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.



#504: Double Wrong

November 17, 2020 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

DISCUSSED: lot of projects going on!; praise for Nicki Minaj; some recent TV shows that are important to your hosts; Merlin is a little obsessed with a new Mac productivity app; interrogating problems with deliveries and porch pirates; vehicle theft can be very confusing; and, finally, some insight nobody asked for into Merlin's ambitious new hardware project.


#503: My Emotional Porthole

November 10, 2020 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin's additions to Bunch have him stepping on his own dingus; maybe it's time to invert the permissive legacy model for who gets access to us (as well as how and when); there's no amount of technology that can make other people be decent; Oh. Hey. Defaults? Be better; also, please quit stealing my focus; Dan is not buying anything new; your hosts talk about the various (often non-obvious) costs of adding, changing, or removing features; maybe building your whole business on Facebook wasn't such a great idea; passing discussion of Bloom County, Muppet dogs, and a Tilikum bottle; the tale of Underscore's unexpected success, and the costs it brought; talk of affordances; and, finally, Just cough up some dough, Mac!


#502: Lifestyle Billy Butcher

November 3, 2020 at 2:15PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has a lot to say about the benefits of making lists; this leads to an old-school stemwinder on "Journal" calendars, functional playlists, shared Notes, the lessons of the cutlery drawer, desire paths, arbitrary grids, "Reference" albums, urban bike hooks, auxiliary paper towel holders, and more; praise for The Boys; the magical combination of Halide and Pixelmator Photo; Dan resurrects a beloved podcast; and, finally, Merlin endorses a really weird British weather report that can help you sleep.


#501: You're Sad Wrong

October 27, 2020 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

DISCUSSED: hey, it's an advice episode!; San Francisco has a lot of available office space; a musical unguent for your soul; a cool font that makes accessibility pretty; getting in front of your next wave of depression; the Emotional Police are here to cite you for your numerous infractions; and, finally, Merlin highly recommends a recent podcast episode about why we're all so exhausted and what we might want to do about it.


#500: The Legacy of Guessing

October 20, 2020 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 27 minutes

DISCUSSED: Sending good vibes to The Dude; Merlin has a couple awesome app recommendations; some Follow-Up on the Apple Event, including what your hosts are ordering and what they're each excited about; which kinds of things your hosts do and do not find useful about the Apple Rumor Industrial Complex; Dan tries on a new iOS camera app; Merlin recommends a clever web cam app; some of our voice friends hear well, others understand well, and some sound good, but none (for now) do it all; finally, Dan finds some productivity insight, courtesy of The Buddha.


#499: Where the Boulder Lives

October 13, 2020 at 2:30PM • 55 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; Dan is due for a new phone; nostalgia for buying a carton of cigarettes; praise for Netflix's "Challenger" series; Merlin shares some updates on his big resource-leveling project; gotta find those big rocks, amirite; interruptions are the death of the tech person's day; remember, your work is part of your life—not separate from it.


#498: Soviet Satellite Hair

October 6, 2020 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin craves an easy visit with Floyd; Spirit's lawsuit no longer winds on down the road; Question: what obligation does a company have to support their developer tools? And for how long exactly?; when are new film editions not "the good one?"; despite swearing not to do so, a popular service for monetizing indie content is, as they say, put on blast; lot of talk about business things; waiters shouldn't lie to people who used to be waiters; exciting developments in the Drafts ecosystem; and, finally, Merlin unleashes an old school stem-winder on taking a recent stab at resource-leveling—using technology!


#497: HBO Plus 98 XP for the Enterprise

September 29, 2020 at 1:15PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

DISCUSSED: the boys update one another on some very good media they're enjoying; everybody loves a movie with a big world; Merlin pitches Dan on the improbable magic of Ted Lasso; talk turns to some new features of Apple's recent OS updates; at length, Merlin makes a case for exploring the amazing new functionalities of widgets, complications, and especially the apps of Underscore David Smith; Guardian gets an exciting update and a pro plan; there's some talk of the challenge in finding a VPN that actually does what you think it's doing; it seems like the show is over, but then there's twelve minutes of movie talk with a focus on children and boobs; finally, Merlin kinda busts a gut about trying to run a Mr. Rogers on the kids you care about.


#496: The Costume Beej

September 22, 2020 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: Folks, this one is a doozy, and that's all I'm gonna say about that.


#495: Even the Mammals

September 15, 2020 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; remember to photograph your kid's room; some bearded dragon updates; some thoughts on pets; Merlin's grandfather was a reluctant dog obsessive; Dan wants to read you a label; Merlin met a fellow cadet; check out Dan's videos; Merlin is loving iOS 14, especially the smarter Siri suggestions; speculation on how machines learn; your hosts still want Macs to be Macs; Big Sur notifications are basically a Bop It; are we getting diminishing returns from theoretical Mac improvements?; Dan has a really good analogy involving wrist watches; there's a reason normal people don't like their apps to change; Merlin puts review requests on blast; an edit button would still be nice; Merlin finds himself with an unusual opportunity to field test some disused home tech; and, finally, it is hoped that Frasier will leave of his own volition.