312: Fashion Phase


00:00:00   I see you writing really heinously named C functions,

00:00:03   and so I know you're in your happy place.

00:00:06   - See, those names make perfect sense in the context

00:00:10   of the other accelerate framework functions.

00:00:12   Like, I've now, if you look at the names of the functions

00:00:16   in the accelerate framework, they are crazy.

00:00:19   They at first make no sense.

00:00:21   But they are named with a convention,

00:00:24   and I now understand that convention,

00:00:26   so I'm now able to guess function names

00:00:28   and even what the parameters are

00:00:31   based solely on their signature,

00:00:33   which is not obvious, 'cause it's like,

00:00:35   you know, const float a, float b, int c.

00:00:39   Like, it's very, very, like, you know,

00:00:41   it's single-letter names like that,

00:00:42   usually, you know, abc and n.

00:00:45   And I've used these so much now

00:00:48   that not only can I guess the names of the functions

00:00:51   most of the time and get it right,

00:00:52   but I can also guess the parameters most of the time

00:00:55   and get them right, too.

00:00:56   So I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

00:00:58   I might be using accelerate too much.

00:01:00   - Can we just talk about how hideous this,

00:01:03   I'm looking at your tweet, which if this makes the show,

00:01:06   we'll put in the show notes.

00:01:07   Line 41 reads as follows.

00:01:09   And I'm gonna read this whole friggin' thing,

00:01:10   'cause it's awful.

00:01:12   Underscore, underscore, inline, underscore, underscore,

00:01:14   space, underscore, underscore,

00:01:15   attribute, underscore, underscore.

00:01:17   (jazzy music)

00:01:20   Int, space, capital N, close parenthesis.

00:01:23   How do you not vomit all over yourself reading this?

00:01:26   And this is where all the Objective-C people

00:01:27   are gonna come and bite me on Twitter

00:01:29   and be like, oh well, it's thrifty, so ugly.

00:01:31   How can you look at this and not vomit all over yourself?

00:01:34   It's hideous.

00:01:35   - It follows conventions.

00:01:37   - Oh, god.

00:01:38   - If you wanna make fun of me,

00:01:39   make fun of the actual content of these functions,

00:01:41   which also makes no sense.

00:01:43   (laughing)

00:01:44   - Why is the N capital in the argument?

00:01:47   - Because in the DSP functions, they always capitalize that.

00:01:51   I don't know why it's, well, actually,

00:01:53   they usually capitalize almost all their function arguments,

00:01:55   'cause usually it's like A, B, C, N, like that kind of thing.

00:01:59   - But here, inputDB and outputDB

00:02:00   don't start with an initial capital.

00:02:02   - That's true.

00:02:03   I'm trying to match the convention reasonably well.

00:02:05   Now, if I matched it completely,

00:02:07   that would be const float capital A and float capital B.

00:02:11   But I decided to make my variable names a little bit nicer

00:02:14   since I don't write documentation.

00:02:16   - That's not true, I see two comments on this.

00:02:19   (laughing)

00:02:20   - Those are not documentation.

00:02:21   - That is the documentation.

00:02:22   - Also, truth is, as much as I'm making fun of,

00:02:26   really, the language in which this is written

00:02:28   by making fun of you,

00:02:30   as I've gotten older as a developer,

00:02:32   I have found that,

00:02:34   I don't know if mimicking is the word I'm looking for,

00:02:36   but kind of conforming to the code around you

00:02:39   is almost always a wise choice.

00:02:42   Because even if the style is not your style,

00:02:45   it's going to stick out as such a sore thumb

00:02:48   and actually be more of a stumbling block

00:02:50   when you try to figure out,

00:02:52   okay, all of this code looks identical

00:02:54   except this one other class over here,

00:02:57   these two other functions over here

00:02:59   that look nothing like anything else.

00:03:00   What the hell is happening?

00:03:02   So, as much as I'm poking fun at you,

00:03:03   you've actually made the correct choice here,

00:03:05   even though it is frickin' hideous.

00:03:07   - Right, and you can see, in this screenshot,

00:03:09   I call five vector functions,

00:03:12   three of which are the VDSB syntax,

00:03:14   and you can see, vfill, okay, it's vector fill, right?

00:03:18   Vsdiv is vector scalar divide.

00:03:20   Vsmul is vector scalar multiply,

00:03:22   which means that the first argument is a vector,

00:03:24   the second argument is a scalar,

00:03:26   the argument is where it goes, right?

00:03:27   And same thing, like, vv pow f is a different vector library,

00:03:32   the vv part, and it's dealing with vectors.

00:03:34   Pow f is a C function.

00:03:36   This is the vector version of the pow f function.

00:03:38   And pow is the power function,

00:03:40   and f is the floating point version

00:03:42   as opposed to the double version.

00:03:44   The names make sense when you are familiar

00:03:46   with their conventions.

00:03:47   Like, I always had to look at it.

00:03:49   Really, until this week, I had to look at the documentation

00:03:52   every single time I called any of these functions.

00:03:54   And it still proves hard to read sometimes,

00:03:59   but they are ridiculously fast and powerful,

00:04:01   so I really do enjoy them.

00:04:03   - Now, is it possible for you to write these

00:04:06   as kind of standalone, what is it,

00:04:09   like audio units or something like that,

00:04:11   such that they could be used in other apps?

00:04:13   - I don't know how to write audio units,

00:04:16   like in the Mac sense, where you can have plugins

00:04:18   for logic and stuff.

00:04:19   I looked into it a long time ago when I had a crazy idea

00:04:22   to make a logic plugin to record who was talking

00:04:26   at any given time in a podcast,

00:04:28   so I could embed that as metadata,

00:04:29   and then display in the app,

00:04:30   like somebody's pulsing Twitter head as they talked,

00:04:33   so you could tell who's talking.

00:04:34   (laughing)

00:04:35   Great feature idea, totally unimplemented in practice,

00:04:38   'cause it requires editor support, basically,

00:04:40   and I don't control an editor.

00:04:42   This is one of the reasons I wanna write an editor.

00:04:43   So I did look into how to create an audio unit back then

00:04:47   to see like maybe I could write a logic plugin

00:04:50   that could do this and output it along with the files,

00:04:52   and the answer really ended up being no, I can't,

00:04:54   but what I discovered back then was that the documentation

00:04:59   for audio unit plugins or any kind of plugin on Mac OS

00:05:04   is pretty much nonexistent and/or very outdated,

00:05:08   and when I started playing with it,

00:05:10   I very quickly realized this is not an area

00:05:13   I should be playing in.

00:05:14   - If you'll permit me a small tangent,

00:05:16   we talked over the last couple of weeks

00:05:18   about my adventures with HomeKit and HomeBridge

00:05:20   and things like that, and we had talked a little bit

00:05:22   about how I would like to, and if someone started writing

00:05:25   a HomeBridge plugin, I think in this case

00:05:29   it would actually be called a platform in their parlance,

00:05:31   but anyway, a thing wherein I can control my thermostat

00:05:33   from HomeKit, because I don't think I would ever do it.

00:05:37   I just want to be able to.

00:05:38   It annoys me that I can't.

00:05:40   Well, I went looking through the HomeBridge documentation,

00:05:43   and oh boy, you think your documentation is bad.

00:05:47   At least this is only code that will ever be used by you,

00:05:50   hypothetically, until you sell Overcast,

00:05:52   but that joke's probably a little old now.

00:05:54   Anyway.

00:05:55   - Bad week to give that joke.

00:05:57   - Yeah, actually.

00:05:58   (laughing)

00:05:59   It's all come back around.

00:06:00   See, I'm smarter than I thought.

00:06:01   Woo hoo.

00:06:02   Anyway, your code is only for you.

00:06:04   You know how you work, et cetera,

00:06:06   but HomeBridge is by design a plugin-based architecture,

00:06:11   and about half their documentation is,

00:06:14   "Ah, just look through the code.

00:06:15   "You'll figure it out."

00:06:16   And oh my goodness, I have forgotten,

00:06:19   and I guess I've just gotten spoiled,

00:06:21   I have forgotten how disheartening and awful it is

00:06:25   when you're trying to use an API,

00:06:26   and the documentation is,

00:06:27   "Eh, just look through the code.

00:06:29   "You'll get it."

00:06:30   Like, it's truly maddening,

00:06:32   and I don't understand how HomeBridge specifically

00:06:34   has the unbelievable breadth of support that it has,

00:06:38   because I've looked at this a few times,

00:06:40   and it's made me wanna jump off my roof,

00:06:43   because there's nothing there.

00:06:44   It's seriously one of the,

00:06:46   there's a bunch of like,

00:06:48   and I don't know what the equivalent is in JavaScript,

00:06:50   because I'm not really the best JavaScript programmer,

00:06:53   but there's like structs and enums and things like that,

00:06:55   that you have to,

00:06:56   and protocols that you have to adhere to,

00:06:58   and implement, and so on and so forth,

00:07:00   and their documentation for all these is,

00:07:02   "Oh, here's a 3,000-line JavaScript file.

00:07:05   "You'll figure it out."

00:07:06   It's just terrible.

00:07:07   Like, I don't understand how people think that's okay,

00:07:09   and again, the 22-year-old developer in me

00:07:13   would totally just pew, pew, pew,

00:07:15   shoot from the hip, and who cares?

00:07:17   They'll figure it out

00:07:18   if they really wanna do it that badly,

00:07:19   but the old man developer in me is like,

00:07:21   "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

00:07:22   "If you're gonna make some sort of API,

00:07:24   "you need some frickin' documentation,

00:07:26   "and some documentation that doesn't require you

00:07:29   "to go spelunking through the code

00:07:30   "in order to figure all this out."

00:07:32   It's just infuriating.

00:07:34   So yeah, I don't blame you for kind of punting

00:07:36   on this audio unit thing.

00:07:38   - Yeah, this is also why I work alone.

00:07:40   (laughing)

00:07:42   - Just gonna let Casey get away with enum.

00:07:45   - That's how I pronounce it in my head.

00:07:46   - Ugh, ugh.

00:07:47   - It's not enum.

00:07:48   - Yeah, it's for enum-eration.

00:07:50   - It sure is enum.

00:07:51   - Oh, come on.

00:07:52   - No, it's because it's enum-eration.

00:07:54   - I understand what it's short for,

00:07:55   but I'm saying that, you say that word as enum.

00:07:58   - If you can say enum, I can say mauve.

00:08:00   - (laughing) Mauve, yeah, mauve is just you.

00:08:02   Enum, Casey has a posse, but it's a posse that's wrong.

00:08:07   It's totally enum.

00:08:08   - Nope.

00:08:09   - It is absolutely enum.

00:08:10   And also, since we're airing grievances,

00:08:12   who knew it was Festivus?

00:08:13   I would like to ask the ATP listeners

00:08:16   to come to my defense and explain to Mr. Syracuse

00:08:19   that P-I-C-T-S is not a thing.

00:08:22   Yes, it may have been a thing in 1983

00:08:24   when I was a year old, but it's not a thing.

00:08:26   If you're talking about pictures on the computer,

00:08:28   P-I-C-S, no T, no T is necessary.

00:08:31   Stop trying to make T happen.

00:08:33   - I was writing pics before you even on the internet, son.

00:08:36   P-I-C-T-S is a perfectly valid alternate spelling

00:08:39   of the thing we're both talking about.

00:08:40   - No, I'm with Casey on this.

00:08:42   It's pics.

00:08:42   It's not pics or it didn't happen.

00:08:44   It's pics.

00:08:45   (laughing)

00:08:46   - People abbreviated the word picture

00:08:48   long before that meme existed.

00:08:50   There was a thing called Usenet, youngins.

00:08:52   - I'm familiar with Usenet.

00:08:54   - Yeah, me too.

00:08:54   It's a wonderful highway full of trucks.

00:08:56   (laughing)

00:08:57   Anyway, pic is perfectly fine.

00:09:00   It's a perfectly fine variant.

00:09:01   - God, here it is, I think I'm old,

00:09:05   and then I talk to you, John,

00:09:06   and I'm reminded I am but a wee whippersnapper.

00:09:08   - I'm a little bit older, but it's a little bit that counts.

00:09:11   - Last we saw our heroes, which really isn't us,

00:09:18   if I recall correctly,

00:09:19   Facebook's enterprise cert was polled,

00:09:21   and Google had confessed

00:09:23   that they had been doing similar shenanigans,

00:09:26   but there had been no punishment at that time.

00:09:29   Since we recorded, Google got punished,

00:09:32   and I think they're back up now, is that correct?

00:09:35   They had their enterprise cert revoked,

00:09:36   and I think that they're restored.

00:09:39   - Everybody got everything back.

00:09:41   - Delightful.

00:09:41   - Yeah, basically they were punished for like,

00:09:43   just long enough for us to record our podcast.

00:09:45   (laughing)

00:09:46   - I think the kids call that a hot second, Marco.

00:09:48   - They call it picths.

00:09:49   - Yeah, they call them picths.

00:09:50   - A hot second-ts.

00:09:52   (laughing)

00:09:54   - So anyway, so Facebook did get a pretty severe wrist slap,

00:09:57   and then Google tried to avoid it by confessing,

00:10:00   and then they got a pretty severe wrist slap.

00:10:02   However, these wrist slaps only lasted

00:10:05   for a couple of working days.

00:10:06   It really wasn't that bad in the grand scheme of things.

00:10:07   On the one side, I kinda wanna be like,

00:10:09   man, they should've been out for like a week or two,

00:10:12   just to really show 'em who the boss is,

00:10:14   but on the other side of the coin,

00:10:15   like being immature like that is really not constructive,

00:10:18   and so this was probably the right way

00:10:20   to do it in my opinion, but I don't know.

00:10:21   Marco, what do you think about that?

00:10:23   - What Facebook did was pretty severe.

00:10:25   I was hoping for a more severe reaction from Apple

00:10:29   in the sense that, you know,

00:10:30   not pulling their apps from the App Store,

00:10:31   because that wouldn't be justified,

00:10:32   and that would hurt Apple.

00:10:34   I don't think Facebook should have

00:10:36   enterprise distribution anymore, period.

00:10:38   The fact that they got it back after like a day

00:10:41   is a little less of a punishment

00:10:44   than I think they deserved.

00:10:45   That being said, you could make the argument like,

00:10:47   yeah, Apple made their point.

00:10:48   I think Facebook got off pretty easy

00:10:49   considering what they did.

00:10:51   - Yeah, I think both parties are just highlighting

00:10:53   whatever everybody already knows,

00:10:54   is that this is a special relationship, as we used to say,

00:10:56   between the US and the UK, between the big companies.

00:11:01   - It's not the same.

00:11:02   The App Store is not the same for Facebook

00:11:03   as it is for you independent developers, just not.

00:11:05   Everyone knows that, everyone agrees to it.

00:11:08   Apple, if pressed and actually forced to answer a question,

00:11:10   would also admit it if you pressed them on like,

00:11:13   hey, I heard Netflix has been paying 15%

00:11:14   long before you extended that deal to everyone else.

00:11:16   Why is that?

00:11:17   And they would say, they wouldn't say this, but the truth is,

00:11:19   it's because Netflix is Netflix and you're not Netflix.

00:11:21   Like, it's the truth that's out there, and we see it.

00:11:23   Like, if you had some kind of rule violation

00:11:26   as egregious as that,

00:11:27   you wouldn't get your cert back in a day.

00:11:29   Like, you wouldn't even get an email response in a day.

00:11:31   Like, it would be, if you got it back at all,

00:11:34   if they could bother to pay attention to you,

00:11:37   it would be a long time,

00:11:38   and you'd have to do a lot of groveling

00:11:39   because you don't have any power in that relationship.

00:11:41   And like I said last week,

00:11:42   this is more or less how it should be

00:11:44   because we're not all the same.

00:11:45   And I think a system that did treat everybody

00:11:48   exactly the same would be bad for everybody

00:11:50   because, you know, it would just,

00:11:52   as we start World War III,

00:11:54   like, it doesn't matter if the big superpower

00:11:58   crushes a tiny individual,

00:11:59   but if two big superpowers get angry at each other,

00:12:01   we all die in the hail of missiles or whatever.

00:12:04   Anyway, that was last week's analogy.

00:12:07   We'll move on.

00:12:08   It's just, the world is the way it is,

00:12:10   we're just living in it.

00:12:12   - Apple has made some more comments on the FaceTime bug.

00:12:15   If you recall, you were able to snoop

00:12:18   on somebody's audio and/or video

00:12:20   if you did a series of steps quickly

00:12:22   and in just the right order.

00:12:23   And we, especially I, had gotten pretty fired up

00:12:26   about the fact that Apple didn't seem to take

00:12:28   the security report on this seriously

00:12:30   and eventually told the mom of the individual

00:12:33   who discovered it to create a developer account

00:12:36   and file a radar, which I still think is the biggest

00:12:38   screw you I've heard in a while.

00:12:41   But Apple has commented on this.

00:12:42   They say, quote, "We have fixed the group FaceTime

00:12:44   "security bug on Apple servers,

00:12:45   "and we will issue a software update

00:12:46   "to re-enable the feature for users next week,"

00:12:48   which, as we record, is this week.

00:12:50   "We thank the Thompson family," who reported it,

00:12:52   "for reporting the bug.

00:12:54   "We apologize for customers, blah, blah, blah.

00:12:56   "We want to assure customers that we're not idiots

00:12:58   "yada, yada, yada."

00:12:59   And then back to actual quoting.

00:13:01   "We are committed to improving the process

00:13:02   "by which we receive and escalate these reports

00:13:03   "in order to get them to the right people

00:13:05   "as fast as possible.

00:13:06   "We take the security of our products extremely seriously,

00:13:09   "and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust

00:13:11   "that Apple customers place in us."

00:13:15   Okay, so they're kind of admitting that something broke.

00:13:18   That's a step, right?

00:13:19   - Well, the statement we read last time was just like,

00:13:21   hey, there's a problem, blah, blah, blah.

00:13:22   This one has two important features that you just read.

00:13:25   One is acknowledgement of the family

00:13:27   that found and reported the bug,

00:13:28   which wasn't mentioned earlier.

00:13:30   It's like, why bring up the fact

00:13:33   that you missed this for a week

00:13:35   and that someone reported it?

00:13:36   They weren't even mentioned at all.

00:13:37   But since then, all the sort of media coverage of this

00:13:41   or whatever has made it the correct PR move

00:13:43   to acknowledge what everyone else is saying,

00:13:45   that hey, not only is this a bug,

00:13:47   we may or may not be super mad at you about the bug,

00:13:49   but the real problem is that you ignore these people

00:13:52   who are trying to do the right thing.

00:13:53   So the people get acknowledged,

00:13:55   and then they say not only here are the facts about the bug,

00:13:58   but also we are committed to improving,

00:14:01   is a way of saying we recognize

00:14:03   that there was a problem with the process

00:14:05   by which we receive and escalate these reports.

00:14:07   So good second PR statement on this issue from Apple.

00:14:12   And they also, apparently an executive went to meet

00:14:15   the kid who found the bug.

00:14:17   - I would love to know who that was.

00:14:19   - Does Eddie Q show up at your house?

00:14:20   - I'm just about to say that.

00:14:21   - If Eddie Q shows up on his way to work

00:14:23   with the shirt untucked, you know,

00:14:25   he'll be all right up to your house,

00:14:26   just screeches through a hall and say,

00:14:27   hey kid, heard you found a bug, good job.

00:14:29   Wanna go ride in the Ferrari?

00:14:30   And then young Casey comes out and says, yes, please.

00:14:33   - Why is it me?

00:14:35   - 'Cause you got to ride in your neighbor's Ferrari.

00:14:36   - Oh, okay, fair enough.

00:14:38   - You forgot that story that you told

00:14:39   twice in the spot, guys.

00:14:40   - Did I ever tell you about the story?

00:14:41   (laughing)

00:14:44   It's so weird though.

00:14:46   How is it that we all assumed it would be Eddie,

00:14:48   shirt undone, shirt untucked?

00:14:50   - 'Cause that would be the funniest.

00:14:51   He doesn't have anything else to do.

00:14:52   He's not busy, right?

00:14:53   (laughing)

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00:16:54   (upbeat music)

00:16:58   - So I've got this MacBook Air.

00:16:59   I think I talked about it when I first got it,

00:17:00   and it's replacing the MacBook Air

00:17:03   that my children destroyed,

00:17:04   one of my children more than the other.

00:17:07   - Not that you're angry.

00:17:08   - Yeah, the old one was a 2011, it had MagSafe,

00:17:10   and this is a laptop shared by two kids,

00:17:12   and they're constantly taking it from the charger

00:17:15   and just yanking it off and putting it back on,

00:17:16   and now we change to a USB-C only world,

00:17:19   but now they have to deal with the USB-C connector,

00:17:20   which for all its can't put it in the wrong way attributes,

00:17:25   still is much more problem prone, let's say,

00:17:29   for kids who don't care than MagSafe,

00:17:32   because you have to kind of pull it straight out.

00:17:34   You can't yank it sideways,

00:17:35   and it's just not the type of connector

00:17:37   that I want it to be plugged in and unplugged all the time.

00:17:39   So after I talked about the laptop

00:17:42   and the various things on the show,

00:17:43   I did get one of those like turn a USB-C port

00:17:47   into a MagSafe-like thing, connectors.

00:17:50   We'll put a link in the show notes to the one I have.

00:17:53   It's a typical Amazon product with a description

00:17:56   that is a mile long.

00:17:57   USB-C to USB-C magnetic charging power cable charger

00:18:00   adapter replacement for MagSafe and BrakeSafe

00:18:02   compatible with MacBook Air 2018,

00:18:03   new iPad Pro, Google Pixel, 3XL,

00:18:05   Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and more.

00:18:07   - Is that all?

00:18:08   - That is the name of this product.

00:18:10   That's just the name, that's not the description.

00:18:13   It's from Leonis Tech or something,

00:18:15   but you'll see lots of products that are like this.

00:18:18   Now, I've had this thing for, I don't know,

00:18:21   I got the 2018 MacBook Air, whatever that show was

00:18:23   a couple weeks ago, a month ago.

00:18:25   So I haven't had it for a long time.

00:18:27   So I can't vouch for the quality of this thing.

00:18:28   I can't say that it's not gonna burn down your house

00:18:30   if you buy it.

00:18:31   Maybe it's gonna flake out in a week.

00:18:35   I have no idea.

00:18:36   I do know that the little tiny nubbin

00:18:37   you put in the USB-C thing

00:18:40   seems like it's in there really good,

00:18:41   and I'm wondering how I'm ever gonna get it out

00:18:43   without somehow prying it out.

00:18:44   Carry carefully with some kind of tool

00:18:46   that's not gonna scratch my laptop.

00:18:48   But whatever, nothing ever goes in those ports

00:18:49   because we don't have anything that goes in those ports

00:18:51   because nobody has anything that goes in those ports

00:18:52   except for dongles.

00:18:53   (laughing)

00:18:55   So the only thing that ever,

00:18:57   I think it's fine to just sort of dedicate that part of this.

00:18:59   And we've been using it

00:19:00   and the other important attribute this connector has

00:19:02   is it's a right angle connector

00:19:04   because the place where the MacBook Air was,

00:19:06   like the cable goes to the back of the desk, right?

00:19:09   So it goes into the side of the laptop

00:19:10   from the back of the desk.

00:19:11   And I have a little thing that holds it

00:19:12   so it doesn't fall down.

00:19:13   Anyway, it's been working fine.

00:19:15   Like it provides the attributes of MagSafe

00:19:18   in exchange for this little nubbin

00:19:19   on the side of my computer.

00:19:21   I hope it continues to work fine,

00:19:24   but you know, the cable is a little bit stiff.

00:19:26   That's probably the worst thing I can say about it.

00:19:28   But otherwise it's working

00:19:29   and the kids are successfully able to plug and unplug it

00:19:33   without really breaking anything.

00:19:34   So I have put yet another bandaid on my computer

00:19:39   that already has a giant bandaid

00:19:40   underneath the entire keyboard.

00:19:42   - Wonderful.

00:19:43   - Yeah, I'm curious to hear how that works out long term

00:19:45   because I also looked into if any of those

00:19:49   fake MagSafe USB-C adapter things were good.

00:19:52   And when I looked, which was admittedly about a year ago,

00:19:55   the conclusion I came to was that

00:19:58   this is one of those product categories

00:19:59   where everything is terrible.

00:20:01   So I just didn't get any of them.

00:20:02   But yeah, so if that works out, let us know.

00:20:05   - Yeah, if something's gonna be terrible about it,

00:20:06   like I knew out of the box,

00:20:08   the only thing I could say is the cable was a little stiff.

00:20:10   Like the kinks that are in the cable,

00:20:12   they don't straight, it's a braided cable or whatever,

00:20:14   but they didn't straighten out that well.

00:20:16   But the connection felt solid.

00:20:18   It never failed to power the computer or anything.

00:20:22   Like it just works exactly like you'd expect it to work.

00:20:25   Now long term, it could wear out or get crappy

00:20:27   or start arcing or do something terrible.

00:20:29   So I have no idea.

00:20:30   Because again, with these sort of brands

00:20:32   that I've never heard of

00:20:33   with these really long descriptions always,

00:20:35   you know, make me a little bit worried.

00:20:36   But it seems to be working fine.

00:20:38   So I'll definitely let you know if it catches fire.

00:20:41   - Please do.

00:20:42   Alright Marco, speaking of USB-C things,

00:20:45   tell us about your light-up charging cable.

00:20:47   - Yeah, I think I mentioned this a while ago

00:20:49   that I had just gotten it,

00:20:50   and I just wanted to say that I've been really enjoying it.

00:20:52   So I have solved my main issue

00:20:54   with the bad USB-C power brick transition,

00:20:59   which was that we lost the little LED on the cable

00:21:03   that told us whether our laptop was charging or charged

00:21:06   by lighting up orange or green.

00:21:08   And company MOSHI, M-O-S-H-I, makes one for about 30 bucks

00:21:13   that is a USB-C power cable, just C to C,

00:21:17   and on one end of it, it has an LED

00:21:19   that works exactly that way.

00:21:21   And it's not totally perfect for all devices

00:21:24   because I'm assuming that it distinguishes

00:21:26   charging versus charge based on just like

00:21:28   how much power is going through it, a little bit or a lot.

00:21:31   So like some devices, it can maybe show

00:21:34   the like charged green state

00:21:35   when it's actually still charging.

00:21:37   But for the most part, like for computers,

00:21:39   it works fine, for iPads, you know, for everything else,

00:21:41   like it works totally fine.

00:21:42   And definitely for every laptop I've tried it on.

00:21:44   And so it's wonderful.

00:21:45   So I now have light up charging cables back,

00:21:49   something that was standard on all Apple laptops

00:21:51   until a few years ago.

00:21:52   And it's still, it is exactly as useful as I remember it.

00:21:56   I'm very happy I went back to this.

00:21:58   So we'll put a link in the show notes

00:21:59   to these MOSHI cables.

00:22:01   - Since you seem to be augmenting

00:22:03   all of your naked robotic cores,

00:22:05   would you like to tell me about your screen protector

00:22:07   on your iPad?

00:22:08   - Sure, yeah, so when we last spoke,

00:22:11   I was trying the Paperlike screen protector.

00:22:14   And this was probably about a month ago now,

00:22:15   it's been a while.

00:22:16   And I said that I had one of the tempered glass

00:22:19   fancy ones on the way.

00:22:22   And I have since tried them both.

00:22:25   I have, I spent a lot of time

00:22:26   with the Paperlike screen protector.

00:22:28   I spent a little bit of time with the tempered glass one

00:22:32   from some fancy company that is Japanese

00:22:34   that everyone says makes the best ones,

00:22:36   I forget the name.

00:22:37   And I gotta say, I'm currently rocking

00:22:41   a naked robotic core iPad Pro.

00:22:43   And the funny thing is, in the meantime,

00:22:45   our friend Mike Hurley on the Connected podcast

00:22:48   has started using the Paperlike kind of because I did.

00:22:51   (laughs)

00:22:52   And he uses the Apple Pencil a lot more than I do.

00:22:55   And one of the benefits of it was that it provides

00:22:57   a much nicer texture when using the pencil.

00:23:01   And he sounds like he's similarly on the fence about it

00:23:04   because it does make the screen look worse,

00:23:06   but it makes it feel better.

00:23:08   I went back to just naked iPad after trying.

00:23:12   The tempered glass one I found actually even worse

00:23:15   than the Paperlike in pretty much every aspect.

00:23:19   It was harder to install correctly.

00:23:21   The resulting texture was not as nice.

00:23:25   It was much more harsh.

00:23:26   It felt more like sandpaper.

00:23:28   It was not a very nice texture, in my opinion.

00:23:30   It was not nice with the pencil or touch in that way.

00:23:33   It just wasn't very good.

00:23:34   I kept it on for like two days,

00:23:36   and I'm like, "All right, I'm done with this."

00:23:38   And I haven't yet put back the Paperlike

00:23:41   because to make a matte finish,

00:23:43   you basically have to make a whole bunch

00:23:44   of tiny bumps that diffuse light.

00:23:48   And so what it ends up looking like

00:23:50   is a kind of slightly blurry film over the entire screen.

00:23:54   And so the screen itself ends up looking worse.

00:23:57   One big issue I had with it was

00:23:59   when I would take it out of the house,

00:24:01   when sun hit it, the glare was way higher

00:24:04   on the matte screen than it was on the naked iPad screen.

00:24:08   And so it was actually harder to use in the sun also

00:24:10   'cause of that glare.

00:24:11   I'd have to crank the brightness way up

00:24:13   to even have a chance.

00:24:14   And then of course I'm using way more battery,

00:24:17   and it still wasn't very legible in bright sun.

00:24:20   So I noticed how bad it looked more often

00:24:25   than I appreciated how good it felt.

00:24:27   And the transition back to going naked again was rough

00:24:32   because when you're used to your finger gliding smoothly

00:24:35   over that wonderful feeling matte texture,

00:24:38   and then you go back to glass that starts out

00:24:42   with no fingerprints on it so it has no greasy coating

00:24:44   to help you move faster,

00:24:45   it was actually unpleasant to use my iPad

00:24:49   for that first day.

00:24:50   The transition coming down from a screen protector

00:24:52   is really rough.

00:24:53   But after a couple days, I stopped noticing

00:24:56   and I went back to the old way

00:24:58   just using it the way everyone else does.

00:24:59   And while I'm not happy with how incredibly fingerprinty

00:25:04   it is now, I'm not happy with the status quo

00:25:07   of using it the normal way,

00:25:09   but I was more unhappy with the downsides

00:25:13   of the screen protector than I am with the downsides

00:25:16   of the regular screen.

00:25:18   So for now, even though I have an extra paper like

00:25:21   in the drawer that I can stick on at any time,

00:25:23   I think I'm just not gonna use it.

00:25:25   I think I'm going without it

00:25:26   because even though the stock screen setup

00:25:30   is totally flawed with how greasy and horrible it gets,

00:25:34   and even though the paper does feel better

00:25:36   and is better with the pencil,

00:25:38   those were not strong enough advantages

00:25:40   to make it worth its disadvantages for me.

00:25:43   - That makes sense.

00:25:44   Somewhat surprised that both of you stuck with it

00:25:47   even as long as you did,

00:25:48   but it can't hurt to try, so I'm glad you did.

00:25:51   - So what's the flaw in the screen?

00:25:53   How would you make the stock screen better?

00:25:56   - Before the Apple Pencil, before the iPad Pro,

00:26:01   the oleophobic coatings they would use on iPads and iPhones

00:26:04   would not get as visibly fingerprinty as these do.

00:26:09   Ever since the Pro came out with the pencil support,

00:26:11   they have changed the oleophobic coating,

00:26:13   and I assume it's because the pencil wasn't good

00:26:16   with the previous kind of coating.

00:26:18   Maybe it scratched the coating off,

00:26:19   or maybe the coating did weird things to the pencil,

00:26:22   who knows?

00:26:23   Whatever the case, the old coating was not suitable

00:26:25   to work with the Apple Pencil.

00:26:26   And so the new coating, it just doesn't seem as good

00:26:30   at repelling oils, and so it just gets really greasy

00:26:34   looking really fast, and it looks gross,

00:26:36   and it makes content on screen kinda hard to see sometimes.

00:26:39   Like, it's a different way to a screen protector.

00:26:42   Like, you gotta wipe it on your pants

00:26:44   to just be able to see all the stuff on screen.

00:26:48   - I can see the fingerprintiness

00:26:50   when the screen is not on on mine,

00:26:52   but when the screen's on,

00:26:53   I don't really notice it that much.

00:26:55   I don't know, do you actually know for a fact

00:26:57   that they changed the coating,

00:26:58   or are you just guessing

00:26:59   because the screens look so different?

00:27:00   - No, I know for a fact it has changed,

00:27:02   and it was pencil-related.

00:27:04   I mostly see it when I'm scrolling content.

00:27:07   So like, even if you're using it,

00:27:08   like, especially if you have a light background

00:27:11   being displayed, like a webpage, and you're scrolling,

00:27:13   you can see all the crap and grease that's staying still

00:27:17   on the screen as you're scrolling

00:27:18   the light content under it.

00:27:20   (upbeat music)

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00:29:11   (upbeat music)

00:29:14   - Angel Arendt is out at Apple,

00:29:17   which took me by quite a bit of surprise,

00:29:20   not to say that Apple is of the habit

00:29:22   of running executive departures by me or anything,

00:29:24   but I didn't hear any sort of rumblings

00:29:28   and didn't see any smoke to indicate that this was coming.

00:29:31   But Apple has said that Angel is leaving

00:29:35   and that Deirdre O'Brien,

00:29:37   who apparently was senior vice president of People,

00:29:41   which I take to mean HR,

00:29:42   is now going to suck up retail as well,

00:29:46   which seems like a bit of an odd pairing, but whatever.

00:29:49   But Angel was there for about five years.

00:29:51   I have some different things that I'd like to talk about,

00:29:55   but my initial reaction was that it was a bit of a bummer,

00:30:00   'cause to me it seems like she's a very, very,

00:30:03   very smart woman who certainly has plenty of great experience

00:30:07   and seemed to be making some really interesting changes

00:30:11   to the Apple Store.

00:30:12   So my initial reaction was, well, oh, that stinks.

00:30:16   But then I thought, and we were in a couple of slacks

00:30:19   where this was discussed,

00:30:21   I was thinking about how I do or do not really like

00:30:25   going to the Apple Store,

00:30:26   and we've talked about this before on this show,

00:30:29   that for East Coasters going to the Apple Store,

00:30:31   it's kind of frustrating because there's no order to it

00:30:36   and no lines and no places where you can go

00:30:38   and find a cash register or anything like that.

00:30:41   So none of that necessarily was Angel's fault.

00:30:43   In fact, I think most of that predated her,

00:30:45   if not all of it, but I don't know.

00:30:47   It seems like it would be interesting

00:30:50   to be able to tweak the setup a little bit.

00:30:53   And like I said, I have some other thoughts about this,

00:30:55   but I wanted to give you guys a chance to have,

00:30:57   I don't know, like an opening statement, if you will.

00:30:59   So John, how do you feel about this?

00:31:01   - Anytime there's any big executive news like this,

00:31:05   there's always two obvious angles on the story.

00:31:09   One is to talk about the sort of palace drama

00:31:14   or court intrigue or whatever phrase

00:31:15   that I'm not pulling out of thin air

00:31:18   that applies to this of like,

00:31:19   why is this person leaving?

00:31:22   Were they fired?

00:31:24   Were they not performing well?

00:31:26   Why are they on their way out?

00:31:28   Whose power is ascendant?

00:31:31   What does it mean that the new person got the job?

00:31:33   Stuff like that.

00:31:34   Part of the reason we can have that discussion

00:31:36   is kind of like the Netflix and Facebook and Google

00:31:39   versus individual developer situation.

00:31:42   When you're a regular person and a regular employee

00:31:46   and you get fired, they just fire you.

00:31:48   But if you climb high enough on the org chart,

00:31:51   very, very rarely are you actually fired.

00:31:55   Even if they do want to fire you,

00:31:58   they let you leave in a way that makes it seem

00:32:02   like you weren't fired.

00:32:04   So that's why we can have these discussions like,

00:32:07   is this person actually leaving

00:32:08   to spend more time with their family?

00:32:10   Or is that just the phrase they use

00:32:13   when they want someone to leave,

00:32:14   but they're so important that they can't say,

00:32:16   yeah, we didn't like the job this person was doing,

00:32:17   so we fired them.

00:32:18   And it's easy to get caught up in that aspect of the thing,

00:32:23   like the personal drama or whatever.

00:32:25   Palace intrigue, maybe that's, I'm getting closer.

00:32:27   (laughing)

00:32:28   But the fact is we don't know any of that stuff.

00:32:30   We don't work for Apple.

00:32:31   We don't have any line on the executive.

00:32:33   Certainly Apple's not gonna talk about that type of stuff.

00:32:36   So we can speculate to some degree,

00:32:38   especially about whether someone was sent on their way

00:32:43   in some fashion or encouraged to leave,

00:32:45   because that does have some relevance

00:32:46   to the future of the company

00:32:48   and the direction of the company or whatever.

00:32:49   But the details, we can't really know.

00:32:51   Although I do find myself getting sidetracked in this thing

00:32:54   and thinking much more so than the individual developer

00:32:58   versus Facebook, Google, or Netflix situation,

00:33:00   how incredibly unfair it is

00:33:02   that the most important jobs with the most responsibility

00:33:06   and the most influence in the lives

00:33:08   of the most number of other people

00:33:10   get to have this graceful exit,

00:33:12   even if everybody hated them and they did a bad job.

00:33:15   So we can't fire them.

00:33:17   Well, then what?

00:33:17   They would have trouble getting another job.

00:33:19   And no matter what they do,

00:33:21   say they're sexually harassing somebody,

00:33:24   but say they're just terrible at their job.

00:33:27   Say they don't show up and they yell at people

00:33:29   and they make bad decisions all the time

00:33:31   and the company goes down the tubes.

00:33:32   It's like, well, but they're an executive.

00:33:34   So give them a multimillion dollar golden parachute

00:33:36   and say, we thank this person for their service

00:33:38   and they've done such a great job.

00:33:39   And that just rubs me the wrong way,

00:33:41   because it's like the exact opposite of the way it should be.

00:33:43   Like the person who has a manager who hates them

00:33:46   for some reason that no one else can discern,

00:33:49   but gets to fire them with cause,

00:33:50   everyone knows they were fired.

00:33:53   So when they get another job, it's like, oh yeah,

00:33:55   we'll totally tell them that we fired you from this job.

00:33:57   But the executive who has much more important job,

00:34:01   like they get all the perks,

00:34:03   but they don't get the downsides.

00:34:04   It's like, oh, and also,

00:34:06   no matter how bad you do in this job,

00:34:08   you will leave Rich and we won't even say that we fired you.

00:34:10   So I don't wanna go down that tangent.

00:34:14   I don't think that's what happened here or whatever,

00:34:15   but anytime I see that, it just strikes me

00:34:16   as the opposite of the way things should be

00:34:18   and it makes me very angry.

00:34:19   Unlike Facebook, Google and Netflix

00:34:22   getting better treatment in the App Store,

00:34:23   which seems like the way it probably should be

00:34:25   and is probably the best for everybody,

00:34:27   all things considered.

00:34:27   Anyway, I wanna put that aside for now

00:34:30   and just briefly say that the other angle on this

00:34:33   that is much more relevant to us,

00:34:35   who doesn't, we don't have any connections

00:34:38   to the higher-ups in Apple, is let's look at,

00:34:42   so Angela's leaving.

00:34:44   How do you pronounce her last name, Arents?

00:34:46   - I thought it was Arents, but I am not confident.

00:34:49   - She's leaving, I assume for exactly

00:34:51   for the stated reasons,

00:34:52   although we have some other theories about that

00:34:55   that we'll get to in a little bit.

00:34:57   But we can look back at her tenure and say,

00:34:59   I don't know what her metrics were inside Apple.

00:35:01   Was she tasked with increase this number to this,

00:35:03   increase that to that, or do like,

00:35:05   we don't know if she did a good job according to executives,

00:35:07   'cause what constitutes a good job?

00:35:09   What's on her like a scorecard, another fun thing,

00:35:14   another fun business term for Mark or Lerna.

00:35:15   What's on her scorecard for the year?

00:35:17   I have no idea.

00:35:18   But I can say that as a person who goes to Apple stores,

00:35:22   we can all have an opinion about,

00:35:24   have Apple stores gotten better, worse, or the same

00:35:27   in her tenure?

00:35:28   What has she done that is externally visible

00:35:31   and felt by customers to the thing that she was responsible?

00:35:35   She was responsible for retail.

00:35:37   How is retail going?

00:35:38   And I think we all know most of her big initiatives,

00:35:43   'cause she got a lot of keynote time.

00:35:44   Her initiatives got a lot of keynote time.

00:35:46   She did certain things to the Apple stores

00:35:49   that Apple told us about a lot.

00:35:51   The town square kind of concept,

00:35:54   the making the Apple store a meeting place,

00:35:56   the real ramping up of the classes and everything

00:35:58   that they give. - Today at Apple?

00:36:00   - Yeah, today at Apple, to some degree,

00:36:03   slightly redesigning the Apple stores, right?

00:36:06   That's what she did during her tenure.

00:36:08   And I think we can evaluate that and say,

00:36:11   do we like that, do we not like it, or is it neutral?

00:36:14   And not worry about at all whether Apple was, you know,

00:36:19   kicked her out or whatever.

00:36:20   'Cause I feel like there's no scenario

00:36:23   in which Apple hated everything she did,

00:36:24   because they promoted it for like many years.

00:36:27   Like they weren't, like we hate all this stuff,

00:36:29   but we're gonna give you the number one slot

00:36:30   in every keynote for like two years

00:36:32   to talk about your initiatives.

00:36:33   They talked about it a lot.

00:36:34   I think the entire company was on board

00:36:37   with all of her initiatives.

00:36:39   But were they good for the Apple store?

00:36:40   That's my question.

00:36:42   - I don't know.

00:36:43   It's hard to say because it, to my eyes,

00:36:48   a lot of these changes have also been,

00:36:50   coincide in or commensurate with whatever word

00:36:53   I'm looking for that starts us at C,

00:36:55   with Apple becoming more and more and more

00:36:57   and more and more popular with regular people.

00:37:00   And so it's hard for me to separate the fact

00:37:03   that my local Apple store has gotten busier and busier

00:37:07   and less and less fun to be in.

00:37:09   Is that because of Angela or just because Apple in general

00:37:13   has many more users and to some degree, many more products?

00:37:17   And it's very, very difficult for me to separate the two,

00:37:20   but something that I've heard a lot of people say,

00:37:22   which seems odd to me that this is the time it's come up,

00:37:27   but a lot of people have been saying,

00:37:28   and I agree with them, that it seems like a couple

00:37:30   of years ago was the right time for Apple

00:37:32   to add a whole bunch more stores.

00:37:34   And they clearly haven't.

00:37:36   They've been redesigning a lot of stores.

00:37:39   Like my local store moved within the same mall

00:37:41   a few spots to become bigger.

00:37:43   And I've heard a lot of people say their local stores

00:37:44   have gotten bigger and prettier in many cases.

00:37:47   But it seems like there's definitely a pretty big appetite

00:37:51   for more stores.

00:37:52   I've heard people in large metropolitan areas say this.

00:37:55   I've heard people in more rural areas say this.

00:37:57   As I've lamented on this show numerous times,

00:38:00   Virginia is a reasonably large state,

00:38:02   certainly a heck of a lot bigger

00:38:04   than a hilariously small state like Massachusetts.

00:38:06   And for two thirds of Virginia,

00:38:10   the closest Apple store to these places,

00:38:13   which is four hours from the one near me,

00:38:16   is four hours away.

00:38:17   I totally gave away the punchline there.

00:38:18   That's okay.

00:38:19   Somehow Marco will edit that to make it sound good.

00:38:21   Not really.

00:38:22   - I don't think so.

00:38:23   - But anyway, yeah, no you can't.

00:38:23   - You're stuck with that one.

00:38:25   - That's right.

00:38:26   The point is though, a lot more stores would help a lot.

00:38:30   Now was that Angela's decision not to open more stores?

00:38:32   Maybe, maybe not.

00:38:34   Are all these stores a lot prettier now?

00:38:36   Yeah, I'd say so.

00:38:36   Do they have other things going on there?

00:38:38   Yeah, certainly.

00:38:39   Today at Apple is new.

00:38:41   Is going to the Genius Bar very much fun?

00:38:43   Eh, no.

00:38:44   Was it ever really fun?

00:38:45   No.

00:38:45   Does it seem less fun now than it was in years past?

00:38:48   Probably.

00:38:49   I don't know.

00:38:50   And I have, again, more thoughts on this,

00:38:52   but before I go down the rabbit hole,

00:38:53   Marco, what is your kind of hot take to start?

00:38:57   - I mean, just looking at Angela Ahrendts

00:39:00   and what she did and why she might be leaving,

00:39:04   it's hard to say.

00:39:06   Because again, we don't know what was her decision,

00:39:09   what was not her decision.

00:39:10   These things could have been decided above or below her.

00:39:13   But I do think it is worth discussing the state

00:39:16   of the Apple retail stores and the experience there.

00:39:20   The time that she has spent as the head of retail here

00:39:24   has been easily characterized in a few ways

00:39:27   of certain things changing.

00:39:28   So number one is the architecture

00:39:31   has seen dramatic improvements.

00:39:33   Like the ones that have been remodeled, they look stunning.

00:39:36   They look incredible until you go into them.

00:39:43   And this can be a metaphor for so many things.

00:39:48   They look great, but they don't work very well.

00:39:51   There was a great post by our friend Dr. Drang yesterday

00:39:57   about the Apple SVP changes and the retail,

00:40:00   and he likened the latest retail era

00:40:04   where things are looking great but not working very well

00:40:07   in a similar way to when Johnny Ive

00:40:09   took over software design in addition to hardware design.

00:40:13   Modern Apple software looks great,

00:40:16   but it doesn't work as well UI-wise as it used to.

00:40:21   And so I think we can summarize this

00:40:24   with something you said earlier, Casey.

00:40:26   I don't enjoy going to the Apple store.

00:40:27   And I would also question, do you know anyone

00:40:30   who enjoys going to the Apple store today?

00:40:33   - I think some people are excited to see the cool products.

00:40:38   Maybe they're not there to purchase,

00:40:39   but I think there is still,

00:40:40   because the stores do look nice

00:40:42   and because they have all the shiny products on tables,

00:40:44   if you can take yourself back to the less jaded time

00:40:46   when you're excited to see a shiny product

00:40:48   that you hadn't seen before,

00:40:49   going into a cool looking place to see the shiny product,

00:40:52   even when it's packed full of people,

00:40:54   or maybe even especially when it's packed full of people,

00:40:56   I'm thinking mostly of probably young people doing this,

00:40:58   I think there probably are people

00:40:59   who still find that an exciting experience.

00:41:02   And the architecture itself is a draw.

00:41:03   You see people taking pictures of themselves

00:41:05   by the fancy location-based Apple stores.

00:41:07   So I'm not to say that the overall argument

00:41:10   of the store is getting better or worse,

00:41:12   not taking a position on that quite yet,

00:41:13   but I do think there are people

00:41:15   who enjoy the Apple store way more than we do.

00:41:17   - Okay, so that's fair.

00:41:20   When I go to an Apple store, I'm going there for a purpose.

00:41:22   It's usually either to buy something,

00:41:24   which I already know what I want

00:41:25   and I just wanna go buy it,

00:41:27   or I need to get something serviced or something.

00:41:30   And when you go there with that purpose in mind,

00:41:33   it's really a pretty poor experience a lot of the time.

00:41:36   Not all the time, but a lot of the time.

00:41:38   It fundamentally comes down to overcrowding.

00:41:40   I think that that seems to be the main issue.

00:41:42   And Casey, I think you made a good point.

00:41:44   It does seem like they probably just need a lot more stores.

00:41:47   And who knows why they have an open bar?

00:41:49   I'm sure they have their reasons,

00:41:50   but I think they have a significant overcrowding issue

00:41:53   at many of their stores much of the time.

00:41:56   And you can see this for yourself

00:41:58   if you try to make a Genius Bar appointment

00:41:59   to get something serviced.

00:42:00   And you oftentimes can't get an appointment

00:42:03   for like a week at least.

00:42:05   There's clearly scaling problems here.

00:42:08   And this goes from every level,

00:42:10   from the Genius Bar,

00:42:11   or whatever the Genius Arbor is called now.

00:42:14   - Groove.

00:42:14   - Yeah, yeah.

00:42:15   From that, which whatever that is,

00:42:17   that's a whole other thing,

00:42:18   whether that was a big mistake or not.

00:42:20   Or from that to like,

00:42:22   even just when you go into the store,

00:42:26   you're supposed to talk to the person up front,

00:42:27   which often isn't obvious,

00:42:28   'cause the person up front is often talking

00:42:30   to somebody else already,

00:42:31   and you can just walk right past them

00:42:32   and not even realize they were there.

00:42:33   - 'Cause they have 900 doors

00:42:34   when the ones that were just

00:42:36   the entire front of the store opens up.

00:42:37   - Right, so you walk into any of the 900 doors,

00:42:39   you're supposed to go talk to the person up front,

00:42:41   but there's nothing saying that,

00:42:42   and it's often not obvious,

00:42:43   and the person often is busy doing other things.

00:42:45   What you're supposed to do is talk to that person,

00:42:47   and then they tell you,

00:42:49   "Oh, go stand over at that table and wait for Sarah."

00:42:54   And you're like, "Okay, I don't know who Sarah is.

00:42:56   "I hope this problem will be resolved some other way."

00:42:59   (laughs)

00:43:00   So you go over and you stand at whatever table

00:43:02   you think they were waving you over to,

00:43:04   but it was on the other side of the store,

00:43:05   and you could be off by one,

00:43:06   'cause it's a pretty far distance to just go off a hand wave

00:43:10   so that you get waved over to the table,

00:43:12   you're waiting for Sarah,

00:43:13   and then you walk over there,

00:43:14   and you're like, "All right, looking around,

00:43:15   "there's like three people also hovering around

00:43:18   "who you think are also waiting.

00:43:19   "You're not really sure what order you all got there in."

00:43:23   And eventually somebody with the store-colored shirt

00:43:25   comes over who might be Sarah,

00:43:27   and they're talking to somebody for a long time,

00:43:30   and you're like, "I don't know.

00:43:31   "Do they know I'm here?

00:43:33   "Am I next?

00:43:34   "I don't even,"

00:43:35   like what the Apple store really needs

00:43:38   is an ancient innovation, lines.

00:43:42   (laughs)

00:43:43   This is a solved problem, lines.

00:43:46   And the funny thing is like what they are doing

00:43:48   with their freeform system here

00:43:51   is basically creating a bunch of virtual cues

00:43:53   around the store anyway.

00:43:55   They're just disorganized and confusing,

00:43:56   and they're trying to pretend like they don't exist.

00:43:58   But what they're actually creating

00:44:00   is a bunch of terrible lines

00:44:02   that are really hard to figure out.

00:44:03   - Well, these lines have a very important attribute,

00:44:06   which is done in Disney and other theme parks

00:44:08   in a slightly different way,

00:44:09   which is to intentionally not let you know

00:44:11   exactly how long you're gonna be waiting.

00:44:13   - Right. (laughs)

00:44:13   - By having the lines snake around

00:44:15   so you can never see its full extent.

00:44:18   So if you think about the Apple store,

00:44:19   and we get back to the crowding thing in a second,

00:44:21   but if you think about the Apple store,

00:44:22   if it was designed like a Target or a Walmart,

00:44:25   you'd have a whole bunch of registers

00:44:26   and a whole bunch of lines.

00:44:27   I mean, you've seen Target

00:44:28   where they double up the registers.

00:44:30   Not only do they do it parallel, but it goes deep

00:44:32   so that each line feeds two or three registers, right?

00:44:36   It should try to make the most efficient use of space.

00:44:39   And when the store is really slammed

00:44:41   and all those things are running,

00:44:42   the idea, as you're going around with your cart

00:44:45   and you go past the checkout section

00:44:47   and you see there's just massive humanity,

00:44:49   and you're like, oh, I better factor in

00:44:50   an extra 15 to 20 minutes to wait on all these lines, right?

00:44:54   It gives you the impression that it's gonna be a long wait.

00:44:58   Whereas when everyone gets dispersed like this,

00:45:01   the store is so crowded anyway,

00:45:02   and you can't tell which people are there

00:45:04   in a quote unquote line,

00:45:06   and which people are just there playing with the iPhones

00:45:08   or whatever, and so it's just like,

00:45:09   well, the store is crowded,

00:45:11   but how many of these people A, are even in line,

00:45:13   and B, are in front of me in line?

00:45:15   And it makes that question harder to answer.

00:45:17   Like, I think there are actually attributes of this system

00:45:21   that are positive as far as

00:45:24   the experience that Apple's trying to provide.

00:45:28   We can certainly all see the negatives of it,

00:45:30   but to flip it around the other way,

00:45:32   with the number of people that are there,

00:45:33   they'd have to dedicate a huge amount of the store to lines,

00:45:36   and the store would look like,

00:45:39   instead of looking like a store that's really crowded,

00:45:40   like a party, it would look like a place where if you go,

00:45:43   you know you're gonna have to wait a long time

00:45:44   to get what you want.

00:45:45   Whereas now when you see a crowded store,

00:45:47   you can guess that, but it's not entirely clear

00:45:51   what every person in the store is doing.

00:45:52   Like, I can see reasons for them sticking with this,

00:45:56   despite the fact that every time

00:45:57   we ever talk about the Apple store,

00:45:58   all we say is please make a line

00:45:59   'cause we're all from the East Coast

00:46:00   and we just want to know what order we're in, right?

00:46:03   So I definitely think it is a problem,

00:46:04   but I've thought about the other side of it

00:46:08   to explain why they do what they do.

00:46:10   And I know I didn't wanna mention scorecards,

00:46:12   but Casey did bring up the let's open more stores.

00:46:16   Somewhere, I don't know if it's on someone's scorecard,

00:46:18   but somewhere inside Apple,

00:46:22   there is someone who is measuring dollar per square foot

00:46:25   'cause they always brag about it,

00:46:27   or other people brag about it,

00:46:28   like the Apple retail store

00:46:29   makes the most money per square foot.

00:46:31   What they mean is given a store of this size,

00:46:33   how much money leaves customers and goes into the store?

00:46:37   If you open more stores and they become less crowded,

00:46:40   your dollar per square foot probably goes down

00:46:43   because you're not probably serving entirely new people.

00:46:45   What you are instead serving is people

00:46:47   who have to drive less far to go to a store,

00:46:50   or you'll split the people from one big store

00:46:52   and some will continue to go to the big store

00:46:53   and some will go to the other store

00:46:54   'cause it's closer to the game.

00:46:55   Like, it's not, I feel like their dollar per square foot

00:46:58   would go down.

00:46:59   As far as I'm concerned, fine,

00:47:00   make your dollar per square foot go down

00:47:01   because the experience would be better

00:47:02   'cause the store would be less crowded,

00:47:04   but maybe it's on somebody's yearly metrics

00:47:08   to make sure the dollar per square foot goes up

00:47:10   and opening new stores would make it go down.

00:47:12   So that's a nefarious or banal business reason

00:47:16   for them perhaps not opening new stores.

00:47:18   And it might just be that they're still trying

00:47:20   to be strategic and cautious

00:47:22   because the stores cost a lot of money

00:47:23   and they don't wanna open a big fancy one

00:47:24   and have to close it.

00:47:25   They could close like one or two Apple stores.

00:47:27   I think it was a big deal when they closed,

00:47:28   like the first Apple store that had ever opened up.

00:47:31   So I think not every place can support an Apple store,

00:47:36   and that's why they're all in these big cities

00:47:38   and they'll end up being filled with people.

00:47:41   But getting back to what Angela Ahrens did

00:47:43   to the Apple store,

00:47:44   in the end, I think her signature initiatives,

00:47:49   today at Apple, the classes and the idea of a town square

00:47:53   and a meeting place are fundamentally flawed.

00:47:57   Like there is no situation in which an Apple retail store

00:48:02   is going to become a town hall meeting place community thing

00:48:07   for so many reasons.

00:48:08   First of all, a community meeting place

00:48:11   can't be owned by a private corporation.

00:48:12   Like I know we all wanna be touchy feely and that's great,

00:48:15   but like that's not the definition of a public space.

00:48:18   A public space belongs to the public.

00:48:19   A public space is not owned by a giant corporation

00:48:22   that allows the public to come into it.

00:48:24   And there is a difference.

00:48:25   The one that's owned by the private corporation

00:48:27   can probably be nicer in some ways,

00:48:28   but everyone knows it's an Apple store,

00:48:31   it's not your store, whereas Central Park

00:48:33   does not belong to, God, please don't tell me

00:48:36   Central Park is owned by a bank now,

00:48:37   but I'm assuming Central Park is still not owned by a bank.

00:48:40   And everyone is in it knows it's their park.

00:48:42   And so it can function that role.

00:48:45   The second thing is if you wanna make like a building,

00:48:47   like all the Apple stores are some kind of building

00:48:50   where they become like a community center

00:48:53   and a meeting place and a gathering place,

00:48:55   you basically have to have food and drink.

00:48:57   Like Starbucks can do it, 'cause Starbucks

00:48:59   or bookstores that serve food and drink,

00:49:01   people can't come to your place and hang out

00:49:03   and meet with each other, I mean they can,

00:49:04   but they won't if there's no food.

00:49:06   - Starbucks I think is the best example.

00:49:08   It seems like what they really wanted

00:49:09   was to become another thing like Starbucks.

00:49:12   'Cause Starbucks is a place where people go and meet,

00:49:16   but I think you're right, I think it basically

00:49:18   needs to be a coffee shop to do that.

00:49:19   - Yeah, like Barnes and Noble's a great example

00:49:21   where at a certain point Barnes and Noble

00:49:23   stopped being a bookstore that serves food

00:49:24   and started being a food store

00:49:25   that there's a bunch of books nearby.

00:49:27   Like they make all their money off of the food part

00:49:29   because nobody really buys books,

00:49:30   but you can get people to come and gather

00:49:32   and buy a coffee every hour or so

00:49:34   and sit there on their laptops and do their, right?

00:49:36   Like there's no way that Apple store

00:49:38   was ever gonna get to the point.

00:49:39   No matter how many classes you have,

00:49:41   no matter how many like will show you how to do cool things,

00:49:44   which those classes are probably great

00:49:45   and the people who go to them probably enjoy them greatly.

00:49:47   And I think they're an important part of Apple's thing,

00:49:49   but you're never gonna turn that from a place where I go

00:49:53   when I wanna take a class to a,

00:49:55   let's all come meet at the Apple store.

00:49:57   Like that's, it's a nice idea to have beautiful spaces

00:50:01   that you build and keep clean and nice

00:50:04   where people can come and use their cool products

00:50:06   that you make to do creative things together,

00:50:07   but it's not gonna happen.

00:50:09   Like you're not going to make this into

00:50:12   the dream of the town hall meeting place.

00:50:15   Like, and all these things seem increasingly desperate

00:50:17   to try to get people.

00:50:18   There's a reason for you to keep coming back

00:50:20   to the Apple store.

00:50:21   Just come to hang out.

00:50:21   We know you don't have to buy something every time you're here

00:50:23   in fact, we don't even have that many products.

00:50:25   You probably own all of them already anyway.

00:50:26   Just come and visit and maybe we'll talk about things.

00:50:29   We'll show you how to use stuff.

00:50:30   Like there are so many people there.

00:50:32   That's the other thing.

00:50:33   If it's going to be that type of meeting place,

00:50:35   it's like Times Square could be considered a meeting place,

00:50:38   but you're not gonna go there on New Year's Eve

00:50:39   'cause you're like, oh, forget it.

00:50:40   I know it's gonna be a million people there.

00:50:42   Like it's not a good time to go.

00:50:43   And the law of crowded places,

00:50:45   like the idea of like, you know, the Yogi Berra,

00:50:47   no one goes there anymore, it's too crowded.

00:50:49   But like, if you take a survey of people and say,

00:50:52   how many people are, the bus is too crowded in this city?

00:50:54   They'll all say, yes, the buses are massively overcrowded.

00:50:56   But if you actually measure how many people are on the bus,

00:50:58   they'll be like, you know, 2% utilized.

00:50:59   It falls out of the natural thing.

00:51:02   Like when it is crowded, more people are there to see it.

00:51:05   When it is not crowded, fewer people are there to see it.

00:51:06   Therefore, most people will say it's crowded.

00:51:08   That's how crowding works, right?

00:51:10   So I bet there are plenty of times

00:51:11   where it's dead at the Apple store

00:51:12   when everybody else except for Casey and Marco are at work.

00:51:15   (laughing)

00:51:17   You can go and get help right away.

00:51:18   Maybe there's seven people.

00:51:19   I think we wandered past an Apple store.

00:51:21   I think when I got my iPhone 7,

00:51:22   we wandered past an Apple store

00:51:23   where there was like 10 people in Apple retail shirts

00:51:26   just twiddling their thumbs.

00:51:28   And we just walked in there and like,

00:51:29   hey, got any iPhone 7s?

00:51:30   And seven people scrambled like, oh, we'll get one.

00:51:32   It's like, there's nobody there.

00:51:34   They're just like instant service by, you know,

00:51:36   two people went in the back to look for it.

00:51:37   One person talked to me.

00:51:39   Like, you know, that's, it's a very different experience

00:51:42   when there are not a lot of people there,

00:51:44   but because people know that when I'm able to go there,

00:51:46   every time I go there, I see that it's crowded,

00:51:49   it's not a place where I wanna go.

00:51:50   I can't even get a coffee or a Danish.

00:51:52   So I think her signature initiatives,

00:51:56   while high-minded and interesting,

00:51:58   were never a good fit for the Apple store.

00:52:00   The only thing I can say is that maybe the classes

00:52:03   were a good idea,

00:52:04   but I don't think the physical infrastructure of the store

00:52:08   is equipped to bear them.

00:52:09   Even though the classes like take advantage

00:52:11   of those dead times,

00:52:11   like it's a way to fill those dead times.

00:52:13   Hey, when nobody's there, let's have classes

00:52:14   filled with retired people and Marco and Casey

00:52:17   to learn about their products.

00:52:18   (laughing)

00:52:19   Like, I see how it looks good on paper,

00:52:23   but it doesn't fundamentally change the experience

00:52:25   of the Apple store for most people for the better.

00:52:27   It makes a new class of people perhaps

00:52:29   have an attachment to the Apple store,

00:52:31   but I have to think that the vast majority of people

00:52:34   who go to the Apple store during those crowded times

00:52:37   are there to either look at the cool products,

00:52:39   buy a cool product, or get something done to a product

00:52:41   they've already bought.

00:52:42   And the classes are just sort of like a nice to have filler

00:52:45   to populate otherwise idle things.

00:52:48   But the town hall thing, or what is it, town square thing,

00:52:52   and the community thing, the community building,

00:52:54   this is just never gonna happen.

00:52:56   - I also wonder, like, you know,

00:52:58   part of I think why they brought on Angela Errant

00:53:01   in the first place was because when Apple was warming up

00:53:05   to the Apple Watch launch,

00:53:07   they fancied themselves a fashion brand,

00:53:11   and they really wanted to become a significant fashion brand

00:53:15   because they wanted the Apple Watch to be a fashion item.

00:53:19   And I think, and you know,

00:53:20   Angela Errant comes from the fashion world.

00:53:23   And so, you know, one of the reasons

00:53:25   that I think she might be leaving,

00:53:26   if she's leaving voluntarily, it might be because

00:53:28   she wants to get back to the fashion world

00:53:30   because Apple's kinda like,

00:53:32   I feel like whatever role Apple's gonna have

00:53:33   in the fashion world, they've had, and it's done.

00:53:36   And that I think also, you know,

00:53:40   whether it was her decision or not,

00:53:42   that I think might play a big role

00:53:43   in why she might be leaving now because, you know,

00:53:45   Apple did fancy themselves as a fashion company

00:53:48   with the Apple Watch, you know,

00:53:49   they made the gold one at first and everything.

00:53:51   And I think what they have found with the Apple Watch

00:53:55   is that it's way less of a fashion item,

00:53:57   and they are way less of a fashion company

00:54:00   than they thought.

00:54:01   And it's much more like their other products.

00:54:05   It's a nice electronic gadget that people use

00:54:08   in a wide variety of ways that is fashionable

00:54:13   in the way that new gadgets can be fashionable,

00:54:16   but is not a member of the world of high fashion.

00:54:19   And, you know, it's a different industry,

00:54:21   it's a different thing, it works differently,

00:54:23   it needs to be marketed differently,

00:54:24   it needs to be sold differently.

00:54:25   And they pulled away fairly quickly from that with the watch.

00:54:29   I think their fashion phase,

00:54:31   or their phase of fashion aspiration

00:54:35   is over.

00:54:36   And so Angela might not be as much of an ideal leader

00:54:41   for their retail operations as she was when they hired her,

00:54:44   when they really had huge aspirations

00:54:47   in the world of fashion.

00:54:49   - Ben Thompson had some similar thoughts,

00:54:50   but the only thing I think of is how much influence

00:54:52   do you think she actually has?

00:54:53   I mean, like in the end, the product teams make the products.

00:54:56   I know she can control how they're displayed

00:54:58   and how they're marketed and how you would best sell them

00:55:00   to people, but, you know, the timing definitely makes sense.

00:55:04   I know when she was hired, everyone was talking about her

00:55:06   and the Apple Watch and everything, but in terms of retail,

00:55:10   I'm trying to think of anything that the store did

00:55:13   that they wouldn't have done anyway

00:55:16   and that wasn't basically dependent

00:55:18   on the product itself being fashionable.

00:55:21   - Oh, well, I don't know, maybe I'm missing your point,

00:55:23   but if you recall, like when the watch was announced,

00:55:26   but I don't think it was out yet,

00:55:28   you could schedule like a watch try-on

00:55:30   and like try on the different stuff.

00:55:32   - Maybe, I remember that for the fancy watches

00:55:34   and stuff like that.

00:55:35   I mean, I'm not saying that this theory doesn't make sense.

00:55:37   It totally does.

00:55:38   Like when she was hired, no one was shocked

00:55:39   because we're like, oh, we know Apple's doing wearable stuff

00:55:41   and this makes perfect sense.

00:55:43   And, you know, and Marco's right, like they did figure out,

00:55:46   oh, the watches of fitness tracker,

00:55:47   like it's not so much a fashion thing,

00:55:49   but watches are still fashionable.

00:55:50   They still change all the straps all the time.

00:55:52   They still try to make them look pretty.

00:55:53   And I think the body of the fashion aspirations of Apple

00:55:58   are still carried by the products themselves

00:56:00   and to much less degree by the retail.

00:56:02   And someone in the chat pointed out,

00:56:04   if and when Apple ever comes out with AR glasses,

00:56:06   we're gonna be back into a new phase

00:56:07   where Apple has to figure out what is, I mean,

00:56:10   not that they're gonna become a fashion brand,

00:56:11   but the degree of difficulty keeps going up.

00:56:14   Like we've talked about this before the watch came out,

00:56:16   like getting a laptop, you know,

00:56:18   a computer that looks nice, well, whatever,

00:56:20   a phone that people carry, oh, that's much more personal.

00:56:22   Then you're gonna strap something on people's bodies.

00:56:24   Now they better not think it's ugly or embarrassing, right?

00:56:28   Once you put something on their face,

00:56:29   it's an even higher,

00:56:30   it's like probably the highest degree of difficulty.

00:56:32   It's like getting a face tattoo.

00:56:33   Like not only does it not have to not be ugly or embarrassing

00:56:37   but it's on people's faces.

00:56:39   So it's much harder to do that.

00:56:41   You really have to hide the electronics

00:56:43   and figure out a way to fit people's faces and whatever.

00:56:46   And this is all about a product that doesn't exist,

00:56:48   but if and when that happens,

00:56:50   they can use some of the lessons from the watch,

00:56:54   but I don't think they need a retail person.

00:56:56   I don't think they ever needed a retail person

00:56:58   with fashion expertise to pull that off.

00:57:01   So I think, you know,

00:57:03   if she's getting pushed out of Apple,

00:57:05   it's not because like their fashion time is over.

00:57:06   They're gonna need that expertise again

00:57:08   as much as they ever needed it,

00:57:10   but I don't think they're dead in the water without it.

00:57:13   So I think it did learn a lot from the watch

00:57:15   and all the come in, have a special try on thing,

00:57:18   or just the general idea of like how you treat customers

00:57:23   who have to try something on,

00:57:25   how you sell a product to them,

00:57:27   how you make sure that they can be sure

00:57:29   that they are getting the product that they want,

00:57:32   like that you can try on all the different straps,

00:57:34   how you help them,

00:57:34   how you make sure things don't disappear from those tables,

00:57:37   you know, how you make sure they don't feel rushed,

00:57:39   but guide them to the product that will make them happy,

00:57:42   yada, yada, yada.

00:57:43   Like it's an extension of what they already did,

00:57:44   but it's slightly different, I suppose.

00:57:46   - Yeah, I don't know what to make of it.

00:57:49   It is worth noting that there was a Vogue profile

00:57:51   that came out about a week ago,

00:57:53   which I thought was actually very interesting.

00:57:55   We'll put a link in the show notes.

00:57:56   And in that profile, it certainly didn't hint to me

00:58:00   that she was one foot out the door, but who knows?

00:58:04   Maybe she already was.

00:58:05   - She's not gonna hint to that.

00:58:06   There was another aspect of the story that I saw elsewhere

00:58:08   is that she has kids who are in college

00:58:10   or just out of college or whatever,

00:58:11   but they're in the UK,

00:58:14   and that's where she's going back to.

00:58:15   So she's been for many years,

00:58:17   I think it was like for five years,

00:58:18   she's been separated from her kids

00:58:20   because they went to college in the UK,

00:58:23   or university as they call it, or whatever.

00:58:25   Everyone knows what the hell they call it.

00:58:27   But she said she's going back over there.

00:58:29   So going to spend more time with your family,

00:58:33   and also, as I think Ben Thompson also pointed out,

00:58:36   all of her stock options are vesting now.

00:58:38   There are many legit boring reasons for her to decide,

00:58:42   well, it's been a good run, I'm ridiculously wealthy,

00:58:45   even more so now, and I wanna go hang out with my kids.

00:58:48   Going to spend time with your family

00:58:52   actually makes sense in this scenario.

00:58:54   And maybe she's also mission-fashioning

00:58:55   and missioning her friends,

00:58:57   and Apple has a high-pressure situation,

00:58:59   and so on and so forth.

00:58:59   So I don't think there is,

00:59:02   I don't have a read on it, again,

00:59:03   we don't know what goes on inside there,

00:59:04   but it doesn't seem to me that she was pushed out

00:59:09   for some terrible reason,

00:59:10   but it also doesn't seem to me

00:59:11   that her signature initiatives were a slam dunk for Apple.

00:59:15   A couple other things that she's done,

00:59:16   I was trying to go through all of the articles

00:59:19   I could to find what are people attributing

00:59:22   to her tenure as Apple retail.

00:59:26   One of the things was trying to make it

00:59:28   so there aren't lines outside the stores,

00:59:30   or the lines outside the stores aren't as big on launch days

00:59:32   by having a pre-order system and everything.

00:59:34   That was another thing that made me think

00:59:36   that Apple really doesn't like the idea of actual lines,

00:59:39   like actual queues of people,

00:59:41   anywhere related to their stores,

00:59:42   because that would happen outside the store before a launch,

00:59:44   even though they make a big deal of it,

00:59:45   it makes you not wanna go towards the store

00:59:47   when you see a line of people snaking out.

00:59:49   So reducing those by having pre-orders,

00:59:51   someone in the chat said that she did,

00:59:53   did or increased the in-store pickup of purchases online.

00:59:57   I think there's been a lot of positive initiatives

00:59:59   that she's done, but her signature ones,

01:00:02   or at least the ones that she promoted

01:00:04   that are the most innovative and non-obvious,

01:00:09   I just think were not a good fit for the Apple store.

01:00:11   So I'm not sad to see a different take

01:00:15   on how Apple retail might be improved,

01:00:18   because none of her initiatives

01:00:19   resonated with me personally,

01:00:21   and I don't think they were a good fit

01:00:22   with the store as it exists.

01:00:25   - The other thing I wanted to add

01:00:26   was that a anonymous retail employee reached out to me

01:00:29   and had some thoughts.

01:00:30   And one of the things that they said

01:00:32   was that everyone they knew in their store

01:00:34   and the surrounding stores,

01:00:36   except for people pretty high up the chain,

01:00:38   seemed to be happy that she was gone.

01:00:40   Now, this is just one individual,

01:00:43   take this for what you will,

01:00:45   this is one individual who reached out,

01:00:46   I am not aggregating anything,

01:00:48   but the same individual said,

01:00:51   "A silly example of what's been annoying

01:00:53   "is the dress code change over the last several years,

01:00:55   "which started as basically wear whatever the crap you want,

01:00:58   "just make sure there's an Apple shirt over it,

01:00:59   "to apparently they have some sort of quasi-uniform now."

01:01:04   I can't say that I've noticed this personally,

01:01:06   but I guess that a lot of the retail people

01:01:08   are wondering how long until they basically look like

01:01:10   Target employee clones, with the khakis

01:01:12   and the red shirts or what have you.

01:01:14   And then this individual had a lot of complaints

01:01:17   that to me seem to basically boil down to,

01:01:22   there was an increased focus on numbers within the store.

01:01:25   So silly examples like the retail employees

01:01:27   used to always get some sort of Christmas gift,

01:01:29   and I guess they haven't for at least a year,

01:01:31   if not a couple now.

01:01:32   This person said that there were considerably fewer

01:01:35   in-store repairs and that the geniuses in the store

01:01:39   basically just triage, and then almost everything

01:01:41   gets sent out to a repair depot to get fixed,

01:01:44   which obviously dramatically increases turnaround time,

01:01:48   and it makes being a genius, I would imagine,

01:01:49   a little bit less fun, 'cause all you're doing

01:01:51   is figuring out where you need to ship something.

01:01:55   And additionally, according to this individual,

01:01:58   that geniuses were not quite as empowered as they once were

01:02:00   to write off a deserving repair.

01:02:02   So let's say I've never had a problem with any of my devices

01:02:06   and I didn't put new RAM in my iMac,

01:02:09   but it keeps shutting down spontaneously,

01:02:11   and I come in within the first month of ownership.

01:02:15   In the past, they might be able to write something

01:02:16   like that off and just be like, okay, here,

01:02:18   here's a new iMac, because you've been a loyal customer,

01:02:21   you've never had a problem before,

01:02:22   you're probably not trying to fleece us,

01:02:24   here's a brand new iMac, and I guess,

01:02:26   according to this person, that's not as easy anymore.

01:02:29   And then finally, they said that the raises

01:02:31   have not been as good recently as they were in years past.

01:02:34   Again, who knows how much of that is Angela?

01:02:36   But it seems like, in summary,

01:02:39   there's just a stronger focus on retail,

01:02:43   which I guess in some ways is good,

01:02:44   but some of that focus is numbers-related,

01:02:46   which the retail employees, of course,

01:02:48   didn't seem to care for, and some of it is just

01:02:50   kind of the touchy-feely things like uniforms.

01:02:52   So take that for what you will.

01:02:54   Again, I'm not saying this is fact,

01:02:55   I'm just telling you one individual's perspective,

01:02:58   but it certainly, I found it interesting.

01:03:00   - Yeah, I've heard many of those same things

01:03:03   from other retail people that basically,

01:03:06   the last few years have been characterized by

01:03:09   a very much like, you know,

01:03:11   optimization of the numbers thing with retail,

01:03:13   which of course means a bunch of things

01:03:14   that make the retail employees basically less well-paid,

01:03:18   less happy, and more overworked.

01:03:22   - And I think it's, this is a trend that has started

01:03:25   from the day the Apple Store was created.

01:03:26   If you talk to anybody who's been at the Apple Store,

01:03:28   you know, in the past five years, 10 years,

01:03:30   however long it's, all the way back

01:03:31   to the beginning of the Apple Store,

01:03:33   when the Apple Store first came out,

01:03:34   it was super high-end, the people who were working

01:03:38   in the stores or paid a ton of money

01:03:39   were vastly overqualified for the jobs they were in,

01:03:42   it wasn't crowded, like everything was the opposite

01:03:45   of regular retail, right?

01:03:47   And over time, there's been a trend,

01:03:48   probably a little bit bumpy, but generally a trend

01:03:51   toward slowly, slowly, slowly getting more

01:03:54   like regular retail, probably out of necessity,

01:03:56   'cause like, why are we spending all this money?

01:03:59   Can we pay people less?

01:04:00   Can we get less experienced people?

01:04:01   Do you need to know that much stuff to be a genius,

01:04:03   or can we just take anybody off the street

01:04:05   and train them to know the five things they need to know,

01:04:07   or 500, or whatever it is?

01:04:08   Like, can we pay the employees less?

01:04:10   Can we make them work harder?

01:04:11   Can we make them more uniform?

01:04:12   Like, you know, it's just a question of scale.

01:04:15   It's very difficult to, especially since the people

01:04:18   who are in charge of this are gonna be measured

01:04:20   on the same things, it's very difficult to continue

01:04:22   to be like, this is totally different

01:04:24   than every retail experience, and you get a job

01:04:26   at the Apple Store, and it's much better

01:04:28   than any other retail job, and we pay you tons of money,

01:04:32   and it's relaxing, and you are empowered to do things,

01:04:35   and you can wear what you want, and everything is nice,

01:04:39   and no one's in a hurry, and it's just,

01:04:41   that can't last forever, because people are gonna be,

01:04:45   somewhere, someone's gonna be looking at a spreadsheet

01:04:47   and saying, this is how much money our stores cost,

01:04:48   this is how much we bring in, is there a way

01:04:50   to change that ratio, to squeeze out some more dollars?

01:04:53   Okay, we can squeeze out some more dollars.

01:04:55   Do we really have to be hiring these people

01:04:57   so massively overqualified to be geniuses?

01:04:59   No, no, we can probably, like, institute a training program

01:05:01   and hire people with less experience to be geniuses

01:05:03   and then pay them less.

01:05:04   Good, we saved some money, what could we do next?

01:05:06   Like, it just goes on year after year.

01:05:07   So, like, Angela Arendt didn't make this happen.

01:05:11   She just came in at the tail end of a trend that continues,

01:05:13   and will almost certainly continue long after this, right?

01:05:17   And so, any time there's a change, you're hoping, like,

01:05:19   this new person's gonna change it.

01:05:21   Now we're not going to get these ridiculous hours.

01:05:23   Now we're gonna have more discretion at the Genius Bar.

01:05:25   Now we're all gonna get better raises,

01:05:27   and then when it doesn't happen, you're like,

01:05:28   she just made it worse, but she's just continuing a trend

01:05:31   that has been going on and on, and it's very difficult

01:05:33   to fight back against that unless you have

01:05:34   massive support at the front end.

01:05:35   Like, Tim Cook probably thinks, oh, the stores are beautiful

01:05:39   and every time I go, the employees are there smiling,

01:05:42   and, you know, there's probably some net promoter score

01:05:45   for employees, like, what do you think,

01:05:46   how do you like working at the Apple store?

01:05:48   And it's like, well, if they leave, we can find more people

01:05:49   because in the end, Apple retail probably is still better

01:05:52   than most retail jobs.

01:05:53   Like, I'm not saying Apple is now, like, Best Buy, right?

01:05:56   Or Walmart or Target or whatever.

01:05:57   It is still probably better from the employee's perspective.

01:06:00   Like, I bet the number of Apple store employees

01:06:02   who have to get food stamps is much lower

01:06:04   than in, say, Walmart, right?

01:06:06   So they're still probably the best retail experience

01:06:09   and probably the best retail employment,

01:06:11   but not quite as good as they were.

01:06:12   And I don't know how to balance this because I understand,

01:06:16   like, if your job is ahead of retail,

01:06:18   is to figure out where can we spend less money

01:06:21   and get the same product and, you know,

01:06:23   where are we wasting money and all that other stuff,

01:06:25   but that's generally what Apple has to fight against

01:06:29   as a corporation, to fight all those instincts,

01:06:33   to, you know, in some ways, hire the right people

01:06:36   who will hold their ground, who will remind everybody,

01:06:40   hey, we're supposed to be better than Walmart.

01:06:42   Our products are supposed to be better than Dell.

01:06:44   Like, all those things that we talk about,

01:06:46   the reason we hold Apple to a higher standard,

01:06:48   I think Angela probably did that in the areas

01:06:50   that she cared about and maybe other areas continued

01:06:53   on the trend.

01:06:54   Like, maybe she got to do those things

01:06:55   because she was good at optimizing the other things

01:06:57   and, you know, repeat for all the other people

01:07:00   who've been involved in retail.

01:07:01   One other thing I forgot to mention that accredited her

01:07:03   was, we mentioned it before, of like buying online

01:07:06   and picking up the store, the merging of online

01:07:08   and physical retail, which was an important optimization

01:07:11   'cause it was so silly that they were separate

01:07:13   and now it's nice that, like, when you buy something

01:07:15   from Apple, all options are on the table, right?

01:07:18   You can buy it online and pick it up in a store

01:07:20   or you can get a repair.

01:07:21   You can do a repair online or over the phone

01:07:23   but then drop your thing off at the store to get it done.

01:07:25   I did notice when my wife got her watch fixed

01:07:27   that they wanted to ship it out and I'm like,

01:07:29   I guess they don't want to do anything in the store anymore.

01:07:31   Like, everything was, no matter how,

01:07:33   I think everything we've gotten repaired recently,

01:07:35   except for the $30 battery replacements,

01:07:37   has been a ship out type thing.

01:07:38   - Yeah, it's increasing, like, how many things

01:07:40   are ship out things.

01:07:41   Watch, I think watch stuff has always been ship out.

01:07:43   - 'Cause you can't open it inside.

01:07:45   I'm surprised they tried to repair it all

01:07:47   and didn't replace it.

01:07:48   And that makes sense from, again,

01:07:49   from a numbers perspective.

01:07:50   Like, it probably is less expensive

01:07:51   and the repairs are probably better

01:07:53   because the people aren't rushed and, you know,

01:07:55   there's more room and like a nice clean factory type

01:07:57   environment or whatever, but the turnaround time

01:07:59   is not as good for the customer.

01:08:01   So there's trade off.

01:08:03   We didn't talk about the new person who got the job.

01:08:05   Not that we know much about her, but it's worth mentioning.

01:08:08   That's more of the tea leaf reading.

01:08:11   The new person who got the job is the head of HR

01:08:13   who is not the former head of HR.

01:08:15   It's the head of HR who now also is the head of retail.

01:08:19   But the title is like senior vice president of HR

01:08:22   plus retail or something like that with an actual plus sign.

01:08:24   It's people, not HR.

01:08:27   Yeah, I don't, I've, I had not been paying attention

01:08:30   to Deidre O'Brien much because I don't usually care about HR.

01:08:34   I don't really know anything about her.

01:08:35   I guess we'll find out.

01:08:36   - Yeah, I mean, if you don't work for Apple,

01:08:38   you probably don't know who their head of HR

01:08:40   or sorry, head of people is,

01:08:41   but she's been there for 30 years.

01:08:42   So she is a long time person.

01:08:44   She was there when their first retail ever, it's gone.

01:08:46   I don't doubt that she has the knowledge

01:08:48   and experience to do this.

01:08:49   But the question a lot of people are asking is like,

01:08:52   so she's got two really big important,

01:08:55   I mean, I guess the important jobs.

01:08:56   No, I guess they both involve people,

01:08:57   but like, is this just somebody holding,

01:08:59   keeping the seat warm while they look elsewhere

01:09:01   to hire some outside executive?

01:09:04   I feel like their track record of hiring outside executives

01:09:07   is hit or miss for retail.

01:09:09   Like even who's the original guy who is credited

01:09:12   with all the wonderful things

01:09:13   and they went off to try to save JC Penney,

01:09:15   but it didn't work.

01:09:16   Ron Johnson.

01:09:17   - There you go.

01:09:18   Yep, there you go.

01:09:18   - I heard a really good, I wish,

01:09:20   God, I wish I could remember this,

01:09:21   a really good podcast interview with Ron.

01:09:23   I think it was without fail on Gimlet,

01:09:25   which we may talk about later.

01:09:26   - Yeah.

01:09:27   - I heard Ron Johnson talk about his tenure.

01:09:28   And I mean, he seems like, you know,

01:09:31   a nice guy and everything,

01:09:32   but hearing him talk about his tenure,

01:09:33   I realized how much he was held aloft by Steve Jobs.

01:09:38   Like in other words, not saying anybody could,

01:09:40   any kind of anybody could have done that job,

01:09:41   but he was given a lot of rope and helped a lot

01:09:45   by Steve Jobs' decision-making and taste.

01:09:48   The things could have gone disastrously worse

01:09:50   if he wasn't in just the right environment, right?

01:09:53   Like, I don't want to take credit away from him to say,

01:09:55   oh, he didn't do anything.

01:09:56   'Cause obviously, you know,

01:09:57   he was important and did a good job.

01:10:00   But in his own retelling of his history at Apple,

01:10:03   other people, especially Steve Jobs,

01:10:05   featured very heavily,

01:10:06   despite the fact that at a certain point,

01:10:08   Steve Jobs was like,

01:10:09   look, I can't be involved with this anymore.

01:10:10   You just do something and figure it out, right?

01:10:12   So he deserves a lot of credit,

01:10:13   but also maybe less glorification

01:10:18   that he's not gonna hear and receive.

01:10:20   You know, Apple retail wouldn't be what it was

01:10:22   without Ron Johnson.

01:10:23   I think Jobs could have hired a large group of people

01:10:26   and shepherded them towards the same end result,

01:10:30   with a few exceptions where he really held his ground,

01:10:32   which is an example of what Apple wants.

01:10:33   So the Broward person they hired,

01:10:36   they said, "That didn't work out."

01:10:37   And that was a quick departure.

01:10:38   And it's like, okay, well, when something doesn't work,

01:10:40   it doesn't work, fine.

01:10:41   And Larry seems to be working fine

01:10:43   as far as everyone's concerned.

01:10:44   I still can't get away from the nagging notion

01:10:47   that despite the entire corporation and Tim Cook

01:10:50   buying into her vision,

01:10:51   that it still was a mismatch

01:10:54   and wasn't resonating with people.

01:10:56   Like, they wanted it to work out better than it did.

01:10:58   Like, in the same way that the poor iPhone sales

01:11:01   have the increasingly desperate calls to action

01:11:04   on the Apple homepage,

01:11:05   every time they told me more about how, you know,

01:11:07   today at Apple and the town square stores,

01:11:10   which the chat room wants me to point out,

01:11:11   were not all the stores that were just doing that

01:11:12   in certain locations and metropolitan centers.

01:11:14   But anyway, that vision of what the Apple store

01:11:16   could and should be,

01:11:18   I don't think it is what the Apple stores are

01:11:20   and will ever be.

01:11:21   And so that I feel like is a fundamental failure.

01:11:25   So maybe Apple is disillusioned with what she was doing,

01:11:28   or maybe they are still 100% on board

01:11:30   and she just left to spend more time with her kids

01:11:32   and do something different.

01:11:34   But either way, this new person with two jobs,

01:11:37   they feel like that's too much responsibility for one person.

01:11:40   So that person is either keeping the seat warm

01:11:42   or they need to be taken off of their HR job or something

01:11:46   because you can't, like,

01:11:48   being in charge of all the employees at Apple

01:11:51   and also being in charge of all retail at Apple,

01:11:54   that seems like too much.

01:11:56   What, is she the new CEO?

01:11:57   Maybe she's promoted to CEO in Tim Cook and Rick and Dyer,

01:11:59   but I think they need a new head of retail

01:12:02   because despite the fact that they all involve

01:12:05   a lot of people and she probably has the skills to do both,

01:12:07   I don't think they're enough hours in a day.

01:12:08   (upbeat music)

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01:13:44   (upbeat music)

01:13:48   So Steve Lowe writes,

01:13:48   "Hey, what external drives do you use, recommend,

01:13:51   and how long do you wait to swap them out?

01:13:53   For some time I've used Seagate drives,"

01:13:54   this is still Steve,

01:13:55   "I recently started to use Western Digital Drives again,

01:13:57   reluctantly after a major bad experience in college.

01:14:00   I try to rotate swap out drives every year or two.

01:14:03   I really wanna go external SSD like a Samsung T5 or other,

01:14:06   but I can't pull the trigger on shelling out the money

01:14:09   to get a two terabyte one.

01:14:11   So what do you recommend?"

01:14:13   I only use external drives for backups of backups of backups

01:14:18   so I don't really have any particular opinions about this.

01:14:23   Marco, do you have thoughts?

01:14:25   - Not really.

01:14:26   It has been a very long time, over 10 years,

01:14:29   since I've had a hard drive die.

01:14:31   And part of that is just because for a while there

01:14:34   I would upgrade them to get a larger size

01:14:38   after two to three years of usage and so it just wasn't--

01:14:41   - You didn't keep them long enough for them to die.

01:14:43   - Yeah, so it just wasn't long enough for them to die.

01:14:45   I have, however, I've been running a NAS

01:14:48   with a whole bunch of four terabyte hard drives in it

01:14:50   for a while now, for at least three years.

01:14:54   And I'm kinda surprised none of them have ever died.

01:14:57   I'm kind of like, I think I'm on borrowed time here.

01:15:00   But generally, strategies you can use,

01:15:02   that obviously is a valid strategy,

01:15:05   of just buy a new one every two to three years

01:15:08   and you can be pretty sure that your odds are very good

01:15:11   that it won't die.

01:15:12   Other strategies you can use, things like,

01:15:16   don't buy two hard drives at the same time.

01:15:18   Like if you're placing an order, if you need multiple

01:15:20   drives, buy them from three different stores.

01:15:24   Or if you're gonna buy them all from the same store,

01:15:26   buy them three different weeks, so that way you get

01:15:28   different batches of the drives.

01:15:29   So you don't all have, in case something was a little bit

01:15:32   off about one production run or one batch of a drive,

01:15:35   the one day it was made, you minimize your chances

01:15:37   that both of your drives are gonna be part of that batch.

01:15:40   - This is like the advice about not buying a car

01:15:42   that was like built on Friday,

01:15:43   gets a lot of smart paying attention.

01:15:44   Like the problem with both of those theories is,

01:15:47   you don't know how the batching works.

01:15:48   You could buy things three months apart

01:15:50   and they can come from the same batch.

01:15:51   - Yeah, it's all about odds, really.

01:15:53   But the biggest thing, which one of you has put

01:15:55   in the show notes, is to look at data that is larger

01:15:59   than what you have anecdotally.

01:16:00   And my favorite source of this is the Backblaze

01:16:04   occasional blog posts where they will talk about

01:16:07   hard drive failure rates.

01:16:08   Backblaze buys and uses a lot of hard drives,

01:16:12   'cause they're an online backup company, of course.

01:16:14   Frequent sponsor of the show, by the way.

01:16:16   Anyway, so they buy a lot of hard drives

01:16:18   and they publish about maybe once a year, I think,

01:16:20   they publish failure rates by brand and model

01:16:23   of the hard drives they use.

01:16:25   And granted, Backblaze's usage won't exactly be

01:16:28   the same type and pattern of usage

01:16:30   that any other user might be doing,

01:16:32   but it is good to see these high level trends

01:16:35   from a very, very large install base.

01:16:38   And so basically, buy what Backblaze tells you

01:16:42   is pretty reliable.

01:16:43   That is the best I can tell you.

01:16:46   Any, like, the reputations that brands have over time,

01:16:50   they are not stable.

01:16:51   They shift with, you know, different model lines

01:16:53   are more or less reliable than others.

01:16:55   Sometimes one brand will have a really bad model line,

01:16:57   like the IBM Death Star ones, like that'll just

01:17:01   ruin their reputation forever and make them sell

01:17:03   their whole business to Hitachi.

01:17:05   But for the most part, you know, brands go in and out

01:17:08   of reliability and, you know, check big data sets

01:17:11   like Backblaze if you want to actually know what to buy.

01:17:14   - How you're reminded about the Death Stars,

01:17:15   the worst thing about those is their price performance

01:17:18   was amazing, that's why everybody bought them.

01:17:20   - That was the last time I had a hard drive die,

01:17:22   it was an IBM Death Star, because it was a great hard drive

01:17:25   until it died.

01:17:26   - Yeah, everyone got them and like, this is the obvious,

01:17:28   this is the obvious winner, this is the best hard drive,

01:17:30   everyone should just get this one, done and done,

01:17:32   and then they died, like, oh, well, you know.

01:17:34   But if anybody wants to know, it's called the Death Star

01:17:36   75 GXP series, and I had the 60 GXP which came out

01:17:40   like a half year later, and those were also very unreliable.

01:17:44   - Yeah, the reason the Backblaze thing is important

01:17:48   to look at, one point you already brought up is that

01:17:50   to remember that Backblaze runs these things

01:17:51   in like a data center doing, running their product,

01:17:55   which is almost certainly different than your access pattern

01:17:57   - Exactly.

01:17:58   - And you might think it's tough, it's like,

01:18:00   it's harder than my access pattern because it's so much

01:18:02   more access, maybe, maybe not, depending, right?

01:18:05   But it is a really good data set, just to give you an idea

01:18:07   of like, in the 2018 thing that we'll link in the show notes

01:18:11   like, for each model they say how many drives they got,

01:18:13   and some of them they only got a few of them

01:18:14   'cause they're new, whatever, but like, you know,

01:18:16   a couple ones in the middle like this particular

01:18:17   C-Gate drive, they have 14,000 of them,

01:18:19   they have 24,000 of those on the drive,

01:18:22   they have a lot of hard, the sample size is large, right?

01:18:24   The other thing that I want to point out is that,

01:18:26   and I think that Steve's question reflects this,

01:18:30   as consumer humans with low visibility into the world

01:18:34   of hard drives, you know, and as people, the whole grudges,

01:18:37   you tend to be like, I always buy Western Jizzer drives,

01:18:40   or I never buy C-Gate drives 'cause I had a problem

01:18:42   with the, whatever, if you look at back-of-lays' stats,

01:18:44   the reason you only want to look at these is because

01:18:46   there is the brand, there isn't like no best brand,

01:18:51   you have to look at the exact model, even sometimes

01:18:54   you'll see like the reliability of like, the 10 terabyte

01:18:57   versus the 12 terabyte one can be different significantly,

01:19:00   it's like this is the same drive from the same manufacturer,

01:19:02   it's different capacities, how could they be that different?

01:19:04   You have to look at the exact model number,

01:19:06   which they give you in here to look at it,

01:19:08   so don't say like, I always buy Western Jizzer drives

01:19:10   'cause they're the best, go sort by brand

01:19:13   and look at Western Digital and you'll see a wide variance,

01:19:15   wider variance within Western Digital than between,

01:19:17   you know, the top drive, so pick your exact model

01:19:21   based on the reliability here, don't say,

01:19:23   looks like C-Gate has the best drives,

01:19:24   I'm just gonna buy a C-Gate and then go off

01:19:26   and buy something that says C-Gate on it,

01:19:27   that is the important lesson to the back-lays thing,

01:19:29   by looking at these, the huge differences

01:19:32   in specific models from the exact same manufacturer.

01:19:35   - Oh, the IBM drives, I remember those.

01:19:38   - I used mine and enjoyed them and got rid of them

01:19:41   like just before they died, like I took all my data off them

01:19:44   so I felt like I rode the Death Star Wave and I was happy

01:19:47   because they were, they were great drives

01:19:49   and I was just like, all right,

01:19:50   I'm not pushing my luck here,

01:19:51   I gotta get all my data off that

01:19:52   and then I used it as like a spare drive

01:19:53   and then it died, I'm like, success.

01:19:56   - I'm almost positive I've told this story

01:19:59   on the show before, but it's been a long time.

01:20:01   When I was in college, because I was super cool,

01:20:03   I had a, I think it was a Toshiba Pocket PC PDA,

01:20:08   this was after POMS had mostly fallen out of favor

01:20:13   amongst nerds and the particular Toshiba I had,

01:20:16   it was like a 740 or something like that, I don't know,

01:20:18   it was one of the first ones that had Wi-Fi internal to it

01:20:22   and it had an SD card, or no, not a, what was it?

01:20:25   Compact flash, there you go, a compact flash card slot

01:20:28   and since Dad worked for IBM, he was able to find himself

01:20:32   and then give to me a microdrive, do you remember these?

01:20:35   These are what powered the iPods, I'm not mistaken.

01:20:37   And so it was a literal platter hard drive

01:20:40   that was the size and interface of compact flash,

01:20:44   which was kind of the SD card of the day.

01:20:46   And so I had a one gig microdrive in my little PDA

01:20:49   that I loaded full of MP3s and oh man,

01:20:52   was I a total badass at the time,

01:20:54   walking across campus with my quasi MP3 player,

01:20:58   this was back when the Rio was like the new hotness

01:21:01   and so it was very weird to see somebody plugging

01:21:04   into anything but a Discman because I'm old

01:21:07   and I just remember those days and I thought I was so cool.

01:21:11   In any case, moving on, Michael Heron writes,

01:21:14   "Hey, how does this reopen Windows

01:21:16   "when logging back in feature work?

01:21:18   "Coming from Windows, this is incredible,

01:21:19   "it restores my terminal buffers, open documents,

01:21:21   "browser tabs, et cetera.

01:21:22   "It's already an interesting history to it

01:21:24   "and if you're not familiar, for some reason,

01:21:26   "you're not a Mac user,

01:21:27   "basically what happens is when you shut down a Mac,

01:21:30   "you have the option of telling it to reload everything

01:21:33   "pretty much as you left it and by and large,

01:21:36   "as Michael's saying, most everything will come back

01:21:39   "exactly as you left it, which is really, really surprising.

01:21:42   "So I'm guessing if we're looking for Mac history,

01:21:45   "we need to turn to John.

01:21:46   "John, tell us what's going on here."

01:21:49   - So this feature actually, this whole idea

01:21:53   is near and dear to my heart.

01:21:55   I think the second blog post I ever made,

01:21:59   my old FatBits blog at Ars Technica

01:22:01   was on this exact topic of state preservation.

01:22:05   That was a long time ago before a lot of these APIs existed.

01:22:07   The way it works on the Mac these days

01:22:10   is the OS itself has the feature you just talked about

01:22:12   that asks you, "It looks like you're logging out.

01:22:15   "When you log back in, do you want me to reopen

01:22:16   "all the stuff that you had open before?"

01:22:19   And you can say yes or no and there's a preference for that.

01:22:21   When you crash, it gives you the option

01:22:23   because it doesn't wanna keep reopening stuff

01:22:24   that are causing crashes.

01:22:25   So it says, "Hey, it looks like you just crashed.

01:22:27   "Do you want me to reopen stuff?"

01:22:28   Yes or no, regardless of what the preference is,

01:22:29   that'll prompt you for that.

01:22:31   But then there's the application side of this

01:22:32   where Apple has a whole bunch of APIs,

01:22:35   Cocoa APIs and various other,

01:22:36   maybe they were even dated back to Carmen,

01:22:38   specifically made to handle state preservation

01:22:41   and restoration.

01:22:42   Of course, they have tons of this in iOS.

01:22:44   This is how iOS has always worked

01:22:45   because you don't even know

01:22:46   when your app has been killed in the background.

01:22:47   The whole point of an iOS app is when you relaunch,

01:22:49   you're supposed to bring it back to where it was,

01:22:50   where they left off to maintain that illusion.

01:22:53   But a lot of those APIs also came to the Mac.

01:22:55   And it really does depend on the specific Mac application,

01:22:58   how they do that.

01:22:59   Now, the Mac being older than the iPhone by a lot,

01:23:02   has a long history of Mac applications

01:23:05   implementing these features themselves.

01:23:07   Before Apple ever did any features, any APIs

01:23:10   or any OS integration at all,

01:23:12   good Mac applications would have like a preference

01:23:14   or a setting or whatever that says,

01:23:15   "Hey, when I launched, you want me to open up

01:23:16   "all the stuff I had open last time?"

01:23:18   And then when Apple added APIs for this,

01:23:20   newer applications use the APIs,

01:23:21   older applications may have kept using their custom stuff.

01:23:25   Some applications never did any of this stuff at all.

01:23:27   But it is a sign, I think, has always been a sign

01:23:30   of a high quality Mac application

01:23:32   that it at least has the option to restore its state

01:23:37   to just how you left it.

01:23:38   Sometimes you don't want that.

01:23:39   And it's nice to say, "No, don't do that.

01:23:40   "When you start, I want you to be fresh."

01:23:42   But if that's what you want,

01:23:43   good Mac applications have always done it.

01:23:45   And it's easier now than ever to do it

01:23:47   because of all the APIs and OS support that Apple provides.

01:23:51   And I'm of course a big proponent of that

01:23:52   because if state is preserved and restored extensively,

01:23:57   as extensively as possible,

01:23:58   it encourages you to manipulate that state,

01:24:03   to put things where you want them,

01:24:05   to open all the documents that are related to this project.

01:24:08   It's more efficient to like have the insertion point

01:24:10   and the selection and everything,

01:24:11   every part of the application exactly where you left off,

01:24:14   to be able to just quit the whole application,

01:24:16   log off, restart, do whatever you want,

01:24:19   not having that feeling like,

01:24:21   oh, I'm just gonna lose my place in everything.

01:24:22   Like I had everything all arranged.

01:24:24   I was doing all this stuff.

01:24:25   I got a web browser open and I'm editing this thing.

01:24:27   I'm building this over here.

01:24:28   I got a terminal window and like everything.

01:24:29   And I remember that highlight and I put a mark over here

01:24:32   so I know how to get back to that spot.

01:24:33   And like, and I just can't even bear the idea

01:24:36   of having to log out and back in

01:24:37   or restart for a system update or something like that

01:24:39   because I'll lose everything.

01:24:40   I'll lose my place.

01:24:41   I'll lose all my state.

01:24:42   There's still the mental aspect of it that you may lose.

01:24:44   But I love the idea of that stuff being restored.

01:24:47   And as good as it is, it is not good enough

01:24:50   as far as I'm concerned,

01:24:51   because there is lots of smoke and mirrors

01:24:53   with state restoration.

01:24:55   Like when you log back in,

01:24:56   the OS saves basically pictures of all your windows

01:24:58   of what they look like.

01:24:59   And it shows you the pictures,

01:25:01   but those are not your windows.

01:25:02   Those are pictures of your windows.

01:25:03   If you try to do anything with them,

01:25:05   you will quickly see a little spinner appear over them.

01:25:07   You'll see the spinner anyway that says,

01:25:09   yeah, this is a picture of what your window looked like

01:25:10   before.

01:25:11   I really hope the application that's behind this

01:25:13   will restore this window to exactly the state,

01:25:16   but you can't manipulate it yet

01:25:17   because we're still launching that application.

01:25:18   So just cool your jets

01:25:20   and hopefully everything will come back to the way it was.

01:25:22   So state restoration takes time.

01:25:24   It is not up to the standard even of iOS.

01:25:25   I think iOS applications do a much better job

01:25:27   because it's been the iOS convention rule

01:25:31   and practice with APIs from day one is that,

01:25:33   hey, if we kill you and you come back,

01:25:35   come back to where you were,

01:25:36   because we don't want people to know that you're killed.

01:25:39   Or in like the pre multitasking days,

01:25:40   every time someone hits the home button, you're gone.

01:25:43   And when they go back to you,

01:25:44   you better be where you left off

01:25:45   because otherwise it'll feel really weird, right?

01:25:48   So iOS has a leg up here, but like I said,

01:25:50   great Mac apps have always done it.

01:25:52   So anyway, I hope that answers whatever questions

01:25:55   and whatever interesting history you think is behind it.

01:25:57   But I just want to further endorse the idea of this

01:26:00   because I'm not gonna go off on a rant

01:26:02   about the spatial finder,

01:26:03   but I think this is a key feature

01:26:06   of an efficient working environment

01:26:08   is the ability to do this when you want it.

01:26:09   And by the way, even Apple's apps

01:26:11   sometimes have a preference for this.

01:26:12   So for example, Safari has a thing that says,

01:26:15   what do you want me to do when I launch?

01:26:16   If you don't know that feature's there,

01:26:18   go into Safari preferences and pick the option that says,

01:26:20   like reopen the last windows that were open or whatever.

01:26:23   Because even if you pick the OS feature

01:26:25   of like bring everything back to where it was,

01:26:26   if you quit Safari and relaunch it,

01:26:28   the preference, I think the default of the preference is like

01:26:31   just open a new window or show favorites

01:26:32   or some stupid crap.

01:26:34   Change it to the state preserving one,

01:26:35   which Chrome does by default.

01:26:37   If you've never tried it in Safari,

01:26:38   try it and see if you like it.

01:26:40   I obviously do.

01:26:42   - Alrighty, and then finally, Alex Katus writes,

01:26:45   "Hey Marco, what do you think about Spotify's acquisition

01:26:47   "of Gimlet and what will that mean

01:26:49   "for the future of the podcasting industry?

01:26:51   "Are you still involved with them?"

01:26:52   Let's start by, if you don't mind,

01:26:54   providing a little history and context for me

01:26:56   and then if you wouldn't mind answering

01:26:58   Alex's question, please.

01:27:00   - Sure, yeah, so anybody who listened to

01:27:03   the early season of Startup probably heard an episode

01:27:08   where I was on it saying that I was going to invest

01:27:11   some of my money in Gimlet and I did.

01:27:15   So I'm an investor in Gimlet.

01:27:17   That being said, I'm a pretty hands-off investor.

01:27:21   So I really have not been, you know,

01:27:25   I've never even been to their office.

01:27:27   I've met with them I think twice in the last

01:27:31   five or four years since it's been.

01:27:33   And I'm very hands-off 'cause I just, you know,

01:27:37   I have my own stuff going on here

01:27:38   and I don't have time to be very active

01:27:40   with other people like that.

01:27:41   So, and I don't even know if they would want me to.

01:27:43   So anyway, so I am an investor,

01:27:47   but I don't have any inside information.

01:27:50   The only thing I know about this acquisition

01:27:52   is what has been publicized.

01:27:54   Like, I literally, I had no advanced knowledge of the deal.

01:27:57   I learned about it in the press like everyone else

01:27:59   and the only thing I know are things that

01:28:01   Spotify and Gimlet have said publicly.

01:28:04   So, people have been asking me all day

01:28:05   what I think about this and, you know,

01:28:08   admittedly I will make some money from this.

01:28:09   And so, my opinion is probably colored by that

01:28:12   to some degree.

01:28:13   But I don't think this is gonna be a huge deal

01:28:19   for the majority of the podcasting world.

01:28:21   You know, people are freaking out a little bit

01:28:23   and I get that 'cause I often would do that too

01:28:27   for, you know, when there's signs of

01:28:30   big business taking over podcasting.

01:28:32   I don't like that and that makes me nervous

01:28:33   whenever it happens.

01:28:35   But I don't think this is gonna end up

01:28:38   having major effects like that.

01:28:40   And I'll explain why.

01:28:42   So, first of all, Gimlet, you know,

01:28:44   they produce some really big shows.

01:28:47   And one of the things people suggested

01:28:49   would be a problem here would be

01:28:51   what if Spotify locks down their shows

01:28:53   and makes them Spotify exclusives

01:28:55   that you have to listen in Spotify.

01:28:56   You can't listen in other RSS based podcast players anymore.

01:29:00   Gimlet has come out right, has come right out and said

01:29:03   they are not going to lock down their existing podcasts.

01:29:06   But they will also be making exclusive content for Spotify.

01:29:10   That sounds a little good, a little scary,

01:29:13   but Spotify already has exclusive shows.

01:29:18   This is not the first time they're going to have them.

01:29:20   Spotify has a pretty major presence

01:29:22   in the podcast space now.

01:29:25   And they have exclusive shows already.

01:29:27   Gimlet also has already been producing

01:29:31   a lot of podcasts for other companies.

01:29:33   You know, like when you think about

01:29:35   what's a Gimlet podcast,

01:29:36   you probably think of like the five or six big ones,

01:29:38   but they also have been producing podcasts

01:29:40   for other companies as a large arm of their business.

01:29:44   That being said, this is a little bit different

01:29:46   in that creating exclusive shows

01:29:50   that are exclusive to Spotify

01:29:52   is now a button they can press

01:29:55   that will increase Spotify memberships on command.

01:29:59   And whenever companies create a button they can press

01:30:03   to increase a key metric of their business,

01:30:06   they can say, "Oh, we're not going to push that button

01:30:09   "too often, don't worry."

01:30:10   But no company can maintain that long term.

01:30:14   Like eventually they're going to start

01:30:15   pushing that button over and over again.

01:30:17   And no matter what their intents are now,

01:30:20   that's just a thing that happens in business,

01:30:23   regardless of everybody's good intentions.

01:30:25   So I do expect a lot more of this content

01:30:30   to become exclusive to Spotify over time.

01:30:32   Maybe not the existing shows,

01:30:34   'cause they have said they don't plan to do that,

01:30:35   but probably more of the new shows.

01:30:39   Again, I don't know what their plans are.

01:30:40   I'm speculating here.

01:30:42   The other thing is that there are other big services

01:30:46   that combine public podcasts with exclusive audio shows.

01:30:51   We don't usually hear about them, but they are out there.

01:30:53   Audible does this, Stitcher does this, TuneIn has this.

01:30:58   SoundCloud is a big one.

01:30:59   SoundCloud has, like you can host a podcast on SoundCloud

01:31:02   that's public, but you can also not set up your channel

01:31:05   on SoundCloud that way.

01:31:06   And a lot of people publish on SoundCloud,

01:31:09   they think they're publishing a podcast,

01:31:11   but they're actually just publishing

01:31:12   a private SoundCloud channel that does not have an RSS feed

01:31:15   and can't be subscribed to in a podcast client.

01:31:18   Sirius XM, you could even say, and talk radio stations,

01:31:22   do something like this in the sense that they have

01:31:24   podcast-like content that is exclusive to their service.

01:31:29   So there are these other major services that exist.

01:31:33   These all have big name, exclusive audio shows,

01:31:37   exclusive to them that have substantial followings.

01:31:41   These have all coexisted with the open world of podcasts.

01:31:45   Now, I don't call these podcasts,

01:31:48   because if you can't play an audio show

01:31:52   in any podcast app out there, it's not a podcast.

01:31:56   They can call them whatever they want,

01:31:57   but if it's a podcast, it plays in Apple Podcasts,

01:32:02   Overcast, Pocketcast, Castro, any podcast app

01:32:06   somebody could make today that reads RSS feeds

01:32:09   and can play in closure files, that's a podcast.

01:32:12   If it can't play in that kind of app, it's not.

01:32:15   But anyway, so all these big services

01:32:18   have coexisted with our world, with exclusive content,

01:32:22   blending in with our podcasts, and it's been okay so far.

01:32:27   We have our world, they have theirs,

01:32:30   nobody has posed any fatal threats to anybody else so far.

01:32:34   This is a little bit different, though,

01:32:37   in that Spotify now has a lot of power in podcasting,

01:32:42   and they've gotten it very quickly.

01:32:44   Spotify only launched podcasting,

01:32:46   I think less than a year ago, it's been pretty recent.

01:32:48   They're accumulating share very quickly,

01:32:51   and that's probably gonna keep going up,

01:32:54   'cause Spotify is huge.

01:32:55   But as they've accumulated the share,

01:32:58   I think it has been mostly additive.

01:33:00   It is mostly adding new listeners to podcasts,

01:33:04   not like a whole bunch of people switching

01:33:07   from Apple Podcasts or Overcast or Pocketcast

01:33:09   to Spotify as their podcast client of choice.

01:33:13   So I'm not so worried about it there,

01:33:15   but they do have a lot of power,

01:33:17   and the fact that they have a lot of power

01:33:19   and run their own proprietary lockdown ecosystem

01:33:22   that is not podcasting, that does give me some pause.

01:33:26   But the world of standard open podcasting

01:33:31   has faced a lot of large,

01:33:34   well-funded challenges over the years,

01:33:36   and it has proven every single time so far

01:33:40   to be remarkably resilient and to outlast all of them.

01:33:43   This world of podcasting that we live in,

01:33:46   that we publish in RSS feed, and any app can download it

01:33:50   and can play the files, and there's no intermediary necessary,

01:33:54   that world has existed for a long time,

01:33:58   is very strong, very diverse,

01:34:01   and exists mostly independently of any particular giants.

01:34:06   Nobody can stop us from making shows like this,

01:34:12   and nobody can stop standard podcast apps from playing them,

01:34:16   and nobody can stop you all, the audience, from listening.

01:34:20   That is the beauty of this ecosystem.

01:34:24   So we will be fine as long as you, the listeners,

01:34:28   as long as you stick around, we'll be fine.

01:34:31   - I think the concentration of power thing

01:34:34   is the key one here.

01:34:35   So lots of big players have come and gone,

01:34:37   but as they consolidate and as the big players

01:34:40   get bigger than they previously were,

01:34:42   there is kind of a critical mass point

01:34:44   that I find worrisome.

01:34:45   So Apple is already at the critical mass point,

01:34:48   but as we pointed out in the past,

01:34:50   they have been nice to us.

01:34:52   They have benign neglect or just general niceness,

01:34:55   like whether they don't see it as strategic

01:34:57   or don't wanna lock it down or just don't care or whatever.

01:35:00   They have the most important podcast index,

01:35:03   and they continue to basically not be evil

01:35:07   and not try to become the masters of podcasting

01:35:11   and lock everything into an Apple-only ecosystem,

01:35:14   yada, yada, yada, right?

01:35:15   Spotify is big enough that they're probably the biggest,

01:35:19   the biggest player in the audio space.

01:35:21   I feel like they're bigger,

01:35:21   they have more customers than Audible,

01:35:23   they're bigger than any other big company

01:35:24   that's tried to come into the podcasting space

01:35:25   and they're acquiring popular original content.

01:35:28   They could reach that critical mass

01:35:29   where suddenly being in the iTunes podcast index is,

01:35:34   at best equally important to being the Spotify one,

01:35:38   but maybe less so because they have the people,

01:35:40   like in the podcast we'll go where the people is.

01:35:42   And if they amass enough power and enough users,

01:35:45   it could be that like,

01:35:46   yeah, you could do have an independent podcast,

01:35:47   but if you ever want anyone to listen to your podcast,

01:35:50   you have to be on Spotify,

01:35:51   and then once you're in Spotify, they have you, right?

01:35:53   That's what we're all afraid of, I think,

01:35:55   is letting any one player with ambitions

01:35:58   to own and control the content of podcasts,

01:36:00   which Apple thus far has not had,

01:36:01   they don't have that ambition.

01:36:03   If that player gets so big

01:36:05   that they become synonymous with podcasts

01:36:07   and that if you want anyone to listen to your podcast ever,

01:36:10   you have to be in that thing.

01:36:12   And the resiliency of it

01:36:13   is kind of like the resiliency of the open web,

01:36:15   where the web is open, nobody owns it,

01:36:17   it's the platform nobody owns,

01:36:18   we can all make web pages, it's great and everything,

01:36:20   but it's possible to subvert such an ecosystem

01:36:23   if you get big enough, witness Facebook and Google,

01:36:25   where even though it's open,

01:36:27   and even though Facebook and Google

01:36:29   are probably more open about what they do on the web

01:36:31   than Spotify is in relation to podcasting,

01:36:34   nevertheless, the web becomes Facebook

01:36:37   for a majority of people,

01:36:38   and you get to the point where it's like,

01:36:39   well, if you want anyone to see anything you're doing,

01:36:40   you have to be on Facebook.

01:36:42   I really hope we don't get to that place

01:36:43   'cause I don't wanna go there,

01:36:45   but that's why I don't really feel good

01:36:48   about this move at all.

01:36:50   - Yeah, I mean, that is definitely a risk.

01:36:53   And I have talked, ever since launching Overcast,

01:36:56   I've talked about that risk of any one podcast app

01:37:00   getting so much market share among listeners

01:37:03   that you have to play ball with them,

01:37:05   especially when that one podcast app

01:37:07   is not based on the open standards,

01:37:09   when it is its own walled garden,

01:37:12   and it has its own, like, you have to add your podcast to it

01:37:14   to participate in it,

01:37:15   because it is not playing things off your server.

01:37:18   It is copying things to its own infrastructure

01:37:21   and playing things itself,

01:37:22   and doing everything in its little walled garden

01:37:25   that is not actually podcast.

01:37:28   That does worry me quite a bit,

01:37:29   and that is my concern with Spotify, big time.

01:37:32   I don't, though, I don't think that the Gimlet acquisition

01:37:38   is gonna be a major factor

01:37:41   in whether that comes to pass or not.

01:37:43   - You know, I think the original content,

01:37:45   having high quality original content that people want

01:37:48   is a draw.

01:37:48   It will get more podcast listeners to go there.

01:37:51   - Oh, sure, but they already had that,

01:37:52   and they're producing even more of it.

01:37:55   And these other platforms that, you know,

01:37:58   like Audible has their own stuff, Stitcher, Premium, like--

01:38:01   - Yeah, but Gimlet has good stuff.

01:38:03   More of it, and even if they already have good stuff

01:38:06   that is just as good, now they have more of it.

01:38:08   It's like Netflix buying up talent

01:38:10   to make good shows and movies for them.

01:38:11   Like, it's like getting more,

01:38:13   you reach a sort of a critical mass point,

01:38:17   and we just never get there,

01:38:18   of where everyone's just assumed to have a Spotify account

01:38:22   and a Spotify player, and all of a sudden,

01:38:24   Overcast becomes, oh, I have to have a second app

01:38:26   to listen to podcasts.

01:38:27   It's stupid, because the Spotify one

01:38:29   doesn't play open podcasts or something.

01:38:31   They don't even need to take control over it

01:38:33   and rehost it.

01:38:34   They could be entirely open, but just say like,

01:38:35   oh, in terms of service, we get half your money

01:38:38   if we even list you in your index.

01:38:39   By the way, if you're not in our index,

01:38:41   you're invisible, because the iTunes index is gone

01:38:43   'cause Apple got bored,

01:38:44   and so we're the only index that matters,

01:38:46   and by the way, you can't scrape our index to make your own.

01:38:48   There's lots of terrible scenarios for podcasting

01:38:50   that I see coming out of this,

01:38:51   and I really, really hope Spotify fails

01:38:53   to be successful in podcasting,

01:38:55   after they give Marko all their money.

01:38:56   (laughing)

01:38:57   - I definitely do share a lot of those concerns.

01:38:59   I really do, but again, you look at Stitcher Premium.

01:39:02   Stitcher Premium has been around for a while.

01:39:04   It is a pay service that's an add-on to the Stitcher.

01:39:06   Stitcher is now, I think, mostly a standards-based

01:39:10   podcast player, but they also have this premium service

01:39:12   that has a whole bunch of big-name shows

01:39:15   put in their archives or their early releases there,

01:39:17   whatever.

01:39:19   Stitcher Premium is a pretty big deal in absolute terms,

01:39:22   but it has had basically no effect

01:39:26   on the world of podcasting.

01:39:27   It has not affected us at all.

01:39:29   It has not drawn people over to Stitcher in mass.

01:39:32   - Yeah, they don't have critical mass.

01:39:34   - Right, but they could.

01:39:36   They have very strong exclusive content there,

01:39:39   but that just, it hasn't happened.

01:39:42   It hasn't caused problems.

01:39:44   They have people with very big followings

01:39:46   who have stuff exclusively on Stitcher Premium,

01:39:48   and it's been fine.

01:39:50   So again, I am worried about Spotify's control

01:39:54   over podcasting from a market share perspective,

01:39:57   but I'm a lot less worried about any particular

01:40:00   exclusive content causing the entire balance

01:40:04   of things to shift,

01:40:05   because we've had other big services

01:40:07   with strong exclusive content,

01:40:09   and that hasn't happened.

01:40:11   - Well, if the next serial comes out on Spotify only,

01:40:13   I'm gonna be worried.

01:40:14   You should find that link to the, you were on--

01:40:16   - No, here's the thing.

01:40:17   If the next serial comes out on Spotify only,

01:40:19   it won't become the next serial.

01:40:21   - So Spotify has a lot of customers.

01:40:23   - Yeah, but you know what?

01:40:24   There's also a lot of podcast listeners

01:40:25   who aren't Spotify customers.

01:40:27   - Ah, I don't know.

01:40:28   Anyway, there was a podcast you were on.

01:40:30   It was a podcast with Lex.

01:40:32   What was the name of that?

01:40:33   - The Wolf's Den.

01:40:34   - Yeah, we should find that episode for the show.

01:40:36   If you wanna hear Marco talk more about this,

01:40:39   in the context of Stitcher, not Gimlet,

01:40:42   but I think it's relevant, it's worth listening to that,

01:40:44   'cause I think you did a good job of voicing

01:40:46   the concerns of podcast producers,

01:40:51   and listeners to some degree,

01:40:52   but if you're just a podcast customer,

01:40:55   you're like, well, I'm already a Spotify subscriber,

01:40:58   so I think this is great.

01:40:59   What do I care?

01:41:00   I don't care about the economics of podcasting,

01:41:02   but there's a reason people who create podcasts

01:41:05   don't wanna stop, and probably as a listener,

01:41:07   you probably don't wanna stop,

01:41:08   neither this kind of concentration of power,

01:41:09   is because all these situations are a place

01:41:14   where the player that gets critical mass

01:41:18   inserts itself financially, and in all other ways,

01:41:22   like user experience-wise and everything.

01:41:24   They insert themselves between the listener and the creator.

01:41:29   That's where the big bucks are.

01:41:31   YouTube, for example, is between you, the viewer,

01:41:34   and the creator, and YouTube has critical mass,

01:41:38   and if you want people to see your video,

01:41:40   it is very difficult to get that done

01:41:41   if you are not on YouTube,

01:41:43   and anything that inserts themselves there

01:41:46   has different motivations than the creator,

01:41:49   and it mediates that relationship

01:41:50   to the benefit of themselves,

01:41:52   not to the benefit of the creator,

01:41:53   and also not to the benefit of the viewer,

01:41:56   so there's money being siphoned away,

01:41:58   and there's experiences getting worse on both ends,

01:42:01   and the beauty of podcasting is thus far, like the open web,

01:42:04   there doesn't have to be any intermediary.

01:42:06   We can make the podcast, you can listen to it,

01:42:10   nobody gets between that financially,

01:42:12   and nobody has to get between that user experience-wise.

01:42:15   There is the player application that's in the mix there,

01:42:17   but the point is that even that's a direct relationship.

01:42:20   Nobody likes middlemen, or middle people,

01:42:22   but probably middlemen.

01:42:23   That's what we're fighting.

01:42:25   It misaligns incentives,

01:42:28   it sucks money out of an ecosystem

01:42:31   from the people creating them

01:42:34   to the people who are facilitating,

01:42:36   but there's no facilitating that's required for podcasting.

01:42:38   Podcasting does not need help getting audio to customers

01:42:42   at all at this point.

01:42:44   It's fine, it's a thing we can do.

01:42:45   If you have a phone,

01:42:46   you can choose from 20 different applications,

01:42:48   they can all get you podcasts.

01:42:49   I swear it works, and those applications

01:42:51   are probably easier to use

01:42:52   than signing up for Spotify or whatever.

01:42:55   Maybe this is inside baseball,

01:42:57   and it's like hearing a bunch of podcasters

01:42:59   complain about podcasting,

01:43:00   but it will be worse not just for us,

01:43:04   but also for you, listener,

01:43:05   and so that's why I think you should listen to Marco

01:43:09   argue with Lex about this very issue on that podcast.

01:43:11   - Yeah, and if you care about such things,

01:43:15   use the open podcast ecosystem.

01:43:18   Use an app, I don't care if it's my app or someone else's,

01:43:20   use an app that is part of that ecosystem,

01:43:23   that doesn't try to lock things away for itself

01:43:25   in some kind of proprietary thing.

01:43:27   So basically everything except Stitcher, TuneIn,

01:43:30   Spotify, Google Podcasts, anything else,

01:43:33   any other podcast app, Apple Podcasts

01:43:35   is actually a very good citizen of this ecosystem.

01:43:38   PocketCast, Castro, you know, like all the,

01:43:41   there's a whole bunch of podcast apps out there now,

01:43:43   in addition to Overcast, that are part of this ecosystem.

01:43:44   So I don't care if you use my app or someone else's,

01:43:47   just I very much encourage you,

01:43:49   if you want this open ecosystem to continue,

01:43:52   and I think you do, use an app that is part of it

01:43:56   instead of an app that is fighting against it.

01:43:58   - Oh, and to, I don't know,

01:44:00   I mentioned before YouTube as an example,

01:44:01   and you may be thinking, oh, you said it's gonna be worse

01:44:04   for me as a viewer or as a listener,

01:44:06   like how is YouTube bad for me?

01:44:07   I love YouTube, I go there, there's cool videos,

01:44:09   I have lots of fun, YouTube is great for customers,

01:44:11   it's an awesome site, I don't understand

01:44:13   how there's anything bad about YouTube.

01:44:15   Maybe it's bad for the creators, but I don't care about that,

01:44:17   I just want my videos, it seems like it's great for me.

01:44:19   There was a recent example I heard on,

01:44:20   I think it was the most recent episode

01:44:22   of Hello Internet, if you wanna hear people,

01:44:24   creators complain about YouTube,

01:44:26   listen to Hello Internet, although you might have

01:44:28   to find the episodes where they actually talk about that.

01:44:29   But anyway, a very recent example is,

01:44:33   YouTube has a feature called annotations

01:44:34   to let you put things over the video

01:44:36   to highlight regions and have you click on them

01:44:39   and go off to some related content or whatever.

01:44:41   I think you could also put text,

01:44:43   and I don't know how the annotations work,

01:44:44   I don't do that for my videos,

01:44:46   but the feature's been there for a really, really long time,

01:44:49   and YouTube sort of put it on ice and said,

01:44:52   we're not gonna really let you make any new annotations,

01:44:54   but don't worry, all your old annotations

01:44:56   will continue to work, and then more recently,

01:44:58   they said, yeah, you know, your old annotations,

01:45:00   those are going away, right?

01:45:02   Because as the intermediary, as the company

01:45:06   that has inserted itself into the middle,

01:45:07   or has always been in the middle between the creators

01:45:10   and the viewers, they don't want to support

01:45:13   or have or use that feature, it's counter

01:45:15   to their corporate strategy or whatever,

01:45:16   but hundreds, probably thousands of people,

01:45:20   certainly thousands of people, have annotated their videos

01:45:23   and put them up on YouTube.

01:45:25   They did work and created content

01:45:27   that's part of their creation with those annotations on them

01:45:30   and because it wasn't convened anymore for the middle man,

01:45:34   all that work is gone, and people who are viewing

01:45:37   those videos get a worse experience,

01:45:40   because if you come to a video and the person

01:45:41   on the video is saying, click here to see whatever,

01:45:44   and you can't click there, or there's nothing to click

01:45:46   or clicking there does nothing, which has been true

01:45:49   since mobile came along because they didn't bring

01:45:50   annotations to mobile either, that's a worse experience

01:45:53   for you as a viewer, so yeah, it's worse for the creators

01:45:56   because the video is worse, but it's worse for you

01:45:57   as the viewer, there are thousands and thousands

01:45:59   of very, very popular videos on YouTube

01:46:02   that used to have annotations that don't anymore.

01:46:05   That is not a choice that those thousands of creators

01:46:07   would ever have made on their own,

01:46:09   and it's not good for you, the viewer.

01:46:10   That is just one of many examples where when there's someone

01:46:13   in the middle of this relationship, they will act

01:46:15   in their best interest, which is not the interest

01:46:17   of you, the viewer, and not the interest of the creator.

01:46:20   So it's pretty terrible, and YouTube is a great

01:46:23   counter example of like, we never really had an open

01:46:26   web style ecosystem for video for a variety of reasons

01:46:28   I think we've discussed in the show in the past,

01:46:30   but we do have it for podcasts, and God,

01:46:32   just please let us preserve it.

01:46:34   Amen, brother.

01:46:35   - Thanks to our sponsors this week,

01:46:36   Squarespace, Eero, and Molecule,

01:46:39   and we will see you next week.

01:46:40   (upbeat music)

01:46:43   ♪ Now the show is over ♪

01:46:45   ♪ They didn't even mean to begin ♪

01:46:48   ♪ 'Cause it was accidental ♪

01:46:50   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:46:50   ♪ Oh, it was accidental ♪

01:46:52   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:46:53   ♪ John didn't do any research ♪

01:46:55   ♪ Marco and Casey wouldn't let him ♪

01:46:58   ♪ 'Cause it was accidental ♪

01:47:00   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:47:01   ♪ Oh, it was accidental ♪

01:47:03   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:47:04   ♪ And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM ♪

01:47:09   ♪ And if you're into Twitter ♪

01:47:12   ♪ You can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S ♪

01:47:17   ♪ So that's Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M ♪

01:47:23   ♪ Auntie Marco Arment, S-I-R-A-C ♪

01:47:28   ♪ USA, Syracuse ♪

01:47:30   ♪ It's accidental ♪

01:47:31   ♪ It's accidental ♪

01:47:33   ♪ They didn't mean to accidental ♪

01:47:37   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:47:38   ♪ Tech.com so long ♪

01:47:43   - John, you punted last week,

01:47:47   you teased at least your hosts.

01:47:49   I don't know if this made it in the release show,

01:47:51   probably not, but you said your gas station has been updated.

01:47:54   What does that mean?

01:47:55   - Did it get gas OS5?

01:47:57   Like what?

01:47:58   - Yeah, it might as well have.

01:47:59   Well, it kind of took away a fun little,

01:48:04   I don't know, homey feeling like,

01:48:06   so this is my local gas station.

01:48:07   It's the one closest to my house.

01:48:09   - What's a gas station?

01:48:10   - Yeah.

01:48:11   - Oh, God.

01:48:13   - It's a place where I can put 300 miles of range

01:48:15   on my car in like two and a half minutes.

01:48:16   (laughing)

01:48:19   And for a while I knew that like one of the pumps,

01:48:24   like the little, I have the, it's a mobile station,

01:48:27   I have the little mobile speed pass.

01:48:28   Do you guys remember that?

01:48:29   - That's still a thing?

01:48:31   - Yeah, like it used to be like,

01:48:32   it's like a little dongle.

01:48:33   It looked like a little, like I think a crayon

01:48:35   and break off about an inch of it,

01:48:37   and it would go on your key chain.

01:48:38   It was a little like, you know,

01:48:39   about the thickness of a crayon and maybe an inch long,

01:48:42   and you would just like, proximity,

01:48:43   you just like hold it up to the pump,

01:48:45   like a little spot that had it on the pump.

01:48:46   You hold it up by the logo, and the logo glows,

01:48:48   like it's activated.

01:48:49   It was like NFC before NFC basically,

01:48:51   and you didn't have to take your wallet out.

01:48:53   So you could gas up your car with just your keys.

01:48:54   If it's on your key chain, you turn off your engine,

01:48:56   take your keys with you, smack the keys against the thing,

01:48:58   and then you're fueling, right?

01:49:00   Which I loved.

01:49:01   This magical thing where you add 300 miles of range

01:49:03   to your car in five minutes, you have to pay for it?

01:49:05   If I ever catch up to the cost of your car, I'll let you know.

01:49:07   (laughing)

01:49:10   So anyway, I'm using the Speedpass.

01:49:13   And it's a great, whoever came up with that idea at mobile

01:49:15   was really smart, because I would seek out mobile stations

01:49:17   just for the convenience.

01:49:18   I have a credit card, I can take it out of my wallet,

01:49:19   I can slide it in the thing and slide it out

01:49:21   after I figure out how, which way the magnetic strip goes,

01:49:23   and I can type in my zip code,

01:49:24   'cause I'm doing gas at a different place.

01:49:26   Like, I can get it done the other way,

01:49:28   but I love the convenience, kind of like Apple Pay.

01:49:30   It doesn't seem like a big deal,

01:49:31   but it's so convenient you really wanna use it,

01:49:33   thus Casey's quest forever to find all of his favorite

01:49:36   junk food stores to support Apple Pay,

01:49:39   which is going well, going well for him.

01:49:40   - Well, I mean, to be fair, like I remember from my time

01:49:43   so long ago at gas stations, anything you could do

01:49:46   to touch fewer things would be a bonus.

01:49:49   - Yeah, although my gas station is very clean.

01:49:51   But anyway, I knew one of the machines didn't,

01:49:52   the Speedpass didn't work, and it hasn't worked for years,

01:49:55   so I just didn't go to that pump or whatever,

01:49:57   and just felt like, oh, this is my gas station,

01:49:59   I know the quirks, right?

01:50:00   I know the best way to get in the pump

01:50:02   and go, anyway.

01:50:03   So they replaced all their pumps.

01:50:06   And I went on the pump, like, this is great.

01:50:08   Brand new pumps everywhere, now I can go to that other one

01:50:11   that I never go to because everything's brand new,

01:50:13   so everything will work.

01:50:14   So I go to it, get out of the car,

01:50:16   and there's no place for me to put my Speedpass.

01:50:18   I tried shoving it against the pump in a couple places

01:50:21   that looked like they might be it.

01:50:22   Nope, none of them were it.

01:50:24   But I did see the thing that we're all now familiar with,

01:50:27   I guess probably like the industry standard,

01:50:29   like symbol for NFC, where it shows like the oval

01:50:31   with the sort of Wi-Fi fan type thing in it, right?

01:50:34   And it was clear that they had NFC type payments,

01:50:38   but I was still looking for the Speedpass thing.

01:50:41   Because, yeah, I have my phone, and it's with me,

01:50:43   but it was in the back of the car,

01:50:45   I don't take my phone out of the car.

01:50:46   Like I put it in a little place

01:50:48   where you put your phone in the car place,

01:50:49   you know, everyone's either they have a holder

01:50:51   or there's a little rubbery area, like, you know,

01:50:53   that's where my phone is.

01:50:54   Or even if it is in my pocket,

01:50:55   I don't wanna dig out my phone.

01:50:56   - Wait, hold on, so you just sit there pumping gas,

01:50:59   just staring into space?

01:51:00   Like it's 1995, like what is this?

01:51:02   - No, speaking of that, for a long time,

01:51:05   Massachusetts did not have the little thing

01:51:06   that locks the, you know, the little flicky thing

01:51:09   that locks the pump thing down.

01:51:10   They didn't have that, I guess, but probably by law.

01:51:12   They've brought that back a few years ago.

01:51:14   I'm like, oh, thank God.

01:51:15   Anyway, this is just to activate the pump thing.

01:51:17   I have my keys, I have to have them in my hand,

01:51:19   I just turned the car off.

01:51:21   I would like to use them, but I can't.

01:51:23   Now I have to use my phone.

01:51:24   So every time I go to the gas station,

01:51:25   I gotta take my, you know, turn off the car

01:51:28   and then get out my phone and go bloop with it.

01:51:31   I mean, it's not that bad, it's fine.

01:51:32   I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I kinda miss Speed Pass.

01:51:34   An example where a purpose-built custom super low tech,

01:51:38   no batteries, by the way, the little NFC dongle thingy,

01:51:41   it's completely inert and passive.

01:51:44   Never failed, it's the only one I ever owned,

01:51:46   never got broken, never wore away, never chipped off,

01:51:49   worked every time, you know, unless the pump was broken.

01:51:53   I really miss that.

01:51:54   And also, by the way, they have an app.

01:51:56   Like, who the hell's gonna use that?

01:51:57   They have an app you can get, the Speed Pass Plus app,

01:52:00   and they have a QR code on the pump.

01:52:01   So you can take out your phone, launch an app,

01:52:04   show the camera, scan the QR code, no thanks.

01:52:07   - Gross.

01:52:08   - I mean, unless you get like 50% cash back,

01:52:11   no one is ever gonna use that.

01:52:12   So I just use the NFC thing with Apple Pay,

01:52:14   and it works fine, and welcome to the brave new world.

01:52:16   But all I wanted to say is that I missed

01:52:18   the original Speed Pass because it was a great idea

01:52:20   while I executed it, and I used it for years,

01:52:22   probably decades.

01:52:24   - Goodbye, Key Tag.

01:52:25   Hello, app.

01:52:26   The Speed Pass Key Tag will fully retire by June 30, 2019.

01:52:29   Get gas, earn rewards, and get going.

01:52:31   Switch to the Speed Pass Plus app.

01:52:33   - Maybe I'll look at the rewards.

01:52:34   I don't think I could ever scan a QR code.

01:52:36   It's like, what are they even thinking?

01:52:38   (door slams)