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.



#447: Mating for Life

October 17, 2019 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

It's Infrastructure Week! Dan and Merlin start with California's power crisis and end up pivoting to phones, cable TV, and, of course, Apple.

What happens when a resource we think of as a solved part of our infrastructure suddenly isn't so solved?

And, what would Apple look like if it treated all of its services as seriously as it once treated the Mac?

Also: lizard updates, but please don't Google "hornworms."


#446: Charm Offensive

October 8, 2019 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about living in a world of hardware choices.

How do you decide which device is best suited to a given task? Which ones do you find yourself preferring to use because they're friction-free—or just fun?

And, in what ways do our previous behaviors, habits, and expectations end up unconsciously coloring our future decisions?


#445: Hipster DMV

October 1, 2019 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Apple's OS rollouts, changes in Apple retail, and week two with the new Apple Watch.


#444: Seasoned Horologist

September 24, 2019 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 35 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin focus on the new Apple Watch.


#443: Immediate Electric Smugness

September 19, 2019 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has a cool new voice from talking to friends late last night; Dan has an automotive collision anecdote, while Merlin has thoughts on how preparation fails us in extreme moments; in follow-up, Listener Steve has terrific advice on dealing with bad hotel room technology; your hosts love insider information from pilots and other category pros; Dan ordered a watch, and Merlin is apparently not actually wrecking a plane; the guys respond to listener letters about ages of people in movies, Dan's world-destroying Disney fact (that he can't remember), plus a listener's concern about company password hygiene; and finally, Dan has great news about refreshing an iMac, but less great news about household password hygiene.


#442: Dog Eating Chair Digestion

September 10, 2019 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

Dan and Merlin discuss the upcoming big Apple event and why this one's potentially interesting. Also, dog anecdotes.


#441: Boggle, Boggle!

September 3, 2019 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

  • hurricanes!
  • hyperactivity
  • exposing kids to the canonical films
  • that weird, affected Hollywood accent
  • a name for that time comparison phenomenon
  • making your voice interactions more fun
  • catching up on the Platinum Age of TV
  • dealing with device charging at scale


#440: It's Never Been About the Suit

August 27, 2019 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 38 minutes

Lots of talk about the changing media landscape, plus some odds and sods.


#439: Servant of the Red Badge

August 20, 2019 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

DISCUSSED: finding an actor's age and height; time analogies; Merlin needs help naming two critical phenomena; Dan is dissatisfied with how cars look; could Wolverine get a Caillou tattoo, and would it grow back, hmmmm?; Merlin is getting into plants (no, not sexually); the return of that time when Danny held the license plate; and finally, Merlin has a long stemwinder on an admittedly amorphous topic: the unimpeachable benefits of undoing most of the buttons we've clicked.


#438: The Mashed Potatoes Need You

August 13, 2019 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has a little visitor today. Dan has some thoughts on conference scheduling. This leads to a broader discussion of the sensitivities we may or may not have to other peoples' limitations and constraints. It's nice to meet people.

For some reason, religion, churches, and clergy are discussed. "This is what Peter did say!"

Finally, the guys answer a listener question about working from home. Merlin poses a challenge.