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.



#353: Superagency

December 5, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss theories on Dan's Mr. Robot/Apple TV bug, living in an opinion bubble, an update on flu shot efficacy, Dan's recent insane mail delivery, speculation on how giant ad buys work, consternation about memory-holed media.

Your hosts respond to a listener's question about the difficulty of choosing a career path that wasn't what you'd expected.

Merlin also explains his shaving strategy.


#352: Get Away From My Formular!

November 30, 2017 at 8:00PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about…so many things. Merlin had a lot of coffee.

Big topics include:

  • Flickr nostalgia (and smart photo backup tips)
  • Dan's crazy Apple TV bug
  • A terrific podcast episode about Buddhism and the human mind
  • A tough listener question about gracefully leaving a job


#351: Your Chest Is a Tunnel

November 21, 2017 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

This week, your hosts discuss: holiday disruptions, life patterns, the joys of regularity, discovering unnecessary existential vulnerabilities, scheduling as a video game, getting your head around sous vide cooking, modern kids' arithmetic, CBD dosage stuff, using the Sway app, meditation for improving attention management, dealing with the character who speaks your internal voice, some hot tips on starting meditation, a historical video series Merlin's family likes, a quest for a typeface, nostalgia for teeny tiny fonts, a listener question about how to end a conference call, a recommendation for Netflix's The Punisher, and some angry attempts to conceal ma' secret formular.


#350: Stacking Stones and Inspiration

November 14, 2017 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 42 minutes

TOPIC: Integrity and Fear.

This week your hosts discuss: sandwiches, solar power, some recent movies and what makes them memorable (or not), the glory of Edgar Wright, fun movie commentaries, Dan's rowing machine, big changes for Chairman Bendis, a cool free font from IBM, awesome creativity from a listener, some thoughts on apps for meditation and relaxation (and the important distinction between those things), the downside of Competitive Mindfulness and similar, some excellent feedback on last week's episode, the fear of integrity loss, Dan's trip to NYC, follow-up on resetting an iPhone, and the fine art of computer troubleshooting.


#349: The Kid Who Never Won Anything

November 7, 2017 at 10:00AM • 1 hour 44 minutes

TOPIC: Trials, Trophies, and Trying Harder.

This week, the boys arrive from either the past or future to talk about Dan's spoon problem, the refuse racket, the slog of incremental improvement, the perils of black and white thinking, folding paper seven times, and Dan’s mad cart-riding skills.

This leads to this week’s main topic: an epic exploration of success and failure. No spoilers, but this is a good one.


#348: Optionitis

October 31, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 21 minutes

Dan and Merlin talk about Halloween, the Chromebook, Apple, WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), and hair removal.


#347: Beast Coast

October 24, 2017 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 29 minutes

TOPIC: Too much ambiguity in time.

This week, your hosts discuss hot weather adjustments, Merlin's Skype woes, the state of the union on Skype replacement contenders, ruminations on Mac troubleshooting, the fraught future of retail comic book stores, a side rant on the really dumb economics of the comics industry, hobby shop nostalgia, lobby bell techniques and triangle mounting options, some great tips for pressing things on iOS Safari, the joys of Safari Reader mode, Chrome vs. Safari, changing our browser habits, and Dan's weird screen problem.

Then, Merlin just goes freaking OFF on the problems with how we talk about time.


#346: Disagreement of the Genders

October 23, 2017 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

TOPIC: Turns out.

This week, the boys talk about audio problems, hot dogs, kegeling, Merlin's next meet-up, Tsum Tsums, comic suggestions, Battle of the Sexes, excellent recent TV series, All the President's Men, the app Pacifica, warming buns, Dan's encounter with Koo Koo Kanga Roo, a dearth of good information about VPNs (yikes!), levels of "Turns Out," a podcast episode about gluten, and hot phones with possibly low batteries.

In a very surprising "turns out," Dan has a surprising call that leads to a very interesting experience with a hardware device. Dan really wants macOS on an iPad. Don't at him.

There's also some fruitful if fraught discussion about habit-building. Merlin is not a fan of "The Countdown."

Dan is attacked by a sky spider and might have to move now.


#345: Chow Mein Hour

October 10, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 21 minutes

TOPIC: Surface Tension.

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss names of cities in Florida, wireless neckbands, elliptical bikes, chore systems (and parental withholding), iOS battery life, canny Mac laptop battery monitoring, how battery cycles work, Todd, and things you already know (unless you don't already know them).

Two pretty good YouTube channels are recommended.

Your hosts talk about that weird thing where iOS throws up a password pop-up, including some recent bad news on how it might be exploited. Gross.

There's also some exciting news about possible Brand Synergies.

Things wrap with responding to listener questions about smart home location woes and choosing a VPN.

Murrrrrrph!


#344: The Microwave Moment

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

TOPIC: You're not supposed to pet the car.

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Nest Cam updates, Ring doorbell tracking, Echo family additions, HDMI questions, the fraught landscape of 4K HDR TV stuff, and how shopping makes Merlin feel kind of vulnerable.

Two excellent music podcasts are recommended.

Dan has a new MacBook Pro and a lot to say about it.

Merlin introduces something he calls "Power Puttering."