275: It's Difficult When You’re a Billionaire


00:00:00   You know, I'm actually in a good mood, but I'm a little bit sad. I feel like I want something interesting from Apple this June, and I don't know how we're going to get it. And I'm scared. We'll talk about it next week, but I just wanted to get that off my chest.

00:00:12   Honestly, I guess we should save this topic for next week, but I'm happy to talk about it now if you want.

00:00:17   No, no, no, we should save it. We can do a teaser, as they say in the business.

00:00:21   Next week, Mark Hoda is not a teaser.

00:00:23   The teaser is, right now, we want so badly to talk about what we expect from WWDC in two weeks, but we still don't know anything, so we don't know what to expect. So it's kind of interesting and kind of a little bit, maybe, antsy? Or anxious?

00:00:35   Because it's like, so far it seems like what we're getting is nothing, but we know that's probably not the case.

00:00:41   Which may be good.

00:00:42   But we had that conversation a couple shows ago, so everybody go learn something before next week.

00:00:47   [Music]

00:01:14   None of my electronics are Twitter.

00:01:17   [Laughter]

00:01:20   Fair enough. I don't know. This is something that's been bothering me lately, and I think John Kitt, that is, was saying this in jest. Like, I don't think he was trying to be a big jerk about it.

00:01:31   But something that's bothered me lately, that I've only really started thinking about in the last year or two, is people aren't allowed to change their minds.

00:01:40   And that seems funky to me. Like, if I get more information about something, I should be allowed to change my mind.

00:01:47   If I think about something more, I should be allowed to change my mind.

00:01:50   Who's stopping you from changing your mind?

00:01:52   I don't know. It's just, I feel like, like, let's say, for the sake of discussion, and I would never do this because it's barbaric,

00:01:57   let's say I decided that GIF is actually pronounced "jif." It clearly isn't. Everyone agrees that it isn't.

00:02:03   But let's just say for the sake of discussion that I changed my mind and started calling it peanut butter. I mean, started calling it "jif."

00:02:09   That should theoretically be okay. I mean, except for the fact that it's clearly wrong. But leaving that aside, the fact that I changed my mind should be okay.

00:02:19   But I feel like people would have a fit about it.

00:02:21   No, your friends would help you through this difficult time and bring you back to the correct pronunciation eventually, because that's what friends do.

00:02:28   That was probably—I'm doing this antagonistically, obviously. That was probably a poor example. But I don't know, like, take BMWs.

00:02:36   I was head over heel in love with my BMW when I first got it. Spoiler alert, we're going to talk about this later, but it's broken again. Who knew?

00:02:44   [laughter]

00:02:46   I'm sorry. I shouldn't laugh. I laugh the same way it's funny whenever you destroy a computer by liquid.

00:02:52   That only happened to one computer.

00:02:55   I shouldn't be laughing because my friend is losing money, but, like, you know, it's still kind of funny.

00:03:01   At this point, it is funny. It really is. But in any case.

00:03:04   But I was head over heels in love with my BMW, and the five minutes a year that it works, I do still love that car.

00:03:12   But I've moved on, and in light of more information, I am not so sure that BMWs are for me.

00:03:18   Because it seems that a high-performance German car is not particularly cheap to maintain. Who'd have thunk it?

00:03:27   So shouldn't I be allowed to change my mind on that?

00:03:30   I think the main sources of people having strong defensive reactions to people changing our minds.

00:03:37   If we say something is great, we evangelize something, we say BMW is great at some point, then a listener goes out and buys a BMW.

00:03:44   Then we later say, "We don't like it anymore." They're like, "Wait a minute. You told me to join this team. I joined this team, and now you're leaving it?"

00:03:52   So that's kind of like a negative reaction there.

00:03:54   That's fair.

00:03:55   The second one I think is, there's a lot of people out there who, something that we have said at some point, they disagree with.

00:04:04   And a common defensive reaction to that is the ad-hoc mem attack basically, and trying to forever after that discredit us.

00:04:14   So that they can ignore everything we've said. They're trying to invalidate our credibility.

00:04:19   To say, "Well, if you said this this one time, now you're saying the opposite of that, therefore you're a hypocrite and everything else you've said is invalid because you're a hypocrite."

00:04:28   And because what they really want is to invalidate something else that we've said that they disagree with.

00:04:33   Or that they can't bear to consider the possibility.

00:04:37   That I think is the two roots of this.

00:04:41   And people with a little bit more reasonable reactions to things, and people with good social skills, probably wouldn't do this.

00:04:50   And in the case of this quitter joke, I know John Kitt. I'm positive he was doing this in jest.

00:04:55   It is kind of funny that I made an ad called "Quitter" and then two years later said, "I would never use something to make me stop using my electronics."

00:05:01   That is kind of funny.

00:05:02   So in this case, I don't think this is what this is.

00:05:05   But John Kitt wasn't the only person to tell me that.

00:05:07   Many of the other people who told me that seemed like they weren't doing it in jest.

00:05:11   So there's certainly a degree of poor social skills that go along with a lot of this.

00:05:19   And just people trying to be argumentative to discredit us because there was something else that we said that they didn't want to consider.

00:05:27   That it might be correct.

00:05:29   You guys took this question way more seriously than I thought you would.

00:05:32   Sorry.

00:05:33   To go back to the question, software on your computer and a physical device that you're trying to use less of are different things.

00:05:41   If I want to stop using my Kindle, which I think I still have. I'm not sure.

00:05:46   I think I sent all of them but one to John as packing material.

00:05:49   But I think I still have them.

00:05:52   But if I had a problem where I thought I was using my Kindle too much, it's fairly easy to just be more conscious of how much I'm using my Kindle.

00:06:00   Because I'm only ever using it for a dedicated thing, in dedicated areas, things like that.

00:06:06   My computer, I'm pretty much always using my computer for something.

00:06:11   And it's harder to exhibit that kind of self-control when you can massively multitask on a computer and have 50 different apps open.

00:06:18   Just like kind of backgrounding and be bouncing between them with a slight movement of your fingers.

00:06:23   And you're between them for two seconds and you're going to a different one.

00:06:26   I feel like it's harder to exhibit that kind of self-control with apps that are running on your computer.

00:06:31   Because the physical actions and the time it takes to switch context on the computer to a different app are so much shorter than what it is in the physical world.

00:06:43   To switch physical devices in your hand.

00:06:45   That you can just do it a heck of a lot more without even realizing how much time you're burning on things.

00:06:50   So I think everybody who sent this in was joking and having fun with us.

00:06:57   I would have brought it up on the show if I had remembered it. I think any of us would if we had remembered it.

00:07:00   Showing that it is a good joke.

00:07:02   But technically speaking, Marco is not configuring one of his things to make him stop using it.

00:07:07   In fact, he's configuring his thing to make him use it more for the thing that he wants to.

00:07:12   Like he wants to be productive and doesn't want to be distracted from the using of the computer.

00:07:16   So don't show me Twitter, let me keep Xcode in the front or whatever.

00:07:20   So it is funny and we would have brought it up but it's not actually applicable.

00:07:24   And so his answer is that he wouldn't configure one of his electronic devices to make him stop using it is true.

00:07:29   If Quitter instead shut down his whole Mac it would be false.

00:07:32   But that's not what Quitter does. It just quits specific applications that he doesn't want to use.

00:07:36   So that he can continue to use his computer just with the other applications.

00:07:41   Yeah, in fact today I'm pretty sure Quitter made me finally get Swift.

00:07:45   Ooh, we should talk about that but I will let it go for now.

00:07:48   Of all the applications to flex your Swift muscle on it's like the one with practically no UI.

00:07:55   No, no, I didn't write Quitter in Swift. I haven't touched Quitter's code since I launched it two years ago.

00:08:01   Oh, well then how is Quitter helping you learn about it?

00:08:04   We'll get to it. We'll get there. We'll get there. We'll save it for the show if you will.

00:08:08   When Quitter shuts down your computer, the new version of Quitter, Quitter 2.0, when it shuts down your computer,

00:08:14   when the computer starts back up will Quitter say, "You have shut down your computer?" That's all I want to know.

00:08:22   You shut down your computer due to lack of productivity.

00:08:27   Exactly. Did this joke not land? I was really proud of this.

00:08:30   Oh, no, I got the joke. I thought it would be funnier if I could lift a big silence there to put crickets into later.

00:08:35   Everything that's in the show is in the show, right John? Oh, God. Alright, let's just move on.

00:08:40   He's got a bell. He should get a little cricket in like one of those little cricket cages. He can just hold it up to the microphone.

00:08:46   I had a cricket in my office once, and then it met an iPad too.

00:08:50   That's right. Wasn't that during a show?

00:08:52   Yes.

00:08:53   So long ago. God, we're so old. Which speaking of, John, how old are your ears?

00:08:57   This was one of the things that came up with the Yanni Laurel stuff, which I don't want to revisit. But this particular...

00:09:05   But let me revisit it.

00:09:07   Yeah. This particular YouTube video is testing how old your ears are. I mentioned on the last show that when you get older, you lose high frequency hearing.

00:09:16   And this YouTube video purports to play a series of tones, again, probably dependent on your output devices.

00:09:25   And at a certain point, they'll be high enough that you can't hear them anymore, or that your speaker can't reproduce them and you'll just think you can't hear them.

00:09:33   One of those things will happen.

00:09:35   So if you want to test your hearing and see how much high frequency hearing you've lost, you can view the video and try it if you believe that it's actually working.

00:09:43   If you don't believe that it's working, just go to your doctor and have them run the hearing test.

00:09:46   But normally, I think they are kind to old people, and they usually don't play the super high-pitched tones if they know that your age is above whatever threshold.

00:09:56   And it's not just like you have perfect hearing, then all of a sudden you wake up one day and you're 40 and your hearing sucks.

00:10:00   It slowly degrades as you get older, so everybody should try this, even you 30-year-olds who think your hearing is still perfect. Give it a try.

00:10:07   Yeah, I did it, I think about a year ago. I didn't do it this time, but I did it about a year ago.

00:10:11   And I was right at where I was supposed to be with my age, and Tiff was one step ahead.

00:10:17   And one thing I noticed is that on my last frequency that I could hear, I could hear it, but it was noticeably quieter than the rest of them, whereas she could hear it at full volume.

00:10:28   So you don't just stop hearing certain ones, I think it gets reduced before you totally lose them.

00:10:34   Yeah, I did this a few minutes ago, I had never tried this before, and I ran the YouTube video, the audio output was going through my USB Pre 2 into my...

00:10:44   What are these, Bear Dynamics of some flavor? I forget what they are off the top.

00:10:47   DT 770?

00:10:48   Thank you, yes.

00:10:49   I could hear all of the frequencies, which stunned me, because I had assumed, given all the music I've listened to, often at not terribly safe volumes, I had assumed I would have had some sort of hearing loss.

00:11:00   I agree with you, Marco, that the later frequencies were definitely fainter by comparison, but I was quite surprised that I feel like I could hear every single one of them, which was good.

00:11:11   I was very excited about that, so the AirPods have not yet ruined my ears. How about you, John?

00:11:15   I just tried it on my phone speakers, and I was right where the age thing said I was, but I don't know if phone speakers are good. I didn't actually try it with headphones.

00:11:22   I think, like Marco said, I think with headphones, the key is that I would have more confidence that they could reproduce it, and because they're stuck right to your ears, if the volume is decreased, I would still be able to hear it, it would just be fainter, whereas just in the open air on your phone speaker, like, if it's too faint, it's just going to get lost.

00:11:38   So I don't know. I don't particularly trust this very well, but I can say when I go to the doctor, I always pass all the hearing tests, but that means nothing, because like I said, I think doctors are being nice to you because they know how old you are.

00:11:47   Oh, I have whatever kind of follow means. I'm yelling at Casey about something you said on, I think, analog, was it?

00:11:52   Follow out.

00:11:53   Okay, follow out, yeah. So speaking of the topic of hearing, I think it was analog where somebody asked you and Mike if you did anything to protect your hearing, like wearing earplugs or whatever else at concerts, stuff like that.

00:12:06   And you both basically were like, "Nope, don't need to," or whatever else. I would like to pick this bone with you.

00:12:12   Oh, here we go. Okay.

00:12:13   Or rather, just to scare you into considering this. So last summer, as listeners might remember, I think I talked about it on the show when it was happening, I basically had a really unlucky series of events that led to me having partial hearing loss for a few weeks in one ear.

00:12:29   Well, both ears, but one was way worse than the other. I had basically a really bad ear infection, followed by I took a very, very loud boat ride where I was too close to the motor of the boat.

00:12:40   I basically significantly damaged my hearing for about three weeks. And this was pretty bad until my ear canal finally drained itself out on the flight to WWDC last year.

00:12:54   Wow.

00:12:55   Anyway, during this time, I went to see an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor and a whole bunch of things just to make sure I was okay and didn't do permanent damage and everything.

00:13:05   And I got to spend a few weeks experiencing the world with a temporary handicap of a sort.

00:13:13   And I admit this is a very minor thing relative to things that could happen to people. And there's lots of people who have way worse hearing issues or way worse other physical issues.

00:13:24   But it was really interesting for me to experience this because I really developed an incredible appreciation for how important my hearing is to me.

00:13:32   Both in everyday life and in my career, I lost perception of where objects were because I couldn't hear correctly out of both ears.

00:13:42   I would miss a lot of things that were going on in conversations or in events that were happening on one side of me.

00:13:47   And again, this is something that a lot of people go through. Usually they're all older than me, but ever since that time, it was such a severe problem, it scared the crap out of me.

00:13:58   Because for most of the time, I didn't know whether it was permanent or not. It scared the crap out of me.

00:14:04   Ever since then, when my ears got better, I said, "Okay, first of all, thank goodness. Second of all, you know how when you have a problem and if you're sick or injured or something,

00:14:16   people suddenly get religious and they're like, 'Okay, please, deity, up above, whatever. If you fix this for me, I'll be good. I swear, I'll never do it again.'"

00:14:26   Minus the religious aspect, that's kind of how I got about hearing protection. I'm like, "Oh my god, okay, this is something that I need to always make sure I protect."

00:14:35   Because I had a temporary view, or I guess here, of how it is when things go wrong. I strongly urge you to consider carrying earplugs with you in your daily backpack or travel backpack.

00:14:51   Sorry, there's no room. I guess I'll need to get a fanny pack or something.

00:14:54   [laughter]

00:14:57   Well done. Well done.

00:14:59   That was such a good cortex. Oh my god.

00:15:01   Why did they not mention messenger bags?

00:15:04   [laughter]

00:15:06   Anyway, seriously, earplugs being available and being willing to put them in when you're in a very loud situation, I would strongly recommend it.

00:15:16   Because earplugs cost, you know, basic ones cost basically nothing. Those little foam things you can get on Amazon or any drugstore for like $5 for a big tub of them.

00:15:25   They're not the greatest things in the world, but it's better than nothing. It is incredibly important to protect your hearing.

00:15:30   And the ENT doctor, he was kind of this wonderfully grumpy old guy, and he was like, "You know, your family's not going to care. Your friends are not going to care. Only you will protect your hearing.

00:15:43   No one else around you will care. They won't do things to protect your hearing. If you have hearing damage, they won't understand, and they won't feel bad for you. It's totally up to you."

00:15:54   And he was exactly right. And it was like, it kind of scared the crap out of me. So yeah, I highly suggest, for you and for all the listeners, really consider hearing protection.

00:16:06   I was lucky enough to have only a temporary problem, but even the temporary problem was scary as hell and really messed up my life for a while.

00:16:14   Thank goodness it was only temporary, and I strongly suggest anybody who doesn't have problems to keep it that way.

00:16:19   So, a couple things. First of all, only you can prevent forest fires and your own hearing problems. Secondly, when do you, I'm asking honestly, I hope this doesn't sound argumentative, when do you find yourself now putting in earplugs?

00:16:33   One place I put, obviously, I don't really go to concerts or anything, but I will put them in if I'm going to, say, a very loud bar, or in some kind of event.

00:16:43   If I'm at a conference, I'm going to be somewhere very loud that I have to go, I'll put them in then. For just various loud vehicles, like boats and stuff, I'll put them in then.

00:16:55   Mostly I practice simply avoidance of loud places. But yeah, basically I'm going to be in a loud room. It's the kind of thing, it takes pretty much nothing to carry them with you.

00:17:07   In fact, if you do find yourself in and out of places like that, often where even having them in a bag, you might not have your bag with you, you can just get those little foam ones and get two of them and put them in the little change pocket in your jeans, and they squish up all nice, and you don't even know they're there.

00:17:22   So you can kind of always have them with you.

00:17:24   Yeah, but that's my AirPods pocket.

00:17:26   Ahhh.

00:17:28   I'm just saying.

00:17:29   And also, just be reasonable with your volume levels in your headphones. That's another big thing. If you wear headphones all day like I do, you can get, if you're really irresponsible and play everything really loud, you can permanently damage your hearing over not that long of a time.

00:17:45   And the fact is, you don't need to be hearing things quite that loud. One thing I like to do is get headphones that have pretty good passive isolation when I'm going to be in something loud, like an airplane, then you can keep the volume of the music lower and still hear it totally great.

00:18:02   Yeah, and I think that's where I need to make the most changes and improvement. I wouldn't say I listen to music terribly loudly, but I know enough to know that it's louder than it probably should be, and in the last actually month or two, I've been trying to do a better job of not being so loud when I'm just listening to music as like background.

00:18:22   Not distraction, but like to drown out the rest of the office, for example. And I don't need it to be as loud as it is, and sometimes it's because I enjoy what I'm listening to, like a jam band, like Dave Matthews. But sometimes I just want to drown it out.

00:18:38   And so I've been working on being better about not making it as loud as I would have in the past.

00:18:46   Keep in mind that iOS devices have a volume limiter on it. I know because I set it on all my kids' devices, unbeknownst to them, because neither one of them know how to use computers or iOS devices. Anyway, there is a volume limiter, and so you can set the max volume to be something less than 100% volume.

00:19:00   And if you don't trust yourself to control the volume, you know, cap, set your own. Again, self-hacks. Now the devices aren't preventing you from using them, but if you know you can't be trusted not to put it on 100% volume because you might just like creep out there like a song that you really like comes on and you bring the volume up.

00:19:15   And then another song that you really like comes on and you bring it up another notch. There is sort of a tolerance build-up effect to loud music, especially if you actually are losing your hearing. So put the volume limiter on. Listen to it at the volume level that you think is the loudest you ever want to listen to it and look at where the slider is, and if that's like 70%, then set that to be the max volume. And then you can sit there, you know, clicking the volume up button all you want, and it'll never go above 70%.

00:19:40   We are sponsored this week by Aftershokz and the weightless wireless Trex Air bone conduction headphones. Go to ATP.aftershokz.com and use code ATP30 for $30 off the Trex Air.

00:19:54   Bone conduction headphones work by not putting anything in or on or around your ear, but instead having little transducers that rest next to your ears that send little tiny vibrations through your cheekbones and produce sound you can hear through your inner ear canal.

00:20:10   And what's great about this is that you can still hear the entire world around you and all the sound it's making while you also hear your podcast or the phone call that you're taking over the Trex Air wireless headphones.

00:20:24   And the Trex Air are pretty much weightless. They only weigh 1.06 ounces. You barely even notice that they're on.

00:20:31   Because they're so lightweight and comfortable and because they're such a tiny little contact patch with your skin, they're not all sweaty like most headphones are.

00:20:40   They don't have these big pads that go around your ears or on top of your ears, and they don't sit anything in your ears that could cause discomfort for people like me who just, it kind of hurts to have stuff in my ears.

00:20:50   So they're very practical and very comfortable, especially now in hot weather. I was using my Trex Air earlier today actually, just a few hours ago on a big outside dog walk because it's pretty hot today.

00:20:59   And I knew that any other headphones would get too sweaty. And they're also really nice as I wear a hat outside in the summertime, the headband just goes around the back of my head instead of going on top of my head.

00:21:08   So again, yet another reason these are great for summertime weather.

00:21:11   And because you're hearing the whole world around you when you're using bone conduction headphones, it makes it much safer and more practical when you're doing things like walking or running outside.

00:21:20   Or even if you're just doing stuff around the house and you want to hear like if someone knocks on the door. It's an incredibly practical, cool kind of headphone. And AfterSox makes the best ones.

00:21:28   So go to ATP.AfterSox.com to see for yourself. Use code ATP30 to get $30 off the new weightless wireless Trex Air headphones.

00:21:38   Once again, ATP.AfterSox.com and code ATP30 to get $30 off the Trex Air.

00:21:44   Thank you so much to AfterSox for sponsoring the show.

00:21:50   Apparently there's been some Tesla-related drama and I'm sorry for those of you who do not enjoy the neutral segments in the After Show.

00:21:59   This is actually apparently a big enough deal that we are escalating it and promoting it into the main show. That's what chapters are for if you really don't like it.

00:22:08   I am not privy to what's going on here. So Jon, can you give some sort of a brief summary maybe or just kind of tell us what it is you wanted to talk about?

00:22:17   So both Tesla and Elon Musk appear in my Twitter feed and other Slack channels and stuff like that on a pretty regular basis.

00:22:28   And this is a particular flare up. I have to think partially fueled by Elon's new girlfriend who is apparently a famous person who I don't know.

00:22:39   But the nature of the stories always seems to be kind of the same and I think that it's not a healthy dynamic for any of us.

00:22:52   Perhaps especially those of us who like Tesla's products or who like the idea of electric cars replacing internal combustion cars sooner rather than later.

00:23:04   Because I think Tesla and Elon Musk and everything surrounding him and his businesses is unhealthy in a very predictable way.

00:23:16   And the particular news now is something about you've heard about Elon Musk and his employees and their complaints about working conditions and injuries in the factories and they're not productive and he doesn't want them to unionize.

00:23:29   But he tells his girlfriend he's not stopping them from unionizing and everyone knows that's not true except for his girlfriend and whatever.

00:23:37   But I just wanted to talk about, I guess this is more about Elon Musk. Because one angle is we could talk about Tesla and the financial situation they're in and how they're valued so highly that probably no one wants to buy them.

00:23:50   But on the other hand they're in such debt that it's going to be difficult for them to keep their head above water but that's all business stuff that I'll leave to someone else. I'm not that interested in it.

00:23:59   Honestly I think it'll all work out in the end because if they really are overvalued but then they do start heading towards the drain they won't be overvalued anymore and someone will be able to buy them and scoop up their assets.

00:24:11   Who knows what will happen there. But Elon Musk specifically, I guess this kind of comes up in light of a tweet I saw about Steve Jobs recently that someone suggested we talk about but maybe we don't have to go that angle.

00:24:21   But anyway, Elon Musk as, I don't know what you would call him, the face, the personality, the strong personality behind lots of companies and an internet personality in his own right and his particular style of running his business and how I think it is an unhealthy style.

00:24:42   It's unhealthy for his companies, it's unhealthy for Elon Musk and it's unhealthy in a boringly bad way, no pun intended.

00:24:52   And that is, we've talked about it before, anyone has any criticism of anything that Elon Musk is doing, him personally, his companies, his products or anything like that. Both Elon Musk the person and the personification of him in the form of his companies always react to it in the same way.

00:25:12   Which is massive blanket counterattack denial. We've seen it with Tesla and the crappy top gear battery tests, we see it with build problems, production delays.

00:25:26   Even when Tesla is in the right, he always seems to, and his companies always seem to overshoot and overdo it and say not only are we in the right, but everybody who's against us is a giant conspiracy theory and you're a bunch of dummy heads and the media tells lies about us all the time.

00:25:43   And his recent fit was like I'm going to start my own media company, my own service is going to tell you which media companies are telling the truth or not. It's just massive defensive overreaction to everything.

00:25:56   Which you would accept in an individual private citizen or a teenager or a toddler, but for someone who's running all these big companies, when he does it personally, fine, he's a person, he's allowed to get mad or whatever.

00:26:08   But when that comes through the companies, like the company's official party line is just as defensive and angry, that's bad.

00:26:16   And especially when the things, when him or his company or his products aren't in the right. So a lot of the worker stuff and the unionizing and the safety.

00:26:26   Like there are problems with Tesla's factories and it always seems like he is much less interested in solving the problems than he is in telling you how the problems don't exist.

00:26:38   And when people are getting injured on the job and when he really doesn't want them to unionize, like he's on the bad side here on a lot of these issues.

00:26:49   And yet has the same complete sort of, I'm 100% on the right and everyone else is against me, it's a conspiracy theory. Like that's not a healthy dynamic.

00:26:59   And I think it's hurting his companies and his products because Tesla's had its struggles, but the bottom line is that they have made some good products and they made some really important advances.

00:27:10   And it should be a happy success story with like, oh, they're facing some struggles, but they're going to work through them. But instead every time I see him talk or anytime I hear anything about any of his companies, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

00:27:20   And I understand he's also like the only reason these companies exist in the first place. And you know, the whole attitude of you have to be a jerk to get stuff done and this ties into a Steve Jobs angle.

00:27:30   But I just feel like in terms of jerks running companies, Steve Jobs had a better handle on how to moderate his jerkiness to not be, to take Google's old slogan, to not be evil.

00:27:43   And to like, even with the Antennagate stuff, he was just as pissed as I'm sure that Musk is about everything, every time he feels like he's wronged or whatever.

00:27:51   But I feel like if Steve Jobs ran a factory where people are being injured at a higher rate than the industry average and they were trying to unionize, but he was doing everything he could to stop them, he would recognize that he's crossing a line.

00:28:03   And you know what I mean? Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. But either way, I think it's not good.

00:28:09   Elon Musk is no longer good for a lot of the companies that he's involved in. And this whole flare up is just not making me go, I'm not going to go all Marco and say Elon Musk must be fired.

00:28:22   Or I don't know if we're going to attribute that to Marco, but he does like to fire Apple executives. But then I feel like he should, that Elon should chill out a little bit and think more about the problems that he's facing and less about the people who are pointing out the problems.

00:28:38   Like his whole thing is the investigative journalist doing a story and finding problems. And he's like, I'm going to get those journalists if it's the last thing I'll do.

00:28:44   That is the wrong reaction to someone doing an expose about poor working conditions in your factory. Don't make it your life's mission to the point where you're founding new companies to quote unquote rate journalistic institutions by their credibility.

00:28:57   I'm sure that will be a completely fair and unbiased endeavor having been created because you're mad that some paper said bad things about your factories. Anyway, I've done it for a long time.

00:29:09   But I'm just, this is just sort of a, not a capstone, but like I've reached a new point in my Elon Musk, not hatred, my Elon Musk anti-fandom that I am less and less a fan of the person and less and less a fan of the companies he runs to the degree that those companies act like him.

00:29:30   John, you're going to get so much email. I'm so sorry for you. I don't think I will. I don't think the rabid Tesla fans are here. And anyway, you know, like it's not, you know, I'm not against the company or the cars or whatever. I just think he's doing a bad job. He's doing bad things.

00:29:45   He's a bad person doing bad things and he should chill out a little bit because he, you know, there's no reason for him to be this angry. Anyway, I think the angle for you two is do you care at all? Especially Marco's got a Tesla.

00:30:01   How much do you care about whatever the hell Elon Musk does and how it might affect Tesla? Or do you just separate that and say, I like the product, don't care about the man? Because my contention is that we're rapidly approaching the point where there is some crossover between bad habits of the man and resulting products and success of the company.

00:30:23   I like to keep those things separate partially because I really enjoy this car. I absolutely love this car and the, you know, kind of weird and seemingly immature outbreaks of the CEO of the company that made it. That to me is mostly immaterial to my enjoyment of the car.

00:30:44   The, you know, separately just like as an occasional watcher of this space. And by the way, I don't really follow it that closely. I only hear like the big themes that come through and stuff, but like I don't look at every detail. So again, like before this, before tonight or before this recording, I didn't even know what tonight's drama was. I still, I'm not that clear on it, but it doesn't really matter.

00:31:08   I missed the, I don't have a full picture of either. I'm just listing a bunch of stuff that in recent memory, there could be new stuff that I don't even know about.

00:31:14   Here's the thing. So the way I see Musk is he is a really, really interesting, crazy, driven, and in some ways immature billionaire CEO of some really cool stuff. He makes crazy claims. He makes crazy predictions and crazy promises. But then he actually does a lot of them.

00:31:40   And when he succeeds, it's really cool. And it's really fun to be part of this, you know, fandom of his companies in some way. It's really fun to watch him do all this crazy stuff because he has the resources and the drive to do some really ambitious projects.

00:32:04   And almost everything he announces that he's trying to do is met with incredible skepticism. You know, much like a lot of earlier Apple stuff. The stuff that he's met with such incredible skepticism and he has gotten so much unfair press coverage in the past that, like Apple, it's quite understandable why he might be overly defensive of all press coverage that is negative, even when there is some merit to it.

00:32:32   You know, you can kind of see how he developed that pattern to be defensive about press stuff. Also, by the way, I will say on the topic of unions, they aren't always beneficial. There's a lot of dysfunction that comes with unions and it's really hard to deal with.

00:32:46   And, you know, it's a really hairy subject because in some ways they are still necessary because the government does not do enough. In a lot of ways, unions are basically patching over roles the government should be serving but isn't. But at the same time, you know, that comes with a lot of real downsides for the people both in and out of the unions.

00:33:05   You know, if you've ever known anybody who has either been forced to join a union or has been in a union that has not been run very well or is not that efficient or not that looking out for its workers, you will know that unions are really a mixed bag and it really depends on the union.

00:33:22   So, if he's saying things that are anti-union or trying to be anti-union, I don't consider that in itself necessarily a bad thing.

00:33:29   It's not just saying things that are anti-union, it's essentially union busting. He is going to do everything he can to prevent his workers from unionizing, which, you know, he can do, but that's the whole point of them unionizing is they have no leverage, they feel like they're treated poorly.

00:33:41   When your workers feel like they're being treated poorly, they want to organize, so they have some kind of bargaining leverage and he's like, "You should never have that leverage. I will do everything I can to prevent you having that leverage. Please do not, you know, if you form a union, you'll all get fired."

00:33:54   Union busting, regardless of the benefits of unions, and I would say that in this day and age, the scales have tipped so far away from labor and towards capital that it's like we're not even close to the danger of unions being too powerful and having all those ill effects.

00:34:08   Yes, of course, there are ill effects to having too much power, but we're so out of whack here.

00:34:13   But anyway, setting aside unions, as representing capital, Elon Musk saying he's not making the argument, "You guys shouldn't want to be in unions." He's making the argument, "I will not let you be in unions. Don't even try it."

00:34:27   Like, you know, he's union busting before the union even appears, which I think is not a good look because it could be like, you know, the way you make a case for workers that they don't have to organize is the same way all other industries make the case for workers that don't have to organize.

00:34:42   Like, do you think, I don't want to bring this up, but do you think, for example, Apple employees are trying to unionize right now? Or do they feel like our job's pretty good and we're getting taken care of so we don't need to, you know, give dues to somebody and concentrate some power in an area that we don't have a lot of control over?

00:34:57   Like, the workers that tend to unionize are the ones that are being treated the worst by the industry, right? And that's why it's usually never particularly good to, you know, send the men's with rifles down to stop people from unionizing or whatever to pull things out from previous centuries.

00:35:14   Well, because I don't know exactly, you know, I don't know anything about what's going on with him and unions, I'd rather just talk in general terms. The way I see Musk is it's really fun watching him develop all these crazy ideas.

00:35:28   And he really is pushing things in a lot of different ways that I don't think would be pushed nearly as quickly or as soon as if he wasn't doing it. His car is awesome, really awesome. And it did have a lot of bad press early on for BS reasons.

00:35:47   And so, you know, some defensiveness there is warranted. I try not to pay too much attention to him because ultimately I do enjoy the car so much that I don't want that spoiled by, you know, any weirdness with the person behind it.

00:36:00   But it's nice to have crazy product-focused visionary billionaires. Like, that's really nice. We had that with Steve Jobs to a lot of degrees. We had that with Jeff Bezos to some degree, although Jeff Bezos tends to do more boring things with his drive.

00:36:16   But, you know, we do have that in him to some degree. And we have that with Elon Musk doing all these crazy things. And the result is a bunch of cool stuff. And it's really fun to watch.

00:36:27   And so I'd rather just keep this compartmentalized in my mind as like, here's the guy who runs all these fun companies that do fun stuff. And that's really fun to watch and sometimes actually really, you know, helps the world out in different ways.

00:36:43   And that's really cool to watch. You know, again, we had that with Steve. I missed that. I missed that for a while and now we have it with Elon Musk. So it's kind of fun.

00:36:51   Also, though, I think today's Elon Musk is kind of a lot like young Steve Jobs, like before he was fired and right when he was fired, basically. Like, he is immature in a lot of ways.

00:37:02   And to some degree that does damage his companies. But also to some degree I think you kind of can't separate him from the companies. And if he is separated forcibly from these companies, bad things are likely to happen.

00:37:12   To the companies and the products as a result. So it's not a great situation to be in for the companies. Ultimately what would be better is if he just matured a little bit and developed a little bit of balance in his moods and reactions and things like that.

00:37:28   But that might never happen or it might take a lot of time. I think we just have to kind of take the bad with the good at this point.

00:37:36   Well, my question was whether you thought it was net positive or net negative. Because I think at this point with Tesla, like with the Model 3 fiasco, the visionary part is here are the products I want to make. Here's the properties they should have.

00:37:48   You know, to being bold and making the whatever, the new Tesla Roadster and having the plan for the different cars and the different price points and doing all this stuff, right?

00:37:57   But when it comes to running a car company, a much more straightforward way to run that car company would have produced way more Model 3s with better production values, would not have injured as many people, would not be wasting time fighting against unionization because it's very common in the auto industry and it's not the end of the world and the power has shifted so much that unions are no longer absolutely bankrupting and destroying the companies that they belong to, right?

00:38:22   So I would say for Tesla specifically, getting rid of him would be bad because he can't just have a bunch of boring people and those people would never think to do the road so they wouldn't think to do any of these cars. They don't have the vision as the visionaries, right?

00:38:35   But at a certain point, the visionary takes down the whole company because you can have all the vision you want but if you just insist on things that everyone tells you aren't going to work and then they don't work and then you don't meet your manufacturing targets and then you're in massive debt, that's not good for the company either.

00:38:50   And that's why I was asking you as an owner, well you're a leaser so you don't care that much but like at a certain point I think you should start paying attention to this because if it means that there is never another Model S or if it means the GM buys them and makes a bunch of crap cars, that's bad for you as the person who wants to compartmentalize and separate this.

00:39:07   And more broadly of course, with all these billionaires like Jobs or Bezos or Zuckerberg or any of these billionaires, they're always stomping on the little guy, they accidentally are on purpose so I'm putting it on the chat. So the Apple Store employees try to unionize, right?

00:39:22   When I was saying Apple employees aren't unionizing, I'm thinking of the ones who have the high paying glitzy jobs in the spaceship. Who's going to try to unionize? The employees that have it the worst.

00:39:31   And who has it the worst than Apple? Probably setting aside contractors and everything, who's a legit Apple. Apple Store employees because retail is a tough gig.

00:39:39   And I can see why they might want to unionize so they can get better treatment but there's much less angry drive for the high paid software developer inside Apple.

00:39:50   And Bezos, you have the warehouse employees who have to pee in a cup because they're afraid to leave their position and they're in these buildings without air conditioning for long hours. There's all sorts of issues and it's difficult when you're a billionaire, I suppose, to try to run a successful company and make these products that you have a vision to do and also not accidentally or on purpose stomp on the little guys.

00:40:14   And I feel like Elon is the most inclined to gleefully stomp on the little guys to put them back in line to say, "You are a peon and I am a tight-knit industry so shut up and take it."

00:40:29   And then to argue angrily to the press that there's nothing wrong with our factories, everybody's fine, our workers are perfectly happy, they don't want to unionize. And if they did, I wouldn't stop them, everything's great here. How are you?

00:40:42   I mean, ultimately, first of all, I don't know if we know whether the motive he has or the mood that he has or the characterization of this is like, is he keeping the people down or is it just kind of being sloppily run and it's kind of haphazard and bad things are happening because it isn't being properly managed?

00:41:02   As an owner, you kind of see a little bit of bad management and sloppy running of things when you see things like the service side. The service side's a mess. I mean, you have long delays for parts. You have weird systems to get them and reserve things and they don't call you when they come in.

00:41:22   This isn't just me. A lot of other owners face this in the service side. These companies are moving fast, they're expanding fast, they're very ambitious in what they're trying to do and the timelines that they're trying to do it on. And so it might not be him being a jerk, it might just be him mismanaging the growth and the company needing to get its stuff together, basically.

00:41:44   So I don't want to characterize that. But basically, to answer your question of how I feel as an owner about whether this should be run like a big boring car company, we have enough big boring car companies. We have lots of big boring car companies and they make big boring cars. If I want that again in the future, I know where to go anywhere else.

00:42:02   But that wasn't my question. The question wasn't do you want them to be run like a boring car company. I said, are you worried that the car company you like is not going to survive due to the mismanagement of an angry toddler who's running it? You want the products, you want the good thing. But I'm saying at a certain point, he's driving the ship into the ground. Great that it's not boring like GM, but if the company's out of business or gets bought by GM, that's not good either.

00:42:26   You want it to be on the middle path where you have the visionary who makes the products, but also some minimum level of competence and financial success to ensure that there is another successor car to your Model S that you can buy later because you like the products. That's what I'm getting at.

00:42:40   I'm not telling you you should be concerned. I'm just wondering if you are. Maybe you're not following enough of the stories to have that concern, but I have that concern by proxy for you. Sometimes I wonder, will Marco be able to lease two more Teslas, three more Teslas? Or will he not have that opportunity because things are not going well over there?

00:43:01   That's a valid concern, but for basically Tesla's entire existence, about once a month there's been a big story about they're about to go out of business. At some point you just got to say, "All right, they seem to not be going out of business. Their cars are really good. I can lease it for three years and be reasonably assured I'm not taking a huge risk on that."

00:43:18   Buying it would be more of a risk, especially if they do go under, then you have an issue with parts availability and stuff like that later down the road or warranty coverage. Leasing I think you have a pretty low risk on that.

00:43:31   Again, there have been so many stories all the time that they're about to go out of business or their finances are a mess or whatever. I just basically ignore them because they're so frequent and they don't ever actually affect me in any meaningful way.

00:43:45   My car still works great. The company's still in business and it's looking like when my lease is up I will probably be able to get another one. By the time that lease is up, maybe there will be other options if they go out of business that don't suck.

00:43:59   I think I'm okay for a while and I hope they survive. They have survived. Every step of the way people say they're about to die and they haven't. Again, I don't know the details of their finances but I do know that the coverage of their finances has never actually panned out the way the stories say it will.

00:44:18   You're buying a little bit too much of the hype. It's because he makes cool things that everyone likes. That's why he's got a fan club. I think there's a balance here that you're not quite striking between the good and the bad.

00:44:33   Some of the bad is overblown in the press but a lot of the good is also overblown in the press. But mainly I think he's not helping. I think there are better ways to navigate this. He's his own worst enemy.

00:44:49   For all the successes that he's had, it's not that hard to not screw it up this badly. Make good decisions, make good products and then just don't do the absolute worst thing you could possibly do. That's all we're asking. Just do that.

00:45:06   I agree but I don't think we have that choice. It would be great if this guy, we want all of his product vision stuff, we want his drive, we want his ideas, we want his priorities. We just don't want his crazy management or mismanagement behavior and weird outbursts to the press.

00:45:28   We don't want that. We don't have that choice. That isn't the choice we're making. We have the choice of either we have him running these companies or we don't have him running these companies.

00:45:37   If he's out, we could have a company that makes cars and that is better run presumably, maybe, but I think that would actually be worse for the products and for the customers than what we have now.

00:45:50   It'd be great if we can have our cake and eat it too. If we can have the same guy but have him be better at things but we can't.

00:45:59   I'd rather have this crazy lunatic running this company that makes really awesome stuff than to have some boring CEO running into the ground with boredom. I can always buy a boring car. I will always have that option. I don't need them to offer that option too.

00:46:16   So my dad worked for a Fortune 100 company for something like 30 years and he wasn't the bottom of the totem pole but he certainly wasn't the top either.

00:46:27   But by virtue of his particular role in the company, he would rub shoulders with the people that were at the top of the totem pole, with the CEO even.

00:46:36   And I remember there was a new CEO coming in, this was many years ago now, there was a new CEO coming in and I think maybe this individual had been there for a few months and my dad, because of the circumstances of his job, was starting to get to know this individual.

00:46:53   And I asked my dad, "Hey, is this CEO a big jerk or are they a decent person?" And dad just scoffed and didn't even bat an eye and he said, "Of course they're a jerk! You don't get to be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company without being a big jerk. That's just the way it works."

00:47:11   I'm sure you could well actually meet, at least in one or two ways on this, but generally speaking, the point I'm driving at is that you don't get to be the head of a company that big by being a cuddly teddy bear.

00:47:23   You get to be the head of a company that big by being ruthless and by being a business person that doesn't take no for an answer.

00:47:34   You know, all the things that Trump thinks he is but isn't. And so it is not surprising that Elon Musk is kind of a self-obsessed jerk, but it's weird because I think John's right that he does seem to take it a little too far.

00:47:50   And I think that these businesses, to some degree, run on, or trade even, on his personality more than their own actual achievements. And to be clear, Tesla has achieved unbelievable things.

00:48:05   Like if you had told me ten years ago or whatever, before Tesla existed, "Hey, do you think it would be that some new manufacturer will build cars, not only cars but electric cars, and they'll actually kind of take off and people will actually really like them?"

00:48:21   Do you think that would work, Casey? And I would laugh at you and say, "Absolutely not. There's no possible way."

00:48:25   And here we are, you know, in 2018, and it's happening. They're great cars, generally speaking. I mean, obviously people love to bang the build quality drum, but generally speaking, they're great cars that came effectively out of nowhere in a time that that sort of thing doesn't really happen.

00:48:43   So how do you get there? You get there by having a person like Elon Musk running the show.

00:48:49   That's the whole, "You have to be a jerk to be successful." And you write to some degree it's true, that you have to be driven, right? And you have to probably be a workaholic, like Bezos and Elon are.

00:48:59   And like Steve Jobs mostly wasn't, which is interesting, because I don't think you would label him a workaholic. But anyway, you don't have to be that bad.

00:49:08   Like there's a difference between being driven and being assertive and actually having bad ideas that you follow through on, right? Like saying, "I want to dominate and hurt people, and I'm going to use my drive to do that."

00:49:22   And that's bad. That's bad. That's not necessary to make good products, right? You can be driven, but what you should be driven is driven to make good products, driven to be successful.

00:49:33   And part of that is inspiring others to work hard for you, certainly. But part of that is also realizing when you are hurting the very company that you want to perform for you.

00:49:42   It's counterproductive. You know, the beings will continue until morale improves, right? That's not a good strategy. Not only is that not required for you to be successful, it's counterproductive.

00:49:52   You are successful despite that. And Jobs very much was successful despite some of his things, but I think mostly because of the good things. The good very far outweighed the bad. And with Elon Musk, I think the bad is at the point of outweighing the good, at least as far as I'm concerned.

00:50:06   Maybe not as far as the success of the companies is concerned, because, you know, like, he's nothing if not good at getting more money when he needs it while maintaining control.

00:50:16   But I just I certainly wouldn't want to work for him. Many people say that about Steve Jobs, but I also wouldn't want anyone I know to work for him in a lower level position because it just sounds like not a good place to be.

00:50:29   Whereas Steve Jobs, I would say if you want to work for Steve Jobs in a lower level position, that's actually probably safer than working closer to him in the org chart.

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00:51:56   So I'd like to take this on a small tangent. I heard a fascinating conversation on the most recent episode of Wheel Bearings, and you may know Wheel Bearings.

00:52:08   One of the hosts, Sam Ibelsemit, is the one that set me up with Alfa Romeo.

00:52:12   And I was listening to this episode, and they asked each other, "Hey, who is going to buy Tesla if they do end up, you know, kind of starting to circle the drain?"

00:52:21   So I'm not saying it's a given that they will eventually be bought, but let's just assume for the sake of conversation that they are going to be bought.

00:52:28   Who's going to buy them? And this kind of started because, and now I'm talking out of my comfort zone, they were saying that Magna, which is I guess a parts supplier, but they supply, like, I believe they supply not only parts, but also they'll do assembly as well.

00:52:46   We talked about this many, like a year or two ago, if I'm not mistaken. Well, anyways, the folks on Wheel Bearings were talking about, well, maybe Magna would do it because Magna apparently has been hurting to kind of become a true-to-form manufacturer.

00:52:58   But let, and I don't have any particular opinion about that, but who would buy Tesla if they were going to be sold to a traditional manufacturer?

00:53:09   And I can tell you what Wheel Bearings said, but before I do, I'd be curious to hear what you guys think. And I don't know what my answer would be on this, because, you know, my initial thought is something like a BMW or a Mercedes, but I think both of them, particularly BMW, are way too self-righteous to think that they would need the help from Tesla to do, you know, these sorts of electric cars, especially BMW with the i3 and i8, but I think BMW just tends to think too highly of themselves anyway.

00:53:37   So I don't have a great answer for this, except the one that Wheel Bearings came up with, and so I want to leave that aside for a minute. Marco, if you were, where would you expect Tesla to go and where would you hope Tesla to go if they did sell?

00:53:53   - First of all, I don't know anything about the big conglomerates that own car companies and what their finances are like and everything like that, so I have no idea who could or would buy them, so that out of the way, I can't even tell you which car brands are owned by which conglomerates, like that's how little of this I'm familiar with.

00:54:08   But I think if you look at what Tesla has, like, what are their greatest assets to an acquirer?

00:54:15   And to me, it comes down to, I think, three things, the maturity of their electric drivetrain, their massive capacity for battery technology and battery manufacturing, and the supercharger network.

00:54:29   Who would be most into having those things? Who needs those things most, or who would benefit most from having those things?

00:54:36   Right now, Tesla is coming down with the Model 3 into the more upper mainstream range of the market, like the premium sedan market, but they are still mostly in the very high-end market, competing with the S-Class and Porsche and stuff like that.

00:54:50   So I would look at this and I would say maybe Porsche, 'cause they're about to launch their own series of high-end electric sedans, and they could probably use the supercharger network and the battery capacity and things like that.

00:55:04   It might be too late for them, like, in their development, but I think they might be interested. Again, I don't know who has the ability or will to buy them.

00:55:12   But what Tesla has is not mass market. So it's very much a high-end premium thing and very much focused on electric-only vehicles.

00:55:21   So if you look at what manufacturers want that or could benefit from that, that's where I would look.

00:55:28   So I would stay mostly with the high-end brands, maybe Mercedes, because I have a feeling Mercedes has lost a lot of market share to the Model S.

00:55:37   Maybe somebody like Lexus, if they wanted to get into it more, but Twitter has their own electric stuff going, so probably not them.

00:55:45   Yeah, so I would say probably Porsche or Mercedes, but again, I don't know anything about these companies.

00:55:52   Now, let me remind you that Porsche is really you saying Volkswagen. Does that change your tune at all, or are you sticking with that?

00:55:59   I think I'd stick with it, because I do think that, again, Tesla's a high-end brand selling to high-end customers.

00:56:05   There's probably a lot of overlap between likely Tesla owners and likely Porsche owners.

00:56:10   Sure. Jon, what do you think?

00:56:12   Well, at current valuations, no one's going to buy them because they cost too much for what you get, right?

00:56:18   So they'd have to go way, way down in price. And I think, I mean, I also don't know too much about the conglomerates, although if I had to guess one of them, I would guess not one of the ones that we know about.

00:56:28   Someone mentioned Geely, who owns Volvo now, I think, by the way, and that might be a good guess.

00:56:34   But really what I think is, I don't know if it's most likely, but when I picture in my head how it might go down, first of all, I don't actually picture them going under and getting bought.

00:56:44   I think that will find a way to scrape by. But if basically Elon loses interest, that's what it comes down to.

00:56:52   He loses interest or he just decides to cut his losses and concentrate on his spaceships and tunnels and whatever the hell else he's doing.

00:56:57   The scenario I see is the rest of the auto industry gleefully letting Tesla die and then picking over the scraps.

00:57:05   Someone gets a supercharger network, someone buys the Gigafactory like the Tesla as a going concern ceases to be, and the rest of the auto industry just comes in like vultures and bid against each other for the assets.

00:57:17   The Gigafactory is the thing that you might want. The supercharger network is the thing you might want. Maybe some patents, maybe some technology that's used in the Teslas.

00:57:24   But all of that would be harvested and used in "their" electric cars.

00:57:29   In the same way that Toyota hybrid and electric systems are all over the entire industry and you don't know it, you don't think about it, there's licensing agreements with Toyota all over the place.

00:57:39   Car companies are doing deals with each other all the time, but they want to produce "their" car.

00:57:43   I don't see any other car company that isn't in need of a brand, that doesn't want to make any of those.

00:57:48   Buying Tesla wholesale and saying we're going to continue to make and sell cars that are called Teslas, I just see all the assets being taken and disappearing into your Volkswagens and your Hondas and your Toyotas and the whole rest of the industry, invisibly to customers.

00:58:03   So it's basically like, "Tesla, they were around and now they're gone." And someone will say, "Yeah, but the Tesla drivetrain is the thing that's underlying the blah blah blah." But no one will care because it'll be like, "I think it's a Volkswagen."

00:58:11   Here's an idea. So Tesla is a pretty valuable brand. It is well recognized, it is well respected, people know it's a premium car and people think it's cool.

00:58:21   So what about a company that wants a premium brand that people think is cool that doesn't have one? What about somebody like Kia?

00:58:28   That's an interesting point.

00:58:30   That's what I'm saying. Those big conglomerates have already gone on shopping screens. That's why they own Volvo. That's why Tata bought Jaguar. Those companies that need brands have mostly all bought them now.

00:58:43   And it's not like there's lots of new entrants in the car companies. I'm not sure anybody wants the brand enough. I forget what conglomerate owns Kia and Hyundai.

00:58:53   So maybe there's one out there that still wants a name. Someone's saying, "Tata has Jag and Land Rover." I feel like that shopping spree may be over, but I'm not following industry to that degree.

00:59:04   But yeah, that would be why they would get them. The thing is, I think if that happened, they might get the name and existing products, but still Toyota ends up buying the Gigafactory and Porsche ends up buying the Supercharger network.

00:59:14   You know what I mean? They were still picking over the bones, just that one of the bones is now also the name Tesla and the logo and existing products.

00:59:20   They could form a little holding company with everything left over and call it OAuth or something.

00:59:25   Apparently, Hyundai owns Kia. I had no earthly idea that was the case.

00:59:31   Yeah, the conglomerates are hard to keep track of. Especially when people went on the shopping sprees for brands. This is to keep track of who owns the brand that you thought used to be an independent company.

00:59:43   The wheel bearings guys, they concluded that the most likely answer, if not Magna, which kind of spurred the conversation for the two of them, was actually Volkswagen.

00:59:53   And to heavily paraphrase what they were saying, the conversation was fascinating. It's definitely worth listening to, and I'll have a link in the show notes for you.

01:00:00   But they were saying that, among other things, Volkswagen kind of needs a win right now with Dieselgate and all that. And it certainly seems like it would fit them probably better than anyone else, for a lot of the reasons, Marco, that you had described.

01:00:17   And so their vote was Volkswagen. I think that makes the most sense to me, although your Honda IKEA idea was another great one which came out of left field. But I think that was a really good call, too.

01:00:29   But I think even Volkswagen, all those companies, they all want to see Tesla die. Because it is the upstart. It is the company that embarrassed them, that got to the market before they did.

01:00:38   And I think in their heart of hearts, every other company, if there's anybody there who cares about their brand, they just want to see Tesla die and disappear. And stop bothering them. And we can go back to the way we liked it.

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01:02:47   [Music]

01:02:50   So Marco, you have done something completely wild in bananas. You're writing Swift now? What's going on there?

01:02:57   I wrote Swift today.

01:02:59   That's better than the last time, which I presume was never.

01:03:03   The story is short and not that interesting. I'm writing a tiny little app for myself that I do not intend to ever distribute that basically lets me start a walking workout on my phone that is entirely something that doesn't involve the watch at all. It's just running on my phone.

01:03:20   That lets me basically draw like, you know how like with Strava and apps like that and as I discovered with Workouts++, they have like a map view that shows all your workout routes on a map so you can kind of see like all the different streets you've gone down and everything like that and you can like draw pictures on the map and everything.

01:03:39   I saw the screen for this for my data in Workouts++ and I noticed that in the beach town where I went last summer, I had like painted almost the whole map, almost the whole street map of the town.

01:03:54   And I thought, wouldn't it be cool this summer to actually paint the whole street map with like with walking workouts, but Workouts++ displays all of your data forever and ever. Amen. And so I wanted one that only displayed like this year's data and I could restrict it by time and say, all right, just from this year forward to kind of like reset it every summer.

01:04:17   So why didn't you just ask Anasora to do that? I did. And he sent me like the code for that map screen that I've been referring to and you know, and to get to the health kit data and stuff.

01:04:27   So I basically, you know, he sent me the code and I modified it for that screen to basically be a single screen app that again is only for me. I'm not distributing it.

01:04:36   And I decided, and his code was all Swift, and I decided I really do have to learn Swift. Like it's getting a little bit ridiculous how little I'm using it for how much the tide has clearly shifted to it by this point.

01:04:50   Like I need to learn it. So I decided to write this entire app in Swift because it's a self-contained thing that does not include any of my legacy code or depend on any legacy apps or anything like that.

01:05:00   So it's very, very simple, very self-contained. And the whole app is me learning new stuff because I've never used health kit or map kit or core location to this degree either.

01:05:09   So this is a good time to also learn Swift because I'm going to be going slowly anyway. And it's a very small app. There's not much complexity to it at all.

01:05:18   There's not even any kind of like data storage besides just interacting with health kit. So it's very, very simple.

01:05:23   So I made this app and it's almost done. It's taken me like two days and it's pretty much, it's totally usable now. And it just has like some minor interface weirdness that I'm probably never going to fix.

01:05:35   So yeah, so I, and this is, I've written bits and pieces of Swift before. I have a few parts of Overcast that are written in Swift. Not a lot, but just a few small components.

01:05:47   But that's it really. And this, I would say writing this app as its own separate thing in this small problem domain, it has finally, I think, pushed me over the edge of now I think I get Swift.

01:06:03   And there are parts of it I really like. I still don't like all of it, but I think I get it enough now that I'm going to start writing more of it. That like most of my new code I'm probably going to want to write in Swift.

01:06:17   At least for, at least until I discover why I should hate it. But right now, like I've crossed over the point where like, okay, I understand enough of it to be productive.

01:06:28   Not as productive as I am in a language I actually know better, but productive enough to be, you know, functional.

01:06:36   And because there are so many ecosystem reasons why I really should learn it and I really should be adopting it most of the time instead of this occasional thing I tinker with.

01:06:46   I think the time is right. I need to do this. I should do this. And so I am doing this, finally.

01:06:54   For a fleeting moment I thought you said ego system and I thought to myself, well, it is Swift developers, so yeah, I guess that makes sense.

01:07:01   So let's start happy and then I'll ask you the unhappy equivalent. What are you enjoying about it? What do you like about it?

01:07:10   And that can be broad strokes or it can be specific little things, whatever tickles you.

01:07:16   It's a little too early for me to say for sure. I like some, just like some of the little like conciseness efficiency things like the, you know, the stuff from Swift 1.0 that people, that is old news to everybody.

01:07:29   Things like not having to declare certain variables or not being less wordy with function naming, having like the dot and then autocomplete syntax for enum values, stuff like that.

01:07:41   No header files. How about no header files? You liking that?

01:07:44   No, I actually don't like that. I like header files. I like having the separation of the public interface and the private implementation and I like having the, like being able to, you know, read a header file of my own class and have an idea of what it does without having to look through all the code.

01:08:03   I actually kind of like that and the separation it provides and the readability benefits it provides.

01:08:09   You should just rewatch that protocol oriented programming talk from like WWDC two or three years ago.

01:08:15   Yeah, I mean as I get into, you know, better and more Swift, I do plan to do things like that. I do plan to, you know, use more of the advanced features and things like that.

01:08:25   But I'm not to that point yet. That's probably going to be months before I'm skilled enough to even get the benefit of something like that.

01:08:33   Fair enough. What are you not liking?

01:08:36   A lot of Xcode's behavior is just slower and buggier now. Things like reporting errors, clearing errors once you have fixed them.

01:08:45   Autocomplete often just doesn't do what it's supposed to do because it had an error 15 minutes ago that I fixed 14 minutes ago and autocomplete hasn't worked since then.

01:08:53   You know, stuff like that. Clearly the tools are still, you know, immature and buggy and to a degree that like, what are we, three or four years in now?

01:09:00   To a degree that I think is getting inexcusable for the amount of time that we're in now.

01:09:06   And there are certain things about it that are just poorly documented or where the documentation I find is out of date because it's from an earlier version of Swift.

01:09:17   I don't like that I'm finally taking the time to learn this new language and it's still so in flux.

01:09:25   There are still basic things about it that should be solved by now that haven't been.

01:09:30   I think top of my list would be a concurrency model that is going to be like the official one.

01:09:35   Where is that? Why don't we have that yet?

01:09:38   But you know, for the most part, most of my complaining about it is, at this point, is I just don't know it enough.

01:09:46   So I am still slow with it. I am still having to look up tons of stuff, having tons of reference.

01:09:51   The points at which it interacts with Objective-C can get a little bit messy.

01:09:55   I don't love some of those, but for the most part, I like it okay.

01:10:00   Some of the syntax I think is ugly, but you know, it's just aesthetic preferences.

01:10:05   I am deeply surprised that you haven't complained yet about optionals and optionality and not being able to just send messages to nil pointers and objects and not have to worry twice or think twice about it.

01:10:20   So when I was very, very first writing Swift code, the optional system and the fact that almost everything I was dealing with was an optional that had to be unwrapped or question marked or things like that, that was a big pain in the butt.

01:10:35   It was also a big pain in the butt back then that there was a lot less syntactic nicety for some commonly used things.

01:10:41   There was a lot more pain in the buttery around things like using a double where you need an int and having to explicitly cast things in certain ways that you didn't have to and see.

01:10:52   So some of that stuff is annoying, but now that I've been familiar with the optional system and things like that for long enough now, and whenever there's an improvement, like I think it was last year when Guard was introduced,

01:11:06   whenever that was, I've seen these in my peripheral vision, I pay attention to what people are talking about and everything.

01:11:12   So even if I haven't been writing Swift, I've been kind of watching Swift from a distance.

01:11:17   So now, one of the things that clicked for me finally was now I'm familiar enough and have enough experience with the optional system that I can now deal with it in a relatively productive way.

01:11:32   And in some ways, I do find the assurances it provides comforting. In practice, I think a lot of that is theoretical gains, not actual gains, kind of like something you're testing.

01:11:43   But there's also just some of the syntactic or language niceties around that, things like Guard and if let, make some of these things just a little bit easier to deal with or a little bit easier to write.

01:11:56   So I'm dealing with the optional system. I still think it's a lot of structure and rules to avoid risks that I don't think I really had very often in my code and to avoid problems that I really rarely ran into.

01:12:14   But I'm learning to deal with it.

01:12:17   Well, if only you and I had, I don't know, maybe 13 different channels with which you could instantly message me about these sorts of questions if you have them, then I would be happy to help you.

01:12:27   So I mean, I obviously have very strong opinions about what good Swift looks like and the right way to write Swift.

01:12:35   And even leaving aside my love affair with RxSwift, I think that there are very specific ways that one can write good Swift.

01:12:43   And I can also tell you a whole bunch of ways where I think Swift is very frustrating and you've nailed some of them.

01:12:47   You know, even I go looking for, how do I do this? And oftentimes I'm looking at like a Swift 2 version of the answer and I can't help but grumble.

01:12:55   Gosh knows the tooling. It's gotten way better since I started a couple of years ago, but it is still got a long way to go.

01:13:05   But by and large, I've really, really, really enjoyed my time with Swift. And again, there are things that are annoying, but by and large, I've really liked it.

01:13:13   And I think that over time, it is quite likely that you would feel the same way. And it certainly sounds like things are starting to move in the right direction.

01:13:23   Yeah, they find, I'm finally on that path where like, okay, I'm liking some of this. I'm not immediately tempted to just run back to what I know.

01:13:32   I'm now on the path to using this much more frequently and having it become, sometime probably fairly soon, having it become my default of what I use.

01:13:43   The major problem to me still is that I'm so much slower in it because it's so new to me. But I'm at least now like, I'm out of first gear.

01:13:52   Like I'm finally getting going. I'm on the right path so I can kind of feel the proficiency building and feel that happening and feel myself getting almost to the point where I can be productive the way an average programmer would be.

01:14:08   Not yet to that point. Maybe in a few more weeks or months.

01:14:12   But also, pragmatically speaking, as soon as Swift was announced and you could see Apple putting all their weight behind it, I knew like, even though Federighi says, "Objective C is forever."

01:14:25   Yeah, that's not, I don't buy that basically. I think it's only a matter of time, might even be a matter of two weeks, before there is a Swift only technology or framework that I want or need to use.

01:14:41   It's already been, like for the last, what's Swift been out for, three, four years now? It's already been really cumbersome to be in Objective C land when the entire community has shifted everything to Swift.

01:14:56   Every blog, all example code, all documentation, tutorials, conferences, almost everything has switched to Swift for any kind of reference material or discussion material and almost all language development has stopped on Objective C.

01:15:11   And when Swift came, I would say Objective C got a lot worse with all the nullability crap that they had to add to it to make interoperability better.

01:15:18   So the entire Tide shifted so much and also, I know it's only a matter of time before there's some kind of Swift only thing I want to use that it's starting to become harder and harder to not use Swift than it is to just finally sit down and learn it.

01:15:35   So I knew this time would come and, you know, three years ago, whenever it came out, I said, like at some point this will happen, this Tide will shift in this way and I think that point has come.

01:15:46   I'm excited and truly, you know, you seem from everything I know of you, you seem the kind that would rather just kind of fumble through yourself and figure it out, generally speaking.

01:15:58   But if you ever have questions or want my strong, strongly held opinions about, or hopefully loosely held, but probably strongly held opinions about the rightest way to write Swift, then you know where to find me. I'm happy to talk your ear off.

01:16:12   Why don't you quit your job and start a new career making instructional videos to teach me how to write Swift?

01:16:17   You know, one should think about that for sure.

01:16:20   Alright, so let's do some Ask ATP. Aaron Robison writes, "How important is it to learn a command line text editor like Vim or Emacs? I'm currently a senior studying computer science and I've almost exclusively used GUI text editors with FTP clients for remote work.

01:16:34   However, I often hear older developers and professors talk about using command line editors. How often do each of you find yourselves using one or the other in daily work?"

01:16:47   And I'll start. I never learned Vim. It never clicked for me. I always thought it was bananas. I understand that people love it. That's fine. If it works for you, that's fine.

01:16:57   I typically use Emacs if I'm going to use one or the other. That being said, I almost never use Emacs anymore. It is exceptionally rare that I do.

01:17:08   Probably once a month at most, and the rest of my time I'm in Xcode or TextMate or Visual Studio Code or any number of other GUI tools.

01:17:18   John, you're probably a special case because you're doing a lot of Node now, aren't you? So now I don't know how you're going to answer this. I was going to assume that you were all in the terminal non-stop, but now I don't know where this is going to go.

01:17:31   Well, you know, I use BBEdit for all my stuff.

01:17:33   Oh, right, right, right, right.

01:17:35   The answer to this question, though, is if you are going to do server-side programming in your career, you should have the basic rudiments of a couple of command-line editors. Probably VI. You have to be able to get into VI, use it to edit a file and get out of it.

01:17:50   Because if you do server-side development, you may often find yourself on some remote machine at a shell prompt, and the only installed editor is VI. Don't be one of those people who wants to install Emacs everywhere, right?

01:18:03   But that's it. I don't think you need to learn VI or Emacs and have it be "your main editor." If you want to, fine, go for it. But if you don't want to, you won't be called up on that. But server-side programming, you will find yourself on a remote machine and have to edit a file and not have access to your favorite editor. So learn the basics.

01:18:21   If you're not doing server-side programming, I don't see any reason why you would need to use a command-line editor for anything. There's so many good GUI editors. If that's what you prefer, use it. If you want to use a command-line, use it. But there's no reason to.

01:18:33   I would say it is worth learning the basics of VI. You don't have to become a power user of it. You don't have to learn all the crazy shortcuts. But you should be able to open up a file, perform basic editing, and save it out. Or quit without saving. Those are options. Because lots of things these days depend on server-side components in some way.

01:18:52   If you ever set up a server for anything, you will need to open up text files for configuration changes and setup and things like that. You will need that at some point. The earlier you can learn it, the better. And if you're going to, VI is the one to learn because it's always there.

01:19:05   Emacs isn't. Every server distribution of every Linux ever, VI is there. It's also already on your Mac if you ever need it there. Sometimes it's useful to do things like if you're doing pseudo-edit etc/hosts kind of thing, then sometimes it's useful to just have that in VI and not have to worry about do I open this up in TextMate or Sublime or whatever else, bbedit, and have it resaved with pseudo. It's kind of complicated sometimes. Sometimes it's just nice to have that be in the terminal.

01:19:32   And then of course, as John said, if you're doing server development, my entire first job after school was writing C code in VI that was being built and run on a Linux server that I was SSHing into from a Windows PC first and then later from a Mac. It was all remote development. A lot of jobs are still like that.

01:19:53   It's the kind of skill where, it's like learning Bash, it's like learning the shell. Yes, there are lots of jobs and lots of things that you do with computers as a programmer that don't need that skill, but at some point you're going to need that skill. And the earlier you get it, the more useful it will be in your career.

01:20:10   Fair. I agree. Luther Richardson writes, "Do you think it's paranoid to avoid Google services due to their data collection? Marco has made his privacy stance clear, I think," says Luther, "with Overcast, but I know John has mentioned he uses Google Home, which requires you to allow Google to track your location in web history.

01:20:27   I personally do my best to avoid Google," says Luther, "but things like Google Assistant get more tempting every year given Apple's lack of progress on Siri." I kind of am a middle of the road person on this. I use Google Photos. I love Google Photos. I use Google Apps for my domain, for email, and that's worked well for me for probably a decade now or thereabouts.

01:20:51   I certainly can understand, one, having qualms about this sort of thing, but for me it's been okay. I don't use Google as my search engine. I use DuckDuckGo, which I've written a post or two about on my website. I don't know. I don't think it's necessary to avoid Google, but I wouldn't argue against somebody who does.

01:21:13   John answered first, I believe, last time. So Marco, how do you feel about this?

01:21:18   I take a fairly measured approach to this. Like you, I also read a few posts on your blog about DuckDuckGo and use that as my search engine as a result. I don't use Gmail or a lot of Google services that people do use frequently or in large numbers, but there was a good segment on upgrade this week about this, almost the exact same question, basically.

01:21:44   And I like Jason's position on it, which is basically like at some point you gotta say like I'm just gonna use whatever's the best, and the alternatives to Google aren't always the best at the things that Google does.

01:21:56   Now, as a search engine, DuckDuckGo is okay on the web. It's very powerful when you get into its cool like bang shortcuts, the exclamation point for Amazon or eBay or images, stuff like that. There's all sorts of fun things that to me make DuckDuckGo the better overall choice in addition to the privacy.

01:22:18   But I do, you know, if I'm not finding what I'm looking for in a web search on it, I will use the exclamation point G prefix to send it to Google and check there, and often it will find it.

01:22:29   So I will use, basically I'm willing to use Google when it's the best and when it's better enough than the competition that I'm willing to overlook the creepiness that I feel Google has in most things.

01:22:44   So again, that isn't in a lot of things they offer, but it is, you know, for example, if I'm looking for a business or for a place or for an address, I will usually look at Google Maps first because it's just better than the alternatives I usually have for looking up like business info and stuff like that.

01:23:02   Heck, I use Waze for my driving directions, which is owned by Google. So, and again, I didn't use Waze for a long time. We had a whole segment about it on the show.

01:23:10   I didn't use it for a long time, but eventually I was driving in traffic so often that I found it worthwhile to trade that amount of privacy and data for that service it provides.

01:23:22   So ultimately, you know, the tech giants, there's not that many tech giants, and many services are owned by, many services you basically don't have a choice.

01:23:34   Like if you want a really good computer, you get a Mac. If you want a lot of services to work between a Mac and an iPhone, you're going to be using iCloud, right?

01:23:43   If you want fast delivery of stuff to your house in the US, you're going to be using Amazon. If you want to see what your grandparents are posting and you want to send pictures to them, you're probably going to have to use Facebook.

01:23:57   And with Google, if you want good driving directions, you're going to be using Google. If you want good business search, good web search, you're going to be using them.

01:24:05   If you want to watch any videos ever, ever again, you're probably going to be using YouTube, which is owned by Google.

01:24:13   Like you can't avoid any of these big companies really in modern tech life. You're going to be interacting with some of them. You're going to be using some of their products.

01:24:21   And heck, I don't like Facebook that much, but I still use Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. So again, it's really hard to avoid anything completely.

01:24:31   I would just say be conscious of what you do use from them. Make those decisions for yourself. Weigh the pros and cons.

01:24:37   Say, "All right, am I willing to have a crappier, worse service or to avoid some massive part of the ecosystem in order to preserve this degree of my privacy?"

01:24:47   The answer will sometimes be yes, but will often be no. And I think you have to be okay with having that be one of the outcomes.

01:24:55   The only thing I'd add is that, broadly speaking, the benefits of these things outweigh the costs.

01:25:04   The question is, "Should I be paranoid about Google?" Well, if you should be paranoid about Google, you should be paranoid about every company, including Apple.

01:25:11   Not because they're going to be mean or anything, but because mistakes happen. Every one of these companies have a tremendous amount of important information.

01:25:17   If you just don't use them, you're protected from it. But if you just don't use any of them, you are missing out on the tremendous benefits of the products.

01:25:25   The reason they're as big as they are is because their products provide value. So I think it is paranoid to avoid Google and all things that are like Google because you will cut yourself off from society, essentially.

01:25:38   And that's no good. So decide which ones where the benefit outweighs the cost, as Mark was talking about.

01:25:45   And pick the ones where you feel comfortable with the balance. But to mitigate this, to say, "Okay, well then, am I just giving in?"

01:25:52   And just like, "Okay, well, whatever. I just won't worry about this anymore." There are things you can do to help with this.

01:25:59   Most of them don't have to do with you being super careful about how you use things. Some of it is that look at the settings, look at the preferences, be aware.

01:26:05   I would also say that sticking with the big companies is probably, for the most important things, probably has better net benefits.

01:26:14   I trust Google and Apple and Amazon to keep my data safe more than some other small company that I've never heard of.

01:26:22   Which probably just uses S3 behind the scenes anyway. So there is some benefit to being in the big ones.

01:26:28   But the most important thing I think you can do to protect yourself long term is to keep this an issue, in our country, I guess.

01:26:39   To make it an issue that you're willing to vote based on, that you're willing to ask people about, that you're willing to do what you can to push these companies in the direction of being better about privacy and data collection, not worse.

01:26:57   That's what you can do as a citizen, essentially. Boycotting Google is not going to change their practices. A single person boycotting Facebook won't change their practices.

01:27:07   But making it something that you're aware of in your life, and I suppose if we're trying to dethrone Facebook, socializing the idea that some companies go too far and are not good protectors of your data versus other companies that are.

01:27:23   Make that a thing, but I don't think you can opt out of the entire ecosystem. I don't even think you can opt out of any one single player.

01:27:33   Because as Marco pointed out, how many people even know that Instagram is owned by Facebook? They'd be like, "I'm boycotting Facebook." And they don't even know they're using Instagram all the time.

01:27:39   So it's very difficult to do that. So find the balances right for you, but I pretty strongly feel that the correct balance is to not use any of these companies.

01:27:48   All right, Ian. Peter Johnston writes, "I'm in the process of buying my first mirrorless camera, and I'm looking at the Sony A6500. I know Jon has the A6300.

01:27:59   I was wondering which of the lenses he bought that he finds he uses the most. Specifically, does the 50mm f/1.8 require too much backing up?"

01:28:06   So let's start with this. There's a couple of follow-ups, but let's start with that, Jon.

01:28:10   My favorite lens actually is the Sony 50mm f/1.8. Yes, it does require backing up, but I'm willing to deal with that because most of my favorite pictures have been taken with that lens.

01:28:24   Mostly just because the main benefit I feel like I'm getting from fancy cameras is the ability to take decent pictures in lower light.

01:28:33   Because if you're doing anything indoors, the light is a lot lower than you think it is. Your eyes adjust, you don't realize exactly how low it is.

01:28:38   And the fancier the camera you get, the more you can do that. And this lens opens up the widest and is able to get enough light and to get decent pictures in environments that no other camera around could get pictures in.

01:28:49   And when there's plenty of light, if you open up real wide, you can get that shallow depth of field and all that good stuff that the iPhone tries to fake.

01:28:55   So that is my favorite lens. You do have to back up. I still recommend you buy it for this camera. It's really good.

01:29:01   Finally, as a beginner, would you recommend a wide angle, a portrait lens, and a basic telephoto? And Peter provides some specific details.

01:29:08   Or a higher quality non-telephoto zoom and a portrait? Again, more details. All focal lengths that he provided are not 35mm equivalent.

01:29:17   So I'm not the best person to answer this question, but for what it's worth, when I got my Micro Four Thirds camera, I got a kit which I regret.

01:29:27   And then I got a really, really good prime. And I forget exactly what the focal length is, but it goes down to, I think, f/1.6, f/1.4, something like that.

01:29:38   It gets pretty wide. It's somewhere in the 50mm range, like the effective 50mm range. Yeah, and I know it's near-ish 50mm.

01:29:46   And that was the only lens I had for probably a year or two. And the second lens I bought was a telephoto that I think in 35mm is 100-300mm. Something like that.

01:30:00   I forget exactly what it is. But anyways, so now I basically flip back and forth between the telephoto and the prime.

01:30:06   And if I need to get something far away, I use the telephoto. If I can get close to it, I use the prime, and that's that.

01:30:11   And that has actually worked surprisingly well for me. And I would encourage you, especially as a beginner, not to buy all the lenses in the world.

01:30:20   And just buy one or maybe two, and see how that fits your life, and then buy more afterwards.

01:30:28   But that's just my two cents. You guys are probably much better to answer this question. So let's start with Marco and then finish up with Jon.

01:30:35   Don't start with three lenses. Start with one. And that one should be something that is either the 50mm range equivalent, or something a little bit wider that you can use in something more like a 35mm equivalent.

01:30:50   Now on a crop sensor, you're going to be looking a little bit wider than that. Maybe something in like the 28 or 24mm range for more general purpose use.

01:30:59   But ultimately, as Jon said, even on the crop sensor, a 50mm lens, it's going to be a little bit more in the medium portrait range at that point.

01:31:10   But you're still going to get amazing photos. And if you're willing and able to zoom with your feet, it is totally worth it.

01:31:17   Even though you won't be able to use it in every situation. When you are able to use it, you will love those pictures.

01:31:23   Photo snobs, actual photography snobs will almost definitely support the idea of just get one lens, like one prime lens, and zoom with your feet and learn how to use that.

01:31:34   That is a pretty common thing. But I would just say from a practical standpoint, as long as that lens is reasonably medium or wide, that works totally fine.

01:31:44   For wider shots, you have your iPhone, if you need it basically. Which is the equivalent of a 35mm equivalent of something like a 28mm lens.

01:31:54   So you have the wide shot there if you need it. And then for the really good portraits in low light, you have your nice Sony with a decent 50mm-ish lens.

01:32:05   I think start there, don't get too caught up in trying to get a lot of lenses. And I have never had a zoom lens that I wasn't disappointed by.

01:32:17   Oh really? I like the one I have. It's 35-100mm as a micro four thirds. And I think that it gets doubled?

01:32:26   I believe it's 70-200mm done, yeah, which is a pretty common pro.

01:32:29   And it's f/2.8, which isn't bad. I can definitely tell the difference between this and my prime, which is I think f/1.4.

01:32:37   But anyways, I wouldn't say I dislike this one personally. And generally speaking, I think it's perfectly fine for the situations where I would want to be far away.

01:32:50   So, you know, Declan isn't playing any organized sports at this point, but let's just say for the sake of discussion he's out on a soccer field or something like that.

01:32:58   That would be a perfect time for this. Or maybe I'm across the beach. I find myself using it. Or maybe across the backyard.

01:33:07   Even in the postage stamp yard that I have. Occasionally I'll find that the telephoto works really nicely for me for those sorts of things.

01:33:15   But just like Marco said, and I think you were the first person to ever say to me, "zoom with your feet," which I thought was the best turn of phrase.

01:33:22   And yeah, I agree with you. If you can get away with that, the prime, in whatever camera you're looking at, a prime is probably the best way to go.

01:33:29   Now, Jon, what do you have to say?

01:33:31   So, it's tough because there's no money mentioned in this post, but the practical fact is to get any kind of zoom lens that is not garbage costs huge amounts of money.

01:33:48   And is huge and heavy.

01:33:50   Yeah, they're big, they're heavy, and they cost a lot of money.

01:33:53   But that said, if I say, "Okay, well then I'm not going to do that. I'll just have, you know, a 35, a 50, and then a telephoto."

01:34:02   Changing lenses is a pain. I'm paranoid about getting crap inside the cameras because they don't do anything to protect that area.

01:34:08   And so, practically speaking, what I did was bought a heinously expensive zoom lens that's not as good as my other lenses.

01:34:15   And the reason I find myself using this zoom lens is versatility.

01:34:20   As Casey was talking about, if you can only bring one lens with you, you don't want it to be the big, heavy, expensive zoom that takes crappy pictures.

01:34:26   But you can't zoom with your feet when your kid is out there on the soccer field.

01:34:31   You can't run out there and get a good picture of them. You just can't.

01:34:33   So you need something that has zoom range. But you don't want something that's locked into that zoom range because then you can't take a picture of them when they come to the sideline to eat oranges.

01:34:41   Right? And so you end up using a crappy zoom lens unless you're constantly changing lenses, you're going to go nuts with it.

01:34:47   So this is not -- I don't have a solution to this because what I have is I have a 50, I have a 28, and I have a heinously expensive, not as good zoom.

01:34:57   And I use the 50 every chance I get. But sometimes -- I actually have two zooms. I have an even deeper zoom that's even crappier.

01:35:04   Sometimes you just have to take out the zoom lenses because otherwise you see a speck in the distance.

01:35:08   And forget about the iPhone, it's an even blurrier speck, right? That's the trouble with this.

01:35:14   You will find yourself in the money pit of zoom lenses. Try to avoid it, but just like if you can get away with one.

01:35:19   I have one 200mm or something that I use for taking pictures around in the ocean waves.

01:35:24   And then I have my ridiculously expensive 16-70mm that I use for sort of vacation photos but can only have one lens.

01:35:30   But I don't want to use any one of those lenses. I want to take pictures of everything with the 50mm or even the 28.

01:35:38   But I have all of them. So it's not great news. There's no silver bullet.

01:35:44   Ideally, never take pictures of things that are far away from you and just use your really nice prime lens all the time.

01:35:50   We should also note that you can use one of many services -- I think, Marco, you turned me on to LensRentals.com, is that right?

01:35:57   LensRentals.com. I forget the exact URL.

01:36:01   LensRentals.com.

01:36:03   I couldn't remember if it was plural or not. But the point is, just for me and my Micro Four Thirds cameras, with these two lenses, I'm talking about $1500 worth of lenses.

01:36:13   That is a ridiculous amount of money. And of course, this is where everyone well-actuallys me about how expensive lenses could be.

01:36:20   But I'm just saying, taken in and of itself, two lenses being $1500 is a lot of money.

01:36:25   And what I did was, especially for both the camera and the prime, and then again for the zoom, I rented the camera body I thought I wanted and the prime I thought I wanted for a few days or a week or something like that.

01:36:39   And actually used them before I actually bought one.

01:36:42   Additionally, when I went for the zoom, there was a different one I rented first that was something like $100-$300 in Micro Four Thirds, which means it's $200-$600 or something like that in 35mm.

01:36:57   And it turns out, that was way too heavy a zoom for anything but going across a football field.

01:37:03   And I'm glad that I rented it first, because that lens was also like $1000 or something like that if I had bought it.

01:37:10   So yeah, I wasted $50 or something like that renting it, but I also saved $950 by not buying it.

01:37:18   So I can't recommend enough, be it for bodies or lenses, check out lensrentals.com or equivalent and see if you can just rent what it is you think you want.

01:37:27   And try using it either on a vacation or at a family gathering, say Memorial Day if you're American, that's coming up.

01:37:34   You know, something like that and see what you end up reaching for. And if you rent six lenses but only ever use the prime, that'll also answer your question.

01:37:43   Alright, thanks to our sponsors this week. Linode, Aftershocks, and Lambda School. And we'll see you next week.

01:37:51   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

01:38:02   John didn't do any research, Margo and Casey wouldn't let him, cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

01:38:13   And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM and if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S, so that's Casey Liss M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M,

01:38:32   N-T-M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M-N-S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A, it's accidental. They didn't mean to, accidental. Tech podcast, so long.

01:38:54   Marco put in the show notes a couple of days ago, with no other explanation, the following, Marco drove something ridiculous.

01:39:03   I have been waiting for days to hear this story, please tell me Marco, what have you driven?

01:39:11   Wait, can I guess first?

01:39:12   Yes.

01:39:13   Actually I don't have a serious guess, but I really hope it's the Wienermobile, but it isn't.

01:39:20   If I ever got the chance to drive the Wienermobile, I totally would.

01:39:24   Because that would be something ridiculous.

01:39:26   That's true, that would be amazing. Unfortunately this is a much less interesting story than the Wienermobile.

01:39:31   Alright.

01:39:32   I mean, everything would be a much less interesting story than driving the Wienermobile.

01:39:37   But anyway, so this past weekend we went camping with some friends and we...

01:39:45   Oh, I got the spoil for me too.

01:39:47   Sorry.

01:39:48   To social media.

01:39:49   Yeah, we rented RVs. Each family had an RV and we...

01:39:53   Oh, you each had your own?

01:39:54   Yeah, and so...

01:39:55   Oh, I assumed you were all piled into one of them, I didn't realize.

01:39:59   No, there were two identical rented RVs. These giant white houses with wheels.

01:40:06   It's been a long time since I've driven a vehicle that large.

01:40:10   The only time I've driven, actually, the only time I've driven anything even close to that was when I drove a U-Haul when I was moving from Columbus to Pittsburgh.

01:40:17   And this was a 30 foot RV. I'm pretty sure my U-Haul was not a 30 foot U-Haul.

01:40:23   And so it was quite an experience driving a 30 foot box that's 30 feet long, 12 feet tall as I learned with one of the directions.

01:40:35   It was quite something else.

01:40:37   To answer roll call in the chat, yes I did indeed use the walkie talkies again.

01:40:42   Oh yeah!

01:40:43   Eat it, John.

01:40:44   I didn't even think about that.

01:40:45   They again proved useful.

01:40:48   You could have used the phones. You weren't in magical cell phone doesn't work land. You just wanted to use the walkie talkies because they're a good match for the RVs.

01:40:55   Oh, actually in the state parks we were in cell phone no working land, thank you very much.

01:41:01   So I was unexpectedly offline for like three days. I was like, "Well, I hope my servers are still up. I guess I'll find out in a few days."

01:41:09   Anyway, driving something that big, it was very much like, I felt the way the Top Gear presenters always do when they're like taking their crazy caravan vacations on the highway.

01:41:22   I took up the entire road. I was very, very slow on all the state routes I had to be driving on because I couldn't use the parkways in New York because I was a truck.

01:41:32   All the state routes, traffic is backing up behind me because it's only one lane each direction and most of the time I was on it was like a no passing zone because it was just too windy and everything.

01:41:42   So all the traffic's behind me. I'm struggling to just reach the speed limit, let alone drive the speed everyone else wants me to.

01:41:51   Everyone's aggressively passing when they do get a chance, honking, kind of swerving behind me when they don't.

01:41:58   In many ways it was mortifying to drive it because I was just like, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry to everyone behind me. I'm just so sorry. I had no idea what this would be."

01:42:08   And certainly, first of all, they're very low tech. They're powered by the, it was an F450 base, which of course was white.

01:42:18   There was no technology to speak of in the car. It had a line in jack. That was nice. Everything else was all manual.

01:42:24   Even the headlights, there were no automatic headlights. Even that was manual. Everything was manual.

01:42:30   Except for the transmission, thank goodness. I'm pretty sure it had three gears. I'm pretty sure it did not have more than that.

01:42:40   Every speed I was going, it was alternating between very, very harsh engine braking and then kicking really hard back into the higher gear when I was accelerating.

01:42:52   It was quite something. When I would go above about 50 miles an hour and I would hit a patch of rough pavement, it felt like it was hydroplaning.

01:43:04   I was like, "Oh, I'm gliding over this now. I have lost all control for a few seconds. I hope I stay straight." It was terrifying.

01:43:12   I learned that there is no option and ways to tell it. I'm driving a large truck or commercial vehicle, so ignore the New York Parkway system.

01:43:20   I also found there was no option and ways to tell it how tall you are and to avoid the 10 foot 5 clearance bridge that's one mile ahead.

01:43:30   Oh, no.

01:43:32   You see the signs like, "Warning, 10 foot 5 clearance, 3 miles ahead." You're like, "Okay. How tall is this vehicle?"

01:43:39   They didn't tell me that in the tutorial orientation thing. I'm looking around, seeing is it labeled anywhere inside the cabin how tall this is.

01:43:47   I don't know how tall these things are. Eventually, I see on the Sun Visor it's 12 feet tall. That's going to be a problem.

01:43:53   It's 3 miles ahead. Surely, there will be a road I can turn off sometime in the next 3 miles.

01:43:59   Then, it's 2 miles ahead and there still hasn't been a road. Then, it's 1 mile ahead and there still hasn't been a road.

01:44:07   After it's a half mile ahead, I realize there's not going to be a road where I can turn around.

01:44:11   I can just find the largest driveway I can find and do a 3-point turn and back up.

01:44:17   Of course, there's no back up camera. Why would you put a back up camera on a 30 foot long truck that people who don't drive these things regularly are driving every day?

01:44:27   Why would you think to put a back up camera on it?

01:44:31   Not to mention the fact that when I'm driving home, I have the additional stress of I am driving a vehicle full of my family's output for the last few days.

01:44:43   I better not hit any bumps. The whole concept of RV's is very odd if you think too much about it.

01:44:53   Overall, it was a good time. It was a good camping trip. It was my first time ever being in an RV, let alone driving one.

01:45:01   Parts of it were pretty fun. The weather was terrible for a lot of it, so it was a little bit harsh.

01:45:07   It was overall a pretty fun trip, but the driving part of it was terrifying and embarrassing in a lot of ways.

01:45:17   I have more appreciation now for both the crazy top gear outings and for actual truck drivers who drive these things every day.

01:45:26   It was an eye-opening experience for sure and quite an interesting and terrifying drive. That's it. That's my story.

01:45:35   Was this Cruise America that you got it from?

01:45:37   Yes, it was.

01:45:38   Was it the 3 person, the 5 person, or the 7 person?

01:45:42   It was the large, which is a 30 foot long one.

01:45:45   Why would you get one that big?

01:45:47   The only ones that seemed remotely big enough for my family to not go nuts and kill each other were either the medium or the large.

01:45:55   It was only a 5 foot length difference. If I'm going to be driving a 25 foot truck or a 30 foot truck, it's not that different.

01:46:01   I went for the 30 because it had a way nicer interior layout and just generally nicer.

01:46:08   How do you feel about doing this versus driving your Tesla with a tent? Obviously the Tesla is nicer to drive, but when you get there you have to sleep in a tent.

01:46:16   Was it worth the trade off for the drive to be able to sleep essentially indoors?

01:46:20   This is a great question.

01:46:22   I think overall probably. One thing is during the entire first day of this trip it rained.

01:46:29   It was really nice to basically have a small house but to have a house that we could hang out in while it was pouring outside.

01:46:38   There was never a worry as it was pouring for 2 nights straight.

01:46:43   There was never a worry like there is with tents that, "Oh crap, what if this leaks? I'm going to get no sleep tonight and all my stuff is going to get wet."

01:46:50   That was never a concern.

01:46:52   I have only gone on 2 camping trips in my life.

01:46:56   The first one was a backpacking trip where we did sleep in tents and it did rain all night and it sucked.

01:47:02   This was way nicer than that.

01:47:04   Again, it was nice to have a place to hang out.

01:47:08   It was nice to have a kitchen even though everything is weird and propane powered.

01:47:12   How a propane powered fridge works I still don't understand, but it does somehow.

01:47:18   Overall it was much nicer as a "camping thing" as for me, somebody who does not like the outdoors and really does not like tent camping at all.

01:47:32   It was nice for that.

01:47:34   However, I think if I was just in the Tesla I would just drive myself to a hotel.

01:47:39   A long time ago, I briefly flirted with the idea of renting an RV. This is actually many years ago because it was pre-kids.

01:47:50   I flirted with the idea of renting an RV to do some sort of trip with Aaron.

01:47:54   I didn't even have a destination. I just thought it would be fun to have the RV.

01:47:57   I remember vividly looking at Cruise America's God-awful website and looking at their tutorial videos.

01:48:03   Watching these tutorial videos and realizing, "Oh my, there is a lot more involved in this than I initially estimated."

01:48:11   I had initially estimated, ignorantly so, that you just drive up to a campground, you plug two things in and suddenly everything is perfect.

01:48:18   I think if you do super fancy expensive RVs, which are probably not rentable, that probably is the case.

01:48:25   They'll auto level and do all these magic things.

01:48:28   But it seemed at the time, four plus years ago, that it was pretty manual and pretty involved to level the thing, to hook everything up, to get everything working appropriately, and then unhook everything and get back on the road.

01:48:42   How was that experience? I don't necessarily need a blow-by-blow of exactly what you did, but was it reasonably straightforward?

01:48:48   Did they give you a three-hour class before you took the car away? How did that all work?

01:48:53   Well, they asked if we had watched the intro video. I told them, "Well, I watched the first five minutes and I was going to watch the rest tonight when we got there."

01:49:01   Of course, we got there and there was no cell phone service.

01:49:03   Wonderful.

01:49:05   I mean, there was a book and everything.

01:49:07   Anyway, it kind of helped that we were only going for two nights. There was three days, two nights.

01:49:14   The campground that we went to did not actually have any hookups. So, we were self-contained.

01:49:22   Oh, interesting. Okay.

01:49:24   And this has a number of challenges. Like, for instance, you didn't have infinite power and sometimes it was pretty cold, so you couldn't run the heater because there's not enough power to run the heater all night when you don't have an electric hookup.

01:49:36   But, you know, fine, we just used more blankets and I cuddled up with hops and it was fine.

01:49:42   So, the whole situation with, like, hooking up your input and output lines didn't happen to us. You know, when you rent it, they give it to you full of water and full of propane.

01:49:56   And, you know, the rest is up to you if you want to. And I was concerned that I would have to somehow empty my family's output before I returned it.

01:50:07   This is one of those wonderful situations where I thought of our friend, Gray. At some point, Gray mentioned how he now looks at fees as simply prices.

01:50:18   This is what it costs if you want to do this thing. And I love that. And that's how I think of, like, the parking tickets in my town because they're only $25 and you don't usually get them.

01:50:27   And so, I figure for a cost of occasionally $25, I can park wherever I want and never pay the stupid electronic meters. They take forever and there's always a big line for them.

01:50:36   So, when we were, you know, checking out the RV's from the rental place, they mentioned that there is a $50 fee if you don't dump the output out of it before you return it.

01:50:48   And as soon as I heard that, I'm like, "Done. All right. $50. That sounds great. I will pay the $50 to not have to do that."

01:50:59   So, yeah. That's what I did. We didn't have to deal with it. Easy as that. I did run into an issue where, like, I wasn't conserving the water enough. Like, I took a shower and everything.

01:51:08   And on the third day, I did have to very much conserve water because I was running very low.

01:51:13   And the tank for what they call "Gray water" rather than black, black is your family's output. Gray water is like the drains from the shower and sink, basically.

01:51:22   It's not, you know, dirty but not biohazard. That tank I had filled up by the end. Like, it wasn't, like, overflowing or anything, but, like, the light was saying, like, "You should stop using this now."

01:51:31   Otherwise, you know, if you're only going for, like, a night or two, you probably don't have to deal with that. Also, in regards to leveling, it didn't have, it wasn't a fancy enough RV to have, like, auto-leveling or anything like that.

01:51:43   So, we just tried to park it on level-ish ground and everything was slightly slanted for two days. But, you know, it's like living in Pittsburgh. Like, there's no flat service in Pittsburgh. It was fine.

01:51:56   I think this would be super fun. Terrible and yet delightful all at once.

01:52:01   Yeah, I mean, if you want to subject your family to it sometime, I recommend it. It's an interesting experience, especially for somebody like you who likes cars and you seem to have some curiosity about, you know, the RV camping world anyway.

01:52:12   So, I would suggest, though, like, you know, for an easier time, find a place that has at least, you don't have to use the hookups if you don't need them, but maybe find a place that has them in case you do need them.

01:52:25   Well, I'm glad you have this experience, maybe in part because I didn't have to.

01:52:29   No, honestly, like, it does sound like you would probably enjoy it.

01:52:33   I think I would.

01:52:34   So, I think, you know, next time you have, like, a reason to do it, you should try it because renting it was super easy and, you know, they make it easy on you and if you don't want to deal with some of the grosser parts, you kind of don't have to as long as you don't travel for too long.

01:52:45   Traveling for too long is like three days. Three days, Margo had already used all the resources on this mobile planet that he'd rented and he was already like, "Well, this planet's used up because Lord knows I'm not going to, I've used all the water and my gray water tank is full and I pooped all the poop and I'm not going to touch it."

01:53:03   So, it's like, that's how long it took. You go on a week-long trip, it's like, "I'm going to need two RVs. Once I use up this one, I swap to the next RV. I just pay the fee for the person to come retrieve the other one."

01:53:13   one.

01:53:15   [BLANK_AUDIO]