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.



#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.


#358: Dumb Ohio Mouth

January 9, 2018 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

This week, your hosts cover some odds and sods, share some recommendations, design some fantasy podcast apps, and introduce an exciting new feature involving the Internet Science Site.

They also respond to a listener's thorny question about dealing with negative chatter in the workplace.


#357: Scrolling Carousel of Pain

January 2, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why they're trending, an exciting update on the Mr. Robot ATV bug, the frustrating opacity of using Apple's stuff, Dan's love for Nintendo Switch, nostalgia for NASA, Merlin's love for the Amazon Spot, the problem of fish food and regret, updates on your hosts' sleep technologies, possible solutions for killing spam on iPhone, and some more thoughts on dealing with Netflix's filtering, ratings, and…jeez kinda just everything about their dingaling interface.


#356: Politics or Gender or Iron Man

December 29, 2017 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

The boys wrap up a big year—a huge year—with an unintentionally thematic episode about feelings, expectations, nostalgia, and the black boxes of life, technological and otherwise.


#355: Eleven Dollars and a Bottle of Yoo-hoo

December 19, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 39 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about keyboard preferences (and their noises), Merlin catching Dan's weird "Mr. Robot" bug on Apple TV, feedback about "inside jokes," exclusion as a weapon, more good Robert Wright interviews, a deepish dive on Netflix personalization techniques (alongside some speculation on how well it's working), platforms and technologies as lobster traps, the problem with cartoons about screaming, how much kids love YouTube, the challenge of partnering with podcast middlepersons, a new Netflix show Dan likes, possibilities for new Marvel properties, and listener feedback on the potential benefits of using work tools you don't prefer.


#354: One Whale

December 12, 2017 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 45 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about (partial) resolution to Dan's Apple TV bug, some venting about delivery problems, general complaining about customer service, a good TV podcast episode, a very good Buddhism podcast episode, some excellent Buddhism talk, listener follow-up on Dan's strange video mail package, shakeups and wild innovation in the TV bidness, that creepy/mean Netflix tweet, and a listener's question about whether the tech requirements at a promising new job should be a deal-breaker.


#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.