136: War and Peace25 Sep 2015
Lessons learned from Marco’s Peace ad-blocker saga.
- Requirements that Find My iPhone and passcodes are disabled for iPhone repairs
- iPhone 6s Live Photos
- watchOS/2 and colored activity rings
- Igloo: An intranet you'll actually like.
- MailRoute: Hosted spam and virus protection for email. Use this link for 10% off for the life of your account.
- Squarespace: Start here, go anywhere. Use promo code ATP for 10% off your first purchase.
- Follow-up: iPhone screen repairs
- Follow-up: Live Photos
- Sponsor: Squarespace
- Color complications
- Peace refunds
- Sponsor: Igloo
- Peace origins
- Ads vs. tracking
- Peace launch and unlaunch
- Marco hates journalism
- Sponsor: MailRoute
- Lessons learned
- Loss aversion
Follow-up: iPhone screen repairs
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m glad Honda’s perfect. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
⏹️ ▶️ John ha! Wow. Doesn’t even take premium fuel. Yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ John so this is about bringing the iPhones in for the crescent moon problem and the various experiences people had and what
⏹️ ▶️ John the Apple geniuses asked them to do to their phone and what happened to the phone when it was taken into the back
⏹️ ▶️ John room and all sorts of stuff like that. So, one theme was some
⏹️ ▶️ John people are super angry that we don’t know this stuff.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco It makes me so angry to
⏹️ ▶️ John hear you talk about genius stuff that you don’t know about. It’s like, yeah, we don’t know. And then plenty of people tell
⏹️ ▶️ John us. That’s kind of how the show works. We say, I wonder what does happen in the back room, and then a bunch of
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple geniuses anonymously email us and tell us what happens in the back room. So that was one theme. And by the way, I can
⏹️ ▶️ John relate to that. When you hear people talking about stuff on a podcast and you know
⏹️ ▶️ John the answer, but no one on the show knows the answer, because you’re an Apple genius or a former Apple genius,
⏹️ ▶️ John and you hear the people thinking, I wonder if it’s this. All of us offered various ideas of
⏹️ ▶️ John what it could be or whatever. So that can be frustrating, but that’s also part of the fun of podcasting.
⏹️ ▶️ John The second theme that I saw emerge from the very large volume of feedback we got from Apple Geniuses,
⏹️ ▶️ John ex-Apple Geniuses, or people who are Apple Genius adjacent. They were all
⏹️ ▶️ John cagey about what their jobs were and they all wanted to be anonymous for the most part, was
⏹️ ▶️ John that things are actually slightly different from Apple store to Apple store. We got,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, email from geniuses in different countries in different States in the United States.
⏹️ ▶️ John And they all describe what their store does. And there, you know, there’s a commonality. Like we’ll get to that when we get to the answers. There
⏹️ ▶️ John is an answer to all of our questions last time. But some stores were like, our store tends to do this except
⏹️ ▶️ John there occasionally we do that. Our store always does this and doesn’t do it. Like subtle differences in policy that I assume are
⏹️ ▶️ John like maybe at the discretion of the store manager or just kind of like what they tend to do.
⏹️ ▶️ John Other people delving into details of how the geniuses are rated by their
⏹️ ▶️ John managers based on certain metrics that have to do with how they choose to do discretionary things. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John I was surprised at the variety, at how much things can vary from store to store. And these are not things that
⏹️ ▶️ John the people writing in presented as things that might vary. The only way we discovered that they vary is by
⏹️ ▶️ John the sheer volume of feedback. And you know, oh, like these five people said they always do this, and these four people said they always
⏹️ ▶️ John do something slightly different. And all those people are not presenting that as a thing that they think varies. They think like all Apple
⏹️ ▶️ John stores do this, but they actually do very surprising amount. And that kind of matches up with,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, the experience, even just the YouTube had in terms of, uh, if I bring it in at the end of the day and the store is
⏹️ ▶️ John going to close, maybe they’ll give me a replacement phone instead of trying to repair, or they’ll just tell me to come back the
⏹️ ▶️ John next day. Or, you know, or if you, you know, if you have iOS nine or a beta on it, the machine can’t replace
⏹️ ▶️ John it. So they’ll do that. Like lots of, lots of variations from, uh, from store to store. But anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John we’re not really interested in that. I’m interested in the variations because I find it interesting that
⏹️ ▶️ John there is apparently so much discretion from one store to the other. But the common stuff is what we’re
⏹️ ▶️ John gonna try to get to in the feedback. So one of you can try summarizing the answers to all of our questions from last
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right, let me take a stab at this very quickly. So the general theme seems to be that the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey reason that a genius will ask you to turn off Find My iPhone, there’s a couple of reasons actually. Number
⏹️ ▶️ Casey one, it’s to prove that that is your phone. And you haven’t stolen the phone
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and claimed that something’s broken or perhaps something is broken, and you’re trying
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to get a perfectly functional phone out of the deal. So the most obvious answer
⏹️ ▶️ Casey was, we want you to prove that it’s indeed yours. Subsequent to that, if it comes
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that they need to replace the phone, according to the geniuses, if I understood them correctly,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey They, the, the activation lock is tied in some way, shape or form to find my iPhone.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And so if they screw something up or something is just fundamentally broken
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and they need to give you a new phone, they’re going to want to recycle or um, remanufacture
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is the word I heard used a lot, remanufactured, um, uh, the, the, the phone that you’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Casey just given up and they can’t do that unless find my iPhone is off because they have no backdoor to this.
⏹️ ▶️ John Um, I think that that summary is accurate. The most common reason we heard cited was proof of ownership and
⏹️ ▶️ John for a reason because apparently people bring in stolen phones and going through this whole thing or like intentionally breaking part
⏹️ ▶️ John of it like opening it up and and disconnecting the home button and bringing in saying oh the home button doesn’t work like with stolen
⏹️ ▶️ John phones was apparently a very common thing so that is the the primary reason
⏹️ ▶️ John is you’re proving you’re on the phone and then the other reasons I’m still a little bit fuzzy on but we got a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ John what you summarized is uh the common answer I think.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right, so that’s the Find My iPhone portion. Now the passcode was interesting.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I didn’t realize the order of operations that happens once
⏹️ ▶️ Casey my phone disappeared to get the Crescent Moon repaired. So
⏹️ ▶️ Casey apparently what happens is they go to the back room and they use this little,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t know, clampy thing that has suction cups on it to peel apart the phone once they’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Casey removed the couple of screws that are on the bottom of it. Then they replace the screen with the screen
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is the touch ID sensor and a bunch of other things. I don’t remember the list off the top of my head, but the key
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is then they put it into this big black calibration machine and they are not allowed
⏹️ ▶️ Casey or told anyway, not to give you your phone back unless you pass calibration. And apparently
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the way you pass calibration is among other things, they put an app on your phone temporarily that interacts
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with the calibration machine in order to calibrate the screen and make sure the screen is working. Now
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this is important because they can’t put this app on your phone or do any of those other things without you having either given them your
⏹️ ▶️ Casey passcode or just taken off the passcode. So they run this thing through, they run your
⏹️ ▶️ Casey phone through this calibration machine just to make sure everything’s functional. And if it passes calibration, you get your phone
⏹️ ▶️ Casey back that has a new screen, new touch ID, et cetera. If it doesn’t pass calibration, then they’ll just
⏹️ ▶️ Casey hand you a new phone and say, be on your way.
⏹️ ▶️ John said that we also permit customers to decline giving us the passcode with the expectation that we’ll
⏹️ ▶️ John perform this functionality check with the customer. Some of the geniuses who said this said that they trusted
⏹️ ▶️ John the machine more than like checking the functionality with the people. I would trust the machine more too,
⏹️ ▶️ John especially for screen calibration type stuff. It’s not clear to me whether that can work with the passcode off or not. I
⏹️ ▶️ John think there’s some feedback related to that in there. But anyway, you would think that we’d be nailing this down, but there are subtle differences
⏹️ ▶️ John between all the feedback that we got. And can’t tell the subtle differences are significant or just differences in phrasing
⏹️ ▶️ John or whatever. But bottom line in the passcode is, uh, they want to make sure that
⏹️ ▶️ John if they change something about your phone, that all of the stuff that’s supposed to work still works.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And, uh, the other thing I just wanted to clarify a little bit is when I said an app with a calibration machine, I may, I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey may have the details a little wrong about that. Um, it may, I think we had heard talk of a custom ROM
⏹️ ▶️ Casey or a custom firmware. We’ve heard talks, a talk from the feedback that it was an app. The point just
⏹️ ▶️ Casey being that something happens on your phone that interacts with this machine in order to make sure everything works right.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right anything else on the repair things? I don’t have anything else.
⏹️ ▶️ John I feel like all we have done is initiated another torrent of clarifications from geniuses which
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is fine. How about this why don’t we just say right now we’re not gonna be talking about this anymore so please you don’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to even email us about it we’re done with this topic please for the love of God.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well I mean I don’t think there’s anything more productive to get out of it because we wondered like why they why they want you to
⏹️ ▶️ John find my phone and that I think we got a solid answer in that for, you know, to prove that you own it. And then the passcode
⏹️ ▶️ John stuff and the other things and when you get a new phone, when you get a replacement, all that stuff.
⏹️ ▶️ John I’ve got enough information to understand what they’re doing. I don’t think we imply that there was anything sinister
⏹️ ▶️ John going on. I think we were just wondering. And I don’t think there’s anything sinister going on. So I think we’re all
⏹️ ▶️ John satisfied in that front. Marco still wants the ability to, you know, that this
⏹️ ▶️ John one one person said they have, you know, basically the ability to test everything without having you unlock your
⏹️ ▶️ John thing with PASCO. But anyway, that’s… we’ll probably get clarification
⏹️ ▶️ John on that. I think I probably won’t be able to help following up
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know what, I totally withdraw my argument just because I don’t want to get any more mail about it. I’m so done with this topic, just… Well,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey hold on, we’re not there. One quick… I just wanted to say thank you to the geniuses that did write in. As much as we’re joking,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I, for one, and I think I speak for at least John. I for one
⏹️ ▶️ Casey appreciated hearing all of this and I know a lot of you and I am not trying
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to be funny. I know a lot of you probably felt like that was a risky thing to write into it to us and share
⏹️ ▶️ Casey any sort of information. So I speak for all of us even those who are those of us who are grumbling in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey saying thank you for what you have already written, but But I agree, I think we’ve got the gist now. So thank
Follow-up: Live Photos
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Alright, Monika, what would you like to talk about?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Anything else? So, let’s quickly, very fast, this is how you do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco follow-up, guys, very fast follow-up. Last episode we talked about the Live Photos
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mode on the 6s. I said that it was most likely dumping the entire sensor
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at 12 megapixels in a very fast burst to make those videos. You can see
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in John Gruber’s review, which is excellent, you should read it, that the resolution is substantially lower
⏹️ ▶️ Marco than that. It is not dumping it at 12 megapixels for the video. It’s basically taking a lower resolution video,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s like 1440 by something, and it’s one of those things, like it looks fine on the phone.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I wouldn’t even say it looks good on the phone. It looks fine on the phone. On any more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inspection than that, any larger viewing or any close viewing, it does not look very good,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it looks good enough on the phone.
⏹️ ▶️ John Does it look good enough on the phone? I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is a very weird feature. I think it’s cool. I think it’s an interesting
⏹️ ▶️ Marco idea, but the quality is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco amazing. It’s not going to be for preserving things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in high def. It’s going to be for a ha-ha, funny, look at this moment, surrounding
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of things. If you want to actually have video of something, just shoot video.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It looks way better when it’s in video mode.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey One way or another, I am really, really excited and amped to see this because
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I really think this could be extremely cool. A lot of times when I’m taking pictures
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with either my phone or my big camera, I really wish I had
⏹️ ▶️ Casey either context or even just a crappy still from a half second
⏹️ ▶️ Casey before I actually hit the shutter. And I’m really, really excited to see this. I think
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it should be really cool. Now, it may end up that I get my iPhone 6S, which, by the way, is in Louisville,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not that I’ve been looking. I will get my iPhone 6S, try it, and
⏹️ ▶️ Casey think it’s crap, but I don’t know. I’m really excited for it. And it just occurred to me, I am not saying that just because
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I want to sound enthusiastic about something. I genuinely am enthusiastic and excited about this.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, and for me, I’m most excited, reading all these reviews and everything, I’m most excited about 3D Touch, honestly. And also
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the performance increase was way bigger than I expected.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, my goodness. I feel like they talked about it, but I don’t know. When you see it in the keynote or special event… Well,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, every year they say, now it’s even, you know, it’s 20% faster, 80% faster. But you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco usually a lot of times they cherry pick that metric to be like the maximum. And in reality,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s maybe only 30% faster, which is still great for one year of semiconductor advancement, especially
⏹️ ▶️ Marco compared to the world of PCs and Macs. But this is one of those years where, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some years it makes a bigger jump than others and this is one of those years where it’s a noteworthy
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⏹️ ▶️ Casey So, big week, Marco?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, you know what? We might as well go right to the main controversy of the week.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The colored activity rings.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t get why that’s such a big friggin’ deal. Like I don’t like that it’s color, but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I seriously am like whatever. But man, the internet’s upset.
⏹️ ▶️ John Is it only color on a modular face?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey No. No, it’s on… Is it simple or the other one that it’s color
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s on Utility where it’s colored. That’s the one. Yeah, and that’s what everyone’s mad about because Utility, which is the face
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I use and I have the Activity Ring on it, Utility is, or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was previously, a very kind of restrained design. It really, you could have called it simple.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like, it is a very simple design if you don’t crap it up with a bunch of stuff. It is a very good design
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and many people are very upset about the Activity Rings now being
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bright colors that you know match their colors in the in the activity app rather than the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco previous monochrome version.
⏹️ ▶️ John I gotta say the upgrade experience to watchOS, it’s watchOS 2 right? Yeah. I was very confused by
⏹️ ▶️ John it because first of all I tried to do it at work and that didn’t work because it the watch wants to be connected to the charger and of
⏹️ ▶️ John course I don’t have my watch charger work so fine I wait till I get home and do it but I did like the phone part of it then where it downloads
⏹️ ▶️ John the OS right? I get home and I put my watch on the charger and I let it do the update
⏹️ ▶️ John and it goes long and then I come back later, looks like it’s all done, and I pick up my phone in the watch
⏹️ ▶️ John app, and I’m not sure if it’s done, so I go back into the updates thing or whatever, and it says,
⏹️ ▶️ John everything is up to date, 1.0.1. You’ve got 1.0.1, all good. I’m like, what do you mean 1.0.1? Why
⏹️ ▶️ John it says there’s no updates, and I’m all up to date, and the version is 1.0.1? Is that
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco talking about the version
⏹️ ▶️ John of the Apple Watch app on the, I don’t know. I was super confused. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John all I did was pick up my watch turn the dial and see time travel go and basically say oh there you go it’s installed
⏹️ ▶️ John so I do have watch OS 2 but I was confused by that but what is that if you did it too
⏹️ ▶️ John did you discover what the 1.0.1 is referring to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco well that was the previous version it’s just a bug in the watch app which it wouldn’t be the first one
⏹️ ▶️ Casey fair enough I mean I again I don’t like the colors on the activity rings on
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the which one did you say it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I keep on to say simple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I I mean, I looked at it too, and I was, you know, like, because I use utility, and I thought, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this really is now a much less elegant looking face than it was before.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco However, I also do use the activity rings pretty heavily. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of the most common reasons I look at my watch face. And so when I first saw it, I thought, ah, what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a terrible mistake, those are so garish, and they are, but then I went for a dog walk. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on the dog walk, usually, I would open the watch, or I would look at the watch, it would
⏹️ ▶️ Marco wake up, and usually I would tap the activity rings in the corner to launch the full activity app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to check how I was doing in that app because the rings on the watch face either wouldn’t have updated yet or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it would be kind of hard to see when I was in motion on this big walk and there’s this little tiny rings. And now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with the colors, it is easier to see how I’m doing because when I’m doing a big walk
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or something, one of the rings can get ahead of the others and sometimes you can’t quite tell whether it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like the orange one or the green one. And so you gotta look more closely to really know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And now with these new colors, it makes it very clear. So what I find now is that I don’t have to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco launch the Activity app anymore. I can just glance at it with the colors and I can see how I’m doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with the green ring. So it actually works for me. And I really hate
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to say that because I really don’t like the way it looks, but it does work better for me.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Anything else going on this week for anyone, Marco?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t think so. I mean, I’m working on some overcast upgrades
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and… Are we really not going to talk about this? Because I don’t carry the whey.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We can talk about it. We can talk about it.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John going to. It will happen.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Peace, your content blocker that we talked about last episode, it became extremely popular,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey you had a change of heart, you pulled it, and the internet got really, really upset
⏹️ ▶️ Casey about it. I will start by saying, I think it’s kind of ridiculous
⏹️ ▶️ Casey how upset the internet got about it. Um, it bothered me quite a lot and I really have nothing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to do with this really at all, but I got bothered by it because I feel like
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the internet wholly and entirely overreacted over
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a decision that was not easy for you to make and quite literally cost you
⏹️ ▶️ John Well it didn’t cost them any money in the end right? It cost them time obviously, they spent all this time making this
⏹️ ▶️ John app and then you know it was all for nothing.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I get let me maybe cost is a poor choice of words what I mean to say
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is… I lost money on the icons and the SSL assert the domain name.
⏹️ ▶️ John All right. So here’s something I didn’t know until this all went around that got clarified for me by asking questions
⏹️ ▶️ John about it. But my previous understanding about how refunds worked
⏹️ ▶️ John was that if someone bought an application for a dollar and Apple
⏹️ ▶️ John issued them a refund, they would still want 30 cents from the person who made the app. In other words,
⏹️ ▶️ John if every single person who bought your application asked for a refund, you would still have to pay Apple 30%
⏹️ ▶️ John of the total revenue from your application. Apparently that changed some point in the recent past.
⏹️ ▶️ John Marco, do you know an exact date?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco People have said that over the years. The thing is, it’s probably different on the Mac App Store
⏹️ ▶️ Marco where the prices are usually a lot higher. On iOS, though, the number of refunds
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that happen typically on iOS is usually so low. Most days I get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from Overcast, I’ll get you know thousand or hundred or tens of buys
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and then you’ll have like one or zero or two refunds like it’ll be a massive difference
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so it’s it’s the kind of thing almost all iOS developers never have to think about therefore
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve never looked into it and therefore I don’t know if that was ever true
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah anyway the new system as Marco can confirm is when Apple issues a refund
⏹️ ▶️ John Marco doesn’t know Apple any money for that particular purchase like all the money goes back to the person who
⏹️ ▶️ John paid for the application and that’s that. So in theory and as we’ll find out in practice, if
⏹️ ▶️ John for example every single copy of an application that was purchased was completely refunded, the developer
⏹️ ▶️ John gets zero dollars and everyone who bought it gets the exact amount that they paid back. So it’s a complete clean slate
⏹️ ▶️ John ignoring Marco paying for the development of the application and SSL certificates and icons and all that other stuff or whatever. So that
⏹️ ▶️ John is the current situation and I’m happy to hear that because I remember hearing back in the old days about refunds
⏹️ ▶️ John saying, oh that’s pretty pretty harsh that Apple still demands the 30% of whether that
⏹️ ▶️ John was a intentional policy or a side effect of the system that they had or whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John usually not a big deal because refunds are infrequent but in a strange situation like we had here where
⏹️ ▶️ John many applications were purchased and all refunded that could have ended up being even more costly but it’s it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John nice that that wasn’t the case
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah if it becomes the case believe me I will notice and I I’ll let you know.
⏹️ ▶️ John All right. So the other thing most people don’t understand about, and you can’t really blame them,
⏹️ ▶️ John developers know this, nerds who know developers know this, but regular customers, why would they even have any need
⏹️ ▶️ John to know this? Developers can’t issue refunds. They just can’t. Like if you sell an application
⏹️ ▶️ John on the app store and someone asks you for a refund, you literally cannot give it to them. There is nothing you can do. There’s no button you
⏹️ ▶️ John can press to say, here’s your money back. Only Apple can issue refunds. That’s stupid.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it has been the case forever. And, you know, every time stuff like this comes up, we all reflect
⏹️ ▶️ John once again about how Apple owns the customer and the developer doesn’t. We don’t know the customer’s
⏹️ ▶️ John names. We don’t know the customer. You know, the people who sell applications can’t respond to customers comments, don’t know who they are. In some respects,
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s good. It’s like, Oh, Apple is isolating you, keeping your privacy above all. But on the other hand, developers cannot
⏹️ ▶️ John issue refunds. So a lot of the people who are angry justifiably is like, I bought an application
⏹️ ▶️ John for a whole $3 and I’m really mad about it anyway and it’s obviously
⏹️ ▶️ John going to be supported because it was pulled and the developer won’t give me a refund which is true but he
⏹️ ▶️ John can’t give you a refund he literally cannot i’m sure oh i don’t know i asked marco this is the first question for marco
⏹️ ▶️ John if there was a big button that you could have pressed to refund everybody when you decided to pull the app would you have pressed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco maybe i would have i would have definitely considered it i mean one of the weird things about the way this was done
⏹️ ▶️ Marco uh so and i’ll I’ll get into why I pulled the app once we get off this topic.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I will actually give people what they’re looking for, which, unfortunately, I already did. It’s a really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco boring story. The story is what I wrote. But anyway, I’ll elaborate if you want.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco To refunds for a second, you are right so far. The way you said
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it, we don’t… I mean, I wouldn’t even gotten them… Assuming that the sales had gone through and had not been
⏹️ ▶️ Marco refunded, I wouldn’t even have the money until a month and a half from now.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, but like if there was a way in Apple’s system to basically say, oh give all that money back, like the customers
⏹️ ▶️ John gave the money to Apple and if you could push a button that made Apple give the money back to them, like it would never appear in any of your statements. It would
⏹️ ▶️ John just be like, oh plus this amount, oh minus this amount, and then your statement a month and a half from now would be like zero dollars.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right. I mean if, so if they gave me the control, uh, then I would have really considered doing that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Um, it does really suck that I am actually now losing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco money on this, on this project rather than making some money. But it was a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco weird dilemma of, do I keep all or any of this money?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Whoever doesn’t claim a refund, do I keep any of it? And then Apple made this decision for me.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They sent me an email. I got an email from iTunes Connect, whenever it was,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yesterday afternoon, whatever day it was. I’ve lost track of all meaning of days. But whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was, they sent me an email saying, because you pulled your app, we are refunding all the customers.”
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it almost looked like a form email. You could tell that it was…somebody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco filled in three words in it. But they decided to do that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most likely because I was directing over 10,000 people to their refund form.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like that’s…I was seeing over the last couple of days, there were…I think at my last count, it was something like 13,000
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or 15,000 people who had been issued refunds through the regular process.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And what that process is involves doing some kind of live chat
⏹️ ▶️ Marco agent thing with somebody at iTunes. So this was…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. I mean, I can’t imagine the load that put on them. And I was not very happy about that, either.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But I didn’t have much of a choice. My original choice would have been, don’t launch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this app. But I messed up, and I’ll get to why. But I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco messed up. Simple as that. So I decided, given the situation I’m in, where I’ve already done that mistake,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco how do I resolve this mistake in the best way possible? And had I been given the option to issue everybody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bulk refunds, I probably would have done it. I can’t say definitely, Yes,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would have because it was such a rush. I don’t even know. I honestly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t know. But I had considered it and I had asked some friends, like, is this possible
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to bulk cancel all these things and bulk refund them? And everyone I asked, I asked a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco handful of people, and they all said, I don’t think that’s possible. Because most of the time, the way the iTunes store
⏹️ ▶️ Marco works is this total black box. And it’s all like an Eddie Cue’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco team. And Eddie Cue’s team has enough to do. If there’s one department
⏹️ ▶️ Marco within Apple that has way too much on their plate, it’s ADQ’s department. And so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I thought, especially in regards to the iTunes store, this is this old infrastructure
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that often does not work incredibly well with things like iTunes Connect
⏹️ ▶️ Marco errors and stuff like that. The idea of asking them to make an exception for you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sounds so ridiculous to almost anybody who’s involved in this because they know. like, you know, asking them
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to just make the basic functionality work every day is enough work for them. Like, that’s hard enough.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Anyway, so I didn’t… I was not given the option to bulk refund
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everybody, but I am kind of glad it happened because it resolved
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of problems. You know, even though it was weird
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that they didn’t ask first, but I’m not surprised. And It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is kind of nice that I didn’t have a choice in the matter because then I didn’t have to make that choice
⏹️ ▶️ John So related to that and a part of the reason why someone who purchased the application would be annoyed I mean, there’s a lot
⏹️ ▶️ John of reasons. So if you purchase it Since Marco can’t issue you a refund and since
⏹️ ▶️ John he had no way to do a bulk refund He what what you were doing was directing people Please
⏹️ ▶️ John go request a refund because it’s the only way you’re gonna get one you have to ask Apple and that process is annoying and it’s Like oh,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know buying the app is easy You just tap a button on your phone getting your refund seems like a hassle. I don’t know how to do
⏹️ ▶️ John it now I got a like look on Apple site. How do I do refunds Marco link you to the forum? Do I have to fill this out? Do I have to go to chat thing? It’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John hassle So that’s inconvenient if you want your three dollars back singing to me, but why would you want your three
⏹️ ▶️ John dollars back? Well, what people are basically doing is like the app is pulled Obviously, there’ll be no further development of the app. But the question
⏹️ ▶️ John is and a lot of people have this question Will the application continue to work
⏹️ ▶️ John on you know, I bought it. I installed it It’s on my phone Marco pulled it from the store, which means no new people can
⏹️ ▶️ John buy it What does it mean about the copy of Peace that is on my phone right now? Will it continue to work?
⏹️ ▶️ John If I get a refund, will it continue to work or will it be deleted from my phone? If I don’t ask for a refund, how long
⏹️ ▶️ John will Peace work before it just breaks entirely?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. So, the answer is, as far as I know, it doesn’t affect
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the logical mark on your account that says you bought it. So you are still
⏹️ ▶️ Marco able to have it, run it. I think you’re able to restore it. The way I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco deleted it was I didn’t actually delete the entry out of iTunes Connect.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I just set the availability date to be as far into the future as it would let me. I don’t know the fine details of how that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco works and so I’m not going to promise anything there, but I think it should allow restores and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything. Anyway, as for it functioning once you have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it installed, it will continue to function until something in iOS
⏹️ ▶️ Marco makes it stop working. It will, though, stop getting updates from Ghostory
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sometime in the future. Right now, it is still able to get updates. These are going to be somewhat costly for me to run
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if a lot of people keep the app installed, so I might stop that. I’m going to stop that eventually, because now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that everybody has gotten a refund on it, that also makes it easier for me to say,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, you know what? In a few months, if I decide to shut down the updater and stop paying
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for all that bandwidth and hosting for that operation, then I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco feel okay doing that. So I’m going to shut it down at some point, but I haven’t yet. And when that happens,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the app background updates to get new definitions from my server. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco eventually it’ll become less effective over time as new ad servers and new
⏹️ ▶️ Marco trackers start existing on the web that it doesn’t know about. So that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco how it will eventually break. Or some iOS update comes out and says, well, now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have to be on our new 128-bit processor by this date, and if you’re not, we’re going to cut you out of the store.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco As far as I know, I don’t think they’ve done any permanent breaking changes that would, say, rule
⏹️ ▶️ Marco out an iOS 4 app from still running today. I don’t think that’s the case. All that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is a very long way of saying, if you want to keep Peace installed, and if, for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco whatever reason, Apple does not remove it off your phone, and it’s any kind of botched restore operation or weird
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing like that. As far as I know, it should continue to work for a long time.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right. Let’s, uh, I think John and I both have some more questions for you about this, Let’s talk about something that’s
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⏹️ ▶️ Casey John, any other questions immediately about peace?
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, are we going to get into the good stuff?
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco We’ve just covered—
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Let me get into the why. I’ll tell you the story of how this came to be. Is that good?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, can we just cover a couple of—something right off the bat. Can we just admit that it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey just a complete, glorified, well-executed money grab? That’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey absolutely what happened, right?
⏹️ ▶️ John The most unsuccessful money grab in the history of play.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m really bad at money grabs apparently. Yeah, so anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco no what actually happened was Apple paid me off. That was my
⏹️ ▶️ Marco theory I heard was that Apple paid me off to pull the app. Now Apple,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco who made this content blocking API, who clearly wanted people to use it for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ad and tracking blockers. They just wanted you to block pictures of cats, Marco. Who, I was also
⏹️ ▶️ Marco making them a lot of money, because they’re 30%. 30% is a lot. So that, I think, by far, was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my favorite theory. Of course, yeah, Apple paid me off to take this down.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco For what, exactly? To make them lose money and go against all their strategy goals? Yeah, that makes sense.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, I mean, the fact is, no one paid me anything. I’m now losing money on this because all the refunds got issued. So I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Marco going to lose a few thousand dollars on it, but oh well, it’s the risk I took.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So what happened was over the summer, so we had the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco content blocker announcement at WBDC and in fact John and I are actually in the session video.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco There’s one of the shots that pans over to the audience and there’s a clip of me and John,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think we’re clapping at one of the things that was said or whatever. So
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s how I knew you’re making a content blocker. It’s like, Margo’s in this session. He never goes
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco to sessions that I go to. So
⏹️ ▶️ John he’s making a content blocker, didn’t want to say
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anything. And I hadn’t decided right then whether I was going to do it or not, but I knew right then it was going
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be a big deal and a big market and I wanted to use one. And that is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco usually a pretty good recipe for me to want to make an app. And you know, the reality
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is I also want to keep doing Overcast as my primary
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app. And so I wasn’t going to tackle a new app that I thought was going to be a massive time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sync. And so content blockers are so easy to make. I mean,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really, the one I made that briefly did very, very
⏹️ ▶️ Marco well, and then the ones that are there now, this is probably the most money
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for the least effort that has ever been possible in the App Store. And soon enough, it’ll be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco diluted by tons and tons. But I thought on day one, there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco would be way more in the market than there were.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I couldn’t make one. That’s how easy it is because it’s like one API.
⏹️ ▶️ John go to the session, you’re like, this is how it works. And then it’s just down to the data.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right? Yeah, that’s it. And and so the data is the the the the code part of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is ridiculous. People asking me to open source it. You don’t understand how little code there is here. It is an
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s incredible, especially because like the the the extensions that I added, all they do is bring up Safari
⏹️ ▶️ Marco View Controller. So I don’t even write the mini browser like it. There is so little code
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the app. Anybody can make these. The only limitation is what the heck you use for the data,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for the rules of what to block. That is the only hard part. And the fact is there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tons of publicly available lists and databases that you can use.
⏹️ ▶️ John And you can even like, I’m assuming this is the case, and I expected to see more of these. I haven’t really looked into content
⏹️ ▶️ John blockers that deeply, but couldn’t you have it so that someone enters a URL from which
⏹️ ▶️ John to pull data in a format that you specify? Like, it could be like the app could come
⏹️ ▶️ John with no data and say, Well, this is a content blocker. And it works like this. And it expects its data
⏹️ ▶️ John to be in this format. So type a URL here of a file that I can
⏹️ ▶️ John pull that will be in that format, and I will parse it and that will be your content blocker. And maybe you’d have like a default
⏹️ ▶️ John one that pulls like a content blocker that blocks like, two big ad networks or something like isn’t that something
⏹️ ▶️ John you could do as well?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean, all the data you have to give them is just a it’s a list of rules expressed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in JSON. And so you can you can get that JSON from anywhere. You can include it in the app.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You can build it on demand the way I was doing it. So you’d have you get like dynamic rules. It doesn’t matter. You
⏹️ ▶️ Marco can get it from anywhere. It doesn’t matter. So
⏹️ ▶️ John and you can make up your own format. There’s just like type a bunch of host names if you want to make like a super simple one. I’m actually surprised
⏹️ ▶️ John more people didn’t do that because that is really the least amount of work you can do. You make like a trivial application that uses one API
⏹️ ▶️ John and maybe even you go the extra mile like Marco didn’t do the little extensions to bring up the Safari view controller.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I should just say right now, I said there’s not a lot of code in here. A lot of people have said, the right thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to do is for me to open source it. A, I disagree. I’m not obligated to open source it. B,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my arrangement with Ghostory is that I’m just giving it to them and they can do whatever they want with it. So it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco no longer mine. And that’s fine. The fact is, if you want to reproduce this, is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of work to to make another app like this it really is very very easy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco um the only hard part is the data and that is that is very hard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John and then you
⏹️ ▶️ John have to pay someone to make the icons or you could shamelessly copy marco’s icons
⏹️ ▶️ Marco copy mine no go to louis
⏹️ ▶️ John mantia i’m just saying like what the what the what the million ripoff applications the same kind of
⏹️ ▶️ John applications that put like pictures of mario into their games and stuff like they’ll just copy it exactly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah if you want to get icons made go to parakeet It’s great. I’ll put the link in the show notes because they’re awesome. They do great
⏹️ ▶️ Marco work. You can copy my design or don’t copy my design. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so the thing is, all summer I was thinking, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I should really do this because I have like, A, it seems like there will be a market. Now,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco again, I was assuming from the beginning that it would be a very crowded market right from day one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and that somebody like Ablock Plus, like some well-known brand in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ad blocking that had way more exposure and visibility and user
⏹️ ▶️ Marco base than I could ever muster, that they would be there on day one and would just own the whole market.
⏹️ ▶️ John And why do you think they don’t? Are they just not paying attention to WWDC? Because
⏹️ ▶️ John we all knew content blockers were going to be a big thing, but maybe that gets lost in the WWDC news?
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t know. I agree with you. I totally thought that on day one in the store,
⏹️ ▶️ John there would be a million content blockers because they are so easy to make. Yeah. And there’s so many
⏹️ ▶️ John places where you can get lists from and you can do the thing like I said and not even include lists. And I
⏹️ ▶️ John am when I found out you were making one I’m like, well, that’s pretty good. Because in the sort of even if there
⏹️ ▶️ John are tons of them coming out because they’re easy to make, how do you get yourself heard above the noise,
⏹️ ▶️ John and people who are going to install iOS nine on day one, like you know, and who are into
⏹️ ▶️ John who know that there are content blockers and who are going to be looking for ones on day one, you have better
⏹️ ▶️ John access to them than a lot of other things. Maybe you have better access to those people than a big company like the thing
⏹️ ▶️ John that makes that block plus because you travel in Mac nerd circles and Mac nerds read your blog and listen
⏹️ ▶️ John to your podcast or whatever. So if your goal is to try
⏹️ ▶️ John to sell a lot of content blockers being there on day one with the content blocker with a name that people recognize
⏹️ ▶️ John was a good play. And you know, and it was it turns out that you know there was a good
⏹️ ▶️ John play a lot of people bought it you ended up being number one paid app in the App Store and there weren’t
⏹️ ▶️ John a lot of other ones too and I don’t quite understand why either other than maybe they were just everyone else was asleep at the switch.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean like like at the loop they tried to they were publishing this list that was that was being updated and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even at like on long state they were only something like six entries on it and and only
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a hand only like two or three of them were really getting any traction on the charts I mean I was really surprised by
⏹️ ▶️ Marco how few there were anyway and and by the way going back I think one of the reasons why the big companies like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco iBlock plus didn’t go there or haven’t done there yet is because I was content blockers are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco very very limited they don’t have access to what’s being browsed all you do is you provide
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a list of rules and regular expressions to say block things that match this but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you are not being like your code is not being called on every page load or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s not being notified on what’s being loaded and you can’t do things like inject your own scripts do your own tracking
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on it from your site like you have no access to the way things are and these
⏹️ ▶️ Marco big companies like adblock plus like ghostory they have you know the business
⏹️ ▶️ Marco arm of those companies usually need some kind of access or analytics or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or tracking humorously of what you are what you’re browsing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and what things are being included on this page what ads are being shown what trackers are being loaded. Almost all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these big companies have arrangements like that in some way, shape, or form. Some of them are kind of questionable.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think Ghost Reads is pretty safe. The way it works, I explain them in the post. Their business model, I don’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco think, is something to be concerned about. The whole acceptable ads thing on AdBlocks Plus is, I think,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a little squishier. It doesn’t matter. The fact is,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that, I think, is why these big companies weren’t there on day one.
⏹️ ▶️ John Now that I think about it, that actually kind of makes sense because I understand that their business model doesn’t work
⏹️ ▶️ John on it, but you’re like, oh, well, then why wouldn’t they just do exactly what you did and sell an app for $3 and make a whole bunch
⏹️ ▶️ John of money? I think the answer is probably that even though it’s a lot of money for a one-person
⏹️ ▶️ John developer, for a big company, they’re like, well, paid apps,
⏹️ ▶️ John they can make a little money in a burst and then that’s it. There’s no recurring revenue and we can’t support
⏹️ ▶️ John our main business model. So basically they’re passing up what they consider to be chump change, where what
⏹️ ▶️ John is significant to one person, I don’t know how many people work for these bigger companies, but presumably a lot more than one person,
⏹️ ▶️ John like that it just didn’t seem worth it to them. So that might explain why the really big companies didn’t do
⏹️ ▶️ John it. They want, you know, they want huge numbers. They don’t want like something that would be significant to an individual.
⏹️ ▶️ John And especially if it’s not recurring. then it’s like why didn’t someone else
⏹️ ▶️ John another single person developer just give it a shot like
⏹️ ▶️ John there were so few of them that when people were making lists on iOS nine launch day like here are all the eyes and iOS nine
⏹️ ▶️ John content blockers there was two things on the list and yours wasn’t even included because of the five hour delay getting it on the store
⏹️ ▶️ John was like crystal purity purify
⏹️ ▶️ Marco purify yeah one blocker block blocker with an R yeah
⏹️ ▶️ John I saw they started trickling in but to be able to have them in a list that fits on a single screen, and
⏹️ ▶️ John not a lot of people made content blockers.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, so that was surprise number one, was that there were so few. Surprise
⏹️ ▶️ Marco number two was that mine topped the chart, at least the paid chart. Crystal was free on day one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and got, I think the guy said it was like 100,000 installations, and then he made it paid on day two. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think now it’s number one, but anyway, it doesn’t matter. And you’re right, I mean, the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of money that was coming in, it’s great for an individual. If If you have a big staff, it’s questionable
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if it’s worth going against your business interests.
⏹️ ▶️ John And then you have to support that. Say you’re a big, well-known company. It’s like, oh, I make my little burst of money from it,
⏹️ ▶️ John and maybe a little bit trickles in from it, but it’s not significant to my bottom line. And then I have to continue to pay
⏹️ ▶️ John some contractor to make sure the app continues to work and make sure whatever server is serving the data file that
⏹️ ▶️ John gets updated. It just might seem like a hassle to the big companies.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Exactly. So anyway, going through the summer, as I’m thinking about building this, And I really didn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco spend a lot of time on it. Most of the summer was spent thinking about how to do it. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I formed the idea of the structure of the app, these extensions it would have, how that would work and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything, and that’d be great. I wasn’t really writing a lot of code until the middle of summer, when I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco started playing with the various block lists that exist out there. And various hosts files.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I started emailing the people who maintain them, asking if I could license them for use in a paid app.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most of them are for non-commercial use only, so you have to get a separate license. So I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco started that kind of negotiation and discussions. But the original version of it that I made,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I was running for at least a few weeks over the summer on my own phone, it was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That actually works surprisingly well. Like one rule, just block
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but if your main goal, if you’re willing to tolerate a lot of things being broken,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you’re willing to go through the process of making the exception or whitelisting or opening up without
⏹️ ▶️ Marco content blockers, if you’re willing to go through that process a lot, that gets you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the way there. It’s kind of sad how much
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that gets you there. And all these big databases and everything, their
⏹️ ▶️ Marco strengths are mainly in getting it more to the point where it blocks the ads without making anything break
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or making very few things break. But if you just want to block all the ads and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all summer I was doing that. The reason this problem attracted me in the first place,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco again, was because I knew there was going to be a market for it, I wanted to use it, and I had
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the idea of how to do it my way. I did
⏹️ ▶️ Marco think at the time, you know, I wonder if I’m going to get in trouble for making an ad blocker. I wonder
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if people are going to get mad at me if I make an ad blocker. I did think about that, but in the excitement
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of solving this problem in a way that I thought was very good. I was very proud of this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco work. And so in the process of ramping up and seeing how it turned out, seeing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lost. The idea of, I wonder what people are going to think and if anyone is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco going to be mad about this, that got pushed to the back of my head because I was so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco driven by and happy about how nicely the app was turning out. And so I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was focused on totally the wrong things. I was focused on, I’m very proud of this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco nice app I made that is making me very happy on my phone. And I sent it to some friends
⏹️ ▶️ Marco later on, and it was making them very happy. So I was so caught up in that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I didn’t go back and rethink, like, you know, maybe I should use… And then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Then what happened was, in an effort to try to make it better, because at first, again,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I wasn’t necessarily sure that that was going to be a good enough product to attach my name to. Because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s like, this is really great if you’re a nerd and you don’t care about reloading a lot of things a couple times
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to make them work properly. So that’s when I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco started looking at licensing one of these databases and I couldn’t find a good one until
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I tried Ghost Stories. And then I tried that, it was amazing. So I contacted them, I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco didn’t think they would even say yes. And then they did say yes. And it turns out they’re actually really nice and easy to work with and really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fast to get things together, which I was not expecting any of these things from a company as big as them.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But they were really, really easy and nice to work with. So I worked with them
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and we met. Their office is right here in New York, so we met in person. We arranged
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and we did the whole database, the contract, everything else. So then my mind, for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco those last few weeks before the launch, as this was all getting in place, my mind was all about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that and about, like, okay, now we’re on this train. This has inertia. We’re going. This is going to happen.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Once I signed that contract, I’m like, this is going to happen. I never went back to re-evaluate, should
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I do this? Do I want to be the person who owns
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the ad blocker? Do I want to be in charge of an ad blocker? I stopped evaluating
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that once I got on this train of, like, this app is really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco good, and now I have someone else’s data in it, and I deal with them to keep going with it, and it’s even better with their data.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I was so excited about how good the app was. I never went back and rethought that initial decision to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even make it in the first place. Also, honestly, I made the same mistakes with the magazine.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That was a much less interesting story, but when I made the magazine, I was so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tied up with the idea of making this cool magazine app that looked really nice and worked well and was way better than all the other newsstand
⏹️ ▶️ Marco apps that I forgot to really, truly evaluate what it would be like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to have to publish an issue of a magazine every two weeks indefinitely. That’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of work, and it’s really hard to make the economics work. I kind of brushed those aside
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because I wanted to make this cool app. So I made the same mistake here, just with different consequences,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco different downsides, where I was so enthralled with the app, with the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco technical side of it, that I didn’t adequately think about…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I didn’t think ahead to be like, all right, in six months, do I want to be spending half or more of my
⏹️ ▶️ Marco time being the guy who runs this big ad blocker.
⏹️ ▶️ John Casey, this is where you jump in with the Jurassic Park quote that you have off the top of your head.
⏹️ ▶️ John Marco, do you have it? No. The chat room will have it in about seven seconds.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey That he spared no expense.
⏹️ ▶️ John No, that’s good, though. Right. Movie.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right. Well, sorry, I’ve got nothing.
⏹️ ▶️ John Chat rooms got it. Marco was so preoccupied about whether or not he could make an app that he didn’t stop to think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. Exactly. And or rather I stopped really early on to think and then I was like, well, let
Ads vs. tracking
⏹️ ▶️ John So when you thought about it before you got into like the whole, I’m in, you know, I’m making deals with Ghostry,
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m happy with the app, whatever, but when you thought about before that, before all of that, you said, I’m going to make a content blocker.
⏹️ ▶️ John What did you, what was your thinking like? Because you gave yourself the green light. You thought about
⏹️ ▶️ John it very early on before you decided you were going to do this. And you said, you know what, I am going to do it. Was it
⏹️ ▶️ John based mostly on the fact that you wanted to run one? This is before anyone had run one. You hadn’t made
⏹️ ▶️ John one. They weren’t, they didn’t exist. be like, I want to run one. Is that why you’re making?
⏹️ ▶️ John Take us back to that thinking before you got caught up in the momentum of making the app.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. I mean, I absolutely want to run one. As soon as I had the very early prototype of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the massive difference it made in browsing speed. And also, I really do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco object to tons of web advertising and tracking. I think what the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco web publishing world has done—and I blame the publishers. I don’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco want to get too far into this, because if you want to hear more about why this debate is so complicated,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this week’s episode of Back to Work is really good on that topic. Merlin and Dan talked at length about this whole thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and covered a lot of angles, because it really is a very complex problem. It is not a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco simple yes-no kind of thing. They covered a lot of it. But just briefly, I do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco want to make clear that I’m going to still use an ad blocker and I’m still going to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco advocate that people block things that they don’t think are acceptable. What
⏹️ ▶️ Marco changed in my mind and what really started bothering me is that I don’t want to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the person in charge of making this decision for everybody. I don’t want to be the enabler
⏹️ ▶️ Marco necessarily. I don’t want to be the arbiter of what is good and what is bad. Because the problem is,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, you say block… First of all, I want to clear up right up front
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the idea of, well, I just want to block tracking, but not ads.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s BS. Because ads are tracking. Like, you can’t…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco While this is… While there are very, very few ads… Like, The Deck recently published their new
⏹️ ▶️ Marco images or whatever but that is really there’s there are almost no advertising
⏹️ ▶️ Marco networks that will that will claim that that will guarantee that and that actually do that so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the fact is if you are saying I want to block tracking but not ads that is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not that’s not really an enforceable thing you have in order to block almost
⏹️ ▶️ Marco any tracking you have to block almost all ads that that’s simple it’s simple as that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have to block ads to block tracking. Furthermore, if you really want to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco block more tracking, you also have to block things like social embeds, because Facebook and Twitter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and Google+, all these things, Amazon, all these links, these things that are embedded in people’s sites,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco plus one this on Facebook, thumbs up this on Twitter, whatever, I know those are backwards, I don’t care, all those things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are also tracking because the social companies are some of the biggest tracking companies in the world.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So you also have to block social embeds. And what about embedded YouTube videos.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Google’s tracking those. If you really want to block tracking, there’s a lot
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have to block. So the fact is, this is very, very complicated. It’s a very much a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco gray area, but you can’t have it both ways. If you say you object
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to being tracked, or you say you object to bad ads, or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you try to whittle it down and say, well, I want to block ads, but not yours,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yours are good. You know, it becomes very, very hard to actually do that, to actually manage that, because it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco usually, usually you’re asking for something that isn’t possible. You’re asking for a distinction that doesn’t really exist.
⏹️ ▶️ John Had you thought about this angle at all before embarking on creating the application? As
⏹️ ▶️ John in, like, when I make this application,
⏹️ ▶️ John when I use it, you know, I’ll set it up so I like how it works, but then I will sort of de facto
⏹️ ▶️ John be, even if it’s just by the defaults that I include in the application, be deciding what everyone
⏹️ ▶️ John who uses my application sees on the web and therefore I am sort of like the, the,
⏹️ ▶️ John the linchpin of some subset of the number of iOS users like Marco controls whether
⏹️ ▶️ John this, these, this group of users sees this kind of ad on this site because he sets the default for his application
⏹️ ▶️ John that happens to be popular. Had you thought about that at all or has not mentored your mind or if you did think about it? How did you think that
⏹️ ▶️ John was going to shake out?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I really didn’t think that much about these distinctions. The
⏹️ ▶️ Marco only thing I thought of when I was making the app was ghost reese data is tagged
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with like each. This is one of the reasons why ghost reese database is so good. You can see this when you use the desktop plugin. Each
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of the entries is tagged. So it’ll say like what it blocks in this page and you can see oh it blocked you know
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Google page sensor whatever ads comma ads comma tracker. It blocked the deck,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ads. It blocked Adobe Omniture, tracker. And it tags each entry with whether
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s an ad, a tracker, a social, a widget, font, comment, you know, whatever the categories it has. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I could have very easily made an option right in the app that said, you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know, check mark block ads, check mark block trackers, and have you toggle those separately from each other. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco again, I think that’s a false distinction because the fact is, if you say you don’t want to be tracked,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have to block ads. Simple as that. So anyway, I really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hadn’t thought about the reality of me being the center. I thought, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco whatsoever. And that’s, I think, almost more defensible. If you say
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with web tracking and creepiness and bad ads, if you just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that you should consider doing because that is kind of why these trackers on the web can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be so powerful. Because you can embed a script tag on millions of different publisher
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sites and your server is called from the user’s browser and you’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco able to run code arbitrary code on the user’s browser and have access to the DOM
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the browser the hardware access that’s now being exposed through all the web APIs all this crazy stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have access to through these third-party embeds you as the creepy ad company or whatever and you can track everything and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the fent is if people saw what is possible like if if if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re on the fence about whether you want to block tracking if you see like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the kind of just it is so creepy what publishers are able to see.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They can watch an individual’s every move. They can see when you scroll, they can see where
⏹️ ▶️ Marco your mouse cursor is, they can see what you hover over and how long you hover over it and how long you look at something. They can see everything.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you block cookies or if you block third party cookies from other sites or whatever, there’s almost
⏹️ ▶️ Marco nothing you can do, including setting the Do Not Track header, there’s almost nothing you can do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to prevent them from identifying you uniquely. Because even if you disable cookies
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and everything else, They can identify what your phone’s battery capacity is through the new
⏹️ ▶️ Marco battery level APIs. They can set different kinds of cookies through Flash or through databases
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or WebDB kind of stuff. There’s so many. They can just analyze your browser’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco request headers and just combining that with your IP address
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and they can generally get pretty unique with that. It is so easy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to track you and to uniquely identify you between multiple sites.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The only thing you can really do is block third-party embeds.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Let me get to what Gurb just said in the chat. What if publishers then just proxy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and this is a whole topic that we can get to, what happens if all this ad blocking does become
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so big that publishers have to change the way they do things. The things they change to might be worse,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and in some ways they will be. But the major thing holding this back right now is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ease and trust. Publishers usually don’t have big tech teams,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and whatever tech teams they’re doing are busy. They’re busy doing the crazy CMS stuff,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco trying to accommodate some crazy stuff the salespeople sold on Advertiser for a one-off kind of thing. the tech
⏹️ ▶️ Marco teams are busy doing it at big publishers and they’re usually not very big teams. So to have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco those tech teams do any custom work that involves running more things through their
⏹️ ▶️ Marco software and through their servers and through their domain names, that’s unlikely to happen
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in a lot of publishers. Secondly, the issue of trust. And the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fact is the advertisers and the publishers and the and the visitors, we all hate
⏹️ ▶️ Marco each other. Like the the the advertisers don’t like the publishers either because publishers try to rip them
⏹️ ▶️ Marco off. Advertisers don’t usually trust the publishers to say
⏹️ ▶️ Marco how many people viewed something. If you proxy everything through the publisher’s server,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then the advertiser or the advertising network has no way to verify that those were real hits
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that came from real unique people. The publisher could fake that data back to the advertiser and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco enough people would that you know you might get you make it like the big sites could agree to do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that like you You know, New York Times could do that, but you wouldn’t see something like Google AdSense, where this common
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing that’s on tons of sites, you wouldn’t see something like that going to that kind of model because it just couldn’t be trustworthy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco back to the advertiser. So that’s not going to happen. Anyway.
Peace launch and unlaunch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Anyway, going back, before I get too far into the post-release thing, I released this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing not thinking it would be a problem. And then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as the success rolled in, and as I hit number one, and as money
⏹️ ▶️ Marco started rolling in, big money started rolling in, I started getting a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco attention that I really was not prepared to get. I didn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco want to be the face of this war. I felt and I used a war metaphor in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my polling post and I do want to recognize that I’m using these metaphors extremely lightly because this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is all very much first world problems and this is nothing like what real
⏹️ ▶️ Marco war is. So I really want to use these metaphors extremely loosely and with that giant disclaimer ahead of it, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I almost felt like I was an arms dealer. You know like there’s this war going on and these two
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sides you know really don’t like each other and are trying to do whatever they can to disagree and a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lot of casualties happening and I was the arms dealer that was enabling that. And yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if I pull my app, somebody else will step in. They already did. I mean, you know, somebody else can step in and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco can become the arms dealer, so it’s going to happen anyway. Let them be the arms dealer. I didn’t want
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to do that. I didn’t want to be in that position and I just didn’t expect
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the scale of it. I didn’t adequately question how I would feel about it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Late enough in the process, I was so taken by how great the app turned out and how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco great the GoStreet database was working that I didn’t put enough thought into, do I really want to be doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this? And then all the requests started rolling in of, well, you know, this is really terrible
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for everybody, but if you just make these changes… And everybody had different changes, and they were all very
⏹️ ▶️ Marco complex. It was going to be that Peace was going to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to replace Overcast completely. I was no longer going to be a podcast
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app maker. I would have had to be a full-time ad-blocking app maker,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco dealing with the full-time realities of being in that position, of being
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that arms dealer, being that arbiter of what is acceptable and what’s not. And the fact
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is, I don’t know anything about that business at all. I’ve only
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even used an ad blocker for like three or four months. I’ve barely even used them for that long.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I was totally unprepared to be in this role. And once I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was faced with the reality of what this role is like, I realized, oh, I really don’t like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this. This is really uncomfortable. I was having trouble sleeping for those few… I mean, it was only a few nights
⏹️ ▶️ Marco before I pulled it. But I was having trouble sleeping. I was really kind of upset
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all day, all night. I really did not know what to do.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I just realized that I had gotten in way too deep. I was way in over my head. I had not thought
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it through enough, and I had found myself in a very powerful
⏹️ ▶️ Marco position that I really didn’t want that power
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in an industry that I really didn’t want to be in, being the face
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of a war that I really did not want to be the face of. That’s what happened.
⏹️ ▶️ John So just to answer the question that a lot of people have asked on Twitter and in the chat room, even though I know what the answer is,
⏹️ ▶️ John was the fact that Peace blocked ads on Marco.org a factor in
⏹️ ▶️ John any of your decisions?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, I don’t make that much money from those ads. It’s fine. No, not at all. And
⏹️ ▶️ John it does block them, right? Oh yeah. You run Peace on Marco.org, your website, it blocks the ads on it. And
⏹️ ▶️ John you know that, and it did not affect any of your decisions.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I thought it would be a massive dick
⏹️ ▶️ John move if I didn’t. Right. I mean, and like that’s maybe it’s because if you know like
⏹️ ▶️ John like that all the different things that you do you make overcasts, you’ve got the podcast, you’ve got
⏹️ ▶️ John a website and they all kind of contribute to the stuff that you do but it has seemed to
⏹️ ▶️ John me in recent years that your website, although it used to be much more important, is
⏹️ ▶️ John now less important. So maybe people who only know your your sort of public face from
⏹️ ▶️ John I mean didn’t you stop selling sponsorships for the website recently
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like a year ago or more it was a while ago
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah I think people have the wrong impression and think uh think of you think of like Marco
⏹️ ▶️ John dot org is the same thing as like daring fireball that as in like that Marco the org is the main thing and then you do these podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ John on the side you make software on the side or whatever but at various times the balance between the things you do has changed but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco barely even write on my site anymore tell me about it yeah
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John yeah you you’re even worse
⏹️ ▶️ Marco than me. I’m winning.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m winning. No, but I mean, yeah, I mean, the fact is, like, if the deck
⏹️ ▶️ Marco canceled my membership over this, that wouldn’t have been, like, threatening to do that wouldn’t have been, which they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco didn’t, but threatening to do that would not have been enough, yeah, for me to make this decision. I made this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco decision with almost no input. I asked almost nobody. I did actually run it, a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the theories are that John Gruber somehow, like, sat on me to force me to do this. The only person
⏹️ ▶️ Marco who knew before I pulled the app that I was going to pull the app besides Ghostory and my wife
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the only other person that I told was John Gruber and because he’s you know he’s he’s a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco smart guy and and so I ran up by him as kind of a sanity check like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco am I totally insane here and I didn’t want to ask a lot of people but I did ask him
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because he has a lot of thoughts on this issue you and he said that I should
⏹️ ▶️ Marco keep it up. He told me to leave it. He said, don’t do it. He said,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco wait, you’re being rash, think this through, you probably don’t want to do this. So the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco theory that he somehow got to me, I don’t know, like a horse head in the bed?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The theory that he got to me is completely wrong. The fact is I made the decision before talking
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to him about it. I ran it by him. He told me don’t do it and then I did it anyway.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So that’s what happened. And you know once and Ghostry was great I mean I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thought that was gonna be a problem going to them and being like hey never mind. You know right after
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all this. But they made their own post I don’t want to speak for them but we were all on the same page it was fine I mean and they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco were they were like they were again so incredibly easy to work with it like yeah okay
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was so easy. That’s what happened you know before and during
Marco hates journalism
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know how much I want to talk about what I think about ads today. I mean, I already ranted about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco how ads and trackers are the same thing, because they are. I will say that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think the biggest problem that web publishing faces is that the things they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doing… How do I say this nicely? I would say journalists
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are kind of like… I’ve had this problem with academics as well,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco probably because I was a terrible student had generally terrible experiences with schooling growing up. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco academia puts itself in a really pious position.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And some of that is deserved, but a lot of it isn’t. In a lot of ways, they’re just people with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the same flaws as everyone else. The role they serve is in some part special and necessary,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and in some part just a business. And so journalism, I think you can say all the same
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things about. It does serve a critical role in society,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sometimes most of the journalism taking place today is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not providing value really or not providing enough value it’s really a hard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco business because if you’re in the business like I thought it was kind of ironic
⏹️ ▶️ Marco forgive me if I’m misusing that word the ironic police but it was kind of ironic
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that my my post that in which I said that I was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco pulling the app somebody’s screenshot it on tech meme that it was you know there were like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know a hundred other posts from news sites that were basically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just rewrites of it just valueless bad rewrites of it that didn’t even get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the right point out of it of course. My experience with journalists personally
⏹️ ▶️ Marco has been mostly mediocre to negative. I have said many times in the past that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco talking to journalists is like talking to the police, ideally don’t. They have different
⏹️ ▶️ Marco goals than you, and they have lots of incentives that might be misaligned from your incentives.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco In my experience, I’ve been very frequently misrepresented and I’ve had my quotes very frequently used
⏹️ ▶️ Marco out of context and against me or as weapons to fight a cause that I wasn’t representing.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I’ve had a lot of mediocre experiences or negative experiences with journalists because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s this attitude in the business that they are untouchable,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that they must be automatically supported by society somehow, that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what they’re doing has infinite value. And the fact is, I write this post and I see like the hundred
⏹️ ▶️ Marco useless rewrites that most sites published about. I mean, some sites had original content that was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco interesting and interesting perspectives. Most didn’t. massive oversupply
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of journalism of publishing on the web. Ad blockers have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco existed for a long time. People have been blocking ads for a long time. Ad rates have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco been going down for a long time, especially display ads on websites.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Design decisions have been being made by data for a long time. There’s this infectious
⏹️ ▶️ Marco culture of data people that drives me nuts. The analytics and data and all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco those things are euphemisms for tracking. And so this culture drives
⏹️ ▶️ Marco major decisions at publishers, including what analytics they’re going to have on their site, what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco trackers they’re going to embed, how they’re going to track you, what they’re going to track, who they’re going to sell your data to.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco This culture of, we’re going to track everything, that’s okay, we’re going to make
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all of our design decisions based on data and A-B testing and everything, that has infected
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the industry so, so badly. And by the way, all this applies to apps as well, but what apps can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do is different, and we’ll get to that possibly some other time. The combination of the data
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people plus publishing just being so hyper-competitive,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so over-supplied, and ad rates being so bad, leads to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco an environment where publishers are just desperate. Because as I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco said, the economics are hard. They’re really hard. If you have a staff of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco more than zero people, if you’re just yourself working, a lot of people can make money
⏹️ ▶️ Marco themselves enough to survive. But once you start supporting a staff, if you’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco big enough to have an HR department, I think that’s a good barrier. If you’re so big like that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you’re trying to make it in publishing, it’s really hard to do. This environment, this atmosphere
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of difficult economics, decreasing ad rates, it’s creating environment where
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bad behavior, like embedding tons of trackers and doing creepy things to your data, is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco only going to increase. It is prevalent now, it’s only going to increase, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the fact that, or the idea that journalism needs to be supported by society no matter what,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco despite all of this garbage, I don’t think is a valid argument, and I think that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s really fault on both sides here. The attitude from publishers seems to be that they are helpless
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in this fight that, well, it’s not our problem. It’s what the advertisers do, and we have to use them. Then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s your problem. Then that’s your fault. You are choosing to do this. You are selling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco me to them. So this is a hard problem.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is not going to be solved anytime soon. It’s as much Ad
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Blocker’s fault as the decline of the music sales were Napster’s fault.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s a contributing factor, but it’s not really the root problem. And I think any
⏹️ ▶️ Marco discussion of ad blockers that comes over the next months and years, as
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the economics of the surrounding world continue to crumble, a lot of it’s going to be blamed on ad blockers,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but the reality is it’s much more complicated than that. And I really think journalists
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and publishing companies are looking at it completely the wrong way. They’re looking at it really in a way that buries their heads in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the sand. They’re saying, well, it’s your fault, blocking our ads whatever the real problem is them
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the real problem is that they are adding things to their sites and tracking things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and shoving in ads and arbitrary code they are allowing themselves and advertisers to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do really creepy things in the name of money and data that’s problem number one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco problem number two is that many of them are doing work that they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco assume has value that might have less value than they think.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like taking my blog post and rewriting it for your audience, how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco much value does that have really? Like are you adding much there? Should people be paying you for that?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know. I think they’re in trouble. I think they’re really looking at it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the wrong way. And I don’t want to seem like too anti-publisher here because there’s a lot of them that are really good.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But there’s also a lot of them that are going to be having a really hard next few years. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think they’re going to blame ad blockers, but the reality is this was happening
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with or without ad blockers.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Anyway, our final sponsor this week, really, it’s about time for that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Our final sponsor this week is MailRoute. MailRoute.net slash ATP to learn more.
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⏹️ ▶️ Marco a year, something, I’ve used it for a while, and it is really good. I mean, they cannot
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⏹️ ▶️ Marco a link to say, whitelist this one, send it through. And the rest you can just ignore. And then that adds to your
⏹️ ▶️ Marco database over time, and then they learn from that. So I’m not worried about things getting falsely trapped in my
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⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to login, it’s great, it’s such a great system. I can do it on my phone, I can do it on my browser, doesn’t matter,
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⏹️ ▶️ Casey What did you learn from all this from the peace thing and and I mean this not to beat you up but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Clearly this did not go the way you thought it was going to go and clearly it was a disaster
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right and and I think what a lot of people lost sight over when you pulled peace
⏹️ ▶️ Casey was Was that that? It was going to be a long-term
⏹️ ▶️ Casey fix But it was a short-term term increased
⏹️ ▶️ Casey disaster. You are not making things easier on yourself, at least for the first few days,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey by pulling peace. I’m curious, what did you
⏹️ ▶️ Casey learn from this experience and maybe even from the magazine? You’ve made a few parallels with that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey experience. What have you learned? Tim
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Cynova I’d like to say that I learned not to tackle apps without thinking them through,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but the reality is I’m probably going to make that mistake again in the future. I’m just gonna hopefully pick better ones.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco What can I say? I like making stuff and I got carried away in both of those cases. I got carried away with,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, first of all, underestimating how much work they would be. And then second of all, not thinking forward
⏹️ ▶️ Marco enough, like, do I really want to be this thing full time?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Because that can and probably will happen to a lot of these things, you know? I thought
⏹️ ▶️ Marco peace was gonna be a really simple thing that, especially since I outsourced the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco data to Ghostery, I thought it would be effectively no upkeep. I did
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not think it was going to do that well. I didn’t think I’d become the face of ad blocking,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and I didn’t think through what it meant, what it would mean for it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be widely used, and what it would mean to put myself in that position, and whether I wanted to be in that position.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the reality is, I’m not made for that. I’m not made for this business. I’m made
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for occasionally talking about it on podcasts, but I’m not made for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco actually being in it, for being involved, for being a major decision maker,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for the politics, for the pressure, for possibly being sued. I mean, we don’t know. I mean, ad blockers could
⏹️ ▶️ Marco get sued. There’s all these things that could happen. And I didn’t want
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be in that business that deeply. I just wanted to make a cool app and then get back to my podcast
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app. And the fact is, it isn’t that simple. success makes it especially
⏹️ ▶️ John So you could have done that like physically speaking it could have been no upkeep because you had to deal with the ghostry you could
⏹️ ▶️ John have made the app you could have never modified the application again except to keep it running and you know just continue to
⏹️ ▶️ John serve the ghostry like that was a that was a possibility it’s not as if there was something specifically
⏹️ ▶️ John about this application that required a tremendous amount of upkeep right?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah it’s it’s more that I I thought the problem was way simpler than it really was you know like I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I really thought that you know just having this master on-off switch and a handful of options below
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it would be enough to solve the problem. And the reality is that’s not enough. Like any app…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, when I made Bugshot, whenever it was… Two years ago? Yeah, two years ago. When I made Bugshot,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I thought the same thing. That this is going to be a simple little thing. I’m going to spend a week on it. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then I’ll use it. My friends will use it. Maybe I’ll sell a couple thousand copies. And in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Bugshot’s case, that’s exactly what happened. But even on day one, It was like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco well, gotta fix this bug. This feature request is coming in a lot. I really should address that. It wouldn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be that much work. And so it starts eating more and more time and eating more and more of your attention.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The idea of just releasing an app out there, and that’s the end of it,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is something that I keep falling into. That is one of the biggest lessons I have to learn here. When I had
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these little ideas for little side apps, It’s very hard to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco make those stay little side apps, to really make them not take that long, not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco take away a lot of time from my primary app, which right now is Overcast, and I expected to be that for a long time.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I keep thinking I can do more than I really can in a day or at a time.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That is the main problem here. I have a lot of things I want to do. I have a lot of ideas I want to work on,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I really need to first question a how much time they will actually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco take and probably way more than I think of ongoing time. And then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco B, do I really want to be there? What if it succeeds? Then I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then I’m that person that I’m in that business. Do I really want to be there?
⏹️ ▶️ John See, I think what I see at the center of this is like, again, I get back the idea that you could have made peace
⏹️ ▶️ John the way it was made sure it can seem to work as iOS is updated, but never add another feature to it. Never
⏹️ ▶️ John change a thing on it. Never update the icon. like that’s it you do the app you make it you leave it on the store
⏹️ ▶️ John it is for sale you never make any other changes to it that is a thing you could do but I think the
⏹️ ▶️ John problem is is that you’re like I keep thinking these applications are gonna require this update that they don’t require the
⏹️ ▶️ John app you only require it because you feel bad about having an application that you know could be better
⏹️ ▶️ John in the million ways that everyone suggests to you and so you feel compelled to you like with bug shot you’re like you
⏹️ ▶️ John know those people have a point it would be better if I had this feature that beer and this actually would be a cool idea. And it just you
⏹️ ▶️ John can’t, you can’t, you can’t abide by having an application on the store that you made.
⏹️ ▶️ John That is, in some ways, a representation of you like this is my work, this is the type of thing that I made, and then just never touch it again.
⏹️ ▶️ John Like that sounds like it would be torture for you to be forced to put out an application and said the only thing you’re allowed to do is
⏹️ ▶️ John application from now on, you’re not allowed to do any work on it, except if it breaks because of an OS update,
⏹️ ▶️ John and then you do the minimum to get it working again. And that’s it. You can’t add features, you can’t change behavior, you can’t update the icon,
⏹️ ▶️ John you can’t make it more efficient, you can’t do anything with it. Right? And it’s you are,
⏹️ ▶️ John it seems like you are constitutionally incapable. And you know, I think most developers are constantly incapable of doing that, because
⏹️ ▶️ John it would just eat at you, you’d be like, but it’s not, but it’s not good. It’s not as good as it could be, it could
⏹️ ▶️ John be better. Or I think I made a mistake with this, or it should, these features should be different.
⏹️ ▶️ John Or even just for your own purposes, you’d be like, you know what, the way I had this thing set up, it’s not even working for me anymore.
⏹️ ▶️ John I can’t even use my own app, because I’m not able to change it. So that that I think is at the core here, because I know there are a lot of developers
⏹️ ▶️ John like who, you know, these places that just turn out thousands and thousands and thousands of applications
⏹️ ▶️ John with, you know, fleets of developers, their fire and forget. It’s like application goes out into the world and makes whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John money it’s going to make. It will never be revisited, right? But that is not how you are. You don’t
⏹️ ▶️ John feel good working that way, so you never will work that way. And so that’s why it’s basically impossible for you to ever
⏹️ ▶️ John have an app like that, that you just say, Oh, I’ll just make this app and it will just sit on the store making
⏹️ ▶️ John money. I’ll never look at it again.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. I mean that I can’t do that. I am not able,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even whatever I think will will happen before it happens, when the time comes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I am not able. Like the morning that that I decided to pull
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it, I decided to pull it you know mid-morning. Before that I was sitting down
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to start work. I had Xcode open, I had PSlayer and I was starting to work on the 1.1 update that would add all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these you know granular settings and all this crap people wanted and I’m like you know that’s when I started thinking like I really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t want to do this like this is really I’m not happy maintaining this app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m I can’t handle the heat I would like to get out of the kitchen please like I cannot
⏹️ ▶️ Marco handle this heat and why am I like I want to be shipping overcast 2.0 what what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the heck am I doing doing this app that is that is making
⏹️ ▶️ Marco me hate myself and one of the problems is it was bringing in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco good money. It’s really hard to turn that down. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to turn that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco down. I was fortunate that I have other sources of income. I have made money in the past so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I could. I had to ask my wife of course, like, you know, am I crazy here? But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the fact is it was really hard to turn that away once it was working.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But that should give you some idea of how bad I felt about it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I really, really did not want to be in that business once
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I was in it. Once I was in it, I was like, oh no, this is not for me. I can’t handle
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it. I mean, being in the ad-blocking business feels like being in the piracy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco business. Please, I don’t want to hear from people about this comment, but…because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it isn’t the same. it isn’t a direct perfect metaphor, but there’s a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco overlap. That being in the ad blocking, piracy, ad blocking, these are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things that lots of people want. Lots of people won’t admit they want
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it, but they want it anyway. Lots of people do it and don’t talk about it, and it’s no big deal.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco There are some legitimate reasons to do those things that aren’t just you want things for free. Like there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco actually legitimate reasons for people to pirate things sometimes. And there’s, I think, very many legitimate reasons to block ads.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The fact is they kind of live in the same world of things that are either illegal or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of close, you know, kind of in a gray area. It’s a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tricky area to define morals and standards around. And so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco making your living from an ad blocker, it kind of feels like, it kind of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco feels like profiting off of piracy. Or, I don’t know, I wonder if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people who work for porn sites feel any weirdness about it, like any sleaziness or whatever. I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know what that industry is like either, but I suspect it might have some similar issues
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of like some people just don’t want to be associated with that kind of industry, you know? And so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think ad blocking, it’s one of those things where it is questionable. It is potentially risky.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, there’s people getting hurt somewhere along the way. Like, it’s kind of tricky
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to stomach. And I think there’s a reason why most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people who make ad blocking software are not like prominent
⏹️ ▶️ Marco indie personalities in public. Like I don’t know the people who make the other
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ad blockers at all. I’ve never heard of them. It’s fine. They probably would
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not be exposed to as much crap as what I was getting because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I put myself out there in the public. I have a very public persona in this industry
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and and among the press which sometimes I really regret and this is one of those times
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but where it’s it’s really hard to handle but this this is the business made
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for anonymous companies and people who don’t mind the heat
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s made for them and I’m neither of those things
⏹️ ▶️ John so for all the people who are angry like my angry about this thing I if I could speak to
⏹️ ▶️ John those people for a moment if they’re still listening to the show and didn’t rage quit because now they’re super angry at Marco.
⏹️ ▶️ John Um, there’s a couple aspects of that. First, I think it’s reasonable
⏹️ ▶️ John for people to be angry because Marco did, uh, inconvenience a lot of people who
⏹️ ▶️ John had to go get a refund before the big thing happened. Um, and, and also like, you know, it’s this
⏹️ ▶️ John sort of feeling of betrayal of like, I’m buying this thing because I trust the things that Marco makes and now that the trust has
⏹️ ▶️ John been betrayed. So there is a fundamental screw up on Marco’s part underlying all of this. And
⏹️ ▶️ John understandably people are angry about it. And you know, Marco knew that that anger would be coming. And I think
⏹️ ▶️ John you accept that. Yeah, no, like the short term pain for long term gain. It’s best to just rip off the bandaid. Now
⏹️ ▶️ John people are going to be angry at you. And that’s just something you’re going to have to deal with. Right. Obviously, it goes over the line
⏹️ ▶️ John when people get really mean about it, but whatever. Like there’s that aspect of it. And I
⏹️ ▶️ John don’t think that’s, you know, that’s I think that’s that’s part of your decision making because I think
⏹️ ▶️ John although you may anyway, the second thing is that the other thing people are angry about, their angry
⏹️ ▶️ John spins out in all sorts of directions and it’s like, how did you make an ad blocker
⏹️ ▶️ John and not understand that you didn’t want to be a person who makes an ad blocker? I think you’ve done a good job explaining
⏹️ ▶️ John that now, but I think your blog post about it explains it even better, particularly in the title, and that you’re
⏹️ ▶️ John like, how dumb does this guy have to be? He spends the whole summer making an ad blocker, he puts it out there, and then
⏹️ ▶️ John one day later he goes, you know what? I don’t want to make an ad blocker. They block ads, right? that it’s somehow
⏹️ ▶️ John you didn’t understand how ad blockers work. And my take on it, based on your blog post, everything
⏹️ ▶️ John you said is that you understood that you were going to make an ad blocker, you wanted to use an ad blocker, you
⏹️ ▶️ John still do want to use an ad blocker. And you made a one that you liked, which is, you know, like you said, your
⏹️ ▶️ John mo for doing things and application that you think is going to be popular that you yourself want to use that you can develop. That’s the formula
⏹️ ▶️ John for making an app, right? Yeah. And so you you made the thing. And when it came
⏹️ ▶️ John out, the thing you didn’t anticipate was the fact that not the fact that it blocked ads, but it was, you know, like
⏹️ ▶️ John making an ad blocker and having a block ads all that worked the way you hoped and it’s great. What you didn’t anticipate was how
⏹️ ▶️ John you would feel about being how you’d feel about being the person who made an ad blocker.
⏹️ ▶️ John And people who think that you should be able to predict how you’ll feel about something that
⏹️ ▶️ John has not yet happened are asking too much. I think of, you know, like,
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah, say, I really want to be, be, I don’t know, like, the manager
⏹️ ▶️ John at my the store that I work out, I really want to be married, I really want to,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, get a tattoo, I really want to learn to fly a plane, I really want to be an accountant,
⏹️ ▶️ John until you actually do all those things, you can have predictions about how much you’re gonna like it, are you really gonna like being a manager?
⏹️ ▶️ John Are you actually gonna like learning to fly a plane? You know, all those things,
⏹️ ▶️ John you say you want to get married once you show you want to get married to this person, a of people change their mind about that. About half of them.
⏹️ ▶️ John You may think you know. It’s like, didn’t you understand what it would be like to
⏹️ ▶️ John be manager? You see the manager every day. You know what managers do. It’s not like it’s a mystery. And then when you’re saying
⏹️ ▶️ John you’re the manager now, now you’re not happy. Sometimes you just don’t know how you’re going to feel about doing anything until
⏹️ ▶️ John you actually do it. And that’s a mistake. We all make that mistake in various sizes. Hopefully,
⏹️ ▶️ John most of us don’t make those mistakes in the public eye, but sometimes you do right and so my the way
⏹️ ▶️ John I frame what Margo has done here is that he didn’t correctly
⏹️ ▶️ John predict how he would feel about something it’s not an intellectual thing where he didn’t understand the consequences or
⏹️ ▶️ John that uh you know all the grand conspiracy theories that we don’t want to get into is that like you said in your thing
⏹️ ▶️ John it didn’t feel good to you to be doing this everything else was working exactly as you predicted like you
⏹️ ▶️ John thought it would sell it could potentially sell a lot because you you know you’re prominent and it’s the thing that people
⏹️ ▶️ John want and it was working more or less the way you wanted and your friends that you tried out were working well, and it worked well for you all working
⏹️ ▶️ John exactly. But other things made you feel bad about having the thing there. And so
⏹️ ▶️ John what you did was made a decision to I feel bad if I I want out of this feeling, make feeling
⏹️ ▶️ John stop now, please. And yep. And the consequence of doing that was making a
⏹️ ▶️ John bunch of people angry. And they’re justified in their angry because you screwed up and but you fixed it as fast as you could.
⏹️ ▶️ John And you know, like I said, it’s like ripping off the bandaid, the worst thing you could have done is him and hon feel bad about this for weeks
⏹️ ▶️ John and weeks and then pull it. That would have been terrible because it would have been even more money, even more people pissed,
⏹️ ▶️ John and we’re in the same situation of like you still would have had no way to bulk refund them and they would have to even more people going through that, you
⏹️ ▶️ John know, it would just you made this, you made the best of many possible bad decisions
⏹️ ▶️ John at the time you had to make it and that bad decision doesn’t absolve you of everything. But like, I think
⏹️ ▶️ John people are who are who who don’t forgive who are very angry and we’re just
⏹️ ▶️ John say like, you know, that’s it. Like, I don’t have to say like, too high of a standard. Like what you’re basically saying is
⏹️ ▶️ John my public figures can never make a mistake. You know, no, that’s not, you can’t hold people
⏹️ ▶️ John to that. I mean, I guess you can, you can just say, well, this mistake, this is one mistake too far. And now I’m never going to like,
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m never going to listen to anything Marco says again. I will never trust him again. I mean, it is a minor betrayal of
⏹️ ▶️ John trust and you can decide that’s not good. But like, I think it’s unrealistic just to think that anybody is ever
⏹️ ▶️ John going to fulfill, you know, like they’re, they’re never going to do what Marco
⏹️ ▶️ John did, which is basically not correctly predict how they would feel about something. I don’t know. It just like I’m
⏹️ ▶️ John not going to say that people should or shouldn’t be angry or whatever. It just from my perspective, in the grand
⏹️ ▶️ John scheme of things, uh, I try to pull myself wherever it’s so understandable as
⏹️ ▶️ John a thing that happens to all of us. And it just happened to happen to Marco on a grand scale in public, which
⏹️ ▶️ John is cruddy for Marco and cruddy for everyone else involved.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah. I mean, and you know, to be clear, I really messed up. Like I made a huge mistake,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but My huge mistake was launching the app. It was not pulling it. Pulling it was my solution to the mistake.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The mistake was launching it. I should have seen some warning
⏹️ ▶️ Marco signs ahead of time that, you know, I don’t want to necessarily be in this business or I won’t be able to handle the heat. I should have seen those warning
⏹️ ▶️ Marco signs and I didn’t because I was blinded by the idea of this cool app that I just made that I thought was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco working really well and that I was very proud of. So I did make
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that mistake but the mistake was launching it. Once the idea got in my head, I was feeling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco miserable for the two and a half days or whatever, and then once the idea got in my head that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, wait a minute, I can just end this. I can just pull it down and get myself out
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of this. And I knew it was going to be really messy. I knew that it was going to be a problem with Apple.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It was going to be a problem with all the customers. Part of the reason why the app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco launched so well and rose so quickly is because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve been building my reputation for years and my audience for years and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I knew that there was going to be a major cost to that. I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have lost a lot of people. The next time I do anything, even when I overcast two
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ships, hopefully sometime soon, the next time I release anything or ask people to buy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or look at anything, I’ve lost a lot of the reputation I built over the years
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now that a lot of those people will no longer buy it. They won’t look at it. I’m gonna be hearing about this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in emails, in comments, in tweets for years. And people are still making butter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco coffee jokes at me. I mean, I’m gonna hear about this for years.
⏹️ ▶️ John The other aspect of it, not to pile on with all the bad things about it, but like the people who applauded your decision, like
⏹️ ▶️ John I’ve saw a lot of people who like, you know, my respect for you, Marco, is increased for you doing this thing or whatever.
⏹️ ▶️ John Subset of them are happy about it because they think ad blocking is not ethical. And when they hear this podcast
⏹️ ▶️ John and say, guess what guys, Marco didn’t pull it because he’s against ad blocking. Right, right. And so they’re like,
⏹️ ▶️ John oh, well, hmm. You know, like, so then maybe you lose those people too. There’s
⏹️ ▶️ John still the, I hope the majority of the people who applauded this decision understand, like, this is a person who
⏹️ ▶️ John made a mistake in public and fixed it decisively, as fast, as quickly
⏹️ ▶️ John as possible. And like, you know, and again, once you’ve made the mistake, you can’t unring that
⏹️ ▶️ John bell. You did ship the app, but like the worst thing you could do It was just like, oh, I don’t know, leave
⏹️ ▶️ John it out there for a week, two weeks, and then just like, it was like two days, right? I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was one night, one full day, and then one morning. So it was a total of about 48
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hours or 36 hours or something. And so as soon as I decided that morning,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I decided while having my morning coffee and talking to my wife, we were talking, and I was like, I really wanna get out of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this. I wanna be done with this. It was down within an hour and a half
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of that decision because the only thing I had to do was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I had to look at my contract with Ghostry, make sure I even could do this, and then I wanted to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco call and ask them. The CEO of Ghostry, super nice guy, was on a plane coming back
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from Germany during that time, but he had Wi-Fi. We did this all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco over email on his in-flight Wi-Fi. I was bothering him on his plane trip because I’m like, we got to talk right now.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I got to get out of this business. The app was pulled within an hour and a half
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of me deciding that this is what I wanted to do. And I would have even done it sooner. I just wanted to make sure
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I wasn’t going to be sued by anybody. But believe me, I did not take
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that decision lightly. And it would have been way more profitable, if I got
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to keep the money, it would have been way more profitable to just sit on it for a while. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, that’s the thing is, what a lot of people don’t understand,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, when Tumblr sold, I said that, you know, I didn’t make yacht and helicopter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco money, which is true, but that I now have, I have enough of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a cushion now from the Tumblr sale that I don’t need to take every
⏹️ ▶️ Marco opportunity I get to make money if it’s something that I don’t feel good doing or I don’t feel comfortable doing or that I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t really want to be working on. can choose now. And when I was writing that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what I was actually talking about was making a podcast app. Because at the time,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco podcast apps were way smaller than they are today. Podcasting was way smaller than it is today. And I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really wanted to work on a podcast app, but I knew it probably wouldn’t make as much money as Instapaper was making
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or as anything else that I could do more generally would make.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But the fact is, I am able now, I’m fortunate enough
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I can make a decision that is against my best financial interests, but that is for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my own mental health and for long-term reputation and for, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco avoiding problems in my life, avoiding burnout, keeping time for my family, etc.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I can make decisions like this and I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had to make one of those decisions for this to preserve myself. I’m a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco programmer. I’m a geek. I like working on hard technical problems. And ad blocking is not a hard technical problem.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is actually a very, very, very easy technical problem combined with a really,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really messy, tricky, political,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco guilt-ridden problem of classifying sites and dealing with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what is right and what is wrong and what is good and what is bad and all of these impossible-to-solve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco decisions. That’s the ad blocking business and dealing with really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really angry people all the time that that is what this business is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s really gross to me and I again I didn’t think that through
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my mistake was launching it not canceling it
⏹️ ▶️ John so I think the subset of people who have eliminated the people who are applauding you because they thought you had a change
⏹️ ▶️ John of heart about ad blocking which you have not no I just
⏹️ ▶️ John to be the one doing it right so the remaining people who applaud your decision basically
⏹️ ▶️ John for basically showing, sticking to your principles, doing the decision that is bad for you,
⏹️ ▶️ John but doing it, again, ripping off the band-aid quickly instead of doing it slowly, right? I’m
⏹️ ▶️ John trying to think of what distinguishes those people from the people who like will now never forgive you. And I think what it comes
⏹️ ▶️ John down to, as it very often does in these things, is empathy. Because the people who
⏹️ ▶️ John applaud your difficult decision, to have that feeling, what you have to do is empathize with the person like imagine
⏹️ ▶️ John yourself in that situation imagine that you had made a mistake you had launched an application that you
⏹️ ▶️ John realized you don’t want to be the person who makes that application and and uh and it’s too
⏹️ ▶️ John late now and you know that any course of action is going to make a bunch of people unhappy
⏹️ ▶️ John uh and you know and it and it’s gonna it’s gonna cost you money it’s gonna cost you reputation or whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John if you can empathize with that if you can put yourself in marco’s shoes and say boy that must have really sucked
⏹️ ▶️ John because you know, like, compared to your life, I remember when I made a mistake and miscalculated how much I would like
⏹️ ▶️ John doing x and y. And then after the fact, I found myself stuck in it. And then you’re stuck with like, well, do I have to just,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, well, I’m in it now, I just got to get through it. Or can I just, you know, like, imagine, for example, you took a new
⏹️ ▶️ John job. And on the first weekend, you go, I’ve made a terrible mistake. This
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m not happy this job, I will never be happy this job. Do you quit after working there for a week, they’re gonna be like that guy,
⏹️ ▶️ John we hired that guy, and he quit in the first week, don’t hire him. He’s flighty. He doesn’t know what what he wants. Like that’s a mistake. You should
⏹️ ▶️ John not have taken that job. I bet that’s a mistake that people can relate to, right? Anyway, empathy is what separates
⏹️ ▶️ John the people people who are able to empathize with your situation, say, boy, I feel bad. I’ve been in a similar
⏹️ ▶️ John situation. So I understand what it’s like. And what I know the decision he had to make was hard and all his decisions were
⏹️ ▶️ John crappy. And it feels bad to have people angry at you for justifiable reasons.
⏹️ ▶️ John And therefore they say now Marco, my esteem for you has risen, because
⏹️ ▶️ John I understand what you were like. And the thing you just mentioned about you know, Tumblr and being
⏹️ ▶️ John able to make podcast applications and not having to do Instapaper pass where you want it to and stuff like that.
⏹️ ▶️ John That really hurts empathy, because people don’t have empathy for people who are
⏹️ ▶️ John financially more well off than they do in general like that. That is a theme not that’s, you know, it’s not saying all people but anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John it is sometimes difficult to put yourself in the shoes of somebody who you think doesn’t have
⏹️ ▶️ John what you think is one of your main sources of you know, problem or concern if you worry about money
⏹️ ▶️ John a lot, you can and and you think I’m a good, smart, hardworking person.
⏹️ ▶️ John And this guy doesn’t have to worry about money at all. And how how is
⏹️ ▶️ John he any better than me? It’s harder to have empathy is like, how can you you know, like all your problems, whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John your problems in your life and you Marco your life is a well Marco may have stubbed his toe
⏹️ ▶️ John but if I had his money I wouldn’t care about toe stubbing right you know what I mean like it’s it’s very popular
⏹️ ▶️ John to turn down the empathy dial when somebody is more successful than you or has
⏹️ ▶️ John something that you want as if that white watch is every famous people like he’s a celebrity well like
⏹️ ▶️ John I have no empathy for you know uh uh name a celebrity
⏹️ ▶️ John I was gonna say Tom Cruise but that’s all tied up in Scientology I don’t want to go down that rathole
⏹️ ▶️ John mean but anyway how about Donald Trump another rattle
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah like Julia Roberts like you can say mean things about her well she’s
⏹️ ▶️ John rich and famous if I was rich and famous nothing anyone could ever say would bother me or like I I don’t have any sympathy
⏹️ ▶️ John for her she is just the most you know she she’s beautiful she’s rich she’s famous like it’s very
⏹️ ▶️ John easy to not have empathy when you feel that about people and so that I think is a factor
⏹️ ▶️ John in the exactly how angry people are about what you did, because they feel like
⏹️ ▶️ John you, you know, they can’t put themselves in your shoes, they can’t, they think that,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, that they have to think that everything you do is sort of Machiavellian and made to maximize
⏹️ ▶️ John your profit, or there is a conspiracy theory, or you are taking advantage of your
⏹️ ▶️ John position of privilege to screw other people, like, have no thought for the people who bought your application, all
⏹️ ▶️ John you want, all you care about is your feelings and so on and so forth. Like, I get that I see and
⏹️ ▶️ John I see that playing out. And this is a perfect, a perfect sort of little crucible for that to play
⏹️ ▶️ John out because it is a legitimate mistake. But it’s a small mistake in terms of like
⏹️ ▶️ John impact on an individual, right? It’s $3 like I don’t want to get into all like, you know, arguing with people who are angry,
⏹️ ▶️ John feel free to be angry, like you You were inconvenienced in a minor way, but…
⏹️ ▶️ John some people are just so angry that it’s as if you had like foreclosed on their house and kicked
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco the street. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco guys. Oh yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean I got some real… One guy threatened to sue me. That was interesting.
⏹️ ▶️ John now you should see how much lawyers charge. It’s more than three dollars, I think.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah, no, but like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco seriously, I… One of the lessons I’m taking away from this besides the previously expressed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lessons about reconsidering what the heck I’m doing before I do it and whether I want to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the businesses I’m trying to be in because it’s It’s like reconsidering, what if this succeeds?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s obviously the number one lesson that I have learned from this. But down the list somewhere,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of the additional lessons I’ve learned from this, do I really want to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco allowing people to hold me hostage over $3?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Because the attitude, there’s a psychological thing. I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco probably heard about it from Merlin. Merlin’s where I get all my psychology news. But there’s some kind of thing where people
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are way, way more reactive and feel way worse about a loss,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like feeling like they had something taken from them than
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a missed gain. So if you said, I’m gonna give you $3. Oh, no, I’m not.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They don’t feel as bad about that as if you take $3 from them. There’s something like that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Forgive me if I’m butchering this.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, it’s loss aversion. Yeah, there you go. You can look it up. I think that’s the Google term.
⏹️ ▶️ John go to the law school. Tons of studies trying to put people in comparable situations and saying how the people felt
⏹️ ▶️ John really bad about the negative thing, but not so bad about the lack of the positive
⏹️ ▶️ John thing of equal magnitude.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, there you go. So we’ll link to that in the show notes for anybody who wants to read the correct version of the thing I just butchered.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But right now, I give people opportunities like that where, like, by putting this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app out there, I said, please give me three dollars. And in exchange,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you will get this app. And of course, then most people implicitly assume that you will therefore have this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app be free and updated forever as a result of giving me that three dollars. And so that’s why they got
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so angry when I pulled it two days later. They then perceived that I had
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stolen that three dollars from them. The things that were said to me by so many people,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mostly on Twitter, you couldn’t pay that person three dollars to go tell a stranger
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that. Like if somebody came up to you on the street and was like, hey, I’ll give you $3.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you go over there and tell that person just this horrible thing about themselves, like just, oh, you’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco such a jerk, no one’s ever gonna love you again, would you do that for $3?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But people get so into this thing that they really, it’s like they’re holding you hostage
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with their expectations and they feel like they really have this over you that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you owe me this massive thing for my $3. And the fact is, I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t think I want to give people access to me that way anymore. I don’t think I want to give you the chance
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to hold me hostage for that $3 anymore. Because you know what? I don’t want your $3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco badly enough. It’s not worth it. So I’m going to reconsider things I’m doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with that in mind. And I don’t know how it’s going to play out yet. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was another bit of perspective I gain from this, that, you know what, if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s how you’re going to treat your money, then I don’t want it.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Steven Connelly Yeah, the amount of just unbelievable bitterness over this $3,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I remain stunned and I find it kind of comical because I think to myself,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I go to—and this is just an example—but I go to football games at my wife’s alma mater
⏹️ ▶️ Casey at the University of Virginia. No, do you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mean soccer or football?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey No, football. Like, the one that is actually fun to watch. Ooh!
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Don’t email me. Oh,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco God. Finally,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re taking the email from this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey episode, not me. Yeah, seriously.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey No, don’t email me. I know that American football is much slower. It was just a joke. Everybody calm down.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Anyway, the point I’m driving at is, I go to these American football games, and a soda
⏹️ ▶️ Casey at these football games is, I believe, $3 or $4. A bottle of water, I’m pretty sure
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is either $2.50 or $3. That’s a bottle of water. It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doesn’t matter. It’s a whole different context, a whole different context. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey just ridiculous to me, but it is, and you’re right, but it’s $3 for a bottle
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of water that I’m literally pissing away in an hour. Literally.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And these people, some of these replies that you got, just unbelievably
⏹️ ▶️ Casey disproportionately, and I think that’s the real crux of it here, disproportionately
⏹️ ▶️ Casey angry over the money. Not all of them, I mean, John John went over a lot of this before and he’s right, but some of them are just
⏹️ ▶️ Casey disproportionately angry about $3. And so my first thought was, okay, there was a time when I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey had no freaking money, just none, where going to McDonald’s and getting myself like
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a Big Mac was a special treat. And yes, I know that’s terrible for me, blah, blah, blah. I don’t need to hear about it. At the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey time, going to McDonald’s and getting myself a Big Mac was a special treat. And I only allowed myself that once
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a week at most. And I genuinely had to think about whether that $7 or
⏹️ ▶️ Casey whatever it was, was worth spending. And even then, I don’t think I would have gotten this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey upset over a $3 loss, which ends up as it turns out, not being a loss at all. And I think
⏹️ ▶️ Casey John really hit the nail on the head earlier when he said, people just don’t have enough
⏹️ ▶️ Casey empathy. And these people seem to think that you, Marco, are this infallible
⏹️ ▶️ Casey person that never makes a mistake and it’s bull if you, if it’s just completely wrong
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that you might’ve made a a mistake and clearly I mean you are infallible so this must be a money grab. This is
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this is insane. There’s no other explanation and I just people need to relax and understand
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that people make mistakes and three dollars probably
⏹️ ▶️ Casey isn’t going to be the end of the earth on your eight hundred dollar iPhone.
⏹️ ▶️ John But see that they have the wider context. The people who are the most mad know the context. They know a lot of copies of this sold.
⏹️ ▶️ John They know that the total amount is much more than their three dollars and what they’re really angry about is this guy who doesn’t need
⏹️ ▶️ John money as much as them is getting a bunch of extra money and that makes them have less empathy for Marco. It’s not as if they just write
⏹️ ▶️ John him off like, oh, because I hate everybody who’s richer than me. No, all I’m saying is that for the people who are angry,
⏹️ ▶️ John it lessens their ability to empathize because they feel like this very good thing
⏹️ ▶️ John is happening to Marco and this minor bad thing is happening to me. But this minor
⏹️ ▶️ John bad thing is it’s like Steve Jobs, like if I can shave one second off the boot time of this computer, millions of
⏹️ ▶️ John people use this computer, you’re saving millions of seconds every time people boot up like it’s it’s you know, at scale
⏹️ ▶️ John and they do the scale and like yeah my three dollars isn’t a big deal but he stole three dollars from thousands and thousands
⏹️ ▶️ John of people he’s basically a thief and this guy doesn’t even need the money and it makes me even more angry and to
⏹️ ▶️ John some degree that’s how like people feel about all business everyone has seen the person who’s angry at
⏹️ ▶️ John the person serving them coffee at a coffee shop or you know or at a store or whatever and
⏹️ ▶️ John they’re out like a dollar fifty or whatever because they wouldn’t accept their return because it was like all sales final
⏹️ ▶️ John on like a stick of gum or something they’re like you know what But I’m never coming to this coffee shop again. And whether
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s true or not, they’re willing to say, this entire business, this
⏹️ ▶️ John is not an ethical business, you should have let me return this stick of gum. It’s the principle.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s not the $1.50, it’s the principle that you are not an ethical business and I’m never going to… That’s the power
⏹️ ▶️ John they have as a consumer and the whole customer is always right thing. We’ve all seen people get angry about that.
⏹️ ▶️ John In that case, it’s like the poor cashier is just trying to do the job. don’t own the place or whatever.
⏹️ ▶️ John The brunt of this is someone who works at a fast food place is like, they don’t control the policies of the store. They’re just trying to do their job. They
⏹️ ▶️ John get yelled at. But for the most part, those businesses are like faceless entities that people can be
⏹️ ▶️ John indignant and angry about. Or even just think of like airlines where there’s more legitimate reasons
⏹️ ▶️ John to be angry. Like I’ve been delayed a day for my destination. And I got
⏹️ ▶️ John a ticket on this flight, but now you oversold it and I have to check my back. Like whatever,
⏹️ ▶️ John being mad at businesses is a thing. It just so happens in Marco’s case that he is the business. It’s a one man business, there’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John public face, and it’s not just like he’s not Ronald McDonald, he’s the actual,
⏹️ ▶️ John he’s not just the figurehead, he actually does all the pushing of buttons on keyboards too.
⏹️ ▶️ John And so it’s a bummer for Marco, but like that attitude is not
⏹️ ▶️ John unique to Marco, but it’s exactly the same thing in the way that when people are really angry that the place wouldn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John except their return of their stick of gum, they’re not thinking about the store’s feelings because the store is the man.
⏹️ ▶️ John And this, you know, it’s like it’s a big faceless entity. It might as well be the government. Marco is the man
⏹️ ▶️ John in the bad way, the bad man, you know? And so they’re like, the man is sticking it to me. The
⏹️ ▶️ John man has taken $3 from thousands of people and the man is, you know, screwing us all over.
⏹️ ▶️ John And so it’s easy to get self-righteous and indignant and angry at the man. And you don’t spend a lot
⏹️ ▶️ John of time empathizing with the man and saying, how does the man feel? Is the man sad?
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco the man make a mistake? Did the man make a mistake and
⏹️ ▶️ John now he has to do the, you know, something that he knows is gonna make people even more angry at him? But like,
⏹️ ▶️ John and so anyway, that’s the divide. Some people are able to empathize and understand. Some people
⏹️ ▶️ John mistakenly thought that Marco is now against ad blocking. And some people were less able to empathize
⏹️ ▶️ John and were super angry about it. And I think all this will pass. And I think we’ve covered all the
⏹️ ▶️ John positive negatives that come from it. We all make mistakes. It’s a bummer.
⏹️ ▶️ John We do what we can. Hopefully, we’ll all learn from this. We can learn by proxy through Marco’s mistakes.
⏹️ ▶️ John Marco can learn from his mistakes. And we can all move forward together and finally get Overcast 2.0 out
⏹️ ▶️ Casey If you ever stop reviewing podcast microphones.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco This is a really good one actually tonight. Thanks a lot to our three sponsors this week, Squarespace, Igloo, and MailRoute.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And we will see you next week.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the show is over, they didn’t even mean to begin Cause it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey accidental, oh it was accidental John
⏹️ ▶️ Casey didn’t do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn’t let him Cause it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey accidental, oh it was accidental And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey you can find the show notes at atp.fm
⏹️ ▶️ John And if you’re into Twitter, you can follow them
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S So that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M-E-N-T Marco
⏹️ ▶️ John S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-Q-U-S-A It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John accidental, they didn’t mean to
⏹️ ▶️ John Accidental, tech podcast soul
⏹️ ▶️ John We got the most important question. Are you going to make a piece fracture?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh yeah, a lot of people have asked this. No, I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not planning to right now. I mean, maybe I’ll change my mind in the future once it hurts less, but right now it’s too painful. I can’t do
⏹️ ▶️ John What you should do is order the frag shirt but then keep it for a day and throw it away.