This Week in Tech 495 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWIT! I'm going to get Snapchat lessons with Nick Bilton and Baratunde Thurston. We'll also take a look at the Silk Road case and a lot more. TWIT is next.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST, THIS IS TWiT! Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by Cachefly, at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 495 recorded February 1, 2015
Why is it pointed at me?
This week in tech is brought to you by Squarespace.com. Creating and editing your website is easier with Squarespace 7. It's so easy, Jeff Bridges created his website, dreamingwithjeff.com. Try it now. Visit squarespace.com, and enter the offer code TWIT at checkout to get 10% off. And by audible.com. Sign up for the platinum plan and get two free books. Go to audible.com/twit2, and follow Audible on Twitter, user ID audible_com. And by Personal Capital. With Personal Capital you can grow and protect your wealth. Best of all, it's free, and for a limited time, TWIT users could qualify for up to $10,000 on any new account. To sign up, go to personalcapital.com/twit. And by FreshBooks: the easy to use invoicing software designed to help small business owners save time billing and get paid faster. Join over 5 million users running their business with ease. Try it for free at freshbooks.com/twit. It's time for TWIT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news. Super Sunday episode. Nick Bilton is here from the New York Times fashion and leisure section.
Nick Bilton: What are you talking about?
Leo: What section are you in now?
Nick: Just keep going.
Leo: Author of "I live in the future and Skype works here." He's also the author of "Hatching Twitter," a fabulous book, and he's also working on a new one, we'll talk about in just a second also. Right next to him, Baratunde Thurston of cultivatedwit.com. Baratunde, the author of "How to Be Black." That was a joke, the How to Be White book, he's not doing that.
Baratunde Thurston: Nope. It's already been done in most other books.
Leo: Baratunde, great to see you again.
Baratunde: It's so great to be back. It's been quite a while. I have not done a remote into TWIT in forever, and it's good to sort of see your face.
Leo: I love getting Baratunde and Bilton on. These are magical shows. B&B shows.
Baratunde: We shouldn't build this up too much. Let's see how this plays out. We've got some fun technical start issue.
Leo: Yeah. Well, we should just plan. Nick at any time could fall off the face of the Earth.
Nick: I'll be here in digital spirit.
Leo: So you're working on a success—it's a new book about the Silk Road.
Nick: It is. That news came out this week, and I'm writing the book about the Silk Road and the dread pirate Roberts and a crazy story.
Leo: The trial is going on right now.
Nick: Yeah. I was in New York the last couple of weeks covering the trial. I finally understand why they call it courtroom drama.
Nick: Because there is so much drama. It's so intense and everyone—the prosecution and the defense. It's one of the few instances where I think on television they are not able to capture the real drama that's taking place. In a courtroom, it's really intense.
Leo: I agree. Whenever I have free time, I like to sit in Courtrooms and watch. It's really better than the TV shows.
Nick: It's amazing, because you're in there with great reporters from Forbes and Wired that have been covering the whole thing from the beginning. To the left of us in the other seats, is the family. Ross Ulbricht, who is accused of being the Dread pirate Roberts, you see these people who are his dad, his mom, and his sister, and it's incredibly difficult to watch that, to see the reality of what the story could do to them.
Baratunde: What are you noticing from the —especially people on this show are much more tech literate about things like the dark Internet. You're in the mainstream, you're in a public courtroom where they don't know as much as these listeners. Is that, from what you've seen, is that an issue? Are you pulling you're hair out like, "No. That's not how it works."
Nick: That's an excellent question, because there's a couple of things that is going on the trial where, somebody from Vice wrote this great piece that said, "The problem with the jury in the Silk Road trial is that they don't understand the Internet." They literally, as far as we're concerned, they don't. They've never heard of Bitcoin, tour, the Dark web. They don't know what crypto currencies are, they don't understand certain emoji. There's these instances in court where—there was one moment where the prosecution was reading a chat log between the Dread Pirate Roberts and one of the people who work for him, and he didn't mention a smiley face emoji, and so after the jury had walked out at lunchtime, there was a big debate about whether the emoji should be explained. That alone was really fascinating. The other thing that's been interesting is the prosecution and the judge have been pushing for a glossary that the jury can have that would explain what Bitcoin means, and the defense is pushing against it, because one of the goals of the defense is to confuse a little bit as to what these things mean and what they are. It's really difficult for them to come up with a conclusive definition about what these technologies are because they mean different things to everyone. If you're the prosecution, you could say Tour is a network used for the dark web, mostly to go and buy drugs. If you're the defense, you could say people who live overseas can use this to talk safely to their family and friends. It's been really fascinating seeing that. You definitely get the sense that they have no concept about what people are talking about most of the time.
Leo: Were you there for jury selection?
Nick: I was there for jury selection.
Leo: Obviously both sides wanted this jury, right?
Nick: Yes. Both sides didn't want anyone who understood tech too much. They didn't want people—one of the questions they would ask to decide who was going to go on the jury—they didn't want anyone on the jury who read the news on their mobile devices or on their computer. They wanted people who read the news using traditional newspapers and media sources. It's really interesting. It is definitely a wide range of our peers from all walks of life. It's funny. There's one guy in the back—you see him falling asleep sometimes, and he catches himself. When they're explaining how a Bitcoin works, they get into the minutia of every single aspect of it. They're showing MD5 hashes and this that and the other thing.
Leo: They're hoping to obfuscate it. Confuse them. They don't need to know that to understand Silk Road.
Baratunde: Part of the beauty—justice should transcend your understanding of networking protocols. The sense of right and wrong should somehow still be available if the story is being told effectively. For us, it would be like traveling 20 years into the future and being juried on a trial about things we've never heard of but we can still somehow sus out when someone is being wronged or being wrong in a situation. It's an interesting theoretical test for me—how much information is required to render a sound judgment?
Leo: I have to say. I've watched a lot of the Good Wife, so I feel like I understand this now.
Nick: You're actually right. A couple of lawyers I've spoken to—they said the Good Wife is exactly right all the time in the legal aspects. So you probably do know.
Leo: I feel like there's this ideal, which Baratunde just described, hey, we don't need to understand the technical details to understand this case. But then there's the reality of it which is that both sides are trying to obfuscate. Their interest is in not having the jury understand this case, in either case. Because the more they don't understand, the easier it is for them to slant it in a way that favors their side.
Baratunde: You can manipulate people who are ignorant more than people who have a full understanding. That is the premise of our Democracy. USA! USA!
Nick: I have to say; it has been a very eye opening experience to see that, because you have this assumption that people do understand Bitcoin. The other thing that has been very fascinating, as a reporter of the New York Times, my job is to explain these things in layman's terms to people. You definitely see that there are other industries where that is 100% necessary. There should be someone on the legal teams of both groups being able to come up with good analogies for how Bitcoins are exchanged or what Tour is.
Baratunde: It's a challenge of story telling, not to get too much in the wheeze. Serial is a podcast people have been talking about a lot; I ended up having a conversation with an assistant DA who said that every case is muddy. There is no pure truth that we have access to. People think if I just had more information, I could know what happened when and where, and that's not the case. We never have the full information. We have our best judgment, our best story telling capabilities, and we have a little bit of faith and trust, and that's better than zero. That's better than random slaughter and assassination executions. We're above that. We've not medieval anymore, but pure justice isn't attainable. Someone in the chat room added: there's a lot of tech in this case, but if you're looking at a case that involves high performance automobiles and that's key to the case, most people don't know about that either. So there's always going to be some gap in education. Our system shouldn't require everyone to be an expert in this technology.
Leo: It's pretty easy to understand what was going on. Silk Road was a black market using the Internet to sell illicit goods including drugs online. You don't need to know Tour.
Baratunde: You don't need a special degree to know—
Leo: Any of this, but what you have to do with the jury is follow the logic of Ross Ulbricht being the kid who ran it. That's tough, because the evidence—I dimly remember the FBI catching him a year ago and how they caught him. I think that's what the Jury is going to have to assess. Is this electronic evidence compelling that he did it? There is no smoking gun.
Nick: I'll tell you what the smoking gun was. The smoking gun was actually the defense's opening statement where the judge came out in the open and in the beginning said—
Leo: Not judge, attorney—
Nick: Sorry. The Attorney. Came out and said my client started the Silk Road, but then it got overwhelming and he left soon after.
Leo: He's not the dread pirate Roberts.
Nick: He's not the dread pirate Roberts and the real dread pirate Roberts framed him and so on. But that was a shock in the courtroom when he said, "My client started it," because in the beginning, the defense always said that they had nothing to do with it.
Leo: Dreitel says, "he created it as a completely free wheeling, free market site that could sell anything, except a couple of items that were harmful, but after a couple of months the work became too stressful and Mr. Ulbricht handed it off to others." He's the perfect fall guy for the real guy.
Nick: One of my favorite moments in the trial was when they had one of the FBI forensics come out and explain what they found on Ross's laptop when they caught him in the library. As he was logged into the Silk Road as mastermind and all these things, he was also bit torrenting a video interview with Stephen Colbert and Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, which was quite ironic.
Leo: I like that.
Baratunde: He's the one who knocks.
Leo: We've learned some interesting things from this trial. One of the things that was huge was that Mount Gawks had invested in Silk Road. What's the story there?
Nick: There was a point in time when the CEO of Mount Gawks was considered the possible Dread Pirate Roberts. That was originally going to be the Defense's case, that it could have been him. The prosecution argued that there was 400 people it could have been until we found the right person. There were always other suspects in the case. There was some stuff that went on with the servers being housed in certain places that could have been perceived. That was all squashed after the fact.
Leo: Catherine Forrester the judge said no. That's inadmissible. The fact that the Department of Homeland Security thought it might be Mark Carpalas is inadmissible. It's fascinating to watch this. How much longer is this trial expected to go on?
Nick: The Prosecution is supposed to rest tomorrow, Monday, but because of the snow, they're expecting to delay the trial a day, so the prosecution will rest on Tuesday and the Defense is expected to take two more days. They have 7-day witnesses coming. They have 2 big questions. The first big question is will Ross testify? If he does, it's going to be 2 days of back and forth. It's a risky bet for him to testify.
Leo: As in every case. If he doesn't testify, there's some presumption the jury might think he's avoiding being questioned because he's guilty. If he does he could say something stupid and the trial is over. It's always a challenge. I know this from watching The Good Wife, by the way. Serial is law school, isn't it?
Baratunde: It's great. It was much more affordable than actual law school.
Nick: After the defense rests, they're going to do their closing statements, which I think are going to be very intense, because that's when they're going to get into the murders that didn't necessarily happen.
Leo: He was accused of offering Bitcoin to assassins.
Nick: That's when they're going to get into that from the Prosecution side, and that's when the defense is going to get into all these other people it could have been and how his lap top may have been taken over by hackers and so on and then the Jury has to decide, and there are a lot of charges against him. Some of which—there's a King pin charge, which could be life in jail, numerous drug charges. If he's found guilty he's going to be in quite some trouble.
Leo: At 30 years old he could be spending the rest of his life in prison.
Nick: There was a moment, it's amazing to see all the things that take place in the court room when there's not court in session, but there was one moment one of the days when the same judge sentenced a man to jail for 12 years for drug dealing. His family was there and they were screaming and crying. It's intense stuff. To see it firsthand, it's really intense.
Leo: I was on a jury for one of the trials—remember the horrible thing they used to do on NBC—to Catch a Predator? MSNBC would set up a house and they would entice people to come there and predate on young girls. I was on the jury of one of these guys that was being tried. They're reading transcripts from chat rooms and all sorts of stuff and a very similar issue of how much technical information do you need from this? But it was interesting because we heard the prosecution case, and the judge threw into out saying it's entrapment. You don't have to hear the defense and they let the guy go. But it is, I've had a similar experience, but what we didn't have and what you have is the stuff where the Jury is out of the room and all of the wrangling over a smiley face. The judge finally did rule that the smiley face is part of the information of the message and should be read.
Nick: The judge ruled that they didn't want the chat logs being read with any special emphasis.
Baratunde: Don't they have a big screen in the courtroom to show? This is a visual medium. Why are we—?
Nick: They still have to speak for the record. Someone still has to speak what they're showing.
Leo: We did the same thing. You have people reading in a dry dull voice this young girl supposedly who is actually a young woman talking to an adult and it's very—
Baratunde: there's a lot of out of work actors here. I think we should consider re-enacting—
Leo: Any dramatization slants it.
Baratunde: We'll do multiple versions. That's even more work for actors. I guess what I’m saying is I support the arts and we need more arts programs in this country, especially in our criminal justice system.
Leo: We'll watch with interest. Nick, you're in the middle of writing a book about this. What a story! It would be a great movie. Fox has already optioned the book.
Nick: I'm working with two guys from Epic magazine. They are, one of the guys did the movie Argo. So we're teaming up to do the movie stuff, and I'm doing the book stuff.
Leo: That'll be a great movie.
Nick: It's a really fascinating story.
Leo: How long after the trial do you expect the book to come out? Will there still be interest?
Nick: I think there will be interest for quite some time. I think it's a story that is breaking Bad in real life. Without the crystal meth—
Leo: there was crystal meth and hired assassins. This is amazing.
Nick: Hopefully I'll get the book done by the end of the year, and we'll see how long Hollywood wants to take to do the movie.
Leo: Will they get Johnny Depp to play the Dread Pirate Roberts? That would be neat.
Nick: That would be epic. We could get Baratunde to play his mistress.
Baratunde: I don't know what that means.
Leo: I don't know where that's going. He's wearing a boys in the hood hat. Where did you get that hat? (20:08)
Baratunde: I got it from a shop in a neighborhood—Fairfax.
Leo: It's kind of retro. Is that considered nostalgia?
Baratunde: Yeah. The shop is called Youth. They have some really cool stuff, and I felt like—I live in New York and I'm starting to live more here. This is me trying to embrace, instead of just visiting.
Leo: You're in the hood. You want to feel old? Do you know how old that movie is? 23 years old.
Nick: No. Boys in the hood?
Leo: You want to feel old?
Baratunde: It's funny, Leo. That somehow makes me feel younger and more invincible.
Leo: Whatever it takes.
Baratunde: Your dark magic doesn't work for me.
Leo: I'm trying. We're going to take a break. You notice the hat? I am the one who knocks.
Nick: Let me grab my power chord while you take a quick break.
Leo: Grab your power chord, because battery life is a terrible thing to waste. When we come back, we're going to talk about the most successful quarter, the highest quarterly profits in the history of the world. But first, you know it's Super Sunday. We've got a big super bowl ad coming up from our favorite guys. They're doing it again. Squarespace. I'm really excited about this. You know squarespace.com, it's a great place to create your own website, whether it's for a business or for personal, or for a portfolio. So they teamed up with Jeff Bridges. Do you remember the scene in "The Big Lebowski" where he's bowling and he's flying over the bowling alley? They have made a dreamingwithjeff.com site. This will be a great test. We've always said that you cannot bring a Squarespace site down. They are going to—how many people watch the super bowl? 40 million people will be going to this site. If they can survive 40 million people visiting a website at the same time, they can host your site. The Jeff Bridges sleeping tapes is a super bowl ad, featuring his album of relaxing sounds and stories to put you to sleep. Can you put the sound up? Is he recording?
ADVERTISEMENT: It's Squarespace. I want to show you guys how you can make your own Squarespace.
Leo: The dude is a character. He is a character. Kevin Flynn is also in this. He was Kevin Flynn from Tronn, I don't know if Kevin Flynn makes an appearance in this. Squarespace.com if you want to check out the ad and his site. If you want a great site like Jeff Bridges, go to squarespace.com. Take a look at Squarespace 7 new designs. There’s a total of 30 templates, even one that Jeff Bridges uses. For musicians, for architects. They've got some great custom sites. Weddings, custom sites, e-commence. Making changes is so much easier. Now you can live edit on a single screen, you don't have to go back and forth to a preview mode. They have Getty images for $10,000 each. Thousands of images for you. Social media is built in—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pintrest, and more.
Baratunde: They got the social media!
Leo: They got it locked in, man. They know how to do that. I think, for you, Baratunde, as you build this new career, Squarespace would be a great place for you.
Baratunde: One of the things I like about your advertisers is that I already use all of them. I have no issue whatsoever with jumping in.
Leo: Don't we love them?
Baratunde: I found out about Squarespace six years ago because of TWIT, been using them since. We use them in a cultivated way. We do this comedy hackathon at hackathon.org. Try to bring that down, TWIT.
Leo: Is that a Squarespace site?
Baratunde: It's a Squarespace site. They're actually a sponsor of our event.
Leo: That's great.
Baratunde: So we'll be the part of San Francisco sketch fest.
Leo: That's great. Everyone go to comedyhackday.org now. Bring it down. You can't.
Baratunde: Throw your iPads at it.
Leo: You know what's great? You could try it for—Neil Dash! You don't need to pay for the first two weeks. You don't even need to give them a credit card. That'll give you a great sense of what you can do. Then, if you decide to buy, it's as little as $8 a month. It's a dollar a year. You get the domain name for free—for the best hosting and the best software. Got to try it. When you do buy, use TWIT, I hope you use TWIT to get 10% off, Baratunde.
Baratunde: Because they were working with us—
Leo: You didn't have to do that. You had your own code. February 6-8. Oh boy.
Baratunde: Yes. It's a two-day event. People show up. This is a fun, weird thing. Basically, comedians and software developers get together to make funny apps on purpose in a 40-hour sprint.
Leo: And Veronica Bellmont is one of your judges.
Baratunde: Scott Ackerman is a judge, Natasha Legiero, Jonah Ray from Nerdist, Veronica Belmont.
Leo: What a great panel!
Baratunde: I'm hosting it, so if people aren't disgusted by me, they should show up for that as well. Sometimes Silicon Valley produces ridiculous apps that we like to make fun of. We're doing it on purpose.
Leo: What was the weirdest one last time that you did this?
Baratunde: My recent favorite was a hardware one. These kids from Stanford—they actually created an API and hacked into a Ferby and they made the Ferby wearable. They were lampooning a bit of Google Glass, a bit of Siri at the same time, so you could talk to the Furby, ask for directions, but the Furby would be inappropriate with its responses. It would judge people around you. It was an amazing feet of engineering for them to pull that off in basically 30 hours and be able to perform in front of a live audience. We'd never know what people are going to make when they come into the weekend. We start on a Friday, but by Sunday evening these things work. Here's the hackathon rules of Workable Demi: It adheres to the comedy rules of Funny as Hell.
Leo: Great looking site.
Baratunde: Thank you. That's our team over at Cultivated Wit. I'm so proud to say I had nothing to do with the site. I said let's put it on Squarespace, but it's nice to be part of a—
Leo: They liked working with Squarespace? It was easy for them?
Baratunde: Squarespace has been with us from the beginning, not to keep kissing their butts. They're good. The reason they let you trial without giving up credit card information—
Leo: That tells you something.
Baratunde: Trust. The people who ask for your money before they deliver a service—that's because they don't have faith in their product. I like the idea that we're going to let you use it for 14 days. If you still like it, then you can start paying.
Leo: If the dude uses Squarespace and Baratunde uses Squarespace—
Baratunde: Squarespace abides, ya'll.
Leo: Squarespace abides, baby. We'll just mention this again, and then we'll move on. Squarespace.com, offer code: TWIT. I have to say, I'm DVRing the Super Bowl, but that's because I want to see the commercials.
Nick: What time does it start?
Leo: I don't know.
Baratunde: It starts in 37 minutes.
Nick: How long does it last?
Leo: Hours. You know, I read somewhere: if you edited out the extra stuff—the huddles and the commercials, an entire NFL game is 11 minutes long. It's 11 minutes of actual action, of people running into each other. Isn't that funny? And the Super Bowl is usually 3 1/2 to 4 hours. A normal Football game is 3 hours.
Baratunde: You need a large container to hold all that money.
Leo: How much is a—you must know this. How much is an ad on the Super Bowl?
Nick: It depends who you are. There was the news that The Verge bought a $700 Super bowl ad, and it's playing in a town in the Midwest that has 15 people.
Leo: But if you're getting a Super Bowl ad on NBC, I think it's 2 million a minute.
Baratunde: The Wall Street journal tweeted a 30 second ad in the Super Bowl will set a brand back 4.5 million dollars.
Leo: For 30 seconds?!?
Baratunde: 30 seconds. That is the Wall Street journal.
Leo: Squarespace, I'm told, bought 2 minutes.
Nick: How much did they pay you, Leo?
Leo: I think we're better than the Super Bowl. I might be wrong. Garry Vainer wrote a good piece. He said, No it's worth it. I know it's 4 million dollars, because it's worth it. Not just the huge ad, which plays to a huge audience, but the buzz. How many times have I already watched the Budweiser ad and the GoDaddy parody?
Baratunde: This year they got the social bowl. People are looking at all the interactive stuff that's going on.
Leo: Have you seen Kim Kardashian's Super Bowl ad?
Baratunde: Does she break the Super Bowl?
Leo: I think she broke my TV.
Baratunde: I haven't seen it.
Leo: It's an ad for T-Mobile. Data sharing. Is it T-Mobile? Some phone company. See, that's the problem. I'm looking at Kim. I don't remember who the ad was. That's the problem. You can be too good.
Baratunde: Somebody might.
Leo: It's probably worth it. We're talking about it, right?
Baratunde: If i had 9 million to spend.
Leo: You know who has lots of movie and could do this? They probably will. Apple computer. Holy Kabole!
Nick: Segway ladies and gentlemen.
Leo: Holy Mackerel. Profit: 18 billion dollars in 3 months. That's 6 billion a month! 1.5 billion a week!
Baratunde: They could create their own league and have a competing Super Bowl which gets more viewers than the original one.
Leo: They have a 42 billion dollars cash in the bank. Tim Cook could walk up to me today and say, Leo I like the cut of your jib. Here's a check for 142 billion dollars. It would be good. it wouldn't bounce. What else could you buy with that kind of money?
Nick: What would you do with that money, Leo? If you had that money.
Leo: I'd buy the Super Bowl ad.
Nick: And you would just sit there and be like: My name is Leo Laporte.
Leo: See this face?
Nick: This is a 1 hour infomercial in the Super bowl.
Baratunde: Get back to the game! Sorry guys, I bought it.
Leo: You got to look at this head. By the way—
Nick: It's interesting to note, Apple made more money in its last quarter than Amazon in the entire year last year. 66 million in revenue from Google. Apple was 75.8.
Leo: 32. You have to go back now. Let's see. They sold—it was billions.
Baratunde: Apple's revenue was 74.6 billion.
Leo: 74 billion dollars.
Nick: Google's for the year was 66 billion.
Leo: 18 billion in profit is what blows me away. There's no company in the history of the world that has made that much profit that fast.
Baratunde: If you look at the breakdown of it, it's iPhone.
Leo: It's iPhone. In fact, iPad sales are down 22 percent!
Baratunde: When you make a phone that's as big as a six and a six plus—
Leo: They sold 74.5 million iPhones, a mere 21 and a half million iPads.
Baratunde: I was not a part of that. I write for the last page in Fast Company every month, and I did my most recent column slowing down the tech upgrades because I'm getting more conscience of the cost of these devices. Not in dollars, but in human lives. All that stuff. There's a film on Indie Gogo—Who pays the price? Which digs into this. My 5 works fine. I got a new case and I cleaned the screen.
Leo: Good for you. You're a good person.
Baratunde: If I want the phone to feel new, I'll re-format it.
Nick: You got a new case?
Baratunde: My other case stopped being effective.
Nick: That's messed up. That goes against everything you believe in.
Leo: It's a blood case.
Nick: Do you know how many people would kill for that case?
Leo: Blood case. It's made out of elephant hide.
Baratunde: I'm curious. Their dependence on—when do they saturate? How sustainable is the growth of their—
Leo: I was saying Apple is over a year ago. I was so wrong. I was skeptical. I didn't believe it. I felt like Tim Cook had lost a little mojo, that Apple wasn't going to be able to keep it going. I got to say this. It isn't technologically—the software isn't sophisticated technologically.
Baratunde: People aren't looking for technical sophistication.
Nick: Here's something that's interesting: I'm doing this on my phone because I don't want to screw up my Skype connection. I tweeted this the other day. IDC reported there was 1.3 billion Smartphone chips last year. 318 million that were Samsung, 192 million that were Apple. You just asked when it's going to saturate. There's still multiple billions of people that don't own Smartphones. They won't for several years.
Leo: That's why Apple and others are embracing China. It's a big market.
Baratunde: As long as they create something that—the world of non-smartphone users are buying iPhone 6.
Leo: Somebody in the chat room said a good thing. Apple's technical supremacy may be over, but that doesn't matter. Their sales supremacy is far from over. Brand supremacy.
Baratunde: They have convinced a big part of the world that they are Smartphone.
Leo: Yet, Samsung outsells them and is losing money.
Baratunde: They don't outprofit them. They make a device that people love and they have a business that people love.
Leo: 40 percent margin on Apple sales. If you're—the same company Jewellers, they got a thousand percent margin. That's not the only factor. They didn't sell 74 million tennis bracelets.
Baratunde: Thank God. That would be the end of humanity.
Leo: And Tim Cook let drop that in April, the Apple watch will ship.
Baratunde: Will it last an hour? What's the battery life on that thing?
Nick: It'll last the length of a 4.3 million dollar Super Bowl ad. That's the anticipated— they're saying a day. But if you're sitting there playing with your watch all day, it'll only be a couple hours.
Baratunde: I'm curious about the real world life on that. If you just take it off at night and charge it—but if you have to do that in the middle of the day at any point that breaks the flow.
Leo: Mark German had a great post, as is often the case, he said they are working very hard on battery life, they have more to eek out. They're saying, let me see if I can find it...
Baratunde: I love that the laws of physics are resistant to your piles of cash. You can't just buy your way into a better battery future? How much profits have been generated since the last innovation of batteries? We're not doing it. Even the mighty Apple...
Leo: The laws of physics.
Baratunde: Be weak in a certain sense. We don't want to charge our watches in the middle of the day. That's silly.
Leo: I can't find the numbers. Their goal was 3 hours of screen time a day. So obviously, it's really true, as anybody knows who has a smart watch, I use the Android wear watches. Use makes a big difference. Everybody uses it differently.
Baratunde: If you don't use the watch, it'll last forever.
Leo: 19 hours. If you don't use it.
Baratunde: Forever in device matter plan.
Nick: Just 19 hours.
Leo: 2-3 days when sleeping.
Nick: Here's the thing. We don't know how people are going to use this, because we don't know what the Apps are.
Leo: It's brand new.
Baratunde: Here's what people are going to do with the Apple Watch. Here, check out my Apple watch. They're going to be the most annoying people, and they're going to tap the screen for their friends for the first 3 months, and then we'll figure out what the actual use is once the novelty wears off.
Leo: According to 9-5, Apple hopes the battery will last two hours with non-stop use. 19 hours if I'm looking at something and putting it down.
Baratunde: If you're in Dick Tracy mode, 2.5-4 hours.
Leo: By the way, there are no stand-alone apps on the watch yet. Most people will do as I do with my Android wear watch. You look at it, you get the time, maybe you get a notification. Screen goes off. 19 hours. Which is more than enough.
Baratunde: Look at what we just did with the Super Bowl math. It's an 11-hour event that stretches out for 4 hours. Actual phone use, when are you actually engaging with your phone screen, 11 minutes a day.
Leo: The other story I think is great from 9 to 5 Mac that broke today is Apple stores are installing safes to put the expensive watch in. The Edition.
Baratunde: They really going to stock those in the stores?
Leo:Apple stores are going to be fitted with safes to store gold Apple watches. People who are experts on watches say if that's a solid gold watch, if that's gold there—we're talking 5-6 thousand minimum. That would be, and it could be a lot more.
Nick: Doesn't Apple currently have safes in their stores with the tens of thousands of dollars of Mac book pros and Apple displays?
Leo: Apparently not. That's how valuable this watch is. They had to install safes.
Baratunde: If I were an investor, I would be like, Yo Tim Cook— protect my investment.
Leo: The aluminum watch, Apple sport will start at $349, then there's a stainless steel one, and then there's the gold one.
Nick: I have no desire for the gold one. It looks tacky.
Baratunde: Do you have desire for an Apple watch?
Nick: I actually do. I know people that have them and use them. They say it does change things a bit. It's not like you don't need your Smartphone any more, but you know that moment when you're in a meeting and your phone rings—
Leo: You have friends that are using an Apple watch?
Nick: I know people at Apple that use the watches.
Leo: There are more than a thousand prototypes in use at Apple right now.
Baratunde: Juicy market.
Leo: He knows people wearing Apple watches! Hold on, Baratunde.
Nick: I broke the first story on the Apple watch that it was being made. I had the first scoop on it.
Leo: I didn't believe it for a long time, Nick Bilton. I thought you were making it up. But you were right.
Nick: what have we learned, Leo?
Leo: To listen to Nick.
Baratunde: Unless he's talking about a Skype set up.
Leo: When you live in the future, you know these things. That's all. He's already worn one. What do your friends tell you about wearing an Apple watch?
Nick: One guy I know who has one, he said that—at Apple it might not be a guy. It could be a woman. Don't go finding someone. He was saying there were times when he's in a meeting and he doesn't pull his phone out and put it on the table anymore, it stays in his pocket and if he gets a message, he'll look at his watch. The feature where you can write to someone by drawing on your wrist—there's this thing where you can draw a thing and send it to someone, he said that there's a colleague he works with. They get lunch together, and he'll write L and send it, and that means lunch.
Leo: That's tap tastic. I can't wait to have that.
Nick: Here's the thing. If I was like, "Baratunde, let's get lunch!" I've got to open up my phone, I've got to swipe to Baratunde's name, what if I could just be like, "Baratunde: L."
Baratunde: First of all, #firstworldproblems, second of all, the level of wait is an issue. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I've started doing things that has a similar effect on my politeness.
Leo: Going to a person and saying, "Hey, would you like to have lunch?"
Baratunde: If you're in a physically social situation and you're on your phone—A, you're a millenial, because that's normal. But if you're not, most of the world isn't, I have a paper notebook. It's far less offensive to be writing on paper in front of someone than it is to take out your phone and theoretically be doing Snapchat and all this stuff.
Nick: I interview people all the time, and I say I'm sorry, I'm taking notes on my phone, I'm not texting someone. They're like totally cool.
Baratunde: You put them in a socially untennable situation to call you a liar. It doesn't mean they feel good about it.
Leo: Have you ever heard of Tech neck. That's when you get wrinkles in your 20's here because you spend the whole time looking down at your phone. Smartphones cause drooping jowels and tech neck wrinkles in 18-39 year olds. By the way, I should say this is from the International Business Times. Despite its names, it's not the journal of record for this stuff. Tech Neck: The problem of wrinkles and sagging of the jowls and neck used to begin in late middle age but, in the last 10 years, because of 'tech neck', it has become a problem for a generation of younger women," said Dr Christopher Rowland Payne.
Baratunde: Even if we skip Nick being an asshole—
Nick: Baratunde, you know what L stands for? Loser.
Baratunde: It stands for love. The idea that to find out what time it is, I've got to pull a thing out of my pants or purse or bag and look at this screen vs. pivoting my wrist.
Leo: I have to say, apparently these guys at Apple had never worn Android Wear watch, or a Pebble watch, but we've had watches for a couple of years now.
Baratunde: There's never anything until Apple has done it.
Leo: That's true. You do get your notifications there, you can respond to your watch. There's a microphone on the Apple watch, right? I can talk to it. Willi it talk back?
Nick: Here was another example someone was telling me about. They were walking with someone. I'm walking right now. They were walking and they were in a conversation and their phone did something and they pressed on the thing. It was Siri or something, and they said on my way, see you in a second. And then continued the conversation. They said that afterwards it was insane. I just had a conversation with my wrist and told someone I'd be right there.
Leo: I do that all the time with an Android wear watch. However I haven't worn in a couple of days. It's not like I'm going oh gosh. It's horrible. You're both right.
Baratunde: Look at this guy. Trying to have it both ways. Basically what he's saying is I'm right.
Leo: It's a luxury. That's part of the issue.
Baratunde: So is pasturized milk.
Nick: This is all part of a larger thing in the future. That's how this works. What's going on is they're all—Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, they're all competing for this intelligence where you have voice commands. Alexa the Amazon doodad. Have you seen that?
Leo: It's starting to come out now.
Nick: When it works, it's amazing. You can say, Alexa, order me pens.
Leo: Is that a one click—will I get pens in the mail, or do I have another step?
Nick: You can set it up that way, but I think it gets put in your que.
Leo: Someone in the chatroom just got her echo, so I'm curious about that. By the way, if you said order me some pens, and you get depends in the mail that would be bad. How accurate is important too.
Nick: That's important too. But the reason I bring that up is this is all part of a larger thing where these companies are trying to build services where you're connected at all times. If I say, "hey X box pull up the latest Stephen Colbert" it gets it. It's not that Apple is building a watch because they want to build a watch. They're building a service that you can connect to.
Leo: They're at a disadvantage. Microsoft and Google have more information about us.
Nick: But if you're a mac user, they know where you go, they know who you're friends with—
Leo: If you're totally in the iOS and apple space, yeah.
Baratunde: If you look again at this 18 billion in profit, they don't need the whole world. They need a strong enough segment that's into their system. 70 billion in iPhone sales becomes this contextual world that Nick is talking about. That's enough. They don't need 7 billion customers, they might just need 1 billion.
Leo: They're a high margin company with expensive stuff.
Nick: I think Baratunde is admitting that I'm right.
Baratunde: Sometimes, you have these historic events that happen. We put a man on the moon. Sometimes, Nick Bilton is right. I will acknowledge that.
Leo: Is it because Nick Bilton looks like he's behind an Instagram filter right now?
Nick: I'm moving.
Leo: You've got the heffe filter on. I like the other look.
Baratunde: The other look was more witness protection look.
Nick: People are complaining in the chatroom that my camera is moving. Now I can move and my camera will stay still.
Baratunde: Changing the game.
Leo: And you thought you would be watching the Super Bowl this time of day.
Nick: How many nerds are here that are actually not watching the Super Bowl?
Leo: Nobody who watches TWIT cares about the Super Bowl in the least. They call it hand-egg, they don't understand the rules. They think it's the Miami heat that's playing. They don't know.
Baratunde: That would be fun if they put a basketball team out there instead.
Leo: Mix it up. They call it sport ball, they don't care. Our show today brought to you by audible.com. Is this one you use also, Baratunde?
Baratunde: I love Audible. Let me do your read and we can jump in on the praise.
Leo: audible.com is the place to get audio books. I think it's more than that now. It's always growing. Every new book comes out. When Nick puts out a book, you know it's on audible. All of Nick's books are on Audible.
Nick: Hatching Twitter is the best. It's read by a guy who was an actor on The Walking Dead, and he reads the voices very carefully.
Leo: It comes to life. I can't wait to hear the Silk Road book on audible.com.
Nick: Maybe I'll have the Breaking Bad guy read it.
Leo: That would be good. I'm the one who knocks. There are so many great books on Audible. Not just business books and stories about the tech industry, there's fiction of all kinds as well. Classics. Jack Lennon, White Fang. What a great book to listen to with kids. The kids will get into it. It comes to life. If you've got a long car tirp coming up, if you've got a long commute. Audible is a life saver.
Nick: What do you listen to right now, Leo?
Leo: I am listening to—it's a long books, so I listen to 3 or 4 at a time. I'm listening to the Definitive Biography of the Beatles, which is called "Tune in." Book 1 is out. 40 hours for the first book and it doesn't get them up to the record. It's incredible. I've read every book about the Beatles. I'm a huge fan. This book is incredible—the details. What I like to do is alternate fiction and non fiction. The next book is going to be a Peter F. Hamilton book, he's my favorite science fiction author. He does very long, great trilogies. He's got a new book that just came out. Beginning of a new trilogy...
Baratunde: You guys—TWIT has been a good source of recommendations. I followed up on Scott Sigler recommendation, and read that whole series. I wasn't into the Whiskey Tangle Fox trot.
Leo: I liked it, and then it fell apart at the end. it turned out it was the postal service.
Nick: Don't give away the end. What's wrong with you?
Leo: All of a sudden, it's a mailman. What?
Nck: I thought it was good. I spoke to the guy and interviewed him.
Leo: Was he talking about Whiskey Tango Fox trot?
Nick: Yeah. I interviewed the author. He spent 7 years in his basement writing it. He wanted the ending to be what it was because he watned people to decide for themselves and it was a big gamble to do that.
Leo: It was. It's a great book about surveillance.
Baratunde: I don't want this to turn into let's crap on this book thing.
Leo: I had some structural issues.
Nick: You know what's good that I just read? All the Light we Can't see. Stunning.
Leo: Anthony Door.
Baratunde: I'll put it in my que.
Leo: If you're an Audible subscriber, you add it to your wish list. This is fiction?
Nick: This is fiction. It's set during the World War and it is two main characters, a young blind girl who lives in France and a boy who lives in Germany who falls in love with radios. It's a really fascinating book. Beautifully written.
Leo: There's so much great stuff on here. That's one of the reasons why in the ad we like to talk about what we're listening to.
Nick: The hard part about Audible is you only get these credits, and you're like which book do I pick? I'm so stressed. There's so many great books.
Baratunde: I have the opposite problem. I have a collection. It's like Instapaper. Things are in my Que, and I'm lke, "yes. I got an audio book." But then I have to commit 50 hours to actually digest it.
Leo: You need a longer commute, Baratunde.
Nick: You need to live in LA.
Leo: Or go to the gym.
Baratunde: I don't do gyms. I'm not a gym guy.
Leo: It's great on the treadmill. The Abyss Beyond Dreams is the new Peter Hamilton. So many great books. I just got this. My Dad recommended it. The Righteous Mind by good people are divided. It's by Jonathon Haden who is a social psychologist. A great book about why we are so polarized these days.
Baratunde: Because you're stupid Leo. That's why.
Leo: I guess I won't have to read that now. Anyway. Go to Audible. We've got two books for you, so it's not as big a deal as it could be. We're going to get you 2 books. audible.com/twit2. You'll be signing up for the platinum plan. That's two free audio books. 2 book credits every month. You also get the daily New York Times or the Wall Street Journal to listen to. That's the plan. I love. It's up to you. Give it a try. You don't pay anything, those books are yours to keep. You cancel, and you owe them nothing. It's great. audible.com/twit2. Sign up today. audible.com/twit2. Boy there are so many good books. I was just looking through my library. All the books I haven't gotten around to yet.
Baratunde: That's intimidating and exciting. When I have a long flight, both of you guys, what I find is either I'm in podcast mode or in book mode. I don't go between the two. If I'm listening to a book, I don't want to interrupt that with weekly or daily shows.
Nick: It sounds like you were big into serial?
Baratunde: I read all the stuff that came after it. I listened to the full series.
Nick: Can I ask you a question? Did he do it?
Nick: There's no question, right?
Baratunde: I think he did it.
Nick: Thank you very much. Everyone is like, No Jay did it. One thing. Everyone says that Jay did it. In the 30-hours that she interviewed, he never says, hey do you think Jay did it? Because he did it. Adnon did it.
Leo: There's nothing more exciting in a podcast than to talk about another podcast. If you haven't listened to and debate the ending of it. Let's end this right here. I haven't listened because I'm jealous. I've been podcasting for 10 freaking years.
Nick: Here's the thing. When I first started listening to it, I thought this is fantastic. This is great story telling. The more I listen to it, the more I realized it was somewhere between journalism and entertainment. It was unfair to the family in my eyes, and I don't think it was handled well towards the end. It got so much hype towards the end and it didn't take into account that there were human beings being talked about and analyzed. Baratunde and I just did that. I will not listen to the next one. I think it was an exploration down the line of new story telling. I don't think it worked.
Baratunde: The Internet cultural side to this, to add onto this and be interesting for TWIT part, is the way parts of the tech community who read it jumped on it. In a way that was irresponsible. Everybody who engaged in Reddit wasn't responsible, but it created a forum and an excuse for people who heard this story and thought because of the way the Internet makes you think about problem solving, I can fix this. I'm going to debug this case. I'm going to find Jay at his home.
Leo: That's terrible.
Baratunde: This is 20 years later. Everybody has moved on, and part of the unintended consequence, when you assume things are going to be public and could become popular, the level of ethics and responsibility get more interesting. Internet communities decided to play detective and private eye, and sitting outside of people's houses, you've unleashed another undesirable thing. There's a bit of responsibility.
Leo: You know what else was released into society and was irresponsible and ugly? Jerome Jarre.
Baratunde: That wasn't irresponsible and ugly. That was a great column.
Leo: He's a French guy who came to the United States penniless. Why am I not getting audio? is there something about Vine I need to do? Upper left corner.
VINE VIDEO: Why is everybody afraid of love? Love!
Leo: Okay, it’s kind of funny. But the problem with Vine is they’re six seconds long. And yet this guy has apparently become a compelling figure in Vine. And now Snap Chat with his little mini things.
Nick: So this is my column this week.
Leo: I know. That’s why I’m talking to you about it.
Nick: So I’m going to tell you a little about it.
Leo: Tell me.
Nick: It was really interesting because I met with him in New York a couple weeks ago. A really sweet and nice guy. And I found out that his story is pretty fascinating which is what I tell in the column. He came to New York via… he dropped out of school in France. When he showed up, he took an overnight bus from Toronto. Showed up with $400 in his pocket, no place to live, no job, no anything. But he had a Vine account and a front-facing camera on his smartphone. And went from literally for about a year living off of other people’s leftovers and sleeping on a floor in an office that no one knew about to being offered to having a billion views, literally one billion views on his Vine videos, to being offered $1M to mention a product on his social networks.
Leo: You talk about taking a walk through New York through Union Square with him. And you said he was stopped every few feet by screaming teenagers who begged to take a selfie. Some girls were brought to tears. Other proclaimed they couldn’t breathe at the mere sight of him. During one loop around the park, he was stopped more than 50 times.
Nick: Yea it was insane. The best analogy is the Beatles. He was every few feet, like there were this gaggle of teens that would run up with their cell phones, scream and cry, hug him, and tell him how much they loved him and everything. It was pretty fascinating.
Baratunde: Good for him.
Nick: And the other thing that happened was he mentioned being on Snap Chat and he said go and follow this guy, Nick Bilton on Snap Chat. His name’s Nick Bilton. And I literally got 100,000 messages over 24 hours after that on Snap Chat. 100,000.
Leo: This is wild.
Nick: It’s insane.
Leo: Robert DeNiro recorded a Vine video with Jarre during the Tribeca Film Festival. It got so much attention, he’s providing office space for a news show, a Snap Chat show. First of all, sometimes I feel like I don’t understand the world. What’s going on? Explain to me! You guys are young and hip!
Baratunde: Leo, take a deep breath. It’s just the future’s happening. It’s okay. It doesn’t have to hurt.
Leo: On Friday, he challenged people watching the Snap Chat show to stop trying to take perfect selfies online. To post ugly selfies instead. By the end of the weekend, two days, 120,000 ugly selfies tagged with his name or the hashtag: ugly selfie challenge.
Nick: He was telling me the story about when he was in Iceland earlier last year. And he went on social media and said hey I’m going to go to this mall. And if you want to come and take a picture with me or hang out, meet me. And he thought maybe 20 people would show up. He’s in Iceland, there’s not many people that are on social media he thought. He showed up at the mall, it’s this tiny mall with one security guard. The security guard was in a panic because he thought there was a terrorist attack because there were 7,000 teens in the mall. The photos are…
Baratunde: 7,000 teens is by the way the definition of a terrorist attack.
Leo: Oh my God!
Baratunde: That security guard was technically correct.
Leo: So what is the secret?
Nick: The secret is that he is… there’s two secrets. One is he’s very funny.
Leo: He’s cute.
Nick: He’s funny, right? The other, and Leo, while I’m explaining this go on Google and look up Jerome Jarre Iceland and look up some of the pictures. We can show the pictures. The one thing is he’s very funny. He’s cute but the other thing is because I spoke to a lot of kids that really like him. I talked to all the kids around Union Square. And they were saying he’s so positive all the time. And he really is. Like he’s very positive. He never says anything negative. He’s always smiling and laughing. And I think the internet is such a revolting place all the time with people on comments saying really mean things. And I think they have this opportunity to see somebody who’s really nice.
Leo: So he’s sweet. That’s what makes people excited about him.
Nick: And he’s nice to them. He responds to them. It’s really fascinating.
Leo: So I’m trying to find, well I found pictures of him in an ice cave. But I guess it is Iceland, right?
Baratunde: There’s some YouTube videos of mobs on ice.
Leo: Here’s the one on Facebook. So he’s with another guy. That’s another one.
Nick: Go back and just click on images.
Leo: I don’t know how to use Google. Hold on, wait a minute. Something strange has happened. So what should I do on the Google? Do I type?
Baratunde: See Nick, this is what happens when we’re not in the studio.
Leo: Do I type? Okay, Jerome Jarre Iceland, right? That should be enough. Maybe I should add mall.
Baratunde: Do images.
Leo: Image search. Really? Then I’m going to get a lot of weird pictures.
Nick: Hold on, I’m going to get it for you, two seconds.
Leo: Here he is in the mall in Iceland. This is a YouTube video. View image, view page. You know the internet doesn’t work all that well.
Nick: No it doesn’t. Google sucks.
Leo: Somebody in the chat room said this is a good term. We live in the age of micro-celebrity.
Nick: Well he’s more than a micro-celebrity.
Baratunde: He’s a celebrity from micro…
Leo: But next year will anybody know the name? I’ve already forgotten his name. Jerome Jarre.
Nick: It’s Jerome Jarre. We certainly have the ability for someone to catapult into very well-known, without having agents and handlers.
Leo: Look at this! This is like a vlogger in Iceland. They’re all, we’re think he’s around here. Where is he? Oh my God.
Baratunde: It’s like black Earth.
Leo: It’s insane!
Nick: So here’s the thing that’s insane. That he’s in there somewhere, it looks like Where’s Waldo. The thing that’s insane is I’ve seen pictures of this mall beforehand. There’s like three people in there on a busy day.
Leo: It’s not a heavy population.
Nick: So this happened, they had to call the riot police because people were getting…
Leo: I’ve got to tell you, every one of these girls came because they didn’t expect a lot of girls. They thought it would be me and Jerome, right?
Nick: That’s what happened to Baratunde recently in front of my house.
Leo: And it was just you and Baratunde in this case. Okay so it’s not micro… are you saying this is true celebrity?
Baratunde: What is true celebrity?
Nick: Well this is bigger than true celebrity. These are impassioned fans. Like, Jimmy Fallon could go on and say go take a picture of an ugly selfie. I don’t think he would get as much as a response as Jerome did.
Leo: And yet, I’ve never-and I would guess most people-have never heard of him.
Nick: See someone just ran by.
Leo: It’s crazy.
Baratunde: Do you think this is really that… like the length of his fame… fame has always been fleeting. One hit wonders have been based on that premise.
Leo: Right. So that’s no way to judge it, I agree.
Baratunde: Generationally, parents never know what their teens are into.
Leo: Are his Vine videos like great art? Is there something wonderful about his Vine videos?
Nick: They’re hilarious. I mean, they are. If you go through them, they’re very, very funny.
Leo: So he’s a talented guy.
Nick: Here’s the thing that he does that I think is different. He makes the fans feel like they are not fans, but they’re a part of the thing he’s doing. One day he decided, he said let’s go break a world record on Snap Chat. I’m going to take a picture on Snap Chat, you take a screenshot of it. And we’re going to break the world record for most number of screenshots. And they got like 300,000, some insane number of screenshots on Snap Chat. And then he’s like we together did that. So you go to some of the kids that really love him, you go to their Twitter page. And they’re like I’m part of the world record with Jerome for the most number of screenshots. They all feel like they’re a part of this movement.
Leo: Do you feel like he’s super-smart and has figured this out? Or did he just tumble on something?
Nick: I think he is super-smart at short-form video.
Leo: Here’s some Jerome Jarre. This is a compilation of his Vines. Here’s some Jerome Jarre. He’s looking at a baby. He’s making a face at the baby. The baby’s making a face back. Here he is dancing in a security monitor. Wait a minute, there’s no one there. Oh, I get it. I’m so bored today.
Hey Drum, try this chocolate. Okay.
Leo: So, the Beatles…
I don’t know what happened. Don’t be so serious.
Leo: 40 years later, still are played… you think these Vine videos will be played 40 years later and admired?
Baratunde: In the museum of internet culture.
Leo: Will the French give him a medal of honor?
Nick: I don’t think they’ll be played 40 years later. I think that…
Leo: This is of the moment, isn’t it?
Baratunde: Look, not to be rude and cut you off too much, Nick. I just think the key is the timing of this, it’s important. This is a brand new platform. So no one knows what to expect. It’s not like… this is not a screenplay. This is not a four-minute song. This is not a novel. You don’t even know what this is. What is Snap Chat? That just got made. It’s a made up thing. Vine is a made up thing.
Leo: What’s on his Snap Chat channel? What is he doing?
Nick: He does these… he started this show. And the show is part him doing these kinds of things, just goofing around with people on the street. It’s part a motivational talk. And it’s part a celebrity guest. And so…
Leo: You know what I find interesting is, you could say this is what Vine was made for. But you sure can’t say that’s what Snap Chat was made for.
Nick: No, and that’s something that I have learned very recently. Snap Chat stories is I think one of the next big things.
Leo: There are Snap Chat celebrities big time.
Baratunde: It’s fun and broken at the same time.
Nick: I agree with you.
Baratunde: I started playing with it more basically because Nick won’t shut up about it.
Leo: What should I do with it? Besides sharing pictures of my butt with my girlfriend, or my wife now. What else…
Nick: Congratulations on that by the way. That was last week, right?
Leo: I got married a couple days ago.
Baratunde: What?! Are we breaking this? Is this the first TWiT that this is known?
Nick: No, it was on the internet.
Baratunde: No, the first TWiT.
Leo: I’ve been mobbed at a mall already. This is nothing.
Baratunde: Well yea, congratulations, man.
Nick: This is nothing, I have done this before!
Leo: No, Lisa and I got married finally.
Leo: Yea, we’re very happy. So getting back to the topic of the hour.
Nick: Snap Chat stories.
Leo: What should I do with Snap Chat? If I were going to be capitalizing, why are you telling Baratunde to use Snap Chat?
Baratunde: I’m Snapatunde on Snap Chat by the way.
Leo: Is that right? Wow.
Nick: And I’m Nickbilt, all one word. So what I’ve been doing is I do a daily product review. So I reviewed the other day these fun little cameras that attach to the top of your iPhone.
Leo: How long can a Snap Chat be?
Nick: Each clip can be 10 seconds. You don’t really want to go that long.
Baratunde: Wait for it, wait for it. Each clip is 10 seconds but you string them in there.
Nick: There are six sections and so one of the best people on Snap Chat stories, Jerome’s really good. There’s this guy Dino Fonte that’s really good. He does what’s called Commute Cast. Where he literally does his commute. The other person that’s amazing is Casey Nystat. I’m trying to see if I have Casey on here.
Leo: Can I see this on the web? Or is there no web interface?
Nick: No, there’s no web interface. Shundoris, here’s Shundoris, I’m going to play him.
Leo: Now is this going to self-destruct after you watch it?
Leo: You can only watch it once.
Baratunde: Stories you can re-watch. The rules are odd if you’re not familiar with them. You can replay…
Leo: Okay, he fell down on a skateboard.
Nick: A couple things here, one is if I let go of my finger, I’m no longer watching. The engagement on here is there’s nothing that is as engaging. There is nothing.
Leo: Because you have to hold your finger to it. We live in a nation of freaking idiots. This is the end of the world, ladies and gentlemen. Mike Judge was right; Idiocracy has happened. I’m going home.
Nick: I’m going to…
Leo: It’s engaged because you have to hold your finger to it.
Baratunde: Leo, why does that make you so incredulous? Because instead of being on your laptops and reading a book…
Leo: It’s engaging because I can’t watch it unless I touch it.
Nick: Here’s the thing, two things. First of all, I know we kind of diss all the social media stuff. And there’s times when I get super-frustrated about it. But everyone’s like I wanted a flying car and all I got was Facebook. Okay, imagine for a second that none of this stuff existed. That we weren’t talking on this thing. And we were all standing in a field somewhere like a bunch of idiots. And someone comes along and says do you see that thing over there? That car can fly. You can have that or here’s this thing. It’s a smartphone. You can connect to anyone in the world instantly, millions and millions of people. I’m going for this!
Leo: No, I agree. The smartphone is an amazing thing. I agree.
Nick: Yea, and I think that we kind of underestimate the power of these things. And one of the things I’ve learned with Snap Chat stories specifically, because there are so many kids on there and they’re not rude and not mean. If I go on Twitter, it’s this ripple of people being like I’m smarter than you and you’re an idiot. And your article was an idiot. And Baratunde is an idiot. Just kidding, Baratunde.
Baratunde: To their credit, they’re right about all three of those things.
Leo: So you’re saying Snap Chat succeeds because Twitter is so God-awful?
Nick: No, I’m saying Snap Chat succeeds because it goes away. And I will go on there and be an idiot and have fun. And just goof off. And make these fun little videos that are essentially movies.
Baratunde: The possibilities is super-low. And the thing that I can attest to, I just did a hot show at a high school recently; a comedy show at a high school. And the kids there, that’s all they do. They’re on Facebook as an obligation. But they’re not active in any meaningful way there because Facebook equals drama. Facebook equals somebody liking or not liking. That stuff sits there forever. Teachers can eventually find it if you don’t protect the settings in the right way. When the performance piece disappears, it liberates you a little bit. It’s why people do open mics in the performing world. It’s why there’s residency programs for artists just to get experimental. That low bar and low burden of history, a system that doesn’t impose history on its users, gives them a level of freedom to do something that they’re not allowed to be in a more publically performative and historical setting. I sound like an academic, but hopefully this made sense. Especially when you’re a kid and you’re changing and messing around. Your words can be twisted to mean something it doesn’t really mean. This is a relatively safe, a much safer environment for that level of performance.
Nick: It’s not even being afraid that things will come out there. It’s just being real. It’s like having fun. I don’t know.
Leo: Does it help that also adults especially parents don’t understand it at all?
Nick: It probably helps.
Baratunde: For now. But once you’re parents…
Leo: Then they’ll move on. Because you don’t use Facebook because grandma is there. You don’t use Twitter because I don’t know, but there’s a lot of reasons. I noticed by the way my son’s 22. Snap Chat’s it. It’s everything.
Nick: I think that part of it is you just get to do whatever you want without worrying about the consequences. There’s no one that’s going to come and leave a nasty comment that everybody else is going to jump on.
Leo: There’s no comments in Snap Chat?
Nick: There are no comments.
Baratunde: I think that the structure of it, this part just hit me too: like Instagram but even simpler. It’s all image. The internet that we came up on…
Leo: Look at the brands here. These are the brands on Snap Chat.
Baratunde: But the internet that we came up on was a text network. We were using UNIX and it was premised on sharing academic papers.
Leo: Very different.
Baratunde: So while we had a text internet…
Leo: What the hell’s going on?
Baratunde: Nick’s dog is yelling.
Leo: Oh Nick’s dog is tripping. So is it completely stupid that the brands are on here? Like if I go to the Discover page, CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Male…
Nick: Those are all horrible.
Leo: They’re all horrible!
Baratunde: And what Snap Chat is offering to those companies is BS. It doesn’t feel like it’s part of the experience. It feels like I’m just in a branded entertainment YouTube channel.
Leo: So how do I find…?
Nick: Go up there and click add friend.
Nick: And then type in @username.
Leo: And I should add?
Nick: Nick Bilton.
Leo: Okay everybody at home should be doing this also.
Nick: Exactly. Bilton.
Leo: Okay, add somebody. There we go, plus him. And Baratunde is?
Leo: I think that’s too clever. I think you’re being too clever, Snapatunde. There we go, that’s you? Snapatunde.
Nick: Now what’s going to happen is go out of here. Hit the… the UI is ridiculously stupid.
Leo: That’s one thing I have noticed. Now is this me, Leo Laporte 67?
Nick: No, you’re name is Leo Laporte.
Leo: I should probably give myself a snap picture.
Nick: You’re just Leo Laporte.
Leo: I’m just Leo Laporte, that’s me.
Nick: So click on the bottom, that little arrow pointing up. If you click over at the right, those three little things on the bottom-right.
Leo: The hamburger menu we call that in the business.
Nick: The hamburger menu.
Leo: I got no stories
Baratunde: Back down.
Nick: They were having some problems earlier.
Leo: Oh look, here’s a Snapatunde. Wait a minute? Are you Snap Chatting while we’re doing the show?
Baratunde: No that’s my story.
Nick: They last for 24 hours.
Baratunde: If you hold your finger down on my name…
Leo: Okay first thing to know, these last for 24 hours. Then they’re gone forever?
Baratunde: You can play them as many times as you like but then they’re…
Leo: So I’m now engaged with art. Is it playing?
Nick: If you want to skip that, hit with your right thumb.
Baratunde: You’re seeing basically a slide show, Leo.
Leo: With my right thumb.
Nick: It will jump through quicker.
Leo: Oh. Okay, that was one story.
Nick: That’s his story. So like this afternoon, Baratunde and I were going to do a snap story on my account where he’s going to teach me how to do stand-up comedy. So if you come back later you can watch that. That will be really fun.
Leo: Oh, that’s cool. Alright so the naked selfies, we don’t do that anymore?
Baratunde: It’s less about messaging.
Leo: It’s not about messaging, isn’t that funny. You saw this happen on Twitter, Nick. When you were writing Hatching Twitter. Part of the evolution was it wasn’t anything like they thought it would be.
Nick: No, nothing.
Leo: And Snap Chat is even more so.
Nick: When I first wrote about Snap Chat, Evan Spiegel the founder was still in school. And it was essentially being used by kids to send pictures that they shouldn’t send. And it just kind of exploded from there. Then it became about femoral messaging and femoral content. And now that’s what it’s about, all about content. It’s about messaging too, but I think the messaging is secondary to the ability to broadcast.
Baratunde: It’s also all about that bass.
Leo: Boom, boom, boom. We’re going to take a break. I love having Baratunde Thurston on the show. He’s cultivatedwitt.com, @baratunde on the Twitter, and Snapatunde on Snap Chat. I’m going to have to start giving out… what is the symbol you put before a Snap Chat?
Nick: Little ghosts.
Baratunde: But if you’re in text line, just SC:. If you want an icon…
Leo: I bet we have a ghost Emoji in there somewhere, don’t we?
Baratunde: It’s the white ghost with the black eye.
Leo: And Nick Bilton’s also here from the New York Times. Hatching Twitter is his newest book. But he’s got a new one coming out later this year on the incredible story of Russell Brechtian and the Silk Road. It’s more of a Ross Ulbricht story than Silk Road?
Nick: No, it’s Silk Road. It’s from the perspective of you know, the folks that were working at the Silk Road, the FBI, the DEA, all the different government agencies.
Leo: You can take a trip down Bitcoin lane as well?
Nick: Yea, a very short trip down Bitcoin lane. I don’t want to bore readers. There’s some really great books coming out on Bitcoin and they’re going to do a much better job than I could at explaining the monetary side of all this. So I’m going to stick to the fun and the drama.
Leo: Very interesting. Let’s take a break, come back with more. There’s actually normal tech news but I think this stuff is fascinating. I really do. And when we can get Nick and Baratunde on, I like to talk about this cultural stuff. Because they really have their fingers…
Baratunde: We always end up back there.
Leo: Well you do but you guys are cultural ambassadors. You’ve come to us from the future.
Nick: I really like that idea, man.
I think it’s true.
Nick: I like that. It’s kind of you.
Baratunde: Cultural ambassadors.
Leo: No it’s true! Since I don’t know any young people, you’re just going to have to do.
Baratunde: We’re barely it.
Nick: Very close to staying to it.
Leo: The young people can’t articulate. See this is the issue. They’re in it. It’s like asking a fish about water. Tell me about water. What do you mean? I’m in it. Water, I don’t even know what that is. So you have to get somebody that’s out of the water but can look in and swim with the fish but then get out and tell us about it. And that’s what you guys do. You need context and you’re giving us context. So thank you.
Nick: It’s our pleasure. Thank you.
Leo: Oh shut up. So phony.
Baratunde: That was sincere.
Nick: I know, I’m being sincere back. Send us a good selfie.
Leo: Really? Alright, I’ll send you naked selfies. So wait a minute, before we take a break…
Nick: Now my Snap Chat is going to be filled with nude selfies.
Leo: How do I know that I’m… when is it a story and when is it a private image?
Nick: Do you want to pull back up your phone.
Leo: I’m going to be that guy who thinks he’s DMing his wenis. And instead, I’m sending it to everybody on Twitter.
Nick: Yea, well pull your phone back up and we’ll show you real quick.
Baratunde: For those listening on Tuesday afternoon in the rain on your drive home, who have no visual reference to this apology… let’s just say that once you’re in the app it makes sense.
Leo: Right now it’s just a picture of the ceiling.
Nick: Take a picture of yourself; press the buttons. Tap the button, don’t hold it down. Just tap it.
Leo: Okay. Snap Chat wants to use my location. I should say okay because God knows the NSA already knows. Okay. Swipe for filters.
Nick: Okay, so you can swipe, yea there you go. See. Okay, now just leave that on the black and white one. Go back one.
Nick: Now put your thumb on the screen, just tap on the screen. Just tap once. Tap.
Leo: Oh look a keyboard.
Nick: Now type, type whatever.
Leo: Okay, learning to swim. Okay.
Baratunde: This is like a webinar, this is amazing.
Leo: So galvanizing.
Nick: Hit return on the bottom.
Leo: Return, okay.
Nick: Okay, so now press the T again up on the top.
Leo: Can I move that text down?
Nick: Yea, no it gets better. Hit the T.
Leo: Oh look!
Nick: Now use both fingers and you can stretch it and move it around. Whoa. See that.
Leo: Oh this is very modern.
Nick: So now we’re going to keep that. So if you hit the third button over which is the little plus sign. Don’t do it yet. If you hit that, it gets saved to your story. And that means everyone who follows you can see it.
Leo: That’s a story?
Nick: That’s a story. If you go to the right and you hit the arrow button to the right…
Leo: That’s sending it to an individual.
Leo: Okay, so story, individual. This is the crappiest user interface. Completely non-discoverable. But you know what, that may be part of this charm too. Because you have to get someone to show you this. You can’t learn this on your own.
Nick: Well yea, and I think that… well that’s part of it. A lot of kids feel like it’s almost like the secret menu in an…
Leo: Yea, exactly.
Baratunde: It’s encrypted against the old.
Leo: Yea, or me. Or both. Okay, so plus…
Nick: Plus sign. And there you go.
Leo: I’ve added a story. Now that’s only available for 24 hours. So if you’re listening in the rain on Tuesday, it’s gone.
Nick: But you’ll have a new story by Tuesday.
Leo: By Tuesday, you’re going to see I’m going to be prolific on Snap Chat. Is there any way to monetize this? No.
Nick: Yes. Jerome Jarre was offered a billion dollars… not a billion dollars. A million dollars to advertise on his Snap Chat channel.
Leo: One MILLION… and what does he have to do? Hold a Pepsi?
Nick: No, it was a food product. He didn’t do it. He said no.
Leo: Good for him. Because who needs a million dollars, really? When you’ve got Snap Chat and 7,000 teenage girl fans at a mall in Finland. Iceland, somewhere.
Baratunde: That monetization is not for the masses.
Leo: No, don’t monetize.
Baratunde: It’s for the celebrities that…
Leo: People who monetize should never monetize. It just ruins things.
Leo: Just stupid. By the way our show today brought to you by Personal Capital. It’s a new year! And it’s time to start investing smarter. Personal Capital has an easy way to do it. When you get that million dollars for your brilliant Snap Chat, you’ve got to go to Personal Capital. For every $100,000 you deposit, you’ll get $100, up to $10,000. Put a million dollars in, you’ve got $1,000 free! It’s a win-win! You get cash in your account and personalized investment advice from their registered investment advisors. Schedule your free one-on-one investment consultation today. Do it now because this is something new. With their award-winning financial app, you can monitor your income, spending, performance of your investments in real-time. You want an easy-to-read screen? You’ve heard us talk about this. It’s great for budgeting, for finding out if you’re overspending on your mutual fund or 401K fees, or other brokerage fees that could just shave years off your retirement. All of this is free! Technically, they’ll pay you when you deposit money into your Personal Capital account. Personal Capital gives you total clarity and transparency to make better financial decisions. And manage your portfolio like a pro. So why wait? Now’s the time to invest smarter and open a Personal Capital account. Make taking control of your financial future one of your resolutions for 2015. Go to Personal Capital, set up your free account. Free! Did I say free? I want to underscore that, free. And for a limited time if you qualify, Personal Capital will give you $100 for every $100,000 you deposit up to $10,000. Personalcapital.com/twit. Personalcapital.com/twit. And we thank Personal Capital for their support of This Week in Tech. Just so you understand, the information is always free. And if you decide you want to use them as investment advisors and you put money in an account, and that’s when money shows up. I think I’m explaining that correctly. Back to Snap Chat college with Nick Bilton, Baratunde Thurston.
Baratunde: Nick fell into his smartphone so I’m here solo for a few moments.
Nick: Poor Pixel. Is it Pixel again?
Baratunde: No, Pixel’s fine. I think he’s getting his dog.
Baratunde: They’ve got to eat. So what are we using to bring the show home, Leo?
Leo: Home. Oh we’ve got a long way to go.
Baratunde: We do?
Leo: No, we’ll make this quick. We had Google results, okay. They missed their expectations, a mere 14.5 as we mentioned. $14.5B in revenue. Ad growth slowing. It’s so interesting to see a company like Google 12 years old and they’re already super-annulated. The world has moved on. We live in an amazing time. Just incredible.
Nick: What did I miss?
Leo: Google’s results. We were just saying here’s a company that was inventing the future and suddenly they’re old school. They’re out the door.
Baratunde: I think that’s probably, what’s the word, wrong? I don’t think they’re over. They’re just making $14.5B in total revenue, which is still… they’re a major company. And they’re investing in space so they plan to be around with us.
Leo: Okay. But the ad growth in revenue is slowing. It’s an old model.
Baratunde: That does make sense. People shift their attention to other places.
Leo: To Snap Chat.
Baratunde: To other places where Google’s not strong. As you’re holding your finger down for 10 minutes a day, you’re literally not looking at anything else.
Leo: Are we going to have a disease called Snap Chat finger?
Nick: Like tech neck
Leo: Tech neck and Snap Chat finger.
Nick: The thing is with Google is their search sucks now. Am I right?
Leo: Because they’ve junked it up? Why?
Nick: Because the people figured out how to work the system. It doesn’t work anymore.
Leo: I think it comes and goes. There certainly was a time when all you got was link farms. And then Mac cuts and the anti-spam team did-I think-a good job at pruning that out. Do you think we’re back to those days?
Nick: You just spent 20 minutes trying to find the picture from Iceland of Jerome Jarre. It didn’t show up.
Baratunde: Here’s the other challenge: maybe it’s the same things that are affecting their slowing growth in ad revenue. Attention is shifting, new platforms are merging. They have nothing or almost nothing to do with it, and as the internet and the web part of it get populated with all this extra media, you know what you’re looking for, Nick.
Leo: Dare I say the web is dead?
Baratunde: Google doesn’t know what you’re looking for.
Leo: Is the web in trouble?
Nick: Well Google should know what I’m looking for.
Baratunde: The source credibility…
Leo: The web pages don’t matter anymore.
Baratunde: Exactly, the sources of credibility that confer that knowledge in the past. Oh clearly because the New York Times is linked to it or 10,000 people blogged about a thing, not that that’s where Google is exactly stuck. But it certainly doesn’t take advantage of well Tuesday two years ago, this was the super-popular thing you were looking for.
Leo: Now Facebook showed good revenue. They figured out mobile. In fact, Facebook basically said their mobile views are now more than half of all views. Mobile revenue: more than half. I mean, they showed good revenue, good growth. But I also think like Facebook may be kind of dead.
Baratunde: Auto-playing all your video ads certainly helps. I don’t actually ever engage in those things. But they’re scrolling. Those video ads are playing as I’m scrolling past them.
Nick: Did you see their financial report? They said that they consider a video viewed if it’s been viewed for three seconds.
Baratunde: Yea, and if you look in the analytics and you see…
Leo: I wonder if the advertisers feel that way.
Baratunde: … it certainly doesn’t feel like you’ve gotten what you paid for.
Leo: You should have to hold your finger onto the Facebook. That would solve that, wouldn’t it?
Baratunde: Actually I wouldn’t be surprised. We’re in a copycat world. People will view source and then paste. People will start to replicate that because I think that’s the secret sauce.
Leo: What’s going on with Cyanogen? I like Cyanogen ROM. In fact I bought a One Plus One because I love Cyanogen. One Plus One is taking the branding off. They announced they’re going to have their own operating system, O2, coming out sometime this… well they’re going to announce more on February 12th. We don’t know when it’s going to come out. And Microsoft announces that it’s making an investment in Cyanogen. What?!
Baratunde: Can you verify my understanding that Cyanogen was initially making jail-broken versions for iPhone way back in the day, right? Didn’t they have a mod for iPhone when you jail-broke your iPhone? You could load their OS?
Leo: No, I think you’re confusing that with Cydia maybe. So Cyanogen, I first experienced it… you would take let’s say a Samsung Galaxy S2 and you really don’t want the touch whiz. So you root it, you put a new recovery system on it, and then you can install your own ROMs. And Cyanogen was always one of the best. They took Android.
Baratunde: Yea, Android. I used iPhone. It was an Android, a mod for Android.
Leo: Yea, yea, it was for Android. Then you’re right then if you say Android.
Baratunde: I modded my Android way back in the day.
Leo: So you root your Android and you put a different ROM on it and get rid of touch whiz. And Cyanogen did something that was-I think-quazi not right based on AOSP, the open source. But then nobody really wants AOSP Android. They want all the Google services and Google apps. So they do a side-load of all of that, which would put the Play Store and Play services on there. And now it’s a better Android phone. In fact, this was kind of the end game on it, was putting it on a legitimate handset that in fact Cyanogen on a One Plus One is great! Except that I don’t know where Cyanogen is going. Their new CEO said we’re going to kill Android. They want to be the new Android. They say Google is not a good steward of Android. But then they take money. Sorry, I didn’t mean to mention Google. My phone work up. And then they take money from Microsoft?! Any thoughts on that? That’s probably not on your…
Baratunde: Look, I think it’s good. Having one company run the operating systems on half the phones being sold…
Leo: Yea! I’m rooting for Cyanogen.
Baratunde: Get it? Rooting? That was good.
Leo: However I’m not rooting for Microsoft Cyanogen?
Baratunde: Why not?
Leo: Actually Microsoft’s the new…
Baratunde: They only have 3% of the smartphone market share.
Leo: Isn’t Microsoft the new Black? With the HoloLens?
Baratunde: Yea, that actually if you want to talk HoloLens for one second. That reminded me so much, going back to the book Demon in Freedom.
Leo: Yea! Me too!
Baratunde: Those D-space glasses. I was like oh it’s happening!
Leo: Oh look at the little doggy! Is that your newest?
Nick: That’s my fiancé’s dog.
Baratunde: For the folks at home without cameras, Nick put a dog in front of the camera.
Nick: You guys were talking about boring stuff so I was just trying to make it exciting.
Leo: If I Snap Chat you and your dog, does that get me more viewers?
Nick: It may. Say hi!
Leo: Why is it pointed at me? Let me flip my phone around.
Baratunde: Why is it pointed at me?! That’s it! That’s the answer to everything right there, Leo. That’s the title of the show, I swear. That is the millennial, that’s Snap Chat, that’s…
Leo: And I add that to my stories and now Nick you’re part of my story! Febe, that’s Febe?
Nick: It’s a mini Pixel.
Leo: Aww, sweet. Yea, we’re bored by Google. We’re bored by Microsoft. I’m telling you.
Baratunde: Trying to take Google out of its own operating system. It’s like Game of Thrones.
Nick: Hey, can I ask you guys a question?
Nick: Did you see the deflate gate thing with the pit-bull things?
Baratunde: The science behind that, yea.
Leo: What’s the science behind deflate gate?
Baratunde: Well the science is it’s about gases. And the temperature of a room. And it’s about what happens in pressure.
Leo: So for those of you who don’t follow sport ball, deflate gate is a controversy following I think it was the AFC playoffs between the Colts and the Patriots in which the Patriots were accused of under-inflating footballs to make them easier to grasp and pass. Now I don’t understand exactly how this would benefit one team but not the other. Maybe I don’t know, they switch footballs?
Baratunde: The idea is that there are rules about what the PSI of the ball are…
Leo: They’re supposed to be 12.5-13.5 PSI.
Baratunde: So if one team has avoided those rules and then made it much easier to grip the ball when they’re playing offense, then they could in theory have some kind of advantage. I think that’s the basic allegation.
Leo: Apparently the Patriots’ game balls were re-inflated at halftime.
Baratunde: What this really is it gave everybody in the media over a week a chance to say balls.
Leo: Something to talk about.
Baratunde: To be real cute for like five days in a row.
Leo: So what’s the science though? Are they saying it’s an altitude thing?
Baratunde: So the last I just talked to a super-Pat’s fanatic yesterday; I haven’t dug into this myself. I’m just not that into it because football is not super-important to me.
Leo: Obviously you’re here right now.
Baratunde: Yea, exactly. The game is probably started. But the idea is the Patriots are saying we didn’t do anything wrong. Like this just happened. So there’s a question of is it possible for footballs to lose pressure. I’m not going to play into the balls; I can’t do the balls pun thing anymore. Is it probable for footballs to lose their pressure naturally or do they have to be interfered with by a person who is trying to cheat in some way.
Nick: Didn’t Bill Nye come out and say it was nonsense-their excuse for it? Bill Nye, the science guy.
Baratunde: I literally tried to filter out any information related to this story over the past week.
Nick: Okay, well this has been…
Baratunde: That’s how you kill a topic. Boom! Four-dimensional chess, y’all.
Nick: How you kill a topic. Whoa, where did Leo go? Did we lose him because we were so boring?
Baratunde: He went to go watch the super bowl I bet.
Nick: We literally just bored Leo to death.
Baratunde: Well this is weird. The studio is empty and Nick and I are…
Nick: What do we call this Baratunde when we take over the studio?
Baratunde: Occupy TWiT.
Leo: I just went to get a beer and a hotdog. It’s alright, I’m over.
Nick: Oh good. We thought you had abandoned us. We were about to do an occupy TWiT.
Baratunde: People at home won’t get this but it was really spooky. It looked like you had disappeared.
Leo: I got deflated. Sky Mall is dead!
Baratunde: Oh man. I don’t know what I’m going to drool on an airplane anymore.
Leo: Well you know what, according to Sky Mall it’s the smartphone that killed it!
Baratunde: Explain how do they explain blaming the smartphone for their death.
Leo: Because it all started when the FAA said that apparently the only time people were looking at Sky Mall, the catalogue in the back of your airplane seat… and the pilot said okay, now you can’t use your electronics for 10 minutes. Let’s look at Sky Mall. As soon as somebody could keep their electronics on, boom! The bottom falls out of Sky Mall.
Baratunde: Oh so the true market for Sky Mall is I hate people, right? Because we can also talk to each other during this time. Well it’s like no, no, no, I need anything but the person next to me. Anything but that. Not everybody gets a window. So Sky Mall basically takes up space for us to avoid our fellow human beings. And then we got the internet for that in the palm of our hands.
Leo: You know it’s a shame because the very next month of Sky Mall’s catalogue, they were going to have flying cars. And if they hadn’t gone bankrupt…
Nick: I have a lot of people telling me this was my fault.
Leo: Your fault?
Baratunde: Fault is the wrong word.
Leo: Your doing?
Nick: Because I did the FAA stuff.
Leo: Oh! It’s your fault! You were the one! You rattled the cage! You said why do we have to turn these things off? That’s right!
Nick: Yea. Oh yea, the FAA hated me for a while. Probably still do.
Leo: Are you on a no-fly list?
Nick: No, but I was on a no-pick-up-the-phone list.
Leo: Really? So now you’re bitching about the sorry state of in-flight Wi-Fi. Is this your next crusade?
Nick: It could be, we’ll see how it goes. A lot of people seem to get behind it. Have you flown lately and how sorry internet on the plane is? It’s just ridiculous.
Leo: It’s pretty slow.
Nick: And before everybody says well did you see the Louis C.K. skit? Yes, it’s in the article. Thank you very much.
Leo: I didn’t get that far. I only read the first paragraph.
Nick: I had a couple colleagues that responded on Twitter to my column and they were like you should see this Louis C.K. skit. And I responded and I said if you actually bothered to read the piece, you’d see the last four paragraphs are about that.
Leo: You should have led with it.
Nick: Well the whole point was to catch them in the act tweeting without reading.
Baratunde: And it’s part of your point, Nick, not that like oh yay we live in magic. Great. But you’re charging me for this.
Leo: Yea, $12, $13. Sometimes more.
Nick: No, it’s $34! It started out as $12-13. It’s now $34.
Baratunde: It depends on your airline.
Leo: But isn’t the problem that everybody’s using it? They didn’t have that much bandwidth. If you’re the only one using it, it’s not so bad. But now everybody’s using.
Nick: Yes, but here’s the thing. You have about 70 people on a flight from the east coast to the west coast that will pop on and use the Wi-Fi. I think anyone who’s going to use it is using it, so why screw us over with the cost of it? First of all. And second of all, there are technologies out there, there are companies that have developed technologies where you can do 100mbps through satellite and so on. They do exist on certain airlines: Jet Blue has it.
Leo: They are upgrading now.
Nick: They are upgrading. So it’s like you know why charge us the air-to-ground stuff, it’s 3mbps.
Leo: Well because, Nick, the airlines are in the business of making money. And frankly for a while they were about to go out of business. And so they’re just grasping for every dollar they can get.
Nick: Here’s the thing I found out in my reporting in the column. In Europe, there are some airlines that pay for the Wi-Fi and give it to their customers for free. It entices people to take those airlines. So why can’t we have that here in America?
Leo: It’s just like hotels. We overpay for Wi-Fi at hotels. It’s not as crappy but it’s often not so good. And it should… the difference is that on an airplane you’ve got to put a lot of heavy equipment. It uses more fuel because you’ve got this equipment. How much does it weight, do you know? The Wi-Fi boxes.
Nick: It’s not that much.
Baratunde: It certainly creates like you have to have tech support on your plane. That’s an issue. When things don’t work, people get really angry. And they’re going to harass the flight attendants who may not know. Like they have to be trained on how to answer that.
Leo: I think because of Nick they’re going to take Wi-Fi out of airplanes. And now we can blame him for the death of Sky Mall and…
Nick: They’re going to replace Wi-Fi with the new version of Sky Mall.
Leo: We should have said hey don’t shut down yet, Wi-Fi.
Baratunde: Well you’ll have gigabit Ethernet speeds but only for skymall.biz. That’s the only site you can go to that’s really fast.
Leo: Drones! Guys, do you like drones? Are you excited about drones? The drunk guy who crashed his drone into the White House…?
Nick: Yea, did he get in trouble?
Leo: This is the drone. By the way I love the secret service picture that went over the wire.
Baratunde: What was that one?
Leo: It’s a DGI Phantom that apparently was being flown by a drunken government employee at two in the morning.
Baratunde: Oh my goodness. Where were the anti-aircraft batteries when that thing…
Leo: Well that’s the problem. These things are so small and fly so low, the radar doesn’t see them. And what are you going to shoot them with? Isn’t that going to be worse than the drone?!
Nick: It’s crazy that this is really interesting because yea the guy was an idiot and drunk, having fun and screwed up. But what I keep finding that’s really fascinating with technology is that every time some new amazing technology comes out, we’re like wow this is the greatest thing ever. Like 3D printing. And then somebody thinks of something really bad to do with it.
Leo: Print a gun.
Nick: Like make guns. And I think you’re starting to see that with drones. At first it was like really amazing. And now people are coming out saying…
Baratunde: Spying on people.
Nick: Well they’re using the border to pass drugs back and forth and so on.
Leo: Oh, that’s a good idea!
Baratunde: A great idea!
Leo: And the real concern is that if they get weaponized, people will worry about… in fact I guarantee you at the super bowl, there’s some serious concern about weaponized drones.
Leo: And by the way weaponizing doesn’t mean putting a bomb on it. What if you loaded it up with little anthrax packets?
Baratunde: Here’s the beautiful thing, every tool is a weapon as well. You know, the hammer can be used to bash somebody’s head in. The knife can be used to end one’s life in a second and also carve a delicious roast on a Sunday afternoon. So we should be very careful.
Leo: Man, that delicious; that was like heartfelt.
Baratunde: I’m hungry. But this White House situation, yes a drunk employee flew a drone over. But also a dude just jumped over the fence and then ran in the bushes and got inside the building.
Leo: The thing is they can do something about the dudes jumping over the fence. These drones are hard… by the way, DJI’s response… I think DJI and other Phantom manufacturers are totally terrified. The President said there needs to be more regulation. DJI now has a mandatory firmware update that will stop the drones from flying over Washington D.C.!
Baratunde: Over the whole city?
Leo: They don’t work!
Baratunde: So if you’re a resident of Washington D.C. and you go to buy…
Leo: Don’t buy a DJI.
Baratunde: You’re in high school in D.C. and you’re part of a science project. That doesn’t make any sense, Leo.
Leo: The updated firmware will be released in coming days says DJI. It adds a no-fly zone centered on downtown Washington D.C. for a 15.5-mile radius in all directions. Phantom pilots in this area will not be able to take off from or fly into this air space.
Leo: What?! Furthermore, they’re going to start programming these drones to stop flying when they get within certain distances of airports. See DJI unlike some cheaper drones have GPS built-in.
Baratunde: Man, is my audio sounding really wonky?
Leo: No, you sound marvelous.
Baratunde: Okay. You sound weird to me, but maybe that’s just how you sound.
Leo: Okay, let’s take a break. Baratunde’s going to fix his audio. We’ve got to wrap this up. Baratunde is starting to fantasize about roast beef. That’s always a bad sign.
Baratunde: Are you taking a break?
Leo: If he starts looking at Pixel with gleam in his eye, I’m just saying.
Baratunde: You are side-lining had for me, dude.
Leo: Unplug and re-plug your headset while we talk about freshbooks.com. It is cloud accounting software designed for small businesses or freelancers. A lot of us, I for years was going to Canada doing the TV show up there. And I had to bill them every month and I would forget, and forget, and forget. I hated it. Who wants to launch Microsoft Word typing in the whole thing? Print it out, lick a stamp. I would put it off! Which means I wouldn’t get paid for months! And then they’d complain when they get five invoices at the same time. Fresh Books saved my life. Fresh Books makes it easy to invoice, beautiful professional-looking invoices. You can have them automatically created every month if you wish. They have, when you email the invoice a pay button, which your clients will love. When they press that button, you can use top credit cards, online payment system. You on average will get paid five days faster when you use Fresh Books. That’s amazing! Fresh Books integrates with your apps and services, too. Like Google Apps, PayPal, Stripe, Mail Chimp, Funbox, and Zen Payroll, and on and on. You can work in multiple currencies which was great for me. I was billing U.S. and Canadian dollars for a long time. Fresh Books customers spend less time on paperwork. You free up on average two days a month to focus on the work you love. And if you’ve been using a paper system or a stopwatch to bill time and hours, don’t. They’ve got apps for Android and iOS that will do that automatically and put it right in the invoice. You can even snap photos of receipts right from your phone, enter the details in Fresh Books. It makes it very easy to bill for expenses as well. Never been better. And with an open API, developers can integrate with Fresh Books platform. And so more features are being added all the time. The best support in the world. PC Magazine calls Fresh Books simple and friendly. Its invoice management is among the best. Got editor’s choice for both web application and mobile apps. And I agree; I’ve been using it for years. Try Fresh Books for free with no obligation. Start your 30-day free trial at freshbooks.com/twit. And don’t forget to put if you would This Week in Tech in the how did you hear about us section. That way Baratunde and Nick will get credit. We won’t send them any money but they’ll get credit. Freshbooks.com/twit. Actually we’ve offered both of you stipends to appear more often on this show because I love you guys.
Nick: $10,000 a show, it just doesn’t cut it for me.
Leo: Is that what it’s going to cost, is that what it’s going to take? More than 10?!
Baratunde: It’s going to cost $4.5M.
Leo: How about I just send a drone to your house?
Nick: I have a drone.
Baratunde: Is that a threat?
Leo: Do you? What kind of drone do you have?
Nick: I have a DJI. It’s my third one. I crashed one into a wall. I crashed one into the river. And it disappeared. And this is the third one. I don’t fly it because I’m afraid it might break.
Leo: So I have a very similar story. I bought a very inexpensive drone, a Sema. Because Padre, Father Robert who is one of our hosts here is an expert on drones. He’s building them on Know How. We have drone school; we do a lot of drone stuff here. And he said your first drone, don’t get an expensive one. Get a $40 drone. So I got the $40 Sema. It’s not quite disposable at $40. But it also has the advantage of being very light. It couldn’t really hurt anybody. So first I put batteries in, charged the battery up on the drone. Got the remote. I pushed the joystick forward to make it go up and it goes up. And then I try to go backwards. It doesn’t go backwards, it goes up. I try the left, it goes backwards and goes up. It’s like a helium freaking balloon. I lose sight of it! I can’t see it! I’m going where did it go? It’s gone. First time!
Nick: No, you never found it again?
Leo: I walked the property. I walked three acres looking for it.
Nick: Wait, are you serious?
Baratunde: It doesn’t have…
Leo: Gone! Gone in 30 seconds, this was gone in five!
Baratunde: How do you know somebody doesn’t steal your drone?
Leo: Steal it, if they could find it!
Nick: You need the remote. So I had the DJI Phantom, the latest one that came out. And I was doing a product review and I was in San Francisco and the big business editor was in town from the New York Times. And I took him down to the water and this other reporter down to the water, too. And we were flying down in this big parking lot. I was like oh, I said to my editor. I said take it over the water; let’s take some photos of the boats. And he was like okay. So he flew it out over the water. And he looks at me and he goes it’s not working, Nick. And I was like um, let me try. And as he handed it to me, the drone literally just fell out of the sky. And we ran to the water and that was it. It was gone.
Baratunde: Out of range?
Leo: Well you didn’t buy that one. So you just had to call DJI and say I lost your drone.
Nick: Yea, so and they weren’t too happy about it. Because it was like a prototype that was like 10 in the world. So we were trying to figure out what happened.
Leo: There’s no business like drone business.
Nick: There’s no business like drone business. We were trying to figure out what happened. And one of the things we thought was in these early prototype ones, they had a switch on. There’s a lull that a drone can’t go within a certain distance of an airport. We thought that…
Leo: Maybe they had that one.
Nick: … that it was on and automatically shut down not knowing it was in the water.
Baratunde: One theory is that Skynet is defending itself. Or ISIS.
Leo: You don’t have to get that fancy. The drone flew out of range basically and just plummeted.
Baratunde: I use drones all the time. They’re paper airplanes. That’s about as close…
Leo: That’s what I’m using from now on.
Baratunde: I was using one a few weeks ago and just as I started to get the hang of it the battery died. And I’m bored.
Leo: Like Nick, I have a drone in a box that I don’t want to take out because I know that it will just fly away and I’ll lose it.
Baratunde: You need a big open football field.
Leo: I was in a pretty open property. So that’s the thing to know. This thing can go so high that you can’t see it anymore.
Nick: Yea, they can go thousands of feet in the air.
Baratunde: Maybe like an eagle snatched your drone. I really like more creative ways of what happened.
Nick: No, I flew it into the water, that’s pretty much what happened.
Baratunde: I’m talking about Leo’s disappearing drone. It’s a mystery.
Nick: Maybe it went to drone heaven.
Leo: It’s in drone heaven. You know, I have been in heaven. I really like you guys. I think I’m having a little bromance. Why don’t I… why did you move to L.A.? Why, why?
Nick: Have you seen my house?
Leo: Yea, it’s gorgeous. I have seen your house. It’s gorgeous.
Nick: I have great fruit trees in the back and lemon trees. And then there’s like a spot over here to sit and relax.
Leo: And a fiancé. And you acquired a fiancé.
Nick: A couple of dogs.
Leo: How long have you been…? This new lady, where’d you find her?
Leo: You can find women on the internet?
Nick: $25. Pretty cheap these days.
Baratunde: You guys are terrible.
Leo: Baratunde, you’re doing great, too. You’re still in Brooklyn, right?
Baratunde: I’m in two places. I came out to L.A. in October to do a TV show which no longer exists. I was on the Pivot network, called Take Part Live.
Leo: Oh, Take Part was cool.
Nick: He was working for Sky Mall.
Leo: So what happened? Was it prematurely terminated or that was the length of the time the show was playing?
Baratunde: It was premature. It wasn’t renewed. I would say it was prematurely terminated. They didn’t have plans to not continue it when I joined, for example. So the show was finally up about a year before I joined. And then I joined and then it didn’t exist. So make of that what you will. Correlation, not causation. At any rate, that part is done but I still like being out here.
Leo: Watch this. Baratunde Thurston with Larry King, ladies and gentlemen. This is an amazing show.
This is a depressing night in the states when I see T-Pain and Larry in the middle. Okay, as we all know…
Leo: Wait a minute, that’s T-Pain. Where are you?
Baratunde: I’m not in this.
Leo: Oh. Was this before you arrived?
Baratunde: No, Larry King was on when I arrived but it was a later episode.
Leo: Yea, I thought I saw pictures of you with Larry King.
Baratunde: That’s his first time on the show. His second visit I was there.
Leo: So what was the idea of…
Nick: Baratunde is much better looking than T-Pain.
Leo: I agree.
Baratunde: The idea of the show was let’s have a daily live show to help anchor this new network which is owned by Participant as well as Social Impact, plus Entertainment. And there were three hosts, Megan McCain which is Senator John McCain’s daughter, Jacob Soberoff, and myself. And we would run down the day’s news. We would debate and have a bit of a roundtable. We would interview people. Sometimes celebrities, sometimes activists. People doing something kind of interesting in the world. And we also did field pieces. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a whole set of stories that had to do with public health and the developing world.
Leo: It was too good.
Baratunde: There was a lot of good for the show. A ton of good in the show. They also learned a lot of things. And one of the things they learned was we shouldn’t keep doing this. So I’m not doing that anymore. But yea, I’m on the nightly show as a panelist.
Leo: Look how handsome Baratunde is on this show. Look at what a good-looking fellow.
Nick: You’re very kind.
Leo: Look at that, your shirt and tie are coordinated.
Baratunde: My style got upgraded out here in L.A. That was really great. I love it out here. So I’m spending more time…
Leo: Are you going to stay?
Baratunde: We’ll see. I’m going to spend more time in L.A. to consider myself a resident of both as I sort out my future.
Leo: Does that mean you’ve moved in on Nick’s couch? Are you living on Nick’s couch?
Baratunde: I wish I was living on Nick’s couch.
Nick: With the dogs.
Baratunde: No, I’m pretty close though, so we’re basically neighbors.
Leo: I love that.
Baratunde: Cultivated Witt is always a big thing. We have our comedy hack thing.
Leo: And that’s coming up to San Francisco February 2nd to 5th.
Baratunde: Sunday, February 8th is the big show as a part of San Francisco’s sketch fetch.
Nick: Say hi, Baratunde.
Baratunde: Comedyhackday.org. I’m waiving at the computer, breaking TWiT right now.
Leo: What? That’s your house?!
Nick: Isn’t that cool?
Baratunde: And by the way I would never show my house.
Leo: Did you buy that from George Clooney when he got married? What the hell?
Nick: George Clooney lives here. He’s in the back. He takes care of the dogs for me.
Baratunde: What Nick means to say is that he’s George Clooney’s butler. And it’s a great deal. He gets to keep his dogs.
Leo: Cultivatedwitt.com. You read Nick Bilton of course in the New York Times. What is this section?
Nick: Just look me up on Twitter. My column appear all over the place. Just follow me on Twitter and I’ll tweet them every Wednesday morning at 11am Eastern.
Baratunde: Appointment reading.
Leo: Wait a minute. What do you use, Hoot Suite or something to schedule tweets?
Nick: No, but my column… we have a goal of trying to get it out there at a scheduled time because people look for it and want to read it. So we started now doing it at 11am Eastern which is the perfect time for the west coast when they’re driving to work. And it’s the perfect time for the east coast because they’re now bored at work already. And so yea, that’s when it goes out.
Leo: Nice. Hatchingtwitter.com, @nickbilton. And the Snap Chat is Nickbilton.
Nick: Yes, follow me. I’m doing lots of Snap stories.
Leo: Very exciting. Baratunde is Snapatunde, @baratunde on the Twitter. I’m serious guys, I don’t want to ever do a show without you ever again.
Baratunde: Oh man.
Nick: Well you’re going to have to come to L.A.
Leo: Let’s talk to a major television network. And see how that goes.
Nick: So are we calling this show, what was it? You had a good joke, Baratunde.
Baratunde: Why is it pointed at me?
Nick: Oh that’s right: why is it pointed at me?
Leo: Okay, I like that name. I like that name. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon. We did it a little early this time because of the super bowl. Although that didn’t pay off. Sometimes it works. Normally at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern time, 2300 UTC.
Nick: What episode number is this?
Leo: This is 495.
Nick: Oh wow.
Leo: 495. 500 is a month off!
Nick: So you want to fly us up and we’ll come up to…
Leo: You know what we should do is fly you up for the 10th anniversary which is in April.
Nick: What do you mean?
Leo: This show is 10 years old.
Nick: Oh really?!
Leo: Our 10th anniversary is in April.
Nick: Who was your first ever guest?
Leo: Well it started because it was an off-shoot of the Screen Savers on Tech TV. So it was me, Kevin Rose, Patrick Norton, David Prager, Robert Herrin. John C. Dvorak joined a few weeks in. And it was really that kind of, those guys a lot, rotating a lot. But you know what’s been great over the last 10 years is we’ve brought… those guys still appear on the show. But we’ve really broadened it because as I’ve met people like you guys. And it has really been fun to meet and find really good, talented people for this show. So, that’s…
Baratunde: It’s very, very, very fun being on this show.
Leo: But you know, we don’t pay them to be here. They just come out of the goodness of their hearts.
Baratunde: It’s fun. That’s why.
Leo: It really is fun. I appreciate it.
Baratunde: I remember writing; you were the first podcast I ever listened to back in the day. And then Daily Source Code way back in the day.
Leo: Yes, Adam Curry, yea.
Baratunde: I remember writing you cold and like I think I was trying to… how do I get his attention? Because I knew you hated email even back then. I was like I knew the employee wouldn’t fit audience with TWiT master.
Leo: Did I respond?
Baratunde: You did. You wrote back! Yes, got to use your employer sometimes!
Leo: The Onion was great. And I was a big…
Baratunde: So thank you.
Leo: Well I’m glad I responded.
Nick: Leo, did you notice a theme here? Baratunde worked at the Onion; the Onion is no longer. Baratunde worked for Take Part Live.
Baratunde: The Onion’s doing great!
Leo: Baratunde worked for Sky Mall; it’s all going now.
Baratunde: Well I was the director of digitals.
Leo: All gone. It’s gone now.
Baratunde: So listen up organizations, if you want something to not exist, bring me on. Hire Baratunde. I will help you not exist.
Leo: As everybody who’s worked in TV knows that every TV show gets cancelled. They all get cancelled someday, sooner or later.
Nick: I think my poor little dog needs to go for a walk.
Leo: Well let Pixel go. Thank you gentlemen. Thank you all for joining us! I’m going to conclude this as I do every week for the last 10 years. Another TWiT is in the can!