Back to Work

Back to Work

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

Hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.



#496: The Costume Beej

September 22, 2020 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: Folks, this one is a doozy, and that's all I'm gonna say about that.


#495: Even the Mammals

September 15, 2020 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; remember to photograph your kid's room; some bearded dragon updates; some thoughts on pets; Merlin's grandfather was a reluctant dog obsessive; Dan wants to read you a label; Merlin met a fellow cadet; check out Dan's videos; Merlin is loving iOS 14, especially the smarter Siri suggestions; speculation on how machines learn; your hosts still want Macs to be Macs; Big Sur notifications are basically a Bop It; are we getting diminishing returns from theoretical Mac improvements?; Dan has a really good analogy involving wrist watches; there's a reason normal people don't like their apps to change; Merlin puts review requests on blast; an edit button would still be nice; Merlin finds himself with an unusual opportunity to field test some disused home tech; and, finally, it is hoped that Frasier will leave of his own volition.


#494: The Sucker’s Sort

September 8, 2020 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 12 minutes

DISCUSSED: California has no shortage of crises; Dan's got a brand new bag; thoughts on exercise as prophylactic medicine; extremely anecdotal data on the rise of fake ratings and reviews on Amazon; the return of "A cool thing I learned this week" brings some very neato apps, tips, and whatnot.


#493: Flimsy, but Useful

September 1, 2020 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

DISCUSSED: Rabbit, rabbit!; Dan wants to be sedated; at some point, Merlin had most of the optimism bred out of him; a lot of problems and small beefs get overlooked for survival and sanity reasons right now; Dan shares listener recommendations for movies like the Missions Impossible; time was, you went to the weird video store and just hoped you got the good guy; Dan wants to remind you that he signed a letter of agreement—a CONTRACT; maybe it's time we abandon that increasingly meaningless term, "screen time"; Merlin thinks you can give a baby a name that's funny in only one way, but never in more than one way; every generation demonizes a new technology that they're sure will corrupt the youths; Dan has strong thoughts on the Indiana Jones trilogy (yes, there are exactly three and only three); no one is as persuasive as Sean Connery; Merlin made some movie lists; sometimes you get something that's "mostly for your kid" when it's totally not for your kid; Dan draws inspiration from Roald Dahl's work setup; this is probably a pretty good time to be risk-averse; a reminder that there are still always opportunities to improve how you operate; this leads to an examination of "desire paths" and learning from what your intuition and previous behaviors are trying to tell you; Merlin's Infrastructure Week is extended as he goes ham on speeding up his Mac; and, finally, Merlin discusses a useful Mac utility before putting it on blast.


#492: Siracusa Daylight Time

August 25, 2020 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 25 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has a lot of infrastructure going on; your hosts share strong feelings on time zone discrimination and its attendant big-timing; Dan has more cool videos coming to his channel; some boring nerd talk on voice recording options; Dan needs your suggestions for more movies like the Missions Impossible; in Follow-Up, there's some good news and some bad news related to both COVID and San Francisco; hurricanes are coming!; Merlin figures out why Safari on his Mac got so slow; thoughts on DNS Server choices; Merlin endorses a podcast episode that involves some very Back To Work ideas; everything is copy; and, finally, some concerns about nicknames plus several important questions about the consensuality of Jake Robert's titular snake.


#491: You and Your Hog

August 18, 2020 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 7 minutes

DISCUSSED: time is hard; X-Men for eight cellos; in follow-up, Dan has some clues for troubleshooting his jumpy screen; it's valuable to understand what problem you didn't solve; then, of course, comes the extended weekly airing of COVID grievances; Merlin needs advice on choosing a Zoom recorder; check out Dan's new thing!; recommendations for Ted Lasso and Ethan Hunt; some lessons to bring home from vacation; plus, some more reckons on life after COVID.


#490: Penetration Engineer

August 11, 2020 at 8:00AM • 1 hour 6 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan is joining a campaign, and Merlin's eyesight now precludes him from being an AD&D dungeon master; Dan has a concern about his laptop screen and needs your help; then, the boys settle in for a good, old-fashioned recommendations episode; podcasts, pens, video editing apps, a 3D printer, a new SoundSource, hard drives, and even a moisturizing cream for your little patch.


#489: Not a Monkey Man

August 4, 2020 at 1:15PM • 42 minutes

DISCUSSED: the joys of a movie that reveals itself over multiple viewings; good storytelling is difficult but so rewarding; as you know, Bob, a lot of movies have that Walk Hard problem; Merlin has questions about Dan's day-to-day in Travis County; people are cooking the books; why do so many people have the Extremis virus these days?; we could still make a big dent; and, finally, wow, the demands for performance sure can be exhausting.


#488: Uncle Dad

July 28, 2020 at 11:45AM • 59 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has discovered a unique new voice emerging from the medical and spiritual communities; your hosts interrogate the implications of this new material; Dan and Merlin have media recommendations; as a main topic, your hosts explore the many, intertwined complexities of trying to figure out "the future" right now.


#487: Nostradamus Pants

July 21, 2020 at 12:45PM • 56 minutes

DISCUSSED: There's really only one topic right now, and it's not going away any time soon. Many analogies and historical echoes are explored. The future, if it exists, is going to be very weird.