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This Week in Tech 444
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech we've got a really great show. What happened to Flappy Bird? We've got a new CEO at Microsoft, coincidence? I think not, and a goodbye to the Jade Rabbit. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
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Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by Cachefly at cachefly.com. This is TWiT, This Week in Tech. Episode #444 recorded February 9, 2014
Well Played, Mr. Dong
This Week in Tech is brought to you by Shutterstock.com, with over 28 million high-quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and video clips, Shutterstock helps you take your creative projects to the next level. For 25% off your new account, go to shutterstock.com and use the offer code: TWIT214. And by Carbonite. Whether you have one computer at home or several at your small business, Carbonite backs up your files to the cloud automatically and continually. Plus, access your files anytime, anywhere with the free app. Start your free trial at carbonite.com; no credit card required, use the offer code: TWIT, and you'll get two bonus months with purchase. And by Gotomeeting with HD Faces from Citrix. The powerfully simple way to meet with co-workers and clients anywhere. Share the same screen, and see each other face to face with HD video conferencing, even present from an iPad. Start your 30 day free trial of gotomeeting today. Visit gotomeeting.com, click the 'try it free' button and use the promo code: TWIT. And by Stamps.com. Use stamps.com to buy and print real US postage the instant you need it right from your desk. To get this special offer, go to stamps.com, click on the microphone and enter TWIT. It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show that covers your technology news for the week and we've got a great panel joining us from IDG, Editorial Director Jason Snell, editor and chief at MacWorld Magazine, good to see you Jason.
Jason Snell: Great to be back.
Leo: It's rainy around here, you forded the rivers.
Jason: We Californians do not take to rain or other things coming from the sky, it's confusing and people don't know how to drive in it but it's nice. We haven't had any rain in like a year, so it's good to get some.
Leo: Yeah, we've been drying out. Also joining us Mr. Brian Brushwood from Austin Texas, host of NSFW, Scam School, and Hacking the System.
Brian Brushwood: Yeah, man I'm on TV! Look mom, I made it.
Leo: Congratulations, new National Geographic show, which it turns out Brian has been filming for the past four years without telling us. Now when did you start filming it?
Brian: We started shooting over the summer but of course, in television everything moves so slow so it's like we had the idea over a year ago, started pitching it and- Man, the hardest thing about everything is keeping your stupid mouth shut about everything.
Leo: I couldn't do it.
Brian: It's something I'm so excited about and so it was great to finally be able to announce it on NSFW this last week.
Leo: It's on National Geographic, it was on last Thursday. What day-
Brian: No, it's two episodes and will be an hour long special on February 27 on NatGeo, check your local listings.
Leo: I thought they said this Thursday.
Brian: No, it will be a Thursday. Two weeks from now.
Leo: A Thursday okay, and it's called Hacking the System. And it's only two episodes?
Brian: Yeah well, they're running it as a special so I'm just glad that the thing is actually on TV, you know how this business goes. You'll have so many projects that fizzle and don't become what you want.
Leo: Yeah, I do.
Brian: Like this is a show that I love and it was a lot of fun to shoot. I'm so happy it turned out, like, we got to blow up cars and shoot machine guns and break into houses and stuff.
Leo: You're going to hack the car? That's exciting. Well good, I can't wait. Thank you for being here Brian. And we've got a newbie on here, I want to welcome Jessica Lessin. We've talked to Jessica, actually she was on the phone with us before.
Jessica Lessin: I was in that for a while, yeah.
Leo: Yeah, you were on that.
Jessica: It's better to be real.
Leo: But I'm so glad you're here in the studio with us. Jessica is Editor in Chief of The Information, which is a very new tech news site you created behind a pay wall, I should mention. I subscribed immediately, really valuable. Jessica, for many years at The Wallstreet Journal, where we quoted you all the time and we actually still quote you. You've got a great scoop this week. Susan Wojcicki moving from ads to Youtube.
Jessica: Yep, she's taken over the helm from Salar and it's an interesting move because Susan is the one who Google was built in her garage, she's the first female-
Leo: Her mom leased the garage to the boys, and then Larry married her sister-
Leo: Surgay married her sister, and now Susan- Has she been working at Google since that time?
Jessica: She has. She was running all of ad products, so ad sends, ad words, commerce, etc.
Leo: There's not much more important at Google than that.
Jessica: It's very important. It kind of is a well-oiled machine at this point though, so I think this is a new challenge and hopefully bringing that kind of operational experience to Youtube, which has some revenue problems.
Leo: They are getting less and less money per ad, right?
Jessica: Revenue is growing, usage is growing, but they can't get the ad prices up and if they can't charge more and make individual ads more valuable, it's going to be tough to get to the next level and get to more professional content, like TV shows, sports, all that kind of stuff.
Leo: Part of the battle over Youtube is what should Youtube be? It really was a place for viral videos for a long time and I can see Youtube kind of trying to, it feels like, fit a square peg into a round hole, saying no this is where the networks are going to put their content and it doesn't really, those two are not compatible really.
Jessica: They haven't been, and I think the reason it's so complicated is we don't know where this home market is going. There's so many players, and I think everyone just wants to get a piece of it and want to be able to grab more and more content. But Youtube is still in that base of viral clips promotional things- Some shows now, you know, their channel's initiative where... But-
Leo: Wasn't that kind of a flop though?
Jessica: It depends who you ask. I think that there are definitely a lot of channels that said they could not build big businesses just off of it so they are continuing to invest in it, but there are a lot of questions, but you can't ignore them because they've got the traffic, they have the assets in that regard, and-
Leo: Go ahead Brian.
Brian: Well, I was going to say what's been fascinating to me is to see an almost Wikipedia-type of aspect to the whole Youtube phenomena because you're right because Youtube was where you saw cats on surf boards and people getting kicked in the nuts.
Leo: Still do!
Brian: But now,- Sure, sure that's still there. But what's amazing is to think about how many instructional things you go to find Youtube on. Youtube is like a library, it's where we go to learn to perform CPR, to change a carburetor, to learn a magic trick. I mean, it's like this instructional- Think about all of Con Academy is based on what's great about Youtube and the ability for you to tune in and learn how insulin inhibits blood sugar, or whatever in a tight little five minute lecture on there. I would like to think that's what Youtube's legacy is really going to be but I don't know.
Leo: I don't know, I'm looking popular on Youtube worlwide. Pet squirrel hides his nut in the fur of a Bernese dog, can music improve athletic performance, Jay Lenno's heartfelt goodbye, that's NBC that's official. An honest Facebook movie. See, now I want to watch that. Then I got to watch that and I don't want to, so I'll close it. There you go, that's Youtube right there, in a nutshell. I should've watched the squirrel.
Brian: The Youtube ad thing, that whole ability to skip ads and for them to now change ads to try to engage you within those first four seconds, to get you just long enough to hang around and maybe watch the rest because I don't know exactly how those rules work behind the scene, but essentially, they only get paid if they watch the whole thing. However, they're getting paid for a targeted viewer who's obviously engaged enough to sit and on purpose, choose to watch an ad, which you would think would be much more valuable than just throwing it at the wall during the Superbowl and hoping something sticks.
Jessica: They have, they've been innovating with a lot of formats, so now we see the small banner that pops up in the bottom of videos everywhere and Youtube was the first to try that, the bigger question is just can you get the kind of content like sports that have significantly higher CPMs, you know full episodes of television shows. They're doing some of it, I mean, I watched the first episode of Girls this season on HBO, a promotional thing I saw on Youtube.
Leo: You went on Youtube.
Jessica: So, it's so fascinating to watch-
Leo: It will be over HBO's dead body that they put the whole season on their.
Jessica: Right, it's promotional, it's teasing, it's marketing but you wouldn't have seen that a few years ago. So I think it's definitely a place to watch, but-
Leo: Well I think we all watch Youtube a lot. I just think it's hard to, it's got to be hard to monetize because you just don't know what the environment's going to be, you don't know if you're going to be on a squirrel video, or a Leno goodbye video.
Jason: Right. And there's the clips. Youtube is really good for the short clips. And there's that question- Sometimes I go to Youtube to watch a movie trailer, and there's an ad before it and I'm like I'm watching an ad to see an ad?
Leo: An ad for an ad.
Jason: That's a little bit strange. My kids use it for music. It's like the place you go if you want to listen to a song, and they're not even watching the video, even if there is video because what Youtube has done really well is, it's easy to upload things, it's easy to find them, and it's easy to jump to a particular moment in the clip too. Which a lot of multimedia stuff on the web is really hard, like podcasts, you kind of can't discover podcasts. But Youtube videos are really easy to discover.
Leo: You can actually put a key in the link that goes right to the spot. I don't know how many people know that but it's in the share button.
Jason: Yeah, and I did, Brian's point, I changed my car stereo and it came with the typical impossible to decipher instruction manual about how to install it myself. And I searched on Youtube, and there was a dude out in the snow in Minnesota putting it in his car and freezing while he was doing it, and I followed the Youtube video. I got my laptop and put it in the car, so that's how I learned how to do it, not the paper.
Leo: But I think that's Google's problem, because I bet the search you did was a Google search, not a Youtube search.
Leo: And you found a list of instructions in some blog, and what's embedded on the blog, but the Youtube video, he's getting free bandwidth for his video, and I guess they can show an ad there. But I guess that's kind of the problem, isn't it?
Jessica: It's a hard ad to target, too. So in some ways, it isn't. I mean if that part, if there's a manufacturer for the part you're looking into, that could be a very highly valuable ad.
Leo: And does Youtube sell those ads that way, can they say-
Jessica: They can get pretty granular yeah. They can get into the type of content, the type of audience. I mean, that's the Google sort of, engineering brain. So, they're good at that.
Leo: And that's what Susan Wojcicky is very good at, that's what she's been doing.
Jessica: Absolutely, and doing that at scale and then getting all of the partners to agree to that and show that it's actually moving the needle for them-
Brian: And that's the biggest problem is a lot of the advertisers want to buy a certain personality. They're like we want to buy ads just on Jenna Marvels or whatever. And Google does not want that because that leaves their entire long tail unmonetized. They're like well you say you want Ray William Johnson or whatever, but what you really mean is males 18-24 making this kind of stuff, and we'll do that and it'll include this buy over here and that's what advertisers are not responding to. Meanwhile, it does seem like a noble goal for them to try to get to happen because you just wanted to hit that targeted audience but it seems like the people holding the purse strings are not a big fan of this idea, that they can't buy individual personalities or shows.
Leo: Now JC Kalhoun from our chatroom says I'm talking from the advertiser's perspective and I am, because there seems to be a disconnect between what we as users want from Youtube and what advertisers want from Youtube, and it doesn't seem like the users are particularly interested in making a platform that Google can monetize and that's the challenge.
Jessica: The community of Youtube users is very easy to piss off, and Google has done it many times before and they don't want to do it again. And I think, to another point that was brought up, even though it's unbelievable to us, given how mature the web is, but video buyers are still largely TV buyers with the agencies and they're still thinking of buying along those personalities and along shows and with the same kind of metrics as TV and that's the challenge for Youtube and everyone else, for Facebook, for Hulu, to prove no guys, think about it our way, not your way.
Brian: Isn't that the weird part, like inherently, you would think that online advertising whether it's Hulu or Youtube or whatever, you're able to do things that you would never do with traditional television ads. For one, you can make sure that it actually gets seen, you can know specifically who saw it, and in what condition, and whether they skipped stuff ahead. You would think all of that would make online ads a premium that you would pay more than traditional advertising, but instead we see the opposite. We see these bargain basement prices.
Leo: Meanwhile, here's a video on Youtube, NBC aired this video. All visitors to Sochi Olympics immediately hacked. By the way, this will guarantee that the show gets pulled from Youtube right away so I just want to watch this. NBC's international correspondent Richard Angle working with a hacker, a hacker, a security expert from Trend Micro. Basically, go ahead and play the audio
(And as Richard Angle found out, upon his arrival there, it's not a matter of if, but when Richard good evening.)
Leo: So first of all, this whole thing was shot in Moscow, not Sochi, just so you know.
(Good evening, it is not just hacking. The state department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy, even in their hotel rooms-)
Leo: Well we know that because the guy in charge of Sochi said, no they are hacking hotel rooms, we have cameras and we see them turn on the shower in the morning and leave it on all day, which really kind of made me nervous but that's another story.
(...especially exposed as soon as you try to communicate with anything. One of the first things visitors to Russia will do is log on. Hackers here-)
Leo: Well wait a minute, log on to what..? Okay go ahead.
(So we decided to find out how dangerous that can be. With the help of Kyle Wylhoit, a top American security expert)
Leo: So they had three computers, each of which they pulled out of the box without updates, then put them online. Then they went to the websites, the same exact websites you can go to from right here. Has nothing to do with Moscow, we know this because the guy from Trend Micro blogged the details. Now his job, opening the Apple box, ever opened one of those before Richard? It's not like-
Brian: It's like they purposely designed those boxes to be a joy to open. It's like he's got meat hooks for hands. From the producers of To Catch a Predator, To Open an Apple Box.
(The only real detail, my name. So you're putting my profile on these computers. That's exactly right. With our new computers now loaded with potentially attractive data, we headed for a restaurant where we used a new smartphone to browse for information.)
Leo: So, apparently what he did is, they don't show this, they edited it out, he goes into the Android phone, checks the box that says allow 3rd party downloads and of course you immediately get the warning that says it's a very dangerous thing to do, are you sure you want to do that, yes okay. And then, intentionally goes and downloads malware, knowingly.
Leo: Okay, but watch what happens next.
(We were hacked.)
Leo: We were hacked!
(It's actually downloading a piece of malware. Before we even finished our coffee.)
Brian: So how did this blow up in their faces, how did it become clear-
Leo: The guy from Trend Micro who set this up, blogged about it. I just want to be clear what actually happened.
Jessica: Common sense.
Leo: Yeah and he said later, everything we did is exactly what you should not do. It didn't matter that we were at a coffee shop in Moscow, if you do it sitting right here at this table, it's the same websites. They went to a malicious website and ran programs when the websites asked them to- All the things you're not supposed to do. But they edited that out- They made it look like there was no interaction at all. They edited out the part where he downloads and says yes and runs the program.
(One of the largest security companies in the world, is charged with protecting the games)
Brian: So when he made this blog post explaining all of this, this was him trying to clear the air so that he didn't feel dinged on this, right?
Leo: I kind of feel like he realized that in editing, it kind of looked a little different than it actually was. The blog post is behind the NBC Honeypots, it's on the Trend Micro blog, and he says first, these attacks required some kind of user interaction, whether to execute the applications, or open a word document, all of the attacks shown required user interaction, which was edited out. Second, these attacks could happen anywhere. Third, the infections incurred on newly unboxed hardware had basic security precautions such as updating the operating systems. I think they install Java on the McIntosh because it says all three computers had Flash and Java installed.
Jason: Mac doesn't get shipped with Flash or Java.
Leo: That means they actively installed malware vectors on the Mac. It's a completely typical bogous story from NBC and no one has called them on this except for the blog post.
Jessica: I think there were maybe some other blog posts that maybe provoked that one too. I think the security researchers are on it.
Leo: People were upset. Alright, so I just thought I'd give them a little plug.
Jason: You've got to wonder what the thought process is, NBC has the Olympics, there are so many controversies about the Olympics anyways, that there's no end to what the can cover, controversially, if they want to. And instead, they do this weird simplified story about computer hacking in Russia?
Leo: If I were John C. Dvorak and this were the No Agenda show, I would say there was an agenda in Russia, to make the Russians look horrible. The Sochi problems Twitter account the pictures, many of which it turns out had been faked or misinterpreted about problems in the hotels and so forth, it almost feels like there's a concerted campaign, is it just me that feels that?
Jessica: I think it's people who are jealous that they're not at the Olympics, this is what I think it is. I think that you're having fun if you're over there, and if you're not you're like aw, Sochi problems. Wouldn't want to be there.
Brian: You know we see this kind of thing whenever there's a mold that we feel like stuff should fit in, and there's any kind of evidence that seems to exactly fit in what we expect, you know we all have preconceived notions that everything's corrupt and that this is going to be the most corrupt Olympics ever, word about terrorism and threats and putin's putting on a dog and pony show to cover up XYZ and we hear all of that and as a result when we get a photo, whether it's doctored or not, it's hard not to jump on it and pass it around. So I don't know that it's a concerted campaign, I think that there are just preconceived notions we're hearing that when we see something that matches it, it short-circuits our critical thinking skills and instead we just immediately ford it. Because to be honest this news story exactly fits what I imagine Russia is — Russia is nothing but drunk people pirating at all times and hacking at all times.
Leo: “You can’t go across the border into Russia without getting hacked” was the message of that piece and it was completely BS. And I understand, mainstream news does this because its linkbait — their version of linkbait.
Jason: The original story was really fair and then it was hacked — that’s what they don’t want you to know.
Leo: That’s it. I don’t understand why there would be this concerted anti-Russian campaign, but there seems to be. Not that Putin is encouraging it by riding around topless on a horse, but not that I would do anything like that. We’re going to take a break and come back in just a moment. Our show today brought to you by Shutterstock.com. By the way great panel we got Jason Snell from IDG, Jessica Lessin from The Information, which everyone must subscribe to — I do, love it — just added a managing editor, a new programmer — he’s going to write software for you?
Jessica: Yeah he’s working on some new features already.
Leo: Isn’t it interesting — we’re in the same boat, where we’re really a media startup, but in this day and age you’re a technology startup, whether you like it or not.
Leo: Because you have to solve all these issues — all these technology issues — before you can get to your viewers or readers. Brian Brushwood, host of a brand new show on National Geographic debuting February 27th — Hacking The System.
Brian: Yeah. Stealing your stuff. Blowing up your cars. And cheatin’ your salesman.
Brian: Yeah we did a segment talking about the psychological hacks that used car salesmen use.
Leo: It’s only fair because they always do that “Oh I got to talk to the manager about this. I don’t know if we can give you this deal.”
Brian: Yep that’s exactly — we talk about the appeal to authority, we talk about how you can use the exact same trick on them by saying “well, it’s really not up to me; it’s up to the wife”.
Leo: “I’m sorry I can’t give you a decision today — I have to talk to the manager, my wife.” Our show brought to you by Shutterstock.com — they have the perfect image or video for your next creative project. We use Shutterstock. So many blogs use Shutterstock because an image makes such a difference in a blog post, whether it’s for your website or it’s a publication, maybe you’re doing advertising, a video. 28 million, actually there’s probably more — I’d like to visit Shutterstock because the number goes up all the time. Last count, 28 million high-quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors and video clips. No it’s more — it’s now 33,503,207 ladies and gentlemen. 273,000 new images this week. Don’t forget when you go to Shutterstock.com — you don’t have to be a member, although I’ll tell you why you might want to make an account, it’s free to do so — but try this search engine because it’s not just nouns. You remember with a site like this, you’d be searching for, I don’t know, “Olympic rings”. But you can also search for “happy Olympic rings” or “green olympic rings” — the search engine is incredible.
Jason: I’m typing in here, just to see if it works, I’m writing “Olympic rings on fire”.
Leo: I bet you could! Look at that! Boom!
Jason: You got fire and you got olympic rings on fire. Of course, the Olympic Torch.
Leo: So here’s the deal. If you create an account — and it’s free to do so, you don’t have to give them any credit card or anything — you can then save these into a lightbox, you can share them with other people, you can use them as inspiration. I have to say, sometimes just having an image gives me inspiration for a blog post or an idea for a story — just the image kind of gets you thinking along the lines you’d like to be. So do create that free account. If you decide you want to buy, there are all sorts of ways to do it. There’s image packages — we have the 25 image per day subscription that’s a great one. You can download any image of any size. Pay only one price. Royalty free, so you can use them in a variety of ways. Multilingual customer support — they’re in more than a dozen countries. And of course full-time customer support throughout the week. Try Shutterstock today. You don’t need a credit card to start the account, but once you decide to buy, do use our offer code: TWIT214 — you get 25% off any package, that’s a really good deal on the subscriptions. Shutterstock.com for 25% off new accounts, TWIT214, of course it’s February 2014 that’s where it comes from so you can remember it easily. Shutterstock.com. Flappy Bird!
Jason: Flappy Bird. A moment of silence for Flappy Bird.
Leo: A moment of silence for Flappy Bird. It is no more.
Brian: I tell you what man, I felt kind of bad, like I was late to the Flappy Bird—
Leo: No, no, no you weren’t. No one was late. It started a week ago. You can’t be late.
Brian: Well, I finally signed up. I played exactly three games and I screw this and then uninstalled it and I was going to make a lot of hay crapping on the game, but then apparently you got to remember that it was a real developer who really wasn’t trying to break your mind with amazing art, he just wanted to make a dumb game with a flapping bird.
Leo: And his real name is Dong. Dong Nguyen is a Vietnamese developer — independent. Now, here’s the interesting story. There’s more to this Flappy Bird story. I want The Information to dig deep into this.
Jessica: OK. What questions do you have?
Leo: Here’s the deal. I didn’t know this. The game came out in May. Nothing for 6 months.
Jessica: There’s too many other games, I mean you’ve got to be the game of the moment, right? You’ve got Candy Crush...
Leo: Right. So how do you get discovered if you are a game that looks like Mario Brothers, has literally no gameplay — all you do is flap and if you’re lucky, get through these things, which apparently some people can, to the degree of hundreds. I’m lucky to get through one.
Jason: Cheto in the chat showed me a screenshot of him having a score of a 111, which I can’t even wrap my mind around.
Leo: I’ve got two. My best is 5.
Jason: My best is 5, yeah.
Leo: So, nobody in here knows anything about this game except — and this is kind of interesting — all of a sudden — and somebody did the plot of this, what was the link for that Jones? You got to find that. Somebody started plotting reviews in the app store. All of a sudden, they started to come in hot about December. And the presumption is that Mr. Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, was buying reviews to jumpstart this. And in fact, more than that, because he had several games and they all started getting more reviews at the same time. They all started to spike up. Let’s see, this is Zach Will’s blog — he did a scrape of all the reviews. We’ve all read the Verge’s story that Dong is making $50,000 per day on the ads. But here’s the spike, and this is what’s very interesting, nothing, no reviews — sometime “in late December and early January”, he says, “I’m guessing Dong Nguyen probably used some service to download/rate Flappy Bird on the App Store” to generate buzz. “It worked. Flappy Bird started getting over 20 reviews a day”. And “on January 9th, Flappy Bird hit the milestone of 90 reviews.” On the 12th, it doubled. The 17th it doubled again. Suddenly it starts to take off and I presume at this point, it goes viral. And it’s real reviews. But if you read the reviews, and he does put some of them on here, you can see that there’s a certain amount of similarity in the early reviews — they all have this kind of morbid “I’m going to kill myself. This game is killing me. I want to kill this guy. The apocalypse. The death of me. My life is over. Don’t do it, don’t you do it. My life is expiring, running out of control. I’m going to kill myself.” These are all the first reviews coming in — they all sound fake. It’s really interesting to watch this. So it does take off. It does go viral. And I know it went viral. It went viral around here. One person downloaded and all of a sudden, everybody’s playing it. I don’t understand why. I was talking to one of our interns here, Eli, who goes to a local high school, how long did it take before everyone was playing it? 3 days. Every student playing it. I don’t know why, there’s something compelling about it.
Brian: That’s a testament to what Robert Cialdini calls a fixed action pattern, where it’s like we help—
Leo: Wait a minute. You’re not making this up because the abbreviation for “fixed action pattern” is FAP.
Brian: No, that’s why when I do my talk about social engineering I make sure to abbreviate it as “FAP”. But yes, that is what it’s called. It’s a mental shortcut. For example, one of the classic ones was Harvard did a study to see if you could cut in front of lines, so they found a bunch of people waiting for a Xerox machine, and they had somebody go and ask different variations of the question “Can I cut in line to do my stuff faster?” And they figured out that the magic word was “because” — as long you used the word “because” it’s like they shortcutted their brain and they’re like “Well, she’s got some reason so fine, go.” And even if it was a nonsense way to phrase it like “Hey, can I jump in front of the line because I need to make some copies and I’m in a rush,” like that’s not an excuse, that’s not a reason and they’re like “Oh, you said the word ‘because’ go ahead,” likewise, that’s that social proof is the reason that Yelp, of course, was so popular and, to be honest, it’s the reason that our joke experiment, The Diamond Club book, was such a success because so many people bought it all at once, they all left fake reviews saying it was the best thing since 50 Shades of Grey, and of course it was a hillarious, fake, erotic fiction book, and--
Leo: You’re the king of gaming the system. You know how all this stuff works.
Brian: Well, yeah, and there’s some part of me that, you know, we all sneer and turn our nose up at the idea of buying reviews, but I mean how far off is it from me releasing a project and saying “Let’s all buy it at the same time and everybody like, comment and subscribe at the same time.” And gaming the system, I guess the only benefit when we do it with NSFW is that we’re transparent about it and we make it clear that this is a game that we’re playing, whereas it does feel smarvy underheaded if it’s a paid-for service.
Jessica: And Apple has been really trying to crack down on that, and I don’t know, it’s some secret system of how they do it, but bots that download apps and they’re pretty much policing those, and so I’m sure that they have checks looking for spikes in reviews and suspicious reviews, and also monitor that closely. So if they did go ahead and do that, which seems very plausible, they would have had a lot of systems to circumvent and I bet a lot of things get caught and maybe this one didn’t.
Leo: What’s weird is that nobody denies the effect that it became viral, I mean legitimately viral, right? I mean, it did take off.
Jessica: One of the things that the App Store charts are based on is velocity of downloads, and so it’s not even how many you have, it’s how fast.
Leo: So the hockey sticking, it was number one in 12 countries. The guy’s making a ton of money, then yesterday he tweets “I’m sorry Flappy Bird users. 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore.” And then he says “It’s not related to legal issues, I just cannot keep it anymore.” Then he says “I also don’t sell Flappy Bird, don’t ask. And I still make games.” And that’s the last we’ve heard of him. Huge response on Twitter, by the way, if you search, his Twitter handle is “Dongatory”. If you search for “Dongatory” and “F U”, unbelievable vitriol on this guy.
Brian: Do you think it is the case that he just couldn’t handle — it’s such an intentionally agonizingly difficult game, like that’s the one redeeming quality about it, is that it’s genuinely hard and it’s hard for everyone and it is frustrating, but weirdly addictive. Do you think he just hated the personal hate that he was getting from everyone?
Leo: I’m telling you, I don’t want to show this on screen because it’s so profane, but if you care to do the search...
Jason: This is it. This is the firehose of the Internet being turned on somebody who didn’t really expect it. I think he was hoping he would make some money from his game and success breathes success until you’re all the way at the top. But then he got the criticism that it was like this other game and that he was just a hack who took stuff of a shelf and all that, and he became the focus of something and I think this guy was not interested — he was very happy playing at the edges of this culture and make a little money on the side on a little game with some ads.
Leo: $50,000 a day in Vietnam
Jessica: I think it sounds suspicious. You don’t just say “Sorry, guys.” It’s not like this is that hard to maintain. You could keep it up there and keep your mouth shut. There’s something else going on. You don’t just turn down that.
Leo: It was on Android and iOS, he removed it from both. I can see Apple might have said “Hey Dong, you got to do something about this,” but I don’t know if Google did too maybe?
Jessica: I bet there’s just something that spooked him. Whether it’s from the companies or from sort of threat or something, and so he’s withdrawing.
Leo: He got more hate than Woody Allen last week, I mean this guy, for pulling a game, I mean just horrible...
Jessica: Now somebody is going to make Flappy Bird Two or change the name so that it’s...
Leo: Oh there’s already 800 Flappy Bird clones, I mean you just go there. There’s Crappy Bird, Farty Bird.
Jessica: There you go.
Leo: You’ve got one on the Pebble Watch.
Jason: I’ve got the Pebble, it’s Tiny Bird.
Leo: I mean, you can’t copyright “Flappy Bird.” So Robert Scoble’s theory is it’s great marketing, in 6 months, “From the creator of Flappy Bird”...
Jessica: Well, his last tweet is “I still make games.” This feels like a Justin Bieber retiring kind of moment. I think this guy knows what he’s doing, if we assume that he primed the reviews and has been speaking to people on Twitter, etc., this is not the last.
Leo: So we say “Well played, Mr. Dong, well played.” And Ashley has a response: “What?! No more Flappy Bird?!” Don’t you think everybody now wants Flappy Bird because we can’t get it anymore? That really increase the value of Flappy Bird?
Jason: There is an interesting angle here about what happens to all of this stuff that we use, all these apps and all, when they go off the App Store and we have so many retro games on emulators and things from the past and then this App Store era where we’ve got all this DRMed stuff on our phones and all that, Flappy Bird gets pulled, I mean if you delete it, you can’t get it back, and in 10 years somebody is going to write about what Flappy Bird meant and it’s going to be gone. And it does make you wonder. This stuff all seems a lot less permanent than software you used to see back in the day because it’s pulled off the store and it’s gone — you can’t have a backup somewhere that you reload.
Leo: And the other thing is that there is so much money in it. All of these — Fly Bird, Flappy Bee, Flappy Penguin, I saw on Android, Farty Bird. It’s exactly the same game, but you fart.
Jessica: It’s interesting that’s not on iOS.
Leo: Yeah I know. They used to have a corner of the market on fart programs, but that’s just a sign that Android is an up and coming operating system.
Jessica: Or the App Store wouldn’t allow it.
Brian: I’ll tell you this much, and actually this is a legit, speaking from the heart moment, I’m kind of ticked that this is the dominating story on apps because there’s a little game that came out this week that I love — Threes — by Asher Vollmer. The guy who did Puzzlejuice, just released a new one and I love it — Threes, check it out.
Leo: Is it iPhone? iPad? Is it Servo LLC?
Brian: Is it pink and white and blue?
Leo: Yeah. $1.99? Alright. I’m going to buy it then.
Brian: Great game. Fantastic game.
Leo: What is it
Jason: It’s a number game.
Brian: Yeah, but there’s no real map. Basically you have ones and twos that you have to move position to make into a three. And then after that, you’re looking to take two identical numbers and mash them together to get bigger numbers. But it’s very zen and what I like about it is there are games that only use symbols and logic and so you’re able to do things like listen to an audiobook and that part of your brain is not competing with the part of your brain that’s moving your hands. The moment I’m happiest is when I’m at the gym, working out on the elliptical or whatever and I’m playing a game that I’m manipulating symbols while listening to an audiobook that requires the language parts of my brain to be engaged.
Leo: You play Threes while listening to an audio book?
Jason: You can. You’re matching patterns and sliding things around. It’s got a really nice, actually, bunch of audio. It’s got some voices for the different pieces on the board and some music that plays in the background. Very smart game. Really nice game.
Brian: You can tell, especially since he did Puzzlejuice, you really see the way he’s developed. Like for example here, this tutorial, you’re going to be playing the game right now where it is. You’re just moving stuff around — go until you hit a wall, and then they’ll line up and then you can mash them together. Now you’ve made a three.
Leo: Ah. I’ve learned. And that was “auspicious.”
Brian: And it’s got the right kind of blend of there’s random reinforcement, you’re sort of hoping to get the right kind of numbers at the right time. But you’ll catch a run and everything will go crazy — you can’t believe you’re getting all these points and other times you die almost instantly.
Jason: Yeah there’s a Tetris-like aspect to it where what comes through in the stack onto the board will have an impact on whether you can make it or not, that I really like.
Leo: That is good. Alright I really like it.
Jason: What I like is that the numbers that come in are both your enemy in that you want to destroy them to free up space, but they’re also your ammunition.
Leo: Just like Tetris. 2 will only add with 1? Now how will I know that?
Jason: Because it’s Threes.
Jessica: I just saw this for the first time.
Leo: You’re a ringer, aren’t you?
Brian: You guys already got it.
Jessica: So how long do you guys think you’ll be playing? Brian, how long do you think Three will capture your imagination? That’s what always amazes me about these games.
Brian: What I like about is that it reminds me of Drop7, which was a game that I played for easily 7 years, or I guess 6 years since it came out. And it’s just one of those things where I just become obsessed with it and it’s something that I can do that doesn’t require the language part of the brain.
Leo: Everybody in our audience is now downloading Threes, I can’t believe it. By the way, this is another thing that is — and I’m sure you’ve observed this, Brian — these rewards, even if it’s not coins coming from a slot machine, these little rewards are what keep you going and timing them in the game is so important.
Jessica: Is this a social game? Can you play against people?
Brian: It’s the first time I ever cared about game center because I could compare my game score to like my old assistant John Tilton who lives on the other side of the country now. But I won’t call him now until my score is higher than his. So then I can be all like, hey what’s up?
Leo: I’m sorry, I’m busy playing Threes.
Jason: The high score element is where the social interaction –
Leo: But your own high score too right? You’re trying to beat yourself I guess.
Jason: Yes and actually it does very good at that. It keeps a record of all the games you’ve played sorted by highest score. So you can look back easily, every time you finish a game you can see where your current game ranked versus your very best game that you’ve played, which is really smart.
Brian: What is cool too is that you know what your goal is and of course you want to stay alive but say in this case you’re out of moves and that is the danger you get; that as you do better you hit this point where very quickly you start to realize you’re in trouble and you shift the way you play from being all about getting the points to that you’re all about clearing out space so that you can stay alive.
Leo: Good news! We have a replacement for flappy birds– It’s just that easy.
Jason: Threes will get knocked off just like Letterpress got knocked off.
Jessica: I still play letterpress.
Jason: I think Threes is going to be like that it’s beautiful and it’s got some classic –
Leo: It does seem to be that hockey stick, up and down – I’m thinking of OMG Pops draw something which was very viral but also died very quickly as well.
Brian: Talk about the sale of the decade, it was amazing.
Leo: To Zinga right? For hundreds of millions right?
Brian: Yes it was ridiculous; let me see if I can find the actual figures here.
Leo: So this is kind of running against the trend because Threes doesn’t have in app purchases right?
Jason: It’s $2.
Leo: Just 2 dollars?
Brian: OMG Pops sold for 210 million based on the success of that one game “Draw Something”.
Leo: And less than a year later the entire studio closed.
Jason: See that’s what the creator of Flappy Birds is missing out on. Just wait another week and somebody will buy you for 2 million.
Jessica: That’s why there is fishiness.
Leo: There is fishiness, see she’s got a nose for news.
Brian: Here’s the thing, I don’t care how many hate tweets that you’re getting. 50 Thousand dollars a day is remarkable. You shut up and deal with it and unless you are hiding something, unless you’re worried that all this attention is going to cause a problem for you.
Jason: That is quite possible but I want to leave a little bit of space open for the fact that this is a young software developer who was taken aback by the attention and is really sensitive and maybe couldn’t deal with it emotionally. I’ve known some software developers who shut down their companies and walked away because they couldn’t deal with the customers or they had something else going on in their lives and this exacerbated it to the point they felt it was wreaking their lives and they walked away. That could be the case; it is also possible that something is happening that we don’t know about. His tweets seemed pretty distressed to me. There is a cultural difference there, a language difference…
Leo: We may be filtering it through our own predisposition of making as much money as you possibly can. If he was making 50 thousand dollars a day for a month he’s got a million and a half in the bank, he may never have to work again. He may just have said this is fine, see you!
Brian: When you’re that young and you have a hit you have a tendency to believe that Oh well then I can just make hits whenever I feel like it. I can see making that kind of rash decision.
Leo: And yes there’s more to it because he had 3 games, he promoted them all the same way and 1 went viral, and then he disappeared. I think it’s a fascinating story and I look forward to it.
Jessica: To be continued.
Leo: To be continued for sure. Flappy Birds 2 – will be out in a couple of months. I buried the lead. We have a new CEO at Microsoft.
Jason: That comes right after Flappy Birds.
Jessica: Priorities here.
Leo: I started with Flappy Birds – ok we’re going to get to that in a second. I’m looking down the run down, Oh yeah Satya Nadella – already we’re bored with him and he’s only been in power for 4 days. Poor guy!
Brian: If he made Flappy Birds then I don’t care.
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Leo: That’s what happened in the studio, all of our phones went off all of a sudden. In any event – The flash floods…
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Jessica: They made a tough choice though and I think what it came down to is; this is a tough job running Microsoft right now, it’s really more than 1 job. I think that the most interesting thing about the announcement was the turn that Bill Gates is a technical advisor. He’s spending a third of his time now back in Microsoft and we don’t know what that will be and I’m sure for a while that we’ll down play it but he changed his position on the board so that he could officially step in and spend a third of his time and I think that’s a recognition that Microsoft is somewhat ungovernable.
Leo: Your old newspaper the Journal said that over and over again. They said that nobody wants this job because A: it’s too tough and B: nobody wants to work for a board run by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Nadella also got a seat so all 3 CEOs on the board. John Thompson takes the chair position which makes a lot of sense – former IBM executive, he led the search. The rest of the board really are non-entities. They almost feel like rubber stamp board members frankly. The journal said over and over again, nobody wants this job because they don’t want to have these guys breathing down their necks.
Jessica: Right, we don’t really know. We know that Alan Malally sort of took himself out in some ways according to himself. It’s very hard to get a handle on how many actually candidates there were. I’ve seen 100.
Leo: The Erickson guy took his name out, they said 100.
Jessica: They said 100 and I’m sure there was a lot of outreach but at the end of the day it was fairly obvious it was going to be Satya, in part because you’ve got to have someone who understands Microsoft in its current form.
Leo: My money was on him all along but they did have this perception that there is no vision that it’s just going to be a vanilla choice. I think moving Bill Gates is a quote visionary role probably in response to that. It also solves 1 problem because if Bill is not the chairman of the board maybe he’s not so overpowering.
Jason: That was my question is this getting Bill Gates more involved or is it getting him to not be chairman so that if Nadella needs to make some tough decisions about going in a different direction from Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer – is he going to be able to do that or is he going to be over shoulder.
Jessica: It doesn’t matter what chair he’s setting in in the board room, he’s still in the board room and now he’s at the company more often and I think that if you read the anonymous quotes being bandied around from insiders it’s all about what is that relationship going to be like, is he going to have an office? What’s interesting now is to see what the strategy is going forward, if they decide to sell off some stuff which has been talked about. If the sort of Ballmer – Nokia mobility push is going to be the driving vision in the same way. What that deal is going to look like. It’ll be interesting. I think that everyone in tech wants to see some sort of decisive action moving in different ways, not just the same old, same old, but you know the company is making money and doing fairly well – same old, same old might be sort of what we see too.
Leo: What consumers want is very different, what the stock market wants is very different from Microsoft employees and executives want. There are a lot of constituencies here to deal with.
Brian: I just want to know if this is going to be the return of Bill Gates as the devil talk because you remember late 90s everyone knew that Bill Gates is the devil and then he spent a decade curing malaria and people are like I guess he’s all right now. Now that he’s back.
Leo: And we had this conversation on Windows Weekly of course on Wednesday with Paul Thurott and Mary Jo Foley and one of the points they brought up was Bill hasn’t really been involved in Microsoft for quite some time. He spent all his energy on saving the world and what is Bill going to say? “I don’t think the ribbon on the toolbar is quite right, you want to move that a little to the left?” Or is he going to say, you know maybe tablets aren’t the thing. It’s going to be much higher level advice.
Brian: It’s not like he’s getting hands on with the code or making…
Leo: My suspicion for what Gates is going to be doing is he’s there to back up Satya. It’s really weird to have a board with all 3 CEOs on the board. In his inaugural address Satya said software again and again. He said Microsoft’s new tag line is devices and services, we’re a devices and services company but he said again and again, it’s the software that runs on the devices and services that really matter. So what I think Bill’s job is to just go yeah, yeah Satya is right. He’s there so Satya can go to the board and have a guy in his corner.
Jessica: That’s very feasible to me. You’ve got to wonder – I mean the CEO of Microsoft should not need back up.
Leo: This is an unusual position though.
Jessica: It is an unusual position and I think it could work quite well. I was sort of chuckling, Microsoft did the dog and pony show of PR for this so on the web there is “who is Satya Nadella and there is a video of him walking down the hall with the interviews. So it’s a huge company and a huge role but I did chuckle at the sort of branding campaign around it. I’m really watching to see if there are any deals done.
Jason: If Satya Nadella thinks that Microsoft is never going to have a market share presence for a Windows phone and for tablets that are running Windows as a tablet, does he have the ability to say guys we need to focus on the Cloud. We’re doing great with the Cloud. We’ve still got the basic Windows business, that’s a great business, they can talk about xbox.
Leo: That’s where Nadella comes from by the way is Asher Enterprise.
Jason: Right, which are doing great. I’m not sure anyone at Microsoft wants to turn Microsoft into IBM but that’s my question – Does he have the latitude to say hey guys this phone stuff and the tablet stuff is going to be iOS and Android, it’s not going to be us so let’s focus on being the back end service for all those apps and not worry about this – or is there just too much pride invested in that.
Jessica: I think it’s hard to get out of the mobile phone business right now. It is hard to just give that up and they’ve tried and tried and are trying again and there is not a ton of movement, but I think it’s hard to give that up and Asher – they are not the back end for the mobile phone business. They are the back end for the legacy PC and so I think it’s hard to see them giving that up but xbox – what do you do with that and does that belong somewhere else? What do you do with some of these hardware projects like Surface and this other stuff? I don’t see how Microsoft can be relevant without pushing forward in mobile but I think that was the Ballmer strategy and it’s too early to say but I think that xbox is one to watch and this has been floated out there – people wondering if you could get rid of that and focus things a bit and what to do with excel business.
Leo: The stock market is indifferent to the whole thing. This is one thing that has been a conundrum for so long. Microsoft makes a lot of money and the stock has been flat for a decade.
Jason: They like growth right and Microsoft is throwing it’s profit. It’s the same thing with Apple stock right now. It’s like oh these are really boring companies because they’re not growing as fast as they used to. They’re ridiculously profitable so it’s a great business for them to be in but if you’re an investor you want growth. It’s just a different kind of company.
Brian: The problem is one of the things that makes the stock market an efficient market is that it factors in excitement about the company as an actual commodity and once that factors in then yeah it makes sense that everything would be – because you’re not just buying it with the intention of sitting there collecting dividends all the time; you’re buying it with the expectations that the stock its self will grow over time.
Leo: What do you do if you’re Satya Nadella, you can’t kill phone because you just bought Nokia.
Jessica: I think you have to buy some other big stuff. I think we’re going to see some really big deals in the text base coming up. Because you’ve got a ton of cash and you’ve got evaluation pretty high which is good if you’re an acquiring company and you can agree on the evaluation. Google is on a rampage which we’ve written a bit about but I mean – you could buy eBay. That’s what I would do if I were Microsoft, I would buy eBay. I don’t think you can or at least the paypal part of it maybe but those are the kinds of moves and I know it’s easy to stay sitting back without being in the thick of things. We’re going to see a lot of – we’re at this level of stagnant growth on a lot of things and Apple and elsewhere and what is going to move the needle is going to be getting different skill sets and different products into these organizations and leveraging.
Leo: Apple has 137 billion dollars cash in the bank. Look at that, Microsoft is number 2, 68 billion in the bank. Google 48 billion, Cisco 45 and Oracle 34. That’s a lot of money just sitting there. Apple historically has been very reluctant to spend the money, partly because it’s off shore. – Tax consequences.
Jason: This week Tim Cook has said not only that Apple has bought a really surprisingly large number of businesses in the last year – we don’t even hear about all of them – and then he said you never know we might need to drop 100 billion on something sometime.
Jessica: That’s what he always says when Carl Icahn and others are weighing – and I also think Apple is really striving to not appear boring right now so at every twist and turn they remind us they have new products coming and they’re not opposed to doing big deals.
Leo: Icahn has been saying give us the money, pay a big debit.
Jessica: But they have and it was one of the first things that Tim Cook did on his watch that Steve had always resisted.
Leo: Icahn wants more.
Jason: It’s hard to imagine Apple integrating a company that large into their culture anyway.
Leo: Tim Cook is just saying No Carl, got to save it for a rainy day.
Jessica: I think they do look constantly and I would imagine that they’ve looked at all sorts of crazy things that we’d be shocked at but I think it’s very different from looking and pulling the trigger. I’m bracing myself for some mega deal making.
Jason: I do think that Microsoft, and not just for our benefit because it would be fun to talk about but I do think that Microsoft needs to focus and needs to change some of it’s business. It is trying to be so many different thing and sometimes at a dis-service to its products. I think Windows phone is a better product and it has been treated by them I think right down to the name – there’s everything Windows everywhere – maybe was a liability for that product.
Brian: Wasn’t that one of Microsoft’s greatest sins of all time? Insisting on putting their name on everything? From a branding prospective you want a name to mean something and Microsoft can’t mean high end enterprise solution and also as video game console. Yet they insist on putting it on there.
Leo: Xbox seems like such a great wedge for Microsoft in the livingroom.
Jason: But if they were naming the product today they would call it Windows Game.
Leo: This would be a mistake obviously.
Brian: I don’t understand why can’t they just own – why does xbox have to be branded underneath the Microsoft mega logo. Why can’t xbox be their own company?
Leo: Do you think it hurts xbox because it is…
Brian: I think it hurts Microsoft’s brand. I think it hurts both of them. I don’t like Microsoft in my game console and I don’t want game console in my Microsoft. Microsoft means enterprise solutions and they should have embraced that.
Leo: I think that is one thing that is true that Microsoft doesn’t want to go the IBM route and become the enterprise solutions. Services company. The device is equal to services in Microsoft’s new way of looking at things. That’s why they do Surface, which is the first ever computer made my Microsoft. They do Tablets. And they do Xbox. Those are the devices. And phones. I mean that’s a third of their device portfolio. I didn’t realize this but Apple in the last couple of weeks did repurchase 14 billion dollars in shares. They did spend some of that cash. Because of their poor stock showing after showing an incredible record profit. Okay, it’s all confusing to me. Tim Cook spoke to the Wall Street Journal and boy I tell you Apple is really good at getting the press because he said, among other things, “We have some very exciting new categories”, and the world goes crazy!
Jason: Alert! Apple has new products coming in the future. Shocking!
Leo: He says, “There will be new categories. We’re not ready to talk about it yet.” Hasn’t he said this every year?
Jason: I think he said this last spring. He’s been saying this for a while now.
Leo: Some really great stuff. He said, “Anyone reasonable would consider what Apple’s working on”. Now I want to tell you on Secret that I saw that Apple is working on a living room device with a transparent remote.
Jessica: On Secret? Well then it must be true. The number of journalist’s wasting time chasing rumors on Secret. I was actually going to put a few fake ones out there to ruin the competition. But I didn’t! First of all, we know Apple has been working on the Living Room device and television device. But I do think the Watch is getting close.
Leo: The drum beat seems to be mounting. By the way, there is none better than Jessica Lessin for covering Apple. Historically, the Wall Street Journal always has the best scoops. And you too, Jason. I’m not slamming you.
Jason: I’m not in the scoop news business.
Leo: But Jessica is. So between the two of you, what have you heard about the iWatch? We’re seeing now stories coming out about the strides apple has made in health, fitness and fashion in the last year. It really feels like maybe that’s what Tim’s talking about. It feels like it is coming to a head. This year?
Jessica: I think so. Actually the reporter who has been way ahead on the Watch is Mark Gurmin and we should give him credit for that. And so what he, and others, (the New York Times has also been very good on this), are saying is to expect those devices here and expect it to be very fitness heavy and not just “how many steps did I take” but different oxygen readings. I think trying to really move the needle on some of that stuff. Now it’s not clear how much of that would be in version one versus sort of a future road map but I think it’s very safe to expect something this year with a very heavy health and fitness focus.
Leo: Look at that list. Kevin Lynch. He doesn’t count because he was Adobe. Let’s take him off the list. Sorry. Jay Blahnik though is huge. A very well known fitness guru. Was it Nike he worked on the FuelBand there? Ron Raymann from Phillips.
Jessica: He was on the board at Nike, which you have to remember too.
Leo: Blahnik is?
Jessica: No, Cook has; he’s on the Nike board. He’s been in a lot of FuelBand discussions too.
Leo: He wears one.
Jessica: He does wear one.
Jason: I think that sets the context for that device too. The FuelBand is what they are thinking of - not the Pebble. Not the Galaxy Gear.
Leo: Wouldn’t Tim Cook have to leave the board of Nike if they release something?
Jessica: That’s a good question. I think we’ll find out later when all these reporters ask. He will tell us he’s refused himself for meetings the last six months or something like that.
Jason: Or it will have Nike fuel technology in it or something.
Leo: Well that’s a possibility too. Roy Ramann, who was a scientist from Phillips who was an expert in non-pharmaceutical methods for improving sleep quality. Including miniature sensors. Paul Deneve, former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent - a little fashion in there. Angela Ahrendts who is the CEO of Burberry who came in to run Apple retail. That was a very interesting move. A step down, it looked like for her. She’s been a CEO…
Jason: Yeah, it’s a different move.
Jessica: It’s less about the watch too. Although Burberry has made a huge push in the watches too.
Leo: She led the change from Burberry being kind of a stuffy old English brand to being a little hipper.
Jessica: She also reined in all the licensing deals that they had done. So she is a very, you know, sort of…
Brian: That was the problem with Burberry was that they were licensing it to everything and they were becoming associated with everything…
Leo: I think That is a Burberry pattern on your Brian Brushwood logo.
Brian: It might be!
Jessica: She was the reaction to that licensing strategy.
Jason: I don’t think she is with Apple yet thought. There is a transition period. This spring she is coming out.
Leo: But get ready for plaid! Everywhere! Ben Schaffer, Director of Nike Innovation Kitchen. Ueyn Block, Director of Engineering at C8 MediSensor. They are the ones that… I think you swallow a non-invasive way to measure glucose levels and other vital signs.
Jason: No that’s a camera that looks inside your skin with a special light and finds your blood glucose.
Leo: That’s Vital Connect, I guess.
Jessica: One thing I’ve wondered. This all sorts so wonky too. I mean I think the thing to remember is that Apple stays on the sidelines of the space until it has something that can be mass marketed, right? I’m happy to use all this stuff but I don’t think that the vast, you know. This is not a mass market. No one is going to be tracking stuff like that. So I think it is interesting because the device is obviously going to have to do a lot more than this kind of stuff. And I also really wonder if we’re yet at the point when this is sort of the direction of the selling points to go mass market. And you know, the iPhone when it first came out, wasn’t mass market. But the reason we’ve seen all those other devices from Samsung, Pebble, Nike and Jawbone and not from Apple is because I think they’ve been waiting to do something that feels very different.
Jason: Something that 50 million people will buy and not 1 million.
Leo: They can’t do another 50 million.
Jason: That’s exactly right although Apple always is about hardware and software working together and I think about these sensors and you are absolutely right. This quantified self-movement is just a tiny fraction. But if you can take an app and take that coprocessor that they’ve got on the new iPhone and iPad models, and you can take all this data and then the software does something interesting with it. Whether it is some way to tell you it’s time to wake up in the morning, whether it is something about your diet or about your exercise. If they can crack that it could be really interesting. And that would be something that a regular person might want.
Brian: That is exactly the kind of thing that I can see Apple having the ambition to do. Because they are in a great position. They are sitting on a mountain of cash. If I’m Apple, I’m not thinking in terms of what is a gizmo that people know that they want, I’m thinking in terms of how can we transform the social reality of everyone around us. How do we create a movement of this.. how do we take this nascent, as you said self-quantification, and turn it into something that everybody does, that everybody knows that there is a plan that will get you more hours of sleep, or take care of you for X, Y, or Z. This ability to essentially hack your own operating system by virtue of being able to monitor everything all the time. I think is something they can sell. And it’s smart for them to be quiet about it.
Leo: Brian, this is good for your magic act! Blue tooth’s connected smart pills. You swallow it and can have it pass from one eye to another.
Brian: Yeah! I love it. So what would the smart pill measure? I guess like your gastric levels or something?
Leo: Nancy Dougherty, one of the people they hired is a Hardware Engineer for a company called Proteus Digital Health, I think Apple had an investment with them as well. Small patches in an ingestible blue tooth connected smart pill.
Jason: See what I’ve read about the smart pills is that they are not necessarily medical, those are ID things where you take your smart pill at the beginning of the day and then you don’t need a que card. I’m not kidding. It is kind unlocks your devises and stuff.
Jessica: So Proteus is more tracking. If you’ve taken your meds and then also how your body reacts to them. So there is a lot… but one of the things that I think is important to think about. Its a great point of Apple wanting to create a movement or a product or a system and eco system that really is mass, but we have to remember that it’s not really Apple’s core competency around this data stuff. I mean when you start to match and build services on top of how I’m sleeping and recommending things based on that, I mean you’re really into the sort of data science stuff that frankly Google is just a lot better at. And so I think that Apple is going to need, and has been trying, to get the expertise to do that sort of predictive work off huge data sets.
Leo: Would they be smart to do partnerships instead of doing it themselves?
Jessica: I think it is hard though because if you are going to be the platform and you want all the apps to sync into your data and all that then you really have to control that.
Leo: The rumor was they are going to do a passbook style health book on IOS 8 that would be, in fact, a repository for all this stuff.
Jessica: But how useful it is, will be based on what they can do with the data.
Brian: To be honest usefulness has nothing to do with it, I suspect. Because, think about it. The way we all perceive our health. It’s almost like a religious thing. There are people that are anti-science because they don’t want genetically modified foods. There are other people that think that Yoga gives them superpowers, or whatever.
Leo: By the way, both of those are true statements. But okay.
Brian: Yeah, and that’s fine. That’s fine. But what Apple should do is position themselves, like here is the device that unlocks you and gives you all the numbers to work with. And they should be accurate sensors and they should be able to figure out X, Y, Z. But then you get all the health guru’s from your crackpot doctor Ozes to your doctor Wiers to your Sanjay Gupta. You know, everybody sets their own plan within this framework and then Apple benefits from having created this eco system and it is all the partners of the people that are subscribing to follow their plans.
Leo: But Apple sucks at this.
Jessica: They have to get that middle bit right. I just keep coming back to Google Now tells you when to leave based on traffic and your normal driving patterns. You have to have some level of that kind of analysis off the streams of digital health data before you start talking to Dr. Phils and the sleep experts and all that kind of stuff. And so you need systems that know how to learn from the data, machine learning, it’s all the stuff that is kind of the rage right now. And you know Apple has never really done that successfully. And they’ve made some tiny acquisitions to try to bring more of that expertise into the company but that’s going to be a huge focus I think to make their platform. Because remember Google is doing the exact same thing. Google, even after getting rid of the Motorola mobile unit, they’ve got their own Watch projects, they obviously have Google Glass. They took Regina’s team and imported it over. So, it is an arms race and Apple can have the sexiest device in the world but if they don’t get that piece right they are going to lose.
Leo: I can almost promise you they will have the sexiest device and they won’t get that piece right. I want to be clear, are you saying they do need to do this in house and they do need to develop this data understanding ala Google or is it that they go to Run Keeper and they go to all these…
Jessica: It’s both. before you can even get to working with Run Keeper you have to be able to take this data and learn from it. And figure out what to pass to Run Keeper. I think it’s both. I think that Apple’s systems need to know in the same way that Google Now tells you when to leave because of traffic. There is some level of how to handle this data, how to analyze this data, and how to package it up. I do think developers will build a lot of the end apps on top of that, but developers are going to go to the platforms that are easiest to work with and give them the most actionable data. If you’re pulling it off devices there’s a lot of software that Apple has to build and I think if they do go that health apps route too, some of this they will look to do themselves. Much the same way they do on phones. They have some apps like maps and others but…
Leo: Can you think of in any case where Apple has done this well? Something like this well? I mean I look at Mobile Me and I look at Maps and I look at all of this, this kind of data.
Jessica: I think they deserve a better… I think in Maps they did a nice job, they are just so far behind Google in terms of the years of experience in learning from the data and in the capabilities. I think they also underestimated how hard a problem that was. But if they’ve learned from Maps…
Brian: I was going to answer your question, Leo. I will say that in Siri they absolutely have nailed it.
Leo: I disagree. Siri is half baked. Google surpassed them immediately.
Jessica: The problem with Siri is that it doesn’t really talk to anything yet. Siri is a great example of where they had a great interface and a very nice sort of version 1. It doesn’t talk to anything.
Leo: It does less than the app that they bought. The app they bought did more. I could make reservation.
Brian: But again we’re talking about perceptions. In that regard I think that the way they’ve crafted the personality is very smart, the snarky answers, the “Oh have you tried asking Siri this stuff”, it’s definitely underutilized and not where it needs to be. They need to be down the road being able to buy subscriptions to various personal assistance from Jarvis on down.
Leo: I think Apple’s passbook is another example where there was a lot of promise but very little delivery.
Leo: I’m not knocking Apple. I just think is a tough thing for it to do in general. Google is data driven from day one, Apple is a hardware company.
Jessica: It goes deep into the cultures. Apple waits to release things until they are sort of right at the end stages instead of iterating constantly. That actually holds you back in this kind of service model in software services. Maps is probably not a bad analogy actually. A lot of acquisitions ahead of time. A lot of work went into the data. The product had some problems but frankly it wasn’t as horrible as people said and now they are slowly, slowly improving it. So if they’ve learned from that, I think that they have a shot in this other space. But I do think that Google will eat their lunch on it.
Jason: Don’t forget to, that this is hardware product that is going to rely. Apple is not a hardware company. It is a hardware and software together making products company and this is a piece of hardware that is going to require software integration to succeed or fail. I think Apple is much better at that than they are little software add ons. iPhone isn’t going to succeed or fail based on Passbook or Maps, but this imaginary soon to come Watch-like whatever, that software has got to work or that product is going to be worthless. I think Apple is actually very good at that. And that may be why we haven’t seen it yet. Because this is hard and they have to do it right. They can’t do it half way and hope that it is oaky. Because this whole product will fail if they don’t do the software right.
Leo: I think I’m like a lot of people, I look at the prototypes for the watch. I imagine it will be beautiful. I will buy one. I think a lot of people will buy one. But then, they need to deliver or you are going to really have a problem. The one advantage, I’ll step back and say the one advantage Apple has is that nobody trusts Google. Well I don’t know. Do people trust Google?
Jessica: A lot of people don’t. Some do.
Leo: I trust them. But do normal people trust Google? Google had to shut down it’s health repository.
Jessica: Yes, for uploading your own records.
Leo: Microsoft has a very well developed health fault. But Google doesn’t. And I think people are a little bit nervous about Google. And as Google wants to gather more information like critical stuff like health information they might even get more nervous. Whereas Apple. People trust Apple.
Jessica: I think they do more than Google. I think it also depends how ultimately you use this. You’re completely right. Can Apple build some basic software on top of it that integrates with API’s to tell you what to eat, or to go to sleep, to go to the doctor? Yes. What about when our health data changes our thermostat based on how we feel? The bigger picture where it’s really integrating to so many different services. That is where that competency in data integrations could come back to bite Apple. But I think from the beginning you can start very basic. But I do wonder, I guess it depends on the price point. Can you really, really get mass market with something that tells you well you slept?
Leo: That’s kind of the beauty of Apple. They don’t have to be that mass market.
Jessica: That’s true, Sir.
Jason: We’re talking about the differentiating features. I’ve had a Pebble that I’ve worn more or less for the last year. I’ve had it for a year now. And what I’ve learned in the last year is that the ability to glance at your wrist and see if that text that just came in is worth responding to or not, doing some very specific simple triage. Not doing phone things on it, just some glances. That has value too.
Jessica: Is there ever a time when your phone isn’t next to you when you have your watch?
Jason: It’s in my pocket. I’m lazy!
Brian: This is why you don’t have to worry about Apple. Apple can throw whatever horse crap it wants to, medical whatever, and sensors that taste your sweat and tell you if you have this much or that much or whatever. It doesn’t matter because as long as it works and doesn’t overstep and has good battery life, people will discover the joys of not pulling your phone out every single time a message comes in.
Leo: It’s got to look good!
Jessica: How about smart contact lenses? Then we’re not going to need any of this right?
Leo: I want that. Forget Google glass and smart watch I want a heads up display and every where I walk I want things popping up over your heads. I don’t want to see life at all! The problem with this is that it is ugly. I think that’s the promise. Come on. You think that is pretty?
Jason: I have a Casio calculator watch when I was a kid, so this is fine.
Leo: Yeah you’re the wrong guy to ask.
Jessica: It’s easy to find the examples. “Oh I was in a meeting and someone texted me and it was urgent and I could solve the problem”. But I don’t know how much… and my Pebble is still sort of in the drawer. So, I should really…
Brian: That’s so crazy because I use it.
Leo: I don’t see it. Is that a Pebble?
Brian: Here it is. And in fact little things like nowadays I’ll be on the other side of the house because I always leave my phone on silent now so I don’t have to have annoying loud exploding sound effects whenever someone calls now because I could be on the other side of the house and just look and be like “someone is calling me know” and I’ll be running to the other room and realize I’m not going to get there in time and I can just hit answer when I’m still around the corner and I’ve bought myself 5 or 10 more seconds until I can get to the phone.
Leo: But you can’t talk to the Pebble. You can’t actually answer your phone.
Brian: Yeah, you still have to get over there. But I’m telling you Man, structurally you add up all those little 8 second moments and there are so many of them every day. I probably saved, just in the few months, hours, literal hours of this crap - digging in pocket for phone. If you love, hold one, it’s just there it is”. If you love that moment, then don’t get a Pebble.
Leo: You know, my advice, keep it in your breast pocket there, because it comes out much easier, you know.
Jason: Uh the breast pocket. Well that’s good because my fob watch is on the clip of my other vest.
Leo: You don’t have a vest? Everybody should have a vest.
Jessica: Fanny packs, Fanny packs.
Brian: The lesson of Pebble is it doesn’t try to do too much. It just does a few things, and it does it exquisitely well. You charge it once a week and that’s it.
Leo: Alright, I’m going to put mine on, are you going to put yours on?
Jessica: I’ll put mine on.
Leo: It’s two for, two against. We’ll try it. But I do think if Apple made something that was gorgeous. I’d be much more likely to wear it, than this which frankly doesn’t look, even the Steel, we just showed the Steel, and it doesn’t look much better than that Casio.
Jason: Yeah, I agree, I agree. In fact, it may look more like that Casio. My point is that there are those table stakes that we often ignore when we’re talking about these exciting health things. There will probably be some very nice integrations with your IPhones notifications, and with remote control, other things like that, that maybe also reasons…
Leo: Would it work with the Android?
Jessica: No way.
Jason: I don’t see how it would.
Brian: And I’ll tell you what, here’s the other thing. If Apples smart they will make it expensive as hell because they’re moving into the fashion realm.
Leo: $350? $400?
Brian: No, $600. I want it to be $600. Like that’s the thing, is it needs to be a status symbol, the mere fact that you have the money to spend on it.
Jessica: They’ll have the gold version.
Brian: They need to create a new category for the ultra-high end smart watch.
Jason: There will be a sport version, that will be cheaper, and then they’ll have the elegant version.
Jessica: The Elegant. Fiancé version.
Leo: It’s the end of swipe and sign. We’ll talk about that in just a second. GotoMeeting, our sponsor today. By the way, great panel. Thank you for being here. Mr. Brian Brushwood from NSFW scam school. Don’t forget his new National Geographic television show. Hacking the System, debuts February, 27nd. That’s exciting.
Leo: Jessica Lessin from the information. Theinformation.com. You must subscribe because it’s a good thing. Did that Fap for you, Brian?
Brian: it was good!
Leo: Laughs. And of course, from IDG editorial director, that means he’s in charge of both the MAC site and the Windows site. He knows what he’s talking about, Mr. Jason Snell.
Jason: We even have an Android site now. It’s fancy.
Leo: Really? And what’s the site that you developed for them? I keep forgetting the…
Jason: Tech Hive?
Leo: Tech Hive. I love Tech hive. I’ve got to plug that more often.
Jason: Too many websites, I’m telling you.
Leo: But Tech Hive is really great. And you know what, it’s friendly, it’s fun, and it’s exciting. 6 academy award nominees in the stream of Netflix. Must have mobile aps for Sochi winner games.
Jason: We may be one of the few websites that have a real movie credit about what’s streamable…
Leo: I like that.
Jason: …on NetFlix.
Jessica: That is awesome.
Jason: Yeah, Jeffery Anderson, who writes for The San Francisco examiner, I went to high school with, and he writes now streaming for us.
Leo: That is fantastic.
Jessica: Does Netflix have alerts? Where you can find out if a show becomes available.
Leo: No, but it’s a great site!
Jason: What is it? Is it like Netflixwatcher or something?
Leo: Chartroom will tell us. That you can actually get notifications, when it will beep you and email you.
Jessica: When one of your movies you want to watch is available.
Jason: When they’re going to expire.
Leo: Or when it’s leaving.
Jason: You can watch it before it goes, yeah.
Jessica: This is what we need, innovation.
Leo: chat room, it’s not can I stream it, although that’s a great site as well. Is it Instawatcher? Instawatcher, we will check into that while I talk to you about GoToMeeting from Citrix. The weather outside is frightful. While the east coast, Atlanta, If you live in Atlanta, get GoToMeeting. Once again, gridlock is coming. There’s a storm up north. We got rain here, we got flash flood alerts. This is a terrible time to try to do business. But GoToMeeting solves that. It means you can collaborate, you can do business online, no matter what the weather is like outside. In fact, I wish the weather were bad all the time. I could stay home, we could do GoToMeeting. I know teams that that keep GoToMeeting running all the time. You can share screens so you can see what people are working on, and by the way, you can pass the screen around, so everybody in the meeting can show their screen. Great for coding together and that kind of thing. If you turn the video camera on, and everything these days have video cameras, you can see each other crystal clear, high def. video. So when you can’t make it into the office you can be productive. GoToMeeting, is awesome, you can even host a meeting and present from an IPad. I love it! It works on all the mobile devices. GoToMeeting, I want you to try it free for 30 days. Go to Gotomeeting.com, click the green, Oh I guess it’s not green anymore. What color is it? Orange, try it free button, whatever. The one that says “try it free.” Enter the promo code TWiT. T-W-I-T, and you got thirty days absolutely free. GoToMeeting, we use it for meetings here. In fact, even when we just want to do a teleconference, because you get a phone bridge, we always just use GoToMeeting because then if you want to you can share the screen. And you have video and that kind of thing. Instawatch, instawatch, that’s not it.
Jason: Yeah, I think that is it, but unfortunately Netflix has actually made their NPI worse lately, and now you can’t get the expiration date.
Jessica: That would be a feature that you would think Netflix would want.
Brian: Oh, I don’t know. It does highlight the weakness in that stuff is only temporarily available, so I can understand why Netflix wouldn’t want that.
Jason: And they claim that when they shut down that NPI, I was just looking at it, it sounds like it’s not always accurate, because they’re apparently doing last minute negotiations to bring things back. So it’ll look like its timing off and then it won’t.
Jessica: Oh I see. That’s interesting.
Leo: That makes sense.
Jason: But that would be good to have more information about what’s coming and what’s going.
Leo: What’s your Netflix pick? House of Cards, right?
Jessica: Oh I can’t wait!
Brian: Oh my Gosh, house of Cards, season 3 is already apparently in the works.
Leo: They got approval.
Jessica: Thank Goodness.
Leo: So Dana Burnetty told me that we could have Kevin Spacy on, as soon as season two was ready, so I’ll let you know.
Leo: Kevin’s an old friend, you know, Kevin’s a geek! We had him on the screensavers a couple of times. He’s an old friend.
Jason: I do remember that!
Brian: He was the one that was banging the drums, saying that people want to be able to cut the cord.
Leo: You saw that incredible video he did at the YouTube conference in Ireland.
Jessica: Yeah, that was a great speech.
Leo: Inspirational! If you haven’t seen that, go watch it. It’s incredible. So finally, in the United States, where we have been saddled with the old fashioned credit card for far too long, I think after the target breach, finally MasterCard and Visa said, okay, we’re going to do it. It’s over.
Jason: Chip and Pin, we’re going to do it.
Leo: Chip and Pen is coming, October 2015. All the major credit cards will do it.
Jason: Everybody in Europe, who deals with American travelers is really breathing a sigh of relief. Because you try to buy something.
Brian: Okay, pretend I’m not actually a tech host, and explain to me Chip and Pin.
Leo: Alright, so look at this box, on the Wall Street Journal’s page about this. When you go to a restaurant in Europe, a waiter comes…
Jason: Or even Canada really.
Leo: Yeah, or anywhere, really, except the United States. Where we still use proudly the imperial system for thief and miles
Jason:. You give your credit card to somebody and they take it away, and you don’t know where it’s going, and then they bring you back something.
Leo: 10 minutes later you get a bill. And who knows what else you got. You’ll probably get crabs too. No.
Jason: At a sea food restaurant.
Leo: At a Seafood restaurant only. This is what you get in Europe. You’ll get a little box, the waiter comes to you, he swipe your card, enter your pin number, that way you know what you paid, you may or may not have to sign, but the pin is sufficient. The idea is now, I don’t know why we never adopted this. Some people said that Americans think it’s too complicated. MasterCard…
Brian: It’s a pain in the ass!
Leo: No it’s not! MasterCard is very Diplomatic…
Brian: Right now you have zero liability. I could give out my credit card number right now and everyone could run it up, and I have no obligation to pay anything that is done with that. There’s no liability.
Leo: Okay, so over Christmas, Target, first it was 40 million
credit cards breached, and then it was 70 million, and then they said well
actually it’s probably more like 100 million credit cards, including pin
numbers and target ATM cards and all that, breached. I think that was probably
last straw. I imagine these credit card companies had to issue millions of
cards to people and finally they just said, you know.
Jason: So you stick your credit card in this slot, and it reads the chip.
Leo: it’s a microchip in the card.
Jason: Right, then you put in your pin and that’s what unlocks it. And knowing the credit card number won’t get you anywhere.
Leo: Right, they have to match. Now of course, you could make a card with a chip in it. You could duplicate it, but it’s a lot harder, more expensive, the chip has to be, you know, it’s probably encrypted. I think it’s a little bit more tricky although never count a hacker out. And I wouldn’t be surprised…
Brian: Look, I understand the benefit to Visa and MasterCard, of course they’re going to want to do this. If it was up to them, there would also be biometrics in there. But what’s the benefit to us, the consumer? Why is that so great? That doesn’t sound like a fun easy experience. I don’t want to have to be in a discussion over dinner, like excuse me, secret code over…
Leo: Oh come on Brian! That’s not hard? What are you talking about?
Brian: I still get mad that I have to push the stupid zip code!
Leo: Do you sign the check or do you say take my money I don’t care. Do you figure out the tip? That’s too hard. Don’t make me figure out the tip.
Brian: You’re talking to the guy who just was singing the praises of the eight seconds every hour!
Leo: I know, I know! But seriously, it’s easy, I’ve done it, it’s not hard.
Jason: I don’t think it’s any less than putting your card in the little thing, and having it on the edge of the table for the guy to come and take away.
Leo: It’s not hard.
Jason: it’s a different thing culturally, but I think the benefit is that if somebody tries to steal your credit card number you don’t have to change your credit card number, and change all your auto pays on all of your accounts, and things like that.
Leo: Well that’s the big issue. Sure, you’re not liable but it’s still a big pain in the ass. Have you ever had your credit card stolen Brian?
Brian: I lose my credit card all the time, and then I’m like, give me another credit card! Then I just memorize the number and then whatever, its fine.
Leo: The other problem, that maybe you haven’t had, but I have all the time, is that we get our credit cards turned off all the time, because we do something that the bank deems scary.
Jessica: Including traveling.
Leo: Including buying gas and sneakers! All the normal things and so it’ll be much nicer to have something more secure.
Jason: So Brian is the reason we don’t have it yet!
Leo: It’s your fault! So now I understand, I could never understand why we don’t have it!
Brian: Well actually, you bring up a good point! If going chip and pin is a minor inconvenience, every single time I use it, but it saves me from the major inconvenience of them shutting off my credit card, because they see something they don’t understand, then I might be on board with that. But I don’t know, just structurally, again, I understand why they want it, but I’m just surprised that you guys want it! That’s what’s weird to me.
Jessica: I want no credit cards.
Jason: Yeah, I agree.
Jessica: I mean, I thought we were finally getting rid of this card. That it was going to be phones and other things.
Jason: It was going to be nice, but traveling outside of the US right now is really scary, because…
Leo: You can’t buy gas because you have a swipe card and nobody will take it!
Jason: Right, some places they only do chip and pin ,and other places again, do American style transactions, but the people in the stores aren’t trained on how to do it. I had to show them the slot, at one place, in London and they’re like “Oh! That’s what the slot is for!”
Leo: “Oh! We’ve had the slot for years, but we never knew what to do with it!”
Jason: Yeah! We didn’t know what it was for! There was a small family of birds nesting in it. So for international travelers will be great because our cards will be equipped to use that system and they won’t look at us like we’re crazy people. But your right, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left my wallet at home but I’ve had my smart phone in my pocket and realized, I should be able to pay for something with this and I can’t do it!
Leo: Right. Well there’s tap and pay, more and more you can but it’s not wide spread.
Jason: Yeah, and there’s square stuff.
Jessica: Yeah, it’s way to fragmented.
Leo: I’m disappointed because Apple did not adopt NFC, so that’s not going to be the solution.
Jessica: Nope, it’s all Bluetooth LE and I Beacon all that stuff.
Jason: In fact, what my solution would be now, would be I would load up my Starbucks card, and then have Starbucks scan my phone and then buy a sandwich at Starbucks. I think would be how I would do it, if I didn’t have my wallet.
Jessica: I forgot my wallet and spent a day eating at the Starbucks that way, it’s very effective.
Jason: Yeah, it should be easier.
Leo: Save that for your life hacking show there Brian.
Brian: There you go! I like it!
Leo: That’s a good little tip, how to survive, by living on Starbucks. Speaking of Bit coins, Mount Gox has announced they’re not going to allow you to trade in big coins for cash for a while. Is this the begging on the end for the Bit Coin. Russia says no Bit coin, China says no Bit coin. Actually China is more complicated than that. You can have a big coin in China you just can’t use it.
Brian: Does it matter if the government doesn’t approve? Isn’t that the whole thing, is that you don’t need the governments permission.
Leo: Well it matters because the most part of Bit Coin is all speculation, right? So right now Big Coin is now down to 676 bucks. It lost about 50 percent of its value. Because of these couple of data points.
Jessica: Did Mount Gox give a reason? It’s pretty suspicious. There’s some questions about liquidity and all that stuff.
Brian: Okay, let’s go back to John C. Devorak. Put on our John C Devorak’s hat here. If I’m a government, damn right, I don’t want crypto currencies out there. Damn right, I’m going to say we don’t accept it, we don’t want it, we don’t like it, and you should either.
Jason: Especially oppressive governments, that really want to control everything.
Leo: Right, if you have a centralized government, a currency system that’s out of your control is not desirable, on the other hand it is probably very prevalent, I’m sure barter and other systems occur in, you know, the more repressive the Government, the more likely that is, right?
Jason: And using other currencies.
Leo: Yeah. So here’s the Mount Gox statement. You parch this Jessica. “ In our efforts to resolve the issue being encountered by various big coin withdraw, it was determined.” That’s always a sign, by the way.
Jessica: It was…passive voice!
Leo: Passive voice. “It was determined, that the increase in the flow of withdraw requests have hindered our efforts on a technical level. To understand this system thoroughly, this system needs to be in a static state.” So a temporary pause and withdraw requests.
Brian: See that’s so much nonsense because, look, that foreign exchanges are all based on the ability to have a dynamic market place, where people speculate, and some win and some lose. And some form of equilibrium is created as a result and it’s like, I don’t know, who cares if the governments disapprove. The more the governments disapprove of Bitcoin, the more legitimate the platform sounds to me.
Jessica: Well the interesting thing about this though, is it, so we did a story a while ago, about what a Bitcoin bank run would look like. Just from the sense of how much liquidity is there, just in the system. And you have all these different marketplaces for buying and selling, but a lot of those businesses are making money by themselves trading Bitcoin, which means they may not have cash, or Bitcoin, or anything to pay out. So this, which I actually just heard about, raises a lot of alarm bells in my head, about weather Mount Gox and liquidity issues, and that is a big concern. And we have to remember this isn’t the first time. I mean Bitcoin has been around a long, and there have been issues in the past. So separate from what happens in terms of regulation, or whether it gets adopted as a payment mechanism, the sort of stability of the current system is I think in question now because of this. And that’s more problematic.
Leo: Perception is very important. Perception in something like this is very important and you know, you have this on top of the Silk Road and Roselbreaked. The arrest now, of Charlie Shrem, for money laundering using Bitcoin. A lot of these of course happen with real money, that’s normal, but the problem is at this point, perception is very important in terms of the value of Bitcoin. You see it’s dropping in value, so I don’t know, I’ve always wondered if Bitcoin is just a pyramid schemed… and the others who created Bitcoin presumably have mass amounts.
Jason: Well you know currency is a consensual hallucination. Even cash…
Leo: It is! It’s imaginary.
Jason: I’m giving paper to you, and you are giving me hard goods. It’s crazy, but with US currency, or Euro, or any government currency, we sort of have this expectation that that hallucination will continue for a long period of time. Unless there’s a Zombie Apocalypse, or something like that. Bitcoin, I still am in that stage of, I’m not sure whether the fever will break and this hallucination will end, and that’s the scary thing for me about it.
Brian: That’s fine, from my perspective, we started accepting Bitcoins on scam stuff and it was great. Because we had people who had a bunch of Bitcoins who wanted to buy our stuff at scamstuff.com. Shopify had an ap, it took about 20 minutes to install it. And now the moment it goes, whatever the current exchange rate is, I get real money, like, I don’t think it’s as dramatic a decision as you guys are making it out to be. I think it’s a bunch of little guys like me saying, “Yeah sure, that’s a type of money, sure, go, give it me.”
Jason: Yeah, but do you get the Bitcoin or is somebody converting those Bitcoins into cash?
Brian: You can choose to either deposit it into your own Bitcoin wallet, which I don’t, I just translate it at whatever market rate is. It’s the same as if someone wants to spend Euros, or whatever, British pounds, or whatever.
Jason: Right, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m worried about if I’m holding Bitcoins when the music stops.
Brian: Okay, then don’t hold them! I don’t get it! Just get them and spend them! There’s still a really good purpose for them! And as far as like, well I Just think that the people who got in early just want to get rich. Hell yes, that’s why the built this platform.
Leo: Yeah, I guess that really doesn’t matter.
Leo: That’s why you build a platform that you hope the whole world will like. Is so that you can get rich making it, and the best way to do that is to make a really good platform that a lot of people like, and in this case, ‘real’ money is inherently inflationary and Feds just print dollars or whatever. That’s not a great system that would I would just build from the beginning.
Leo: actually that’s a lot… Now you’re getting into the areas of economic theory that are fairly abstruse and complicated.
Brian: Sure but…
Leo: There is, in fact, a real value to being able to print money and the…
Brain: Sure, especially if you want the brass.
Leo: No, no, no, no! It’s very important.
Jason: That’ll be the topic of this weeks, This Week in Money.
Leo: You cannot get out of rescission unless you can do that.
Brain: But this is my point, at least somebody is trying something different. Let the marketplace of ideas hash it out.
Leo: Oh it will.
Brian: Let a bunch of people with their own personal interest decide.
Leo: Yeah, I don’t think the US government is going to say, “Oh no more Bitcoin.” I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. The only issue would be people, who maybe take Bitcoin, and then keep it and then lose their shirt. And as you say be holding Bitcoin when the music stops.
Jason: Yeah, I love it as an idea, but as an investment, it seems awfully insecure. I love the idea.
Leo: By the way, I’m holding my Bitcoins, because I believe like the Winklvoss twins, that they’re going to reach $40,000 a coin. And I am going to be rich!
Jason: How many coins?
Brian: See you guys are crazy! You guys need to be in Doge coins. That’s where the action is.
Jason: yeah, it is.
Leo: We actually, TWiT is really into the Doge coin, I believe we have a Doge coin miner in the basement, or two. Do we, Chad? Does Father Robert Ballecer do that? Oh yeah! Let’s talk about the nexus of weird stuff. Our resident Jesuit priest has been teaching everyone else how to mine Doge coin! Okay, I ask you, conspiracy much?
Brian: I believe the current count of the whole brick house of everyone’s Doge, is somewhere in the 2 million to 3 million Doge coins.
Jason: And you know the Doges were what the bishops of Dinesh, which is in Italy, where the Vatican is.
Leo: I rest my Case!
Jason: I’m just saying.
Leo: He keeps going, pay no attention to that Doge coin in the basement.
Jason: But when the next pope is one of those dogs, we’ll know the jig is up.
Brian: Have you guys seen the Doge weather.com ap?
Brian: If you go to dogeweather.com, it pays to give you a doge version.
Jason: I can guess.
Leo: Wow night rain.
Jason: Such moisture.
Leo: So moderate. Wow that’s cute. That’s probably better than dark skies actually.
Jason: You don’t need all that detail, you just need a –
Leo: I don’t understand the internet. You know one thing I’m going to tell you right now because I’m the oldest guy here. It used to be that when you got old the music got louder, the hairstyles would change, you would just kind of mildly not approve and not understand it and then you would fade away. I can see already this is happening to me. It is going to happen like a landslide from now on, when you guys get old it’s going to be “I don’t understand anything at all”. It’s all dosh coin all the way down.
Jason: Singularity doesn’t happen all at once for the whole society, it happens at the age – you turn 45 and it’s like I have no idea what is going on anymore.
Leo: It’s terrible. Jessica you said, this is interesting – So Secret which is another app that is taking the world by storm. This isn’t the first of these, Whisper came out earlier. This is a direct copy with one exception – the idea of Secret is you share stuff – It’s like Twitter but anonymous. The difference and the reason I think it’s so successful is unlike Whisper which was totally anonymous, you can tell if the people sharing are in your address book or friends of people in your address book. Part of the fun of this is looking at it and going “who could that be”?
Jessica: I don’t know about you but I’ve got a lot of people in my address book.
Leo: I do too.
Jessica: It feels like that little Circle of Friends things although it does set off the game in your head.
Leo: Flappy Bird was about one of the worst games I’ve ever played. Now you can hear it and then it will go to more friends of friends. Here’s the other thing, people are just like with Twitter and everything else not really sharing their deepest heartfelt secrets. They’re trying to be clever.
Jessica: They’re trying to be clever and if you’re trying to be clever you usually want credit for being clever which is why you then see people doing screen shots and posting their secrets. So that’s kind of different.
Brian: This is my favorite troll that I’ve seen on Secret was somebody put this out. It says from a friend. This is a fake sponsored tweet. Everyone goes nuts and they’re getting all mad and like whoa is this a joke. Then it says here – the best response is “Test drive a Ford Fusion and you’ll see, it’s no joke”.
Leo: That’s brilliant. I’m going to do that to My Circle of Friends. So this is somebody in my address book saying everybody has to stop using Secret because I have a minor philosophical quibble with it. I think that’s kind of fun because you try to think, well… But you’re right I have like, 1000 people here.
Jessica: A funny thing that happened this week was there was a Secret posted saying I work at Evernote and we’re about to get acquired. So then of course the fabulous cohorts at tech journalist think if there is even a shred of truth I can’t get in trouble. So everyone calls all their Evernote sources and so Phil Lemon the CEO of Evernote tweeted “there is no truth to this”. But the Wall Street Journal covered it. This is what distracted a bunch of Tech reporters…
Jason: That’s a brilliant use of Secret.
Jessica: So I’m sitting there thinking this is great. I’m working on these 6 stories right now and if I just post to Secret the opposite to these stories then everyone is going to have to spend their time chasing them. It’s so early, it’s really hard to see how that would play out but there’s this – when you have a bunch of tech people using this you’re going to see a lot of this. There may be some shreds of truth to it. From what I can tell there’s a lot of – I have the techie strands and…
Leo: Some have become the butt of massive amounts of –
Jessica: Now there’s been a reaction to this so now it’s all the positive secrets…
Leo: Yes, you and I probably have similar friends.
Jessica: I think we do and you know what, if we found out who these people were it’s probably like 3 of the people we’re friends with. There are a lot of self-help kind of stuff, people talking about their moods…
Leo: RIP you flappy bird, you. Our grandchildren will hear stories of your brilliance but will never be able to experience it.
Jessica: That’s clever and the person should – they might wind up with that in the public world. So we’ll see, Jessica: That's clever, and the bird person should want – they're probably “why not put that in the public world”, so
Leo: There's a million people putting that on Twitter, right?
Jessica: Yeah, so we'll see. I like the team behind Secret, actually, I think the guys are great, former Google guys, worked at Square, very nice engineer's. The App - for something that's kind of non intuitive to use, I think they did a really cool job on sort of educating you how it works. I just am not sure what this maybe falls into.
Leo: People are probably wondering “gosh, Leo, you're friends are really boring, why isn't there more sex, love and rock-n-roll – sex and drugs”... “I prefer leftovers. Particularly when cold.” I guess the secrets of my friends are just not good!
Jessica: Well the secrets of most people probably aren't that good, and so I think that...
Leo: Oh my God, look what somebody has just posted, “I work at TwiT and we're about to be acquired.” Oh my God, I pray that that's true!
Jessica: The information is going to acquire TwiT...
Leo: I pray that that's true! You know, the other thing they did, is you can put your own pictures behind here, and that makes it a little more personal.
Jessica: The app itself is really nice to use, apps are getting great in terms of design and features.
Leo: “Minoxidil, it's not working :(” It also does a notification which makes it particularly...
Jessica: Oh and they're like “Your friend has shared a secret”. It's the most enticing notification.
Leo: Whisper did all of this – the same basic thing, but didn’t take off and Secret did because of little things like that.
Jessica: Value Ad posted a stream of Secrets too, so it’s getting some – it’s the echo chamber talking to the echo chamber, so we’ll see.
Leo: Alexis Ohanian clean shaven = Hot. Alexis Ohanian with beard = Wil Wheaton. All right anyway. Enough of that. I’m glad we’re getting acquired though. Did whoever post…Chad, you posted that didn’t you!!? Chad Jensen, why I ought to...
Brian: The only post I did on Secret was I confessed that for a year I kept it secret that I was working on a show called Hacking the System – coming out on Nat Geo
Leo: Sponsored... sponsored Tweet. Our show today brought to you by Stamps.com. If you are going to the post office, stop the insanity. The post office is filled with amateurs. If you are sending stuff out as your business – does he work at the post office? Is that why you patted his leg after I said that? I’m so sorry Sir but it’s true. I love the post office but if you want to mail out bills or fliers or promotional material, you know, you work at Etsy, you make this beautiful hand macromade gold club cover and you sell it, you don't want to take it to the post office and give it to them, you want to be able to ship it without getting up from your desk. That's what stamps.com does, it turns you into a fulfillment house, professional. Postage rates change, they just changed again, you don't have to worry. Unlike a say a postage meter, you don't have to pay to get the postage rates update, you don't have to bring it into the post office, it just happens, it's software! So you'll loose all those time consuming trips to the post office, you can buy and print official US postage, you can print stamps – I do – but you can also print right on your envelope with your logo, the return address, it will pull the address of the person you're mailing to from your address book, or from Quickbooks or from the Etsy site of Paypal or amazon or ebay and on and on and on. If it's international, it fills out all the forms for international mailing, the post office actually comes to you and picks it up, there's this thing called the mail carrier, it's incredible! They come and they have this leather bag, they put your thing in and they carry it off! In fact, there's also a button on stams.com, where if you've missed the pickup, it says “come back” and they will come back! You're going to love it. I'm being a little silly, but really I do use it and love it, it's just fabulous for our little business.
Brian: You know what I found out?
Leo: Oh you use it for you store, right?
Brian: I do, it saved the day when we first launched scan stuff, we did like a indy-gogo champagne and did like $30,000 pre-sales, and then all of a sudden I realized I needed to solve a lot of logistics problems all at once! So we went with stamps.com and used promo code twit and it totally saved the day for us. But do you know what I found out like after a year? I used to worry about printing out your metered postage, it has – you put the day that you're going to send it out on, I didn't realize that if you're a day late, they still take it – almost always!
Leo: Me neither, apparently!
Brian: But I was re-printing all of these, doing everything all over, canceling it and re doing or whatever, but apparently as long as it's within a couple of days, they don't have a big problem with it.
Leo: So if you buy on scamstuff.com from Brian [sponsored] you will be getting... you'll see, in fact, when it comes to you, you can see what it looks like, it really looks nice, very professional looking. I want you to try it with our risk free trial offer, normally when you go to stamps.com, it's $80. This is a better one, Go to stamps.com, click the microphone in the upper right hand corner there, use the offer code twit and you will get a $110 bonus offer, it's $55 free postage, you'll get that USB scale so you always know exactly what the right postage is, you get a supply kit and of course a free month of stamps.com. Stamps.com click the microphone, use twit as the offer code. So everything, scamstuff still going great guns for you, huh? That's great.
Brian: It's going great, I tell you what, Dan Carlin who does the hardcore history podcast talks about how, there's really like in this new media space, there's like different legs to the stool to keep everything afloat, so if you're like a small podcaster, maybe one is you have an amazon affiliate code, or another one is you accept direct donations, or maybe you sell your back catalog of content, or maybe you have a small online store. And it's amazing, if you don't mind taking responsibility to do a whole bunch of little things, we're a 3 man operation, and so far we're able to keep the lights on just by having all those little legs to the stool.
Leo: I have to say, I think that's always been the case. I have some friends who are photographers, it's very hard to make a living as a photographer, but if you teach, if you do books, it's always been the case that if you can kind of small time transmedia, have multiple different things that you are doing, it's a great idea. You use Patreon too, right?
Brian: Yeah. We use Patreon over at cord killers, that's a direct subscription model thing, and it's interesting because somebody will make a decision, and if you're a content producer, I love what they're doing at Patreon.com because somebody can pledge, let’s say like $1 an episode, so it's $4 a month. Once you get on their credit card at $4 a month, they have to make an active decision to unsubscribe from the show, which means like somebody to acquire a patron on Patreon.com is much, much more valuable than getting a big payout from a kick starter campaign early on, because that money runs out. This is an ongoing pledge in a subscription.
Leo: Very interesting idea.
Jessica: Subscription businesses, who knew.
Leo: Is it just for podcast, it says be a patron of the arts...
Brian: It's for anything. Like for example you see there's Youtube video's, there's comic books, right there in the upper right, she's doing like investigative journalism, there is Scott Johnson with the Morning Stream is on that list...
Leo: A lot of our friends, Tom does that, you do that I know with cord killers...
Brian: There's GeekBeat.TV, there's Cali Lewis on there, there's lot so familiar faces, and I think this is a good structure that's showing up in there. The only thing I don't like about it is...
Leo: Wow, $5,000 per episode?!
Brian: That's per month, see, this is the only thing that's frustrating, is it gives a false sense of success sometimes. It gives an example, let’s say that that's $1,000 per episode, and then everybody who's a fan of their show is like “I don't need to help, they're making $1,000 per episode. You can – the pledges per episode can be inconsistent with what the max pledge is that people give, so for example people can pledge $10 per episode, and then set a max of $10 per month, so you're first episode you get $1,000 the next episode you get $800 next episode you get $400 and so on. But they are aware of that problem and they're figuring out a way to make it a little more transparent. But I think it's a great way for independents to get their stuff out.
Leo: Absolutely, and I think that – of course we're obviously free, ad supported media which is a model I like, Jessica is a pay wall which is another kind of content, we couldn't do that, nobody would pay for us, I like the idea of crowd sourcing it, and there are lots of ways to do it and that's the point is there needs to be, for an ecosystem to be growing, because we've moved from the days of mainstream content into this democratic form of content, which is so great.
Brian: Do you remember Michael Robertson of mp3.com? He predicted the era of middle class rock star, and I think he was so right about that, but it's middle class patrons and middle class media moguls and middle class... it's amazing these micro networks and patronage and audience of just a couple thousand people is enough to – my friends over who do the raid select podcast don't have a fraction of your numbers or even my numbers, but they're super passionate and they're able to stay afloat because of direct contributions through Patreon.
Jessica: It also effects – so we're a subscription business, not just to have revenue and sustain us, but we think we write better content. So we don't cover the day to day tech news, we focus on in depth stories that sort of drive the conversations that aren't being reported in the daily news cycle. I think different kinds of content when you have different business models, they encourage and create a type of content on top of that model. So one of the things that's exciting about – we're sort of seeing the subscription blossom a bit in the media businesses, because I think it's going to change more types of content we're going to see, we'll have more types of diversity, and we'll have more depth.
Leo: There's always been the concern that investigative journalism, which is very expensive, would just die without these big patrons. But it's clear that we're starting to see now how this could work. And I love what Michael Robertson said “middle class rock star” and “middle class patron” too, because it was only the feta cheese that could have enough money, enough surplus to have Michelangelo paint, but now anybody can, a couple of bucks here and a couple of bucks there, that's a natural system and more sustainable.
Brian: Personal level you get a much more tailor made experience, on the one hand yes, it's a problem that everything's so fractious now days, we all live our own little bubbles, but the benefit of that is that you can find yourself connecting with content that's almost made specifically for you, which is an experience that only the very rich was able to do just 20, 30 years ago.
Leo: We need that.
Jason: People just – they attach to some of this stuff, podcast's are a good example, websites are a good example where they feel so attached to it, and it used to be there was nothing you could do, other than to send them – maybe you buy a t-shirt if they offer a t-shirt sale, but there's really nothing you do to say “I appreciate you” other than just go to their site. And that's the nice thing about something like Patreon, is you can say “I like this so much that yeah, I will throw in $5 every time you do this podcast” or $5 a month, and you just couldn't do that before, it's not the mandatory micro payment, like to read this article you must put in $0.10 it's more like if you really love this stuff, support it, and it's easy, it's a really great idea.
Leo: I think it's a really good way to also get feedback from the audience, because you know you're not going to make it unless you find an audience that – it's so easy in mainstream media to make a show that has no audience, that nobody wanted.
Brian: This is the other thing, is that you feel the pressure to all of a sudden, they're your boss. They have a dollar stake in it, and you don't get to blow them off, and you're like Ok, that's what you want? Then I guess we're going to do now.
Leo: One last story, we didn't talk about Twitter, did anybody see Twitter's first quarterly profit, first quarterly results?
Jessica: User growth was low, which scared a lot of investors.
Leo: And a lot of existing users tweet less, engage less...
Jessica: So just big spotlight on users...
Leo: It's not a surprise, anybody who uses Twitter knows that, right?!
Jessica: I actually think – we're working on some stuff on it, because I don't actually think that user growth is the right only metric to measure Twitter right now.
Leo: User engagements...
Jessica: There's a lot and there's also different kinds of businesses it can go into, but the results spooked the market a little bit, but the P multiple is still 50 or so I mean it's huge, so investors are still – this stock is very – I'm sorry, not 50, it's way, way above 50
Leo: More than 50?!
Jessica: The stock is at 50 but it's north of 100 at the multiple, so investors still have very high expectations of Twitter.
Leo: Speaking of Twitter, the dying Chinese moon rover Jade Rabbit – this is straight out of Wall-E! This is goodbye. The rover is going through the 2 week lunar night, very cold, it's built to survive it, but normally would fold up its little solar panels and hibernate, and it wasn't able to, due to a technical malfunction, so there's some concern that after the lunar night ends that Jade Rabbit will be no more. Apparently it’s Chinese minors who are Tweeting for it. Now they say, Tweet, I couldn’t find the Tweet. They’re awfully long but then I realized it is in Chinese so it’s possible because it’s such a compact language that this - It’s 140 characters. It looks like it, although I should have gone to bed this morning my masters discovered something abnormal with my mechanical controls system. My masters are staying up all night working towards a solution. I heard that their eyes are looking more like mine – red rabbit eyes. Nevertheless I am aware I might not survive this lunar night. That’s kind of beautiful. Only the Chinese could do this I think. If this journey must come to an early end I am not afraid, whether or not the repairs are successful I believe even my malfunctions will provide my masters with valuable information and experience. It’s hard not to cry when you read this. The sun has already set here, the temperature is falling very quickly! I have said a lot today, yet, I still feel it’s not enough. I will tell everyone a secret, actually I am not feeling especially sad, just like any other hero, I have only encountered a little problem while on my own adventure.
Brian: Oh so you think you’re a hero now?
Leo: Apparently, Jade Rabbit. Finally, good night planet earth, good night humanity.
Leo: Yeah, no kidding, I didn’t think of that!
Jason: So if you check out the Daily Show Thursday nights with John Stewart, Patrick Stewart reads a dramatic reading.
Leo: Why didn’t you tell me?
Jason: No, that was good because you went a little more the Hal 9000 route than Patrick dramatic.
Leo: Little more dramatic
Jason: A little more dramatic
Leo: We will do that as our bumper out of this show I don’t want to prolong the agony any longer, thank you.
Jason: My mind is going. Planet Earth!
Leo: Thank you so much Jason Stelfert for being here, it’s always a pleasure, Incomparable on 5x5 networks.
Jason: Yes, thank you and how did you find that?
Leo: I am so jealous and you know, we had Serenity Campbell on,
Jason: Serenity Caldwell, right.
Leo: Senestra , I don’t know why , now that’s when Caldwell was on and she was talking about how you do radio plays; you did the Christmas play
Leo: Wonderful! Great acting; you know who’s good? Glenn Fleishmen!
Jason: Thank You, Yeah, Glenn does a funny accent.
Leo: He does the greatest Dr. Who ever.
Jason: Theincomparable.com, check it out!
Leo: Anyway, Great stuff and what is the story is it just about a bunch a Mac World editors and you and
Jason: It’s a bunch of my friends and other people I have met and we talk about geeky pop cultures, so movies, TV shows, books and stuff.
Leo: How many times have you been on my show and haven’t invited me to
Jason: All of my audible recommendations that I do here are from there.
Leo: From the company, well, it’s highly recommended theincomparable.com
Jason: The incomparable.com or the information
Jessica: Got to have the, “the!”
Jason: Got to have the, the!
Leo: Was Patrick Stewart dressed as the Jade rabbit as well?
Jason He was.
Leo: Oh boy, if I had known that I would not had assayed that reading, that dramatic reading!
Leo: Mr. Brian Brushwood, NSFW, great to have you,
Brian: I’m jealous, so you got the information, the incomparable and I feel like it needs to be “the hacking the system.”
Leo: I think so!
Brian: The hacking system dot coms are hard to find, man.
Leo: What is this with a definite article everywhere? The Twit…
Jessica: Feels like a publication, you know,
Leo: Ahh that’s it, it’s the one, the one and only, I used to work at a radio station that was The Sports Leader.
Brian: Sports Leader, yeah.
Leo: Good to have you Brian, good luck on the show, can’t wait to see it, The Hacking system on the Nat Geo. Feb 27, and of course, scam school on revision 3.
Leo: Jessica Lessin is at Theinformation.com, was information.com taken?
Jessica: We were going after both of them but THE came up first and so we just went for it.
Leo: I kind of like it, it sounds
Jessica: In media publications you have the wall street journal, the New York times
Leo: Yeah, The Ohio State University, it makes sense
Jessica: Although it’s kind of funny that I had this sheet that I had names and carried them around for 6 months when we were coming up with the name and we just got it framed and put it in the office and there is a big X in front of the, the which makes me think at one point in my brain there was no “the. “
Leo: No the?
Jessica: but for now, that’s a little secret, we have the.
Leo: there is the “the!” Thank you for joining us, we do this show every Sunday afternoon 3 PM Pacific and 6 PM Eastern time. That’s 3 plus 12 is 5 carry the 7 that’s 2200 UTC on the Twit network on the Twit.Tv, if you are watching we love it if you watch live, if you can’t, audio in demand and video is available after the fact at Twit.Tv and wherever you can find better podcasts. You know we had some great shows this week, I am not sure I want to show this promo because I understand there is some brief nudity…
Leo: Take a look this is what you missed this week on TWIT (Video clip with highlights showing)
Leo: Oh No my eyes!! Nick Bilton’s next book is going to be called “Happy Flappy Bird”
Brian: It’s more of a pamphlet.
Leo: It’s short!
Leo: Thanks for joining us, we’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can!