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.



#268: Tumblo Drylo

April 19, 2016 at 5:15PM • 1 hour 46 minutes

TOPIC: Putting an Overt Stake in the Ground.

This week, Dan and Merlin end up talking about the surprising stuff a Fitbit can do for you. Dan even buys one.

Also, some discussion of pope hats, NASCAR, (the amazing) Screens 4, and that failing restaurant by Dan's office that kinda looks like Terminus.


#267: Dear Iowa, I Have Enjoyed Your Corn

April 12, 2016 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 39 minutes

TOPIC: But, alas.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Smile's updated announcement about TextExpander and the ugly problem of blind internet rage.

Also, lots of talk about ponderous 80s movies and old TV shows, including Dan learning which program had that tiny tabletop robot.

Also, we are endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.


#266: European Bachelor

April 5, 2016 at 4:15PM • 2 hours 4 minutes

TOPIC: Wow, times change.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenges and opportunities of subscription-based payment models. When do they work (or not) and how quickly does autopay fatigue kick in?


#265: Especially Doris

March 29, 2016 at 4:45PM • 2 hours 4 minutes

TOPIC: Welcome to Costco. I love you.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about breakfast sandwiches, the pain and suffering of dealing with Apple IDs, managing kids and their iOS devices, Merlin's weird week with Playstation Vue, and the science (or otherwise) behind iOS's Night Shift.

The main topic this week focuses on quality, values, and self-improvement. Are Dan and Merlin just cloud-yelling old men for wishing writers (and everyone for that matter) would try a little harder? Maybe. Maybe not.


#264: This Made Me Think of You

March 22, 2016 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 59 minutes

TOPIC: Serving the super-motivated super-fan.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about:

  • a modest request from Merlin
  • some interesting new options for viewing OTA broadcast television on Apple TV
  • the evolution (and often lost opportunities) of media delivery
  • highlights of yesterday's Apple event


#263: The Working Definition of Love

March 15, 2016 at 3:30PM • 2 hours 7 minutes

TOPIC: No one cares about your demo anymore.

This week Dan & Merlin talk about realizing when life isn't all about you and getting better at learning how to say "thank you."

Also, lots of great practical (and philosophical) suggestions for getting started with or back into comics.


#262: Large Platinum Spoon

March 8, 2016 at 4:30PM • 2 hours 23 minutes

TOPIC: Staying out of Technology Detention

This week, Dan and Merlin do another giant-size grabbag episode that covers a lot of ground, including:

  • movies, kids, and ratings, oh my!
  • better text editing on iPad, faster typing on iOS
  • complexities of picking the right pairings of Apple devices
  • what's up with apps not launching in iOS?
  • Hound, and the future of voice-controlled computing
  • staying provisionally joyful about the possibilities of new technology
  • exploring Merlin's early experience with a Synology NAS


#261: The Illusion of Ease

March 1, 2016 at 5:45PM • 2 hours 2 minutes

TOPIC: That's Not How the Future Works.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about evolving technology culture, the weird landscape of semi-smart devices, and why Merlin does and kinda doesn't do Getting Things Done so much anymore.


#260: Stuck in Green Forever

February 23, 2016 at 4:15PM • 2 hours 1 minute

TOPIC: Grab Bag.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover the waterfront. This wide-ranging episode covers lots of listener feedback, corrections of egregious errors, D&D alignment, the danger of guessing why people are how they are, some fun Tumblr recommendations, considering the yak-shaving ordeal of time-shifting broadcast TV, plus further discussion of last week's topic re: kids and computer access.


#259: The Transitive Quality of Misunderstanding

February 16, 2016 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 44 minutes

TOPIC: Epistemology and Parenting as Dumpster Fire

This week, Dan and Merlin end up talking a lot about what they don't know and how they know they don't know it. The biases, errors, and frames that make us feel wiser than we probably are.

Sometimes it pays to learn how to be a dummy.

Also, Dan learns what a "film projector" is.