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.



#286: Secret Rap Name

August 23, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

TOPIC: Hey, try this.

This week, Dan and Merlin have a shortie, so they talk about stuff they're loving right now and make some recommendations on gadgets, music, movies, and more.

Also, the scientific link between chemtrails and morgellons can finally be revealed.


#285: A Baller VCR

August 16, 2016 at 6:30PM • 1 hour 44 minutes

TOPIC: Kids don't need VCR Plus+.

This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates.

The topic this week is all about media consumption—in particular, the massive changes to how they learn about, locate, obtain, schedule, and consume media over the past decade or so.

Sure, there's the usual old man talk about how How It Used To Be, but there's a heavy focus on how these changes are changing the way media is funded and produced. What's that media landscape gonna look like when a 5-year-old playing with an iPad becomes the producer of media in a very few years?


#284: Wake Up, Van Hœt

August 9, 2016 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 38 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin open with an unintentionally deep dive on how Merlin has been tricking out his house with home automation stuff.

The main topic this week returns to the theme of updates; in this case, how ubiquitous devices have changed pretty much everything.


#283: Cognition to Completion

August 2, 2016 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates, talking about the evolution of electronic task management in their lives. Hint: simplify, simplify.


#282: Boring and Yet Wonderful

July 26, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

TOPIC: Orinoco Flow

This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates, focusing on the difference between the days before and after ubiquitous wifi.

Also, lots of fun odds and sods on Scrivener and surviving summer with kids.


#281: The Mayor of Chocolate Sundaes

July 19, 2016 at 5:15PM • 1 hour 42 minutes

TOPIC: Way of the future.

This week, Dan and Merlin continue their discussion on updates to their systems and their productivity worlds. In particular: how have new technologies and critical masses of users led to wanting or needing fewer intermediary communications layers?

For years, email was more than just the lingua franca; it was that one internet communication protocol that every user could be counted upon to have and use.

But, today? Options, baby, options! Sometimes for worse, but, so often, for much better.


#280: The Big Filter

July 12, 2016 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

TOPIC: Updates on Productivity and a modern Kobayashi Maru Scenario

This week, Dan and Merlin start a new series on updates. Which sounds really boring, but it isn't, we swear.

This time out, the boys start by diving deep on how and why just so much of their productivity systems have changed over the years. Innumerable ways in which technology and life has evolved to where so many of the old systems seem fiddly, unnecessary, or both.

[This is a good one.]


#279: The Fishery Loophole

July 5, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 41 minutes

TOPIC: …and, then what happens?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the unexpected cognitive benefits of ritual, repetition, and thinking through the fascinating question: "…and, then what happens?"


#278: Yelling at an Idea

June 28, 2016 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

TOPIC: People, amirite?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the complexities of communicating with each other. And, brother, is it ever complicated.


#277: Everything's Hard

June 21, 2016 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

TOPIC: Varieties of pain.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's progress on building fireside.io and its imminent beta release. Lots of fascinating details on why he's made it and who it might be great for.

Then, there's discussion of the unexpected mental benefits of physical training, and the influence that various sorts of pain (real or imagined) can have on us.