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.



#333: Your Whiteboards Will Not Survive Reality

July 18, 2017 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

TOPIC: Help! My bosses are doing a really dumb thing!

This week, Dan and Merlin help a listener and his youngster get started with Spider-Man. Also, hey, support your Local Comic Shop!

Listener Molly asks how to help prevent a terrible, damaging change from happening inside her company.

Dan talks about War for the Planet of the Apes, and Merlin knows when to exit on a good bit.


#332: Piggybacking on Anger

July 11, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

TOPIC: Making the spice flow.

This week, Dan and Merlin dive into the thriving ecosystem of Florida's ad hoc roofing and lawn care professionals. Merlin gets The Boeing Contract, and Dan leaves a check under the mat.

Your hosts admit they don't really understand the big kerfuffle over 1Password, but they admit to feeling the pain of being an indie developer today. Dan just wants the beef ribs he'd been promised.

Around 1:19:30, the spoiler horn fires off for a squee-filled celebration of Spider-Man: Homecoming. (Seriously. Just go see this movie.)


#331: Hidden in Wigs

July 7, 2017 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 31 minutes

TOPIC: Time Tetris in Difficult Mode

This week, Dan and Merlin do a VERY deep dive on one listener's question about life with an excruciating shared Google Calendar. Merlin, unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about this. No. Like, really. A lot a lot.

Other topics include Food Lion bleach meat, God's only sandwich, Adventure Time Mashup Pack (Finally!), Agape love, and, importantly, "What’s Happening To Sleep Train?"


#330: Frowny Face for You

June 27, 2017 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 1 minute

TOPIC: Drawing effective water.

In this week's tight and bright episode, Dan and Merlin do dome followup on food bars and CBD oil, then discuss how to get better at letting people just enjoy what they like.

In this week's main topic, your hosts address how to think more productively (and more realistically) about what you need from a task management app.


#329: Stop all the OTUS

June 20, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 51 minutes

TOPIC: Thirty cable boxes.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about beloved late night talk shows, Planet of the Apes, and the future of TV. Dan introduces his new thought technology about "Protoforms."

Your hosts also respond to listener questions about using Chromecasts and how to start the day.


#328: Donkey in a Biscuit

June 13, 2017 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

TOPIC: Asterisks and Question Marks.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover corgis (and other pets), asking for lettuce wraps, high-floor sandwiches, bread in a tube, John Wick (no spoilers), and the wonderful comic infographics of Kate Willaert.

There is some ecosystem talk regarding ride sharing statistics and Apple's announced addition of podcast listening analytics. How many bits of identifying information are you sending?

Your hosts answer Listener Tim's question about when to accept that you can't do everything and should just let go of old project ideas.


#327: Slightly Semitic Bird

June 6, 2017 at 5:15PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

TOPIC: She was only 15 years old!

This week kicks off with some thoughts on yesterday's WWDC Keynote and some potentially promising signs for Apple's future.

Dan declares YouTube videos from The Trip to be the greatest thing Merlin has ever shown him, and he is correct. Merlin is infatuated with Nebo.

Then, the boys answer listener questions about calendars, GTD and Buddhism, and how to choose a browser.


#326: The Ronald McDonald of Feeds

May 30, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

TOPIC: "The results have been increbidle."

This week, Dan and Merlin opine about various Apple feelings and wondering where the heck things are going. Merlin is sanguine.

Merlin is mad at KFC, and Dan reminds us how great 1974 was for movies.

Finally, your hosts respond to listener feedback.


#325: The Real Celebrity Chefs of the Hollywood Hills

May 23, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

TOPIC: Again with the motivation.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what motivates the companies who make set-top boxes vs. the providers of the content for those dinguses. What attracts fans to a given platform, and why are we getting so resistant to straight-up buying movies and TV shows? ("I learned it by watching you!")

In listener feedback, your hosts examine whether and how various apps and services can be deployed in the service of building better habits.


#324: Delivery Status Not Updated

May 16, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

TOPIC: Odds 'N Sods

In this sprawling "odds 'n sods" episode, Dan and Merlin discuss: superheroes, scary movie trailers, (yes, more) egregious package delivery drama, customer service Buddhism, some excellent kids books, updates on the pretty good Hulu Live TV service, commercials for prescription drugs, politics and blood pressure, the joys of Nuzzel.com, auditing your online authorizations, why Meh.com are jackals, spray-on hair, delivery tracking services, and, yes, some deep updates on emails pitching visits from guests.