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.



#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.


#408: The Pwn Key

January 8, 2019 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

DISCUSSED: Optimistic Tuesdays; office cleanup; a grave bleach mishap; follow-up on Wirecutter; a listener suggestion on, of all things, acupressure; Dan loves his cool new keyboard, but has a big caveat; Merlin is working with magnets; on "Hardware Disease"; request for Riordan-style book recommendations; exciting follow-up on the Burger Decay Project; plus, some closing thoughts on Apple's recent results dustup and what it might suggest about near-future tech trends.


#407: The Wad-Shooter Option

January 3, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

DISCUSSED: "Rabbit Rabbit!"; partial shutdown and the toilet problems it creates; updates on options for Bluetooth keyboards; some extremely random and anecdotal reckoning about the recent Big Apple News; your hosts' beef with Wirecutter; some odds and sods recommendations and cool life hacks.


#406: Peak Burger Decay

December 24, 2018 at 11:00AM • 59 minutes

It's the most wonderful time of the year, so the boys answer listener mail and get a little silly.

Happy Holidays, jackals.


#405: Can You Feed Coke to Rocks?

December 18, 2018 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

Discussed: the harsh mistress of holidays, Hanukah presents, Cash's cool gift, the joys of good UX, some excellent very good recommendations, an exciting Science experiment involving hamburgers, kids are terrible at writing things down, things that changed Merlin's game, and some excellent follow-up on how we recognize number patterns.

Happy Holidays, you jackals.