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.



#329: Stop all the OTUS

June 20, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 51 minutes

TOPIC: Thirty cable boxes.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about beloved late night talk shows, Planet of the Apes, and the future of TV. Dan introduces his new thought technology about "Protoforms."

Your hosts also respond to listener questions about using Chromecasts and how to start the day.


#328: Donkey in a Biscuit

June 13, 2017 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

TOPIC: Asterisks and Question Marks.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover corgis (and other pets), asking for lettuce wraps, high-floor sandwiches, bread in a tube, John Wick (no spoilers), and the wonderful comic infographics of Kate Willaert.

There is some ecosystem talk regarding ride sharing statistics and Apple's announced addition of podcast listening analytics. How many bits of identifying information are you sending?

Your hosts answer Listener Tim's question about when to accept that you can't do everything and should just let go of old project ideas.


#327: Slightly Semitic Bird

June 6, 2017 at 5:15PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

TOPIC: She was only 15 years old!

This week kicks off with some thoughts on yesterday's WWDC Keynote and some potentially promising signs for Apple's future.

Dan declares YouTube videos from The Trip to be the greatest thing Merlin has ever shown him, and he is correct. Merlin is infatuated with Nebo.

Then, the boys answer listener questions about calendars, GTD and Buddhism, and how to choose a browser.


#326: The Ronald McDonald of Feeds

May 30, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

TOPIC: "The results have been increbidle."

This week, Dan and Merlin opine about various Apple feelings and wondering where the heck things are going. Merlin is sanguine.

Merlin is mad at KFC, and Dan reminds us how great 1974 was for movies.

Finally, your hosts respond to listener feedback.


#325: The Real Celebrity Chefs of the Hollywood Hills

May 23, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

TOPIC: Again with the motivation.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what motivates the companies who make set-top boxes vs. the providers of the content for those dinguses. What attracts fans to a given platform, and why are we getting so resistant to straight-up buying movies and TV shows? ("I learned it by watching you!")

In listener feedback, your hosts examine whether and how various apps and services can be deployed in the service of building better habits.


#324: Delivery Status Not Updated

May 16, 2017 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

TOPIC: Odds 'N Sods

In this sprawling "odds 'n sods" episode, Dan and Merlin discuss: superheroes, scary movie trailers, (yes, more) egregious package delivery drama, customer service Buddhism, some excellent kids books, updates on the pretty good Hulu Live TV service, commercials for prescription drugs, politics and blood pressure, the joys of Nuzzel.com, auditing your online authorizations, why Meh.com are jackals, spray-on hair, delivery tracking services, and, yes, some deep updates on emails pitching visits from guests.


#323: A Horse Named Chili

May 9, 2017 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 25 minutes

TOPIC: Lady in a tube.

This week, Dan and Merlin unexpectedly end up doing a pretty deep dive on Amazon voice products and the evolving ecosystem around them. Which is way more interesting than it sounds.

Deep dive.


#322: The Passive Voice of Water

May 2, 2017 at 7:15PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

TOPIC: Curiosity before fear.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the experience of Apple stores and repairs, The Handmaid's Tale, Dan's invertebrate-sensing skills, and some follow-up on "look left, go left."

Listener Molly asks about how to become a morning person, and Listener Lance wants help with the anxiety of moving someplace new.


#321: Need Some Velocity

April 27, 2017 at 12:30AM • 1 hour 28 minutes

TOPIC: Velocity!

This week Dan and Merlin talk about lice, Kenny Rogers, strange memory phenomena, an intriguing new oil, and popcorn nugs pricing.

A question from Listener Ben leads to suggestions for finding velocity.


#320: Log Cabin Portal

April 25, 2017 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 49 minutes

TOPIC: Triangles Everywhere!

This week, Dan and Merlin shuck and/or jive about stealing, Publix, airlines, driver’s ed, douchebagerié, Twitter bots, and more.

Main topic this week is a question from Listener Brian about project management. Merlin expounds at length at this dark art and what it can teach us about life.