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.



#418: This Man…This Monster!

March 19, 2019 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: Top o' the Morling!; praise for the home release of Spider-Verse; Dan and Merlin offer some more TV recommendations; Merlin endorses an excellent "turns out" podcast; a deep dive on slow-rise squishes and related stress toys; Merlin wears his childhood privilege on his sleeve.

Finally, the guys answer an excellent listener question about the complex work of maintaining a household with someone you love.


#417: Fish Bishop

March 12, 2019 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is trying some new things and probably needs to adjust his DIP switches; audio equipment is discussed; remembering Hal Blaine; German words; fish dropsy; dining at Alamo Draft House; kids and crafts; follow-up on Power Puttering; recommending a Siracusa anecdote; recommending a philosophy podcast; recommending several cool products; some strong (if muddled) thoughts on the Michael Jackson documentary.


#416: A Squishy for the Ages

March 5, 2019 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is living the Domino lifestyle; R.I.P. Two Cats Comics; praise for iA Writer; Merlin needs help with his sudden Gmail spam; a meditation on comics as some awesome fun and an ugly damned business; nostalgia for hobby shops and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks; and finally Merlin reintroduces the concept of "Power Puttering."


#415: Fifty and Monogamous

February 26, 2019 at 1:15PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan has an awesome new video; Spider-Verse is out!; Merlin's dorky Segway is discussed; app recommendations for a clean new Gmail and an even-smarter Dark Sky; Dan spills the beans on his new sound bar setup; TV selection and purchase is a known thistle; idiot trolls hassle poor Carol Danvers; Dan has an important new egg technology; and, finally, the boys fret about Apple's new 2FA requirements a little.


#414: Inheritance of Pain

February 19, 2019 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

Mostly one big topic: screen time.


#413: Bumbleditch Cumperdam

February 12, 2019 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

DISCUSSED: It's the optimistic day, but Merlin really screwed up an edit; there's some Inside Baseball about how podcasts get made; it's nice to have someone notice the shaving cream on your jowl; movie ratings are explored; why all the bosoms in 80s movies?; Dan wonders if he should have approached a celebrity; Merlin introduces further thought technologies for not being a creep with a famous person; the paucity of public experiences; Dan talks about Austin's mussel water; we learn about the prevalence of weevils; meth sourcing; a nice note from a listener about when podcasts are absolutely not evil; and, finally, a desperate plea for podcast platforms to stay independent and open please please pretty please.


#412: A Hobo in a Cartoon

February 5, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

DISCUSSED: Gong Hei Fat Choy!; follow-up on the FaceTime bug and the complexity of getting bug and security reports from normals; the weirdness of bug-finders demanding a bounty; Merlin is fascinated to learn about "combinatorial explosion" and how it helps to explain why power-cycling fixes stuff; why you should always blow the dust out of the plug; recent examples of how restarting just fixes stuff; Merlin logs out of email apps and recommends an iOS calendar app; a case for killing OAuth where you don't need it; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener question about whether podcasts can be "evil."


#411: It's Not Butt

January 29, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 21 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan's fighting his computer and explores font corruption; Merlin hates pebbles in his shoe; Dan has an anecdote about massages; Merlin has an anecdote about the FaceTime exploit; this leads to discussion about how big companies deal with huge-scale, unexpected problems; some thoughts on The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect; the problem with journalism about stuff we actually know about; remembering Michael Crichton; Heartbeeps!; a clever way to reduce damage from careless delivery; is there a new Browser War underway?; and answering a question from Listener Stephen about life after Editorial.


#410: The Childhood Cocktail

January 22, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 1 minute

DISCUSSED: dreams and whether people like hearing them; turns out: Merlin recommends a podcast episode about mental stuff; practice vs. rehearsal; visualization as a rehearsal thing; follow-up on science fair projects; our new, post-search-engine habits; Math is hard; Merlin didn't get Anna's emails; cool screen-grabbing mojo; and Dan reviews excellent listener book recommendations.


#409: He Says Hard

January 15, 2019 at 10:30AM • 1 hour 4 minutes

DISCUSSED: moisture; kids and watches; some recent media consumption; encouraging kids to have good taste; memories of watching VHS movies in school; follow-up on Dan's new keyboard experiment; Drobo concerns; thinking about modern backup and, gosh, how that's evolved; frustrating typos; Dan and Merlin have iOS concerns; Dan has further thoughts on Bandersnatch.