Express lane allocations for different slots and different parts.

00:02:10   Now we don't have to worry about PCI Express lanes on most Macs because they allocate the

00:02:15   lanes when they design the computers and there's no slots and so you can't change how they're

00:02:19   allocated.

00:02:20   You occasionally will see like some part of the internal limitations or designs will leak

00:02:27   out in ways like how not all of the Thunderbolt ports on all of the laptops have equal bandwidth.

00:02:33   They'll have like the K-based articles that say like on 13 inch MacBook Pro with four

00:02:38   slots like the left two will have more bandwidth than the right two or something like that,

00:02:43   right?

00:02:44   PCI Express, the communication protocol used between most high speed peripherals and things

00:02:48   these days inside computers and actually Thunderbolt is basically PCI Express over a cable.

00:02:54   PCI Express has a certain number of lanes that come out of the CPU and every CPU family

00:03:00   has a different number of these.

00:03:02   One of the reasons why the high end computers use Xeons is because Xeons tend to have more

00:03:06   PCI Express lanes than the consumer chips and the laptops like the reason why the escape

00:03:13   only has two Thunderbolt ports and the bigger MacBook Pros have four and why the 12 inch

00:03:18   only has one port and it isn't even Thunderbolt is all related to like each of those chips

00:03:23   from Intel has a certain number of PCI Express lanes that it offers and how you allocate

00:03:28   those lanes to different parts, you know, it's up to the engineer of the computer.

00:03:31   Anyway, the new Mac Pro has a lot of PCI Express lanes.

00:03:37   I think it has like 32 or 48 coming out of the CPU, something like that, but if you add

00:03:43   up all the amount of PCI Express lanes that all of its slots and built in peripherals

00:03:50   need, it's way more than that.

00:03:52   So they actually do a few tricks to allocate these things.

00:03:56   The main thing is that they have a bridge chip in there and I don't know the details

00:04:01   of it but I know there is one there.

00:04:03   I was told there is, they actually are using a bridge that or some kind of switch or something

00:04:07   like that, like a PCI Express multiplier basically that can allocate, it can offer more lanes

00:04:14   to peripherals than what the CPU actually has available and then you can kind of allocate

00:04:19   how those work and I think what this is telling us with this utility, I think you can actually

00:04:24   maybe dynamically allocate them as opposed to just like, oh you have to move this card

00:04:29   to this other slot every time.

00:04:30   But there are also certain slots that have more lanes available to them than others and

00:04:36   so what this utility is telling us is like, there's going to be certain configurations

00:04:41   where certain cards you put in there, they don't need meaningful bandwidth.

00:04:45   Things like a USB port card doesn't need much.

00:04:49   An audio card, like for sound internet, it doesn't need much.

00:04:52   But a GPU needs a lot, certain other kinds of cards need more or less and so this utility

00:04:58   is there to basically tell you the user when you have plugged something into a slot that

00:05:04   is not offering it the amount of lanes it needs and can make recommendations to you

00:05:08   of where to move it and like the example, the screen shot said move this card from slot

00:05:14   five to slot three or something like that.

00:05:16   And all this is to get around the fact that you don't actually have enough PCI Express

00:05:21   lanes in a Mac Pro to allocate full bandwidth to all of its slots.

00:05:27   And that's just, that's not Apple cheaping out in some way, that's simply limitations

00:05:32   on the Xeon CPUs that Intel offers for this computer.

00:05:36   And apparently there's two pools of bandwidth, again probably getting back to the switch

00:05:40   type thing where there's a bunch of radio buttons where you can change, you can't change

00:05:44   the speed of the slots, an AX slot, a 4X slot, like they're labeled and it's fixed, but you

00:05:49   can change which pool those lanes are allocated to and presumably you're trying to strike

00:05:53   some kind of balance.

00:05:54   There's also a checkbox that says automatic bandwidth configuration that will theoretically

00:06:00   divvy stuff up into pools according to what the computer thinks is best.

00:06:04   But for most of the history of Apple's, most of the modern history of Apple's slotted computers

00:06:09   in the PowerPC era and later, if you put something in a non-optimal slot, whether it be RAM or

00:06:15   PCI cards or whatever, usually on the first boot some dialogue from a similar utility

00:06:20   that this will pop up and tell you that you've put things in a suboptimal place, sometimes

00:06:24   you just dismiss that and it will never bother you again, sometimes it'll pop up every time

00:06:27   depending on how dire the situation is, but this utility, like everything else having

00:06:32   to do with the Mac Pro, is getting bigger and fancier.

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00:08:24   All right, so big week?

00:08:29   A little bit.

00:08:31   So we got word, what was it, the day after we recorded last week I think it was, as is

00:08:37   off to happen.

00:08:38   I was thinking about that by the way.

00:08:40   Our show is kind of sort of intentionally on Wednesday because Apple does lots of announcements

00:08:44   on Tuesdays, but Apple announces good news on Tuesdays.

00:08:48   Apple does not announce bad news on Tuesdays.

00:08:52   So I think we struck the right balance and I'd rather have the show like right after

00:08:56   the good news comes out.

00:08:57   I'm fine with waiting, you know, almost a week to talk about the bad news.

00:09:01   So here we are.

00:09:03   So the news, which may or may not be bad, is that Johnny Ive is officially leaving Apple.

00:09:08   He is going to start his own consultancy, which is called what, Love From, I believe,

00:09:14   or something like that.

00:09:15   Terrible name, yes, that's what it's called.

00:09:17   It is a truly terrible name, but you know, it is what it is.

00:09:21   It doesn't matter what the name is.

00:09:22   No, it doesn't.

00:09:23   It's Johnny Ive's design firm, that's it.

00:09:24   Yeah, design companies always have weird names anyway.

00:09:27   Yeah, it's a thing.

00:09:28   Yeah, it's like ad agencies.

00:09:30   These are not names that the public tends to see.

00:09:32   Anyway, so he's going to start this new design firm and Mark Newsome is going to, is that

00:09:38   right?

00:09:39   I believe I read that somewhere.

00:09:40   I believe that's right.

00:09:41   And I think Richard Howarth also.

00:09:43   Oh, is that right?

00:09:44   It seems like Ive, Howarth, and Mark Newsome, I think it seems like they all might have

00:09:50   left together.

00:09:51   Interesting.

00:09:52   So one way or another, Apple was quick to point out that Apple will be consulting with

00:09:56   Love From, or whatever it's called.

00:09:58   You know, Apple will be a client.

00:10:00   All is well, everyone.

00:10:01   Don't worry, don't worry, everything's okay.

00:10:03   Don't look behind the curtain.

00:10:06   And then they have announced that Evans Hanke is going to be head of industrial design,

00:10:12   and we'll talk about her a little bit more in a minute.

00:10:14   And Alan Dye is going to be the VP of human interface design, and we'll talk about him

00:10:20   a little more in a minute.

00:10:21   Before we discuss the two of them, though, what are your guys' initial impressions?

00:10:28   I actually recorded an episode of Clockwise earlier today where this was one of the subjects,

00:10:33   and I feel like if you look at the tea leaves for the last several years, and I think Ben

00:10:39   Thompson was the first one I noticed to get kind of in front of this, it sure seems like

00:10:44   Ive has been moseying his way out the door for the last several years.

00:10:49   And there was a semi-explosive piece from the Wall Street Journal, I believe it was,

00:10:54   where they said basically Johnny Ive's a big turd and he's blowing off meetings left and

00:10:58   right and he's caused strife and blah blah blah.

00:11:01   And then Tim Cook responded saying, "Oh no, none of that's true, blah blah blah."

00:11:05   So I don't know what's going on here.

00:11:06   All you can do is guess.

00:11:07   But it seems to me like this is mostly a non-event.

00:11:12   But I don't know, one of you guys convinced me that I'm wrong, and let's start with Marco.

00:11:15   Before we start with Marco, we were out in front of this, don't give Ben Thompson credit

00:11:20   for this.

00:11:21   I went back and listened to my shirt.

00:11:22   We haven't talked about this in a long time, and it's mostly because back in the episode

00:11:26   when he had his title changed, we all basically wrote him off.

00:11:28   It's like, well that's it, he's on his way out in everything.

00:11:32   But it took a while for it to happen, I don't remember what episode that was, but I did

00:11:35   go back and dig it out.

00:11:37   And I think it's part of the reason we haven't really talked about, other than occasionally

00:11:42   invoking his name as an expletive when complaining about some piece of hardware or whatever,

00:11:47   which is something that I think we'll talk about.

00:11:50   We've mostly not discussed him in the same way that we've discussed other Apple executives,

00:11:56   because I think we collectively wrote him off back when we did that show, and this doesn't

00:12:01   come up again.

00:12:02   Anyway, I went back and listened to the audio, and that was my impression.

00:12:05   And that was everyone's take, really.

00:12:07   When was it, did he get changed to Chief Design Officer, CDO or something?

00:12:11   So anyway, go on, Margot, I didn't mean to interrupt you and your mute switch that

00:12:15   you're fighting with.

00:12:16   No, it's fine.

00:12:17   - Thank you for your correction, Jon.

00:12:19   - I think this isn't nothing.

00:12:22   I don't think it's as big of a deal as a lot of people think, because again, I do think,

00:12:26   as Jon said, that this seems to have been in the works for years.

00:12:31   We've heard bits and pieces here and there of Johnny slowly backing away and being less

00:12:38   and less involved in day to day.

00:12:40   And I think the announcement of his promotion to the Chief Design Officer, I think, was

00:12:46   a very clear move.

00:12:47   Like, Johnny Ive, who is the head of industrial design, no longer is involved in day to day

00:12:52   management from that point.

00:12:54   It's like, okay, well then what is he doing if he's not day to day managing?

00:12:57   That's usually, yeah, that person's just not really working here anymore.

00:13:01   And I understand from a lot of reports that it wasn't quite so severe in this case, but

00:13:06   clearly it was a step in the direction of him ascending into the sky and slowly leaving

00:13:12   Apple.

00:13:13   It has seemed for a while that he was probably experiencing severe burnout, that he might

00:13:20   have been creatively bored and wanting to explore other areas.

00:13:24   He was known to have played major roles in the design of Apple Park and a lot of the

00:13:29   details of Apple Park, like interior details.

00:13:33   Didn't he also design the desks and the chairs and stuff?

00:13:36   And he did a bunch of stuff.

00:13:38   He's a designer, he's a creative person.

00:13:40   There's only so much you can do, there's only so many iPhones you can design before you

00:13:46   get bored and want to do other things.

00:13:48   And he very clearly, for years, has been extremely interested in branching out into other areas

00:13:54   of product design.

00:13:56   He did that Christmas tree a few years ago, remember?

00:13:59   I think also in collaboration with Mark Knudsen, he did obviously the Apple Watch and a lot

00:14:04   of the Apple Watch bands and stuff like that.

00:14:07   There was a good discussion about this on the talk show this week with John Gruber,

00:14:11   with Ben Thompson as the guest.

00:14:13   They talked a lot about this stuff.

00:14:15   Basically, you have somebody like Johnny Ive, a professional designer and a well-known,

00:14:20   world-renowned designer.

00:14:22   They want to do other things.

00:14:24   And he especially seems very interested in the world of high design, I guess, if there's

00:14:29   a thing like high fashion, but for design.

00:14:31   I don't know what that world is called, but the world of high-profile design, where you're

00:14:36   not going to be able to hire him.

00:14:40   His studio is going to do whatever he wants.

00:14:43   He doesn't need your money.

00:14:44   He's going to do fun stuff that is shown off in hoity-toity exhibitions and places like

00:14:52   Sotheby's and stuff.

00:14:53   That's where his stuff's going to go.

00:14:54   You're not going to be able to go to Target next year and buy a Johnny Ive toaster.

00:14:59   Nope, that's not at all the kind of stuff he's likely to be doing.

00:15:03   So creatively, I think he clearly has wanted to do other things for years now.

00:15:08   Apple was able to keep him going with things like the watch for a while longer.

00:15:13   I think that extended his time there.

00:15:15   But ultimately, it's kind of like when somebody is unhappy with a job, you can offer them

00:15:21   more money, and they might stay for a little while longer.

00:15:24   But ultimately, they're going to leave because you're just buying a little bit of time, maybe.

00:15:27   And so similarly, it's like Johnny Ive clearly both was suffering from severe burnout and

00:15:33   also clearly wanted to design other things that Apple would never make.

00:15:37   Things like, well, I was going to say things like cars, but maybe not.

00:15:40   Maybe that was a bad example.

00:15:42   That's one of the things that we talked about, I think, when going back and listening to

00:15:45   that episode was what kind of things would keep someone like Johnny Ive around after

00:15:51   he's already made the iPhone and the iPod and the iMac and stuff like that.

00:15:54   I don't think Apple Park was something we discussed because maybe that wasn't a thing

00:15:59   on our minds at that point.

00:16:01   But I think we did talk about the cars.

00:16:04   That's something you could do to keep – because he is into cars, and it's very unlike computers,

00:16:08   right?

00:16:09   But in the end, A, nothing car-related has shipped yet other than carplay.

00:16:15   And B, like you said, Marco, that's extending your timeline for sure, but it's not really

00:16:21   satisfying whatever the itch is.

00:16:23   Exactly.

00:16:24   So Johnny Ive had a high public profile for Apple, and it would have looked bad for Apple

00:16:31   if he just all of a sudden left one day with no warning.

00:16:34   And so his exit was designed.

00:16:37   It was very carefully staged out over years.

00:16:40   And this is – Apple clearly has a way that they do succession planning.

00:16:47   Back when Steve was around, they knew when it became clear that Steve's health was

00:16:52   failing and that he might not make it.

00:16:54   I think they very carefully staged out the public introduction of Tim Cook as the new

00:17:02   CEO until it was time to actually execute the transition, and then when Steve ultimately

00:17:07   died.

00:17:08   We were – like the public and the shareholders and the markets and the press, we were introduced

00:17:14   to that transition gradually, and so it wasn't as big of a shock.

00:17:19   And Apple wasn't immediately "doomed" or anything like that.

00:17:22   For the most part, the market was okay.

00:17:24   The stock didn't totally tank when Tim took over or when Steve actually did die.

00:17:29   It was mostly a smooth transition.

00:17:32   Johnny Ive had such a high profile, not quite Steve Jobs high, but still very high.

00:17:38   And so for him to leave had to be staged out very carefully with the press, with the markets,

00:17:46   with public perception.

00:17:48   It was clear he was going to leave or burn out at some point soon.

00:17:53   So I think that was what this chief design officer thing was.

00:17:57   Clearly they knew then he was leaving.

00:18:00   That was just part of it.

00:18:01   I think we're also seeing this transition now.

00:18:03   I think we're seeing that Jeff Williams is the backup for Tim Cook.

00:18:09   Whether Tim Cook is going to retire or leave anytime soon, I don't know.

00:18:14   I don't think this indicates that either way, but I do think we are seeing now Johnny Ive

00:18:20   was slowly escalated into the sky and now he's just disappearing.

00:18:28   And by the way, this thing about he's now a consultant to Apple and Apple's going to

00:18:31   be a customer of his, that's nothing.

00:18:33   Nothing's going to come out of that.

00:18:35   Maybe he might design a watch band or something, but Johnny Ive is not going to be designing

00:18:39   major Apple products anymore.

00:18:41   That's not what this is.

00:18:43   That's PR.

00:18:44   That's spin.

00:18:45   It worked and that's great.

00:18:46   But Johnny Ive is no longer designing things for Apple in the sense that any of us would

00:18:51   expect.

00:18:52   The whole thing about, "Oh, now he's a consultant, that's a smokescreen."

00:18:54   I was a consultant too.

00:18:55   I never was a consultant.

00:19:01   So they have done that.

00:19:03   They did that with Steve to Tim.

00:19:05   They did it with Johnny to the sky.

00:19:08   And now I think they are also clearly preparing the public for Jeff Williams to be the next

00:19:15   CEO.

00:19:16   And I don't know whether that's the official plan, whether Tim actually does intend to

00:19:22   leave in the next few years or whether they just want to always have a backup where in

00:19:28   case something happens to Tim or in case he has to leave quickly, then they have somebody

00:19:33   kind of groomed, ready to go to the public.

00:19:38   They have a clear plan.

00:19:40   If Tim Cook decided he wanted to run for president or something, he could just quit and Jeff

00:19:45   Williams would take over now and it wouldn't be that big of a disruption it seems to the

00:19:49   public.

00:19:50   We don't know how it works internally.

00:19:51   To the public it kind of seems.

00:19:52   Anyway, I don't think the way Johnny left was a surprise at all.

00:19:57   I don't think the timing was that much of a surprise.

00:20:00   And ultimately, going back to the initial design side of this, I actually don't think

00:20:05   this is going to be that big of a change because it does seem, you know, Tim's email can

00:20:10   say things about how collaborative they are and everything else, but the reality is there's

00:20:13   a lot of smoke behind the fire that he really wasn't that involved recently and that he

00:20:18   really wasn't very hands-on in the last few years even in the actual products.

00:20:24   I don't think he had zero design or zero influence.

00:20:28   I think he had some, but it certainly does seem like most of the design of Apple's

00:20:34   products over the last few years has been coming out of the people who are still there

00:20:38   now, not Johnny Ive personally himself.

00:20:41   They have a design team and actually, and Evans Hanke apparently, I've never heard

00:20:46   of her before this.

00:20:47   It doesn't seem like she had any kind of public profile before this, but in the wake

00:20:51   of this news, we've heard rumblings here and there and stories here and there.

00:20:56   She seems very well respected and she seems like she's been running stuff there for

00:21:00   a while in industrial design.

00:21:01   It seems like she's basically been running the team effectively for a while now.

00:21:07   This is more like making formal what was already basically happening.

00:21:12   I'm guessing most of the change of what's going to happen when Johnny Ive leaves Apple,

00:21:19   I bet most of that change has already happened.

00:21:21   I bet we're already seeing what's going to happen when Johnny Ive has left Apple.

00:21:26   It wouldn't surprise me if much of the recent design coming out of Apple had little to no

00:21:32   Johnny involvement.

00:21:35   How much of the new Mac Pro do you think he designed?

00:21:37   We know that was designed entirely in the last two years.

00:21:40   How much of that do you think he designed?

00:21:41   I'm guessing nearly zero.

00:21:43   Do you think he designed the newest iPad Pro that had a radically different shape than

00:21:46   the previous ones?

00:21:47   Maybe, maybe he had some involvement, but probably not heavy involvement.

00:21:51   The more recent designs, do you think he designed much of the iPhone X?

00:21:57   Maybe, but I bet a lot of the people who are still there now did a lot of that work.

00:22:03   I think we're already seeing post Johnny Apple.

00:22:06   We've been seeing it now for years and it's fine because ultimately the design team is

00:22:12   a big ... Well, it's not a big team, but it's a team of multiple people, not just the one

00:22:19   guy whose name we knew, who we heard in videos in white worlds.

00:22:25   It was always much deeper than that and it seems like the people who have been doing

00:22:30   most of the design and most of the operating of that team for the last few years are now

00:22:35   just formally in charge and before they were kind of been formally in charge.

00:22:39   That's kind of how it seems.

00:22:40   I'm not worried at all about this transition.

00:22:43   We should get to the whole reporting to ops thing the group brought up, but before we

00:22:48   do, Jon, did I get most of this right so far?

00:22:52   I disagree with some of your assessments, but it's hard to admit it's just a gut feeling

00:22:57   because neither one of us actually knows we're not there talking to the design team.

00:23:01   It's an age-old problem we talk about all the time.

00:23:02   It's hard to tell what exactly is going on inside Apple.

00:23:06   One thing, the idea of him phasing out of the company, again, when he had the title

00:23:11   change it was so clear that he's done a lot of things.

00:23:18   He's accomplished what he wanted to accomplish in this realm and probably wants to be less

00:23:26   closely involved.

00:23:27   That would have been a nice smooth ramp over multiple years to him transitioning out, except

00:23:31   that in the middle there, because these things are never planned out perfectly, same thing

00:23:35   with Jeff Williams being a successor CEO, he might leave and go run JC Penney.

00:23:40   Weird things happen.

00:23:43   After he became CDO, there was a period where apparently Tim Cook or whoever convinced him

00:23:50   to come back and take a more hands-on role because apparently he pulled too far back

00:23:56   and maybe the transition wasn't ready, so it was kind of a bumpy ride on his way out.

00:24:00   It wasn't like, "You'll just slowly fade away."

00:24:02   It was like, "I'm disengaging.

00:24:04   I'm going to be the CDO."

00:24:06   And then it's like, "Well, we need a little bit more from you.

00:24:08   Okay, I'll come back, but no, actually I'm out."

00:24:12   These things never quite go as smoothly as you would want them to.

00:24:16   As for what he'll do next, sure, he likes to do those weird Christmas tree things and

00:24:20   the super expensive stuff for rich people.

00:24:25   Certainly he'll end up doing weird things, weird from the perspective of the guy who

00:24:28   makes iPhones because he's done a lot of consumer electronics.

00:24:33   I don't expect him to do immediately more consumer electronics.

00:24:36   I expect him to do a spatula or God knows what I mean.

00:24:39   But for everything I know about him, I don't think...

00:24:45   What do I know about him?

00:24:46   I read a book on him.

00:24:47   I've seen him in lots of videos.

00:24:48   That's what I know.

00:24:49   Anyway, based on that, I'm not sure he would be satisfied just doing weird designer stuff

00:24:54   for rich people because there is a kind of populist, silversmith son, man of the people

00:25:04   angle where he wants to make things that people actually use.

00:25:11   Granted, you've got a weird Christmas tree, but I think he would be equally excited about

00:25:17   a really good pen that costs $1.50.

00:25:21   Can you make a good pen for $1.50 or a spatula or whatever?

00:25:24   No, you can't.

00:25:26   Prose.

00:25:27   No.

00:25:28   Anyway, I think that inevitably, if he continues to work at all, which is not a given because

00:25:37   like you said, he doesn't need to work anymore, I think one of the things he may end up doing

00:25:42   is more prosaic design that has a chance of being used by people other than his .001%

00:25:50   rich friends.

00:25:51   Because obviously, going from a company where you make something that literally billions

00:25:57   of people use, you're going to step back and make something that five rich people use.

00:26:02   But inevitably, if he keeps doing that, it's going to be like, "You know what?

00:26:05   I'm kind of sick of making extremely expensive baubles that look really cool.

00:26:11   I'd rather make something that I think some people will actually use and appreciate in

00:26:16   its use."

00:26:17   He's not becoming an artist or a sculptor.

00:26:21   He wants to be a designer, and I really believe he has bought into the idea that design is

00:26:27   about being functional for the intended purpose and all that stuff.

00:26:30   So who knows?

00:26:32   If he continues to work at all in the long term, I expect him to make boring things occasionally.

00:26:41   Will we know that he made them?

00:26:42   I suppose so.

00:26:43   I don't even know how this works in the world of high profile design.

00:26:46   Will he put his name on them?

00:26:49   They probably won't be in Target.

00:26:50   You're right about that, but who knows?

00:26:53   Weirder things will happen.

00:26:54   When you have somebody like him who doesn't have anything to prove, first of all, his

00:27:00   resume is set.

00:27:02   He never needs to do anything else significant in his life ever again, and he's fine.

00:27:08   Doesn't need money.

00:27:10   When someone is in that scenario, they can end up doing weird things.

00:27:14   So if he wakes up one day and says, "You know what?

00:27:15   I want to make that spatula for Target," by God, he's going to make that spatula for Target

00:27:19   because no one can tell him not to.

00:27:22   It's not going to diminish anything that he's done.

00:27:26   There's no thing that he can design that will diminish his past accomplishments.

00:27:31   I'm ready for weird stuff, but I'm also ready for him to just…

00:27:36   He's never been the most public person, and I expect to see him not be grabbing the spotlight

00:27:44   at every opportunity.

00:27:45   That's just the MO for anyone important who leaves Apple.

00:27:47   If you look at all the people, even if they leave on bad terms like Forrestal, he didn't

00:27:50   run out and be like, "I'm going to be on every cable news channel bad-mouthing Apple

00:27:54   every time someone wants a comment for the next five years."

00:27:56   That is not how things work, even when you essentially get fired and leave on bad terms.

00:28:00   So I really don't expect Johnny Ive to be appearing on every cable news show every time

00:28:06   they need someone to talk about design.

00:28:08   I don't know.

00:28:09   Was it Tony Fidell who seemed to be very forthcoming with the bad-mouthing of Apple once he left?

00:28:14   Is that who I'm thinking of?

00:28:15   Yeah, he definitely does that, but even he had a quiet period immediately after he left.

00:28:21   Whether it's because people aren't interested in hearing what he has to say or he got involved

00:28:25   in other things, it's not the usual MO for the big executives.

00:28:30   Again, Tony Fidell is not leaving on the same terms as Johnny Ive, like going out a hero

00:28:35   to the company or whatever.

00:28:39   What I'm most interested in on this topic before we get to the new folks at Apple is

00:28:48   taking a little bit of time now, because if not now, then when, to look back at Johnny

00:28:55   Ive's work at Apple.

00:29:01   What did he mean to the company?

00:29:02   What did he mean to the products, the Johnny Ive era?

00:29:07   It spans all of his career where he was a publicly known person, more or less, and all

00:29:12   the products we know about.

00:29:14   I think it's worth looking back at that.

00:29:18   I think it also, at least my view of looking back on it, also influences how I think the

00:29:25   company will go forward without him, because it's sort of like, well, when he was there,

00:29:30   what did he do?

00:29:31   Now that he's not there, what will not be done or be done differently?

00:29:36   I want to start with what I think is an easy one, but I think it's worth saying explicitly,

00:29:42   especially on this program, which is, do we think that Johnny Ive's time at Apple has

00:29:51   been a net positive for the company?

00:29:53   Oh, yeah, definitely.

00:29:55   Is that a legitimate question?

00:29:58   The correct answer is yes.

00:30:00   I just wanted to put that out there.

00:30:01   The reason I want to say that is because if you've listened to this show, especially if

00:30:04   you only listened recently, the only time you ever hear us invoke the name Johnny Ive

00:30:09   is when we're complaining that the laptops are too thin or they don't have enough ports

00:30:12   or the keyboard is bad.

00:30:16   I said before, his name is used as an expletive, as the singular personification of all the

00:30:22   design we don't like at Apple, because he was in charge of all design at Apple, and

00:30:26   therefore if there's some part of design at Apple that you don't like, you get to use

00:30:29   that name as your little hook to explain who you're talking about.

00:30:34   But let's be clear.

00:30:37   Second only to Steve Jobs.

00:30:39   I feel like the two of them combined, which I think is worth discussing that team, have

00:30:47   done the biggest turnaround in U.S. corporate history, added tremendous value to the company,

00:30:54   made not one, not two, but three, four, five, depending on how you count them, insanely popular,

00:31:03   good products that sold really well, that were beloved, that did things, that broke

00:31:08   new ground, that defined entire product segments and industries.

00:31:11   If you take any one of those things, the iMac, the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, I would say

00:31:18   even the Apple Watch, any of those things, pick any single one and any designer would

00:31:22   kill to, if it had been remotely involved with a single one of those, and to be the

00:31:25   head of design or personally responsible for major aspects of design before he was elevated

00:31:30   to that level, for a single one of those is just the accomplishment of a lifetime.

00:31:34   He has this ridiculous resume.

00:31:37   During that time, Apple went from a company that was basically going out of business,

00:31:41   because remember, he was there before Steve came back.

00:31:43   He was at Apple.

00:31:44   It was at the Apple that was going down the tubes, toiling away behind the scenes, making

00:31:49   things that no one actually had him ship until Jobs came and said, "Look at all this great

00:31:53   stuff.

00:31:54   We should let this guy ship some of this stuff.

00:31:55   I think it'll be cool."

00:31:56   We got the iMac and all that other stuff.

00:31:59   So yes, Johnny Ive, probably the best product designer that has ever existed, as measured

00:32:07   by anything that you can objectively measure.

00:32:10   You could have opinions about what product you think is better or more elegant or whatever,

00:32:15   but as measured by, beloved by the most people, sold the most number, made the most money,

00:32:23   turned around the company that he worked at, was the most positive influence in the company

00:32:26   that he worked at.

00:32:27   Apple is head and shoulders above anybody else, just because of the scale of things.

00:32:31   We talk about this all the time, but great designers of the past who made things that

00:32:34   are iconic, the designers of the Volkswagen Beetle.

00:32:38   So rarely has there been a singular name associated with it, and so rarely have there been a series

00:32:45   of them within the same company that have pulled that company from the brink of bankruptcy

00:32:52   to the biggest company in the world.

00:32:54   It's a story that hasn't existed before, and Apple is so large that if you actually compare

00:32:57   any of the numbers against anything that you can think of, except maybe the wheel.

00:33:03   The iPhone is the biggest, best-selling, most influential product ever made, especially

00:33:09   when you consider that every phone on the market is now essentially an iPhone, in terms

00:33:13   of its influence on the world of products.

00:33:19   And I'm not sure if he was involved in any of the laptops, but this is the old man segment

00:33:23   of the show.

00:33:25   Apple basically defined what the modern laptop is, too, when they decided to make a laptop

00:33:29   where the keyboard is shoved up against the screen and below it is a pointing device,

00:33:32   which started as a trackball and eventually became a trackpad.

00:33:35   That's what every laptop looks like now, still.

00:33:38   Before Apple made the PowerBook line, that is not what laptops look like at all.

00:33:41   So in the same way that before Apple made the phone, phones did not look like the iPhone,

00:33:44   and then after Apple made the iPhone, now all phones look like that.

00:33:49   I don't know if that was...

00:33:51   I don't know if Johnny Iovine worked at the company at that point, and of course the Mac

00:33:55   with the GUI.

00:33:56   Apple has done that a couple of times, but Johnny Iovine has been involved with a lot

00:34:00   of them, and especially all the most recent ones.

00:34:03   So all that is a long-winded way to say that regardless of what we may think about his

00:34:10   particular tastes versus our particular tastes as they relate to the details of an individual

00:34:15   product, I'm not going to say we're nitpicking, because it's not just nits.

00:34:19   They are fundamental differences, but you can't argue with the results.

00:34:23   There is no arguing with his work as a designer.

00:34:26   He is one of the greatest designers to ever live, probably the greatest designer we'll

00:34:31   ever see in our entire lifetime.

00:34:34   Doesn't mean that he's always right.

00:34:35   Doesn't mean that everything he did is perfect and without flaw and without argument.

00:34:41   Doesn't even mean his design philosophy has not evolved over the course of that, but you

00:34:46   can't argue with the numbers.

00:34:49   So I am not a avid designer by any means, and I feel like as I get older and older,

00:34:56   I appreciate design more and more, but I don't really know what I'm talking about when it

00:34:59   comes to design.

00:35:01   But I feel like I know enough to know that Dieter Rams is frequently cited as one of

00:35:06   the best designers, if not the best designer who has ever lived.

00:35:09   I don't know the answer to this question because I'm not familiar enough with Rams' work, but

00:35:13   if you, John, I'm hoping you're at least slightly familiar with it, if you had to pick between

00:35:18   him and I, would you still pick Ive?

00:35:20   Yeah, based on objective measures, for sure.

00:35:22   Because yes, he did, it was very influential and he made some beautiful, elegant products,

00:35:27   but did he take the companies that he worked for, his design studio, to the levels that

00:35:33   Ive took Apple?

00:35:34   Are his products in the hands of as many people as Ive's products have been?

00:35:37   Are his products as beloved by as many people as Johnny's?

00:35:40   It's just scale, right?

00:35:41   And I feel like you can judge an artistic merit and say, "Well, this one designer who

00:35:46   made this one thing that five people have ever seen is really the best."

00:35:49   But I'm saying, "All right, that's like judging a level of art or whatever."

00:35:55   But as a practical concern, if your goal is to make great things that are useful and beloved

00:36:02   by people the sheer scale of Apple, it's the only thing you can objectively measure.

00:36:07   Everything else is just opinion.

00:36:08   But if you say fact-based, are you a successful product designer?

00:36:14   How do you measure the success of a product?

00:36:16   And I feel like the way you measure the success is that everybody likes it, that the company

00:36:22   you work for as a designer is successful because of your designs, and the products are successful

00:36:28   at what they're intended to do.

00:36:30   And I feel like Dieter Rams, his scale is one bazillionth the size of Johnny Ive's scale.

00:36:35   That's fair.

00:36:37   So the other aspect of this, and we've talked about his legacy, and I've said all these

00:36:42   nice things because now I want to bring the more difficult question, which is...

00:36:47   All right, so getting back to the idea that Johnny Ive is not designing these things personally,

00:36:57   this is, and also the concept that we can't actually know what goes on inside Apple, we're

00:37:02   just looking in from the outside.

00:37:04   Those two things combined gets back to my rule that I always invoke whenever talking

00:37:07   about Apple, which is that in the end, it doesn't matter who specifically decides that

00:37:15   the laptop should be this thin or shouldn't have an SD card slot or the keyboard, they

00:37:21   should stick to the butterfly keyboard, or any particular design concern you might have,

00:37:25   and you know, it's frequently attributed to that darn Johnny Ive, he wants the things

00:37:29   to be featureless with no buttons on them.

00:37:31   We have no idea if that's not like a faction inside his design studio, and in fact, Johnny

00:37:35   Ive wanted to add tons more buttons, but was deferring to his design.

00:37:39   We just don't know, but here's what we do know.

00:37:41   We can never know those internals until they write their telebooks, but here's what we

00:37:43   do know.

00:37:44   He was in charge of design, and despite all the collaborative type of things where like,

00:37:50   "Oh, we discussed it all together," whatever, the buck stops with the people who are in

00:37:54   charge.

00:37:55   So the bottom line is, if there's something that you don't like about Apple design during

00:38:00   the time when Johnny Ive was the head of design, it's on Johnny Ive, whether it was his decision

00:38:05   or not.

00:38:06   And certainly it wasn't his design, but he was the person who made the decisions.

00:38:11   He was the one who gave the thumbs up or thumbs down.

00:38:13   And ultimately, what is produced design-wise by the company is his responsibility.

00:38:17   That's what it means to be a leader, right?

00:38:19   The buck stops with him, even if he had nothing to do with it, even if he was against the

00:38:23   idea but went along with it.

00:38:25   That's the job of being the leader.

00:38:27   It's not to design all the things, it's to have a position and a vision and make decisions

00:38:33   that people below you can have positions and argue for them or whatever.

00:38:38   But in the end, it's a hierarchy.

00:38:40   And I feel like, especially with the absence of jobs, that Tim Cook was highly unlikely

00:38:44   to override Johnny Ive's design decisions.

00:38:48   So if there is something you don't like, if you think the laptop should have an SD card

00:38:53   slot, if you don't like getting rid of touch ID to have the swipey home button, if you

00:38:59   don't like something about the Apple Watch, no matter what it is, I feel it is entirely

00:39:03   comfortable to not blame Johnny Ive personally, but to say that is part of his legacy.

00:39:09   Because during the time that he was in charge of design, Apple did certain things.

00:39:13   Every single thing Apple did, I'm totally comfortable saying that's at his feet, because

00:39:18   he could have stopped that from happening.

00:39:20   He could have made a different thing happen, right?

00:39:23   So despite the fact that we know he's not doing anything personally, and despite the

00:39:28   fact that we can't know what goes on inside there, I will continue to think about the

00:39:32   legacy of Johnny Ive in terms of what the company produced when he was in charge.

00:39:37   Not in terms of what he did personally, not in terms of his specific opinions, but that's

00:39:44   your legacy when you're at that level of an executive.

00:39:46   Like were we to get Johnny Ive on the program?

00:39:48   I'm sure we could ask him lots of questions about his opinions about design.

00:39:52   But ultimately, you can also ask him, say, during your tenure at Design at Apple, here

00:39:56   are some things that Apple did.

00:39:59   Looking back on those, are the things that the company did during your tenure that you

00:40:03   regret, that you are particularly proud of, that you wish could have been more like this

00:40:07   and less like that?

00:40:08   Like you can, as a leader, you can have opinions on your legacy in that way without it being

00:40:14   personal because you're like, well, I didn't design the iPhone 5 personally and draw every

00:40:19   line of it.

00:40:20   I saw seven competing designs and picked one of them and herded it and refined it or gave

00:40:24   a vision statement or whatever.

00:40:25   But in the end, Apple ships a thing and that's a thing that you said, yes, we're going to

00:40:29   ship.

00:40:30   So that I feel like is the most important lens through which outsiders can judge Johnny

00:40:38   Ive not so much as a designer, but as a leader of designers, as a leader of the design wing

00:40:47   of the company best known for design.

00:40:49   And so that's why I will continue to invoke his name despite the fact that we all know

00:40:52   that he's not drawing every single design and he's, you know, at half the time he may

00:40:56   be deferring to strongly held opinions by his collaborative group.

00:41:01   But in the end, it's his responsibility.

00:41:02   Well, the thing with that that's very interesting to me is as I'm thinking about the things

00:41:08   that the three of us love to complain about, things like the keyboard, things like the

00:41:13   Apple TV remote, things like the touch bar, as I sit back and think about all of these

00:41:18   things, I can't think of anything other than the keyboards that I really and truly believe

00:41:27   is unequivocally bad.

00:41:28   I will even go to bat for the Apple TV remote.

00:41:30   I know I'm the only one on the planet that will.

00:41:32   It has problems.

00:41:33   I'm not denying that, but I don't think it's objectively bad.

00:41:37   The touch bar to me is not objectively bad.

00:41:41   It may not be for the three of us, but I don't think it's objectively bad.

00:41:46   So many of the laptops and computers of recently, I don't think that they're objectively bad.

00:41:54   Like I want an SD card slot, but I don't think it is objectively wrong that it's not a part

00:42:00   of Apple laptops anymore.

00:42:02   And I'm trying to think, is there anything, and I know you're going to light me up about

00:42:05   the Apple TV remote, but is there anything other than the keyboards that we can say,

00:42:11   no matter who you are or what you're doing with this device, this is actually bad or

00:42:17   wrong or what have you.

00:42:18   Is there anything?

00:42:19   Yeah, the remote definitely qualifies.

00:42:21   And here's why, like you can, it's like, you can have opinions about what features a product

00:42:25   might have.

00:42:26   Oh, I wanted to have this port.

00:42:27   I wanted to have this battery life or whatever, but every product has a job to do.

00:42:31   The job of the remote is to let you control what happens on a television while you're

00:42:37   sitting on the couch.

00:42:38   And you can measure how well the Apple TV remote does that job.

00:42:43   And you can, like, I mean, bad, what does bad mean?

00:42:46   You'd measure it against other remote controls and you'd have to come up with some criteria.

00:42:50   What criteria do we care about?

00:42:52   You pick anything.

00:42:54   You're the person who's going to say, I'm going to judge remotes against each other

00:42:57   and I'm going to have a bunch of tests to see if they fulfill the purpose.

00:43:03   Almost anything that you can think of, the Apple TV remote does worse than the best remotes

00:43:09   for sure, which I feel like is the bar that Apple should be judged against.

00:43:12   Is it worse than the worst cable box remote?

00:43:15   Maybe not, right?

00:43:16   Maybe it comes out as a wash, nothing.

00:43:18   But against a good remote, the Apple TV remote gets destroyed.

00:43:24   You can have lots of opinions about features and sort of the product design, but I feel

00:43:28   like the job to be done in the parlance of all the economic whiz kids is supposed to

00:43:33   let you control your television.

00:43:36   And it does that, but it does that very, very badly in almost all aspects.

00:43:41   That's a great example of a thing that I put at the feet of Johnny Ive, whether he had

00:43:45   anything to do with that remote or not.

00:43:46   The bottom line is he was in charge and they shipped that.

00:43:48   Now, all that said, back when Jobs was there, it was clear to everybody involved that Johnny

00:43:54   Ive got to have a say, but in the end, if Steve decided something needed to be stitched

00:43:59   leather, it was going to be stitched leather.

00:44:01   It doesn't really matter what Johnny Ive or anybody else thought, right?

00:44:04   So when he was there, that's why I'm totally comfortable putting it at the feet of Steve

00:44:07   Jobs, everything.

00:44:09   And it's weird, like I said before, well, then Jobs goes and you don't put this all

00:44:12   at the feet of Tim Cook.

00:44:13   Yes, kind of ultimately, but my read on the dynamic inside the company is that, again,

00:44:19   Tim Cook, unless there is some large economic concern, even if there is one like with the

00:44:22   gold watch, it seems to me that Tim Cook is not inclined to override Johnny Ive when it

00:44:27   comes to design or anything like that.

00:44:30   Override maybe when it comes to pricing and maybe when it comes to what we should make

00:44:34   and what we shouldn't, like Johnny Ive had to pitch Tim Cook reportedly to say we should

00:44:37   make a watch.

00:44:38   Ultimately, Tim Cook said, "Sure, fine, go ahead."

00:44:40   Again, perhaps another thing to get Johnny to stick around, right?

00:44:45   But I don't think Tim is the design decider in chief, despite the fact that rank-wise

00:44:50   he could decide that, especially if Tim ever did that, Johnny would have left long ago

00:44:56   because I don't think he would stay at a company where that happens.

00:44:58   Would he stay at a company where Steve Jobs overrides him?

00:45:00   Yeah, sure.

00:45:01   But that's probably the only person on the planet that Johnny Ive would allow that to

00:45:04   happen from, at the point that he's grown to the level that he is.

00:45:09   So yeah, there are definitely, I think, objectively bad designs as measured by anything that you

00:45:16   could objectively measure about the job that thing is supposed to do.

00:45:19   Are they the worst?

00:45:20   No.

00:45:21   But it's like average or somewhere below good and we want apples to be the best.

00:45:26   And the remote is so galling because it's obvious to almost anybody what the problems

00:45:31   with the thing are.

00:45:32   It's not some nuance or subtlety that you have to really understand the essence of a

00:45:38   remote.

00:45:39   It's like, no, it's hard to use.

00:45:41   You make mistakes all the time.

00:45:42   The thing gets lost.

00:45:43   It's not comfortable to hold.

00:45:44   I don't want to talk about the remote, but that's an easy one.

00:45:47   Which part you could argue that accidental input is more of a problem than they think?

00:45:51   And then, of course, obviously the keyboard.

00:45:52   The reason why you gave that as a gimme is like its job is to type letters and if it

00:45:55   doesn't do that right, sometimes it doesn't make any letters and sometimes make double,

00:46:00   you know, that's no good.

00:46:02   And you say, well, it still gets the job done.

00:46:04   It's just a little bit tricky.

00:46:05   I got to do that backspace part.

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00:48:11   The dynamic that you said a minute ago about like, you know, Tim wouldn't really want to

00:48:16   override Johnny on Munch because like that's, that was probably like a very expensive fight

00:48:20   to pick.

00:48:21   I think the dynamic between like, you know, what happens when Steve died and then there's

00:48:27   a new CEO who's not a product person at all.

00:48:31   And there's this designer that everyone loves, you know, much the same way they loved Steve

00:48:35   who is still there.

00:48:39   And there, it created this weird dynamic where like it seemed in some ways that Johnny was

00:48:44   more, was more powerful than, than Tim or, or at least like, you know, there was, there

00:48:50   was, there were like lines drawn that like Tim probably didn't want to cross certain

00:48:54   lines because it would, it would, you know, cause friction with Johnny or, or override

00:48:59   Johnny in ways that Tim thought that he should be empowered or things like that.

00:49:03   And so what ends up happening when, you know, when Steve left, Johnny got elevated to not

00:49:11   like a dictatorship, but like, but to a position of extreme power, more power than he had before

00:49:17   with very little editing going on.

00:49:19   And look, many of the world's greatest creatives really benefit from some editing.

00:49:26   And Johnny was that way too, you know?

00:49:28   But when, because of like the, the politics and the stature of, of the higher ups, because

00:49:34   of like how that all worked out over the last few years, you know, after Steve died and

00:49:39   everything, Johnny had seemingly a lot more power and influence than he probably should

00:49:46   have had.

00:49:48   And for various political reasons with the public, especially, maybe with markets and

00:49:52   whatever else, like, you know, Tim basically turned Johnny into the new Steve in like a

00:49:59   power sense.

00:50:01   He moved software design under Johnny.

00:50:03   He moved, you know, he, he, he seemed to let design dictate a lot more about the products

00:50:09   than before.

00:50:10   And so like, like when Gruber initially wrote the take, you know, last week about like worrying

00:50:15   that Johnny wasn't replaced because the new heads of design report directly to Jeff

00:50:21   Williams.

00:50:22   I don't see that as a problem because I see the current situation like up till now

00:50:29   as being a weird hierarchy where basically design has been in charge of all products.

00:50:36   Like the head of products, you know, we, we wondered like for the last few years, like

00:50:41   who at Apple is the head of products really?

00:50:44   You know, it was Steve before.

00:50:46   Tim never had that job and didn't seem to want that job or have the ability to do it.

00:50:51   He seemed to delegate it, but it seemed like he delegated it mostly to Johnny.

00:50:54   So effectively the head of products at Apple, if you had to pick someone who it was, it

00:51:01   seemed to be Johnny for the last, you know, X years.

00:51:05   And so now, and I'm so mad that Gruber wrote this article today, cause I was, I was, I

00:51:11   was waiting for the last few days to come on this podcast.

00:51:13   That's what happens when, when it happens the wrong day for our show.

00:51:16   Yeah.

00:51:17   Like I've been waiting to come on this podcast and say exactly what Gruber wrote in his article

00:51:20   today.

00:51:21   So basically like, so you know, for the last few years, Jeff Williams seemingly has, has

00:51:28   been being slowly elevated into the role where now the answer, you know, the question of

00:51:34   who is the head of product design at Apple, the answer now seems to be Jeff Williams.

00:51:40   And I have a lot of thoughts about that.

00:51:43   And most of it is a little, you know, little trepidation cause like we don't really know

00:51:47   what Jeff Williams is like as a product, as the head of product, except that we can see

00:51:52   the Apple watch, right?

00:51:54   Like it seems, it seems like he has effectively always been the head of product for the Apple

00:51:58   watch.

00:51:59   So we, we have that example seemingly, but we don't know much about Jeff Williams.

00:52:04   You know, he, he, he doesn't have, you know, much personality display to the public.

00:52:09   And so it's hard to really get a read on him for, from, from our side of things.

00:52:13   But it does seem like now Jeff Williams is the head of product, whatever.

00:52:18   Tim is like the administrator above all of this, you know, and Tim can probably like,

00:52:22   you know, set the direction of large initiatives like privacy, but like services, that kind

00:52:27   of stuff.

00:52:28   But like, it doesn't, it doesn't seem like Tim has any interest in, in like, you know,

00:52:30   product details and that's fine.

00:52:32   Well, he decides whether or not they're going to make a watch for example.

00:52:35   Yeah, sure.

00:52:36   Exactly.

00:52:37   That's his call.

00:52:38   Yeah, that, that, that, yeah, that's probably right.

00:52:39   But like, it seems like before the head of products was somebody who kind of was on his

00:52:47   own, you know, Johnny I was like kind of on his own, kind of politically more powerful

00:52:52   than Tim maybe, which, or at least closer to equals, which probably made that relationship

00:52:56   a little bit awkward or a little bit hard to, you know, to edit or administer.

00:53:02   And also if Johnny did indeed have this role of being the kind of de facto head of products,

00:53:07   and even if not in his role as the head of design, it's kind of weird to have a head

00:53:14   of design who's barely there or who is, who is, who is working out of his house in San

00:53:19   Francisco when the rest of the company is an hour away working in an office every day.

00:53:23   And you know, like Johnny, like even if only a little bit of that is true, that, that's

00:53:28   still like when you have a manager who is very powerful, very respected, very opinionated,

00:53:35   but is not always there, that makes it hard to make decisions.

00:53:40   Or when you have that manager who is busy like, you know, designing the building and

00:53:43   the desks and stuff, like it's for the last few years, they've had kind of a half absentee,

00:53:50   highly distracted, highly burnt out head of design.

00:53:55   Now they have moved the design organizationally back where it belongs in the ranks.

00:54:02   Now they have some, they have two people who are clearly officially in charge.

00:54:10   You have Evans Hanke as industrial design head, you have Alan Dye as VP of human interface

00:54:15   design, which I think he is horrible.

00:54:16   Oh God, I really don't like that he is the head of this, but he has been, you know, since

00:54:20   iOS 7, so this is, you know, this is not new.

00:54:22   Oh my God, I don't like Alan Dye's direction, but that's, that's for another day.

00:54:31   But like now you have two clear heads of design, hardware and software, and they both report

00:54:38   to the COO who is basically the head of product right now.

00:54:42   That seems like an actual functioning, healthy organization.

00:54:47   And I don't think you need design to be CEO level.

00:54:53   You don't need like the chief design officer, like you don't need that if you have a functioning

00:54:57   hierarchy where there is a head of product who is very empowered to do things, whether

00:55:01   it's the CEO or not.

00:55:04   It should be, I think in Apple it should be somebody very close to the CEO.

00:55:07   Like I think it only works here, like with Jeff Williams being that, that's probably

00:55:10   only going to work because Tim is very happy to delegate that to him.

00:55:15   But you have design reporting to the head of product.

00:55:21   That is the way it was under Steve.

00:55:23   Steve was the head of product, design reporter to him.

00:55:26   So I think this now makes a lot more sense than the kind of weird, vague, you know, minefield

00:55:33   of how things were before.

00:55:35   And because now we have actual full-time employees on site serving in these roles, I think things

00:55:41   are going to be a lot more clear.

00:55:43   And it's probably going to function better.

00:55:46   So I think even though I don't know anything about these people really, the few things

00:55:52   I've heard about Evans Hanke have been very good.

00:55:55   I have high hopes that I think this is like cleaning up something that was kind of messy,

00:56:04   putting it in a way, in a structure that is more likely to produce good, consistent results.

00:56:12   So that mess is, it's part of, you know, part of any group of people doing anything,

00:56:18   but certainly part of corporate America or large companies.

00:56:23   I like to think of it as, you know, they make products and we talk about their products

00:56:28   and we judge the various political maneuverings and the org chart and their financials.

00:56:35   But in the end, in the end, these are all, this is just people.

00:56:38   They're all just people.

00:56:39   And people problems are always the biggest problems of any corporation, which is why

00:56:43   staffing, HR, all those sort of soft skills, they call them or whatever, like that's

00:56:52   the whole ball game, right?

00:56:53   So in a situation like, like how did Apple find itself in this situation?

00:56:59   They were so successful and they had these successful products and they had this team

00:57:02   making them.

00:57:03   And eventually that success, you know, your success as a company leads to the elevation

00:57:10   of individual people within the company to the point where, you know, you mentioned before

00:57:15   that Johnny Ive had been elevated, but then, you know, you later clarified, it's not

00:57:18   like he had been elevated in the passive voice.

00:57:21   Tim Cook elevated him.

00:57:22   Tim Cook elevated him for several good reasons.

00:57:26   One, he was your meal ticket.

00:57:28   He made Apple what it is today, right?

00:57:32   Two, there is a public perception, which was probably the truth, that he is Apple's meal

00:57:37   ticket.

00:57:38   And if there's a fight between Forrestal and Johnny Ive and you pick Ive, that's

00:57:44   probably the right call.

00:57:45   Like as far as the stock market is concerned, certainly, but probably as far as you're

00:57:49   concerned in terms of like what is fair, who has meant more to the company, who is more

00:57:54   important to keep, right?

00:57:56   And so, and, you know, these kinds of decisions, you think of them academically, but in the

00:58:00   end, those are actual people.

00:58:02   So if you get to the point where you're in a situation where you are convinced and

00:58:06   everyone around you is convinced, and it may actually even be the right thing to be

00:58:10   convinced that it's really important for you to keep Johnny Ive happy and he wants

00:58:13   to be in San Francisco and be less engaged from the company, you start doing things that

00:58:19   if you had pulled back a little bit, like, is this actually the best for the company

00:58:23   and the products?

00:58:25   Or at a certain point, am I, you know, pigheadedly pursuing a goal that involves keeping a human

00:58:33   happy when really, like, that's great, and it is good to keep Johnny around, but I feel

00:58:39   like the company probably passed the point where they should have let him go.

00:58:45   Like, if he wasn't engaged anymore, like, the goal of the company is not keep Johnny

00:58:51   Ive employed and happy.

00:58:52   Like, the company doesn't exist to serve Johnny Ive.

00:58:54   Johnny Ive exists to serve the company, right?

00:58:57   I don't know if from the inside it ever looked like that.

00:59:01   From the outside, I feel like that may be the case.

00:59:04   And, you know, again, trying to read the tea leaves and say, well, he's responsible

00:59:07   for everything they ship.

00:59:08   If there's something that characterizes, you know, the time after he was elevated to

00:59:12   the head of everything, I feel like when it came time to make a product better, the philosophy

00:59:19   embodied by the product and the execution by the design team was to, you know, attack

00:59:24   it as designers and do things to it that had mixed success in the market, let's say.

00:59:32   And I'm contrasting this with, and you go back to what Marco was saying earlier in the

00:59:35   show about, like, we already kind of know what post-Johnny Ive looks like this.

00:59:38   I'm contrasting this to the product design philosophy as embodied by things like the

00:59:46   Mac Pro and the iMac Pro and, like, the Pro workflow team.

00:59:50   Like, the idea of addressing that market and figuring out what their needs are and doing

00:59:54   something that generally designed under both Steve and Johnny didn't do, which is, like,

01:00:00   let's ask the customers what they want, which is the antithesis of Apple design.

01:00:03   If you ask them what they want, they say, "A faster horse."

01:00:06   Like, it's the whole, you know, you don't, if you ask people what they want, you don't

01:00:08   get the iPhone, right?

01:00:09   You don't get the iMac or the iPod.

01:00:11   You don't, like, that's not how great design works.

01:00:15   But you can take the other approach too far, especially if you have a singular person with

01:00:20   a tremendous amount of power who the entire company thinks is very important to keep happy.

01:00:24   You can end up with designs like the Apple TV remote and, you know, things like the Touch

01:00:30   Bar, whatever your pet peeve is or the very thin keyboard that ends up not being reliable,

01:00:35   right?

01:00:36   Whatever you want to assign the blame for that, it's clear that, like, the fault in

01:00:40   those things wasn't that Apple was asking for too much customer feedback and just making

01:00:45   what customers wanted.

01:00:46   Like, there's a spectrum, right?

01:00:48   If you go too far and you just make what customers want, you will never make an innovative product.

01:00:52   You will never make a hit and you will end up making, like, mainframes, right?

01:00:55   On the other hand, if you just do what one very powerful person wants to do at their

01:01:00   whim, despite, you know, ignoring what the customers want, you might end up with products

01:01:04   that are less successful than they could be, let's say.

01:01:06   And I feel like towards the end of Jonny Ive's tenure, that's how things were going.

01:01:10   And I feel like the whole pro-workflow team is, like, if, look, if Jonny Ive wanted to

01:01:16   have something like that, he would have had that long ago.

01:01:18   It came recently, right?

01:01:20   It was a change in direction for the company.

01:01:22   It has demonstrably changed the kind of products Apple produces and the way they produce them.

01:01:27   And I would argue for the better.

01:01:30   For the better as far as we're concerned, but certainly it has changed them, right?

01:01:33   You know, and we were seeing the fruits of that change.

01:01:36   We like it better.

01:01:37   Some people might like it worse.

01:01:38   But I feel like, again, we can measure objectively how well-loved are the new laptops compared

01:01:44   to the history of all the laptops that Apple has ever made.

01:01:47   I would argue that these are not particularly well-loved in the pantheon of Apple laptops

01:01:50   for a variety of reasons, right?

01:01:52   And so you can like them or not like them, but you can judge them against history and

01:01:56   you can look at why they may be less well-loved versus, for example, how well-loved was the

01:02:01   iMac Pro in the pantheon of all-in-one computers from Apple.

01:02:05   Pretty well-loved by the people who that product is aimed at, as far as I can tell.

01:02:09   Like it's an all-in-one computer.

01:02:10   Apple has made a lot of them.

01:02:12   Some of them have been more loved than others.

01:02:13   Everybody freaking loves the iMac Pro, like for the people who are in that market, right?

01:02:19   So there are ways to measure the success.

01:02:22   And I feel like the pesky human issues of the individual person who has, you know, they're

01:02:31   all their own feelings and emotions and accomplishments and ego and, you know, just opinions and the

01:02:39   amount of power they're given, like that all, it's not a toxic hell stew, Tim, but it is

01:02:44   quite a stew.

01:02:46   And even the biggest, the best companies in the end can be reduced to the decisions of

01:02:52   a small number of people and those people problems can result in less than optimal situations.

01:02:58   And, you know, I'm not going to say they should have got rid of him sooner or he should have

01:03:02   been allowed to leave sooner or whatever.

01:03:04   Like there's lots of different ways this could have gone.

01:03:05   Obviously the Pro workflow team and everything happened while Johnny was ostensibly still

01:03:09   there.

01:03:10   So it's not like he was opposed to it or left because of its existence or felt like it was

01:03:13   undercutting him.

01:03:14   But like, and I totally believe in all the, you know, all the press releases about how

01:03:17   they're collaborative.

01:03:18   I believe that's true.

01:03:19   Like they are collaborative.

01:03:21   They do bounce out as each other.

01:03:22   I bet even Tim is involved with in some capacity, right?

01:03:26   But there is a hierarchy of where the decisions get made, right?

01:03:29   The hierarchy is clear.

01:03:30   The fact that they're collaborative at the highest levels is the strength of the company.

01:03:34   The fact that ideas can come from anywhere that Phil Schiller, the marketing guy, can

01:03:37   come up with the click wheel on the iPod, for example, and they don't just dismiss the

01:03:41   idea because he's just the marketing guy, right?

01:03:43   I believe all of that, that it is collaborative and it is true.

01:03:46   But there are also lines of hierarchy and that's how they resolve the collaboration.

01:03:50   It's not designed by committee.

01:03:52   It is collaborative design within the design group, in the leadership team of Apple, all

01:03:57   the way down to the rank and file levels.

01:03:58   Like that's how, you know, great things get made.

01:04:02   But you do need those decision points.

01:04:05   And in the end, Johnny, I feel like was elevated to the point where he had, where his power

01:04:10   and his engagement combined to allow some of his, I'm not going to say his worst instincts,

01:04:18   but some of his instincts that were less optimal to Apple's product success than they had

01:04:24   been either when his opinions were different or when his opinions were, I'm not going

01:04:29   to say moderated by or edited by, I'm going to say combined with a collaborator like Steve

01:04:36   Jobs, right?

01:04:37   Or even Forstahl or whoever, like whatever, if you want to be an antagonistic collaboration

01:04:41   or like this came up on a couple of our Slack channels or maybe it was also in someone's

01:04:44   article.

01:04:45   The comparison a lot of people drew between Ive and Jobs was John Lennon and Paul McCartney,

01:04:51   which also at times was antagonistic, but also very fruitful collaboration of two very

01:04:56   different people.

01:04:57   One was not editing the other, or rather they were both editing at each other, but that

01:05:01   the collaboration produced more than the individuals could have done.

01:05:04   And I feel like that's why Apple collaborates at the highest level.

01:05:08   And that collaboration comes down to individuals, right?

01:05:10   So how will Allen Dye, Evans Hankey, and Jeff Williams collaborate together in the absence

01:05:16   of Johnny?

01:05:17   How will the pro workflow team be factored into that?

01:05:21   Who runs the pro workflow team?

01:05:22   Who decides that it's a thing that they should do or continue doing?

01:05:26   How will Tim Cook collaborate with them differently than he collaborated with Johnny Ive?

01:05:30   Presumably Tim Cook is less concerned about keeping Evans Hankey happy than he was about

01:05:36   keeping Johnny Ive happy.

01:05:38   He wants everyone to be happy, but the power dynamic between Evans Hankey and Tim Cook

01:05:42   is different than it was between Johnny Ive, inventor of name and Brazilian products.

01:05:47   The dynamics, the people are different, the arrangement of people are different in the

01:05:52   corporate hierarchy, and the interpersonal dynamics are different.

01:05:56   We're hoping that the new dynamic will produce products that are more successful, that we

01:06:03   like better, whatever, pick your criteria, right?

01:06:06   But honestly, we don't entirely know.

01:06:07   We know a little bit if we assume that Johnny Ive has been checked out for a long time,

01:06:11   but in the end, he was there, and if there was something that he vehemently didn't

01:06:15   like, he could have given him a thumbs down, which is why we have all those stories about,

01:06:18   "Oh, the team had to go out to San Francisco and wait around for Johnny to come, and in

01:06:24   the end, he didn't even give us the decision we wanted."

01:06:25   Why did they need his decision?

01:06:26   Because he was in charge of design, and they had like, "We have option A and option B,

01:06:30   and we have opinions in both directions.

01:06:32   We need you to pick one, because that's your job as the leader."

01:06:37   We bring you what we think are the best options, and we have factions internally, but none

01:06:42   of us can decide because you're the boss, and they were disappointed that no decision

01:06:46   was made, which happens all the time, and it's not like slamming him for not making

01:06:50   the decision.

01:06:51   Sometimes you just need to think about it some more or whatever, but again, getting

01:06:53   back to what I said before, in the end, everything that goes out the door when he's in charge

01:06:57   is on him, whether it was his idea or whether he even, maybe he just punched it and they

01:07:01   just went with whatever they, you know, we don't know the dynamics, but we know it's

01:07:06   his responsibility.

01:07:07   Anyway, that's how I feel about the tail end of Johnny Ive's tenure at Apple, that

01:07:15   it could have gone better, is what I'm going to say.

01:07:18   I think that's fair.

01:07:19   But you made, you said a moment ago, you know, pick any one of the gazillions of products

01:07:24   that Ive has done, you know, to cite as an example, but from what I understand, Evans

01:07:30   has done a ton of products at Apple and has like hundreds of patents with her name on

01:07:38   them or something like that.

01:07:39   And so I was digging into, you know, who are Evans and Allen, and I came across an article,

01:07:46   which of course I didn't save the link for, so now I'm going to have to dig it back

01:07:48   up, but that's okay.

01:07:49   I came across an article.

01:07:50   professional podcasters.

01:07:51   Yeah, there we go.

01:07:53   Therein they discussed, you know, who these people are and they cited a tweet from Maylee

01:08:00   Coe, I hope I pronounced that right, who I saw speak at layers several years ago and

01:08:05   is tremendous.

01:08:07   And Maylee wrote on Twitter, this is with regard to Evans, and she's been making s***

01:08:12   run right for a long ass time, uncredited, undercredited, excuse me, in my personal opinion.

01:08:20   So this is from someone who worked at Apple design.

01:08:24   In fact, on Maylee's own website, she writes, in 2014, I left a long stint at Apple where

01:08:29   I designed and prototype new things to poke at with the human interface design device

01:08:33   prototyping team.

01:08:35   My work included blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, fundamental UI concepts for Apple's force

01:08:39   touch and taptic engine, and my explorations help justify and refine the development of

01:08:43   the iPad mini, iPad pro and Apple pencil.

01:08:46   So Maylee is someone who I would think knows what the crap she's talking about.

01:08:51   And she says that Evans is very undercredited.

01:08:55   So that is kind of a big deal.

01:08:57   And certainly it sounds like Evans has been running the design studio for a long time

01:09:01   and is effectively the head of has been the head of design for a long time as well from

01:09:06   a, from what I can tell.

01:09:07   Well, everybody in the design group is undercredited.

01:09:10   Like that's the whole point of having a figurehead.

01:09:11   Johnny Hive is the figurehead, but and then literally everyone else is undercredited.

01:09:15   He is overcredited and everybody else because of the conservation of credit is undercredited.

01:09:19   Like that's just how it works.

01:09:22   I remember it used to be like, they didn't even, Apple didn't even want you to know who

01:09:25   worked for them in the secret room.

01:09:26   They didn't even want you to know those people's names, let alone their faces because they

01:09:29   were afraid of people getting poached and they would brag about how that was no turnover.

01:09:32   Right?

01:09:33   Yeah, of course, of course the actual work is done by the employees and the boss is just

01:09:37   in charge and gets to take all the glory and credit because everyone can't be a figurehead.

01:09:41   So I'm not sliding the work of the people who are actually doing the design, but there

01:09:46   is a design direction and there is a head of design and that head of design makes decisions.

01:09:51   And again, in the end we have to just judge the products that are put out no matter whose

01:09:55   idea it was.

01:09:56   It was Johnny's, you know, in the latter years, Johnny's decision to put it out.

01:10:00   So that's, that's another question, right?

01:10:02   So all these designers who are there doing their design, they have, design is having

01:10:06   lots of ideas.

01:10:07   Like, you know, if you read any of the books about the things the design team does, like

01:10:11   when they were making the original iPhone, one of the original ideas they had was basically

01:10:14   the iPhone 4.

01:10:15   It looked kind of like an ice cream sandwich, you know, like we all know what the iPhone

01:10:18   4 looks like.

01:10:19   That was one of the designs in the running for the original iPhone.

01:10:23   They didn't pick that one.

01:10:24   They picked the design that we saw as the original iPhone.

01:10:26   But eventually, many years later, they did the iPhone 4, right?

01:10:30   And you know, these designers all have lots of ideas about what a product could be like,

01:10:35   right?

01:10:36   And they have ideas about the features that the product could have, and that shades into,

01:10:39   you know, the sort of, there's designing the thing to do the job, and there's deciding

01:10:44   what the heck is the job, right?

01:10:46   And that's all part of the same, you know, part of the same stew when Johnny Ave is the

01:10:51   head of everything, right?

01:10:53   But with some more divisions, I feel like, what will these designers do?

01:10:57   What kind of ideas will they have when given, given direction from not just Evans Hankey,

01:11:04   but also from, you know, Jeff Williams, or maybe even from Alan Dye with the software

01:11:09   idea like that when more people are combined, those same designers working in a different

01:11:15   situation, maybe certain ideas that before wouldn't get past the, you know, here are

01:11:20   a bunch of options stage, could go farther.

01:11:23   Or you know, it really depends on what opinions the new bosses have about the work that is

01:11:29   produced.

01:11:30   And, you know, this group of designers don't just dictate exactly what it's going to be

01:11:36   and get it right on the first try.

01:11:37   You try all sorts of things, you have all sorts of ideas, and you discuss them, and

01:11:41   that discussion with those particular people and those particular bosses, it decides what

01:11:45   actually makes it out the door.

01:11:47   And so, certainly, with this new set of people, but the exact same designers, we're going

01:11:51   to see different products.

01:11:52   Even if they wanted to, they could make the same decisions as Johnny, because I'm sure

01:11:55   Johnny, like every other person, is inscrutable, and who knows what he would affect.

01:11:58   And I think that's actually a feature, not a bug.

01:12:02   It seemed, especially up to about a few years ago, that Apple was kind of like running out

01:12:06   of ideas of like how to move the products forward.

01:12:10   And now, by having a change in design leadership, whether or not this was like kind of what

01:12:16   was happening all along or not, this I think will give, almost like give them permission

01:12:22   to do things differently.

01:12:23   It'll certainly give the designer permission to do things differently, because they won't

01:12:25   have the fear of like what if Johnny overrides this, or they'll be able to more explore

01:12:32   new ideas without having to worry about what would Johnny do.

01:12:36   So it's part of that, but also just like, I want to see what happens when Apple gets

01:12:40   things shaken up a little bit, because when you're in a rut, which it seems for a while

01:12:46   like the iPhone was in a rut before the iPhone X.

01:12:49   You had like the 6, 7, they were all kind of just 6s.

01:12:53   It was all kind of like, here's the most boring phone you've ever seen.

01:12:56   And eventually it got improved with the X.

01:13:01   The iPad was kind of in a lull for a while.

01:13:04   And then the pros that came out last fall with the new industrial design are really

01:13:09   cool.

01:13:10   You know, the laptops I think have been in a rut for a little while, and I really can't

01:13:14   wait to see what this fall's one ends up being, to see what direction that's taking.

01:13:19   But I'm looking forward to having the influence of new designers able to flourish, and able

01:13:27   to get products out the door with just someone else being in charge, and someone else being

01:13:33   the filter at the top of that group.

01:13:35   And this is why, to have Jeff Williams be seemingly the effective head of products,

01:13:42   it seems a little weird to think about that, because we haven't really thought about

01:13:45   Jeff Williams that way up till very recently, but he's somebody new to this role, seemingly,

01:13:53   or at least new in scope of the role.

01:13:55   I want to see what that brings.

01:13:57   That's kind of exciting to me.

01:13:59   And it isn't all going to be perfect.

01:14:01   Not everything they do is ever perfect.

01:14:03   But it's new, it's different, it's changed, it's moving things forward.

01:14:09   It's getting new blood in there into existing roles.

01:14:13   I want to see what that brings.

01:14:15   And I'm kind of excited about that.

01:14:16   And I know I'm not going to like everything, and that's fine.

01:14:19   We wouldn't have a podcast if I liked everything.

01:14:23   But I'm very excited to just see something being shaken up, and seeing some new blood,

01:14:31   and seeing some people who have been apparently working for a very long time being elevated

01:14:35   into new power.

01:14:37   I want to see what that brings.

01:14:38   Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more.

01:14:40   I really feel like, I don't know if stagnant's the right word, but it's certainly, I feel

01:14:46   like Apple has been, and again, I don't think cruising is the right word, but I can't think

01:14:51   of the word I'm looking for.

01:14:52   But it's just been kind of business as usual.

01:14:54   And I really am excited at the thought of having this new blood really allowed to spread

01:15:01   their wings and do what they want to do.

01:15:04   And this is going to be a very exciting time to be an Apple fan, which is good because

01:15:08   in my opinion, Apple's been pretty dominant for the last several years.

01:15:15   I mean, they're occasionally, if not often, the most valuable company in America, if not

01:15:19   the world.

01:15:20   So it'll be interesting and cool to watch this all go down and watch this kind of work

01:15:25   itself out, just like you said.

01:15:27   Yeah, I'm right there with you, Marco.

01:15:28   I'm really excited about where things are going from here.

01:15:32   I wouldn't call it stagnation, but like this is another thing that from the outside I tend

01:15:37   to map onto Jonny Ive because I assume that he is the one making these decisions.

01:15:42   If you're doing any job, especially a creative job, but really any job for a very long period

01:15:48   of time, like in the beginning when you're just getting started in whatever your career

01:15:54   is, you're very excited to attain the skills that those skills in the art have, whatever

01:15:59   the thing you're doing.

01:16:00   If you're a baker, to make your first wedding cake or whatever.

01:16:04   Just do the basics, do them with your own twist or flair, but become competent.

01:16:10   And you can keep going along that ramp where then you start having your own style more

01:16:13   and deciding what you like and what you don't like.

01:16:15   But if you're doing this for a very long time and you're very successful, especially in

01:16:20   creative endeavors, I think people have a tendency both because as they age and get

01:16:24   more experienced, but also as they become more skilled, you're less excited by things

01:16:29   that you've already done.

01:16:33   And whatever your philosophy is for your craft or your art, I'm not going to say you make

01:16:40   more extreme versions of it, but you pursue your muse more thoroughly.

01:16:46   So in the beginning, when you're making your wedding cake, you may be like, "Well, in general,

01:16:53   cakes tend to be layered with big layers on the bottom and small layers on the top, like

01:16:57   a kind of thing.

01:16:59   And they're made of this kind of material, and this is about how big they are."

01:17:04   You're constrained by the orthodoxy a lot because you're just learning.

01:17:09   In the middle, you're like, "I'm making a wedding cake that's a single layer and it's

01:17:13   a cylinder straight up and down, and it's the new design trend, and now I've defined what

01:17:18   wedding cakes are going to look like for the next 20 years or whatever.

01:17:20   They're not pyramid-shaped.

01:17:21   They're like skyscraper-shaped or something.

01:17:24   And by the way, they're pink or whatever."

01:17:28   Whatever your muse is, I feel like you do end up pursuing it, trying to get it the root

01:17:39   of it.

01:17:40   If you've seen Johnny Ive's videos in his white world over the course of the past decade

01:17:43   or so, you see him talk about always trying to find the essential nature of the product,

01:17:48   the essence of the product, to get rid of extraneous things.

01:17:53   As expressed in those videos, his design philosophy is not about ornamentation.

01:18:00   It's about figuring out what is the essence of "insert whatever the product is," whether

01:18:04   it's a laptop or, you would probably say, a remote or a pencil or an iPad or a phone.

01:18:11   What is the essential nature of this product?

01:18:13   What parts of it that we think are integral to the product are actually superfluous?

01:18:19   And can I get rid of those?

01:18:21   Can I simplify the design?

01:18:23   Can I use fewer parts?

01:18:25   Can I remove ornamentation or extra things?

01:18:35   Under his design leadership, Apple has pursued that philosophy in its products to an ever

01:18:39   more extreme degree, almost entirely across the board, with only recently a slight change

01:18:45   in direction with the pro products.

01:18:47   And it made me think of something I saw recently.

01:18:51   This is a program on Netflix that's like a sci-fi anthology series of little animated

01:18:56   shorts.

01:18:57   It reminds me of Liquid Television and MTV back in the day.

01:18:59   A particular episode called Zima Blue.

01:19:02   The series is called Love, Death, and Robots.

01:19:05   It's on Netflix.

01:19:07   Every episode is standalone.

01:19:08   Most of them are not that good.

01:19:09   Some of them are kind of exploitive and extreme.

01:19:11   But I would recommend that everybody take a look at Zima Blue.

01:19:14   And it's a sci-fi story.

01:19:16   It's animated and it's a story of an artist.

01:19:18   And this artist, I won't spoil the thing for you.

01:19:20   You should watch it.

01:19:21   It's like 15 minutes long.

01:19:22   They're all very short.

01:19:25   Pursues his muse, his passion, his artistic intent to an extreme, for an explicable reason,

01:19:34   a more extreme than Johnny Ive because, again, it's a sci-fi story.

01:19:37   But I would encourage everybody to check out Zima Blue on Netflix to see what could have

01:19:44   become of Johnny Ive if his life turned out a little bit differently and he was in a sci-fi

01:19:50   animated show.

01:19:51   But anyway, getting back to Apple, I feel like that's the natural arc of someone's career.

01:19:59   And by putting people in, replacing him with people in other, the people we just discussed,

01:20:06   who are at different points in their career, none of those people made the iMac.

01:20:10   None of them made all of those products or were responsible for a design when those products

01:20:15   were produced or however you want to parse it.

01:20:18   They're all at different parts in their careers.

01:20:20   They all have their own personal design philosophies.

01:20:24   Are they all subscribed 100% with the essentialism and all of the philosophy espoused by Johnny

01:20:29   in all of his videos?

01:20:31   Maybe, maybe not.

01:20:33   I would imagine that the design group is filled with a diversity of opinion about what thing

01:20:38   they should be pursuing in their products.

01:20:40   I also think that the design group probably lacks some opinions that are important for

01:20:48   Apple's products to be very good.

01:20:50   Some of those opinions may be coming from the pro work group people, like some of them

01:20:54   might be coming from the software side.

01:20:57   When Johnny was the head of everything and he was so closely tied to the design group,

01:21:01   there are aspects of successful laptops that may not be represented at all anywhere in

01:21:06   the design group, not because Johnny I've expunged all contrary opinion, but just because

01:21:10   it's a bunch of industrial designers and product designers.

01:21:13   They think differently than someone who is a professional in some market that products

01:21:20   are sold into or a marketing person.

01:21:24   There are other perspectives.

01:21:28   Having Apple's products now not only have a different decider in front of the design

01:21:32   group, but have what has to be more influence from things outside the design group.

01:21:38   I think that's the better way to make a well-rounded, successful, pleasing product

01:21:44   than to have even the diversity of opinion that may be present in the design group.

01:21:49   You need more perspective than that because in the end, products are more than just the

01:21:54   things that people in the little walled off design group think about.

01:21:59   There are also things that have prices and names and features and customers and jobs

01:22:05   to do.

01:22:06   And those I feel like are not well represented by the design group.

01:22:09   Hopefully that will change for the better now.

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01:24:16   (upbeat music)

01:24:20   - Some Ask ATP.

01:24:21   - Let's do it.

01:24:22   - All right, we start tonight with Marcus Ernst who writes, "How does the recommendation

01:24:26   engine in Overcast work?

01:24:28   Did you try multiple approaches?

01:24:29   Is it some fancy neural network?"

01:24:31   - I have tried multiple approaches.

01:24:33   It is not a neural network or anything remotely fancy like that, primarily because I don't

01:24:40   know how to use those things or understand anything about them.

01:24:43   - Use CoreML.

01:24:44   - Honestly, I thought about that.

01:24:46   CoreML and they, so as CoreML has evolved and other tools that are like CoreML, that

01:24:52   are more like in the non-Apple world, I think like TensorFlow is one of these things.

01:24:57   Forgive me, this is a whole world, the whole world of ML models and everything, I really

01:25:02   don't understand much about it and I'm not familiar with any of the tools or any of the

01:25:08   real concepts of it.

01:25:10   The main reason I haven't gotten into all this stuff yet is because I haven't really

01:25:14   needed to because I have some data with Overcast.

01:25:20   I try to keep as little data as possible about people and their behavior and everything,

01:25:25   but I do know the list of podcasts that each user subscribes to.

01:25:30   So I can do simple correlations like, "People who subscribe to this tend to also subscribe

01:25:35   to that."

01:25:36   That's stuff that you don't need fancy ML stuff to do that if you have decent data.

01:25:43   And that's all the data you really need to do that.

01:25:46   So the recommendation engine, the current one is based on Twitter stuff and it's like

01:25:53   what people subscribe to, who you follow on Twitter.

01:25:58   I will give you an exclusive news-breaking heads up here, I'm removing that feature.

01:26:06   I'm getting rid of the Twitter integration for lots of reasons.

01:26:10   Number one, almost nobody uses it.

01:26:13   So it's already on the chopping block for that.

01:26:16   And there's a bunch of liabilities of having Twitter integration and it causes a lot of

01:26:22   confusion among users.

01:26:23   I got a lot of support email about people who either don't understand it or wish to

01:26:27   behave differently.

01:26:29   And I've actually just rebuilt the recommendation engine over the last couple of weeks using

01:26:36   an even better approach.

01:26:37   Again, just involving subscription data, nothing super fancy.

01:26:41   But I figured out better algorithms.

01:26:44   And so I'm going to ship an update soon.

01:26:48   Still before I was 12, before the beta was this fall, I'm going to ship an update soon

01:26:52   that switches out the Twitter feature for my new recommendation engine.

01:26:56   And I've been testing it with some testers here and there and it has significantly better

01:27:02   recommendations for podcasts you might like.

01:27:04   So I think it'll be a positive change and it also allows me to do things, which I don't

01:27:08   think I'm going to have time to do for this update, but it'll allow me to do things like

01:27:11   on a podcast's individual page to be able to say, "These podcasts are similar to this."

01:27:18   Or you know, "People who like this also like this."

01:27:21   It allows me to do all that stuff.

01:27:23   And it's a way better engine than the one I had before.

01:27:27   And it will allow me to integrate a lot more stuff more nicely into the app and not have

01:27:31   to deal with weird interactions with an increasingly risky and toxic social network.

01:27:39   Paul Wood III writes, "What is the best way for you to enter the zone while programming?

01:27:44   Do you have any tricks you plan yourself to help you focus?

01:27:47   And why do you think that this trick works?"

01:27:48   For me, it's listening to Daft Punk's Discovery album because I listened to it at my first

01:27:52   programming job.

01:27:54   I don't have any great tips about getting in the zone, although I will say now that

01:27:58   I don't have a office to go to in the traditional sense, I do like once or twice a week going

01:28:03   somewhere else to get work done.

01:28:05   And I think the change of scenery really does help me.

01:28:08   And then, as I think I mentioned several times on this program in the past, I have my secret

01:28:13   weapon which I deploy extremely tactically, which is if I have a programming problem that

01:28:19   I just can't figure out, Tools 10,000 Days has not yet failed in getting me through that

01:28:25   problem.

01:28:26   It usually takes one run-through or less to get me there, but if I deploy it very tactically,

01:28:31   I can usually use that as my secret weapon to solve programming problems.

01:28:35   Jon, how do you get in the zone?

01:28:37   Jon

01:28:40   The only thing I've found that works for me consistently, because I think about times

01:28:42   in my career when I have had a difficult programming challenge that I have put myself to dealing

01:28:50   with either because there was a hard external deadline or I was very motivated to do it

01:28:54   because I was super into a project or something like that, I think the thing that I've used

01:28:59   is not isolation, but removal of distractions.

01:29:04   So to give some examples, at one point I was dealing with a particularly, I think I've

01:29:08   talked about this on the show, I was dealing with a particularly thorny thing having to

01:29:10   do with the e-book site that I, for the company I used to work for, had to do with the complexities

01:29:17   of royalty calculations for bundled products for e-books or whatever.

01:29:22   And it was a fairly complicated system and I'd taken a couple of runs at it and I just

01:29:26   wasn't satisfied that we were solving the problem in an elegant way.

01:29:29   So I basically took a weekend and I said all I'm going to do this weekend is I'm going

01:29:32   to rewrite everything having to do with royalty calculations and everything having to do with

01:29:37   product bundles or whatever.

01:29:40   I'd thought about it for weeks and weeks and months leading up to that point.

01:29:44   The site was running ahead of thing, but it was unsatisfactory.

01:29:48   Every time a new requirement would come in, it would be a problem.

01:29:50   So I'm like, "I'm just going to tackle this."

01:29:52   So I isolated myself for a weekend for something I could do before kids or before kids who

01:29:56   were older because I had one little tiny baby at that moment.

01:29:58   Just two days at home on a weekend, me and the computer.

01:30:02   Similarly, at an earlier job, I had another very complicated system designed by product

01:30:08   designers or marketing people essentially.

01:30:10   It's like, "Here's how we want it to work," and they described it in a 17-page Word document.

01:30:14   "Here's how we want this system to work."

01:30:16   And I was like, "There's no way I'm going to be able to make this thing if I just come

01:30:20   in every day and try to chip away at it."

01:30:22   So again, I set myself a task.

01:30:24   And this time it was at work, but I set myself a task of like, "I'm not doing anything else.

01:30:28   I'm just going to hide in my then actual office."

01:30:32   Those were the days.

01:30:34   And just for this week, I'm going to turn that eight-page Word document written by non-technical

01:30:42   people into an implementation that matches it exactly, clarifying all the ambiguities

01:30:47   or whatever, and just spent that week doing it.

01:30:49   Every time I feel like I've had to get in the zone and tackle a programming problem,

01:30:53   I feel like I've had to shut out distractions and remove context switches.

01:30:58   I imagine that's true for most people because it's a common thing that people measure, like

01:31:01   the context switches are bad or whatever.

01:31:03   But some people may be like, "Oh, I'd rather be in a café or whatever."

01:31:06   I'm like, "No, I don't want to see or hear any other human.

01:31:08   I don't want to see or hear any other noise.

01:31:11   It's just going to be me and the computer.

01:31:13   Absolutely no distractions.

01:31:14   Absolutely no one else there.

01:31:16   No music, no sound.

01:31:17   No things on in the background.

01:31:18   No people walking around, nothing.

01:31:20   That's how I get in the zone.

01:31:23   Marco?

01:31:24   Headphones and fish.

01:31:26   Nobody saw that coming.

01:31:27   Surprise!

01:31:28   Mm-hmm.

01:31:29   And I would also say, too, the way I work—I don't know if this is true, everybody.

01:31:32   I think it might be.

01:31:33   The way I work, I can't really create the zone at will.

01:31:39   I can just recognize when I'm ready for it and encourage it and preserve the state

01:31:45   as well as possible.

01:31:47   It's like the zone is here, and I get a chance to harness it or not harness it.

01:31:53   And so I choose, whenever I can, to harness it when the opportunity arises.

01:31:58   When I have that motivation, when I have that focus, whatever causes that mode to happen,

01:32:03   I try to recognize when that is happening and preserve that and harness it to get good

01:32:08   stuff done.

01:32:10   When I can tell that I'm in the zone or that I'm able to be in the zone, I'm not

01:32:14   going to do things like read Twitter or answer email.

01:32:18   I'm going to want to harness that to—I'm going to ideally apply that to coding and

01:32:26   things that are more substantial like that, as opposed to just administrative work or

01:32:31   messing around.

01:32:32   But I'm not perfect at this, but that is the idea.

01:32:39   Leon Zandman writes, "Do you have any idea what should or could happen to Overcast in

01:32:43   your other endeavors in the unfortunate event of you dying?

01:32:46   Maybe a weird/creepy question, but I'm just wondering if and how you, as a one-person's

01:32:51   business with paying clients, are handling this."

01:32:53   And I thought this was fascinating in no small part because I just heard Independence No.

01:32:59   55, the single point of failure where this exact conversation is discussed.

01:33:05   For me, I mean, it's not as big as—and certainly not the financial powerhouse, let's

01:33:12   say, that Overcast is.

01:33:14   But for Vignette and all the other associated stuff with my business, I have written out

01:33:20   kind of the instructions on, "Hey, if I disappear, where is everything?"

01:33:24   And that's true not only of the business but actually my personal life as well.

01:33:28   And I've given copies of those documents to people I trust.

01:33:31   And so in the unfortunate event that I pass away, then both Erin as my wife and Erin as

01:33:40   probably the person who will end up dealing with my business's stuff should hopefully

01:33:45   be squared away.

01:33:46   And I've actually been thinking about writing a blog post about what sorts of information

01:33:49   I've included on these documents because I think it would probably be helpful.

01:33:52   So I'll probably get around to that one day.

01:33:55   But Marco, what are you doing if, God forbid, something happens to you suddenly?

01:33:59   I mean, my family's taken care of with things like life insurance.

01:34:03   But for the actual business, like for Overcast, I don't really have any plans.

01:34:11   I'll be dead, so I won't care.

01:34:13   Fair.

01:34:14   I guess people can do whatever they want with it.

01:34:16   I don't know.

01:34:17   Like, I have not put anything in place.

01:34:18   I also heard that episode.

01:34:20   And I also thought about, like, "I wonder if I should put some process in place here."

01:34:26   But I have found that transitions of app ownership rarely really preserve what the app was about

01:34:35   and what made it good.

01:34:38   And so I don't think it really matters.

01:34:41   Like if I'm gone, Overcast is going to die with me or is going to be picked up by somebody

01:34:49   else and changed in a way that you're all going to hate.

01:34:53   So like, it kind of doesn't really matter, honestly.

01:34:56   That's an interesting point.

01:34:57   You know, a couple of years ago, maybe even several years ago now, a friend of the show,

01:35:02   Underscore David Smith, went somewhere and he didn't tell his friends that he was going

01:35:07   anywhere, which is fine.

01:35:08   Like, he doesn't have to report in to us that he's going on a vacation.

01:35:12   But he went somewhere, and this was, I think, when Feed Wrangler was fairly new.

01:35:16   And something happened.

01:35:17   I don't know if you remember this, Marco, but something happened when Feed Wrangler

01:35:21   basically took a dump.

01:35:23   And this was fairly significant and nobody could get in touch with Dave.

01:35:28   And I can only speak for myself, but I was getting increasingly and increasingly and

01:35:32   increasingly worried about what was going on.

01:35:34   And it turned out everything was fine in, well, in his world.

01:35:39   It's just that some server had had an issue or something like that.

01:35:41   - Yeah, and he was just like on vacation, like at a cabin in the woods with no internet

01:35:44   connectivity.

01:35:45   - Exactly.

01:35:46   - But like, yeah, it was like his server went down like at the worst possible time, basically

01:35:48   like right after he left.

01:35:50   And so like, it was down for a while.

01:35:53   And you know, I've taken vacations where I've been offline, and you just kind of assume

01:35:56   like, well, I just hope that in the next couple days my servers don't break, right?

01:36:00   And his servers happen to break during that time.

01:36:04   But yeah, we all thought the worst.

01:36:06   - Yeah, I was genuinely like getting really concerned.

01:36:09   Well, anyways, I bring all this up because there was a time when he went on a different

01:36:14   trip later, and I genuinely don't know if this is still true or not, but there was a

01:36:18   window of time where he had given me like a 400 character password to use and like the

01:36:25   bare bones of server information that I could use to basically like log in and just restart

01:36:31   the thing and hope for the best.

01:36:32   And I honestly, I'm sure if I have it, it's in one password somewhere, and I don't even

01:36:37   know if I do have this information anymore.

01:36:38   And even if I do, I doubt it still works.

01:36:40   But I thought it was an interesting point that, you know, it may not be terrible to

01:36:44   take someone you trust and give them, you know, a key or the keys to the kingdom just

01:36:51   in case something happens.

01:36:52   Now, obviously, I wouldn't be able to like properly debug whatever, you know, Dave's

01:36:56   issues may be, but I could go in there, like I said, and restart the server and hope for

01:37:00   the best.

01:37:01   So that's another thing to think about as well if you ever go off the grid.

01:37:06   In any case, Jon, what about you?

01:37:07   Have you thought about any of this?

01:37:09   - I have no kingdom for which keys must be handed to someone.

01:37:12   When I'm dead, nobody cares and there's nothing that needs to continue.

01:37:15   - I'll care.

01:37:16   - But there's nothing that needs to keep running, so.

01:37:19   - Fair enough.

01:37:20   But not hypercritical.co, is that right?

01:37:22   It's not com, right?

01:37:23   - Nobody cares about that stuff.

01:37:24   - Well, you only write on it once a year, so.

01:37:26   - That's right.

01:37:27   I mean, yeah, I don't have any ongoing endeavors like that.

01:37:28   You know, other than the ones that actually involve me, in which case those, you know,

01:37:32   no longer involve me.

01:37:33   - Fair enough.

01:37:34   - Thanks to our sponsors this week, Eero, Squarespace, and Casper.

01:37:40   And we'll see you next week.

01:37:42   - Thanks.

01:37:43   - Bye.

01:37:44   - Bye.

01:37:45   - Bye.

01:37:46   [MUSIC PLAYING]

01:37:47   Now the show is over.

01:37:48   They didn't even mean to begin.

01:37:49   'Cause it was accidental.

01:37:50   - Accidental.

01:37:51   - Oh, it was accidental.

01:37:52   - Accidental.

01:37:53   - Jon didn't do any research.

01:37:54   Marco and Casey wouldn't let him.

01:37:55   'Cause it was accidental.

01:37:56   - Accidental.

01:37:57   - Oh, it was accidental.

01:37:58   - Accidental.

01:37:59   - And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm.

01:38:00   And if you're into it, you can visit the show notes at the ATP.fm website.

01:38:01   [MUSIC PLAYING]

01:38:02   - So, Jon, how can you not be so upset about this?

01:38:03   - I don't know.

01:38:04   I don't know.

01:38:05   - I'm not sure.

01:38:06   - I'm not sure.

01:38:07   - You can find the show notes at ATP.fm.

01:38:14   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S. So that's Casey

01:38:21   Liszt, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, A-N-T, Marco Arman, S-I-R-A-C, USA, Syracuse.

01:38:30   It's accidental.

01:38:31   - It's accidental.

01:38:32   - They didn't mean to.

01:38:37   - Accidental.

01:38:38   - Accidental.

01:38:39   - Tech podcast so long.

01:38:44   - I so desperately want-- I have a favorite spatula.

01:38:49   Rubbermaid used to make utensils for some brief period.

01:38:52   They no longer do.

01:38:53   I have two Rubbermaid spatulas, one of which is my favorite spatula.

01:38:57   And I cannot find one that is even remotely like it.

01:39:00   It's not complicated.

01:39:01   It's one piece of Rubbermaid plastic, but it's exactly the right size and shape.

01:39:05   Doesn't have any weird places where gunk gets stuck.

01:39:10   It's the right flexibility.

01:39:13   It's a good spatula.

01:39:15   Johnny might even like it.

01:39:16   But I have to hope that it never breaks or accidentally melts on something or whatever,

01:39:21   because I can't find a replacement.

01:39:23   So yeah, he should make a spatula.

01:39:25   It's a perfect Johnny Ive thing, because it should be basically featureless and white

01:39:28   and just like a simple solid with no moving parts and no ports.

01:39:34   Not white though, because then your sauce would discolor it.

01:39:37   Mine's not white.

01:39:38   It's like an off-white kind of color.

01:39:40   And yeah, it is a little bit discolored, right?

01:39:42   But the tomato sauce you make, of course it's going to be discolored.

01:39:46   Well, no, you don't use the spatula and tomato sauce.

01:39:48   But anyway, it is mostly like sort of discolored from like burny stuff being on it.

01:39:53   So it's like a little bit of a brown--

01:39:54   - Burny stuff.

01:39:55   - Burny stuff.

01:39:56   Yeah, like a little bit of a brown speckling.

01:39:58   But it's not colored like purple or red or any kind of like food dye color.

01:40:04   Rybur in the chat room, that's a bowl scraper.

01:40:07   That's not that kind of spatula.

01:40:10   - You're talking about the pancake turner?

01:40:11   - Flipper, if anything, but yes.

01:40:14   - Like it's shaped more like a hockey stick.

01:40:16   Yes, you could like get it underneath.

01:40:18   - I gotta say, what you're calling like a bowl scraper, I have been using those more--

01:40:26   - For eggs.

01:40:27   - Just like as like the thing that you stir stuff in a pan with.

01:40:30   - Yeah, that's not the right tool for that job.

01:40:33   Please stop doing that.

01:40:34   - Honestly, I find, like I used to be a wooden spoon person.

01:40:37   - Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:40:38   - But ultimately I find that a good flexible silicone spatula, that what you're calling

01:40:43   the bowl scraper kind of spatula, like you know, not the pancake turner but the slots,

01:40:46   but like the thing that you would like, you know, ice a cake with.

01:40:50   Like that kind of thing.

01:40:51   I have found that is actually a much better tool for stirring stuff around in a pan for

01:40:56   most types of things that I'm stirring around in pans.

01:40:58   I really enjoy it.

01:40:59   I got converted to it a couple years ago by a friend and I am solidly in that camp now.

01:41:04   Like that is the better tool for that job.

01:41:06   - So the thing my wife does and it drives me nuts, but it is still one step up from

01:41:11   the worst thing, which is using silverware.

01:41:13   - Yeah, that's definitely the worst thing.

01:41:15   - Oh, goodness.

01:41:16   - Please do not use silverware for so many reasons.

01:41:18   - Yeah, that I agree with.

01:41:20   - Using the wrong cooking tool is a step up from that and then using the correct tool

01:41:24   of course.

01:41:25   - Yeah, Erin always used to use one of these things that you're describing, Marco, for

01:41:30   scrambled eggs.

01:41:31   And for the longest time I was like, "What the hell are you doing?

01:41:34   That's why you use a spatula."

01:41:35   And then I tried it once, sir.

01:41:36   I was like, she started them and left like the little scrapery, you know, plasticy whatever

01:41:42   thing right near the pan.

01:41:45   And so I was like, "Oh, screw it.

01:41:46   I'll just use this."

01:41:47   I think both you and Erin are correct for something along those lines.

01:41:51   - When you're making eggs, you are in fact much of the time scraping the bowl essentially.

01:41:56   - Yeah, yeah, that's perfect.

01:41:57   - You know what I mean?

01:41:58   So that actually is closer.

01:41:59   - Yeah, especially if you're making scrambled eggs in a nonstick pan, this thing is perfect

01:42:03   because you really do want to get it all off the side.

01:42:06   Yeah, it makes it look like--

01:42:07   - Well, so if your pan is properly nonstick, you shouldn't need this actually.

01:42:11   This is to get things off the side that are sticking to the side.

01:42:13   Really you should be able to not even touch it with anything and just flip it and it should

01:42:18   slide right off just like in those commercials.

01:42:20   But as nonstick degrades, they become less nonstick.

01:42:24   They become more stick.

01:42:26   And so then you might need a scraper.

01:42:29   - Every pan eventually becomes a stick pan.

01:42:32   - Except for the super duper cast iron thingies, supposedly.

01:42:37   I've never successfully pulled this off, but the theory is the carbonization in a long

01:42:40   period of time and smooth glassy surface, yada yada.

01:42:44   - Yeah, I've never been convinced by the cast iron lifestyle.

01:42:49   It seems like it is--

01:42:51   - You need a grandma pan.

01:42:52   You need a pan that someone's used for 100 years that has that glassy surface that no

01:42:55   one has put their stupid metal utensils into and screwed up.

01:42:59   - John, click that most recent link in the chat.

01:43:02   It's circa 1972 spatula, so that's right in your wheelhouse in terms of era.

01:43:07   - I didn't get, hey, that's it.

01:43:09   That's not the one that I like.

01:43:10   That's the big one.

01:43:11   The small version of that is my spatula.

01:43:14   We also have the big one and that's what we use for pancakes and stuff, but I'm not married

01:43:17   to the big one.

01:43:18   I feel like the big one is too big.

01:43:19   The small one is maybe half that width.

01:43:21   That is my spatula.

01:43:22   - Okay, this is not at all what I thought you meant.

01:43:26   - Doesn't it look like a Johnny Ive thing?

01:43:28   Other than obviously the giant Rubbermaid thing, which is why I know it's Rubbermaid

01:43:30   'cause you can't not know it's Rubbermaid, but that's the only--

01:43:33   - So you can't find anything as good as that?

01:43:36   - Nope, I cannot.

01:43:38   - I hear the skepticism all the way from here.

01:43:40   - And again, not the big one, the small one.

01:43:42   God, if anyone sees the small one on eBay, I will buy it for a ridiculous price.

01:43:48   - Like I'm already running low on my grated cheese, the Oxo thing, right?

01:43:56   - Oh no, I remember you mentioned that in the past, right?

01:43:59   You're holding onto an old cheese grater?

01:44:00   - I think I have one or possibly two left unopened, but they're lifetime.

01:44:06   And my current one, I'm just like, hang on a little bit longer.

01:44:08   I'm trying to get the maximum life out of it.

01:44:09   I have seen on television a few more commercial kitchens with electric ones and that's totally

01:44:15   what I want.

01:44:16   I may not do it by hand, but I haven't found a good electric one yet.

01:44:21   So I'm always on the lookout for that.

01:44:24   But in the meantime, I got to keep my hand ones.

01:44:25   - Oh, do you see this Etsy link?

01:44:28   - Is it really from the '70s?

01:44:29   Yeah, that one in the middle, there you got it, right there.

01:44:31   That's my spatula.

01:44:32   Boom.

01:44:33   Is it from the '70s?

01:44:34   How could it, I mean, we bought it after we were--

01:44:35   - You can buy one for $74.99, John.

01:44:38   - We bought it after we were married.

01:44:40   So it's not like this is, I mean, maybe they've made it since the '70s and yeah.

01:44:44   I don't know, $70, hmm.

01:44:47   - Jesus, you're actually thinking about it?

01:44:50   I would love so much for you to go back in time to the '70s and explain to your parents

01:44:54   or grandparents, whoever bought this, that in 2019 you're gonna buy one for $75.

01:44:59   - We bought it.

01:45:00   We bought it ourselves.

01:45:01   After we were married, when you're buying stuff for your house, you gotta buy a kitchen

01:45:04   table and utensils and plates and spatulas.

01:45:07   We bought a spatula.

01:45:08   We just probably went to whatever the kitchen store and bought a bunch of cheap, you know,

01:45:13   we were like in our 20s, we were just married, we didn't have a lot of money, this is not

01:45:16   an expensive product.

01:45:18   God, I've never seen that weird soup ladle.

01:45:21   I'm really not on board with that probably, but.

01:45:25   - $75 for this piece of plastic.

01:45:26   Good God.

01:45:27   - Big and the small spatula.

01:45:29   Rubbermaid, why did you stop making these?

01:45:32   - Oh, and it's only available in black, apparently.

01:45:34   Sorry, John.

01:45:35   - Black?

01:45:36   Ew.

01:45:37   - Yeah, you can pay $75 and get the spatula pro.

01:45:40   - Wow.

01:45:41   - Actually, now that I see it in black, it does look kind of Mac Pro-y.

01:45:46   - It also, if you go to the very last photo where it's the black one and it's showing

01:45:49   the underside, it looks like it might be used.

01:45:51   You see that leading edge?

01:45:53   - Oh yeah, they get scraped up.

01:45:55   Mine is, it's like a cast iron pan where it becomes, you get a patina and sort of like,

01:46:00   it has seen so much service, because again, I've had it for like 20 years now, that it

01:46:04   is like, I don't know, I should take some pictures of it.

01:46:08   It's a pretty good looking thing after 20 years.

01:46:10   - Now, the real funny thing here is that at the bottom of this listing, it says, "Almost

01:46:13   gone, there's only three left."

01:46:15   I see that as, they have three of these, that's great.

01:46:18   You could spend $225 and have three backup spatula pros.

01:46:24   - John, you might want to consider it.

01:46:26   - What is this picture with the thing with like a spoon with slots in it?

01:46:29   I'm not on board with their spoons.

01:46:30   I'm also in the market for a good wooden spoon.

01:46:32   I have a lot of good wooden spoons, including wooden spoons for my grandmother, which are

01:46:35   my best wooden spoons, but wooden spoons eventually do start to check and crack a little bit,

01:46:40   right?

01:46:41   So, a couple of my good wooden spoons have some cracks in them.

01:46:44   - Are there advantages of using spatulas instead of wooden spoons?

01:46:47   You can put them in the dishwasher.

01:46:48   - Oh, we don't put these in the dishwasher, are you kidding?

01:46:50   He's never gone in the dishwasher.

01:46:51   The wooden spoons or the spatulas all wash my hand.

01:46:54   - Your things from the '70s probably would melt if you put them in the dishwasher.

01:46:57   They're probably--

01:46:58   - I don't think they would.

01:46:59   - They're probably leaching chemicals into your food when you use them.

01:47:02   - They go directly into hot pans, they don't melt.

01:47:04   But I wouldn't put them in the dishwasher.

01:47:06   - It's plastic from the '70s.

01:47:09   - It's not from the '70s.

01:47:10   It was manufactured in the late '90s.

01:47:13   - Fine.

01:47:14   I wouldn't put plastic from the '90s into my food today.

01:47:17   - Don't worry about it, it's fine.

01:47:19   - It's not fine.

01:47:20   We know factually it's not fine.

01:47:23   - Not all plastic is toxic.

01:47:25   - Yeah, but like--

01:47:26   - Only the stuff they use for water bottles.

01:47:28   - Yeah, right.

01:47:29   - It's not a water bottle.

01:47:30   - And plastic, it degrades and leaches weird chemicals out of itself over time.

01:47:34   It's not a good--

01:47:36   - I'm sure it's fine.

01:47:38   - This is not good.

01:47:39   - In John's defense, I think I misread 1972 as a release year, not a model number, because

01:47:43   apparently that is a model number.

01:47:45   - There you go.

01:47:46   - But it does say on this listing, item details vintage from before 2000, which is now basically

01:47:52   20 years ago.

01:47:53   - It's vintage, yeah.

01:47:54   It's vintage from when I was married in the '90s.

01:47:56   - Well, it's 20 years ago.

01:47:58   - All three of us are quite vintage at this point by these definitions.

01:48:00   - Wow, that's good to go.

01:48:02   Looking at the little codes in the back, I should look.

01:48:03   Probably that code is in the back of mine.

01:48:05   It's got the recycle symbol, huh?

01:48:06   - Yeah.

01:48:07   - So there you go.

01:48:08   - 1971 spatula.

01:48:09   - Is it the '71?

01:48:10   I can't tell what number.

01:48:11   I don't know.

01:48:12   I'll go look at mine.

01:48:14   - You should go right now.

01:48:15   - I want those spatulas.

01:48:18   - You're really thinking about spending $75 on this thing, aren't you?

01:48:20   - I mean, here's the thing.

01:48:22   My current ones are fine.

01:48:24   They're not broken.

01:48:25   And unlike my cheese grater, there's not a shelf life where I know this is gonna break

01:48:29   in three years.

01:48:30   They've never broken, but I fear one day something happening to it, someone leaving it on a burner

01:48:36   and actually does melt or something like that.

01:48:39   People are sending me links to other things on Amazon that are not my spatula.

01:48:43   This is not my spatula.

01:48:44   I've seen these in the store.

01:48:45   This is not what I want.

01:48:46   - I think you have to buy this.

01:48:49   You have to get Spatula Pro for $75.

01:48:51   - I think you might be right.

01:48:53   - The only question is how many.

01:48:57   - Which utensil?

01:48:59   Narrow spatula.

01:49:00   $74.99.

01:49:01   No, I'm not gonna do it.

01:49:02   I gotta keep my powder dry for the Mac Pro.

01:49:05   - I mean, just think about how many of these spatulas you could buy.

01:49:09   - The white is sold out anyway.

01:49:11   I would have to get the black one.

01:49:13   Yeah, no, forget it.

01:49:14   I'm not, I mean, no.

01:49:15   The Pro one looks cool, but it clashes with everything else.

01:49:19   I like to see the food stuff stuck to it.

01:49:22   It's black.

01:49:23   It's hard to see what kind of gunk is on there.

01:49:24   [beeping]

01:49:26   [ Silence ]