139: I've Seen This Train Before15 Oct 2015
Overcast 2 challenges and lessons learned, avoiding the Facebookization of podcasts, and trying Medium.
- Pre-show: Where is the updated 15" MacBook Pro?
- Overcast 2
- File formats are fun
- Facebook KVOController
- What's next
- Authenticated feeds?
- Business model
- Marco sees a medium
- Post-show: New iMacs
- Increased gamut 1 & 2
- Fusion drive down to 24 GB of flash
- New keyboard, trackpad, and mouse
- Key travel comparison
- lynda.com: Learn at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials. Free 10-day trial.
- Squarespace: Build it beautiful. Use promo code ATP for 10% off.
- Casper: A mattress with just the right sink, just the right bounce, for better nights and brighter days. Use code ATP for $50 off.
- Pre-show: 15” workhorses
- Apple statement on iPhone 6S CPUs
- Sponsor: Casper
- Overcast 2: Technical
- Sponsor: Squarespace
- Overcast 2: Business
- Facebookization of podcasts
- Sponsor: Lynda.com
- Marco tries Medium, ruins web
- Post-show: New iMacs
Pre-show: 15” workhorses
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So where’s my new MacBook Pro man? It looks like we’re not gonna get it this year I think if we haven’t gotten
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it yet like they just did this iMac update
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I feel like I’ve been hearing from various sources that it’s coming.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s coming. It’s coming It’s coming any second any second any second any second, but I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is It’s it’s such the workhorse
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of the industry like it gets so little attention tension, relatively speaking, like in media
⏹️ ▶️ Marco coverage and people like us talking about, well not us, but most other podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ Marco talking about it, talking about laptops and everything, everyone’s talking about the new MacBook or new MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Airs or whatever, but when I go to conferences and events
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or I go to somebody’s office and I see other developers working, by far the most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco common machine in use is the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Completely agree. Like it really is like the like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the quiet workhorse of the entire industry
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, basically if you’re doing something that’s that requires any more horsepower than a MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Air can give you then immediately jump directly directly to 15-inch MacBook Pro.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Do not pass Go, do not pass 13-inch, do not collect $200. That’s a reference, John.
Apple statement on iPhone 6S CPUs
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Last week I brought up I think and we all talked about the the thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco where the iPhone 6s and 6s plus CPUs are being manufactured by two different companies Samsung
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and TSMC and Some early benchmarks at the time were showing that the TSMC one got
⏹️ ▶️ Marco significantly better battery life than the Samsung one It was something on the order of like 15 to 20 percent better battery life
⏹️ ▶️ Marco under certain CPU stressing benchmarks and this this briefly became
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a thing and and Apple kind of squashed it by issuing a PR statement to a bunch of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco websites that basically said… it was the most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Apple-y statement ever. It basically said nothing about whether it was true
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or not, but it sounded like a denial. And the the reality of what they said
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that, yes, there is a difference, but they say it’s within 2 to 3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco percent, not 15 to 20 percent, under their testing and that the testing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that revealed this larger difference was considered invalid or unimportant
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because it only showed basically maxing out the CPU.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so if you are doing things that max out the CPU, then there is a noticeable
⏹️ ▶️ Marco difference. If you are not maxing out the CPU, and most people are not maxing it most of the time,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then the difference still exists but is smaller.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I haven’t seen enough like really honest to goodness data to make me feel strongly one way or
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the other. John, what’s your take on all this?
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m still kind of interested in where the difference comes from. I don’t know enough about the Geekbench thing, and
⏹️ ▶️ John of course Apple’s statement is not very specific. They pooh-pooh
⏹️ ▶️ John that benchmark by saying that it spends an unrealistic amount of time at the the highest CPU performance state.
⏹️ ▶️ John Now, do they mean CPU as in the whole system on a chip? Do they mean just the CPU part of the system
⏹️ ▶️ John on a chip? I don’t know if Geekbench is exercising the GPU at the same time.
⏹️ ▶️ John Like what could account for the large difference? If it’s only two to 3% in regular tests, is that
⏹️ ▶️ John just because, you know, in regular usage, you aren’t maxing the CPU all the time?
⏹️ ▶️ John Some people brought up games, like what if I’m playing a game that is close to maxing the CPU the entire time I’m playing? then
⏹️ ▶️ John does it come back into the 20 or 30% range or does that not matter because the game stresses the
⏹️ ▶️ John GPU and it turns out the one with the good, you know, there’s just not enough details here. What I
⏹️ ▶️ John was trying to think of was like, maybe one is better, uses less energy, coming from
⏹️ ▶️ John and going into a low power state or, you know, spinning parts of the chip up or down and the other
⏹️ ▶️ John one, you know, is better at sustained high
⏹️ ▶️ John CPU usage but if you were to throttle on off on off, it would get worse for, I don’t know. It’s mysterious,
⏹️ ▶️ John all we have is Apple’s word to go on. I don’t think anyone has done any real world tests
⏹️ ▶️ John yet. You would think if it was 20 to 30% in real world, we would know about it, not from someone running a benchmark
⏹️ ▶️ John but from actual people saying, boy, my iPhone 6S is terrible and someone else saying
⏹️ ▶️ John my iPhone 6S is great. And I mean, people are saying that anyway, but.
⏹️ ▶️ John They probably all have the same CPU. Anyway, it’s mysterious. Apple is not going to really give us any information
⏹️ ▶️ John on it. As Apple says in the statement, you know, every chip we ship meets Apple’s high standards, blah,
⏹️ ▶️ John blah, blah, blah, blah, like I said. They’re gonna, you know, they’re gonna make, I think it is literally true
⏹️ ▶️ John that in Apple’s testing, the worst chip, like the bad one or whatever in the Geekbench test, passes
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple’s criteria. It still means that perhaps the other ones exceed Apple’s criteria,
⏹️ ▶️ John and if you get one of those, you’re kind of lucky, and so it is still kind of like a lottery, but without more information,
⏹️ ▶️ John and I’m not sure how we’re gonna get more information, without more information, I don’t even know if you’re lucky, unless you spend all
⏹️ ▶️ John day running that benchmark, how lucky are you if you get the quote unquote good one?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s the thing, like their statement really, it wasn’t actually, like everyone was kind of treating it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as like confirmation that this is wrong, but in fact it was confirmation that it’s right,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that there is a difference, but you probably won’t notice it in average use.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it wasn’t techie, they didn’t go into the details. So
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco they’re just,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s essentially, first the fact that they made a statement at all interesting but second
⏹️ ▶️ John there what their statement said is like we feel we are covered we feel everything we’ve said is true
⏹️ ▶️ John even though there’s a difference we think the difference is small in real-world usage the end so you’re right it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John basically just a confirmation of the thing but they’re not going to go into a super techie detail and bottom line
⏹️ ▶️ John as long as the iPhone 6s gets okay battery life compared to what the 6 got which it probably does
⏹️ ▶️ John because everyone’s sixes are like a year old right who gets a 6s most people aren’t going to get a success
⏹️ ▶️ John a month after they get a six. Everything seems to be fine. Yeah. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John a non-story, but from a technical perspective, I’m still very interested in how
⏹️ ▶️ John exactly this synthetic benchmark found this weakness in this one CPU.
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Overcast 2: Technical
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Casper.com slash ATP. Thanks a lot
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So big week for Marco you released overcast who
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I did Yeah, I even stopped saying the point O in my marketing materials because I thought it sounded better
⏹️ ▶️ John aptly of you like when I leave the sense off menus at fancy restaurants are basically all restaurants now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They don’t even give you a dollar sign. It’s just like 12. Yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ John exactly. That’s it’s It’s experimentation has proven that that makes people more willing to buy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, it looks fancier if you give it a nice serif font and you just have the description of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco item with as much white space around it as possible, with as many words on there as possible that you can’t understand, and just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco off to the right somewhere it says 12. Yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ John it just says peanut butter and jelly sandwich, space, space, space, 34. And you’re like,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey all right, well, whatever.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Oh, goodness, all right. Well, we’ll talk about overpriced things here in a minute, But why don’t we start
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with one of the marquee features of Overcast 2. You finally got
⏹️ ▶️ Casey streaming working.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I did, yeah. I mean, there’s not that much to say about it, I don’t think.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I talked here before about all the different times I tried to get it working in the past, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I just tried so many different approaches, and I tried the correct approach multiple times before
⏹️ ▶️ Marco actually getting my side of it right. is using Apple’s low-level
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audio file stream API and it’s incredibly low-level and incredibly unforgiving
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and also pretty sparsely documented. So the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco core audio style of their documentation is to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really conservative with the words and so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey if there’s like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some like minute little detail you have to kind of read it like a lawyer
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you know to really understand like oh what is this exactly you know what this says audio sample what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of audio sample is that or what kind of time stamp is this what time space is this in things like that it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really tricky to get right but I got it right eventually and and with one exception
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which I did not uncover in any of my testing and my beta did not cover it either and that is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it doesn’t it doesn’t play AAC files where the header is at the end of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the file. So this is I’ll go over it quickly why why it does this and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco why this is gonna be tricky to fix but basically the the API is a streaming
⏹️ ▶️ Marco API so like I give it bytes and I tell it okay I’m at this point in the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco file here are the bytes from that point and I just stream it in and then it tells me okay we got the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco header we got the properties we got like you know anything you need to know and now oh now we’re ready to give you samples. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco here’s the audio samples and as you come through, as you pave through the bytes, it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco gives you the samples for it. The problem is that requires the header data about the file
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which tells you really important things like the sample rate of the audio. How many channels? Is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it mono or stereo? You can’t really decode the audio properly until you have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco those basics. With MP3 it’s fine. With MP3 it puts everything important at
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the beginning of the file and also at the beginning of every header, of every little chunk of the file. So with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mp3 you can basically decode an mp3 starting from anywhere
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the file you just kind of skim ahead for a certain byte pattern and there’s a frame and then you can just start. It’s amazing. It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is so mp3 is so simple if you want to if you want to have embedded metadata or chapters
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all of that is shoved up front in the ID3v2 block on an mp3. So you can just read the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco first couple kilobytes or couple hundred kilobytes of this artwork in there. MP3 is amazing.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s a great format and the patents all expire in a couple of years. Most of them already have. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the last of the patents expire in a couple of years. MP3 is great. Unfortunately,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco about, I think last time I checked it was something like 3 to 5% of podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that Overcast has indexed. So whatever I know about in the whole directory, about 3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to 5% of episodes use AAC format or M4A or MOV, it’s all the same
⏹️ ▶️ Marco format. The QuickTime MOV slash M4A format is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco less ideal than MP3 on the reading side. It is this incredibly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like architecture astronaut design format where you can contain anything and you can embed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anything and you can have all these arbitrary tracks and abilities. It’s a much more versatile format than
⏹️ ▶️ Marco MP3 because it’s like this kind of grand container format but it’s really hard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to read in a way without having the whole file. You read it and it gives you this like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tree structure of atoms and within each atom is more atoms and more structures
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and the biggest problem is… well first of all the chapters are a disaster. Chapters are interspersed throughout the entire
⏹️ ▶️ Marco file so that so you can’t easily stream them. And the other problem is that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is possible to write all the audio data up front and then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to write the headers at the end. So without reading the end of the file you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t know things like what format the audio is in so you can’t decode it. Which means
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you can’t stream that. So if you’ve ever seen on like a file export dialog, if you’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ever seen those little check boxes that say something along the lines of optimize for internet or make
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it streamable or fast start something like that what those do is they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco set and they tell the encoder to write that header up front don’t wait till
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the data is written and then write it at the end write the header up front or at least go back and rewrite
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it up front after you’re done so that it’s not sitting at the end of the file so then people can stream it
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not there’s not reliable support for byte range support for you know by range requests so you can
⏹️ ▶️ John grab the end of the file
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s a separate issue I I can grab the end of the file, but the audio file stream API is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco compatible with this at all. So I actually do byte ranges for, you know, for seeking, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the way I do it is I read the beginning of the file every time to get the headers.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And then once I’ve gotten the headers and the audio data starts, then I jump ahead and send a second byte range request for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the part I actually need if it’s further ahead. So the problem is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this audio file stream API literally just does not support this at all. Like this layout
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of having the header at the end, even if I jump ahead, get it, and then give it back to this API, even if I have the whole file
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on disk, that API does not support that. So my options to fix
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this problem, and I’ll get back to byte ranges in a minute, my options to fix this problem are either
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to just, well, not support those files, which is not a great idea. I’ve already heard from a few people who listen
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to some shows like that that are very unhappy and that’s understandable. Or I can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco run those through a different API entirely. The old API, I was using the ext
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audio file API. That supports them, but that doesn’t support streaming.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I can have these two different code paths of this pretty major part of the player where I’m, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco running it for certain files and not others. And by the way, I don’t even know which one I need to call yet until I have, you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know, a big chunk of the file. Or I can do my third option, which is what I’m probably going to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco end up doing, which is actually like fix the file on disk
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and then play it, which is not a great option. Aren’t you downloading
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, I will probably end up just not streaming these because it would be a lot
⏹️ ▶️ Marco harder if I make it because then if I stream it, then I have to actually like go one level deeper in the API
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and like decode the format myself for both of these and then and then feed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco raw data into a converter. It’s very, I would really rather not go into that level if I don’t need to.
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m surprised you’re not going for the server side solution where these problematic files get downloaded
⏹️ ▶️ John once to your server and then you put in the metadata for them and then you encounter one in the wild, you just ask the server
⏹️ ▶️ John for the chapter info which you already fetched, you know what I mean?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, this isn’t just chapters, this is actually like playback. I can’t even play the files that are arranged this way.
⏹️ ▶️ John you can’t give it some, like if you download, what I’m saying is download it once on your server, get all the information you need about the
⏹️ ▶️ John file, whether it’s chapters or how to play it or whatever, then when you encounter that file, rather than reading the information
⏹️ ▶️ John about how to play it, just ask the server for information about how to play it, and it will tell you and you don’t have to bother reading the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, first of all, anything involving like a server cache of the file has other problems. So, you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know, mostly it’s, if I have one, if I do one approach, which is to cache the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco file myself and reserve it from my servers to the app. Podcast publishers
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t like that, and I wouldn’t like that. No, you’re not gonna serve the file, just the metadata. Right, so then the question
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is, what happens if the metadata I’m serving is out of date because the file has changed? You know, then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s a problem. I could e-tag it and everything, but then what if I don’t have the data I need?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s a problem. I’m gonna have to come up with some kind of crazy fix. It’s probably gonna end up
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doing a temporary hack just to get these files playing again in the next few weeks, and then longer
⏹️ ▶️ Marco term, I’ll probably have to go to that lower level API, but I really don’t wanna do that.
⏹️ ▶️ John I think the server side one is going to end up coming back. If you, if you obviously can do solutions that involve downloading it,
⏹️ ▶️ John but if you actually want to stream it, someone’s got to download it and get all the info about it. Right. And then it’s just
⏹️ ▶️ John a question of, you know, like you can always fall. Once you have the download path in there, you can always fall back
⏹️ ▶️ John to that. So you’re like, well, if I couldn’t get the information or this is a rare podcast that no one has looked at or whatever, or the information
⏹️ ▶️ John is out of date because the file has changed or whatever, then you fall back to downloading. But I can’t think of
⏹️ ▶️ John another way that you can successfully stream something. I mean, I guess you’re saying lower level
⏹️ ▶️ John API, you can just do the jump ahead to the end, get the header and jump back thing and just have a little delay.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, and that’s and of course, that’s if it supports byte ranges, which and that’s a separate thing. So as as I’m developing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this, I’ve learned a lot of things about what servers support and don’t support. I also love the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if range header. It’s awesome. Whoever designed that is awesome. The the problem with byte
⏹️ ▶️ Marco range support is that podcast CDNs only support it fairly loosely.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So some of them support it every time, some of them never support it, and some of them, like Libsyn,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which powers most of Overcast’s most popular podcasts, Libsyn supports
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it sometimes. So the way Libsyn works, as far as I can tell,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that they are the front end to multiple backend CDNs. And when you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco request a Libsyn URL, you’re redirected to just a random backend CDN, as far as I can tell.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And you don’t get the same one every request. So you can make a request for a file that supports byte
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ranges, then make a second request and it won’t support them. So you never know when calling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a libsyn URL whether the request you make will support byte ranges,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco regardless of whether the previous one to the exact same host did or not. If I build the UI and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything, assuming that byte ranges will always be there, I can’t assume that, basically. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I have to also, like in a case like this, I have to cover the case where I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to download the entire file first before I can even start playing it because that might be the only
⏹️ ▶️ Marco way to get it from the server.
⏹️ ▶️ John So how did you not encounter this until after Overcast 2 was released? You just never downloaded one of these podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean I honestly didn’t download a lot of m4a podcasts or AAC, whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you want to call the format, because all the podcasts I listened to are mp3 format and so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I had I went and found some that I was using for testing for things like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco AAC chapters and everything the enhanced AAC stuff but none of those
⏹️ ▶️ Marco happen to be encoded in this way with the header at the end. So I you know I didn’t I didn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco test the entire catalog maybe I should have written some kind of script to do that that would have been wise but I didn’t.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So you know now I have a bunch of test cases but basically it’s gonna be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of work to support what is you know a very small percentage
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of downloads but you know that’s the job.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well since Once you’ve got all this server-side data, you could actually use, in the interim, use the social
⏹️ ▶️ John engineering solution where you find the most popular broken podcasts that are like this, take their
⏹️ ▶️ John files, rewrite them losslessly if possible, and send them an email and say, hey, your
⏹️ ▶️ John files don’t play on my player because you didn’t optimize for streaming. Here’s versions of your files that do. Could you
⏹️ ▶️ John swap them in for the old ones? You’re not even asking them to re-encode. You’re not even telling
⏹️ ▶️ John them that going forward, you’re basically doing all the work for them. I don’t know how many it is, but maybe if you do that with three podcasts,
⏹️ ▶️ John does that cover 90% of your problematic files?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, if you’re going to go a social route, the easier social route is that all the people who are encountering
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these podcasts are yelling at me on Twitter and copying the people who published them.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And some of the people who published them have already said, oh, I didn’t realize that. I’ve now converted the files with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this different checkbox option that doesn’t do that.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, they’ll probably do it going forward if people complain, but anyway, if you did it for them, they would be
⏹️ ▶️ John even less work because it would be like, here’s your stuff on the platter. And I don’t think you can’t do it for everybody. But if I don’t know
⏹️ ▶️ John what the stats look like, but there’s a real big like peak of like, this is these three podcasts account for 90%
⏹️ ▶️ John of the problems because they’re popular. That would also give you some breathing room.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean, I it’s really been a very small number that I’ve heard about.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I’m not that concerned. I really do think the the right solution is just going to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to make the thing in the app that just downloads the whole file, and then you know, rewrites it to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be correct and then feeds it into the parser. Because then I have way fewer code paths. Then I only have the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one parsing code path. I can stay with that high-level API and not do a whole bunch more work.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And then just those files won’t stream. They have to download all the way.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But that’s kind of how they work already. That’s how Overcast worked constantly until
⏹️ ▶️ Marco last week. And because it’s such a very small number of these,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think that’s an acceptable trade-off. I don’t know. I could change my mind. We’ll see.
⏹️ ▶️ John So is it as far as 2.0 bugs as far as you know? Any other minor things?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I broke the entire watch app. That was fun. And you didn’t realize it? Oh, good thing nobody uses that, huh?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t even use it. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I don’t use my watch app. I hardly ever touch it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The main reason that it broke is even more embarrassing. Relatively late in the process,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I changed my artwork downloader to use a different URL session API because the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco old URL connection API was deprecated. I forgot to check the box
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in Xcode for that for that one category file that said to include it in the linker
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the watchkit binary. So I had a missing symbol. When that function was called
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it would just throw an exception and crash. And the reason I didn’t catch this is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because I wasn’t using the simulator to test this. I was using my actual watch. And my actual
⏹️ ▶️ Marco watch turns out has been very buggy recently and one of the ways it’s been buggy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that I thought it was installing the new versions that like the newest build whenever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I put a test fly build or a dev build onto my phone of overcast I assumed that it was working
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the way it always has worked before which is that it was also a copying over the watch binary at the same time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or you know a few seconds later turns out it wasn’t and and the overcast build on my watch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was like a month old and was before this change. And so I was testing on my watch and I thought it was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fine. Additionally, none of the beta testers caught it. Possibly for similar
⏹️ ▶️ Marco reasons of TestFlight being buggy, possibly because none of them used the watch app, I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. Nobody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco caught it, I didn’t catch it, no one else did. AppReview didn’t catch it either, which means AppReview didn’t even try the watch app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because it literally wouldn’t launch. I have a fix in for that and for a playlist
⏹️ ▶️ Marco editing bug where the very first time you would create a playlist it wouldn’t save any of your settings
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which is really embarrassing I don’t know why I didn’t catch that but it didn’t but now it’s fixed and a couple of other little
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things but really that was it it was very minor besides the watch get out
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s kind of surprising the app review didn’t even launch the watch app what kind of things can you sneak through now that you know this
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco yeah I was also surprised by that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m probably not worth pushing the boundaries on that but that’s interesting
⏹️ ▶️ Casey well the the number one thing you sneak through when you realize you have a loophole in app review
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is some sort of tethering backdoor. Isn’t that the rules? I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco thought that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, that is standard protocol. Either a tethering backdoor or an NES emulator.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Right, right. One or the other. To go back to streaming just for a minute, I had a
⏹️ ▶️ Casey couple of minor questions I wanted to ask you about that. I feel like you’ve probably already answered
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this, but what was the hardest part? I mean, it sounds like the hardest part is yet to come, which is figuring out this AAC stuff,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but is there anything else that was really hard that’s worth noting, and this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey kind of works its way into the follow-on question, which is, what are you most
⏹️ ▶️ Casey proud of, specifically within streaming?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The hardest part was really just getting all these pieces to work together, because there’s a whole
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bunch of weird conditions, weird concurrency, potential pitfalls,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of different states that all the different pieces can be in when
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you start downloading the file. I mentioned I have this initial request, and then I can do a range request. So, like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which state are all those different requests in? Once you have that data, as I’m passing it to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the decoder, what happens when I run against the end of what I’ve downloaded and I have to send the decoder
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a partial block, or do I wait until I have a whole block? And then what state is the decoder in? Has it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco found the header yet? Do I have what’s necessary to decode yet? Has it reached end of file? What happens when
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all these other things reach end of file? Do I actually play to the very last sample
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or do I cut it off somewhere because I messed up a buffer somewhere? All these little things.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s the hard part. In addition to the aforementioned
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hard part which was just figuring out how the heck to use this API, which is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco very low-level C API. Like most of Core Audio, it’s extremely unforgiving
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and gives relatively unhelpful error codes. So it was just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really, really tough just getting all that stuff right.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What lessons did you learn while you were doing this? Use AV
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Player. Fair enough. Yeah, my biggest lesson is don’t do this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if you’re starting from scratch. However, I am very happy I did it because now I have, you know, the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco whole reason I had to do this for quick review, anybody who wasn’t familiar, the whole reason I had to do all this craziness
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and not just use AV Player is that AV Player, as far as I’m aware, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve checked into this numerous times and tried numerous different approaches, but AVPlayer, as far as I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know, cannot do smart speed. So in order to do smart speed, I had
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to write this whole audio engine at a lower level than that. And I didn’t want to just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have a version that does smart speed and a version that can stream so that you can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco only have smart speed while you’re streaming. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to have every feature available, whether you were streaming
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or not. It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. Assuming I can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fix this annoying little AAC limitation. I think it was very much worth
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it. Because now, even people who never thought they would use streaming,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which I count myself among those, it is really nice to have. Even if you set it to automatically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco download everything when it comes out, you will still, at some point, run into a situation where,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco oh, something just came out, I want to listen to it right now and you can just tap it and it just starts playing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco immediately. You don’t have to wait for it to download and that’s really nice. And this was holding
⏹️ ▶️ Marco up a bunch of other possible features. Things like making inbound sharing links better. Like now,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I haven’t done this yet, but I can make it so that if you tap an Overcast share link in something, I can pop up
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a little player in the Overcast app and have you preview that or play that right there. Or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just simpler things like when notifications come in for new episodes, I can have a play button on them instead of just dismiss
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and wait for it to download. You know, simple stuff like that. It’s just really nice to have all these
⏹️ ▶️ Marco options. So now I have the foundation that lets me actually do it.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What lessons did you learn while doing all this other than testing the watch app and AV player? Anything else?
⏹️ ▶️ John You learn to play one of each kind of podcast that you know exists out in the wild,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey right? So one
⏹️ ▶️ John mp3, one AC with the headers at the end, one AC with the headers at the beginning, one high bitrate,
⏹️ ▶️ John one low bitrate, you know, just…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, basically, what I learned there was I was already doing that. But what I learned there was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s another type that I forgot about that I should have been included in the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey list. It’s funny to me that you have yet to mention that you learned that unit testing may
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not be so terrible, but I know that’s a tree that it’s not worth barking up. Any other interesting
⏹️ ▶️ Casey stories about the development? Because it’s been about a year, right? What version
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of the streaming engine are we on four or five? Three or four. Okay,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey so it was about a year. Any other interesting stories worth sharing before we talk about businessy things?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Not really. I mean, it was, you know, I did a few other things. I converted a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things that were previously firing notifications to tell various other parts of the app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to update. And now I’m doing all those. I’m doing a lot of those
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as KVO, using Facebook’s KVO controller, instead of all this notification hell.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So that was actually a nice thing. So I’ve serialized database access onto the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco main thread, which is crazy sounding to some people. And I know this is very technical
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and very boring, so I’ll go over it very quickly for people who don’t want to hear it. Basically, my previous version was using
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a version of my FC model layer that had a background queue for database access. And there was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a number of challenges with this and potential bugs when things were happening on a background queue, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then the UI tries to update them, and then what version of it does it get? And, and,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and, you know, what does it update at the right time? Does anything accidentally get called in the background thread that’s touching
⏹️ ▶️ Marco UI kit which you can’t do? So there’s all sorts of like these little possible bugs, some of which became real bugs.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the new version serializes all database operations on the main thread. You’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco typically told not to do this for a lot of things because, you know, that is performance
⏹️ ▶️ Marco problematic. Like if your database, if you have a big database operation that’s using the database for couple of seconds,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the UI can’t update. In practice, if you have an operation that’s that long,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the UI gets blocked anyway, if you have it on a background queue, because at some point, the UI
⏹️ ▶️ Marco calls into the database queue, and the operation is ahead of it in the queue, it’s blocking it all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco up. So I found in practice, any large operations that were large enough to take, you know, a noticeable
⏹️ ▶️ Marco amount of time on the database would block the UI anyway, even if it was on the background thread, because something
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the UI would call into the database and have to wait.
⏹️ ▶️ John You don’t have a, you know, readers aren’t blocked by writers type of isolation or a separate queue
⏹️ ▶️ John for read and write, you know?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, I don’t have that. I could add that at some point to FC model. In
⏹️ ▶️ Marco practice, I really haven’t needed it. You know, in practice, having everything on the main thread is both way
⏹️ ▶️ Marco simpler. You know, it’s, as I mentioned, all the possible bugs that you get from having it on some
⏹️ ▶️ Marco other thread, all those bugs are gone. And also, it hasn’t really been slower. In fact, many things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco about it are faster. So I have found no downside to this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the ways that I actually use the database, which is every,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m never doing a table scan, whatever SQLite calls a table scan. I’m never doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that in the UI. Everything that I’m querying is always indexed. And the data set really isn’t that big,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco relatively speaking. So yeah, that’s fine.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right. One final question before we talk about something else that’s awesome.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What’s next on the roadmap? Anything you’re willing to share? One benefit that we,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey well, air quote, benefit that we get being on the ATP emails is that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey we also get about a 10th of your Overcast support requests that somehow end
⏹️ ▶️ Casey up in the ATP inbox. And I’ve seen a handful of people very perturbed about
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the lack of authenticated feeds in Overcast. Do you plan on doing that?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Or is there anything else you’d like to talk about with regard to your roadmap?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So right now, you know, I crawl ATP once for all subscribers to it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And then I, you know, I collect that data and I distribute it to the people. So okay, suppose you have a password feed.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Do I crawl it once? And then reserve that to other people? That’s obviously
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not great for security and, you know, kind of defeats the purpose of password feeds and could be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like a piracy venue avenue so I don’t want to do that. Do I crawl the feed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco separately for every user that’s subscribed to it with their username and password? That is like the most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco semantically correct way to do it. But that’s also incredibly wasteful and resource heavy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on my crawling servers. Suppose a really popular podcast went with password-protected
⏹️ ▶️ Marco feeds and then I had you know 60,000 people in my podcast app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco trying to download this one thing with 60,000 different passwords then that adds 60,000 crawling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco feeds I have to do to every interval that I’m refreshing the feed that that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco both a burden on me and a burden on the other server so I don’t know of anybody who does
⏹️ ▶️ Marco server-side crawling and supports password feeds but I could be wrong I mean you could
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as you could do it but I think at scale it starts to become problematic and so that’s that’s why
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve been hesitant to do it it’s also just you know among all the different feature requests I get.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It has been pretty low on the priority list simply because not that many people request it. And I think most podcasts these days
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that are going to do the password model, generally speaking, I think that’s fairly outdated
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and that many of them are switching to just having their own apps to play them back in. And there’s various reasons
⏹️ ▶️ Marco why I don’t love that approach, but that’s the reality of the market. So I don’t have immediate
⏹️ ▶️ Marco plans to do this, but I could do it in the future. I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Fair enough. Any other interesting things planned for Overcast 3?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m not even thinking about 3 yet. No, I mean, honestly, I don’t have any remaining, like, massive
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ideas. I have a bunch of small ideas I want to do, little things I want to do, you know, a bunch of things that would be, like, worthy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of, like, 2.1, 2.2, like, that kind of update. But I currently have nothing,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco no concept of what 3.0 would be or when it would come out, if ever. I can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco take the 2.x line going for a long time. Fair enough.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right, why don’t you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tell us about something that’s awesome.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Squarespace is simple and powerful, with easy to use, what you see is what you get tools.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They’re all drag and drop, they’re customizable, everything’s great. Your designs are beautiful. They are professionally
⏹️ ▶️ Marco designed templates that you can customize to your heart’s content with no coding required. So regardless
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of your skill level, you can customize the look of your website. And if you want, if you have a lot of skill,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco site template. These are all, of course, responsive. You can also embed commerce functionality.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Every website comes with free online store capabilities for both physical or digital goods.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco All this is supported 24-7 via live chat and email. If you have any questions or need any help, 24-7
⏹️ ▶️ Marco support. All of this is state-of-the-art technology, which powers your site to ensure
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stability and security. This is trusted by millions of people and some of the most respected
⏹️ ▶️ Marco brands in the world. All this starts at just eight bucks a month. If you sign up for a year, you get a free domain
⏹️ ▶️ Marco name. And this is great. so many cases where this is the right answer. For example, earlier today,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I was at one of my favorite coffee shops and the owner of the coffee shop said, Hey, I need to update my
⏹️ ▶️ Marco website. You know about computers. You know, what should I do? How should I do? And I said, just here, look, I wrote down Squarespace
⏹️ ▶️ Marco form. He hadn’t heard of it because he doesn’t listen to podcasts. Apparently ever. I wrote down Squarespace form.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I said, here, do this. Trust me, this is all you need. And hey, I’ll let you know how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that went. You know, when I go there about once a month, so we’ll follow up in future sponsorships on how that went.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But I’m pretty sure it’s going to work out well. This is a perfect example of exactly what you need Squarespace for. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anyway, check it out. Start your free trial site today. This is what I told him to do. No credit card
⏹️ ▶️ Marco required at squarespace.com. code ATP to get 10% off your first
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Overcast 2: Business
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Squarespace, build it beautiful.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right, the business model changed for Overcast 2. What once was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not free is now free.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, basically. So before, the model was a free app with an in-app purchase for $5
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one time to unlock all the features. So there were limits, certain features were not available, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you could pay once to unlock them all. And it worked fine. It wasn’t amazing, but it was fine.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The problem was that, of course, as these things go, it’s a one-time purchase,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so revenue, average revenue per month was going down, as these things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tend to do. And I had this major new update, and I had so many people asking me,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is it going to be a paid upgrade? There were people on both sides of that. About
⏹️ ▶️ Marco half the people who asked were hoping the answer was yes, and about half of them were hoping the answer was no, because they wanted to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco give me more money to make sure the app survived. Not because they like it a lot. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I had so many people who wanted the free update, so many people who wanted to give me more money, and I evaluated all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these different options. And the other problem was that, you know, by having the app that has limits, about 20%
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of the users actually paid to unlock it. And as far as in-app purchase rates go, that’s incredibly good.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like that’s a great conversion rate. Most people with like a free thing with a paid conversion,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco they would love a conversion rate of 20%. So I have no complaints about the conversion rate there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco However, that still meant that 80% of the users were getting this limited,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco terrible version of the app. And I wasn’t using that version. I wouldn’t use that version, even
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for a day. It was annoying to even have these different code paths
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to test them, and I knew that 80% of my users were using
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a terrible version of the app. So I switched to a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco voluntary patronage model. So basically, and this is not actually that new,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s very, very similar to what I did with Instapaper about halfway through its ownership.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So you basically, the entire app is free. Instapaper was paid, but that’s,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was a different story. But the entire app is now free. All features are unlocked. And you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco pay if you want to, to support ongoing development. And you pay a dollar a month if you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if you want to do that. And so far, that’s working. I haven’t matched my previous
⏹️ ▶️ Marco income yet. And I don’t expect to for a while, but I’ve gotten
⏹️ ▶️ Marco something like 40% there already, I mean, after less than a week. And the feature as it is right now is incredibly, to a fault,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco unintrusive. Like, it’s buried. It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doesn’t, like, if you just launch the app and use it normally, you never even see it. It’s only
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the settings screen. If you go to the settings screen, then you will see it. Otherwise, you don’t see it at all.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And over time, that’s mostly because I just haven’t gotten around to making things that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco promote it more. I was thinking maybe at the very bottom of the podcast list screen, putting a little
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing there saying, we’re supported by Patreon. If you aren’t a monthly patron, putting a little thing there saying, here, this is what we do. Or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco when I add more features, I can put a little welcome thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco up saying, here’s what’s new and here’s how you can donate if you want to support this. So there’s stuff like that I can do, but I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco haven’t done it yet. So having done a really invisible update and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to already be about 40% towards my previous revenue after less than a week, I consider
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that a success. That is a faster uptake rate than I would have expected. So I’m very happy with that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Good. Why free? I mean, don’t you want to make money, man?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I mean, I heard what you just said about how you’ve got a pretty good uptake on this,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey But you said you haven’t quite reached your old monthly revenue,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and that seemed to be working okay. So why mess with the system?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Part of it, as I said, was the reasons of satisfying. Now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everybody gets the good app, right? So all my customers now are using the best features. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to me that’s important. Things like SmartSpeed and VoiceBoost. This is why
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my entire custom audio engine exists. This is why I had to write all that. This is why I can’t just use
⏹️ ▶️ Marco AV player. And it’s a big reason that differentiates Overcast from the built-in podcast
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app. So when you’re telling people, you should use this app, well, why? I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have other competitors too, and that’s fine, but the biggest competitor by a long shot
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is the built-in Apple Podcast app by a mile. And that comes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with every phone. It comes pre-installed. As far as, I don’t even think you can delete it. I think it’s always
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there. So the question is like, how do I make anybody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco use my app instead of the built-in Apple podcast app? And a lot of the features that I locked behind
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that paywall before, Apple gives those away for free. So that really,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was not very competitive with Apple’s app and so before I had the scheme where
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the app was free for some of the app and then you pay to get everything. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was always free for most people and pay for some. and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now it is still free for most people and pay from some
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I’ve just changed what they’re paying for and why and in the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco result the result of that is a much simpler app that’s much better for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everybody so that’s why I think it’s a win because I’m it’s still like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was always free for most people and I make money somewhere in there and now it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still is that it is still free for most people and I make money somewhere in there. Again, I’ve just changed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the specifics of how that’s done, but it’s still making money, it’s still profitable,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and over the long term it’s probably going to be just as profitable, if not more so, because, as I mentioned,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this is not my first paid app. I’ve seen this train before. That’s not a saying.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Now it is. I’ve seen this train before. I know how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this goes. After my first year where I did this big thing, and I keep giving free
⏹️ ▶️ Marco updates, average monthly revenue goes down. Because I start to reach saturation among my
⏹️ ▶️ Marco existing audience. Of like, the people who bought it last year when I launched it, you know, over time,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m not making any more money from those people, and I’m still giving all these new features for free if I do a paid
⏹️ ▶️ Marco upgrade that has other problems. People generally hate those. Over time, if I would
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have stuck with the old model, that was a downward slope of the revenue. That was, it was slow, I was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still doing okay, but the trend line was clearly slowly going
⏹️ ▶️ Marco down. And that happens to every paid app that I’ve ever seen. So with this,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco first of all, with this, I think the trend line will slowly go up. So that’s a huge improvement right there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it also kind of levels it out a lot more. It’s more predictable income, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it gives people a way to give me more money if they want to. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so it really does solve a lot of problems. And I don’t think it’s that crazy. You know, when
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you look at it as, how I described it a minute ago, it’s just like, it was free for most people,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and some people pay before, and now it still is. Just those things are, like just what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you pay for is different. If you look at it that way, I don’t think it’s that crazy.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well yeah, but that’s all fine for Marco, right?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh God, this. Yeah, you know, this was all Twitter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and blog drama this morning. I don’t wanna get really into it on the show, but the short version is that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anytime I do anything, I hear from people saying, well, that’s fine for you.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Copying the old that’s fine for Merlin joke, like, well, that’s fine for Marco, but I can’t do that because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t have X. Whether it’s as many Twitter followers as I do, or the brand recognition
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I do, or whatever the case may be, the PR that I get when I do things,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco always these arguments of, Well, everything I do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is unique and invalid to apply to anybody else.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And that’s just not true. And the fact is people are gonna convince themselves of that no matter what I say,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so it doesn’t really matter. It’s not really worth arguing. But the short version is the path I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco took, the result that I’m at now of where my career
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is now, my audience, what people expect of me, what people want to see from me, yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s hard to replicate in five minutes, but I’ve been building it for like 10 years.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the ways I have built it over 10 years are generally accessible to other people.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you also blog for 10 years and podcast for five years
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and make a bunch of apps along the way, then you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have a better chance of getting the kind of long-term attention that I can get,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco et cetera. But also, that launch attention is fleeting. It’s one time,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s it. Like, launch attention alone does not carry things. If it did, everything I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco did would succeed. But in fact, most of the things I do don’t succeed. That’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco why I stopped doing them. You know, like, the magazine did not succeed.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The launch was, I think a couple days after the launch was the most subscribers it ever had.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And then it just went down from there. The magazine did not succeed. Bug shot did not succeed. Nursing clock, of course,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was kind of a joke that it didn’t succeed. Even I was having trouble keeping Instapaper afloat when I sold it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s one of the reasons I sold it, because it was just not doing that well anymore. The fact is the things I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do don’t succeed by default. I am afforded the luxury of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a stronger launch than many people can get. But the value of that launch,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as I said, is temporary. And if, you know, I mean, look at our friends
⏹️ ▶️ Marco who made Vesper, right? John Gruber, Brent Simmons, Dave Whiskas, these people had massive
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audiences especially John Gruber, these massive audiences and yet Vesper hasn’t taken over the world.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Obviously the size of your audience is really, you know, it helps but it’s not all you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco need and it’s not a guarantee. So the people who really need to hear this won’t hear it so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it doesn’t really matter what I say but I don’t know if there’s anything to take away from this it is that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco almost nothing that I’ve done is unique and you know there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there is a road to take here to increase your chances of success but it might take you 10 years
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and a lot of work because that’s what it took me.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah one of the things you’ve mentioned in the past was like wanting to get your app
⏹️ ▶️ John I think you mentioned it in your your blog post your pragmatic pricing blog post that we’ll put in the show notes
⏹️ ▶️ John wanting to get your app into the hands of as many people as possible like you’re going from market share over profit. Like rather
⏹️ ▶️ John than selling a $99 artisanal handcrafted podcast app to 17 people,
⏹️ ▶️ John you want your app to be in the hands of the most people possible as a hedge against, what
⏹️ ▶️ John did you say, big money? Was that what you called it? Yep. Coming in, like you didn’t want podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ John to become like proprietary or Facebookized or owned and controlled by a single company. So you
⏹️ ▶️ John wanted to get your application out there to the broadest audience possible.
⏹️ ▶️ John And that is in line with the original pricing model, which was free within app purchase because
⏹️ ▶️ John you reduced the barrier to someone tapping the little button in the store and getting it on their device. And now again,
⏹️ ▶️ John same thing, you know, if you want it on your device, you can tap a button, you don’t have to give any money.
⏹️ ▶️ John Only now it’s a better app when you download it. So there’s more chance that people will tap the button.
⏹️ ▶️ John So that all works. But one of the complaints from people about your new pricing
⏹️ ▶️ John model has been revolving around what effect your new pricing model
⏹️ ▶️ John may have on the other podcast clients that are for sale now,
⏹️ ▶️ John I guess not including Apple’s because like they don’t care what you do, and maybe not including
⏹️ ▶️ John the big guys that can afford to give away their pod. I don’t know if there’s any other big guys like that, but basically
⏹️ ▶️ John other smallish independent podcast clients. Do you think
⏹️ ▶️ John your new pricing model will have any effect on the fortunes of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t think it has any more effect than it did before, which is I don’t think it has
⏹️ ▶️ Marco any more effect than what the Apple client has. All of us are at a severe disadvantage because the Apple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco client is built in and pre-installed and free and has
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most features that most people need built in. And it’s reel-to-reel so
⏹️ ▶️ John the audio quality is better. that warm sound you just can’t get from vinyl, Casey.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And also, like, you know, the, when you do a search in the App Store for podcast
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or podcasts, it shows this giant banner up top for the built-in podcast
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app to promote that, to basically divert your attention back to that to dissuade you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from getting another podcast app if you actually search the App Store.
⏹️ ▶️ John And you can’t even delete, you can’t even delete that app off your phone. So it’s not as if you need to download it from the store. You
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, so there’s a reason why. I mean, by most estimates, I think the Apple Pocket app has something like 60% to 90% market share,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco depending on who you ask. It’s a massive, massive player. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that market share number, as far as I know, is not going down. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s a huge disadvantage for anybody entering the market. So mine,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco being mostly free in the sense that I still am asking people for money, but just now you can get all the features
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for free. It’s a valid question that like, am I killing these smaller apps? I don’t think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I am. I don’t think I’m, I think I am, first of all, I’m competing,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and this is something that they can do if they want to. By
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most estimates that I’ve been able to piece together from like rank data, I think they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all making more money than me doing what they’re doing. So they’ve been outgrossing me, I think, for the whole, for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the year, or at least coming very close or being very close. So I think they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doing fine. When you have this giant built-in app
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that is built into the phone, free, very full-featured, look at the iOS Notes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco app is another good example of this. Or any of the built, the iOS Weather app, any of the built-in iOS apps,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Calculator, I mean all this, Reminders, all this stuff. There are markets for all of those
⏹️ ▶️ Marco apps in the App Store, they’re for third-party versions of those. and they’re often very healthy markets
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with many different competitors. And even if Apple’s app takes like, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the 80% or whatever, that still leaves a lot of people. And I had this problem with Instapaper,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with Reading List. And as far as I could tell, Reading List never really had much of an effect on
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Instapaper, either way, it didn’t seem like a negative or a positive. Because the thing is, when you’re making
⏹️ ▶️ Marco an app, especially something as complex as a podcast app,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The sum of all your little decisions along the way, which is tons of little tiny design decisions,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the sum of all those decisions is what makes the app fit people or not fit people,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco whether it kind of matches with the way you think about things or whether it conflicts with the way you think about things.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Whether it’s a design you like or you don’t like. Before you even get to features or price, those are all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco considerations. And because people have different preferences of what they want, how they want it to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco look, how they want it to work, what features they need and don’t need, that creates tons
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of market potential for other apps in every category, even categories that Apple already has a built-in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing up front for. The fact that I come into this category and I give my app away for free,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t think, I think it’s the same calculus. I think it’s the same situation that the apps have always
⏹️ ▶️ Marco been in before. Like, apps that provide something that people want that do things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a little differently than the built-in one or now than mine, those will find audiences the same way mine did.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that they will find audiences regardless of what how much my app costs.
⏹️ ▶️ John Alright, so next question. If it turns out that changing your pricing this
⏹️ ▶️ John way, did reduce the you know, the sales of the competing applications
⏹️ ▶️ John to a degree that maybe one or two of them drop off or whatever. How How does that
⏹️ ▶️ John fit in with your goals of trying to make sure big money doesn’t come into podcasting? Is it does
⏹️ ▶️ John it not affect it at all? Is it negative? Is it positive? And how would you feel about it?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well I would feel pretty bad if I actually like killed someone else’s app but I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have seen very little evidence to suggest that that kind of thing has ever happened in iOS or any software
⏹️ ▶️ Marco market for that matter. That’s not really how things tend to go. Usually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco apps die or become unsuccessful or you know non-economical
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to continue because they themselves just kind of didn’t do that well maintaining their
⏹️ ▶️ Marco own app or keeping their own users around. I had the same, you know, when I had Instapaper, I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco learned this pretty well too, that I was always worried about my competition. I was always worried. I talked about this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at XOXO, like I was always worried about like, you know, what what if somebody comes in tomorrow and takes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all my users away? And that never happened. Lots of new competitors came around. Some
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of them very big, some of them completely free. In fact, most of them completely free. Some of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco them are from big companies, some of them Apple. And it never seemed to make any difference whatsoever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because people had chosen me for lots of reasons
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and my app was kind of mine to screw up or it was mine to neglect
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or whatever the case may be. So if a podcast app goes away, if it shuts down,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which Instacast did this past, I don’t know, six months ago maybe? Instacast did,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I talked to the creator of that in the past and I think he was having trouble for a while
⏹️ ▶️ Marco keeping it up. So I don’t think I had anything to do with that really. If an app goes away,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yes I would feel bad if it was my fault, but I would have a really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hard time believing that it was really my fault. Furthermore, if being
⏹️ ▶️ Marco free up front for this past year, if that was really a big deal,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my market share would be bigger. But it isn’t. like Pocket Casts is the greatest counter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco example of this. Pocket Casts has way more users than I do. Way more.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They make way more money than I do. By a large amount. They are on both platforms.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They have a staff to maintain it. Like they Pocket Casts is by all objective measures
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kicking my butt and they’re paid up front and they’ve been paid up front the entire time that I’ve been free.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I don’t you know and and the reason why people choose Pocket Casts is is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not because that, you know, oh, this is four or $5 or whatever they charge. I don’t even know what they charge, whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is. It’s not because of that. It’s because they just like it better, or it does things that mine
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doesn’t do, or it serves platforms that I don’t serve. It’s for other reasons.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I think people are putting way more emphasis on this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco pricing model, then I think it’s warranted.
Facebookization of podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ John So for the big picture thing though ignoring whether you are the cause of
⏹️ ▶️ John it or You know or not Is it better for keeping?
⏹️ ▶️ John Podcasts from being Facebook eyes or whatever is it? Do you
⏹️ ▶️ John want to see lots of third-party? clients out there for podcasts or do you not
⏹️ ▶️ John really care as long as the overall market share between between
⏹️ ▶️ John the big money and the little guys is the same, even if the little guy
⏹️ ▶️ John share is divvied up between five people, seven people, 12 people, two people, you don’t really care.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco My goal here is diversity in the ecosystem. So from that point of view,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a large number of smaller clients is better. However, we’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had a large number of small clients for years, and we haven’t made meaningful
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inroads into getting significant market share overall for the independent category.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The winners have always been Apple’s podcast app, and then down a while, then Stitcher,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and then things like iHeart and TuneIn that are kind of not quite podcast players.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Now you have things like Spotify, they’re getting into podcasts, and that’s only going to continue.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Diversity is important, but you also need some big players that can be big enough
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to attract people away from those other ones. And that’s what I’m trying to be. You know, Stitcher,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think by most measures, had something like 5% of the entire podcast player market. But that’s a lot. I’m trying to reach
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that kind of level. I know I’m not gonna have like 50% or more. Like, that’s crazy talk.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would love to reach 5%. And I’m nowhere near it. But I’d love to get there.
⏹️ ▶️ John Isn’t Apple kind of a good guy in this scenario? Because even though they’re big and have all this money and everything, their
⏹️ ▶️ John sort of vague disinterest in podcasts means that like their player just reads RSS feeds, right? they’re
⏹️ ▶️ John not they’re not trying to open up paywalls, they’re not trying to grab copywriter and start throwing ads
⏹️ ▶️ John into people’s podcasts. They seem pretty sort of benign, kind of doddering.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s the built-in app, it works okay, it works better now than it used to, but it’s a straight-up
⏹️ ▶️ John podcast app, right? There’s no there’s not even any weird iTunes DRM shenanigans in there, right?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh, correct. But I don’t like the podcast. I don’t like theirs.
⏹️ ▶️ John Alright, right, so the app isn’t good. But I’m saying like, in terms of the openness versus closeness, like you can totally see how like,
⏹️ ▶️ John stitcher in your scenario, like something like stitcher is more the enemy in terms of
⏹️ ▶️ John they want, you know, I don’t know if they want control of it. But anyway, their view of
⏹️ ▶️ John the podcast world is like through the lens of stitcher, right? It is different. It is a different kind of deal
⏹️ ▶️ John then, well, people just put up RSS feeds. And this is just a client app that crawls them and lets people listen to things
⏹️ ▶️ John like that. That’s what you’re trying to preserve, essentially what we have now, which is, hey, So you want to put up a podcast, it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John just an RSS feed with a bunch of attachments. Anybody can do it. If you want to get listed in the big
⏹️ ▶️ John popular directories like iTunes or I don’t know what else is out there. There’s no barrier to that entry.
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple is not like the gatekeeper. They don’t like charge you money or require that Apple ads be put
⏹️ ▶️ John in front of your stuff or whatever. It’s all pretty open and straightforward. Kind of like blogging used to
⏹️ ▶️ John be in kind of well, we’ll talk about medium in a little bit but anyway, like like blogging wasn’t in
⏹️ ▶️ John in the old days where it’s very open and And it seemed to me that what you’re trying to guard against is
⏹️ ▶️ John a new world where it’s like, well, if you want to have a podcast, you have to go through Stitcher and Stitcher gets X percentage
⏹️ ▶️ John of your profit and kind of like the app store and the gatekeeper for everything involved.
⏹️ ▶️ John And they reserve the right to insert their own ads into your things and to resell your content. I don’t know, like I’m making up. I have
⏹️ ▶️ John no idea what Stitcher’s deal is, but the idea that or like Facebook, like where also
⏹️ ▶️ John you want your articles to be shown in Facebook. controls what gets into Facebook. Facebook can copy your
⏹️ ▶️ John stuff and republish it and Facebook instant articles are a thing that you have to write
⏹️ ▶️ John to. It’s not like they just pull your stuff. Anyway, or like Apple News. Like that’s my correct in trying to get
⏹️ ▶️ John a handle on what it is that you’re the doomsday scenario that doesn’t get exist, but you’re trying to avoid.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah. So, so, you know, to, to, to go back to Stitcher for a second, the thing I don’t like about Stitcher
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that they, they have their own proprietary directory. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so it’s not a general-purpose podcast player. You can only play their podcasts. And if you agree to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be one of their podcasts, they crawl your feed, they get updates,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco they download your episodes and re-host them themselves. So you don’t see the download numbers.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They insert their own ads between them, which is weird and conflicting,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco possibly, with the ads that you might have. They transcode your audio quality to be terrible.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco last time I checked, they actually required you to promote Stitcher on your shows, which would be why
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you always hear podcasters saying, find us on iTunes and Stitcher because they have to. And we decided
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with this show early on when we got a couple emails saying, why aren’t you on Stitcher? I can’t listen
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to you. We decided early on that based on the apparent volume being
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fairly low that we didn’t think it was worth being on Stitcher
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because we weren’t very happy with those terms. And and so we decided, you know, it’s not worth
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it, we don’t wanna do that. And the only reason we had the option to say
⏹️ ▶️ Marco no is because Ditcher’s market share was only like, you know, 5%
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or whatever. If they got any bigger than that, it would be really hard to say no.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So imagine, what if they had 15%, 20%? That becomes real numbers.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so imagine like big publishers like, you know, Gimlet or Slate or,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, Radiotopia, big publishers. If some player is in the market like that and they start
⏹️ ▶️ Marco dictating terms like that, they basically have to agree to them.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They don’t have the luxury to say no to something that’s controlling possibly 15 to 20 percent of the market.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s a huge, huge problem. A player doesn’t have to get to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a majority stake, 50 percent. They don’t have to get that big to be able to dictate terms.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t want to reach that point. We’ve come dangerously close a few times. I really don’t want to reach that point in this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco medium. It’s even worse. You know, Facebook is way worse, obviously, because they have…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think most publishers would tell you that more than 50% of traffic comes from Facebook.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like, it’s crazy how much traffic Facebook drives. So, you know, we at least in this medium, we
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have the freedom that we don’t have those middlemen who can dictate so many terms to us yet.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco However, Apple is one. And granted, most podcast apps, you can subscribe
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to any URL, no matter where you, you know, any URL that’s an RSS feed, you can subscribe to it and the Apple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco play it. But Apple still, Apple runs the iTunes podcast directory.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And that directory is the center of all knowledge of podcasts for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a vast majority of podcast players, Apple’s and otherwise. And Apple has rules, like I think they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco disallow like adult stuff and stuff like that. But anyway, right now, Apple is pretty hands-off
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with their directory. Right now, they have this giant market share in both the directory
⏹️ ▶️ Marco side and in the player app side. But they’ve mostly been
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hands-off, as you said. They’ve mostly kind of ignored it. But what happens if they don’t?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco What happens if they start using that power they have and making changes? They probably won’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because podcasting, the reason why they haven’t really touched it much so far, as
⏹️ ▶️ Marco far as I can tell, is because it just was never that important to them relative to everything else they do. They’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this giant company with these giant products, these giant initiatives. Podcasting was always so small that it wasn’t really worth
⏹️ ▶️ Marco them messing around with, really. But podcasting is growing, and Apple is getting,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know, possibly a little bit desperate in relevance on the music side. So that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco might change. Not only do I want to make sure that nobody else comes in and gets enough market share to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be able to dictate terms to every podcast publisher. But I also would like to eat away at Apple Share a little bit
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because I’m not comfortable with anybody having that much power over a market,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even when it is Apple and they’ve been pretty good about it so far. The other side of this is,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco suppose you want to do online video. Online video is just YouTube these days. You might
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as well just say YouTube because that’s what online video means to most people, YouTube. so dominated
⏹️ ▶️ Marco by one company, and also that company is constantly messing with the terms
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and constantly changing the way it works. They are really not a great owner of that entire
⏹️ ▶️ Marco medium because they have shown over and over again that they’re willing to change things around for their own
⏹️ ▶️ Marco benefit and to be opaque and to make changes that might not be in your own best interest as a publisher and things like that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But if you try to publish video really anywhere except YouTube,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s very hard to get any viewership. So I don’t want podcasts to ever reach that point.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right now, they’re vulnerable to that with Apple’s market share. But only, you know, Apple is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the kind of company that would do that generally. But you know, things change, people change,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco companies change, anything can happen. So ideally, I would like to diversify the market so much
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that not only does nobody get the power to dictate terms, but that Apple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doesn’t have that power either.
⏹️ ▶️ John You don’t have to post your video to Facebook or to YouTube to get good viewership. just posted to Facebook.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah there’s that issue as well. Maybe it’s a duopoly. Choose your poison.
⏹️ ▶️ John Exactly. The two giants fight each other over who has monopoly. Yeah I think we’re all
⏹️ ▶️ John thus far protected by a podcast being such a drop in the bucket but
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah I don’t know like I mean every time I see these stories about you know new podcast initiatives
⏹️ ▶️ John or the whole cereal thing and even the, you know, that friend of yours,
⏹️ ▶️ John what is that, Gimlet Media or something like that? Mm-hmm. Anyway, any time those stories go
⏹️ ▶️ John in, you know, when podcasts get rediscovered by the mass media briefly for,
⏹️ ▶️ John on the two or three year cycle that it’s on, people get excited about it being
⏹️ ▶️ John a thing, but then it’s kind of like, then it quiets down and I’m
⏹️ ▶️ John not sure if it ever crosses the threshold into a real
⏹️ ▶️ John mass media. I’m not sure if it even crosses the threshold into like reading, like as in books or, you
⏹️ ▶️ John know, paper books or eBooks, which I still think is just a massively larger business than podcasts will
⏹️ ▶️ John ever be. So it could be that this ecosystem
⏹️ ▶️ John is never interesting enough for Apple to wake up and try to wrest control of it. But if they did,
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah, I don’t know what the hedge is against it. The Hedge is the Hedge you and your little MySQL database
⏹️ ▶️ John with a bunch of podcasts in it, is that it? Is that all we’ve got? Is it just, you know, I don’t know, or Stitcher? That’s not, you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, I mean, like, ideally the Hedge is lots of other people.
⏹️ ▶️ John Who has a directory? I mean, you have your own directory, right? That’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I have my own, but I will still search iTunes as a fallback to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco get stuff that I, if I can’t find anything.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco has their own directory at all? Microsoft has one. I don’t know how big it is, but they do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have one. There’s a, I think there’s like one or two whether it’s around. I know Google, I’ve heard many
⏹️ ▶️ Marco very, very strong rumblings that Google is working on a major podcast initiative.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know anything about it, but I know they’re working on a major podcast initiative. I bet it involves ads.
⏹️ ▶️ John Almost certainly. I don’t know anything about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, and you know, and again, like this, how much power do you want Google to have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco over this medium? The more diverse we can get it to be, the less they can dictate terms.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So this is not going to stay still. Podcasts are becoming big. They’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco getting lots of attention. We have to be very defensive and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco skeptical about how this is going to go in the future. We have to, I think it’s really worth
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fighting for this. And because we lost video long ago, right at the start, we
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lost text mostly now these days. I don’t want to lose podcasting
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to these big, private, centralized, proprietary things.
⏹️ ▶️ John You know, what’s probably protecting podcasts right now is the incompetence of car makers, because I feel like that’s still
⏹️ ▶️ John kind of the linchpin. Like when we were kids, radio dominated because cars had radios in them. Like I think
⏹️ ▶️ John in the home, the advent of television replaced radio for a lot of things, although people still
⏹️ ▶️ John had radios at work or wherever to listen to. But for, you know, terrestrial
⏹️ ▶️ John radio has been all screwed up or whatever, and the replacement of, you know, oh, podcasts are the replacement.
⏹️ ▶️ John They’re independent, you can get what you want. They’re, you know, free. They’re all internet powered.
⏹️ ▶️ John And once our cars can all play podcasts using their ubiquitous internet connections and their apps
⏹️ ▶️ John and their Apple CarPlay, that’s been such a mess. Like it’s clearly not there yet. If you could snap your fingers and say,
⏹️ ▶️ John starting now, every car you buy anywhere in the world can play any podcast.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it’s like, wow, podcasts have really made it now because then people who have never heard of podcasts, They just grow up in a world
⏹️ ▶️ John where you go into a car and you somehow search for, you know, this American life
⏹️ ▶️ John and it plays it whenever you want and you don’t know how it happens. In the same way that you grow up in a car and you
⏹️ ▶️ John press the little preset button and the radio station comes on and you listen to music, right? That is the
⏹️ ▶️ John final form, if you will, of podcasts and that it is the true replacement for radio only it’s on demand
⏹️ ▶️ John and it’s diversified and whatever. But you can get that if Facebook
⏹️ ▶️ John owns podcasts or Google owns podcasts. In fact, it may come faster if one company owns podcasts or whatever.
⏹️ ▶️ John Um, I’m trying to envision a world in which a carmakers get their acts together to
⏹️ ▶️ John actually, you know, sort of, I don’t know if it’s not like agreeing on a standard, but like
⏹️ ▶️ John if you get everyone in the room and say, we all agree, right? Podcasts are just an RSS feed and that’s where they come from. And no
⏹️ ▶️ John one is going to support any particular company. Uh, but if one of those companies got big, if it was
⏹️ ▶️ John Google or Apple or Microsoft, or even if Stitcher gets big or something and somehow, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John like kind of like XM radio and Sirius got their claws into the audio auto industry for a while there
⏹️ ▶️ John where like it used to be you get radio And your thing and then you get satellite radio, and it was one of two companies, and then they merged
⏹️ ▶️ John They’d merge right those two yeah one bought the other one out Luckily satellite radio is terrible
⏹️ ▶️ John so not to worry too much about that like technology wise there are limitations there that aren’t gonna
⏹️ ▶️ John you know go big but the final iteration of cars is, hey, if
⏹️ ▶️ John cars had an internet connection, then cars could listen to music and they could listen to, you know, music is already
⏹️ ▶️ John proprietary eyes, whatever the word is. And, you know, it’s Spotify, it’s Apple music, it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John RDO, it’s all these other things. So there’s no hope of that being like, oh, we just add support for
⏹️ ▶️ John this protocol. Anyone can publish, you know, that’s already proprietary. Podcasts have a chance, have a chance,
⏹️ ▶️ John a slim chance of remaining in this sort of neutral open state long enough
⏹️ ▶️ John for cars to get their app act together such that all cars have some crappy podcast player
⏹️ ▶️ John in them and once the ball starts rolling on that if it gets going it could end
⏹️ ▶️ John up being like like the web I guess is the best example of like the web got out the door before anyone could really get control
⏹️ ▶️ John of it Microsoft tried and basically failed but you can make something with the web browser now
⏹️ ▶️ John and it can browse the web you know the web browser engines are open source you can make one of them it can load a web page
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s not owned and controlled by a single company. Podcasts have a chance of that, but right now, I think the
⏹️ ▶️ John expectation is that if a person buys a new car, that car cannot play a podcast, except perhaps through a Bluetooth
⏹️ ▶️ John integration with their iPhone using an application. I think that is still too complicated for most people.
⏹️ ▶️ John Most people just want to go into a car and have a preset button that’s their favorite podcast and press
⏹️ ▶️ John play and it starts playing the next episode or something like that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The example of satellite radio, I think, was the best counter example to this, which
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that satellite radio, you’re right, it came in, it got
⏹️ ▶️ Marco great integration into cars, whereas now almost every car that you buy,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the US at least, has an option for satellite radio. Many of them, it’s even bundled into other
⏹️ ▶️ Marco packages that you might get anyway. So it’s very common. But
⏹️ ▶️ John you had to pay for it, which is a real killer. Like obviously, podcast integration wouldn’t be like, oh, you have to pay
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, but either way, the hardware was there, and it still hasn’t caught on. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think what will protect podcasts and the car
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from that kind of big integration deal kind of world is the same thing that has made satellite radio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even less relevant today than it was before, which is, I always say, don’t bet
⏹️ ▶️ Marco against the smartphone. The smartphone is what is killing satellite radio,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco finally. I mean, satellite radio has been kind of half dead for a long time, I mean forever, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the smartphone will kill it for good. The fact is, internet connected
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cars, I think this is probably like a half
⏹️ ▶️ John step. Well, through your phone, obviously. I’m not saying you’re gonna pay, but that would be a payment thing too.
⏹️ ▶️ John You’re gonna pay for your cell access and then you’re gonna have your phone with you when you’re in your car, but I feel like it’s not there,
⏹️ ▶️ John as someone who owns probably the lowest end possible car you can get that does connect to your phone and play audio,
⏹️ ▶️ John It works, but it is not the type of thing that I would say, just get this
⏹️ ▶️ John car and it will just, you know, you won’t have to do anything and it’ll just figure it out. And it’s really slow. Sometimes
⏹️ ▶️ John the Bluetooth doesn’t connect. This ties into Gruber’s new theory that Bluetooth is the worst thing ever
⏹️ ▶️ John and preventing the future of the internet of things or whatever. But honestly, like sometimes it just doesn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John connect to Bluetooth audio. Sometimes it takes a long time. You can’t tell if it’s working. Sometimes you gotta toggle Bluetooth on and off.
⏹️ ▶️ John When it does work, there’s enough of a delay that you’re not quite sure whether it’s working. you have to decide whether you sit there and wait for the audio
⏹️ ▶️ John to switch over, whether you start driving and hope that it will. Like, it’s not as seamless. It’s still, I feel
⏹️ ▶️ John like it’s still a nerd experience, but you’re right that that’s the way it has to go. No one’s going to pay a separate
⏹️ ▶️ John monthly fee for their, although, boy, don’t tell Verizon, but they would love that they could charge you. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John no one really wants to pay a separate monthly fee for their car to have internet access. And if you’re going to have your phone with
⏹️ ▶️ John you anyway, uh, we really just need, you know, good car, I mean, getting back, like
⏹️ ▶️ John I said, and all you know good smartphone car integration once that
⏹️ ▶️ John becomes I think we’re all do you think we’re there with audio for for
⏹️ ▶️ John iPod car integration we kind of had that nice period where it was like cars had 30-pin connectors in them or
⏹️ ▶️ John a USB type thing and you would have iPod integration I felt like that worked pretty reliably but that was
⏹️ ▶️ John obviously a pre wireless technology
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean I think we I think we are really pretty much there now for Bluetooth audio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and which is even better. Bluetooth is so much better. And BMWs. No, I even other
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cars like if I get rental cars I try it, I know other people who try it. Usually Bluetooth
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audio is not perfect but most of the time pretty good.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, the audio is fine. It’s just the connection like because I have Bluetooth audio. That’s what you know I’m talking about with the
⏹️ ▶️ John integration like you need more sophisticated integration for podcasts if you want to actually put up an on-screen display that gives you
⏹️ ▶️ John more than just metadata as if it’s a music track, like you’d like to be able to, I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But that’s all you need. I mean, like when you’re playing it in a car, like that’s all I need. You know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of the reasons why I haven’t explored options like making a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco BMW app for it, one of the reasons why is because the Bluetooth integration
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is just good enough. And, you know, it’s really, really convenient that you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just get in the car and the phone can stay in your pocket. You just get in the car
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and a few seconds later, it starts playing your podcast right where you left off on your phone.
⏹️ ▶️ John Much more than a few seconds in crappy cars and sometimes never because it inexplicably doesn’t connect. Like
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m saying is that I think that’s not, that’s not there yet for regular people. Like it’s not, it’s not the type
⏹️ ▶️ John of thing where you can just assure somebody, do you have a smartphone, period? When you
⏹️ ▶️ John buy a new car, any car, you will be able to listen to podcasts in the car and there’s nothing you’ll
⏹️ ▶️ John need to do and no manual you need to read and no futzing you’ll need to do No caveats about remember don’t start driving until the audio
⏹️ ▶️ John plays because it may not be connected to Bluetooth And you better take care of that before you start moving Otherwise, you’ll be trying to use your touchscreen
⏹️ ▶️ John while you’re moving. You’re gonna run over a kid
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You know John maybe it’s time for you to buy a nicer car
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m saying like most people are buying cars like this and most people buying cars don’t have any Bluetooth integration at this point
⏹️ ▶️ John So it’s I think it’s starting to
⏹️ ▶️ Casey get really true I don’t know a lot of very very cheap cars like my brother-in-law just got
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a a brand new Civic. And admittedly, there are cheaper cars than the Civic, but I think the Civic
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is kind of a decent barometer for what a reasonably priced car is these days.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And his has what I would call comfort access. It has the proximity key. I believe
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it has Bluetooth. It has a humongous touchscreen on it, which I don’t think is navigation.
⏹️ ▶️ John Those are options. Those are all options.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Sure, but I don’t know a lot of people that buy a truly stripped car.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I mean, you didn’t buy a truly stripped car, right? You didn’t get the best package. My
⏹️ ▶️ John first car didn’t have a passenger side mirror. I’m talking about today. And it had to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m surprised it was legal to not have a window, like, I mean, a mirror. That’s crazy. He’s very
⏹️ ▶️ John The car was really small, and honestly, like, once you get used to it not being there,
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t know. It wasn’t, what I didn’t like about it, obviously, was the asymmetry. Like, it’s upsetting
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey this doesn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John have the right, anyway, it was fine. It also had the cool little
⏹️ ▶️ John joystick to control the mirrors, like instead of power mirrors, everything was manual. Nice.
⏹️ ▶️ John Anyway, this is all getting off track of the podcasting though, but I feel like that
⏹️ ▶️ John is the, what, with this podcast stuff, we’re like, oh, these stories in the paper and podcasts are
⏹️ ▶️ John big and there’s lots of money involved and there’s VCs and there’s cereal and blah, blah, blah. I feel like we’re not over
⏹️ ▶️ John the hump yet with podcasts. We did, and to give an example, We got over the hump with like
⏹️ ▶️ John digital music. iPods are everywhere. iPods swept away, you know, digital music
⏹️ ▶️ John swept away. Digital music on plastic discs was swept away by digital music on
⏹️ ▶️ John little tiny hard drives and eventually flash chips and stuff. So that revolution happened. The
⏹️ ▶️ John podcast supplanting talk radio for most
⏹️ ▶️ John people, I feel like has not happened. Talk radio, as terrible as it is, I think
⏹️ ▶️ John is still the dominant form of people listening to other people talking.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, but I do think podcasting is replacing it. You know, it’s not happening rapidly,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it is happening. I mean, if you look at most podcast growth graphs or whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco over the last few years, it doesn’t appear to be accelerating rapidly.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s just going up slowly and steadily the way it always has. And I think that’s going to continue.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is slowly, steadily getting more popular. It is not really ever going down.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so over time, it will replace talk radio for most people, just it’ll take a while. I mean, a lot of people
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still read newspapers, right? I mean, but that’s not a growth industry, you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know? So I think we have, I think we are really in the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco early days of a transition that is definitely happening.
⏹️ ▶️ John All right, well, we should move on to your intentional destruction of the open blogging
⏹️ ▶️ John platform on the internet. But first, don’t you have one more sponsor?
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⏹️ ▶️ John So you don’t like the open blogging platform. You decided to post your,
⏹️ ▶️ John which one did you, one of the ones about the new version of Overcast on Medium. Yes. A proprietary
⏹️ ▶️ John platform owned and controlled by a single company. I cross-posted. Does that make it better? Little
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was, why did you decide to do that? So yeah, so my latest post on my site,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I posted on my site, and also I posted a copy of it on Medium. Medium is really
⏹️ ▶️ Marco big now. I wanted to understand it. And there’s only so much understanding you can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do of a blogging platform, really, it’s a glorified social blogging
⏹️ ▶️ Marco platform. There’s only so much of understanding you can really have without actually blogging on it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at least once. So this company is so big, I think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s unwise to be unfamiliar with it, especially as
⏹️ ▶️ Marco they aren’t the biggest company on the web, but they are incredibly influential and incredibly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco popular among people in our circles, among the tech people, the early adopters,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the kind of tech media space. It is disproportionately popular among that crowd. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I wanted to understand it.
⏹️ ▶️ John Why is that, do you think? Why is it popular with that crowd?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So having used it for one post, it’s not a lot of experience, but that’s a lot more than you have, right?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So having used it for one post, I can say that the editor
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is fine. Everyone says it’s amazing, it’s fine. It doesn’t support markdown, which is unfortunate, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s fine. It was nice having social feedback right there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like people doing the highlights, people doing the little recommend or like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m still not clear whether it’s recommend or like, if those are two different things, I don’t even know. But getting all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the feedback right there to see all the different people, people you know, who would
⏹️ ▶️ Marco heart recommend like it or whatever, and then the little highlights and everything.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yes, a few of the comments were kind of interesting. So it was nice
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to have that level of instant feedback. It was like the way Twitter provides instant feedback when
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you tweet things. It was like that, but different and more of it, and directly on the blog post.
⏹️ ▶️ John Tumblr at the little bottom where it’s like who, you know, re whatever. The Tumblr has a similar
⏹️ ▶️ John thing, right? It doesn’t have the inline ones in the right margin, but it had the, you know, you could post something on Tumblr and immediately see a bunch of little
⏹️ ▶️ John people’s avatar icons appear on the bottom.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Exactly, exactly. So very similar to Tumblr, but you know, but focused on actual blog,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like on Tumblr, you can use Tumblr for a 12 paragraph blog post,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but very few people will read it. Because that’s not really the mode you’re in. you’re browsing Tumblr
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re in like a skimming mode because that’s all the rest of the content is skimmable stuff so nobody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco wants to stop and read some giant long post. Whereas Medium, that’s the whole point of the service
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is to read people’s text. That is the whole point and so it’s normal
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to go there and see something that is 12 paragraphs long. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I decided yeah I wanted to try it I wanted to see what it was like and the the feedback
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and the community aspects of it do seem pretty nice. In the past I’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco been critical of Medium because I’ve said, which I still agree with, that you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are not writing for yourself, you’re writing for Medium. You know, in the same way like when you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco give Twitter a whole bunch of your content there, you know, you’re really doing Twitter a big favor. Yourself,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, you’re kind of… it’s a mixed value, right? So the reason why you might
⏹️ ▶️ Marco want to publish on Medium, and I said this before is that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if your goal, your primary goal is not to become
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a writer necessarily or to develop your own audience, but to spread
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a message, to spread some idea, to spread some post.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If your main job isn’t writing and you’re writing it for some other reason, like to make an argument
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or to promote something or whatever the case may be, it is really good for that. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so I kind of wanted to try it from that point of view. Like I’m writing this post that is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is an idea. It is kind of to promote overcast or at least that that’s an ancillary benefit of it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco My site has been pretty slow recently. That’s totally my fault, of course.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So like the idea of like taking any attention away from my site, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there wasn’t that that much attention on my site to begin with. So it wasn’t that big of an expense to try
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it. It also wasn’t exclusive. They don’t require it to be exclusive. So I got to have all those benefits
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of all that attention there while not taking away from my site.
⏹️ ▶️ John Why does Medium get you more attention than you posting it on your own site? Those are just two
⏹️ ▶️ John URLs on the web. Why is it that when posting it to your site and posting it to Medium, why do more people see it on Medium?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That is a very good and very relevant question. And I don’t know the overall
⏹️ ▶️ Marco answer to that. But certainly you can kind of tell on the web today,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is pretty hard to get good traffic to a blog post. It is much easier
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to get good traffic in social environments. And the fact is,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you got to go where the readers are. You know, if you want something to spread like that, you have to go where the people actually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are, where the consumers are. And for the kind of things that I was writing,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Medium has a whole lot of those.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, but where, I mean like physically, mechanically speaking, how are the people there? How does
⏹️ ▶️ John anyone find your post on Medium other than seeing you link to it from your blog? Like I don’t understand, obviously I don’t
⏹️ ▶️ John use the service, so I don’t understand.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s like social recommendations and there’s like, you know, top voted in this, you know, this time period
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or among your friends or
⏹️ ▶️ John whatever. So it’s kind of like, like, like tech meme or whatever you think. People are browsing the front page of Medium. I know there is
⏹️ ▶️ John a follower thing because I always get emails saying people follow me on Medium and I feel bad because I don’t think
⏹️ ▶️ John I’ve ever written anything there. But anyway, so you have an account and you have followers and presumably if I ever posted something to Medium my 17
⏹️ ▶️ John followers on Medium would see that I posted it. But are people I guess like using it kind of like
⏹️ ▶️ John Reddit where you go to the front page of Medium and look at the top things top voted by
⏹️ ▶️ John people you follow or something?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I suppose. I mean I haven’t been using it enough to know.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco I mean you mean
⏹️ ▶️ John none of us are doing that obviously right? I mean, whenever I see a lot of Medium posts, you’re right, but when I see them,
⏹️ ▶️ John I see them in tweets, basically. That’s where I see links to Medium. And in that context,
⏹️ ▶️ John from my perspective, that could just as easily have been a link to Marco.org and I would have seen it just as much, but maybe other people
⏹️ ▶️ John are using Medium differently and they’re going to it like they go to Reddit pages and just, or like Tech Meme or anything
⏹️ ▶️ John like that, and just going to the, what the hell is the front page of Medium? Let me go look.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s like some editorial collections of stuff, I think. So in recent years, every time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I write a post on my site these days, I also tweet about it. And the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco main reason I do that is because the fact is, way more people are reading Twitter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco than subscribe to my RSS feed and checking my RSS feed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco regularly. And also Twitter provides feedback mechanisms and ways for people to spread
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it with retweets and links and re-blogs or whatever. So there’s all these
⏹️ ▶️ Marco values that Twitter brings me in in my publishing medium
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is another one of these venues where there is a lot of activity happening
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s a lot of people reading it there’s a lot of people recommending and sharing stuff there to other people there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so the idea of cross posting major posts there doesn’t sound like crazy to me
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anymore because now you know as I said like I don’t think medium is a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco good idea if you have like it like John Gruber should I be publishing his main articles
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on medium because he has already a giant audience for his site and that is his business that is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco his main business my site is no longer my main business it never really was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but you know the ads on my site are are decreasingly necessary for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my business meanwhile the ideas that I’m talking about the things I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Marco linking to the things I’m promoting my apps my own brand all these things are becoming more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco important to me over time relative to how many people go to my blog.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And if the people who use Medium are going to be reading my stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in Medium, the alternative I think is not that they would come to my site
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and read it necessarily. I think the alternative is more likely that they just wouldn’t read it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I can still like I don’t I don’t really see the harm in people who are who have the kind of goals
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I have, which is not to develop a giant following on my site only, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to maintain my site and to write things on something I own, but to also go to where the people are.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Because the things I’m writing have more value to me, the more people read them.
⏹️ ▶️ John I guess I’m the Marco in this scenario because I’m also not trying to… My site
⏹️ ▶️ John is not a business. It does not have ads on it. It never has. It has no readers. But I would still never put anything
⏹️ ▶️ John there on Medium. And maybe it’s because I also don’t care if people actually find it and read it.
⏹️ ▶️ John I just feel like, why would I give them something that I wrote, unless they paid me, unless I’m like freelance writing. It’s like,
⏹️ ▶️ John hey, well, if someone wants to pay me to write something for their site, that’s the same deal that I would do with any other site.
⏹️ ▶️ John Sure, if I’m in the mood to do freelance writing and I pitch someone an idea or
⏹️ ▶️ John they pitch me, hey, would you want to write this? I’ll either say yes or no. But outside of the realm of freelance writing, if I
⏹️ ▶️ John just had an an idea and wanted to write it, I would put it on my blog that nobody reads and I would never
⏹️ ▶️ John put it on Medium for free. But I guess I mean I don’t have anything to promote. I mean you do have something to promote there. Like
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m also I guess I’m not concerned with trying to get my message out but I think that’s the
⏹️ ▶️ John main difference. Like I don’t think it matters whether it’s my you know it’s not a business at all for me
⏹️ ▶️ John but that doesn’t weigh in my decision. I guess this has to go down to do you care about getting this to the
⏹️ ▶️ John widest number of people. I don’t post links to my stuff to Facebook. I bet that would get more people to read
⏹️ ▶️ John it, but it’s just not what I do You know you don’t want Facebook people well.
⏹️ ▶️ John I wouldn’t see their feedback anyway. It’s nice. I doesn’t have any comments
⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, I mean so you know basically I think there’s a spectrum of like what what is right to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do and what feels right for you to do cross-posting significant posts to medium
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think is somewhere along the spectrum, but further along it of course
⏹️ ▶️ Marco then than linking to everything you write from Twitter. Like, they’re both ways to go
⏹️ ▶️ Marco where the people are and to try to build value for yourself somehow. In
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the case of linking from Twitter, that’s better for you because you’re pointing them to your site. But-
⏹️ ▶️ John And you’re not giving someone else your words, either. You’re not saying, because I don’t know what the deal is when you put it on Medium, but I’m sure
⏹️ ▶️ John they have some rights to it once you paste it into that text box.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Sure, I mean, they have to at least have the rights to like display it and, you know, move it around and copy it and stuff like that, so.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ads against it, God knows
⏹️ ▶️ John what they’re doing.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. So the question is, what are your needs for what you’re writing? What are you going for?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you’re going for maximum spread, I would say it is wise to cross post things there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you’re going for building up your own site, then it probably
⏹️ ▶️ Marco isn’t, but it depends. It might be a way to help you get started to bring people possibly maybe
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to your site, although I don’t think a lot of people would, but who knows? But it is a tool that is on the spectrum
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and I wanted to understand it better and that’s why I did it. And I don’t know if I’ll do it again. It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is annoying to have two different versions of what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John you write and have to like…
⏹️ ▶️ John with your Google juice. Yeah. Because now like Google might view it as duplicate content or maybe it thinks the medium one is the original and
⏹️ ▶️ John yours is the duplicate and downgrades your site because it’s like you’re copy paste, you know, duplicating someone else’s content
⏹️ ▶️ John even though you’re the same person.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. So again, I don’t know if I’m going to keep doing it. I might keep doing it for major posts,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like things where I really want this to have maximum audience, because again, it’s a tool to do that. I am happy I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco did this with this post because it really did help me understand Medium a lot better,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I understand why somebody like me would even want to use it. So I call
⏹️ ▶️ John So what was, do you wanna share numbers, like percentage wise, like did it get twice what your market.org
⏹️ ▶️ John thing, 10% what your market.org thing Like what was the spread of hits and?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Hold on I don’t even know if it tells me how many hits like I know I have about 400
⏹️ ▶️ Marco recommendations and 15 balloons
⏹️ ▶️ John They don’t even tell you your hits so you don’t even know how much it’s spread here I mean if we’re all you know that
⏹️ ▶️ John that means you’ve got 400 people to read it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I don’t know, but I mean 400 recommendations, that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot I think. Like that’s… Wow.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey No, like to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to have like a basically a like action on something, to get 400 likes on something is a lot.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean it would be a
⏹️ ▶️ John lot if it was faves on Twitter, but it’s not a lot for Taylor Swift.
⏹️ ▶️ John Swift. I don’t know what the ratio is of readers to likers on Medium, you know, it may be a different,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s a different social space. I think I have a good handle on what the ratio is on Twitter, but
⏹️ ▶️ John on Medium I really don’t know. And I read a lot, like I said, even though I don’t write anything on Medium, I read a lot of Medium posts. And every time
⏹️ ▶️ John I read one, I’m like, what made this person write this on Medium? And why are these comments in the margin?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, okay, so, you know, next time you write a post in about three years,
⏹️ ▶️ John there. Try it. No, never. I’ll never join you.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is, I think, useful to understand it if you’re in the business of writing on the web. You don’t necessarily
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have to constantly post everything there or switch to it, but I think it is worth
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t know. The problem I have with it is, like John, I’ve read a bunch of things on Medium,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and I cannot remember a time that I’ve paid any real attention to who
⏹️ ▶️ Casey wrote it. So if the exercise was just to understand Medium, then sure,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey call it a success. If the exercise was to get your thoughts out anonymously,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey then it’s probably a success. Granted, in this case, the particular post you made
⏹️ ▶️ Casey was heavily about your own experience and most people know who you are in this context. So
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I guess maybe this is an instance of that’s fine for Marco, but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I feel like for a normal person it would certainly propagate
⏹️ ▶️ Casey content better than just putting it on your own website. And I include myself in that, but I don’t think anyone
⏹️ ▶️ Casey would remember a Medium post I put up that wasn’t about me as being
⏹️ ▶️ Casey written by me. I just, I don’t feel like there’s that ownership in the,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in the brand sense that there is on your own website or even your own
⏹️ ▶️ Casey like Tumblr account, because at least on a Tumblr account, you’re, you’ve presumably styled
⏹️ ▶️ Casey your, your site, your blog in such a way that it is in some way unique. And yes, I know
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that there’s a lot of cookie cutter Tumblr themes, but it stands to, it seemed
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to me that a lot of Tumblr, if not most Tumblr sites, are visually unique, whereas every Medium post just
⏹️ ▶️ Casey looks like a Medium post.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would say it’s similar in that regard to Twitter and Tumblr. Like you know, you have your little
⏹️ ▶️ Marco username and your avatar, but you know, when you read tweets, like if you see something that was retweeted
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from somebody else, you know, how much are you really seeing their name?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s very similar to those things in those regards. So it is nothing like having your own site, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there are things that we already have that are like this. We can see how that works
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on Tumblr and Twitter, where if you see somebody’s name come up more than
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a couple times, you’ll probably remember it. And like, oh yeah, that person. I’ve been seeing their stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot, maybe I’ll go follow them. It’s very similar in those regards. Not like blogging,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it’s, again, I think it’s worth understanding. Whether you choose to use it or not is certainly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco up for debate. And I don’t even know if I’m gonna keep using it. But I’m glad I understand a little bit better now.
⏹️ ▶️ John Marco has to release all these applications to make the internet angry, and that means we didn’t even have time to talk about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We could have an iMac after show. That’s about how exciting they are. Thanks a lot to our three sponsors this week,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Casper, Squarespace, and Lynda.com. And we will see you next week.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Now the show is over, they didn’t even mean to begin Cause
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it was accidental, oh it was accidental
⏹️ ▶️ Casey John didn’t do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John let him Cause it was accidental,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey oh it was accidental And you can find the show
⏹️ ▶️ John notes at atp.fm And if you’re into
⏹️ ▶️ John Twitter, you can follow them at
⏹️ ▶️ Casey C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S So that’s Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and T. Marco Armin, S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A
⏹️ ▶️ Casey oh it’s accidental, they
⏹️ ▶️ John didn’t mean to Accidental, check the podcast so long
Post-show: New iMacs
⏹️ ▶️ John I think they’re exciting because I’m angry about things
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey You’re angry about
⏹️ ▶️ John we’re all angry about we’re all angry about the 5400 rpm drive even though none of us are gonna buy that model
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh, that is worse than 16 gigs. That is that is so bad.
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t I don’t know what’s I don’t know what’s going on there I don’t under I don’t understand how this like
⏹️ ▶️ John The old Apple would never do that just because putting SSDs and all of them would let you charge
⏹️ ▶️ John more money but the low-end one is like $1,000, but it’s a ripoff at $1,000. No, it’s $1,500. No, no, the lowest,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco smallest one.
⏹️ ▶️ John Oh, non-retina? Let me see. I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just had the page open. The low-end retina is $1,500, but it’s… First of all, let’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do the preschool method. We’re going to start by saying something nice. I like that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco much more of the lineup now is retina. By throwing in this mid-range iMac and by getting rid of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some of the non-retinas, I’m very happy to see retina spreading very deeply into the lineup.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m very, very happy about that. Um, it has nice CPUs,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not the best possible ones, but nice ones. Um, and it looks pretty
⏹️ ▶️ Marco okay now for the bad.
⏹️ ▶️ John Um, yeah, the 1500 one also, I see what you’re saying. So the, yeah, I w I was talking about the, the bottom
⏹️ ▶️ John of the line one has the 5400 RPM drive, but so does the, the very first
⏹️ ▶️ John retina one, the four K 21.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. So I mean the very bottom of the line when that’s the one that has like the MacBook Air internals and that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that is not new like we’ve had one like that for but a couple of years now I think a year
⏹️ ▶️ Marco something like that that’s fine you know if you want a super super cheap Apple desktop
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the cheap iMac is very slow
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John but it works
⏹️ ▶️ John but is it fine because the air at least has an SSD like I feel like this is such a fundamental change to the experience of
⏹️ ▶️ John using a Mac that I that an air is going to stomp all over this thing in subjective performance
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s the So that’s what I just, and they also, by the way, they made Fusion
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Drive a little bit worse, whereas now the one terabyte Fusion Drive went from having 128
⏹️ ▶️ Marco megs of flash caching to 24 gigs. I mean, 128 gigs to 24 gigs.
⏹️ ▶️ John one, I almost kind of give them more of a path on. It’s chintzy and it reeks of
⏹️ ▶️ John bean counting, but it’s conceivable that they know that 24 gigs
⏹️ ▶️ John is enough to keep the working set. You know what I mean? the working set is for the average person in terms
⏹️ ▶️ John of keeping the stuff on the fast storage maybe 24 gigs is hard for me to believe that that would be viable
⏹️ ▶️ John but I can believe that 128 might be overkill for most people for the working set of what they do and maybe they
⏹️ ▶️ John have more intelligent shuttling of things from the the fast storage to the slow storage I’m
⏹️ ▶️ John not sure how much that would affect things but just having no SSD and a really slow 2.5 inch
⏹️ ▶️ John drive it’s like going back in time it’s like using I have yeah I
⏹️ ▶️ John one of those on my desk right now, the non-unibody aluminum MacBook Pro has
⏹️ ▶️ John only a spinning disk in it, and it is just super painful to use. It’s like, you think it’s broken,
⏹️ ▶️ John it takes so long for things to happen.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yep, that’s my personal machine, this old high-res anti-glare MacBook Pro with
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a 720 gig platter drive in it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But you know what, I bet your platter drive is at least 7200 RPM. You
⏹️ ▶️ Casey know, I don’t recall offhand, but you’re probably right. But it is so impossibly
⏹️ ▶️ Casey slow that genuinely I have wondered numerous times, just like you said, is
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this broken? Because there’s no way it’s trying to accomplish something. However, on the plus side,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t need any sort of monitoring tools in my menu bar because I can just put my ear close to the drive
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and hear it go, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick,
⏹️ ▶️ John endlessly. You don’t need monitoring tools in your menu bar, period. You
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey just don’t know. Yes, yes,
⏹️ ▶️ John yes, yes, yes. All right. I mean, that’s kind of silly because we’re not going to buy that machine, but it’s like, we’re thinking of it from
⏹️ ▶️ John the perspective, just like the 16 gig phones, even though we’re not going to buy them, that potentially if
⏹️ ▶️ John we just send a friend or relative into an Apple store to buy a computer and they buy the cheapest one, they end up with a machine
⏹️ ▶️ John that we think is, it’s like not even, like you should, if that’s the only one you can afford, you should not buy
⏹️ ▶️ John a Mac. You should buy a PC or an iPad or something else.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Or a different Mac.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, well, you know, but again, if that’s the only one you can afford, is the bottom of the bottom of the line, not Renda
⏹️ ▶️ John iMac, it’s just not a good machine with that drive in it. And the bottom, you know, the bottom line 4K iMac,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not a good machine with that drive in it. And I don’t know if people, like people
⏹️ ▶️ John shouldn’t have to be tech savvy enough to know there’s lots of good Macs you can buy at every price point, but just
⏹️ ▶️ John make sure, like in the olden days, just make sure you get more RAM because that will really affect your experience. And
⏹️ ▶️ John now it’s just make sure that you would at the very least get the Fusion Drive, which won’t be as good as an SSD, but it’ll be worlds
⏹️ ▶️ John better than like the slowest hard drive made in the last decade they’re putting
⏹️ ▶️ John inside these things.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And this is also gonna have a strategy tax for them in the sense that like, we’ve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco heard rumblings here and there that they’re working on possibly a new file system and that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco such file system would be based on SSDs, that it would only run on SSDs
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because they don’t, like if you know that all of the computers that a file system will run on will
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have an SSD, you can make certain assumptions, you can design it a certain way to take advantage of the properties of SSDs.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The longer they keep selling computers with spinning platter hard drives, the longer they either can’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco ship that have to restrict it to only certain models of their computers and therefore only a subset
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of their users get whatever benefits it brings. And the same thing with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the iPhone lineup, like shipping those A5 chips for so long, that holds
⏹️ ▶️ Marco back developers, including Apple developing its own platform. Stuff like that. So it’s that kind
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of move where the nickel and diming of the low end of their supply chain
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is actually going to impede the progress of Apple’s software teams and to impede the progress that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all of us can make in the software moving forward.
⏹️ ▶️ John I even wonder at this point, we’re just like, oh, they’re trying to save money by giving this cheap drive. Is a 5400 RPM 2.5
⏹️ ▶️ John inch drive actually cheaper than then the equivalent flash at the volumes Apple buys flash?
⏹️ ▶️ John Is it a supply issue that they want to save that flash for the other more profitable computers? It’s just it’s really
⏹️ ▶️ John getting to be the situation where at a certain point, it’ll be like antique and retro, like who is still buying
⏹️ ▶️ John spinning hard drives? You would think that the first company that would go SSD everywhere would
⏹️ ▶️ John be Apple, but no, they’re dragging their feet. You know, they’re just
⏹️ ▶️ John holding on to the past.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That isn’t how Apple works anymore. You know, Steve did a few moves like that, where he would
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cut off this old, crazy thing, we’re only doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John the new thing.
⏹️ ▶️ John USB everywhere on the iMac, right?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, yeah. You know, like Steve did moves like that sometimes, But I try to keep some perspective
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in, you know, thinking maybe this is just a crazy part of Tim Cook’s Apple. The fact is, when Steve
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Jobs was running the place, they also had, like, very stingy low-end configurations on a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lot of their computers. And, you know, but you’re right, things like RAM. But I feel like with Tim, it’s been
⏹️ ▶️ Marco made worse. Like, so, neither was perfect in this regard. And maybe Steve would have done the same
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing, given the same situations. But it does seem like they are off on this,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with a balance that needs to be struck between the low end that they offer
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and making a healthy profit on the high end stuff. I feel like they’re off on that. And the 16 gig phone is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of these examples and a lot of the base configurations
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of some of the computers. But this is the greatest example I’ve seen recently. Here is a new, by
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all accounts, the non-Retina one is a low end product. Okay, the Retina 4K
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is a mid-range product. Maybe even a high end. I mean, to most of the world,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a $1,500 computer is high-end. Let’s put this into perspective here.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco This is a high-end product for most people’s standards.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it looks high-end, like all of that is price to their credit, it looks like a fancy
⏹️ ▶️ John computer. It does not look like a bargain bin, like just slapped together thing. It looks like you’re
⏹️ ▶️ John buying something expensive, and when you get, I feel like the experience of using it is so far out of whack with everything
⏹️ ▶️ John that you view and touch on the computer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, so it’s, you have this product and, you know, Apple’s brand is supposed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be about premium quality and about making great, or at least good, products.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And there is no way a computer sold in 2015 with a 5400
⏹️ ▶️ Marco RPM hard drive is even a good product, let alone a great one. And so, again,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco customer set could be a problem here. Like, I just, I don’t see how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that, you know, Obviously, I guarantee you, just like the 16 gig phones, this is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not about profit margins on that model. This is about creating upsells
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to the next model to raise average selling price.
⏹️ ▶️ John Does it work for an upsell if people don’t know, though? Like, I don’t even know if it works as an upsell because that would mean that
⏹️ ▶️ John some people involved in the sales process would have to be aware of the huge
⏹️ ▶️ John performance cliff represented by that 5,400 RPM drive. It is super esoteric where people don’t even
⏹️ ▶️ John know solid state storage and disks, let alone the RPM of the disk. Nobody knows those numbers. So unless
⏹️ ▶️ John the salespeople are saying, by the way, you don’t know this, but this number here means this computer
⏹️ ▶️ John is crap, and you should buy the other one. But that’s not a sales tactic that I’ve ever seen used in an Apple store. That kind of like,
⏹️ ▶️ John let me tell you why this machine is crap, and you should buy the other one. Apple has mostly, in my experience, been like, these
⏹️ ▶️ John are all great products. Pick whichever one you want. If you have questions, I can answer them. So the 16-gig
⏹️ ▶️ John model, I feel like even people don’t know what a gigabyte is. I think people are used to buying smartphones
⏹️ ▶️ John with a single number associated with them, especially Apple phones, and that number is like the amount
⏹️ ▶️ John of stuff that the phone holds. And so I think there’s more of an argument for being used as an upsell there,
⏹️ ▶️ John but on computers, the RPM of the spinning disk, hmm, I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I completely agree. And it wasn’t until, I don’t remember which machine it was, but it wasn’t until
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I finally started using an SSD myself years ago now. Maybe it was in my
⏹️ ▶️ Casey previous work computer before it just got upgraded. But anyway, it wasn’t until I had one myself that I realized,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey oh my God, what everyone is saying, it’s not true, it’s even better than
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what they said. Because I just had never experienced it before. And it’s admittedly, I should have
⏹️ ▶️ Casey listened to all these people like you and Marco that were saying, oh my God, SSD is the only way to go. But
⏹️ ▶️ Casey until you really use a computer that is your own, that has an
⏹️ ▶️ Casey SSD, you don’t understand the difference it makes. So I can absolutely imagine
⏹️ ▶️ Casey me back then not having used an SSD thinking, ah, it’s just it’s not worth it. It’s not
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that big a deal. And so I feel like some amount of forced
⏹️ ▶️ Casey guidance or, you know, compelling people to get this better machine
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is what it’s going to take in order to move them away from these platter
⏹️ ▶️ Casey drives. And the way you do that is you don’t off the platter drive in the first place.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well, but the customer sat won’t be affected if the people who buy this computer have never had an SSD, because
⏹️ ▶️ John maybe they just think this is how slow computers are like if they’ve never had the faster experience on a Mac, and they buy this
⏹️ ▶️ John one, it’s probably about the same speed as their previous Mac or probably faster than their previous Mac with a spinning disk.
⏹️ ▶️ John So those people their customer sat will be fine. I bought this new computer. It’s fancy, the screen looks really nice.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s better than my old computer in a bunch of different ways. And it’s faster. So they don’t know
⏹️ ▶️ John what they’re missing. Right. So maybe their customer sat will be protected. I just feel like Apple is not
⏹️ ▶️ John giving the best possible experience that they could be giving to their customers,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right? Well, the customer sat will be good. It won’t be great and We all like
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to think that Apple aims for great
⏹️ ▶️ Marco What they should if they wanted to actually offer The best product they could at this price point
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They would have thrown in that stupid 24 gigs and made it a fusion drive For what I can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco best estimate a total cost of maybe 20 bucks to them
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, just add just add 20 bucks to the price at that point like you know take zero profit margin on the 24 gigs
⏹️ ▶️ John of Flash, but at 20 bucks to the price
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right, but instead they charge a hundred dollars for that option if you want two terabytes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s three hundred dollars now a two terabyte two and a half inch drive at retail
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is about a hundred bucks So they’re charging 300 for something that’s gonna cost about a hundred plus
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the 24 I mean, you know, it’s and they’ve they’ve always done stuff like this like overcharging for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some of the options, but I Don’t know. I felt like a few years ago. They’ve started to get better at like the RAM started
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to become a lot less outrageous And so
⏹️ ▶️ John well, yeah storage is the new RAM It used to be that RAM was the thing that Apple overcharged ridiculous
⏹️ ▶️ John amount for and then they got reasonable ish RAM prices But now it’s like storage prices have
⏹️ ▶️ John no relation to reality
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as usual The options are not priced well But it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John but I don’t mind that like I feel like to get to move on to it for off of the low-end thing Like I’m thinking
⏹️ ▶️ John of getting one of these to replace my wife’s thunderbolt display and MacBook Air So yeah
⏹️ ▶️ John to replace your Mac Pro. No, so I’m still
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco holding a dream alive
⏹️ ▶️ John 2016 Mac Pro Thunderbolt 3 external retina display could conceivably happen anyway
⏹️ ▶️ John exciting that aside for now The the big one looks good, and I’m you know again. I’ll pay
⏹️ ▶️ John whatever you know I’ll check the stupid $700 one terabyte flash up like I’ll
⏹️ ▶️ John I understand it’s it’s expensive products It’s the high-end you’re paying through the nose for the premium stuff, but it looks
⏹️ ▶️ John and acts like a premium product I have faith that they’re that they’re one terabyte flash drive will be fast
⏹️ ▶️ John I have faith that the screen will look really good because Marco you said you really like your screen and this one
⏹️ ▶️ John is Supposedly even better.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, they did a wide color gamut. That’s one thing. I I really do kind of regret not having I mean
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I know how you can fix that. No, I’m not gonna do it. I’m not gonna get one. Yes, you are. I’m really not
⏹️ ▶️ John Margo has one of these well Tiff might just need one for photography, but I’m getting one of my anyway
⏹️ ▶️ John but yeah, so this does look like a really nice computer It’s kind of disappointing that it doesn’t have
⏹️ ▶️ John the USB C and my open questions as I posted on Twitter are What’s the deal with the GPU?
⏹️ ▶️ John Is it still like thermal throttled inside there? Because I’m not deciding that whether
⏹️ ▶️ John really whether we should get one or not. It’s basically, should I bother getting the high end one or is it pointless because
⏹️ ▶️ John the high end one is just gonna make more noise and more heat without any real big boost in performance?
⏹️ ▶️ John Or should I get the lowest end GPU and just resign myself to the fact that this is never gonna be
⏹️ ▶️ John remotely good for gaming and just get the one that makes the least amount of noise? So I’m waiting for
⏹️ ▶️ John some people to either buy this and tear it apart or test it and do all, I wanna see gaming benchmarks,
⏹️ ▶️ John I wanna see noise levels, stuff like that. And I wanna wait for the first bunch of suckers to get the first ones off the assembly line.
⏹️ ▶️ John And then eventually probably I’ll order one of these.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean, it’s, and I will say, I mean, yeah, like the wide gamut display is, that’s a great
⏹️ ▶️ Marco improvement. That’s the kind of improvement that like, they didn’t need to do. The market was really not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco demanding it in a significant quantity, but I’m really glad they did do it. because long term that is better for everybody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if that filters through the lineup. So that is great. I’m very happy again that they went Retina. I’m very happy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that the big one finally got Skylake, although it doesn’t have like the cool USB 3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Thunderbolt thing with USB-C. It doesn’t have that, so that’s unfortunate, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco maybe we’ll get there in the spring, who knows. And also the price is a little bit lower. When you deck it out with the options,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco previously if you maxed out all the options, It was $4,400, now maxed out at $4,100.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So somewhere the options are getting a little bit cheaper. So overall,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco decent machine. If I was buying a new Mac today, I would get a well configured
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 5K 27 inch, of course, again. Except I’ve been using mine now for a year
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and absolutely love it. And the fact that I’m not really itching to find an excuse to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco upgrade should tell you in one way how good this thing is. It is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco incredible. And the screen on mine is the best screen
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I have ever seen. And they made the new ones even better. So I’m very, very happy about this.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m happy they keep pushing the line forward. The high end is great. The low end is a shame.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, and I don’t mind, like the missing USB-C, like it’s kind of a shame, but you recognize when you’re buying.
⏹️ ▶️ John If you’re buying a Mac now, you realize you’re buying in the middle of Apple transitioning its line to a USB-C.
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s gonna be a while, if retina’s any judge it could be a really long while so just like what are you gonna do?
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m gonna wait for the next iMac that has USB-C well then you’re not gonna get a computer for six months to a year so
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m gonna be okay with that mostly because whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John like I don’t I don’t see any big need for USB-C for the thing that’s
⏹️ ▶️ John replacing this ancient MacBook Air, it’ll still be a huge upgrade yeah so the mouse and keyboard
⏹️ ▶️ John are next I guess we can quickly hit those.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I am happy that so okay let me say something nice first.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m happy that they’re doing stuff like this. Like I’m happy that the Mac
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and in particular the desktop Macs are still important enough for Apple to put significant work
⏹️ ▶️ Marco into because not only are they obviously mostly an iOS device company these days
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but also among the Mac line the laptops tend to get the most attention because they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sell most of the laptops. I mean, I heard, I think Jason Snell and Upgrade said that they sell 75% of the computers they sell
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are laptops, and the desktop isn’t even all iMac. That’s gonna be some Mac Pros, some Mac Minis. So,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, the fact that they’re putting effort into things like making awesome new iMacs, but also
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things like new keyboard or mouse designs, when the previous ones worked fine, you know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Even though I don’t like the direction they took with the keyboard yet, I mean, I haven’t tried one yet. From what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I hear though, it’s very MacBook One-like. So, you know, I’m not crazy about that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I wouldn’t use it anyway, because it isn’t a split natural keyboard, and I always use the split Ergo keyboard, so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it doesn’t matter for me. So I just, I like that they’re still doing this. I feel like maybe this is Phil Schiller.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like, I feel like, of all the top execs, I think he seems to like the Mac the most.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, like, it seems to be like, kind of his baby in that way. Like, he always seems to care
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot about the Mac things. He always gives more public statements about the Macs than any other
⏹️ ▶️ Marco exec. Maybe that’s just his job to present them, I don’t know. But it does seem like he cares a lot, and that’s comforting
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to know that he’s so high up and seems to really care about the Mac. So I’m happy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that the Mac, and in particular desktop Macs, are getting meaningful
⏹️ ▶️ Marco updates and meaningful attention. Even when I don’t always agree with the direction they’re going, I’m at least happy they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I agree. I was sad to see that the Magic Mouse didn’t seem
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to get… It doesn’t aesthetically look that different. I know it’s taller, or
⏹️ ▶️ Casey excuse me, not taller, but I guess longer is a better way of phrasing it. I’m happy to see the batteries go
⏹️ ▶️ Casey away. I am one of the suckers that bought the Apple battery charger because I hated throwing away double
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Not even I bought that. You know, other battery
⏹️ ▶️ John They do, yeah, and they’re better.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, it was a gift,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so. Yeah, I had a friend who claimed his Hanson CD was a gift in middle school
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, I mean, I I believe it was a gift I probably would have bought it anyway, because the only thing I ever use it for
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is my magic mouse But anyway, the point is I still I still think that ergonomically this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey has a way a way to go I wish it was more bulbous, but you know, you can’t win
⏹️ ▶️ Casey them all but I like that that it’s Got rechargeable batteries. I like that.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s charging via lightning. I think that’s smart I think any excuse as many have said to get another
⏹️ ▶️ Casey lightning cable in the house. You can never have enough We probably have 20 or 30 at this now, maybe not that many but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey we have a ton and there’s still not enough But I don’t know. I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It would be neat if they did something a little different with it. I’m not sure what maybe somehow
⏹️ ▶️ Casey some way supporting force touch I don’t know enough about how this is all held together in a hardware perspective
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that maybe that’s a ridiculously complicated and stupid idea, but I would have liked
⏹️ ▶️ Casey something more than just a slight rev. Like even the keyboards, that wasn’t revolutionary
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what they did, but it was more than just a basic rev. And I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Casey sad that the Magic Mouse only got the basic rev, and I fear that my mouse
⏹️ ▶️ Casey using days are running out and eventually, due to force touch,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m gonna have to get a trackpad. And I know that a lot of people are completely
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in love with their Magic Trackpad. I personally don’t care for trackpads unless
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I have to. I will use the one on my Mac, you know, the onboard one if I am in a pinch and it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not reasonable for me to set up a mouse, but I prefer a mouse
⏹️ ▶️ Casey if at all possible, and I prefer a multi-touch mouse specifically. The other thing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I really do like is the pairing by way of the USB connection. I think that’s extremely smart.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s another one of those really great Apple moves where it’s like, oh yeah, if you’re going to plug it in anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey why the crap wouldn’t you do that? But I don’t know if I would have thought of it if I was designing all this.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So I’m kind of excited about the new keyboard and the new mouse, more the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey keyboard than the mouse I suspect, because I have one of the old, old, old Bluetooth keyboards
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that takes three batteries, which is completely barbaric, obviously.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’d love to see I’d love to get my hands on a keyboard and a mouse but jeez they’re expensive How
⏹️ ▶️ John well they come with your computer if you buy a new computer,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right? Well, they come with your new desktop computer. Yeah, but I don’t typically buy
⏹️ ▶️ Casey desktop computers as we’ve talked about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean when it comes to the different keyboard is a hundred bucks trackpad is 130 mouse is 80 standalone Do
⏹️ ▶️ John you have a choice of a real keyboard? Let’s see. Yeah, you do still Apple keyboard
⏹️ ▶️ John with numeric keypad So you can pick the extended one still. I mean, that’s why I’m not interested in this keyboard I like
⏹️ ▶️ John well like the keyboard like the mouse seems to and the trackpad for that matter
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s a refinement of what Apple seems to think is the platonic ideal of these devices So
⏹️ ▶️ John in case you were disappointed that the mouse didn’t make more of an evolution Apple has decided for the next several
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco the man And all they’re doing is refining it
⏹️ ▶️ John an Apple and Apple has decided for the next several years at this aluminum keyboard that’s the
⏹️ ▶️ John way a keyboard should look and they’re just refining it. And how can they refine it barely? Can we pull in the edges even
⏹️ ▶️ John more? Can we make keys a little bit bigger? Can we make them more stable? Maybe we’ll tweak the layout. But bottom line
⏹️ ▶️ John is, like they want it to just disappear. They want it to be very simple. It’s beautiful to look at, but I don’t
⏹️ ▶️ John like the key layout. I need, I want my inverted T arrow keys. I want page up, page down, home and end where I
⏹️ ▶️ John want them. I would like a space between the numbers and the function keys,
⏹️ ▶️ John but that would make the keyboard bigger. Even though it would be easier to feel your way the difference between the numbers and the functions,
⏹️ ▶️ John I would like control to be, or not control, whatever, I would like the key in the lower left corner to not
⏹️ ▶️ John be FN, not be the FN key, right? Because that’s where control is by default if you don’t swap
⏹️ ▶️ John it with caps lock. These are all things you can do on a full-size real keyboard that you can’t do on Apple’s
⏹️ ▶️ John super aggressively minified keyboard. But this is, I guess this is the way, I mean, I feel
⏹️ ▶️ John like the desk real estate, it’s good to conserve desk real estate,
⏹️ ▶️ John But one of the luxuries of a desktop computer is you don’t have to fit it on an airline
⏹️ ▶️ John tray table. Like, you can make the keyboard a little bit bigger. You can give it a little bit of breathing room. Would it kill you to put
⏹️ ▶️ John some space between the function keys and the number keys? Or is that extra five millimeters going to impinge on the giant
⏹️ ▶️ John desk where you have your gigantic iMac? I don’t know. Anyway, this is… I disagree with
⏹️ ▶️ John their design direction for their keyboards, especially since they don’t seem to even offer, like, an extended version,
⏹️ ▶️ John except for the old one. I’m assuming when you pick that extended version you get the old one I’m sitting in front of right now Which I like
⏹️ ▶️ John but I would like I would like the new key mechanism I would like the new larger key caps. You know, I would like San Francisco
⏹️ ▶️ John font on my key caps. And by the way Who said this? I think this is on a Dalrymple site. The
⏹️ ▶️ John the MacBook one keyboard has half a millimeter of key travel The old aluminum
⏹️ ▶️ John keyboards that I’m sitting in front of now have the old desktop ones have two point one millimeters key travel
⏹️ ▶️ John and the new One has one millimeter. So it’s right in the middle. It’s a point five two and one millimeter So it’s not gonna
⏹️ ▶️ John feel like the MacBook One, but it’s also half the depth of the old keyboard. So I’ll have to try that
⏹️ ▶️ John to see how I like it again. Not that I’m gonna be using this thing anyway.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The consensus so far from reviewers seems to be that it feels more like the MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco One keyboard than like the old one. And it might be
⏹️ ▶️ John because of the stability of the keys a little bit too, not as much tilting involved and also
⏹️ ▶️ John the reduced travel, I don’t know. The Magic Trackpad I think is the only one of these accessory revisions that I
⏹️ ▶️ John think is a Clean win all around because the magic trackpad There’s not much to it
⏹️ ▶️ John except for a place where you slide your fingers around so and they made the place bigger Which
⏹️ ▶️ John is what I was hoping for in terms of you know, you have all the space in your desktop Why not make it bigger?
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s also it seems to be more proportioned like the screen but just kind of nicer in terms of
⏹️ ▶️ John Not that it’s a one-to-one mapping but anyway if you’re gonna make it if you have to decide what shape your trackpad should be
⏹️ ▶️ John making it the shape of the screens that you sell is a good idea. And it’s white which
⏹️ ▶️ John I like. I’m assuming it won’t get all disgusting with your fingers because I’m assuming it’s glass up there and everything. It doesn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John have the little feet which were super clever but obviously don’t work in this forced touch age. So
⏹️ ▶️ John I actually do have a magic trackpad. I used one on eBay for OS X reviews so I had something to do gestures on. And so I guess at 130
⏹️ ▶️ John bucks I’m not buying one of these on a whim. It’s super expensive but that is my favorite new accessory
⏹️ ▶️ John out of the group by far. Oh and then finally the fact that a lightning
⏹️ ▶️ John charging port on the mouse is on the bottom. Mm-hmm. I don’t, I saw
⏹️ ▶️ John a couple people trying to think of reasons for this like don’t hurt yourself it’s because
⏹️ ▶️ John if you put it someplace else it’ll be ugly like that’s it.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah oh yeah that’s totally it.
⏹️ ▶️ John Done and done and I don’t also don’t think it’s a big deal because the thing,
⏹️ ▶️ John the charge lasts so long and you charge it so infrequently, it is a little bit awkward. It’s kind of one
⏹️ ▶️ John of those, it’s the same as the compromises that Apple has made in the past. It fits right in with the, let’s put the ports
⏹️ ▶️ John in the back of the iMac so they’re not in your face, but now it’s harder to kind of get at them, or the, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John the things that make your product look good, but as soon as you go and try to use it, part
⏹️ ▶️ John of the functionality, the infrequent part, like you’re not plugging and unplugging things all the time, but when you do do it, it becomes awkward. So
⏹️ ▶️ John this mouse looks good all the time. When you do have to plug in, I guess you leave it on
⏹️ ▶️ John its back like a turtle at night, you know? And then it just
⏹️ ▶️ John lays there in the back and you won’t flip it over. Why aren’t you flipping it over, Casey? Anyway, I’m flubbing that quote. You’re not
⏹️ ▶️ John gonna get that reference anyway. I just had to throw
⏹️ ▶️ John in. But that’s gonna look weird. It’s going to look weird to have your thing charging
⏹️ ▶️ John overnight with the wire sticking out of it at an awkward angle. It’ll look weirder than it would
⏹️ ▶️ John if the thing plugged in where the cord is on a regular old style corded mouse, because then it would just sit on your
⏹️ ▶️ John desk, the cord would be there, you unplug it, and it’d be fine. But the whole rest of the time you’re using the mouse, Johnny Ive would be
⏹️ ▶️ John restless at night knowing that there’s this gaping lightning port poking out of his beautiful piece of sushi somewhere
⏹️ ▶️ John that people can see.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, and it would be, if they did it right and put it on the front edge where every other mouse has its cord coming in,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you wouldn’t even see it in use. Like, it would be facing away from you. It would be facing the wall. People
⏹️ ▶️ Marco walking towards you at
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco your beautiful glass desk at the reception
⏹️ ▶️ John area, they would see the lightning port hole and it would fill with lint. I don’t know. But yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s… You don’t I don’t think you need to think hard about it That’s why it’s on the bottom because
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s less ugly that way and I in the end. I think that is a reasonable I think it’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John more reasonable compromise than putting every single port on the back of the iMac. Let’s put it that way
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, well, and you know if you’re going for maximum functionality, you’re probably not using this mouse to begin with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean I like it but no one else seems to
⏹️ ▶️ John Casey is using it for maximum functionality because it’s the only swipy mouse That’s the only like high quality multi gesture
⏹️ ▶️ John multi finger gesture mouse So that’s the functionality the reason he’s using this thing.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, that’s mostly true That is why I’m using it, but I’m told that Mike’s beloved
⏹️ ▶️ Casey MX whatever mouse That is giving him tremendous RSI issues
⏹️ ▶️ Casey That I guess has physical buttons You can press that will mimic a lot of gestures
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that I do But that to me that seems kind of a hack and kind of kludgy and
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m not that interested in it But, strictly speaking, I could accomplish the things I want to accomplish
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with other mice. With more buttons. are always the answer, aren’t they?