This Week in Tech 587
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! We have an amazing panel for you. Normally we put tech journalists in the chair. Today we've got Venture Capitalist. We lead off with Jason Calacanis, Jonathan Abrams is here, his startup is nuzzle.com and Peter Rojas, who founded Gizmodo, founded Engadget, started TheVerge, he's now a venture capitalist at Nato works. We'll talk about the financial news this week, also Apple's announcements, what's happening at Twitter. Google Home. There's a lot to talk about. Stay tuned. A fun TWiT is next.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 587, recorded Sunday, November 6, 2016.
Leaving the Apple Cult
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we get together with some of the most interesting people in the technology sector and talk about the week's technology news. Normally we use tech journalists here, but I don't have a single journalist in the lot, which is going to be kind of fun. All of the people joining me today are founders, investors, and acute observers. Starting to my right here, Jonathan Abrams, who is in the news business, but is the founder of Nuzzle. Good to see you again, Jonathan.
Jonathan Abrams: Technically not a journalist.
Leo: Not a Journalist? And Nuzzle is a wonderful place to go to get your newsletters. Nice to see you. Wearing your Alan Touring shirt. Is there a reason for that?
Jonathan: Am I allowed to say we were earlier playing the game of geeks? So I thought I should wear something and pay homage to a legend of computer science.
Leo: Also to my left here, Mr. Jason Calacanis, who has been on many times.
Jason Calacanis: Good to be home.
Leo: inside.com. Which is a journalistic enterprise.
Jason: Peter and I are former journalists, but when you get paid so little doing journalism for a decade or two, you just run to the next thing. Everybody is jumping of the ship. It's sinking. Inside is doing email newsletters.
Leo: And now you're doing a text message.
Jason: I have an experiment. Jason's txt list. I tweeted it twice, I'm just texting people my random thoughts, what's great about text is it's 100% of the messages get opened. Interesting because you have to think signal. You're wasting somebody's time.
Leo: I used to think that with Twitter, Now I don't worry so much.
Jason: I tell people about a company I invested in.
Leo: It's like a personal Twitter in a way.
Jason: I have 150,000 people on my email list and 800 on this. So when something is intimate or a sniper shot. It's an experiment, I don't know if it's going to work. I'll just keep doing it.
Leo: And you mentioned Peter. Peter Rojas is here, a long time at Engadget. Founder and editor in chief, but now an investor himself. He's at Beta news ventures.
Peter Rojas: Beta works.
Leo: Beta Works! They bought Digg right?
Peter: Beta Works original studio but now...
Leo: It's the same parent company. Great to see you! Do you miss writing about the latest phone?
Peter: I will say I still write a little bit, but it's nice not to have an opinion about everything. I was obligated to have a perspective about every twist and turn in the news.
Leo: Every five minutes there's a new something.
Jason: Peter was also the founder of Gizmodo, so people don't realize this, but he founded Gizmodo and founded Engadget. Then the team from Engadget and Gizmodo formed Verge. Three of the top five news journals were technically started by Peter.
Leo: Nice job, Peter. Let's see. A lot to talk about. We're coming up on an election on Tuesday. I don't think we should get too political today, because I think people come to us as a refuge. To run away from all of this. But there's some tech around the elections. We haven't had a presidential election in four years. Every four years, tech marches on. This is heavily influenced by Twitter, this particular presidential election. Some people will be watching Buzzfeed on Twitter for the election results. A great number of people who are watching online as opposed to the networks for election results. Many people have multiple screens.
Peter: I think one of the things that is different is especially before social media if you wanted to hear rumors about exit polls and early projections, you couldn't find that information. You had to wait until the polls closed and the networks made their calls.
Leo: Networks were the gate keepers.
Peter: I think now we're going to see throughout the day on Tuesday early exit polling. People are going to start making calls. You'll see a lot of discussion on Twitter. You're already seeing people making early projections in Nevada for example right now.
Leo: A heavy Latino turn out. It's part of what's been happening in journalism, which is the rules that were maintained by a small group of people who had the pulpit, the New York Times and CBS news, those rules are out the window now. It's a race to the bottom... things like holding off until the polls close... there's a big heavy philosophical discussion at the networks. Nobody...
Peter: I think the networks will still hold to it.
Leo: Will they? If they're getting scooped online, are they going to still hold their tongue? It's only a matter of time before they say it's out there, we're going to say it. In the same way they name names now when they would not name names...
Jason: Or they say certain words that presidential candidates say that have never been said on national television.
Leo: It's changed quite a bit.
Jason: The legacy of this is Trump is really the first social media candidate. If this was 20 years ago, could someone like Trump get the amount of air time that he wanted?
Leo: He did not need to buy ads.
Jason: And he is able to control his message. He is a savant at getting attention online. Then becomes undeniable, he forces the networks to cover him. It's a pretty dark time for America.
Leo: He's played it very well. His reality show experience helps too.
Jason: If you think about the facts, we have this great tradition of journalists checking facts, now it seems like the power of video and social media--the facts don't matter anymore. Somebody can make a video on YouTube that sounds incredibly convincing that the Clinton foundation stole all the money going to Haiti, but in other parts it can explain...
Leo: It becomes true by repetition. At the same time, we have more fact checking sites than ever before. Google is including fact checking in its search results in Google News.
Jason: It's going to take decades and multiple election cycles for us to get used to this new forum of anybody can say anything at any time and it's probably not true. It's going to be harder and harder to figure it out.
Peter: I think there's going to a lot of pressure on Facebook after this election. There's a lot of fake news propagated through Facebook. There's a great story on Buzzfeed about content farms in Macedonia that are making fake...
Leo: This news coming out of Macedonia?
Peter: I think that if you're Facebook, you have to take a look at yourself and wonder what responsibility do we have?
Jonathan: The reason fake news is going viral is that people like it. It wouldn't be going viral unless partisan people weren't seeing this crazy stuff and liking it and sharing it.
Leo: Like it or click on it.
Jonathan: Some people like it and some people don't. We're getting a lot of complaints at Nuzzle from our users that people are fed up and tired of all the politics and election coverage. At Nuzzle we don't have editors and we are seeing the top news. Shared by their friends. On one hand, their friends are tweeting a lot of this news. That's why it's in their newsfeed. On the other hand, people are complaining to us for getting sick of seeing so much of it.
Leo: Facebook, by the way, decided to do the same thing, originally doing some curation on their topics. wisely said this is a recipe for disaster, let's just let it happen. Then they at least have the out that you have...
Jonathan: Accusations of bias that they were using humans, to now having fake news.
Peter: I think they're going to have to figure out what the right balance is. No algorithm is perfectly neutral. There are implicit decisions and outcomes that arise from the decisions that they make to the newsfeed. After this, not just Facebook and any channel that people used to get news is going to have to look at what can these platforms have to diminish information about the fake stuff that's been put out there.
Leo: Whose job is that? I think Facebook would be wise to see itself as a conduit.
Jonathan: Is it the job of the media or the social network platforms to decide what people see? There are some people who want to see...
Leo: The Algorithm is making a decision that is not unbiased. The difference between a like and a click...
Peter: If Facebook was an unfiltered feed of everyone you followed, that would be one thing. Which is sort of what Twitter is if you don't have the algorithmic feed. With Facebook, there is an algorithm that does make decisions.
Jason: They're going to program what you see. They already made that decision, and if you look at Facebook it's sort of interesting, because they don't want to lose one user. Even though Zuckerberg and Sandberg are absolutely against Trump, when they got accused of being biased towards the liberal side, they are absolutely interested in their share price and their share price only.
Leo: As they should be.
Jason: You have Twitter saying hey. The jack is banning conservatives from the platform, making decisions on what they say. He banned three or four right wing folks. You never see a liberal get banned, or a Democrat. Now without making judgments about it, if you start deciding that you're going to police speech, you've lost already as a platform. What I talked about before was consumers don't understand what trending topic means. They don't understand if it was computers, an algorithm is what the tech industry builds to skew people over and to trick them and have somebody else to blame like the machine. Algorithms are written by humans.
Leo: I'm assuming... am I wrong? I'm looking at my trending topics on Facebook. This must be things that people are talking about. They say 6200 people are talking about this... that's not real?
Jason: google with the trending searches took out porn searches because then they'd be top 20. So if you go to Google lobby, they had a raw feed and you'd see a disclaimer because every 3rd one would be something you didn't want to share.
Leo: Every fourth one was Yahoo, which was funny.
Jason: The point is, as a large group of citizens, people are absolutely confused as to what all this stuff is. Media is not trusted at an all-time high. Media distrust is at an all-time high. People don't know who to believe, they believe the New York Times is biased towards liberals, and then you have a bunch of trolling activist journalists like Breitbart who are biased and have an agenda.
Leo: We're never going back to the days where you have a paper record and you can say I can trust the Tiffany network. It's all burned down. Is that the solution? Or do consumers have to go through the stuff and filter it and figure it out?
Jonathan: There's new voices. A lot of millennials are getting coverage from. But I think the traditional media, I hate to say something like this, they have done a bad job in some ways in the election coverage. The Clinton email stuff, the amount of coverage on that versus other things. It is crazy. There's the false equivalency. In general they do a bad job. The cable news networks are...
Leo: The irony is the people who believe as you do are mad. The people who believe otherwise are just as mad. Saying there's too little coverage. Trump tweeted Facebook and Twitter are sitting on all this stuff. Nobody is happy. Whether true or not, everybody mistrusts all the sources. What do you do?
Peter: I will say newspapers have done a better job.
Leo: But nobody trusts them.
Peter: But the Washington Post, the coverage with the Washington post...
Leo: Jeff Bezos has done a very good job, hasn't he?
Peter: David Farenholt has been doing coverage of the Trump foundation. It's been excellent investigative journalism...
Leo: Is that because Bezos is pouring in money?
Jason: You don't have to worry about the profit margin at the end of the day. They just can't lose too much money.
Leo: That's not a viable way...
Jason: I disagree.
Leo: Is that what it's going to be? It's going to be the meta cheese funding journalism?
Jason: As all these things crash, like CNN has crashed this election cycle. Consumers will realize if I want to have high quality content, I need to pay for it. You only need to have 5% of the audience agree to do that, and you need to have these news organizations re booted in a smaller footprint. Let's start over and have a small operation, it doesn't have to be profitable, and let's rebuild trust and do original reporting. It could go back to the days where Frontline, 60 minutes...
Leo: I do think there is a thirst.
Jonathan: Local news people were always a subsidized business. They made money from the classifieds and all these other things, they had monopolies. Traditional quality journalism was never profitable in itself.
Leo: It was something to separate the full page ads. But that's how newspapers were created, that's how they've always been. So I think we're saying there's a thirst for a reliable trustworthy source. There are a couple issues. One, there's a thirst for these sources that believes as I do. That filter bubble issue. They do want a filter bubble.
Jonathan: People criticize nuzzle for using a filter bubble. I do tell people you can criticize Nuzzle to look at someone else's feed. You can use Nuzzle as a tool if you want to, it's one of the most efficient tools to see somebody else's perspective. But that's....
Leo: They say I don't want to hear any more politics, but what they really mean is I don't want to hear any more politics that disagrees with my politics. They're completely content to hear about stuff that they agree with.
Jonathan: I think people have reached an excessive point.
Leo: I'm just wondering if there's a future. We talk about this a lot with Jeff Jarvis. Is there a future for some form of investigative journalism? We all agree we need that. Somebody needs to speak truth to power. Somebody needs to cover city council meetings.
Jason: If you look at Mother Jones, they did a couple different investigative pieces recently.
Leo: Are they subsidized?
Jason: Frontline obviously is. I'm not sure if Mother Jones has done patronage yet.
Jonathan: I think I made a donation.
Jason: They did this incredible one on the prison system. What people forget is great journalism is typically done by a small group of people. Three four journalists getting 100k each is only 4,000. If ten thousand people want to support that it's 40 bucks each. Not that much money.
Leo: What about podcasts, YouTube? Can that become a platform for the future of journalism? Somebody is saying "I trust the Young Turks." That's a podcast.
Jason: I don't know if they do original reporting. One of the things is commendation is easy.
Leo: It's easy to do what we do, which is comment. It's a lot harder to go out and do enterprise journalism. A lot more expensive.
Jason: Many hands makes for light work. You have a million people reading a site, if 5% decide to do patronage and pay 10 bucks a year, 100 bucks a year, this could be a big number. I think that this crashing is going to have a great effect that new platforms will be built.
Leo: Let's talk about some other stuff in just a bit. We're going to put Peter Rojas back to work and talk about Macintosh. I'm sorry, Peter. Great panel here. I wanted to start with something philosophical. We got Jason Calacanis is here from Inside.com and the launch festival.
Jason: Launch festival is a festival Scale is our how to grow your company. All of those are free for founders.
Leo: Peter Rojas from Beta...
Peter Rojas: Beta Works. Beta News is something else.
Leo: Beta works. What does Beta works do?
Peter: Beta Works is a studio that creates Internet companies. Giphy.
Leo: Love the Giphy! Love the Sharpie!
Peter: Bitly. Tweet deck.
Leo: Is it an incubator?
Peter: It's an incubator in the sense that they do create the companies. Occasionally something will happen early and we'll bring it in.
Leo: Is your job to think of new products?
Peter: Just the investing, which I really enjoy.
Leo: Nice to spend other people's money. Jonathan Abrams is also here. Founder of Friendster, I think you could say the first social network. It's all your fault! I blame you. Did you have any idea... what social would mean? In the same way that Friendster was a frenzy... huge growth, instantaneous growth.
Jonathan: It grew exponentially from the beginning. In those earliest days when it was just our friends and their friends and their friends it took a while before people started to notice, but even that happened pretty quick. We had no idea...
Leo: Transformed the universe, the Internet. It's your fault. I remember we were on call for help and tried to sign up and couldn't get in.
Jonathan: I remember being on tech TV and they would put up friendster on the screen and it was not loading and it was slow. That was a symptom of the fact that we were so early and doing something that was new. Prior to Friendster you went to a website, I went to a website, we saw the same thing. The way Webster worked was a few people went and saw three very different things using the graph. There wasn't a lot of technology that had already been built. Now if you have a new social app, there's a lot of things you could get off the shelf, so it was pretty hard what we were doing at the time. A lot of companies learned from what we did right and wrong.
Jason: Myspace photo copied it.
Leo: Was it? A photo copy?
Jonathan: Social software blog that Jason wrote. This is before Tech Crunch, before Gawker. I remember when it was one of the first sites that was covering this crazy stuff we were doing.
Jason: You had all the patents, right? You sold them to Facebook?
Jonathan: The company that bought Friendster sold the patents to Facebook for more than they paid to buy. So, yes. Facebook now owns those patents.
Jason: It was only one company before you that did this.
Jonathan: I think six degrees if you want to get into the weeds is more Plateau. Or Amazon All. It was not the same thing. At one point, Classmates.com tried to go public and they were like we were the first social network. classmates.com was nothing like Myspace and Friendster and Facebook. You can get into different definitions...
Jason: Zuckerberg admitted that he copied Friendster. He straight up designed it after your design.
Leo: I didn't see that in the movie. Our show to you today brought to you by stamps.com. You know, in some countries, I think US postage is used as a currency. You can buy a sandwich with a stamp. Jason Calacanis is holding up the fine stamps.com USB scale, which you can get absolutely free today by going to stamps.com. If you send US male for a living, whether you're an Etsy seller or Ebay or Amazon... you send out bills and brochures, you really need to know about stamps.com. It's crazy to go to the post office, but you can buy and print real US postage from your desk with your computer and printer, no postage meter needed. You know what they charge for the ink? Like it's magic ink? It's ridiculous. You don't need magic ink. The postal service loves stamps.com. If you go to stamps.com right now, you can see all the things you can do with stamps.com right now. If you're selling on Ebay for instance you get the stamps.com scale, you can print out the right postage. It'll even suggest the right postage. All you can save money with media mail on this. If you're printing labels, it will get the address from the page, from the website. Any PC address book. It'll fill out certified mail customs forms. All of this automatically. It saves you so much time. It makes you look more professional. You will love stamps.com. It's very affordable. You'll end up saving money with stamps.com. The time and hassle of going to the post office alone! Here's what you do. Go to stamps.com, click on the microphone in the upper white hand corner, use the offer code TWiT, and we've got 110 bonus offer for you. It includes the digital scale, Jason Calacanis was holding up, a five dollar supply kit. 55 dollars in free postage, and a month of stamps.com. It's a good deal! Stamps.com, click the microphone and use the offer code TWiT before you do anything else. Especially as we get close to the holiday season. Amateur hour as we call it at the postal service. If you're doing mailing... You don't need to go to stamps.com So I was really... I watched the Apple event. I was out of town last week. I watched the reaction, particularly from the creative professionals who have been dying for an update to the Macintosh. I am a Mac pro. Three years old without one update. I can't think of any PC company in the world that has a product they're selling on their website that is unmodified from three years ago. That's crazy. One has to wonder: "How committed is Apple to the Macintosh?" I thought the definitive article, if you guys read it it's probably not in the Notes. I know you know Harass. He's pretty astute on this kind of stuff. On this article, "Wherefore art thou, Macintosh?" Makes some interesting points. Let me scroll down to the attention graph here. Percentage of time spent, the yellow is desktop the green is mobile, you can see the desktop over the last few years has shrunk to 50% and one third. It's clear to everybody that Desktop is losing bit-by-bit attention. But obviously Apple is not going to stop selling desktops. There are a lot of reasons why you need to sell computers and iPhones. He points out the PC Industry didn't have the same issue that Apple had. The PC didn't have to share its resource pool with an iPad or an iPhone. It didn't have to answer for its existence to a phone. PC makers and Microsoft aren't fighting with a Usurper in their midst. They can see the challenge, in fact they tried to make Mobile, but they need to do it within the desktop computing Industry. At Apple, he says Apple's immune system was suppressed. It brings us to the question of what to do with the incumbent, the donor of the DNA that sacrifice for the child. As a result, Apple doesn't treat Mac disparagingly, it's preserved, but with limited responsibilities. Ultimately the question for Apple is what is the purpose of the Mac going forward? He says it comes down to direct input devices and indirect input devices. The Mac is what the iPhone isn't, and indirect input device a keyboard, mouse, trackpad are what define the Mac. The OS is designed around it. I think a lot of people say the Mac should become a touch platform. Apple will never do this because essentially what is happening is they're going to ride this indirect desktop computing platform all the way down. The problem is today you can't replace a PC with an iPad. They're close.
Jason: I really need to use Chrome natively, so I can use this when I'm watching TV shows or playing a game or surfing the web, but it's just not a replacement for doing serious work.
Leo: So Apple can't kill the Mac yet. But you can imagine a time when this becomes... this replaces Macintosh.
Jason: How much work is it to keep these product lines competitive? It's almost like they're purposely disrespecting the users or purposely degrading them for some reason. It reeks of incompetence to me, or some bizarre strategy.
Peter: I don't think they're purposely trying to disrespect their customers... they may be doing that unintentionally.
Jason: How many of those fanboys are upset right now, Peter?
Peter: But they just said their MacBook Pro sales are the best they've ever had...
Jason: We all know that's smoke because they can't keep it in stock. It has nothing to do with their net sales, it's been backed up for four years without an update. What does it take to get those people upset? Fanboys are so forgiving.
Peter: Here's what I think. I have no history as an Apple defender, they're doing the projections, and they're realizing that this is a business that is not going to grow anymore and they're going to operate it for cash. If the Mac was a wholly owned separate business that they just owned, they would be running that business for cash, trying to put as little as possible into it and take that cash and put it into other businesses that have potential for growth.
Leo: The Mac is not obsolete, but it's a decreasing share of engagement. Alternate ways the iPad and iPhone are doing the jobs it does well are emerging, but they're not yet good enough. The children are still adolescent and making stupid mistakes, there's still life in the parents. It makes sense that apple is not going to invest heavily in a more abundant platform. They're going to keep it alive until the touch platform is good enough to take over, so the children can succeed the parents. Basically the Mac is in retirement.
Peter: Eventually the iPad can be in a place where it is such that it's a good enough PC for most people. It's hard to imagine it being something where if you're a developer or if you're doing...
Leo: I don't think so. Look at this. This is a keyboard...
Jason: Not good for developers. the fact that you can only install apps is such a handicap.
Leo: That's today.
Jason: IOS will never open up. This is their way to control it. The Mac OS is open.
Leo: Consumers like it. Apple doesn't.
Peter: If you think about how much growth there's going to be around VR and AR...
Leo: Apple is all in on VR and AR. It's pretty clear, they've said over and over again.
Peter: You still need to have... the GPUs on Macbook pro is so anemic...
Leo: It's not going to be on the Mac
Peter: For development now...
Jason: The problem with your theory about the money though... if you're reinforcing what the money is, there's more money than we could ever have.
Leo: Imagine if they killed the Mac. So they're going to keep it alive, but why put more money into something that's...?
Jonathan: I don't know why they're changing as much as they have. I think there's a lot of people who have a Macbook pro or air and are perfectly happy and if they just came out with one that was exactly the same that still had the USB ports but had a faster CPU everybody would upgrade and buy the new one with changing less of the ports.
Jason: But they're not doing that!
Leo: Loo at the other side.
Jonathan: They'd get a lot of people to buy a $2,000 laptop if they just had faster CPU.
Leo: Who was it? Was it you Jon? Somebody was talking to me and said I just sat down at my old Mac laptop and I had nothing but dongles. Already you have connected a lot of wires and stuff to your Mac. You're already connecting things to these ports. Why not move to modern ports? So you're going to get a little adapter. They cut the price in half. That was an acknowledgment that they took a misstep, that they cut the price of dongles in half.
Jason: If you put the person in charge of logistics in charge of Apple, which they did, it's fine. The ships and the trains... everything is going to run on time. But the product is going to suffer. They need a product visionary in there to understand that getting rid of the phone jack and forcing people to make a decision on whether they want to charge their phone or make a phone call is incompetence, and then to take the Mac safe connecter, which Steve Jobs was like this is so important because your computer isn't going to go flying across the room and everybody goes "Hallelujah." This Mac safe is so genius and to take that innovation that they're known for and throw it away and put USB and take out another feature, the HDMI that plugs right in, knowing people are in the business... and developers love that. It reeks of some level of incompetence, that could only happen when you put somebody as boring and visionless as Tim Cook in charge of a company with a legacy and a passionate user base like Apple. It's a disaster right now.
Leo: You know who agrees with you?
Peter: Tim Cook was the guy whose job it was to ring as much efficiency out of that company as possible in their supply chain, and that's the approach he's taking to the Macbook. Run it for cash, squeeze it for efficiencies...
Leo: But there's no heart in that.
Peter: Of course. But that's the strategy. This is a business that's not going to go anywhere, so let's run it for cash...
Leo: You know who agrees with you, Jason? Steve Jobs. This is from many years ago.
Steve Jobs: I actually thought a lot about that. I learned more about that with John Scully later on. I think I understand it pretty well. What happens is with John Scully, John came from Pepsi Co, and they at most would change their product once every ten years. To them a new product was a new size bottle. If you were a product person, you couldn't change the course of that company very much. So who influences the success of Pepsi? The sales and marketing people. They were the ones who got promoted and therefore they were the ones who ran the company. For Pepsi Co that might have been OK. It turns out the same thing can happen in technology companies that get monopolies like IBM and Xerox. If you were a product person at IBM or Xerox you make a better copier or better computer... so what? If you have a monopoly on the market share, so what? The company is not any more successful. The people that can make the company more successful are sales and marketing people. They end up running the companies and the product people get driven out of decision making forms.
Leo: I think Steve was talking more about John Scully at this point than he was about the Apple of 20 years from now. But is that what's happened?
Jason: It's obvious that's what happened. All of the decisions being made today are decisions being made in this schizophrenic way that the visionary product teams are not being allowed to do what they want to do and somebody like Tim Cook is doing some operational thing to manage Wall Street, they should say F You wall Street, if you don't like the stock, go screw yourselves. We're going to make products that are transcendent and innovative. It's not going to be the most efficient process. We're not going to manage for cash.
Leo: You're talking, as I am, about nostalgic Macintosh lover. That's nice because we miss and love the Mac and we thought the world of it. But it's not very full.
Peter: Most people who own an iPad or a iPhone do not own a Mac. We know that to be true. One of the challenges for Apple, they've had a bunch of successful franchises. They had the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. They don't have an obvious next big franchise on the horizon. That is the problem. We thought it was going to be cars, but they scaled back that initiative... but what they did with Augmented reality is still really unclear.
Leo: They've got some stiff competition from Google, which has some big competition in...Facebook with Oculus. Everybody, right?
Peter: The lines between VR and AR are definitely becoming blurry. A lot of stuff that supplies to VR is supplied to AR.
Leo: Is Apple's only problem that they can't find a successor?
Peter: I think that is the ultimate challenge for them. There is no obvious driver of growth on the horizon.
Jason: However Peter, while that's true, the inability to execute as you've previously executed insistently where every phone, ever laptop was an ah ha moment, now the fan base that would give a standing ovation to anything Steve would hold up is complaining vocally. That to me is the big red flag, and this MacBook announcement is the tipping point.
Peter: You and I aren't disagreeing about that. I'm just saying Tim Cook made a cynical, cold decision that he thought was in the best interest of the company, which is to essentially say....
Jonathan: They're two different problems. Coming up with the next iPhone, who knows if they're going to be on the planet. Coming out with new MacBooks, that every Macbook fan would like. That seems a lot easier to do.
Peter: But if you run the numbers, it may be the difference between, it may not be a meaningful number in terms of...
Jason: But Steve's position was you paint the back of the fence. Nobody ever sees as you're painting the front of the fence. Somehow Tim Cook didn't get the message that craftsmanship matters on all fronts.
Jonathan: When you see an entrepreneur who dresses up in a black turtle neck because that's the way to emulate Steve Jobs, that's going on with the simplification now. Apple famously had the mouse that had one button, then they took out the hard drives. All these things that proved they worked. Now it seems like let's take out the headphone jack, it seems like now it's an imitation of the correct simplifications. Putting on the turtle neck. Imitating the wrong thing.
Leo: What about Microsoft? The same time as apple is making these lackluster improvements, Microsoft is stepping forward and saying we want you, the creative professional, to come over here.
Jason: Microsoft kicked Apple's ass royally this week. Not only did they release the Surface Studio, which to me, you look at it and you want one badly. I haven't used a Windows computer in a decade, and then, as a side dish, they launch their slack competitor. These guys are firing on all cylinders.
Leo: You think Teams is a strong offering?
Jason: Listen. The fact that they were able to put together something so quickly to challenge a nascent company like Slack...
Leo: What did you think of Slack's full page ad? It reminds me of Steve Jobs when IBM came out with a PC. Remember, Apple put welcome IBM.
Peter: Microsoft had the opportunity to buy Slack. they looked at it. There's a T Note strongly opposed to buying Slack internally. They already had Yammer.
Leo: And Skype. They have a messaging form with Skype.
Jonathan: The guy who invented Lotus note built another group thing at Microsoft.
Jason: This is a good sign for Microsoft that they didn't feel a need to buy it, because what it said was the people internally here know what they're doing. We have examined slack, we have our own take on it, we have an office franchise, and outlook, we made Outlook the number one email client across all these different platforms. It's the best one on OS. They are firing on all cylinders at Microsoft. I think you give up the desktop, that's where the power users are. That's where the people who make the content in the world are. IF they start losing Mac video editors and Mac artists to this new surface thing... that is horrible for Apple.
Leo: Where do they go? Do they go to Windows? Do they go to Microsoft?
Jason: We'll find out. This thing is drool worthy. Is it actually efficient, and does it make you more productive? Can you make better art with it? that's the question I have.
Peter: For Microsoft, I would argue that it's less about stealing market share from Apple and more about grabbing a bigger share of the Windows PC market as it declines. It makes a lot of sense.
Leo: This is a dying market.
Peter: It's a dying market, Microsoft can take a big slice of it.
Jason: It's got a floor though.
Leo: Somebody is going to need trucks. There will be a truck business.
Jason: This idea that people are going to go to work and put on Hololens and they're all going to be looking at their desktop up here. That's ten years out. The idea that you're just going to talk to your Amazon and be like, "Alexa, write a couple emails today to my investments to tell them that they're doing a great job and AI just magically does it. That's 20 years out. We need a computer today to write, to create videos, to do spreadsheets to do all the stuff that's important. I see all these kids come out, they're doing their Powerpoints on their phone.
Leo: That's just painful.
Jonathan: Regardless of the device, the apps, I think it's about services now. Apple and Microsoft both tried to heavily get into services.
Leo: Both doing very well in services.
Jonathan: They want you to use them instead of Dropbox. They want you to use all that kind of stuff. They want you to have your identity, your cloud, your storage, all that stuff. Clearly, Microsoft, Apple, they want to own all that. Whatever device that is.
Jason: Apple got that. Apple is on a 25 billion dollar runway right now. They did six billion in the last quarter in services. The services are really clunky. If I asked anybody listening...
Leo: It's a terrible product.
Jason: iCloud, iMusic... what else can you give monthly money to them for? What I think they should do is an Amazon prime from Apple. Apple care. App care is the big one. They have three things you subscribe to from them. iCloud, Services... what's the thing if they break your phone you fix it? Apple care, and iMusic. If you put those three things together for 15 dollars, 20 dollars a month, maybe a third of Apple users would do it. That's what they need to do. Right now it's cognitive dissonance. Should I buy iCloud or not? Should I buy Music or not? They should do what Amazon did with Prime. You already have it, it's in there already.
Leo: Amazon's got a good strategy, don't they? Keep adding stuff. It's a hundred bucks.
Jason: Somebody figured out a really cool thing. They called up, they did a bunch of phone dialing by state and said have you ever shopped on Amazon, do you have Prime? And they figured out statistically how Prime membership has been going. But 70 million people pay a hundred a year. This is a big business. They make it financially irresponsible for you not to have a Prime account.
Leo: You make a really good point. By bundling everything in under that one umbrella, it's a simple decision. It's one decision and you keep getting benefits added to it.
Jason: It's sticky.
Leo: It's sticky in a different way than Apple makes things sticky. Apple locks you in. Amazon incentivizes you to stick around.
Jason: The other part of services, they still suck at software. They're kind of 2/3 of the way there. The really incredible move would be to put music and buy Netflix or Hulu or one of those services and bundle it as well, so when you buy a phone, you buy an iPad, it just comes with that. But there are... we have to talk about when is Tim Cook getting out of that chair? He is killing this company. He has to get out.
Peter: He'd have to have two really bad quarters.
Jason: They're selling less iPhones now than they ever did.
Peter: But the Smartphone market is peeking. That's not just Apple.
Jason: There's tons of reasons on why you might defend him. All the cash in the bank, but we're starting to see the actual fans turn on him.
Peter: I'm not sure the fans are... there's a small vocal group.
Jason: Those folks were cult members who are now leaving scientology. They're leaving a cult.
Leo: Apple would say we don't need ‘em. Is it your base? Apple's base is mom and pop. It's everybody who owns an iPhone. It's not the Mac users.
Peter: For the board to replace Tim Cook, they're not going to take a step like that.
Leo: The stock market would kill them. Wouldn't just be Cook. It's that group of cronies. It's Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, Craig Federigi, Eddie Q. There is a little mafia there. I don't know what Johnny Ives status is right now. I think he's on sabbatical, frankly.
Peter: He is not engaged. The reason why the watch happened at all is because that was the only thing he was interested in. They did it, and it didn't go anywhere. He's still working on things, but he is not as inspired as he was. Part of it is it was about his working partnership with Steve. They had lunch together almost every day... I think losing that collaboration is hard.
Leo: You know what? This is an evanescent thing. This magic that a couple of people can do in an Industry. It's not something you see a lot of. It's not at all surprising it might disappear in a puff of smoke.
Jonathan: They launched a news product in the same sort of world as Nuzzle and Inside. I found they had worked on it prior to launch with over 200 people.
Jason: And it's the most basic thing ever.
Jonathan: As a startup guy, I found that amazing. Nuzzle is six people, I could imagine us if we had fifteen people doing more stuff, but a hundred people, I don't know what they'd be doing.
Jason: I think the most innovative thing to come out of Apple under Tim Cook is going to be the new headquarters.
Leo: Isn't that always the case? You build the new headquarters, that's it. Peaked.
Jason: Way too much time on that damn headquarters.
Jonathan: The real bad sign will be if they change their logo. That's always the bad news.
Jason: The only thing that's really troubling is they couldn't seem to figure out how to do the television service. They couldn't get...
Leo: That's why they brought in Jimmy Ive for you. That's why they brought in these guys.
Peter: The problem is they went to Comcast. Comcast owns the pipe, they don't need Apple.
Jonathan: Apple has been pretty slow with M and A. Why couldn't they buy Roku? They could have bought Tivo, Google, Facebook, these other companies are more aggressive about M and A, and Apple has huge amounts of money and seems to have done fairly limited M and A.
Jason: Their biggest is Beats, a headphone company.
Leo: A terrible acquisition. But, they've turned it around, because now as the biggest Bluetooth headphone manufacturer, they've got a town that needs a Bluetooth headphone, it's a perfect marriage.
Jason: They can't even make a goddamn monitor. I've been trying to buy some monitors... it's ridiculous. They have a 5K monitor in the iMac. I buy the Mac Pro. You bought the Mac tower pro. You want to put a monitor in it. Are you out of your minds?
Jonathan: LG is a good panel.
Leo: It's beautiful. And it's cheap. Could Apple make a 974 dollar 5k display? I don't think so.
Jason: Apple would probably just be rebadging...
Jonathan: There would be people who would pay extra just because it was Apple. People would pay for it.
Jason: They can't even get that out of the door.
Leo: We're going to talk about Google in a bit. Another company that seems to be fumbling the future. Think about this while we take a break. If not Apple, if not Google, if not Microsoft, who's next? Who is? Is it Uber. Who is poised to become the next Apple? Is there anybody on the horizon. If you guys don't know I sure don't. With us Peter Rojas, he is at Beta something or over. Beta works where they work on new stuff. He's a partner there. I see roj.as. Do you do anything there?
Peter: I just post occasionally. I waited six years for that domain. It's American Samoa. I had to fax them when I wanted to get the domain.
Leo: Jason Calacanis, he's at inside.com and @Jason. And Instagram. See the baby pictures. Twins! How's that been?
Jason: It's great. They're awesome.
Leo: Exhausting? You got help.
Jason: The first one was exhausting.
Leo: Hard work. Can you imagine three?
Jason: You need help.
Leo: Jonathan Abrams is also here from Nuzzle. Nuzzle.com. Our show to you today brought to you by Freshbooks. We're talking about all these high-faluting big businesses, if you're the next big business, if you're a startup and getting going, sole proprietor, freelancer, you know that you got in the business because you love what you're doing. You probably didn't get in the business because you love sending out invoices or doing bookkeeping. Freshbooks makes this so much easier, and I say this without personal knowledge. Freshbooks saved my butt about 2004. I hated invoicing so much I just wouldn't invoice. The problem is, I realized after six months, you don't invoice, you don't get paid. You got to do the invoices. Freshbooks makes it so easy to create professional looking invoices 30 seconds, no formatting, no formulas, add your own logo, color scheme, reflects your brands, and when you send out an invoice they can show you if a client has opened it. No more I didn't see your invoice. Yes you did. Clients pay about four days faster because there's a pay me button there and clients hate paperwork as much as you do. If they can pay you faster, they're going to do it. The super handy deposit feature lets you invoice for a payment upfront. The thing I love about Freshbooks is it starts with the invoicing but because they have that information about what you build, what you've been paid, what your income is, you can put expenses in there. You can use a Freshbooks app to take pictures of receipts, and all of that. You also get a really good idea of how your business is doing. Freshbooks newly designed dashboard makes it super easy. You can just look at it and say am I making a profit? You would be amazed at how many freelancers can't even answer that question. Did you make a profit this year? How much was it? Oh no. Don't know. Just paying the bills. Go look at Freshbooks. You'll know exactly. You'll know at a glance what you're owed, what's overdo. If you're in the red. Notifications center will be your personal assistant letting you know what's changed since your last login. If you have overdo invoices they'll even automate late payment reminders. They take all the pain out of it and give you the information you need to do better. And when it comes time to do your taxes, they have all the reports accountants and book keepers need. P and Ls, things like that. This is a great solution. Right now you can try it free for 30 days. A 30 day unrestricted free trial. All you have to do is go to freshbooks.com/twit and there's a little space there on the form that said where did you hear about us? If you do me a favor, just write in This Week in Tech. 30 days free. Freshbooks.com/twit. Thank them for making TWiT possible. Get ready, Jason. We got an Audible coming up.
Jason: I got seven recommendations. I'm so addicted.
Leo: Me too. I'm getting behind though. I need a commute. Without a commute, it's hard. Got the Google Home yesterday. We were playing with it a little bit. Did you get one yet?
Peter: I got it on Friday.
Leo: It's the Google assistant. You're using a Pixel. It's the same thing.
Peter: When I had Google home out on my desk... It's funny. It'll say another device answering on the phone, and so... it didn't work 100%. I just got it. Been using it for music, been using it for adding stuff to my calendar, which is kind of cool.
Leo: You can do that with the Alexa as well. But the echo is better...
Peter: It doesn't work on the Google phone right now, but it does work on Google home.
Leo: Unlike the Echo, you can name the timer. So you can say set a timer for five minutes for bacon. Alexa, you don't know which is which. You have three timers, but which is which? But really, if you ask me the issue is the upside. They're roughly comparable, some are better. But whose going to win in the long run? It seems like Google has an advantage.
Peter: I have found Google Home is better at answering general queries. It's because of the search engine. Amazon can answer some questions, but I was able to ask more specific tougher questions on Google Home, and it was able to come up with the answers.
Leo: And you got the context, so you can say....
Jonathan: How do we know direct audio feed is not going to the NSA?
Jason: Of course it is. They're doing that with this right now.
Leo: No they're not. You can see the traffic. The risk to Google... anyway, the NSA doesn't care what I'm saying.
Jason: One of the drivers of this election seems to be that hacking now has ramifications other than the Ashley Madison hack or financial. The hacking now is effing with elections. The Russians and Wikileaks are now trying to put Trump in office. If Trump has anything to do with these hacks, he needs to be held on treason charges because he's working with a foreign government to hack US servers. And if WikiLeaks--
Leo: I'm not sure that that's provable.
Jason: I don't think it's provable but you know what?
Leo: I do think you can say, "I don't know if Google wants Trump in." I do know that what Russia would like to do is disrupt the election.
Jason: They want chaos.
Peter: They want to delegitimize our election.
Leo: That's much more of interest to them than a clear winner.
Jason: Sure. But this WikiLeaks kid, Julian Assange, he needs to be picked up because what he's doing, I mean listen, I don't believe in corrupt governments. I'd like to see more transparency. But what he's doing, working with the Russians apparently to release all this stuff and screw with the election, he needs to be picked up. And he needs to be taken to a black zone.
Leo: Ecuador's not really happy with him right now.
Jason: We need to—Ecuador.
Leo: He was in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Jason: We need to go build some schools in Ecuador. We need to bring fiber to Ecuador. Whatever it takes to get Ecuador to give us that package. And that package needs to get taken for a ride.
Leo: NBC News reporting—we'll get back to Google in a bit. As long as we changed the subject, I think we should cover this a little bit. NBC News says that they have seen documents and they have senior intelligence official informing them that the US and government hackers with in the US military have penetrated significant Russian networks, telecommunications, electric grid, even the Kremlin's command systems and really this is a threat that's being leaked by the US government. And should the US deem it necessary according to a senior intelligence official, we'll retaliate for any meddling in the election. Now we've had a couple of shows now on vote rigging, on election fraud. We've had the guys on from VerifiedVoting.org and what I've been told it's not so much, not so much worried about throwing the election. It would be difficult to do for a national election because our system is so—
Leo: Heterogeneous, so distributed you can do it—to do millions of votes or even hundreds of thousands must be very, very difficult. What they're mostly concerned about, and apparently they're not alone is that the voter databases might be modified, might be hacked and modified and that would be disruptive. Could be disruptive in favor of one candidate or the other but mostly would be disruptive. And the Department of Homeland Security has offered to help. I think 40 states to date have accepted the help, securing voter databases. That's the real fear right now is that hackers, whether from Russia or somewhere else, will do something like go in there and change your address to a different precinct. You go to vote, it just creates bedlam. You go to vote, they say, "You know you don't vote here." Doesn't mean they'll lose your vote. Maybe you have to go across town. The US Government is marshalling resources to combat the threat in a way that is without precedent according to NBC for a presidential election but the weapons would only be deployed in the unlikely event the US was attacked in a significant way.
Jason: It's a dangerous game for us to play because—
Leo: It is because this article is a message to Putin saying, "Don't mess with us." This is mutually assured destruction, right?
Jason: Well it's the stuff we have on Putin could wind up creating a civil war inside of Russia. Luckily, we don't want to do what Russia wants to do to us which is create chaos. But if we released to the republic of Russia where the money's flowing in Russia, and the oligarchs and the—
Peter: I don't know if they'd ever hear about it in Russia.
Jason: Well we have ways to get information to Russia. Sure, we could take over satellites. We could take over radio waves. That would be crazy.
Leo: All they have to do is watch Frontline (laughing). I mean I saw the Frontline report. It's not like it's hidden in the west.
Jason: Yes, but let's say we have actual details.
Jonathan: Do they watch the show in Russia?
Leo: I don't know. They could.
Jonathan: So somebody in Russia could be getting this, right?
Jason: In Russia they have VPNs and stuff like that. China's got VPNs.
Jonathan: Right but this isn't blocked. Right, if you want to watch This Week in Tech?
Leo: Yea, you can watch it.
Jason: It will be. It has now.
Leo: To our Russian friends, watch Frontline. You'll see what Putin is up to. I think, I'll be willing to bet that they, that everybody in Russia knows exactly what Putin is up to, that this is not an issue for them because there's a historic precedent in Russia, pre and post czar, the desire for an authoritarian strong-man government. And I think that this is culturally what they want. They don't—look, the czars were corrupt as anybody.
Jason: You don't think there's anything we can get on him that would destabilize his government?
Leo: No. No. And I think Putin knows it.
Leo: Look, Putin led the KGB.
Jonathan: Well look at the Trump revelations here and he's still very close, right? I mean the idea that knowing more information is going to be the answer?
Jason: Sometimes it is.
Jason: Sometimes information can change things.
Jason: Can start a revolution, sure.
Jonathan: But your buddy Trump went on TV—
Jason: My buddy?
Jonathan: Yes. He went on TV and actually joked about having the Russians hack—
Leo: That was a joke.
Jonathan: It was a hell of a thing for a presidential candidate to joke about.
Leo: It's always the question of whether he's slyly joking, dog whistling or whether he is—and I think this is completely possible, kind of clueless and just making a funny.
Jonathan: Any of the above is troubling. Any of the above.
Jason: We talked about this on the drive up here. My theory is I think that Trump is so addicted to the feedback loop of audiences—
Leo: That's what I think.
Jason: That in the moment—
Leo: He keeps trying things until the audience goes "AH!"
Jason: And the audience—
Leo: And that's what he says.
Jason: "Oh, if I say we're going to beat that guy up in the audience and everybody cheers, great. I'll do it again." The problem is he lived through Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Bobby, John Kennedy, you know, Meg Rivers, all these people who were assassinated. Like you cannot play this game. There's crazy people, they don't care if they're killing John Lennon or Ringo Starr or Jimmy Carter. They don't care. And it could blow back on him. How many times have the pulled him off the stage?
Leo: Meanwhile, Google Home (laughing). Did you see this? Android installed on 9 of 10 mobile devices. Is that—that's not risky for Apple because they still own—
Jason: The money.
Leo: The money, right, because these are cheap devices basically. Apple has the most revenue, the most profit, not the most unit sold. But boy, that is kind of—
Jonathan: A few billion of those devices are probably in the testing labs of every single startup and tech company. You know you'll have a room with racks and racks of every Android device to test on which literally that's true.
Peter: Apple lucked out with Android, right? Because instead of there being another OS that competed with them and was able to drive a profitable smartphone competitor, essentially Android sucked all the profit out of the industry for everyone else except for Apple and maybe to a certain extent Samsung which them literally blew up its own profit.
Leo: And ironically, zero for Google. Or very little for Google.
Peter: Exactly. But actually that aligns with Google's strategy which was to make sure that Microsoft actually did not end up dominating mobile. That was their primary concern with Android.
Leo: No kidding.
Leo: And Google has always said, "As long as you use the internet more, we'll make money.
Jason: Everything is money for them. If you look, Chrome is a billion-user franchise. Android's a billion-user franchise. Search is a billion-user franchise.
Leo: Just use their products, they're happy.
Jason: Gmail is a billion-user franchise. None of those things actually make money directly.
Jason: Billions of users.
Leo: So why do the Pixel? What's that all about? A phone priced at Apple price point? Is it a reference design? Is it a business?
Jason: I think it will force people to do the auto-updates from Google.
Jason: Put pressure on them.
Leo: It's a threat to other manufacturers.
Jason: Do it right.
Leo: If you don't do it right, we might have to do it ourselves.
Peter: I think that it also, it prods the other manufacturers to stay competitive and to keep their products competitive and not to—I think the concern for Google is that everyone started to move into the midmarket, to sort of those $3-400-dollar handsets which aren't as good, aren't as premium as an iPhone but are pretty good. I mean you can buy a $300-dollar, $400-dollar Android handset right now which is pretty awesome for the price.
Leo: I can think of 5 of them right now that are great.
Peter: Yea, tons. And I think that what Google was concerned about was that Android was going to move entirely into that sort of midmarket and low market space and they wanted to make sure there's still something at the high end that's getting done, that's getting produced. Because it is a real concern for them.
Leo: You know, maybe this is more suited for our Android show, but as long as I've got you here, Peter, I'm going to ask you.
Leo: Because you use a Pixel.
Peter: Hmm mmm.
Leo: What the hell's wrong with Google? The messaging platform is insane. They have Hangouts, they have Messaging, they have Allo. They also allow on Android Microsoft Messenger to be your SMS Messenger. WhatsApp to me your SMS Messenger. Google does not in fact offer a SMS Messenger. They don't say, "This is the one." And now they have this RCS, this, what is it, the—
Peter: RCS is not going to solve the problems.
Leo; They bought a company, Jibe, to create, Rich Communications Systems to replace SMS. They were hoping all the carriers would go along with it. Currently—
Peter: It's 5-years too late.
Leo: Yea. Sprint's doing it but AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, they say, "Well we're not going to standardize our SMS platform. We have to have value added." Like Apple does with Messages.
Peter: So you know, that was actually the one plan that Blackberry when it was still called RIM had. You know they had—
Peter: Well it wasn't RCS but they had two, there were two different—this is a little bit of a tangent, but there were two, they had two co-COOs, right? And one of them wanted to double down, take on the iPhone hardware. The other said, "You know what? BBM is actually the sleeping giant of this company. It's got a ton of users." He had a plan where he was going to go to all the mobile carriers and say, "Replace SMS with BBM on the backend," which was already basic, would have been really, really easy actually, "and you can reduce the cost."
Leo: It's data. It's not SMS.
Peter: "You can reduce the cost of delivering messages and you could have a much richer experience and you can still charge for it." And he got a bunch of carriers to actually, basically sign on to it. And then the RIM board, which I think they changed their name to Blackberry afterwards, said, "No, we don't want to do that." And the guy quit. He quit the company the next day and sold all his stock.
Leo: Rightly so. He got out.
Jason: Why doesn't Apple open up iMessage.
Leo: There has been a rumor that Apple's going to do.
Peter: Yea, that they're doing it.
Leo: I don't buy it. I can't see why they would.
Peter: I don't think they need to. I don't think there's necessarily a compelling reason to do so but—
Leo: Consumers would like it.
Peter: Consumers would really, really like it.
Leo: We need RCS or something like it. We need a standard that's across platform standard, Apple and Android, that goes across carriers that's—because otherwise people use WhatsApp and I have to convince you. I have a whole row of icons for messaging apps.
Peter: You know if you're a messaging app, you like the silo.
Leo: It's terrible for the consumer though.
Peter: Of course it is but—
Jonathan: One of the best things about being an iPhone and Mac user is having your iMessage on both seamlessly. That's just a great experience.
Leo: Don't ever talk to anybody on Android because we're just green bubbles.
Jonathan: Well, I live in San Francisco.
Jason: It is crazy. You'd think Android didn't exist if you live in San Francisco.
Leo: Well, that's why I think Apple will never do messages for Android because it's an amazing lock in. I look at my son, he's in a frat, ok. There's one guy in his whole frat that has an Android phone. Everybody else has iPhones and one of the main reasons is because the messaging. They can do group messaging and if you're not on an iPhone you don't get invited to any of the parties because you're not in the group message. You're a green bubble.
Jason: My favorite thing to do is to change the title of the group messaging. People don't know you can do that now. So we have one for like the poker group and then I just change it to like—
Jonathan: Trump Supporters.
Jason: No, like Phil Helm You've Lost a Tesla Last Night. And that's the new subject line of the group.
Peter: We had this battle like 15 years ago around Instant Messaging, right, where there was MSN, there was Yahoo, there was Trillian?
Leo: Trillian solved it because it was—
Jonathan: It was Trillian and then it was like Game or Pigeon. And then there was even an alliance. Microsoft and Yahoo, the two of them had some sort of inter-op in a sense.
Leo: But they realized that the silo was good and they didn't want to interrupt it.
Jason: Exactly but you know what? It actually really ended up really hurting. If you look at the internet at large, messaging should be a completely open platform just like email.
Leo: Gmail federated. Gmail was in the same position. There was Genie, MCI, CompuServe. They couldn't talk to each other. AOL, eventually they federated so you could send an email from any service to any service.
Peter: And people forget that SMS actually was carrier siloed in the US.
Leo: That's right. It kept it from taking off in the US like it took off in the rest of the world because of the silos. You know it goes even beyond that. I was talking about this on the radio show. Blu-Ray, HD-DVD didn't take off until one or the other, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray won because consumers weren't going to invest in this platform if there was this inconsistency. You need to have a unified platform for consumer confidence if nothing else.
Peter: The thing about messaging, if you think about how huge messaging apps are right now, if you're Facebook Messenger, why would you interop because you already have 7 hundred-million users.
Leo: No, in fact what they do now on Android is they can be the SMS. They put a lot of pressure on you when you first run it. They say, "Don't you want us to be your SMS platform?" And if you say yes which is kind of the tempting thing to do, now all my messages come in to Messenger. I live in Messenger. Facebook wins.
Jonathan: Well Facebook hasn't even interrupted WhatsApp and basic messenger. That's all by the same company.
Leo: They don't even interrupt their own products.
Jonathan: They don't want to.
Jason: Facebook's horrible.
Jonathan: So every morning you have to check your email, you have to check your Slack, you have to check your iMessages, your Twitter DMs.
Leo: I have a whole row, Telegram.
Peter: I love Telegram.
Leo: It's just you and me, Peter. I have a whole row of messaging apps because there's no one to use.
Peter: I actually have as many messaging apps as I have people I want to message.
Jason: One for each person?
Peter: Basically. It's actually—Ryan Block is the only person I talk to on Telegram.
Leo: I have a Telegram bot.
Jason: Did you go in secret mode?
Jason: You're not on secret mode?
Leo: Who cares?
Peter: I'm not the worried. I've got nothing that confidential.
Jason: You know what's interesting is—
Leo: But you have it if you need it.
Leo: Not that Telegram's particularly secure.
Jason: All of the amazing companies we're talking about these days are on these open standards and now we've reversed them and the chickens are coming home to roost I think.
Leo: Google killed XMPP. Google Talk was XMPP.
Jason: Look at Twitter now. All of a sudden they were the free speech party of the free speech party. And now they're like, "Ok, we're going to police free speech and if your feelings are hurt you can pick which feeling was actually hurt in your opinion."
Leo: (Laughing) I think they stopped doing that.
Jason: No, it's down to like well, pick the smiley face, like the frown, the level of frown. It's 7. It's complicated. My feelings were hurt but I kind of feel—
Leo: They still have that? They don't have that anymore.
Jason: The crazy thing is—
Leo: That was crazy.
Jason: If you look at what Dave Winer did and the brilliance of Dave Winer with RSS and OPML and all this stuff, he built this huge set of founders and companies and now it's all being torn down. And what we have to do is get back to some level of standards. It's why I think somebody should create, I would be willing to fund it if someone would create, you know, take a real run at it, would be an open source version of Twitter.
Jonathan: It's already been done.
Jason: It's done but there's never been a reason.
Leo: There's at least two I think.
Peter: Status9, what was the other one?
Jonathan: There was identi.ca, App.net or something.
Leo: Status9 is App.net. They are the same.
Jonathan: When we created Friendster, there were people who were very upset about that being one company and there was this thing called friends of a friend protocol. Then after Facebook there was the Diaspora Project. This has been, this has happened so many times. Back when I worked at Netscape, I remember we were constantly engaged in these open alliances with like Sun or all these other companies. Everybody at Microsoft, everybody was always trying to come up with some sort of open standard. Remember when Microsoft Passport launched? And then there was the Liberty Alliance. And the thing is, none of these things ever work. I just want to see some—
Jason: Well, HTML did.
Leo: So this is—
Jonathan: That was not an alliance. That was one guy who came up with something amazing.
Jason: Not open standard. I know. It has to work. I think we just need to take another swing at it. I'm not saying it's going to work.
Leo: The New Social.
Jason: But I would like to see somebody take another—
Leo: The New Social's awesome. It's open source. There are a lot—I mean I'm on Quitter.no but it federates then all the other—
Jonathan: I've never even heard of it.
Leo: I'm telling you, it's me and Cory.
Jason: I'm not going to work with Cory.
Jonathan: You have absolutely zero requests to integrate this into Nuzzle.
Jonathan: Yea, I've never even heard of it. It looks kind of like Twitter.
Leo: It's basically an open source Twitter. That's exactly what you just said that somebody should write. But it exists.
Jonathan: And there's been a few people who—
Jason: I will go check it out. If I do block Cory though. There's Kevin Marks.
Leo: One of the biggest—well, no. I follow Kevin and Cory.
Jason: I'm joking, Cory.
Leo: I don't follow that many people. I follow Kevin Marks, Cory Doctorow. Because there aren't that many people on here.
Jason: It's almost like sometimes when the reboot the social network and it feels good again.
Jason: That's literally a photocopy of Twitter. I mean it's the same exact layout.
Leo: It's a photocopy of the old Twitter, the good Twitter. The Twitter you and I love. Yea, I can even—but they don't call them tweets. They call them quips.
Jonathan: Oh, God.
Jason: That's reason—but it's a thousand characters so have at it.
Jason: Have at it.
Leo: You can put in URLs. They've got a URL short there.
Jason: But can you automatically syndicate everything you do there to Twitter?
Leo: It's federated. Yes, you can—
Jonathan: It's open source. You can source it and you can create one that's 923 characters.
Peter: I think I'm still crossing to App.net.
Jason: I was.
Leo: Love App.net. This took over from StatusNet. They merged with StatusNet a couple years ago.
Jason: I've got to check it out.
Leo: Evan Prodromou. He's a great guy.
Jason: Well you know if they, if they really start policing speech and they really start removing people on Twitter, it might be necessary.
Leo: What is happening to Twitter? What's going to happen? Oh, people are saying things in the chatroom.
Peter: Oh no, I love your—I am a Google Voice user and a lot of people are lamenting that they are worried about Google Voice.
Leo: Yea, we talked about that on the radio show too. Somebody was saying, "Well, I need a solution to replace it." I said, "Not yet you don't." There really isn't anything like it.
Peter: I hope that, I mean I really—I use it.
Leo: I use it all the time. Now when I went to Fi, this is a Google Project Fi phone—
Peter: Do you have to like import your—
Leo: Google Voice becomes your Fi number. But Google Voice still works kind of under the hood. It's still there. But who knows? That's another problem for Google to figure out is that people don't trust them because they kill things seemingly randomly.
Jonathan: And then half the things only work with certain Google accounts and not the others.
Leo: You can't use app accounts for any of this stuff.
Jonathan: That's a bizarre one.
Leo: DeepMind which beat one of the best Go players ever is now going to take on an even tougher game, StarCraft II.
Jason: Yea, they'll beat everybody in the world within in 3 months.
Leo: If they could just beat those Korean kids who kill me every time.
Jason: I love that StarCraft II, man.
Leo: It's a great game.
Jason: If I didn't have so much responsibility and a family, I would play that 24 hours a day.
Leo: You play that?
Jonathan: Where do you find the time?
Jason: I played it—
Leo: Years ago.
Jason: When it first came out I played StarCraft for 3 months.
Leo: It's really fun.
Jason: And then I realized, this is not going to be a productive use of my time. I uninstalled it from my Mac because it was so addicting that it replaces television.
Jonathan: Anything's that older than Donkey Kong, no.
Jason: You have no idea. Like this stuff is like crack.
Leo: It's a great game.
Jason: It's amazing, StarCraft.
Leo: League of Legends. Dota. Do you play any of those?
Jason: No, I refuse to install that stuff because then it's going to be a hundred hours and I can put that into like my book.
Leo: This is the, right now, Dota 2.
Jonathan: What is it?
Peter: Dota 2's huge right now.
Leo: The E gaming game.
Jason: Oh, is this what all these nerds were in Staple Center?
Jason: They sold out Staple Center last weekend.
Jason: Yea, they set a record for the number of virgins in the Staple Center at one time.
Jason: It was incredible. I was trolling it hard on Twitter. What do they call it, Worlds? I think it was called Worlds?
Leo: Worlds, that's right.
Jason: Worlds was last weekend.
Leo: Yea, it's a big event.
Jason: And they were literally doing the wave and there were like 6 people behind a screen on one side of the like basketball court, and then there were 6 people on the other side. And it went like triple overtime or something and people were losing it.
Leo: I'm going to play a little—
Jason: Oh, so it's a little like—
Leo: It's a little like—this looks like Diablo. It's really League of Legends-y. It's kind of—
Peter: Dota 2 has a VR spectating mode. If you have the Vive—
Leo: You can be in it.
Peter: You can actually go and be in the game.
Leo: I have to turn the music off though. I'm sorry. This is terrible.
Jonathan: It is amazing like the graphics and everything.
Leo: It's not. It's not. This is Blizzard 1998.
Jason: But you're running it in a browser window, right?
Leo: No, this is video, streaming video.
Jason: Oh, it's streaming video. I thought you were—
Leo: I'm watching. No, these are—I'm watching people play.
Jason: These are actual people playing. Yea.
Leo: Yea. And if you knew what was going on—
Jason: I like more strategy. I don't go for this.
Leo: There's strategy here. The problem is it happens so fast.
Peter: Civilization 6.
Jason: That's what I like, that kind of stuff. Are you on that?
Leo: It's coming out.
Jason: I want Age of Empires. There's a group. I installed it.
Leo: Love Age of Empires.
Jason: They made an open source Age of Empires but they stopped updating it. Age of Empires was the best, what do they call it? RTS? Real time strategy? That's my favorite category.
Leo: My problem with Civ is it's turn based. And I want to, I like it like StarCraft and Age of Empires, I get to continue.
Jason: God, we should totally have a LAN party, guys.
Leo: Let's do, man.
Jason: We should totally have a LAN party.
Leo: I won't take a shower for weeks. It will be fun. We'll get Cheetos. YouTube Red only has—this is kind of depressing—1.5 million.
Jason: I subscribe to that. I love it.
Leo: Well I subscribe to Google Play Music.
Jason: Do they give you that for free?
Peter: It's the same thing. It's all bundled.
Jason: Oh, right.
Peter: Google Home, they give you 6 months of YouTube Red.
Jason: Oh they also have YouTube Music. I used the app. It was amazing but I forgot about it. It's really good for covers. I love—
Leo: But is that 1.5 million subscribers for the music platform too? Because if it is, that's terrible.
Peter: I would guess that it's probably all combined.
Leo: Just Red. Oh, ok.
Jason: Well, what is it? Is it $10 bucks a month or $12 bucks a month?
Leo: $10 bucks a month. It's just like all the others.
Peter: You know what's nice about it? You can download YouTube videos for offline viewing.
Jason: Yes. I did this. I was in New York City.
Jonathan: You can do that anyways.
Jason: It's a very simple way. You just put an SS in front of YouTube you can download it. So if you type, like if you're on a YouTube URL, if you put an S and an S in front of the Y, and hit enter, it goes to a website that then rips it.
Leo: Is this the legal way or the YouTube Red way?
Jason: Well, I think it's only for Creative Common videos.
Peter: So YouTube Red, it works on your phone. You can download to your phone so if you're going on a trip.
Jason: But you don't get the file.
Peter: It caches something.
Jason: It caches it to the app.
Jonathan: Amazon Prime now has offline mode and I use that on Play on my iPad.
Jason: I did that. I downloaded the first season of The Sopranos when I went to New York and I was sort of watching it. It's literally still the best show on television.
Jonathan: Yea, I've used Amazon Prime offline for vacations.
Jonathan: How many of these services do you pay for, Leo? You've got the Google one, you probably have Amazon.
Leo: I turned off Spotify finally. I have Amazon, I bought the new Amazon.
Jason: Oh, you know what? I'll invite you to my Spotify family because it's like 6 accounts for $15 bucks.
Leo: Yea, I'd love to be in your Spotify family. We can listen to hip hop together.
Jason: It's like 5—no, but you get your own playlist and everything.
Leo: No, I know.
Jason: It's $15 bucks for 6 accounts.
Leo: I had it. I had it, yea.
Jason: I'm like my family or is this for 4 families? 5 families?
Jason: How is the music industry working with 5 accounts per family?
Leo: Amazon's pretty good, this new Amazon Unlimited. I kind of like it. I'm not Apple Music but I am Google Music because you get YouTube Red with that. Spotify really is best but I was buying it through Apple so I was paying $3 bucks more a month.
Peter: No, you've got to do direct.
Jonathan: Does anybody still use Pandora?
Peter: I'm a paying Pandora user.
Jason: I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking about buying it.
Leo: I'm thinking about it.
Jason: I'm thinking about it.
Leo: Why? You've got radio on all the other services?
Jason: I just like their mixes are better.
Peter: Yea, I don't like the Spotify Radio.
Jason: Spotify Radio is kind of like eh.
Peter: It's $5 bucks. It's not that—
Jason: Is it $5 bucks?
Peter: It's $5 bucks a month or something. It's not that much.
Jason: If you add all this up—
Jonathan: Amazon Prime comes with Amazon Music but I don't think it's as good as Pandora.
Leo: I brought you guys in to talk about like the financial, quarterly results of the financial stuff and startups. Instead you just want to talk about—
Jason: YouTube Red is so worth it.
Peter: This guy nickel and dimes $5 dollars a month. It adds up.
Jason: No, YouTube Red is amazing because you just think about—everybody probably watches 5 or 10 YouTube videos a day.
Leo: I love not having ads.
Jason: And then you think without having those ads and having to click each time, I'm saving 10 clicks a day. It's 100 clicks a month. It's 300 ads a month. It's so worth it. I would love to give them $5 bucks a month to show no ads on Google anywhere. I would just love to give Google $10 bucks.
Leo: I do Google Contribute and that's $0 bucks a month and then you get kitty cats on a lot of these site.
Jason: Oh, is that right?
Jason: So it turns off the ads? Oh, I like that. I want to turn off the ads on Google Search without—
Leo: I do that because I use an ad blocker and I don't want—I feel guilty about it so I—
Jason: That's another business I've wanted to fund. Some business where you can just give people money in exchange for their content without having their permission.
Leo: Oh, without having their permission.
Peter: Who tried that? Was it the Readability guys?
Jonathan: Well, there's Bundle.
Peter: Bundle's licensed though.
Jason: I just wanted to like give, like let's say I block all the ads on Business Insider or Peter's blog or whatever, Dead Spin, and it just sends them 50 cents.
Jonathan: Wasn't there some tip thing? Tip something and you can somehow just give people money if you like their podcast or something?
Jason: Yea, but then they have to sign in and log in and get it.
Leo: Carston, what was the one we had? My friend on the New Screen Savers. Ours? Ours? What was it, Your? It was the same idea. The idea was it was an ad blocker but it's an opt in ad blocker. So if you opt in to see the ads then the money, the site donates the money to the charity of your choice or you if you want.
Peter: I mean I've seen a bunch of this stuff. I think the challenge is always about how do you integrate this into mobile view?
Leo: Yea, mobile's everything.
Peter: Which is really hard.
Leo: And ironically that's where you need an ad blocker the most, right?
Leo: Samsung's decided the best way to handle the Galaxy Note—they say the good news is that returns have been good in the US—shut up, CNET.
Jason: This is CNET.
Leo: Why, why auto-start video? Why?
Jonathan: That is a pet peeve of mine.
Jason: That's thirsty. Launch it without sound. Same difference. Put some subs on that.
Leo: Samsung has said that 85% of US owners of Note 7 have returned them. But that's still 15% in the wild and it's more worldwide. So they have started updates now that will keep your phone from charging past 60%. And you'll get a popup notification every time you charge, reboot or turn off the screen saying, "You really should be turning this in."
Peter: I think they're making it more attractive not to give it back.
Leo: I know. I want to be an outlaw now. I'm the outlaw. I have a Note 7. If you've flown lately, this has got to be a brand's worst nightmare. 4 or 5 times during the flight, at the beginning of the flight, when you're checking in, they're saying, "If you have a Samsung." And they don't know what it is. "Galaxy 7."
Peter: I've seen it called Note. I was on two flights earlier this month where both flights in a row they said, "Galaxy Notebook 7."
Leo: Yea. They don't know what it is.
Peter: They don't know what's going down.
Leo: If you have that, it's illegal. Give it to me now.
Peter: They actually said yea, if you have one, please pull your, you know, whatever the thing, and toss so we can get it off.
Jason: It's like a Black Mirror episode. If you have this—
Leo: I can't think of a worse brand nightmare, right? I mean that's gotta—there's nothing worse than—
Jason: Wasn't there a Toyota where the brakes didn't work?
Leo: Yea, but it didn't get announced on every flight.
Peter: The Tylenol where they were poisoned?
Leo: Yea, but it didn't get announced on every flight. If you got on a flight and they said, "If you're holding Tylenol, please, ring your buzzer and let us know."
Jason: Yea, it's the—
Peter: It's bad. It's definitely bad. And the thing about it is now with the washing machines they just recalled—
Leo: Yea, the top loading washing machines explode.
Peter: Somebody's jaw got broken because the top, the machine popped open.
Leo: I have a Samsung washing machine. I stand behind it. I love it but it's a front loader.
Peter: Don't stand behind it because your jaw might get broken.
Leo: I won't stand behind it.
Peter: Stand far away from it.
Jason: You can stand beside of it.
Jonathan: I've had several fine Samsung products including their TV. None of them exploded.
Jason: This was their best phone ever, right?
Peter: No, the Note 7 was a great phone.
Jason: Was it the greatest smartphone ever made up until that point? That's what people were saying.
Peter: People were saying that this was a phone that was one of the best smartphones ever.
Jonathan: Well who made the batteries? Did Samsung or someone else?
Leo: No, that's not the issue. The issue is it's too much battery for the size of the case.
Peter: Yea, that was the problem.
Leo: And they—in other words, they're jamming too much into that case and—
Jason: They went for it. They jumped the fence.
Leo: The lithium ion was, I can't remember the word. It was coating the outside of the battery and short circuiting.
Jason: Imagine that was an electric vehicle. That would be bad.
Leo: It just happened.
Leo: I know. Tesla. Bad news.
Jason: One single Tesla?
Jason: Ok, that's fine. I mean—
Leo: You're riding though on 3 gallons of gasoline (laughing).
Jason: One offs are no big deal. If it were a manufacturing defect, they'll expect that to happen at some point.
Leo: Now that Tesla's working with Panasonic, I think those batteries are getting much, much cheaper. And even better, 2 dead after a fiery crash, a fiery crash of the Tesla S.
Jason: Oh, after a fatal accident.
Leo: Oh, well, of course. If you get in a crash—
Jason: Yea, what do you expect?
Leo: If you just had a tank of gas you wouldn't make a news story out of that.
Jason: 1,000 videos a week with the gas tank blowing up.
Leo: New Zealand carriers will cut off access to the Note 7 starting November 18th. You just won't even be able to use it.
Jonathan: Wow. How do they know?
Jason: They no. They'll rebound. They'll rebound.
Peter: They're going to check your phone calls.
Leo: Will they rebound?
Jason: For sure they will.
Peter: Samsung? Samsung will rebound.
Jason: For sure. 100%.
Peter: They will.
Leo: We're ready for them to rebound.
Jason: Listen, they'll just take a charge of $3 or $4-billion dollars. They take a charge. You get to take it off the balance sheet. They regroup. They come back next year.
Leo: But the brand damage that—
Jason: It will go away. It will be fine.
Leo: People have short memories.
Jason: Yea, I mean it will be like that was 8. This is the 9. Standards have been lowered across the board.
Leo: (Laughing). It's good for Trump. It's good for America. That's what I say.
Jason: What's the place that makes burritos that are—
Jason: Yea, Chipotle. They're filled with bacteria.
Jonathan: I'm not going there.
Jason: Did they take a dive?
Leo: I still won't go to Jack in the Box 5 years after E.coli broke out there.
Peter: It was 20 years ago.
Leo: 20 years.
Leo: Well, I'm just saying.
Jason: I just wanted to thank, let the studio audience know, we're all going to Chipotle after this.
Peter: We've got coupons.
Jason: We've got 50% off.
Leo: Let's take a break. I just want to check and make sure neither Chipotle nor Jack in the Box isn't an advertiser on this show.
Jason: Oh boy.
Leo: If, before we do that, if you have seen today's show you probably have some idea of what we do here on TWiT but we've made it a little easier for you. We've got a little video introduction.
Jason: A sizzle.
Leo: A sizzle reel of all the great things that have happened this week on TWiT.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT:
Leo: It's maybe you didn't notice. We've taken app caps to a whole new level.
Leo: This staff takes this holiday very, very seriously. I've noticed this around businesses now. Everybody wears Halloween costumes. It's time for the TWiT Halloween fashion show. He's got dead fish in his pocket. Oh no! Shark! Shark!
Leo: One week and one day away from the presidential election in the United States. And joining us, two experts in challenges of creating a fair election. Would it be hard to hack an election?
Ron Rivest: There's many different systems there that the paper records that are mostly used around the country would mean that you would have to have not only electronic access but have some access to the physical paper records. And so with a good chain of custody, the paper records, the election would be hard to hack.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Leo: This is the Google Home. It's about half the size of the Amazon Echo. Music, this is better. I think voice—
Alex Wilhelm: So lesson, everyone. If you whack it like this, it plays.
Leo: It's my player.
Narrator: TWiT. All your favorite podcasts from the 80s, 90s and today.
Leo: Ok, I'm going to confess. I came to work without a costume today.
Megan Morrone: I know.
Leo: And I sent somebody out to Target. And I said, "Whatever's left, that's what I'll be."
Megan: So you're dressed as what was left at Target?
Leo: And a great week ahead. Let's see what—is it Megan or Jason has for us?
Megan: Thanks, Leo. Here's a look at just a few of the stories we'll be watching in the week ahead. Google's Daydream VR Headset is headed to stores in the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia this week on November 10th. It is available now for preorder. The fabric covered device was announced last month and will let you watch movies, TV shows and of course play some VR games on your Pixel or your other Daydream ready smartphone. Tuesday is not only Election Day but also Patch Tuesday so we have that to look forward to. And next week we'll see a new HP Chromebook 14 model running on an Intel Celeron Processor and that will cost you only $250 dollars. Alibaba's Singles Day is usually just one day and usually this coming week on November 11th. You could compare it to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. For some reason it was 24 days long this year but it ends this week with even bigger discounts in Alibaba's online malls. And finally a tiny bit of nostalgia launches this week. The tiny NES Classic Edition will be available on November 11th. It comes with 30 games and plugs right into your TV's HDMI port. Jason Howell and I will cover all of this and a whole lot more all week on Tech News Today. That's each and every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific. That's a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Megan Morrone. Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern time, and now that we have finally got with the program here in the United States and we are on our winter time, we are minus 8 so I'm thinking that's 2200 UTC.
Leo: Our show today brought to you buy Audible.com, the audio bookstore that well, really, it's the audio bookstore. There's nothing more to that sentence. It's the audio bookstore. What a great library of books, fiction, non-fiction, education too because they have the great courses now.
Jason: Great for families.
Leo: Yea, your kids are little. Do they have kid's books?
Jason: Well I have a 7-year-old daughter. She'll be 7 in December and we listened to The Hobbit but I just got Ender's Game which is—
Leo: Oh, isn't she too young for that? You think she's ready for that?
Jason: You know I always think plus two years.
Leo: She's super smart.
Jason: I treat her like a 10-year-old.
Leo: Perfect for a 10-year-old.
Jason: I have a really good pick which is A Guide to the Good Life. It's about stoicism. It's an important thing to listen to, like appreciate your life kind of thing. A Guide to the Good Life by William Braxton Irvine and it's just interesting to think about like what your life would be like if you didn't have the things you have and be thankful. I meditate, I have a very deep practice. I'm being a little facetious here, but I do think it's important to think about like, hey, how lucky you all are. And stoicism is an interesting school of philosophy and it's important for founders and people involved in the tech industry to appreciate things.
Leo: You know, of course I know the name stoicism comes of course from the stoa, the porch that they stood on as they—but I have no idea what the philosophy of stoicism is, the stoa philosophy. Is it just to enjoy life?
Jason: Well, here's the thing. No, that would be the hedonist group of people.
Leo: The hedonists, yea.
Jason: So what stoicism is, is to sort of keep life simple and appreciate the things you have. So they have like a bunch of different techniques you can do. One of them is negative visualization which I learned about which is imagine you don't have the things you have. So if you have a nice car and you're healthy and your family's all healthy and you have a job.
Leo: Imagine if you don't have any of that.
Jason: Imagine you lose your car.
Leo: That's cheerful.
Jason: And then even imagine—well if you just do it for a moment.
Jason: And then what happens is—
Leo: You're grateful. You go, "Thank God."
Jason: Holy cow, imagine I lived in a country where there was a dictator. Imagine I lived in a country where you had no freedom of the press. Imagine—
Leo: You may not have to imagine that much longer.
Jason: You wouldn't be able to walk. You'd be like, oh my God, I'm going to go appreciate that next walk. So I think it's important especially in troubling times or chaotic times that we have.
Leo: Do you find—I can't keep up with my Audible. That's my biggest problem. I get—
Jason: You don't need to. It's so affordable.
Leo: Yea and I feel like I have a shelf now of great books and I look forward to the day when I can listen to—
Jason: That's fine. When you go on vacation or on a train, you're driving, you go for a run.
Leo: I have almost 500 books now. I've been a member since the year 2000. And I just got the new, the 2nd book. Actually this is the 3rd book in one of the most amazing science fiction trilogies from China. This is The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, now The Dark Forest.
Peter: I just read that.
Leo: It's really interesting.
Peter: I just finished the last one.
Leo: You just finished it?
Peter: It was the 3rd one that just came out. Death's End, thank you. Yea.
Leo: You just finished Death's End? You've read all 3.
Jason: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What is this?
Jonathan: I just heard about this.
Jason: Look how many credits I got. Look at them.
Leo: You got 22 credits.
Jason: That's because I'm platinum.
Leo: I'm platinum too but I only get 2 a month.
Jason: You can renew your platinum early. So I renewed my platinum early.
Leo: Oh, because you get them all at once.
Jason: I get them all at once.
Leo: See, what we're going to do is give them 2 books a month. So this is actually a really good deal. Platinum is awesome. You go to Audible.com/twit and the number 2. Audible.com/twit2.
Jason: TWiT and the number 2.
Leo: And you'll get 2 books. So you'll get the first two books of the trilogy. What did you think? Did you like it?
Peter: I mean—
Leo: It's mind blowing, isn't it?
Peter: It was mind blowing like the—it's sort of. He's like the most successful science fiction author in China.
Peter: And actually to see it written from sort of a Chinese perspective is great because—
Leo: It's really different from American Sci-Fi.
Peter: Yea, so much Sci-Fi is written from sort of like America being like the most important country.
Peter: That aliens are going to come to American and all this stuff. And to have it sort of come from a different perspective and the book actually sort of starts during the—
Leo: Cultural revolution.
Peter: Cultural revolution. And you realize that it's like—
Leo: It's brutal.
Peter: There's this whole context to how they approach science and the relationship between the world and the universe and stuff like that. And then when you get into—especially the second book, which I actually thought was the best of the three.
Leo: That's The Dark Forest.
Peter: Yea, and when you get to the end of that book, it's so mind bending by the end.
Leo: I'm just starting The Dark Forest.
Peter: It's really good.
Leo: The ants crawling over the tombstone is very interesting.
Jason: Wow. Death's End is 29 hours?
Leo: It's kind of long. But look, you're getting your dollars' worth, right?
Jason: It's still one credit.
Leo: Yea. It's two books, you're getting literally tens of hours of listening.
Jason: 30 cents an hour.
Leo: Great science fiction. But if you don't like science fiction, they've got—what I try to do is alternate fiction with non-fiction. I'll do history.
Jason: Me too.
Jonathan: Do they have Trump's book for Jason?
Jason: I don't think Trump's even aware of that. Please stop this meme that I am supporting Trump.
Jonathan: Peter's laughing.
Leo: Actually Donald Trump narrates so.
Jason: He's had to do a great deal.
Jonathan: Click and add that to Jason's queue and Jason, you've got your—
Jason: Hold on.
Donald Trump: I tell them it's a no contest question. Stick with a winner and a good guy at that. We set a meeting for Thursday. I called Don Imus to thank him.
Leo: (Laughing) He's gotta drop the names.
Jason: Don. I want to thank Don Imus.
Leo: Anyway, it's all there. Hillbilly Elegy actually, if you're interested in what's going on in this country, is fascinating. J.D. Vance who comes from the hill country, the Appalachians, writes about the culture and the culture that's in crisis right now. And it's quite fascinating.
Jason: It's a best seller.
Peter: Yea. He works with Peter Thiel. He works with Thiel.
Leo: Interesting. The guy went—he's a former marine, law school, Yale Law School graduate. Really interesting story. Anyway, that's the point. Audible opens your mind to ideas, to stories that will unroll in your mind. It's just—oh, and they finally came out with Fallen Dragon. If you—this is our favorite science fiction author, Steve Gibson and I love Peter F. Hamilton. And this is the most accessible of his novels, a great first one to start with. Fallen Dragon just came out November 1st. It's an older book but they finally—this is what I love is Audible's getting all the old Sci-Fi on audio too. Audible—I don't need to go on and on. Audible.com/twit2. Get 2 books free. You can cancel any time in the first 30 days. You'll pay nothing but those books are yours to keep. But I have a feeling you're gonna—if you're like me and Jason you will keep on listening. Audible.com/twit2.
Jason: Smart. Smart.
Leo: Did you see Steve Ballmer's interview on Bloomberg?
Jason: Yes, I just started watching that.
Leo: Very interesting.
Jason: Yea, he said he and Bill drifted over the phone.
Leo: This was kind of surprising to me in that—
Jason: It's pretty candid.
Leo: By the way, credit to Emily Chang at Bloomberg because I think she did a—she actually did a great job. Now admittedly, Ballmer who is now out of Microsoft, he owns the Clippers, is a little more free to talk about what went on at Microsoft. But she asked the right questions and asked the right follow-ups. One of the things Ballmer said was that he and Gates had a strained relationship.
Jason: He didn't want him to make hardware.
Leo: Yea, and let's play a little bit of it here.
Emily Chang: How did you like taking over from a founder?
Steve Ballmer: People like to focus in on Bill was CEO, you were CEO. This was kind of like my baby. My baby and Bill's baby. And we were growing it, nurturing it. He was kind of like the senior partner, I was the junior partner. If it's in the raising of children I would say he's more—mom gets to decide more than dad but. But, you know. So I have, I take great satisfaction in the things we accomplished throughout the time, not just when I became CEO. When I became CEO we had a very miserable year. Bill didn't know how to work for anybody and I didn't know how to manage Bill. I'm not sure I ever learned the latter. Thinks lightened up some. And then I'd say my life changed a lot in 2008 when Bill actually left the company.
Leo: He said there was always this creative tension between Bill and him. And Bill never wanted to do hardware. And Ballmer was the guy who said, "We should be doing tablets. We should be doing notebooks." Now admittedly, they didn't do so well under Ballmer. In fact, the Surface RT which was a Steve Ballmer creation was tanked. It wasn't until Satya Nadella came along. He killed some of the Surface products, focused on the Surface Pros and really turned them into a very powerful machines, then the Surface Books.
Jason: People are crazy about those and they're selling—
Leo: Yea, they're selling really well. And deservedly so. If you're going to get a Windows 10 computer, I think a Surface is absolutely the one to look at. Although there's some great other products like the Lenovo Yoga and things like that. But he kind of blamed Bill I think for getting into handsets too late. Now one of the big flops of Ballmer's tenure was Nokia, the Nokia acquisition. And he felt that that was kind of because Bill wasn't into hardware at all and never let it succeed in the way it should have succeeded.
Jonathan: I don't think the problem was the hardware, it was the operating system. I mean we had iPhone, iOS and Android and did you really need a third?
Leo: Yea, but partly that was because they were late, right? Had they gotten into—they were only 3 years late.
Jonathan: Nokia was actually out super early. Remember they had Symbian and probably five other different pre-iOS you know, smart phone OSs. They were into J2EEs, all sorts of stuff.
Leo: And Microsoft's Windows CE and Windows Phones were terrible.
Peter: They had Windows Mobile which was bad and then they actually came out with a version called Photon, code name Photon which they worked on for a few years and then they—which actually was pretty good. Then killed it. And then started over. And that's what became Windows Phone. And that was too late.
Leo: It was too late. They rethunk it and did a great job.
Peter: But it didn't matter.
Leo: Three years too late.
Peter: It was the same thing with Palm, right? Palm had the Trio. They stuck to the Palm OS for two long and then they rebooted with the Palm Pre too late. And at that point, there is nothing—
Leo: Although I have Web OS on my LG TV and I love it (laughing).
Peter: Actually mine too and it is pretty good.
Leo: It survived.
Jonathan: You know what is a great Microsoft starter product, the Zune. I actually got one of those--
Peter: Zune SD was one of the best devices.
Leo: It was too late. Everybody had iPods. By then it didn't matter. I had a Zune HD too. I loved it.
Peter: And people forget, actually Microsoft did phones before they bought Nokia. They had the Kin that they did.
Leo: A product, the shortest tenure of any smartphone I can remember.
Peter: I think it was on the market for 60 days before they killed it.
Leo: Killed it in 2 months. (Laughing) that's not a good sign.
Peter: Which was crazy.
Leo: The other thing, Ballmer's very famous—in fact, if anybody remembers Steve Ballmer, probably one of the first things that comes to mind is Ballmer laughing when Apple announced the iPhone saying, "Nobody's going to buy that. It's too expensive." And he says, "I'd wish I'd thought about, as Apple did, the model of subsidizing phones though the operators." He says, "You know, people like to point to the quote where I said, ‘iPhones will never sell because the price is $600 or $700-dollars too high.' The key was Apple had this business model. They got it built into the month phone bill." And he was wrong. And he admits it wrong. I didn't think of that. I wish I'd have thought of that.
Jason: This in innovation is important.
Peter: So I interviewed Bill Gates in 2005. And I asked him about smartphones. And I said, "When are you going to sell, when is my mom going to be able to use a Windows Mobile Phone?" And there was a resistance in Microsoft at the time. They still thought of smartphones as being a device for professionals and then you were only going to want it for—and they thought it was a device that its primary purpose was to connect to an Exchange server and pull down your email and your calendar and all that stuff. And so they, and you actually saw with Windows Mobile, they had the higher end kind of professionally oriented stuff which was for smartphones and then they actually had their—called Smartphone OS which was almost basically, it was like a dumbed down OS for feature phones. And that was where they really missed the boat. They just didn't conceptually see smartphones as something that could translate to everyone. They still thought of it as primarily a professional device rather than a consumer device.
Leo: You really can't underestimate the vision that Steve Jobs had with the iPhone. And maybe even more importantly, the engineering drive to make that work. As we've learned more and more about it, that thing was hanging by a thread during the demo. This was a very tough thing to get working. Nobody had ever done it before. And by the way, it's more than just creating an iPhone and creating a market for smartphones. The technologies, the manufacturing processes that were perfected by the iPhone, by making the iPhone have benefitted us in so many ways, from drones—
Peter: Capacitive displays were—they basically didn't exist for consumers.
Leo: We had these crap resistance displays. We wouldn't have any of the touch surfaces that we have today. Microsoft wouldn't have them if it weren't for Steve and the iPhone so that was a breakthrough product. And you know, in hindsight it's easy to say, "Oh, it's obvious." I don't think it was that obvious and I think they—
Jason: No, taking the keyboard off was an incredibly bold move and I remember—
Leo: Everything on the keyboard. Everyone said, "What are you going to do without a keyboard?"
Jason: I talked to Jobs about that in person and I was like, "I just don't like—I love the keyboard or whatever." He said, "You know, it's going to—you have to just trust it, Jason. You have to trust when you're typing that it's going to get it right." And you know what? He was wrong at the time.
Peter: It took him a few years before he got it right.
Jason: But they actually got it right. Now I pound on my—
Leo: Right, it usually says the right thing.
Jason: And it usually gets it right. And I think that sort of predictive text and knowing what word comes after the other to correct it if you got it wrong, they just have enough data now to actually—when you're slamming those keys on your iPhone, I don't think you're actually getting it right most of the time. I think it's getting it right.
Leo: So I had asked you a couple of breaks ago to think about who is the new Apple. Who's the next—
Jason: It's clearly Elon Musk.
Jason: Of course. I mean if you think of singular—
Leo: Tesla plus Solar City plus—
Jason: Yea, the roof tiles, the battery pack and the car and then he's going to go into car sharing. And I mean if you just think about like how bold and courageous that vision is. There's nobody who's doing anything even close to as bold and courageous and as humanity changing, species changing as he's doing, hands down. I mean there might be some people in the future do some things with DNA and you know, curing diseases and some of that kind of stuff that you can put in that sort of range.
Leo: What about the cost of the solar roof because it's a very pricey product. You have kind of a ceramic or glass translucent surface that looks like roof tiles.
Jason: They said it's going to be the same as you know, regular roof tiles. I don't know if that's the case.
Leo: I have—by the way, Solar City, 60 Solar City panels on my roof and I'm very happy with it. In fact it's great when I drive my Tesla because I feel like I made the power. I didn't make it but somebody, the sun made the power that I'm using to drive the car. And that's actually a very virtuous circle I think. It' really nice.
Jason: We can reverse global warming. It's a possibility. I mean I know this isn't a sure thing but it's a possibility.
Leo: A lot of people see Elon as a huckster.
Jason: Yea, I mean I think they said the same thing about Steve Jobs and other people. He's not. I mean he is going out there putting his entire fortune on the line constantly. I mean what more do you need—
Leo: That's a lot of guts.
Jason: Yea, I mean you don't need to know much more than the fact that he plowed his last $50-million-dollars into Tesla and almost lost it. I mean he was negative. So I think the only thing if you have any criticism about him, it could be that sometimes he flaked delivering products because he makes the degree of difficulty in these products too high. We're talking about Apple not doing anything innovative with the new MacBooks—
Leo: Elon's the opposite, isn't he?
Jason: Elon's the opposite. He's like, "Yea, let's make the doors on the X falcon doors." Everybody on his team, because I have internal, I have some insight into this was like, "This is not a good idea. It's too complex." And he put too many features in that product, so much so that now when the Model 3's coming out, he's explicitly said, he's actually aware of the fact that people think he overreaches. And he said, "I'm not going to overreach on the Model 3. I'm going to make it simple. And I'm going to deliver it on time." And I think he'll get there.
Leo: You advised me not to pick up my Model X right away but to wait. And that was good. Mine has been very robust. It's not—
Jason: Yea, because I think it takes a couple of revs of this software to get the doors right. Now the doors are right, you know, stuff like that.
Leo: What do you think, Peter?
Peter: I think that in terms of building the next great consumer business I think is Snapchat or Snap now.
Leo: Wow. Because they have this messaging platform. It's all they have.
Peter: Well I think they built a camera first, messaging platform and I think that there are a lot of indications that—
Leo: You think that the glasses camera's important?
Peter: So I think that the glasses are actually, the Spectacles are little about testing the market a little bit, trying to see how comfortable people are with wearing something that has a camera. And I also think that they are very well positioned for augmented reality frankly. The stuff that they're doing with the filters—
Leo: Oh, interesting.
Peter: It's not hard to see.
Leo: So the Spectacles are more you think in the long run than just cameras? The idea is getting you used to wearing—
Jason: It's absolutely, it's an AR run.
Peter: They have made some investments and acquisitions in this space. They are making the acquisitions. They are thinking about themselves potentially as—
Leo: Is Evan a genius on a Jobs' level, a Musk level? No.
Peter: I don't think he's necessarily at that level but I think that—and it was really interesting to see when the Sony was hacked and one of his board members was like the guy from Sony. And some of those emails leaked and his emails to this guy were actually remarkably thoughtful in terms of strategy.
Jason: He's grown up quick.
Peter: He's grown up a lot and I think that—
Jason: Yea, because some of those emails that were leaked earlier were—
Leo: (Laughing) Juvenile?
Peter: Yea, yea, yea.
Jason: They were pretty horrific.
Peter: They were terrible. So I think he's grown into the role and I think that—I'm not saying it's a lock. I think there's a lot of execution missteps that they could make but if I'm Facebook, that's the one company that I worry about the most that's coming up. Obviously you still have to worry about Google and you still worry about Apple as competitors but I think that—
Leo: But Snapchat saw the value of mobile and they're a mobile—not just mobile first, they're entirely mobile.
Peter: They're mobile first and I think they saw the value of being camera first and I think that they are realizing that augmenting those experiences is something that people really like. And they're starting to do it in an incremental way that feels very natural.
Leo: You can't get away from Snapchat Filters. I mean they are everywhere.
Peter: And so I'm not—the big question is how much do they end up opening the platform versus keeping it relatively closed and it's not difficult to imagine that a situation where the next Pokémon Go type game gets built on top of Snapchat.
Leo: Wow. IPO probably this spring, right?
Jason: Yea, it's going to be big. You know the Spectacles are I think going to be a big hit because you know what Google Glass got wrong is they put a computer in there and they made it overly complicated and you didn't know if it was recording. And I told Larry Page from the get when he showed up at a party with those, I said, "You know, you really got to put a little light there."
Leo: It's horrific.
Jason: Like how do we know if you're recording or not? He's like, "Oh, do you think so?" And I was like, "Larry. Are you out of your mind?"
Leo: (Laughing) Well Larry has a little bit of the same problem that Snapchat has which is it's kind of in a bubble, right?
Leo: Snapchat with a black face for instance, their Marley and so forth. It's as if they don't—they make mistakes too by not talking to other people.
Peter: But I think being LA is actually a little bit healthy for them because their outside.
Jason: They're out of the bubble.
Peter: They're out of the bubble and like I said I think that that fact that the glasses don't have a display, they're input only right now and they're going to test. And they're going to experiment. They're selling them for, it's like a tenth of the price of what Google Glass was.
Jason: That's the key thing. They can send 10 million of these. They're a hundred bucks. I mean people are going to buy them off-
Leo: Lots of kids will buy them.
Jason: People are going to buy them at Starbucks. And they'll probably—from what I understand they're doing something unique with distribution which I think is they're going to make them only available to people who are power users in the app. So this is the rumor I've heard. So if you're one of the top users, based on your number of followers—
Leo: It's hopeless. There's no way I can catch up DJ Cohen.
Peter: You've got to start right now. Stop the podcast.
Jason: So when you open it up, one day you're going to open your app up and it's going to say, "You can buy it now. Yes or No?" And if you don't buy it you'll go back to the end of the list.
Jason: So that's—I probably shouldn't be saying all this stuff but that's what's going to happen.
Leo: Become a power user.
Leo: But I already have—my row of messaging apps is full. There's no room for Snapchat.
Jason: Here's the thing. If this—people didn't think that people would hit publish on a video that they didn't edit or review first. This generation doesn't care. So we're a step away from a Black Mirror episode where like these things are on and I thought they would launch them with a DVR. 2.0 will have a DVR in it which is to say it's going to be constantly recording and if you said a funny joke, I'm going to be able to go zzzz, clip, clip, clip, boom, and that's going to be truly scary because that means we're always going to be recoding our entire lives which gets to the William Gibson novels.
Jonathan: That is a Black Mirror episode.
Jason: Which is a Black Mirror episode. That did have a DVR. But that had your whole life. But I think this will be DVR which is the last 30 seconds will be stored. Then you hit boom and you can share. It's going to happen.
Leo: Do you have a nominee for the next big thing, Jonathan?
Jason: Or executive.
Jonathan: I don't even really like the question. I think the reality is the next big thing is not something anybody here probably even knows about. And I kind of more identify with the Wozniacks of the world than the Steve Jobs. You know the guy that actually started Tesla you know, probably don't remember his name or the person who came up with the idea for Snapchat. Kind of without those people, none of these things would exist. And I'm an engineer so I still sort of identify with those folks. It kind of seems like if you watch Halt and Catch Fire, the character, it was the most interesting character, the guy who's not the engineer who like gets them all to do the stuff. You know people love that kind of character. It's interesting. It's dramatic. But you know, I still think—
Leo: You're with the solder monkeys.
Jonathan: Yea. Yea. Absolutely.
Leo: Yea, I'm kind of with you. Let's take a little break. We'll wrap this up in a bit. Great panel. Boy, a lot of fun. There's a couple of—you know, the seeds and the stems. The stuff that—the shake, the stuff that filters to the bottom of the rundown coming up.
Leo: But first—
Jason: As we coast into the third hour.
Leo: Coasting into the third hour.
Jason: Coasting into our third hour here.
Leo: It's Sunday evening.
Jason: In Petaluma.
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Leo: Good news. Just a public service announcement. LastPass which was created by Joe, great developer, engineer, Joe Siegrist who knew security, sold it to LogMeIn. He's still there which I like and he's keeping it alive. And now and I'm really thrilled, he mentioned that he was going to have more resources with LogMeIn. They are now giving away a really critical feature that was part of the premium feature, the ability to use it on all your devices, on your phone, on your computer. If you don't have a password vault, LastPass is now free. There's still a premium version that you may want, includes family sharing for up to 5 years and you can use some hardware, two-factor authentication and that stuff. But for most people, the free version is all you need. There's absolutely no excuse now not to use LastPass.
Jonathan: I think I've already got the premium version of LastPass.
Leo: I buy it. I pay for it. We use the Enterprise version here. Everybody at works gets it.
Jason: What does it mean if I pay for it and now it's free?
Leo: I don't know. You're supporting it.
Jason: OK, good.
Jonathan: It wasn't that expensive though.
Leo: It's a buck a month. You can cancel it.
Jason: I have it, yea, I love it.
Jonathan: It wasn't expensive.
Jason: You know my favorite part of that is they let you do, they'll actually suggest like a ridiculous, a ridiculous password, like 20 characters.
Leo: Oh, I do 25, 60. Sometimes I—
Jason: I love it. I love it. It's hilarious.
Jonathan: The pet peeve is really poorly coded sites that you put in your LastPass password automatically, 20 random characters. And then it says, "Oh, you need to put a punctuation sign."
Leo: Yea. And it can only have 5 characters. My favorite thing, and I can't show you because I'm in the LastPass, our Enterprise LastPass—
Jason: Sharing it with people?
Leo: There's a new one called, what is it? Emergency access or—is that what it's called? You can designate, you should do this with your wife. Designate somebody who will have access to your LastPass account if you die.
Jason: Oh, I love it.
Leo: The way they do it—well, think about it.
Jonathan: Do they have to send in the death certificate?
Leo: No. It's actually very simple.
Peter: There's a dead man's switch?
Leo: There's a dead man's switch. So you say how long—
Jason: What's a dead man's switch?
Peter: So basically if you don't login—I have one set up for my Google account. So if you don't login to your Google account for, I think it's for me like 3 months or something like that, Jill, my wife automatically gets an email with my password and access to my account.
Leo: Yea. This is even simpler.
Leo: If you die, Jill sends an email to LastPass saying, "I'd like access to his LastPass account." They send you an email and you get to set the time limit. I have it for 3 days. If I don't respond to that email in 3 days, saying, "No, no. Don't give her access." Then I'm dead and she should have access.
Jason: So some wives are going to be tying up their husband waiting for that email to come in.
Leo: You can make it longer. You can make it as long as you want, so.
Jonathan: If we kidnap Leo, and get his email and kidnap him for three days, we can get into all of his accounts.
Leo: And that's of course with a password vault, the downside is everything's there. But I trust these guys.
Jonathan: I hope there's no fans listening to this that are thinking about kidnapping Leo. If you are thinking of kidnapping Leo for three days, please don't do it.
Jason: Or you can do what I do which is I write every email with the expectation that it's going to be public and eventually—
Leo: Nowadays that's a very good idea.
Jason: I write things like blog posts. I'm like, "And in consideration of what's happened here, I believe the ferrous, the most fascicle thing to do is." And in the old days, I'd be like, "****" I'm not doing—sorry.
Peter: I still have some of those emails.
Jason: I'm like, "F this guy. Take him down, Peter. You have to destroy him. He'll never walk again. Destroy them." And now I'm just like, "In further consideration, Peter, I think that a vibrant community exists with multiple competitors who are—" And then I get on the phone with Peter. You have to kill this company.
Jason: Destroy this competitor. Who is their best writer? Steal them.
Man's voice: A laser started a fire during surgery after the patient farted in the middle of an operation. While the doctors operated on the woman's cervix."
Jason: This is my favorite story of the rundown.
Man's voice: Passed gas and then ended up being burned after the laser ignited the fart, resulting in a fiery explosion. A committee of experts charged with investigating the incident ruled that there were no other flammable materials present at the time of surgery and the equipment that was used did not malfunction leading them to believe the woman's flatulence was the culprit."
Jason: This was not a particularly powerful laser, it was a particularly potent fart.
Jason: So literally—
Leo: She was having a common procedure, a laser procedure, a cervical procedure.
Jason: Was the laser near the—
Leo: It was her cervix. Do you know where that is? Have you ever—never mind.
Jonathan: This is why your panel needs more diversity, Leo.
Leo: (Laughing) And you know, they had her, I guess they had her opened up. I don't know. Anyway, do not do this at home.
Jason: Yea, we've got to check Snopes. I'm with the chatroom.
Leo: So we checked Snopes and Snopes is publishing the story. They're not debunking it, they're publishing it. So I don't know what that means. I think we can wrap this up. I just wanted to wrap it up on a high note because we started a little gloomy.
Jason: It's awesome.
Leo: We were a little gloomy, a little depressive but I feel that things are looking up. Things are getting brighter.
Jason: Please let it be Wednesday. Can I just take literally a pill and go to sleep for 48 hours? Just wake me up when it's over.
Jonathan: Have you already voted, Jason?
Jason: No. I'm taking my daughter to actually come with me. I wanted her to-
Jonathan: Do you know how many ballot propositions there are?
Jason: 75, right?
Jonathan: It's going to take you 20 minutes at least.
Jason: Well do you have to vote on all of those?
Jonathan: No, you don't have to vote on everything.
Leo: No, no, no. You get the sample ballot tonight. Go home. Go to ballotpedia.com or ballot.org. It's great.
Jason: Ballotpedia? Ok.
Peter: It's your duty as a citizen.
Leo: Ballot.fyi in California. You can go through all of the things. Mark your ballot. And then you just go in and—
Jonathan: If you don't have an opinion, vote no.
Jason: What's that?
Jonathan: If you don't have an opinion on a ballot proposition, vote no.
Leo: I don't do that. I just don't vote.
Jason: Because no change is better—
Jonathan: No, I disagree with that. I disagree with that because in general, I think this ballot proposition system has—
Leo: It's terrible.
Jason: All I want to know is which one is decriminalizing weed?
Jonathan: That one you can vote for.
Jason: What number is that?
Leo: John should know.
Jason: Wow, it's really interesting. All the engineers at TWiT know which one is decriminalizing weed. Oh my goodness.
Leo: Now, by the way, there's controversy over that because this is, this particular measure which is a recreational marijuana legalization.
Jason: Let's go.
Leo: As opposed to medical marijuana which we already have in California. This one, some people think, including the small farmers up in Mendocino, that this is a bid by big tobacco and big tobacco-like companies to create a large industry out of marijuana.
Jason: Let's do it.
Leo: And put the little guy out of business.
Jason: Yea, let's do it. I mean listen, if we—the places where we've legalized it, the opiate use which is the real problem in America, legal opiates are killing people. And if you can get legal opiates that are prescription, those, when you have people abusing those and you make marijuana recreational—
Leo: It's really a problem.
Jason: It goes down. Because people realize, "Oh, if I'm just trying to get rid of pain, I don't have to take these drugs that are so powerful and I forget how many I took." Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has OD'd on marijuana.
Leo: Never. Will you be able to go into a 7-11 and just buy a pack of smokes?
Jason: Of course. And you know what? This CBD stuff that they have, you know, which is the THC is the one that makes you feel high, the CBD makes your body feel. They make tinctures out of this. They make cookies out of this. This stuff stops seizures in young kids.
Leo: This is probably the watershed election, right? This is when it goes nationwide.
Jason: We've got to get it done. We've got to get this done.
Jason: You know, and it's just all these people in jail, like half the people in jail or a 3rd of them are in there for non-violent drug offences and we have the largest incarceration percentage in like the history of humanity in non-wartime. I mean, it's insane.
Jonathan: But there are people making money off of it. There's people making money off of opioid prescriptions and people making money off of the prisons.
Leo: So just vote no.
Jason: How on earth could there be a financial profit in incarceration? That is—
Jonathan: There is.
Jason: That is insane.
Jonathan: There are private prisons.
Leo: He knows that. He knows it is a terrible idea.
Jason: The most insane thing that anybody ever came up with, to incentivize people to keep people in jail.
Jonathan: Well the Justice Department just decided that I think federally, we're not going to do any more private prisons.
Jason: Thank the Lord.
Jonathan: So that is a huge step forward.
Jason: I think we live in a time and I think a lot of it has to do with the tech industry where people are actually feeling empowered that we can change things. And then despite what's happening now—
Leo: I hope that's true. I hope that's true.
Jason: Gay marriage, legalization of cannabis, the people are being heard.
Leo: I think it's related. I think there's a backlash, people who don't want all these changes, who would like things to go back to the way they—
Jason: Yea, Member Berries from South Park.
Leo: Member Berries?
Jason: Watch South Park this season. It's basically people are all living in the past.
Leo: Member Berries. The past that never existed by the way.
Jason: We need to move forward.
Leo: Anything else to say? Jonathan Abrams, it's great to have you. Nuzzle.com.
Jonathan: Nuzzle.com, yes.
Leo: I use it every single day.
Jason: Me too.
Leo: It's part of my newsbeat check. And I have a newsletter which from time to time will add—
Jonathan: That's what we're excited about right now. I think Jason's also doing something with newsletters which is kind of funny because email newsletters does not sound like the latest, newest thing. It's not the newest thing but they're hotter than ever right now.
Leo: So this is based on people by following Twitter and Facebook?
Jonathan: You're Nuzzle feed is but you can now curate a newsletter with Nuzzle and pick the stories you want. So you can pick anything you want. And really, I think anybody who has anything they're doing with content, anything online, if you are doing a blog, if you're writing, if you're a journalist, if you have a podcast, if you are doing anything online, you probably should have an email newsletter. That is one channel for people who are interested in your blog, your podcast, whatever to subscribe to, to get a direct relationship. Because it's the only thing you can do these days that still exists as your desktop, you know, direct browser traffic is plummeting. This is something you do that Facebook doesn't control. You build an email newsletter audience, Facebook cannot filter those people out.
Leo: It's yours.
Jonathan: You'll really actually share the things you want to share.
Leo: Well Jason's been calling for that for years. You're a believer, I know.
Jason: Yea, I mean listen. It's, I think the value of an email subscriber is roughly 50 times that of a social media subscriber or YouTube subscriber or Twitter follower.
Jason: Maybe 100 times.
Jonathan: I would agree with that.
Leo: Well they're opting in, in a big way.
Jason: They're opting and you have to earn it. Every time you email somebody, if the—what I love about it is the writers are so on their game because if you send somebody a bad email with a spelling error or a factual error, they will just unsubscribe. It's death. So the writers have to stay so on their game, so focused.
Jonathan: I agree.
Jason: We agree.
Leo: Thank you. Great to have you, Jonathan. You, Jason, of course you're always one of our favorite guests in here. Thank you for coming. Inside.com., LAUNCH Festival, @jason on Twitter. There's the live newsletters you can subscribe to.
Jason: Oh, thanks.
Leo: You can get Jason's briefs daily.
Jason: Yea. The one you probably want to check out is called Technically Sentient. We partnered, it's about halfway down the page. It's an AI newsletter we started. It's already the largest AI newsletter now.
Leo: Oh, I'm going to get that right now.
Peter: That's Rob.
Jason: Rob May. So I'm an investor in his company. He basically was doing it. He had 600 members. We added him to our network and we grew it to 7,000 or 8,000. So in a month we have 8,000 subscribers who really care about AI.
Leo: Mine are locked in. I already get a lot of email and a lot of what I call bacon.
Jason: Just pick the two best.
Leo: And I even have—what I finally did was I created a filter that says if there's an unsubscribe link anywhere in an email, put it in a newsletter folder.
Leo: But I think I want a folder of newsletters that I want to read. I need another folder.
Jonathan: This is not really for you. Because like you already use Nuzzle. You have our app installed. You use it all the time. And the thing is, for power users like us, for super nerds—
Leo: We can do pull. We can do pull.
Jonathan: We have apps. We're on Twitter. We know what RSS is. But what I discovered is there's a lot of people out there who don't use any of that stuff.
Leo: And probably don't get 1,000 emails a day.
Jonathan: But they have email.
Jason: Here's the thing. We're going to hire the number one person in 250 verticals to write newsletters and that content will be available nowhere else. And if you read it you'll have a competitive advantage and you'll be smarter. And I think that's enough of a value proposition for now.
Leo: You know what I should probably do is create an email address just for newsletters and I could have a little magazine somewhere.
Jason: Here's the thing. If they're high quality.
Leo: Unroll me.
Jason: No, there's an app taking newsletters and then putting them into an app.
Peter: There is an app.
Jonathan: There is which I think is quite hysterical.
Jason: And I'm like, guys, are you out of your minds?
Jonathan: I already have an app that I can reduce folders in. It's called my email app.
Leo: But I have other stuff in there.
Peter: It formats it and all this stuff. I wish I could remember what it is.
Jason: They'll be—my thesis is, people will subscribe to 3 or 4 content newsletters that they love and that are high signal. And I don't need to have you on 250. I need to have you on 2.
Jonathan: There's a lot of people who, you know, who are out there who probably don't have a newsletter right now that is relevant to what they're doing. I mean in Silicon Valley everyone thinks, "Oh, I already get all these newsletters."
Jonathan: I get Mattermark, I get all these—
Peter: Comma, that's right.
Leo: Comma. Read your email newsletters.
Jason: I do use Comma.
Jonathan: There's another one.
Leo: That's one.
Jason: I get DealFlow.
Jonathan: And there's another one trying this as well.
Jason: Well we have kind of a crowd on the VR newsletter now.
Jonathan: To me the whole point of an email newsletter is that you don't need a dedicated app for it. That's the whole point of using that.
Jason: You don't have to think or take up space on your desktop.
Jonathan: A lot of people just don't want, don't install and use a lot of different apps.
Jason: We had a half million people download our app. You know how many use it ever day? Low thousands. Like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Leo: Isn't that interesting.
Jason: It was like, really? All this expense. You have to have 12 people in a company to do a 2 platform app company at scale. And now I have one developer and I've got 20 grant writers. It's a much better process now. 95 cents of every dollar I spend goes to a writer.
Leo: That's a good way to do it.
Jason: I want it to get to 99 cents.
Leo: The writers appreciate it, right? Right, Peter?
Leo: Peter Rojas. He is now a beta. Works ventures where he is investing in the future. It's great to have you.
Peter: Definitely not the past.
Leo: Well if you invest in the past, it will be too late. It's great to have you too. It's good to see you.
Peter: Thanks. It's good to be back.
Leo: I'm thrilled to have you out in the Bay Area. You'll have to come back now that you know the way.
Peter: I will.
Leo: We do—thanks to our live audience. Great live audience in the studio today, including, I've got to say hi to Jeremy Burge. He is the founder of Emojipedia and the creator of World Emoji Day. And as an emoji fan, we use Emojipedia all the time, actually. Yea, he's in town for the—he's from London. He's in town for the Unicode meetings, the committee. The Emoji Committee is meeting. Are you thinking about a new emoji?
Jeremy Burge: Yea, what do you want?
Leo: What's the hot new emoji that you're working on?
Jeremy: A giraffe.
Leo: A giraffe. Everybody wants the giraffe emoji, right?
Jason: I said that twice last year.
Jonathan: Jason wants a Trump emoji.
Leo: Actually a Trump emoji would be so useful.
Jason: I want a Trump emoji with a red line through it.
Leo: No but that's something you can do whatever you want with it.
Jason: That's true.
Jeremy: We're working on a face with a lightbulb.
Leo: A face with a lightbulb. That's good.
Jason: Oh, like idea?
Leo: And Shhh or whatever in your culture.
Jason: Do you have the F word? Is there a way we can do an F bomb? How about a bomb with an F on it?
Leo: That's what the eggplant is for.
Jason: That's not an F bomb. That's a different thing.
Leo: (Laughing) All I know is the eggplant and the peach are not in polite society.
Jason: Wait, what was that?
Jeremy: There's one up for discussion this week, like a face with a box with characters under it.
Leo: Oh, because you're—
Jason: Oh yea, yea. No, no.
Leo: You can add words, yea, like an expletive.
Jason: Here's what I want you to do.
Leo: An expletive emoji.
Jason: I want you to run this up the flagpole, you see if anybody salutes at the meeting. I want you to put a bomb with an F on it.
Leo: Oh, F bomb.
Jason: This is, this would be the best emoji ever.
Leo: That would be only in the US. No one would know what that means.
Jonathan: Can't you just type in an F and then a bomb?
Leo: You could do that.
Jason: I'm going to start doing that.
Leo: Actually, there you go. They have a bomb.
Jason: No, my mom calls everybody out. Enough with the F bombs at the table.
Leo: No more F bombs.
Jason: Listen, I didn't raise you to drop F bombs.
Leo: You're not that kind of a boy.
Jason: Don't bother with the F bombs.
Leo: I want a laser fart emoji.
Jason: For sure. It's like (exploding noises).
Leo: Anyway if you'd like to be in our studio audience—
Jason: Laserfart.com registered.
Leo: Also thanks to Winton Churchill's in the studio today. He's the guy who sends me those great, crazy shirts from Mexico. I appreciate that.
Jonathan: I hope my kids are not watching this.
Leo: There's no F bombs in this show. It's clean..
Jason: No, but there's a laser fart.
Leo: Your kids love farts. Come on.
Peter: Your kids know about laser farts.
Jason: They know all about laser farts.
Leo: They love it.
Jason: Right now there's about—
Peter: They learn it in school.
Jason: Right now 100 different 12-year-olds are trying to light their farts on fire with lasers. Do not do that.
Leo: Take it from us.
Jason: We've tried.
Leo: Don't do it.
Jason: We did it with Bic lighters.
Leo: It's a bad idea.
Jason: Very bad idea.
Leo: If you want to be in the studio audience, firstname.lastname@example.org. Just send us an email that way we can have a chair out for your and send you directions and all of that. We do the show every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time. That's 2100 UTC if you'd like to stop by, say hi, we'd love to have you. If you can't be in the studio or watching on the stream or in the chatroom at irc.twit.tv, no problem. We've got on demand audio and video available for you.
Jason: Laserfarts.com is still available.
Jason: Somebody grab laserfarts.com.
Leo: Tag it.
Peter: I didn't even look to see if someone got it.
Leo: I would rather have laserfarts.setter.
Leo: Yes (laughing).
Jason: It's very important that the laser—
Leo: It's a new business idea.
Peter: I don't know. Laserfarts.social is pretty good.
Jason: Or .io laserfarts.io available.
Leo: We'll be back here next week.
Jason: I think we've named the show.
Leo: No, I'm not using laserfarts in the name. I'm sorry.
Jason: Really? I kind of feel like it would be the best name of the year.
Leo: We'll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.