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.



#421: Black Dress Cowboy Boots

April 9, 2019 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 12 minutes

DISCUSSED: What we talk about when we talk about optimism; the power of "Act as Though"; on edibles; a YouTube recommendation, then more YouTube recommendations; how even do we tell YouTube what we never want to see again? HOW?!; the difficulty of sensible algorithms; the fascinating concept of "pareidolia"; Professor Shoelaces's extensive metatags; your hosts answer a listener's question about when to go physical versus when to go digital.


#420: Baby Thorin

April 3, 2019 at 8:00AM • 1 hour 7 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is back on his old cans; Dan is pivoting to video; Cash stepped in paint, and kids are terrible storytellers; a book recommendation; a case for the Oxford comma, please and thank you; Dan starts asking for help with his new iMac; gross nickel–and-diming by Apple; praise for Southwest Airlines; Dan (finally) gets to finish asking for help with his new iMac; a cool new open source Mac video app; the Mac laptop keyboard problems ain't going away; Dan really likes Final Cut; Merlin fights with UPS, both on principle and as a game; Merlin thinks Dan's egg cooker rules.


#419: The Elephant in the Sword

March 26, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 42 minutes

DISCUSSED: allergy attack!; big anniversary today; elegy for Two Cats Comics; some D&D talk; Dan got a sword!; yet more D&D talk; key commands for line-moving; Dan got his YouTube URL back; a Theranos book recommendation; Dan almost got cast in a TV show; some observations and reckons about Apple's big Services event.


#418: This Man…This Monster!

March 19, 2019 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: Top o' the Morling!; praise for the home release of Spider-Verse; Dan and Merlin offer some more TV recommendations; Merlin endorses an excellent "turns out" podcast; a deep dive on slow-rise squishes and related stress toys; Merlin wears his childhood privilege on his sleeve.

Finally, the guys answer an excellent listener question about the complex work of maintaining a household with someone you love.


#417: Fish Bishop

March 12, 2019 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is trying some new things and probably needs to adjust his DIP switches; audio equipment is discussed; remembering Hal Blaine; German words; fish dropsy; dining at Alamo Draft House; kids and crafts; follow-up on Power Puttering; recommending a Siracusa anecdote; recommending a philosophy podcast; recommending several cool products; some strong (if muddled) thoughts on the Michael Jackson documentary.


#416: A Squishy for the Ages

March 5, 2019 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is living the Domino lifestyle; R.I.P. Two Cats Comics; praise for iA Writer; Merlin needs help with his sudden Gmail spam; a meditation on comics as some awesome fun and an ugly damned business; nostalgia for hobby shops and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks; and finally Merlin reintroduces the concept of "Power Puttering."


#415: Fifty and Monogamous

February 26, 2019 at 1:15PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan has an awesome new video; Spider-Verse is out!; Merlin's dorky Segway is discussed; app recommendations for a clean new Gmail and an even-smarter Dark Sky; Dan spills the beans on his new sound bar setup; TV selection and purchase is a known thistle; idiot trolls hassle poor Carol Danvers; Dan has an important new egg technology; and, finally, the boys fret about Apple's new 2FA requirements a little.


#414: Inheritance of Pain

February 19, 2019 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

Mostly one big topic: screen time.


#413: Bumbleditch Cumperdam

February 12, 2019 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

DISCUSSED: It's the optimistic day, but Merlin really screwed up an edit; there's some Inside Baseball about how podcasts get made; it's nice to have someone notice the shaving cream on your jowl; movie ratings are explored; why all the bosoms in 80s movies?; Dan wonders if he should have approached a celebrity; Merlin introduces further thought technologies for not being a creep with a famous person; the paucity of public experiences; Dan talks about Austin's mussel water; we learn about the prevalence of weevils; meth sourcing; a nice note from a listener about when podcasts are absolutely not evil; and, finally, a desperate plea for podcast platforms to stay independent and open please please pretty please.


#412: A Hobo in a Cartoon

February 5, 2019 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

DISCUSSED: Gong Hei Fat Choy!; follow-up on the FaceTime bug and the complexity of getting bug and security reports from normals; the weirdness of bug-finders demanding a bounty; Merlin is fascinated to learn about "combinatorial explosion" and how it helps to explain why power-cycling fixes stuff; why you should always blow the dust out of the plug; recent examples of how restarting just fixes stuff; Merlin logs out of email apps and recommends an iOS calendar app; a case for killing OAuth where you don't need it; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener question about whether podcasts can be "evil."