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.



#373: Red Cheekums

April 24, 2018 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 48 minutes

Discussed: Dan's gummi vitamins, vitamins in general, the childhood shame of those weird plaque pills, exotic sickness images, Fifth Disease comes to Austin, Dan's car troubles, Faraday Cages and how to build them, a potential t-shirt for you.

Dan was cleaning out his garage, and Merlin has a lot to say about the philosophy and practical components of getting rid of junk at scale. Also, Dan really kills it on eBay.

Merlin is very excited about Fantastic Four coming back and has some potential warnings about the new Wes Anderson film. Spoilers: there's nothing weak about knowing what freaks you out.

Also, the boys discuss why Merlin changed his mic setup. Which is fascinating.


#372: Hole That Rabbit

April 17, 2018 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 31 minutes

This week, the boys discuss Drafts, The Archive, Merlin's love of Spotify, some great playlists, and weird rules for cheerleaders.

In extensive follow-up, your hosts talk about the listener who was having trouble with addressing employees and social media use. This goes lots of interesting places.

Next up, even more input from listeners on social media policies and living life in a fishbowl.


#371: Avocado People

April 10, 2018 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 34 minutes

Bula vinaka, bee tee dubs nation! This is an epic odds and sods episode, replete with TV follow-up, font follow-up, and Wild, Wild Country follow-up, along with book recommendations, happy Splatoon 2 talk, and a pretty terrible 70s board game. Also, ubi sunt retail amirite?

Also, your hosts finally (finally!) address a listener's excellent and very difficult question about her millennial employee's use of social media. Lot of levels!


#370: King Jeremy the Wicked

April 3, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Jessica Jones and the problem of super power constitution, plus some more Netflix recommendations ("Look away! Looooook awaaaaay!"). They also do a dive into updates on the monospace fonts they like and use. Next, up they talk about the new app, The Archive, contrasting with nvALT.

Finally, your hosts answer an excellent listener question about struggling to manage more experienced developers.


#369: Comic Blood

March 27, 2018 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

This week, your hosts say "Bula Vinaka!" They also discuss phone cards, some Netflix recommendations, Merlin's phone usage, and "accidentally" getting punched in the face by your kid. Of course, they also talk about the TV and voice control ecosystems.

They also respond to listener questions about better active listening, and how they each take notes for podcasts.


#368: Call the Mouse Guy

March 20, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

This week, your hosts discuss Steely Dan, digital mastering, The Police, Dune, high-quality VCRs, and Dan's brother-in-law's close call.

Next, they dive into a fascinating article on why projects fail.

Finally, the boys respond to a listener's question about cautious workplace enthusiasm.


#367: A Favorite Child

March 13, 2018 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

This week, your hosts talk about some stuff they're doing, loving Spotify, some Echo podcast-listening tips, the attraction of Google Drive, some thoughts on backup strategies, getting swole, the joys of rock tumbler ownership, scary times in Austin, weird iMac problems, some more thoughts on backup strategies, Merlin's obsession with drumming videos, and yet more Apple TV foibles.


#366: Five Sides of the Street

March 6, 2018 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, your hosts talk about using Windows, technology modalities, making sane decisions as a developer, reality TV, 20th anniversary of The Dude, Merlin's new fondness for Spotify, analyzing takes on the HomePod, options for high-quality in smart speakers, dealing with recurring financial (and psychological) eels, competitive heat in the smart home ecosystem, Canadians, and the name of Scotland Yard. They also answer a listener question about feeling overwhelmed by content options.


#365: Volume Eight

February 27, 2018 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about weather as a thing and giving up on Cash's dumb iPad problem. This leads to discussion about the risks, opportunities, and frustrations of having lots of data in different places (probably).

The main topic this week is an exploration of TickTick. Neat app.

They also almost talk about Black Panther.


#364: The New Fudge

February 20, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a little too much about Harry Potter, but also manage to cover some other media properties as well as the shockingly limited options for British casting. Dan has a new task management app, and Merlin decides to give it a spin too. The need for help from the jackals who make Cash's iPad app is escalated.

In a somewhat classic style, the conversation moves to considering Big Issues around work, friction, modality, usability, and apps for pound-sign productivity.

Twitter, its apps, and its perplexing (lack of?) company direction are discussed. Merlin has something like a razor for this.

Dan is told that he is upset.