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.

#177: Motivation Has Pit Stains

July 1, 2014 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

TOPIC: Motivation

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about their upcoming 5by5 at the Movies episode on Glengarry Glen Ross, which segues naturally into a discussion of the many aspects of motivation.

Carrots, sticks, bonuses, fear, status, and just growing up all shape our understanding of why we (and, yeah, others) do what we do.

What happens when our motivation starts better accounting for how other people are motivated?

Get them to sign on the line which is dotted.


June 24, 2014 at 11:00AM • 1 hour 15 minutes

TOPIC: (Not) Solving People Problems With Technology.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenge of finding business workflows that…actually work. And, what happens if you try to fix a "people problem" with a technical solution.

Also, detailed discussion on Wolverine's healing factor, gruesome hand-shaving, Florida's giant grasshoppers, dangerous bourbon foil, and varieties of elves.

Come to Ungainly X-Mann Meetup #4

PSA: Hey, if you live in the Bay Area and you like comics and/or Merlin, please come out to Two Cats Comics on Thursday night and hang out with Merlin. [more »]

#175: Andy is the Stuff of Nightmares

June 10, 2014 at 6:00PM • 50 minutes

TOPIC: "Creativity" where you din't expect it.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about PIXAR, creativity, and FoldingText before finally succumbing to the treachery of Skype.

#174: I Dont Deal in Abstractions

June 5, 2014 at 2:30PM • 56 minutes

TOPIC: Dan & Merlin in Fancy San Francisco

This week, Dan and Merlin visit across a table in a darkened room to talk about WWDC, San Francisco's lesser-known features, and how to spend less time bogged down in day-to-day junk.

#173: The Best Days End in Tears

May 27, 2014 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

TOPIC: Culture is what we DO.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about processing a hotel room and leading by example.

#172: Somewhere Between a Habit and a River

May 22, 2014 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 3 minutes

TOPIC: How to undig a river.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about an email message from a listener who's having trouble getting away from his inbox long enough to do what he needs to, introducing a mindfulness exercise that may help point to a deeper problem.

(This is a good one)

#171: Put a Sweatshirt In My Wallet

May 13, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 17 minutes

TOPIC: It's like wallets and backpacks.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about H.R. Giger, Dan's latest Android experiment, more on app privacy, and why we need both wallets, backpacks, and suitcases. You know. Analogies.

#170: Useful, Creepy, Gross

May 6, 2014 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 34 minutes

Merlin and Dan talk about Marked, Drafts, MLKSHK shutting down,, routers, Hong King Phoey, poisoned meatballs, and more.

#169: Upgrade Your Skateboard

April 29, 2014 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 27 minutes

Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin talk about comiXology and the future of online digital purchases.

#168: It's Okay for Cats to Wander Around on Planes

April 22, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

TOPIC: Standing up to Attention Bullies.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the world's impossible expectations regarding each of our own time, attention, and access.

What happens when we tacitly allow the universe to ask us anything any time for any reason? How do we develop the sympathy to understand how vastly our schedules and priorities differ at a given moment?

Well. One possible solution is to learn to find the courage to not be terminally ""busy"" all the time. That's all on us.