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.



#368: Call the Mouse Guy

March 20, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

This week, your hosts discuss Steely Dan, digital mastering, The Police, Dune, high-quality VCRs, and Dan's brother-in-law's close call.

Next, they dive into a fascinating article on why projects fail.

Finally, the boys respond to a listener's question about cautious workplace enthusiasm.


#367: A Favorite Child

March 13, 2018 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

This week, your hosts talk about some stuff they're doing, loving Spotify, some Echo podcast-listening tips, the attraction of Google Drive, some thoughts on backup strategies, getting swole, the joys of rock tumbler ownership, scary times in Austin, weird iMac problems, some more thoughts on backup strategies, Merlin's obsession with drumming videos, and yet more Apple TV foibles.


#366: Five Sides of the Street

March 6, 2018 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, your hosts talk about using Windows, technology modalities, making sane decisions as a developer, reality TV, 20th anniversary of The Dude, Merlin's new fondness for Spotify, analyzing takes on the HomePod, options for high-quality in smart speakers, dealing with recurring financial (and psychological) eels, competitive heat in the smart home ecosystem, Canadians, and the name of Scotland Yard. They also answer a listener question about feeling overwhelmed by content options.


#365: Volume Eight

February 27, 2018 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about weather as a thing and giving up on Cash's dumb iPad problem. This leads to discussion about the risks, opportunities, and frustrations of having lots of data in different places (probably).

The main topic this week is an exploration of TickTick. Neat app.

They also almost talk about Black Panther.


#364: The New Fudge

February 20, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a little too much about Harry Potter, but also manage to cover some other media properties as well as the shockingly limited options for British casting. Dan has a new task management app, and Merlin decides to give it a spin too. The need for help from the jackals who make Cash's iPad app is escalated.

In a somewhat classic style, the conversation moves to considering Big Issues around work, friction, modality, usability, and apps for pound-sign productivity.

Twitter, its apps, and its perplexing (lack of?) company direction are discussed. Merlin has something like a razor for this.

Dan is told that he is upset.


#363: She's My Horcrux

February 13, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about lots of recent experiences with the weird and often-frustrating world of streaming TV. What a mess.

There's also some discussion of sauna suits, The Eagles, Mummers, and Dan's victorious t-shirt.

Also, Dan needs your help with solving a terrible problem with one of Cash's iPad games.


#362: A Yuck and a Yum

February 6, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the Eagles' big win, what constitutes a catch, Dan's cool new shirt, Merlin's surprisingly positive interactions with Kabletown, the seeming magic of Movies Anywhere, some recent TV recommendations, and a great listener tip for using Nuzzel.

Your hosts also respond to Listener Daniel's question about new job responsibilities making him feel like an impostor.


#361: Caveman Arithmetic

January 30, 2018 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about crazy kids' homework, Dan's exciting nerd field trips in the Bay Area, the magic of PIXAR, a handy Netflix companion site, and using Siri on Apple TV.

Things get a little heated during a discussion about all the weirdly fawning coverage of HomePod—and whether or when Apple's new speaker dingus might find a place in your hosts' lives.

Recommendations include a podcast with Hawkeye Pierce, an excellent boiled eggs recipe, and some cool TED-Ed videos.

Your hosts respond to listener feedback about bitter Nintendo cartridges and field an interesting question about creating consumer-friendly tech support.


#360: I Haven't Lost My Knife

January 24, 2018 at 8:00AM • 1 hour 16 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about writing and respond to feedback from listeners.


#359: You Can't See Inside the Dog

January 16, 2018 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

This week, Dan has some weather, Cash makes a battery, homework can be a silly drag, management is about scalability and quantification, how to figure out how much you have to do, 80s movies can be problematic, ultracrepidarianism, making fish wanna get nasty, and you gotta give people ONE suggestion.

Great listener feedback on the evolution of pro kitchens, real-life risk aversion, and a terrific use of Echo's drop-in functionality.

Also, the possibilities and shortcomings of Machine Learning are discussed.