This Week in Tech Episode 945 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
It is Time forwe. This week in tech, we have a great panel for you. Sam Lessen makes his triumphant return general partner at Slow Ventures. He's also an intern at the information. Owen Thomas is here, brand new managing editor at the San Francisco Business Times and old friend Jason Heiner, editor in chief of ZDNet. There's a bunch to talk about. The big Google trial started this week. Apple's got a new phone. Find out why Sam has a bunch of old phones in the freezer and we'll talk about [00:00:30] the Elon Musk biography. Has anyone read it? It's all coming up next on Twit podcasts you love

TWiT Intro (00:00:40):
From people you trust.

Leo Laporte (00:00:42):
This Twit Twit,

This is twit this week in Tech episode 945 recorded Sunday, September 17th, 2023. The iPhone in the freezer [00:01:00] this week in Tech is brought to you by Miro. Miro is your team's online workspace to connect, collaborate and create together. Tap into a way to map processes, systems, and plans with the whole team. Get your first three boards for free to start creating your best work yet at and buy express vpn. Stop handing over your personal data to internet service providers for three extra months free with a [00:01:30] one-year package. Go to express and buy Mint Mobile inflation is everywhere. Whether it's gas, utilities or your favorite streaming services, thankfully Mint Mobile can give you a much needed break. Get your new wireless plan for just 15 bucks a month and get the plan shipped to your door for free. Go to mint [00:02:00] It's time for twit. This week at Tech the show. We cover the week's tech news of which there is a bit. Fortunately I have a premier, premier team on the panel this week. Let's say hello first to Jason Heiner who is editor-in-chief of ZDNet. Hi Jason.

Owen Thomas (00:02:19):
Hey Leo. Glad to be here

Leo Laporte (00:02:21):
As ever, long time friend, always welcome on our network. Speaking of long time friends Owen Thomas is also here. You may remember [00:02:30] him from Protocol. He's got a new gig managing editor of the San Francisco Business Times Perfect for you.

Owen Thomas (00:02:37):
It's San Francisco, it's business and I guess it's time so

Leo Laporte (00:02:42):
It's everything you might like. It's time. So good to see you again and somebody we haven't seen in, I don't know, maybe a decade or more. No, it hasn't been that long, Leo, but it's come on. It's so great to have Sam lesson on. I was telling you before the show, I'm kind of intimidated You're a big shot and [00:03:00] I always am nervous about asking big shots on the show, but not that Owen and Jason aren't actually come to think of it. You're all big shots. Anyway, I'm glad to get you

Sam Lessin (00:03:09):
Actually, I'm not always great to be on the show.

Leo Laporte (00:03:14):
I always feel like somewhat less than our panelists, but that's okay. General partner at Slow Ventures, but you may know him best as the intern. The information and happy to say host of a brand new podcast called More or [00:03:30] Less featuring the morins and the lessons, which is we're having

Sam Lessin (00:03:34):

Leo Laporte (00:03:34):
With it. What a great name. What do you talk about?

Sam Lessin (00:03:39):
Every week we kind of do one topic of the week. This last episode we did, we had an episode all about Apple's launch events and whether they're carbon neutral ish, but we have a lot of fun with it. Nice. Oh,

Leo Laporte (00:03:51):
That's what we're going to talk about today. That's perfect.

Sam Lessin (00:03:53):
That's great. I'm unprepared, but the morons are generally more into things and the lessons are a little less in skeptical, [00:04:00] so we have a hook. We have Oh, that is

Leo Laporte (00:04:02):
Excellent. That really is excellent and it is really, as I was saying before, the show Silicon Valley royalty, Jessica Lessen, of course founder of the information. Sam's been around forever. I think I first found out about you with, was it Drop you

Sam Lessin (00:04:18):
Yeah's? Sorry, 2007 era. I think we got back in the day

Leo Laporte (00:04:24):
What a great app that was.

Sam Lessin (00:04:26):
It was a different internet. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (00:04:28):
Really fantastic. And of course [00:04:30] Dave Morin Facebook guy. I think I insulted him once when I was interviewing about Facebook. I said, how are you going to keep it from being And I think he was actually literally pissed off, so don't mention my name, I'm just saying don't mention my name. He's gone on to other things. He started Path, which was without a doubt, the best social network ever and it just kills me that they didn't make a run of that because it would've been better than anything else. The idea was only 50 friends.

Sam Lessin (00:05:00):
[00:05:00] A lot of the path innovations have found their way into a lot of other great apps has a place in the history and

Leo Laporte (00:05:07):
Brit of course who worked at Google. What is Britt moron doing these days?

Sam Lessin (00:05:11):
Well, they have a fund called Offline Ventures. I'm an LP proudly so

Leo Laporte (00:05:16):
You're Slow ventures and they're offline ventures.

Sam Lessin (00:05:19):
Yeah, exactly. Similar heritage.

Leo Laporte (00:05:21):
This is what happens to Gen Z. They lose interest and they just fade away. [00:05:30] Anyway, it's great to have all three of you on the show. Let's start with Apple since you are prepared, Sam to talk about it. Apple had its event on Tuesday and announcing the new iPhone 15, which is just this much better without Johnny. Ive to say this is the best iPhone we've ever made. It's just this much better than the last iPhone. They also announced an update and when I say this much better, it really is appropriate for the Apple Watch which has one new feature, [00:06:00] a gesture. That's it. And they spent 20 minutes with Octavia Spencer trying to say, let me ask you Sam, was it your opinion that was greenwashing?

Sam Lessin (00:06:15):
That is my opinion. That is not Dave's opinion from our debate on this, but look, I mean there's no question that carbon neutrality, the environment is a great marketing position, especially for a company that isn't really releasing very [00:06:30] many new features and I think they've done plenty of market research on this. Again, I still applaud them for making an effort. It's better than saying nothing, but I think the problem is that the environment is probably one of the only places that is even bigger than Apple in terms of their approach to it. And so it's nice that they say some marketing messages around it, but they're not going to have a meaningful impact. It just feels like if they're only going to launch U S B C, which they have to, it's really that this was an Apple event brought to you by [00:07:00] Europe, then they might as well kind of play a big message they know is going to work well in the audience they're trying to sell. I

Leo Laporte (00:07:07):
Share your citizenism, I mean here's a company saying buy more gadgets, but you can buy these three green Apple watches so you don't feel so bad about it kind of a thing. What do you think is Apple the environmental paragon?

Owen Thomas (00:07:25):
I mean I think they are the environmental marketing paragon [00:07:30] when they started milling MacBook shells out of aluminum, they made a big deal out of how aluminum was this great material and that's all true, but how much energy did it take to cut out the shells the way they did it? People pointed out there was actually some waste there. Huge

Leo Laporte (00:07:51):
Waste taking a block of aluminum and grinding it out and throw away all the filings or maybe they recycle 'em, but still

Owen Thomas (00:07:58):
Well no, I mean [00:08:00] you can melt down the filings and use them immediately if that's a great thing aluminum, but I think there's always an element of hype here. I'm interested actually in their commitment to eliminate plastic in packaging. I think that actually if you've ever had the experience of you buy a new Apple product and it's like, okay, now I've got the box and then the box inside the box and then it all unfolds very elegantly, but you're [00:08:30] left with 10 times as much packaging as the actual object.

Leo Laporte (00:08:36):
We were actually talking, there was an article a couple of weeks ago that said people don't throw away their apple boxes because there's so nicely made and I asked and everybody on the panel still had the apple boxes for most of their Apple gear that they'd ever bought. I recycle mine, but it's hard to break 'em down.

Owen Thomas (00:08:54):
Yeah, I can see that especially for laptops more because you might [00:09:00] think about shipping them and the box is already a built-in shipping device, but yeah, I think there is an element of Apple fanboy that doesn't want to get rid of the box. Nice

Leo Laporte (00:09:15):
Part of the issue also, apple says we're going to be carbon neutral by 2030. Part of the issue though is what does carbon neutral mean? Yeah. [00:09:30] In other words, are they buying, it's unclear. Are they buying carbon credits? I suspect they are. Right? It's one thing if you say we're going to make all of our network operations center run on solar or hydro, that's great, but I think a lot of times it's just, but we're going to buy some tree credits that we're going to plant somewhere and that'll make,

Sam Lessin (00:09:49):
And for what it's worth, I mean having spent a fair amount of time looking at the carbon markets, I do think it'd be fascinating path. They're a disaster in terms of people. [00:10:00] No two carbon credits are really equal. A lot of them are completely fake and made up. There are higher quality and lower quality credits. It's possible they're buying super high quality credits that are meaningful, but it's extremely hard to understand or trace. It's hard to, and that's the problem with the whole thing is without some sort of measurement infrastructure at a global scale that can be validated plug for at least in theory crypto just theoretically. But theoretically, [00:10:30] the whole idea of creating carbon markets which are meaningful is extremely challenging.

Jason Hiner (00:10:36):
So I'll play a little bit of devil's advocate here. Certainly one, the segment was it was beautifully produced but it was too long. It was sort of oddly placed in the presentation, the carbon credit things. There were some things that were greenwashing like the part where it said with the Apple watch, we know there are this many people charging their Apple watches every day, and so in order to offset that, [00:11:00] we're going do, they were talking about that things that they're going to do to do that, buying carbon credits or that, and to Sam's point, some of that is very hard to define and also hard to balance the weights there of what they did that said, they're a big company that produces a lot of products, millions and millions of products and choices matter, and they realize that they have the potential to have a lot of negative impact [00:11:30] on the world, on the planet with the things that they do and with their business model and they are making some choices to try to do things more responsibly.

They talked about the 25%, the packaging being 25% less so they can put 25% more of them on boats when they ship them. So that has a very material impact. The choice of materials that are more polluting [00:12:00] or that are more energy that consume energy and have bad effects on energy and the environment, leather, other kinds of non-renewable materials. I think those things have important impacts and certainly it's worth highlighting doing it. It's really hard in a presentation like this doing something so self-congratulatory though is really sort of, I think the thing that rubbed a lot of people, even [00:12:30] Apple fans, I saw somewhat rubbed the wrong way by this. I didn't get rubbed the wrong way. Mostly there sort of evaluating, analyzing the thing, but I think it's one of those things that doing it with humor helped. They were in some cases a little bit, but it went on too long and in the end it still was pretty self-congratulatory rather than, I would rather have seen them say, this is a challenge. We [00:13:00] know there's a lot of work to do and we're leaning into it. Here are the things we're doing to try to be responsible and make things better and we have other goals we want to accomplish and here are some of the ways we're going to do them and hold us accountable to these things. I think if they would've said something like that, it would've felt a little less disingenuous perhaps. I

Sam Lessin (00:13:23):
Just think, look, it's you do shipping more efficient shipping containers is good for you. That drops your bottom line. Wall Street's super excited, et cetera, [00:13:30] right? Trying to consumerize that story and have your cake and eat it too, which is we should do forget the environment. That's just good business and trying to turn that into a pro-consumer story is a little rich in my mind.

Jason Hiner (00:13:43):

Leo Laporte (00:13:43):
But they have a new logo with a little green apple stem. Come

Sam Lessin (00:13:48):
On. Yeah, I mean look, and then there's, look, the real environmental questions are going to be things like AI and the amount of water and energy we're going to pour into ai. I'm looking forward to Apple story [00:14:00] and they're very challenging position with a lot of these AI stories and what comes next and things like that. I think those are going to be the much bigger impact stories. This really feels to me like someone did the market research and figured out they could have their cake and eat it too, because the stuff that makes them money turns out to be stuff that a segment of buyers are going to feel less bad about buying a new iPhone when really the environmental choice is to do what I do and use old phones, right? And to

Leo Laporte (00:14:26):
Their credit,

Sam Lessin (00:14:27):
Apple, certainly not the story Apple [00:14:30] wants people to really think about,

Leo Laporte (00:14:32):
But to their credit, they have a very good trade-in program and I mean there was a great article in the New York Times a few weeks back about the company that does the recycling for Apple and they said, we sell 15,000 iPhone eights a day because of apple's aggressive trade-ins and upcycling. And I think that's a good, I mean I'll defend Apple a little bit. If you're going to put a billion phones in people's pockets, you're going to put a billion phones in the landfill. Eventually [00:15:00] the best, but it's at least good for you to do something about 'em mean what's the choice? Well, I guess we won't sell. We'll decide maybe we shouldn't sell phones or watches anymore. Let's sell. I mean, if you're going to be in that business, you've got to be in that business. And I guess to their credit, they're trying to do the best they can.

Sam Lessin (00:15:19):
I agree. I do think the greatest trick they could possibly pull would be somehow to figure out how to slow the refresh cycle and charge you more. That would be the true business environment win, right? We can sell,

Leo Laporte (00:15:29):
We'll tell [00:15:30] you we're trying to charge you a thousand dollars a year, but you don't get a new phone for three years.

Sam Lessin (00:15:34):
That's right. That's the real environment. The

Jason Hiner (00:15:36):
Market has kind of done that for 'em. Right? So the upgrade cycle has lengthened, continued to lengthened to three or four years and what has happened because of that, apple now sells its higher end phones for more and they've become the best selling. Their highest end phone become the bestselling phone.

Sam Lessin (00:15:53):
So if they made a video which allotted the slower upgrade cycle as the greatest impact on the environment and how wonderful [00:16:00] it was that people weren't buying their phones as quickly the stock

Leo Laporte (00:16:02):
Market, that

Sam Lessin (00:16:02):

Leo Laporte (00:16:03):
Be the stock market murder. Oh my gosh. Right.

Sam Lessin (00:16:07):
That'd be a great video. I'd applaud that video. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:16:10):
As the stock tanks, you said you did research into carbon credits. Do you know of some good companies or is that not clear Sam?

Sam Lessin (00:16:19):
Look, I got to say I love a free market solution to the environment. Theoretically, I would love to see Rich Carbon markets that worked and I actually think there is a story in theory where it should work. [00:16:30] And so I spent a bunch of time looking at a lot of startups doing a lot of versions of it, and candidly, after a lot of research have so far invested in basically nothing because I can't find angles that I believe that scale that makes sense. Now, again, I've been wrong a thousand times in my career and I'll be wrong a thousand times again, and I really pray to God that there are startups out there that are doing it in a way that's going to unlock the market because it is the only solution, right? It's going to be a market-based solution, but it's just not there yet.

Leo Laporte (00:16:59):
Figured it out. Maybe [00:17:00] it's a guilty conscience, maybe not, but we buy carbon credits for the business. We try to offset what we do. We don't have a big green twit logo, but just because Lisa and I want to make sure that we do everything we can, and I wish there were somewhere I could go to and know that those credits really going to make a difference.

Owen Thomas (00:17:21):
Well, don't worry Leo. Adam Newman is fixing the problem. Oh, I bet

Leo Laporte (00:17:27):
We plant. It's not We work now, it's we plant. [00:17:30] Right?

Owen Thomas (00:17:31):
I wish I were kidding. But his new startup is a crypto based carbon credit trading company.

Sam Lessin (00:17:38):
And the thing about that, Owen, that's so frustrating is that is exactly the right tweet. That's the tweet I want to be real. That's the headline. I would love to be real. Unfortunately it's not right. But again, that is in some ways what's most frustrating about some of these things is you see it and you're like, yes, I'm so excited for this. At the headline level, unfortunately when you dig [00:18:00] in, it's just not there.

Owen Thomas (00:18:01):
At protocol we had both, we had teams focused on both FinTech and on Cleantech, and so we collaborated and looked into it and the problem is that yeah, you can put a financialized crypto wrapper around the carbon credit, but if the underlying carbon credit is not representative of some fiscal and environmental reality, then the crypto adds nothing.

Leo Laporte (00:18:29):
Newman's [00:18:30] new company is called Flow Carbon backed by 70 million from Andreessen Horowitz. The current system of buying and selling carbon credits is built on an opaque and fractured market infrastructure says one of the slides we're carbon market experts, blockchain specialists and environmentalists. So have they

Owen Thomas (00:18:52):
Pivoted to AI yet?

Leo Laporte (00:18:56):
Yeah, I mean Bitcoin's over that. It's all about ai [00:19:00] and I have to say, when you're talking about environment and crypto does seem almost an oxymoron. Yes. No,

Sam Lessin (00:19:11):
I think that's a much, I'm not sure you want to have an entire episode on that one. Leo. Think that in theory it's a long and deep story. I don't think, I think the story of crypto being bad for the environments is generally greatly overstated. I'd also say the reality is that if you want solutions for open [00:19:30] financial market infrastructure that you could use to solve carbon problems, it's the only game you're going to get in town. So I don't think it's quite, so that's kind one where I'd say in the opposite, which is the tweet sounds good, but the reality is a little more complicated and I'm a little less cynical

Leo Laporte (00:19:45):
About it. Okay. It's the one year anniversary of the Ether Merge this week, and they're claiming 99% drop in energy usage, which is fantastic. It's using proof of stake instead of proof of work. [00:20:00] Bravo. Okay, maybe we will do a whole show, Sam. Not now. We can do a whole show. Not now. That one's tough, but that one's tough. I think it's a very interesting subject as is carbon credits, as is Apple. Any of you going out to buy the iPhone 15?

Owen Thomas (00:20:18):
Can I just say Apple has sucked all of the joy out of the new iPhone cycle. Remember when people stood in line and now they don't want the chaos [00:20:30] at the stores? I get it. I get it. It's stressful

Leo Laporte (00:20:33):
For, so instead there's chaos online because I have to get at 5:00 AM Pacific. I was on the East Coast, thank God, so it was only 8:00 AM Get on the Apple store on Friday and fight the server crashes and finally did get an order in, but a lot of people didn't, and this happens every year. They know

Sam Lessin (00:20:57):
They've got to be doing it on purpose. I promise you.

Leo Laporte (00:20:59):
They're creating [00:21:00] a virtual line is what they're doing.

Sam Lessin (00:21:02):
Apple is not the best at software in the world, but they're not that bad. Right? They're doing any of

Leo Laporte (00:21:07):

Sam Lessin (00:21:07):
On the Apple website

Leo Laporte (00:21:08):
Company, but until recently used Web Objects for its website, so maybe they aren't the

Sam Lessin (00:21:14):
Best. Honestly, it's a great f you to the world. It'd be a $3 trillion company. Let your website crash. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (00:21:19):
You're trying to buy a $1,300 phone, in my case, $1,600 phone. Not today, buddy.

Sam Lessin (00:21:27):
But doesn't it make it feel special, Leo?

Leo Laporte (00:21:28):
Oh my God. It's like that's

Sam Lessin (00:21:29):
The whole shtick. [00:21:30] That's the shtick.

Leo Laporte (00:21:31):
I'm going like this. I just want to give you $3,000 right now. Can you please,

Sam Lessin (00:21:36):

Leo Laporte (00:21:37):
I beg of you. Let me, no,

Jason Hiner (00:21:40):
I think some of the challenges supply chains, they wait so late I think sometimes to finalize the product and so once you end the cycle and you're like, okay, we're manufacturing these, it takes time. You're only going to make so many. And remember there were a [00:22:00] number of reports that the pro models especially were going to be delayed this year. They weren't, but what it came down to is, and it played out exactly as we expected, which was they're not going to be delayed, but they're going to have a small amount and you're going to see in the first 10 minutes, all of a sudden the dates to get it are going to get pushed out back.

Sam Lessin (00:22:21):
But that's different than the servers crashing. I give you that. It's

Leo Laporte (00:22:26):
It's problems all around. Its problems all. Let me just see. I'm going to try to order an iPhone. [00:22:30] I bet

Sam Lessin (00:22:30):
They turn down their servers right before they lost just to make

Leo Laporte (00:22:33):
It. Don't be too, don't be too fast. Let's say I'm going to buy this 1400.

Sam Lessin (00:22:39):
Don't be too eager to sell it.

Leo Laporte (00:22:41):
No Apple Care,

Owen Thomas (00:22:42):
That whole shtick

Leo Laporte (00:22:43):
Of it's now November 7th.

Owen Thomas (00:22:45):
Wow. But Leo, that whole shtick of the Apple store being taken offline right before an event. That is,

Leo Laporte (00:22:53):
They don't have to do that. That is marketing. Oh, we're stocking the shelves. What do they have to do? They don't have to. [00:23:00] No one else does that.

Sam Lessin (00:23:01):
Look, I've got my 13, one of these 13 minis. I have about 10 of them in boxes. My wife recently went to China on a reporting trip.

Leo Laporte (00:23:09):
You bought 13 iPhone minis.

Sam Lessin (00:23:13):
I have like 10 because they do discontinue them is the best phone ever. They did the best

Leo Laporte (00:23:17):
Phone ever. They did. They discontinued them.

Owen Thomas (00:23:19):
Tim, are you a touch ID holdout?

Sam Lessin (00:23:23):
I'm not. I'm not. I'm okay with they're great phones and my wife was recently [00:23:30] going to China. She asked me for one of my wrapped phones because you wanted a clean phone go to China with That's smart. And I told her, no, go buy another phone.

Jason Hiner (00:23:39):
You wouldn't give up one of your

Sam Lessin (00:23:40):

Leo Laporte (00:23:41):
File. Okay, now I'm just going to say one of our hosts, that's Steve Gibson who has the same kind of fetish he has for instance, I think a half dozen Palm sevens in his freezer because he, same thing. Oh, they're not going to

Jason Hiner (00:23:57):
Make, keep the batteries healthy

Leo Laporte (00:23:59):
To keep the batteries [00:24:00] healthy. So Sam, I'm just saying wrap those, there's no moisture and then put 'em in your freezer.

Sam Lessin (00:24:06):
I bet if you did that in about 10 years on eBay, you could sell 'em for a lot of money. Perfectly preserved. I heard recently. Apparently my can, so I don't throw technology out, so I have all my original digital cameras. Wow. And someone was telling me that apparently the kids, now kids these days are really into early two thousands Cannon power shots. [00:24:30] They love the look and feel of them. And so they come back and apparently they're going for crazy prices and so I'm like, that's good. I have a lot of 'em.

Jason Hiner (00:24:37):
I've got They're not preserve

Sam Lessin (00:24:38):
That. Well

Owen Thomas (00:24:40):
You think, is it part of the rejection of the, oh, I'm going to post this immediately on Instagram. You have no way of you take the photo and you're actually more present with a digital camera.

Sam Lessin (00:24:55):
I mean I think that's a reasonable thing. I think it's also just the reality is technology's gotten so good, it's just become [00:25:00] fashion, especially social media. That's right. And fashion goes in cycles, right. And so we went from a super res, by the way, the one thing I will say I thought was very cool from the announcements was a lot of the spatial camera stuff. That's pretty freaking cool. Are

Leo Laporte (00:25:13):
You bullish on the Vision Pro? Are you bullish on that?

Sam Lessin (00:25:16):
I mean it's pretty cool, right? I think that the, it's hard. All my cynicism aside, it's very hard to knock that part of what they're doing. Oh,

Leo Laporte (00:25:24):
I knock it fully. I knock it fully. That is a total waste. Just look what Mark Zuckerberg's done with 10 billion [00:25:30] every year. It is such a waste of money, such a waste of effort. They've made a technologically beautiful thing that no one's going to buy.

Sam Lessin (00:25:39):
Well, Leo, I think that's true on a multi-year basis. Here's what I basically say. One is there's a difference between the capture and the device. The fact that your camera's getting enabled with Lidar and a bunch of other cool stuff, that means you can capture things that were historically hard to capture. I mean I think that in the future, just while we look back at photos from a hundred years ago and we're like, these are very beautiful, [00:26:00] but I don't have a sense of my great great grandfather. People are going to look back at our pre Lidar photos and say, wow, that's beautiful. But

Leo Laporte (00:26:08):
It was so too deep. Leo,

Jason Hiner (00:26:12):
I'm going to make a prediction. Leo, you are going to try, you're going to take a spatial video with the iPhone when you and Lisa go on an awesome vacation somewhere and you're going to come back and you're going to do it in the Vision Pro and you're going to go, alright, I'm sold.

Leo Laporte (00:26:28):
No, I think completely the opposite. In [00:26:30] fact, I've bought the Ricoh Theta 360 camera, then the Insta 360 camera.

Jason Hiner (00:26:35):
Those are so different than this though

Leo Laporte (00:26:37):
Different, I have a 360 degree tour of the Roman Forum walking through it with a guide explaining stuff. I haven't looked at it once.

Sam Lessin (00:26:47):
Well, with Leo, I think that's unfair. I love the Insta 360. Let's Talk consumer product. I think it's an incredible product. I agree that the tour that everyone else has and is already on the internet is not that interesting and Insta 360, but personal stuff, [00:27:00] things like that, the ability to reframe and resume and pull the right stuff out. I'm a huge Insta 360 fan.

Leo Laporte (00:27:06):
Yeah, that was my whole thinking is I can go back and edit this and actually that is the more interesting thing, which is to in effect turn it into a two D movie, but you've been shooting everything all the way around you and then you choose what to look at so you can look at that. Well,

Sam Lessin (00:27:21):
That's the point. The point is that you can thing,

Leo Laporte (00:27:22):
It's the opposite of spatial though. You're really going for a no,

Sam Lessin (00:27:25):
No, no, but you need the spatial to be able to do it. It's kind being able to saying, I [00:27:30] actually think it might be that you love the camera because it makes your two D videos and your two D photos dramatically better for the next 10 years. You don't need the Vision Pro to succeed for the spatial capture to make sense. Your AI stuff will be way cooler with more data, whatever it is. Clearly the future, the Vision pro stuff, the VR stuff in the history, in the arc of history eventually has to be true, but it might take a very long time, right? We're [00:28:00] not close is what I would

Leo Laporte (00:28:01):
Say. Apple, the feature you're talking about, apple says you turn your camera sideways, so you're using the two lenses in the triangle that are on the top of this is only with the probe versions and then you take a picture, it's going to use both lenses just like your two eyes do to not create a 360 degree image. It's not the same thing. It's going to create an image that has depth, remember the Viewmaster, it'll be basically a viewmaster [00:28:30] and God that changed the world, didn't it?

Jason Hiner (00:28:34):
So I will say I've not been, I think at the last time I was on here, we were talking about VR and I remember the Vision Pro was about to be announced and I was like, and the timing couldn't be better because VR has been such a non-starter and Metaverse has been such a crashing environ. It's

Leo Laporte (00:28:52):
Like I'm last to the party and everybody's already gone.

Jason Hiner (00:28:56):
But I do think so having tried the Vision Pro and done the demo, [00:29:00] the thing that has, the only thing that really had the emotional reaction was those spatial photos and videos.

Leo Laporte (00:29:08):

Jason Hiner (00:29:10):
You you've

Leo Laporte (00:29:10):
Seen 'em. I haven't seen 'em. I don't know what it looks like. So you've seen them.

Jason Hiner (00:29:13):
So that's the must see that everybody, when these things come out in Q one and you put it on and you go do a demo, the one thing you have to see, the one thing that's really impressive that has the most emotional impact is all those photos and videos and when you see it, you immediately [00:29:30] think, or I did and apparently Apple, the team that worked on this at Apple had the same reaction when they first saw one of their members of their team did one of these spatial of 'em, had a couple little kids like toddlers, and it had an emotional reaction to everyone on the team. They're like, we have to put this in the product. And when I saw it, the first thing I thought it was emotional. I was like, man, if I had this when my kids were little or if I had this when I went on this trip or something, [00:30:00] to be able to go back into that moment because more like stepping into a memory than it is looking at a photo or a video.

Sam Lessin (00:30:06):
And look, I think if you look at the history of this stuff here, this idea that video is super compelling in these environments is not new. You go back 10 years, the original Oculus was all about, oh, and you can be live at the concert and all this stuff, but I think it's kind of bullshit because the reality is I'd rather see the edited thing with a director choosing the views and whatever. That's because at the time, the capture side was too hard. If you wanted [00:30:30] to do that type of capture, you're using a crazy rig with 15 GoPros and re-editing. It was impossible.

Leo Laporte (00:30:35):
$60,000 camera. Yeah.

Sam Lessin (00:30:38):
So unlocking and putting effectively a camera that's capable of producing that data in everyone's hands in the next few years, I do think actually unlocked it, which is I don't care about the concert in that format, but I do care about my kids swimming in the pool on that and am I going to review every moment of their lives? Of course not. But having the highlight reels and be able to pull it back and do that kind of a reminiscing, [00:31:00] I think it's inevitable. And the tech is very cool is what I would say. So the carbon credit is not so much, but I actually am that if I end up getting off of my kick for old iPhones, it'll be because of that.

Leo Laporte (00:31:15):
Ladies gentlemen, he has 10 iPhone minis in his freezer. It's an amazing thing.

Sam Lessin (00:31:21):
They're not in my freezer yet, but they will should

Leo Laporte (00:31:23):

Sam Lessin (00:31:24):
Talk about carbon neutral. What's going to be the carbon impact of me freezing 10 phones for a decade.

Jason Hiner (00:31:29):
In Korea [00:31:30] they have kimchi freezers. You can have an iPhone. Oh yeah,

Leo Laporte (00:31:32):
There you go. It's like a kimchi freezer only for technology.

Jason Hiner (00:31:36):
Actually there's kimchi fridge, but there you go. iPhone freezer.

Leo Laporte (00:31:40):
So this is actually the most interesting point I think I've heard about the Apple event is this single ability to do spatial stills. They're not videos, spatial stills. And of course it would make sense that if you're going to sell a product like the Vision Pro, you've got to get going on making products people can use to [00:32:00] create content for it. And maybe this is the one, it

Jason Hiner (00:32:03):
Was the opposite. Sorry Leo. It was the opposite. They announced spatial video. We're assuming it's also spatial photos are in it, but they announced that spatial video coming to both pro and pro Max.

Leo Laporte (00:32:14):
Oh, it was video, it was No, no coming to the pro, but the camera, when you turn it on inside, you're taking videos with those two lenses or stills. I thought it was stills

Jason Hiner (00:32:25):
Video. They announced spatial video. That's right. They

Leo Laporte (00:32:28):
Did. Okay, I misunderstood. [00:32:30] Alright, but really I think Sam and I are saying stills are what you want.

Jason Hiner (00:32:35):
Well, I want

Sam Lessin (00:32:36):
Video too. Video, it's all the same. I mean hard to argue. You want video, the whole point is more immersive and you only want stills.

Leo Laporte (00:32:44):
Okay, fine. And you're right. I do remember Jason Heiner, people who were playing with the Vision Pro. There were a few things that they kept talking about. One was the monster coming out of the closet and the other was watching Avatar. [00:33:00] It's the idea of this, you're wearing this thing but it feels like you're in this three D environment. And I

Sam Lessin (00:33:07):
Will just say again, the monster, the monster coming out of the closet in Oculus 1.0 bajillion years ago was a shark demo. The shark came out of nowhere like, oh my god, there's a shark. It was really stupid, but people really liked it and the immersive video was there's a music you can go stand on stage with some music artists. Those are not the wrong [00:33:30] ideas. The question is just how many years does it take to get them to the point where those are actually the experiences that people want and then how much content, where do you get the content from that matters? Because again, I don't think the actual music video is going to be better than you standing on stage with the band in vr. Okay,

Leo Laporte (00:33:47):
Hey, what a great panel. It's great to have Owen Thomas here. Congratulations on the new gig. San Francisco Business Journal Managing editor Business Times. I'm sorry, let's get it right. It says Biz [00:34:00] Francisco, but it's the Business Times.

Owen Thomas (00:34:02):
It's part of a nationwide chain and most of the publications are city name Business journal. San Francisco has to be different because San Francisco is

Leo Laporte (00:34:11):
Different. There you go. It's all about the times. Just glad to see you gainfully employed basically, Owen. That's all I'm saying. No, I'm just teasing. You are fantastic and they deserve you. So I'm glad to see that Sam Lessen who has been here in an age. He is an intern at the information, which incidentally [00:34:30] is a mighty fine publication in its own right. It's the most expensive thing I subscribe to. Maybe Bloomberg's more Bloomberg might be more, but it's close your expense but it's worth it. The information does breaking. So many great stories, doing so much good work. So I'm glad you're bringing 'em coffee, I guess is what I'm saying. That's

Sam Lessin (00:34:54):
What I do. It's all my wife. I bring the coffee.

Leo Laporte (00:34:58):
People don't know the [00:35:00] founders Jessica Lessen who is somehow related to Sam in some obscure way that we're not sure of. And by the way, it's doing quite well. I think I get the impression you're hiring, you're growing like crazy. So good job.

Sam Lessin (00:35:15):
Well she again, I'll say she, I literally do just get the coffee, but I mean they've built, they're coming up on their 10th anniversary from day one, grown very nicely year over year consistently. They've been hiring throughout because [00:35:30] of their business model and their story, their focus on just breaking news. You can't read anywhere else. They've attracted a really great audience and candidly, there's obviously a lot of blood in the water in the media world, but they've really not been part of that because they just have a very different model. I'll

Leo Laporte (00:35:45):
Tell you from the outside from day one that this was a worthy thing for me to pay for. You have really good reporters and they are constantly breaking stories and giving insight that I [00:36:00] just can't get anywhere else. So much so to the point that you read everybody quoting the information and so I think it just shows journalistic quality will out. It really is about quality.

Sam Lessin (00:36:13):
Yeah, well my wife was at the Wall Street Journal for eight years before starting it and as was the early team as all people. She started the information primarily because it wasn't about being a business, it was about saying I can create an economy that allows me to do the types [00:36:30] of stories that I think are most important and allows other people to do them and we can pay for it and grow with great journalism. So I think that's, it's a very different starting point to be founded by a journalist for a journalistic reason, but also not in a nonprofit way where money doesn't matter. The point is if you build the best economic engine, you can pay for the best journalism. And so I think that's, that approach from day one has served them super well and it's been amazing to see for a decade now. Just a lot of growth every year consistently. They've [00:37:00] been profitable every year they've existed and just kind of churning it out,

Leo Laporte (00:37:05):
I had the same idea, but I made a kind of seminal mistake, which is I decided to do podcasts and if only, if only, no, I think we didn't start twit because we wanted to make a business or anything. I wanted to do the coverage that we would like to do, that we want to do with the people I knew that were smart and good and that has, I think you have to have that foundation. You really do. So congratulations [00:37:30] and we will talk about the review, Adam Lewinsky's review of the Elon Musk book in just a little bit because it's good. He says it's long and behind the scenes moments plus just plain long. Also with us, Jason Heiner, the wonderful Jason Heiner known you since the Tech Republic days now editor in chief of all of ZDNet has been his long march to run the whole damn thing. Good job. Well done.

Jason Hiner (00:37:59):
Thank you. And also [00:38:00] a hat tip to you and to the folks with the information, Sam and the team over there of mission-based media of starting something like we're going to create the thing that we wish we had. It's such a great way to start any venture is we're going to create the thing that we think is missing in the world and we wish there was more of it. No matter what business you're in, that's a great place to start. But in media, it's a wonderful place to start because so much [00:38:30] of it has been dominated by forces outside of our control that have changed and morphed so much of the media. And so really hats off to you, Leo,

Leo Laporte (00:38:41):
And I don't think it was in the case of Jessica, this is true, but for me it was just pure bitterness. I was just bitter over tech TV and I just said, I just going to do it myself. Screw

Sam Lessin (00:38:52):
Mean. And you and Jessica compare notes because the story she tells which I was there for as the husband on the outside was basically, [00:39:00] she mentioned this recently, one of the things that really pushed her over the edge of the journal was she was there and they made her live tweet or live blog, an Apple event, and she's like, this is so worthless. She's like, everyone's covering this. This is not what I want to be spending my time on. And so she said, screw it. I'm going to go, how many great stories that matter, can I write a year? How many can I get great other people to write and can we make a business? A lot of people who will pay for it.

Leo Laporte (00:39:28):
Wow, that's great. So she was bitter too. [00:39:30] Good. We hate mainstream media. Let's just screw 'em and do our own thing. That's it. That's good. You're going to make me live tweet. In fact, in a way it's related because I got thrown out of an Apple event for trying to stream it and I've never been back.

Sam Lessin (00:39:42):
There you go. It all goes back. Let's the real question that we have to ask full circle, what media company, what media company was just started at the most recent Apple event? Yeah,

Leo Laporte (00:39:52):
Every time. Every single time. Hey, we'll be back with more with this great panel and lots more to talk about, including Google's day in court this week, and [00:40:00] as I said, the Walter Isaacson bio, which came out this week of some guy Elon something, but first a word from our sponsor, Miro, m I r o. I've seen cognitive scientists say, we all know this experience. When you go from one room to another to get something and you get by the time you get in the other room, you go, what was it? I can't remember what I was there for. Therefore, and I've seen cognitive scientists say this is because [00:40:30] your context switching and your brain is set up that when you switch context, it's like empty the stack and start over, blast the stack and we're going to start all over. And so you go, I forgot, what am I doing here?

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We use it to great effect for planning our shows and I kind of buried the lead. The best part. Get your first three MIRO boards for free right now. Start working better., M I R Once you get in there and create your account, I [00:43:30] strongly encourage you to look at the Miro verse. Those are templates created by Miro users from all over the world, including like the UK government, and you can see how they use it and you'll be really amazed at the variety and quality of the tool. It's really great. Miro, m i r We thank him so much for supporting this little thing we call this week in deck. I did want to mention the Adam Lashinsky, who's great, his review of the Elon [00:44:00] Musk book. You've probably read it by now. Jason, have you read the Elon Musk book? I have not. Sam, have you read the Elon Musk book?

Sam Lessin (00:44:11):
Well, I read Lewinsky's review of

Leo Laporte (00:44:13):
It because it's information. That's all. That's all you need, Owen. You surely at managing editor of the San Francisco Business Times, you've read the Elon Musk book.

Owen Thomas (00:44:24):
I will admit I have covered Elon Musk professionally for literally 25 years, [00:44:30] and I have not read it yet,

Leo Laporte (00:44:32):
670 pages.

Owen Thomas (00:44:34):
I just have a stack of books to get through still, and I never seem to make a dent.

Leo Laporte (00:44:39):
I have to say I've lost a little respect for Walter Isaacson. I think that his jobs book was, I mean, the problem is you do authorize biographies and this is authorized, right? It's going to taint it a little bit. For instance, the most notable example is in the book, Isaacson says [00:45:00] that Elon Musk decided that he didn't want a nuclear war, so he turned off starlink for a Ukrainian offensive against the Russians. When the Ukrainians found this out, they were furious. They were livid. But then two weeks later, Isaacson starts tweeting. Oh yeah, I didn't get that right. Oh, he didn't turn it off. He just didn't extend the cover. He's backpedaling as fast as he can from the clear factual statements of the book. And to me, it doesn't [00:45:30] smell right. Did you get it wrong in the book or are you making up your answer now?

Owen Thomas (00:45:36):
And what else did he get wrong in the book?

Leo Laporte (00:45:38):
Right? And then exactly. And there's more of that by the way, that there's issues about full self-driving where he implies that full self-driving, never used machine learning, that it was always rule-based. And then an engineer came to Elon and said, look what we can do with machine learning. And by the way, that's great. That's a moat because we have 10 million videos of [00:46:00] our Tesla users that we can use to train it. No one else will have anything like that, and it's going to give us a huge advantage. And now we're talking to Sam Bull Salmon, our car guy. He says, no, they've been using machine Elon. They've always been using machine learning. And oh, by the way, there's many companies that have these videos as many videos. This is not a moat. Did Isaacson get it wrong? Is he getting fed propaganda by Elon that he's just saying, yeah, that's good. I'll write there. Well,

Owen Thomas (00:46:27):
How on earth do you fact check?

Leo Laporte (00:46:29):
I guess you can

Owen Thomas (00:46:30):
[00:46:30] Serial a book about a serial fabricator with a serial fabricator is your primary source,

Leo Laporte (00:46:36):

Owen Thomas (00:46:37):
I don't think, I don't see how you do it.

Jason Hiner (00:46:39):
Don't, sorry.

Owen Thomas (00:46:42):
Oh, you just accept that things are going to be wrong or false or misleading or Well,

Leo Laporte (00:46:47):
When it's politics, we call it bellway journalism. Access journalism. When you have unusual access, when you can sit next to Nancy Pelosi and get access, it comes at a price. I prefer not to [00:47:00] be persona non grata with Apple than to be Steve Jobs's best friend. It comes at a price and you've got to take what Elon tells you and write it down.

Jason Hiner (00:47:11):
I'm going to show my tech coverage bias on this, but I don't think that Isaacson's deeply understands tech clearly. Yes, I think you're right. And I felt that on the biography of jobs, I felt like there's some things that were just so thin there and I was like, ah, if you had a better understanding of [00:47:30] this stuff, there were some things that just were not either expressed well or were very thinly reported or glossed, missed the points of like, oh, that's where you should have actually dove deep on and dug more. And so that's why I really did not have a whole lot of enthusiasm for this book because you could argue that Elon is even more deeply technical than what job was, and the things that he's working on are more deeply technical at a whole different level. And so I [00:48:00] hate to say it, I think Isaacson's, other books, Einstein and

Leo Laporte (00:48:06):

Jason Hiner (00:48:07):
Ben Franklin, Franklin, some of those were quite good. I just think he's a little out of his depth on this topic. He was on the jobs topic and I think even more so on this one. And so

Leo Laporte (00:48:20):
He's, by the way, highly topic. The problem is, go ahead.

Sam Lessin (00:48:23):
I was going to say the problem is that again, Elon would never let an information reporter write the biography, [00:48:30] what it comes down to for obvious reasons. And so that's how you get their headline is exactly this. It's lewinsky's like it's shows the access to app, perils of access journalism for sure. And it just comes up short. I mean, I haven't read it. I probably will skimm it at some point, or at least control f the index

Leo Laporte (00:48:51):
Looking for your name. Is that what you do, Sam?

Sam Lessin (00:48:55):
Unfortunately, I've had to do that a few times. It usually, it's not a good [00:49:00] morning when that happens.

Leo Laporte (00:49:01):
Yeah, you don't want to find your name in the index. This is what Lashinsky writes to. Look at it, charitably Isaacson found himself in a no-win situation if he trashed his subject, who would trust him with their life story in the future? Les Charitably, the accomplished author was seduced by Musk's power and whether out of fear or fealty, he chose not to question it. We got to say, I mean credit where credits too. Isaacson is an extremely accomplished person besides those many biographies. As a professor at Tulane, [00:49:30] he was vice chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. He chaired the board that runs Voice of America. He's c e o and president of the Aspen Institute. He was the c e O of C Nnn, the editor at time. I mean the guy, it's kind of amazing. One person has such a rich cv, and maybe that's part of the problem is how can you be a tech expert? How can you be an expert on the subject matter when you're doing 15 other jobs at the same time?

Sam Lessin (00:49:56):
I think the question is, you got to, and I don't know the history here, maybe one of you guys do is ask the question. [00:50:00] I was like, why is this book even happen? Whose incentive is it for it to happen? Elon obviously has an incentive to shape a narrative, is Isaacson trying to sell a bunch of books? I would love to know the history because to me, it's one of those ones where these things don't happen by accident, and I think you can kind of trace a lot of what's going to be written and what the angle is by what the goal is.

Leo Laporte (00:50:24):
That's a good point.

Jason Hiner (00:50:25):
It's also like writing a book about the World Series after game three. [00:50:30] The World Series isn't over yet. We still haven't decided. There's lots still have

Leo Laporte (00:50:35):
To do. It's clear that the book about Elon Musk is yet to be written. Ashley Vance's book about Elon was very good as well. But same problem, Jason. The game ain't over. Only history is going to tell us whether Elon was a successor of Charlottean or what.

Owen Thomas (00:50:51):
I do think when someone becomes the world's richest man, especially as quickly and kind of unexpectedly as Musk did, [00:51:00] it's kind of just sitting out there waiting for someone to write a book, and I can't blame Isaacson for pursuing that opportunity. No. It also fits in his genre of great inventors, even though Musk is kind of questionable on the,

Leo Laporte (00:51:19):
If nothing else, we've learned from Elon's ownership of Twitter that the great man theory of history is utter bss that these great boy, if you look at Kissinger [00:51:30] Franklin, Einstein Jobs, Musk, clearly, Isaacson believes in the great man theory. This one person can change the world through his force of personality, and that's a flaw right there, believing that myth.

Sam Lessin (00:51:48):
I'm not sure that's true. I mean, I think Elon has changed the world based on his sheer personality and very little else. Right? Well, there's

Leo Laporte (00:51:56):
A bit of government subsidy involved, if nothing. [00:52:00] Yeah,

Jason Hiner (00:52:00):

Owen Thomas (00:52:00):
Look, which is personality, right? He's been able

Leo Laporte (00:52:03):
To, we talk to government into it. Yeah.

Owen Thomas (00:52:05):

Sam Lessin (00:52:07):
I think it's very questionable how actually technically deep he is. Candidly, I hope he's not that technically deep. You mean

Leo Laporte (00:52:13):

Sam Lessin (00:52:14):
The deeper he is actually technically the more of a liar he is, right? He's clearly the world's greatest marketer. There's no question about that, right? And he's used that for some very good things. I mean, SpaceX is an unbelievable company that required a hell of a lot of marketing and vision [00:52:30] building to go anywhere you needed someone like that to do it. Same thing with Tesla. I mean, Tesla's a sorted history, but the reality is he willed that through marketing to being, so I think that actually, it's funny. It's funny you say it's not a great, actually the Great man theory of history is for sure represented here, but I think what you might be saying, Leo, which I agree with is it's not that one. I think it's very questionable how technically DP really is in terms of when you get into the details of this, but two, it's like great men aren't necessarily great at all [00:53:00] things, and certainly a great man doesn't mean they know. I mean, jobs clearly had his failings, right? Elon obviously has failings, but it is interesting. My takeaway is that actually he's a very good representation of what it means to will something to be, and probably nothing else.

Leo Laporte (00:53:18):
And to Isaacson's credit this book, he was embedded in Elon's life for two years. This book was planned years before Elon bought Twitter, before he became the [00:53:30] world's richest man, before he became known in the way that he's known today. This was originally commissioned back when he was Stark Industries. He was widely revered for the work he'd done. It's only been in the last few years that the feet of Clay have showed up, and that's really my problem with the Great Man theory is it ignores all the other elements that got involved. And I mean, is he PT Barnum [00:54:00] or is he, I dunno, what's the other side of PT Boy

Jason Hiner (00:54:05):
Edison or Edison was,

Leo Laporte (00:54:07):
Wait a minute, stop right there. Edison's a perfect example of a guy who in fact invented very little, but was brilliant at marketing,

Sam Lessin (00:54:16):
But he still was a great man, Leo. I think this is the thing that keep in mind, same with jobs. Look, one of the things that drives me nuts about Elon is so get up on stage and kind of up, think about the fact that, well, last night I was doing this calculation on [00:54:30] blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and I came to the real, and you're like, you are not doing the calculation. You have thousands of engineers doing the calculation. He's like, people say don't, to take credit for the work of others or it's all a team effort. Elon is not, it's a team effort. It's an Elon effort. It drives me nuts, right? But it's hard to argue that he's not a great man in terms of the impact he's being able to have. And maybe PT Barnum was, certainly Edison was, even if they weren't the inventors. I think that's what's so frustrating about him as a character is [00:55:00] a lot of the shtick is so, from my perspective, terrible. Right? It's like a terrible shtick, but it's hard to argue with some of the results, right?

Leo Laporte (00:55:09):

Jason Hiner (00:55:10):
The chat room pulled this out a little bit too of this whole, to get to your great man theory part, Leo, which is that to push some of these ideas forward. Very unconventional, very risky, very unpopular. It [00:55:30] takes this indomitable Will, and Isaacson did mention this in one of the interviews. He said, he's a jerk. And also look at a lot of the people who accomplished a lot of things. They did. They were jerks too, right? Ford and Edison, and many

Leo Laporte (00:55:44):
Of these, you could almost say that with the exception of maybe Einstein, that Isaacson likes jerks. I mean, Kissinger Franklin for all, we've reve him as a founding father. What's kind of an ass jobs? Not the nicest man. Maybe [00:56:00] it isn't the great man. Maybe it's both. Maybe it's both. Well,

Owen Thomas (00:56:04):
I think the question is, is he a great man and is he a good man? And I think

Leo Laporte (00:56:08):
There is a difference, isn't there? Yeah,

Owen Thomas (00:56:10):
Yeah. I mean,

Leo Laporte (00:56:11):
Very few. Good men are great men.

Owen Thomas (00:56:13):
And I think the disturbing thing is that, and where I challenge people who just characterize him as a jerk, annoying, oh, he's rude. He has behaved very unethically, [00:56:30] very immorally too. And including to people, very close to him and in business. So I think it is, we need to be careful just in dismissing him as like, oh, he's a jerk, but it's okay because he brought us electric cars. I think especially with Twitter slash x, the consequences of someone who is maybe not immoral, but amoral [00:57:00] running an important public utility, what is essentially an important public utility, even though it's a privately owned company, I think we're seeing that play out. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:57:12):
Well, and if anything you learn, the truth of the matter is, which is no one is one dimensional. And that's my biggest problem with the great man theory. It implies that somehow leaders are born not made, that they come, they emerge from the earth whole form and change everything for us. And it really is always much [00:57:30] more complex.

Sam Lessin (00:57:31):
And I would say that, look, the Starling thing, it's kind of a funny subtlety to argue about whether it wasn't turned on or was turned off is the classic defaults. It's literally the defaults from websites issue played out at war, at Global Scale with satellites, the exact same thing. It's like what was the box checked or unchecked to start?

Leo Laporte (00:57:51):
All we know is that we don't want a private individual to make these huge global decisions. Well,

Sam Lessin (00:57:58):
Especially, [00:58:00] and this goes with this similar to Twitter, especially when that person's track record of decision making and is pretty spotty on this stuff. So it's one thing in some ways, maybe it's good that this is a situation, it forces a hard question sooner rather than if Elon Musk was Mother Teresa, we might be like, ah, Elon's got the satellites. But it's not that he's doing the right stuff with them. And so I think this is a big societal question we're going to have to digest as power has been centralized in some of these interesting choke points and [00:58:30] how we think about them going forward.

Leo Laporte (00:58:32):
When Ukrainian officials said Must committed evil by either turning an offer on unchecking or checking the box,

Jason Hiner (00:58:40):
I don't know if you remember the interview with Jobs and Gates that

Leo Laporte (00:58:45):
All things deep Kara and Wal

Jason Hiner (00:58:47):

Leo Laporte (00:58:47):

Jason Hiner (00:58:48):
Karen Walt did. In that the most poignant thing of the whole thing for me was Walt saying to the two of them that you all get a lot of credit for things that are [00:59:00] done by a whole army of people.

Leo Laporte (00:59:02):
That's a good point too.

Jason Hiner (00:59:03):
And what is it, how do you think about that in terms of you being kind of the tip of the spear? I'm kind of paraphrasing Walt, but this is a long time ago. It was like 2007 or eight, but I think that was the most poignant moment and really getting into this whole thing. And to Sam's point that largely they are marketers. They are PR heads of a large [00:59:30] organization and they are speaking sort of the larger vision for it, but also they are the number one spokesperson. The interesting thing is both of 'em almost acted like they'd never heard that or thought of that before at the moment. But I thought that it was so wise of Walt to sort of frame it that way because I think that's more accurate and more sort of reflection of reality than sort of the great man theory as it were.

Leo Laporte (00:59:58):
Well, I think you might [01:00:00] say, and Sam, you probably would be the best to qualify to talk about this. Clearly being able to market or sell yourself is the most, I mean, you can be a founder and have a wonderful vision and a wonderful invention, but if you can't market it, you got nothing. Isn't that, I mean, when you look at investments, for instance.

Sam Lessin (01:00:24):
Well, here's what I'd say though. I think, look, again, everyone's got their perspectives on this, but I think if you think about history [01:00:30] and marketing versus just sheer product innovation and genius, there are those moments where the product is just so powerful that it transcends the founder. I think Google is a good example. The original Google, the insight was like, it was so powerful as an insight segregating. Larry didn't need to market very much at all. Right? The thing spoke for its itself.

Leo Laporte (01:00:50):
It just happened. Yeah, yeah.

Sam Lessin (01:00:52):
Candidly, again, we can argue about this, but I would argue Facebook, early Facebook, the products spoke for itself. [01:01:00] And yes, I think there's a whole bunch of stories and people where it is all marketing and the marketing matters and dah, dah, dah. But the true, true innovators, the two people I admire the most are the people who pull these ideas or things whole cloth and they deliver them. And the marketing, not that it doesn't matter at a certain point, but the thing does its thing, and those are rare, but they're magic when they happen, when the text speaks for itself.

Leo Laporte (01:01:29):
Our business [01:01:30] is littered with examples like Instagram that just happened. It wasn't that Kevin Strom was such a good marketer. It was that it was the right product at the right time and it just hit people and they went, yeah.

Owen Thomas (01:01:44):
I think Elon Musk's genius though is marketing products that don't exist. I mean, he sells the future. He really does. The Tesla Roadster was never about buy this really expensive sports car. We're [01:02:00] going to sell this sports car, and that's going to fund the creation of a mainstream electric vehicle. And

Leo Laporte (01:02:06):
The contrarian argument is Tesla versus Edison, where arguably Tesla had the better technology, but Edison had the better marketing.

Sam Lessin (01:02:17):
And what I'd say about that, Leo, it's interesting, is I think a lot of technologists or people who kind of know the history revere Tesla and hate Edison, right? Edison's the one who changed the world. And I think that's kind of the reality of [01:02:30] these things is it depends how elitist you want to be about this to some degree and how much, and I think there's a lot to revere. I certainly revere what I consider the true innovators, the real breakthroughs, but I think it's hard to argue from a great man theory perspective that a lot of the times the people who bring it to market make it happen are kind of dicks, right? But they aren't the ones that change the world.

Leo Laporte (01:02:55):
Here's to the Dicks [01:03:00] Sam Lessen. There you go. We got Sam, we got Owen Thomas, we got Jason Heiner, we got a panel, we got a great panel. We will talk about Google the trial of the century. Perhaps it's a little early in the century to declare it, but it's going to be a big one in just a moment. But first a word from our sponsor. Aren't you glad you're watching today? Yeah. Thank you for being here. All three of you, our show today brought to you by Express V P N, internet Service providers, [01:03:30] ISPs, God, it just drives me. They're basically monopolies. They act, they're monopolies in the region, they serve and worse, not only do you not have a choice, but they log your internet activity and perfectly legally sell that data right along to data brokers or advertisers or whoever. If you want privacy on the internet, you've got to start with your I S P.

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Jason Hiner (01:07:07):
Hey, Leo, can I say something that relates to express PN and to the Google story we're going to talk about in a second? Yes. So Express VPN is the number one on our list of best VPNs. We also have on C net, we have them as our

Leo Laporte (01:07:19):
Unsolicited ladies and gentlemen, I've never met this man before in my life. Exactly. There's nothing up my sleeve. Go ahead.

Jason Hiner (01:07:26):
Was that was not a paid placement. [01:07:30] And then also Google, we're going to talk about their monopoly. What could be, like you said, maybe the trial of Century or for the decade? Well,

Leo Laporte (01:07:37):
It'll be up there with A D O J Sue and Microsoft in 1998. Anyway,

Jason Hiner (01:07:42):
Yeah, so I was on a podcast and I was live in person on this one with some people, and they were talking about these guys were so excited that Google Fiber was coming to their town and they were like, this is great. For all the reasons [01:08:00] we mentioned, broadband is a monopoly. They were tired of getting bad service competi and paying too much. So they're like, yes, Google is coming. And I said, I just remind you of one thing. Does Google the fact that Google has so much information on you, does that worry you at all? And they're like a little bit, and I'm like, who's the only entity on the internet that knows more about you than Google, [01:08:30] your I S P? And literally the color just drained from their faces.

Leo Laporte (01:08:34):
People forget about ISPs. And

Jason Hiner (01:08:37):

Leo Laporte (01:08:37):
Do not have the same incentives. Google does. They make more money when they sell your data off. That's good for them.

Jason Hiner (01:08:46):
That's right. And so at the time I was like this idea of Google becoming an ISP like this should freak us out a little more than it does because the access that you have to people to so much of that data, [01:09:00] unfiltered raw at that level is crazy. And I think it's one of the reasons not the Google fiber itself, because it has not taken off largely for a number of reasons that we don't have time to talk about here. But because it hasn't mean that there aren't still threats out there and that people should be worried about their is s p. And I think that's why VP

Leo Laporte (01:09:26):
Gotten think about Android, right? [01:09:30] Gee, if you could control 50 or 60% of all the smartphones in the world, that might be a good way to get information about people too, right? I mean, you have to wonder why did Google give away Android or do they really give away Android? Sure, there's an open source version of Android, but customers want the Googled version. And in fact, that's one of the issues in this case, it started this week, department of Justice says Google has monopoly [01:10:00] power. They're looking at a number of different issues, chief among which is the fact that Google spends nine to 12 billion a year to get Apple to make Google their default search on their phones. Which seems to me, I mean, I'm not sure why that would be, that's just good business. But okay, according to the D O J, Google has 90% of the search engine market in the United States, 91% [01:10:30] globally. That's a little bit of a problem. Google says, well, we're not the only choice, your Honor. What is the other choice? Binging? Is that what you're saying? Go ahead.

Sam Lessin (01:10:47):
Well, I was going to say there's a few things. The information is covered. This obviously extensively as everyone has,

Leo Laporte (01:10:52):
And a very good source of information on this. By the way, you've got Afra, you've got really good people inside Google.

Sam Lessin (01:10:58):
So a few things from [01:11:00] the information team's perspective, and I say this as an intern and reader of the information I've contributed zero to this. One is this is actually a surprisingly small case. The government's been after Google forever trying to figure out what the case is. As said,

Leo Laporte (01:11:15):
The State Attorney General Attorney's General, yeah.

Sam Lessin (01:11:19):
And the case is actually very narrowly scoped to a bunch of these search deals, which is in the spectrum of Google, a fairly small piece of the overall equation. Two is yes, they have very dominant [01:11:30] search share, but again, at least in the US, you have to show consumer harm, which is the key kind of fact on this. Not just being big is not a crime. And so figuring that out I think is a very interesting one. And then third, the biggest thing to keep in mind that's very different than the Microsoft case is you look across the spectrum and really no one's rooting against Google. There was a lot of people rooting against Microsoft in their antitrust case, but Google's done an incredibly good job, I think building a brand, [01:12:00] building communities, et cetera in a way that it's a little bit of a weird antitrust case because other than that, D O J, everyone's kind of like thinks it's kind of a nothing burger. And I think that's a very different,

Leo Laporte (01:12:10):
That's interesting really, is that the reaction in Silicon Valley is that this is not much of a case.

Sam Lessin (01:12:18):
That's certainly my reading of the tea leaves and the reporting I've seen on this, and certainly how I feel about it is, especially compared to Microsoft, it's a horse of a different color [01:12:30] is my take. I'm curious what other people think, but

Leo Laporte (01:12:34):
If you stipulated that, see, one of Google's defenses is, well, we got 90% of the web search market, but people use TikTok and Reddit and yeah, there's binging. Yeah, 90%, but it's not a monopoly, your Honor, but

Sam Lessin (01:12:54):
Well, it's also the 90% that's not illegal, right?

Leo Laporte (01:12:57):
No, but my counter to this is it is a [01:13:00] monopoly and it is misused because it's very clear that look at, first of all, Google search results sucked for years. Now all of a sudden they went from being the best to being full of lots. Everything above the fold is crap. And a lot of it points to Google Properties. So that's problem number one. This is the u EU went after them over shopping. Same thing. Number two, with the 90% dominance, Google Controls, who [01:13:30] is on the internet, if Google decided to de-list the information, you'd be out of business.

Sam Lessin (01:13:40):
Actually, we wouldn't, but I know you

Leo Laporte (01:13:43):
Publication wouldn't be, alright, alright. Let's say Joe's Donut shop, but this is,

Sam Lessin (01:13:49):
If they decided to block information emails to Gmail, that'd be a bigger problem.

Leo Laporte (01:13:53):
Well, and they could do that

Sam Lessin (01:13:55):
And they kind of do by putting 'em all into trying to put them in folders. But

Leo Laporte (01:13:59):
No, absolutely. [01:14:00] That's a lot of power and it's going to be hard to argue that they don't misuse that power. I think

Sam Lessin (01:14:07):
The best thing that's happened to Google is actually

Jason Hiner (01:14:10):
Chat G P T, because they're getting crushed so badly and so surprisingly by generative ai, you

Leo Laporte (01:14:20):
Almost have to wonder if they're making Bard be bad just to leave that.

Jason Hiner (01:14:25):
Oh, I don't think they are. They're super freaked out and they feel like they've missed it and they're [01:14:30] right. Think they're, they're right.

Sam Lessin (01:14:31):
I don't know. I think Bard's pretty great actually. Really? Are you guys using Bard?

Jason Hiner (01:14:35):
I think Bard's great.

Sam Lessin (01:14:37):
I think Bard's actually way better than gp.

Jason Hiner (01:14:39):
Candidly, what I, I think it's third place for sure.

Sam Lessin (01:14:43):
I think it depends where you're using it for.

Leo Laporte (01:14:45):
What do you use Bard for? Actually the notebook Lmm and the things like that where it's taking existing content and summarizing and is pretty good. But S G e, their search engine using AI [01:15:00] not so good and they have the same hallucination problem that chat G P T has in all data.

Sam Lessin (01:15:06):
That's a large language model problem. That's never going away. But

Jason Hiner (01:15:11):
I do think there's this worse or at least less precise maybe, but I think that it's the same way that one of the best things that happened to the iPhone was actually Android. If Android hadn't happened, one, it wouldn't be as competitive and also two Apple would be in a [01:15:30] world of hurt from, there's

Leo Laporte (01:15:31):
A long tradition of this. There's no mistake that Microsoft, Microsoft gave Apple $150 million when Apple was three weeks from the end of the runway because they had keep alive just to keep 'em alive. So there's a long story, this is a long history of that

Jason Hiner (01:15:46):
For sure, but I think that Google is, make no mistake, I think is all the challenges there are with generative ai and it is truly beta where, but when it gets it right, there are things that you're [01:16:00] like, I will absolutely go there instead of Google. For a lot of things that I used to try to go to Google or that I didn't go to Google. I knew Google just couldn't do very well, right?

Leo Laporte (01:16:09):
If the government is smart, they're going to bring in Neva, the founders of Neva, former Googlers who created I think an excellent search engine which had AI before even chat G P T, and had a very good search index that was their own and they had to go out of business. [01:16:30] They pivoted to become an AI company and sold to Snowflake and the CEO said this, we cannot compete against the default and Google is the default, and that's where it goes back to they pay 10 billion a year to be the default. I think that's if I'm, and by the way, this is an interesting case because there's no jury, this is just one person that's going to decide this case. You do you disagree with that, Sam? Is Neva not the perfect example? Example [01:17:00] of how Google is a dominant monopoly?

Jason Hiner (01:17:03):
You have to do what Sam said earlier. You have to build something that's clearly better, right? Because

Leo Laporte (01:17:07):
Google, but Neva was better. I used it. I paid, it was better and I paid five bucks a month. That's how much better it was.

Jason Hiner (01:17:14):
10 x it to be so much better though.

Owen Thomas (01:17:16):
10 it's better is the kind of tech standard it had to so

Jason Hiner (01:17:18):
Much better. Google was nowhere. Google was a research project and it came in and crushed Alta Vista, which had all the momentum, all the funding, all the backing. No, that's, but it was so much better.

Leo Laporte (01:17:29):
Google was the [01:17:30] exact example of what Sam was just talking about, which was it wasn't marketing. Although I remember going to a lunch in San Francisco in that park that Twitter and everybody is with Sergei and Larry very early on in Google and they gave us all little brio trains that spelled out Google and this was a very poor marketing attempt.

Jason Hiner (01:17:52):
Well, that's almost exactly my point, Leo. That was the best shot. That was it.

Leo Laporte (01:17:56):
No, their marketing was terrible, but because they were so good, they won. [01:18:00] Are they that good still?

Owen Thomas (01:18:03):
I think though, Leo, that you're confusing consumer marketing and product marketing or distribution. Sundar Phai built his career at Google on building distribution. He was behind Google toolbar, which was, oh God,

Leo Laporte (01:18:20):
I forgot about that.

Owen Thomas (01:18:22):
Which was a big way that Google got its search engine in front of people. They would do a deal with say Dell, to build Google toolbar [01:18:30] into every Dell pc,

Leo Laporte (01:18:31):
Which by the way, default,

Owen Thomas (01:18:34):
They could do that because of the earlier antitrust case against Microsoft, right? Microsoft could not block that even though they badly wanted to, and it's deals like this, the Verizon, apple, the deal to make Google the default search engine in iPhone safari searches, those are really important as a competitive mode, [01:19:00] and those deals have nothing to do with the quality of search. They do have a lot to do with the financial capability of search ads because they work, because Google can give a lot of money to its partners and still have a lot of margin to run its business on, but they're really important and I'd argue that's a form of marketing and it's a very powerful one. It's just not like a splashy ad or a

Leo Laporte (01:19:29):
Well, and that's [01:19:30] kind of what Google's in trouble for, right? John Victor writing in the information says Google has argued that it's search engine succeeded because it was superior, not because his search deals made it impossible for competitors like Microsoft's Bing to eat into its market share or Neva, the D O J says no, no. It's the complete other way around. I think it's true. Google's search engine was superior was, but it's maintained its dominance with these deals.

Sam Lessin (01:20:00):
[01:20:00] The funny thing is about the early Google Days search engine was better, but it was also just, I remember when it used to be you'd be setting up new computers or the internet, you didn't know if it was working. You'd always use Google. Is this alive because it was the only webpage that loaded in half a second. That's right, right?

Leo Laporte (01:20:13):

Sam Lessin (01:20:13):
Else was super late, so you'd be like that was literally you went there if you were at all into computers just to be like, is this thing alive or not? It's going to take me four years to load alta with all the ads they've stuck in it and so it was clearly [01:20:30] a better product. Now obviously better product doesn't get you to be a trillion dollar company. There's a lot that comes after better product, but I don't think negates better product out of the gate. They're both true.

Leo Laporte (01:20:43):
Yeah. Here is from Joe and our Discord in Europe. The Europe did this with the browser ballot with Microsoft. Here's the search ballot that the EU has proposed. What do you want to [01:21:00] install for your search? Google or Quant or DuckDuckGo or Eco or Cez and for your browser, I think you can make a more credible case that there are competitive browsers to Chrome. I don't use Chrome, I use Firefox, but who would choose quant? I mean really why? This

Sam Lessin (01:21:22):
Is the irony of all this EU baloney is like the EU comes up with the weirdest stuff in [01:21:30] an attempt for all sorts of reasons, and if I was a Google executive, I look at that, I'd be like, fine, if that's really important to you, fine at this point you can have your little search

Leo Laporte (01:21:39):
Because it means nothing because everybody's going to just choose Google. It doesn't change anything. What is the remedy though? Let's say, okay, judge Amit Meta, who's going to hear all this. Let's say he agrees with me and something has to be done, but what?

Sam Lessin (01:21:59):
Well, [01:22:00] they'll get fined and they'll fight it for a bajillion years and eventually in 20, you think

Leo Laporte (01:22:03):
Of fine fines, meaning everybody knows who fines meaningless at a company that makes billions of dollars a month.

Sam Lessin (01:22:10):
It'll be a big fine, but they'll fight it forever and then eventually they'll be some sort of moratorium where they'll have to not have an Apple deal or something and then I don't know how that plays out.

Leo Laporte (01:22:20):
Do you agree with me that Google sucks these days?

Jason Hiner (01:22:24):
Yes. I'll give you a good example. This is from two years ago when [01:22:30] right after the Apple event, week after, and it used to be you really wanted to have, the way that you got up high in search results was to get linked from a lot of people, so that was what the Google algorithm was always based on was like, could you, and today to a degree it's more complex than that, but the more people cite you, link to you and connect to you. That was the currency they used. [01:23:00] The algorithm, the main thing that drove the algorithm two years ago when I was at CNET at the time, and we looked the day after and we searched iPhone 13, I guess this was either iPhone 12 or iPhone 13, and we looked at that page and literally everything that was organic was way below, not just under the fold, Leos way under the fold there were and everything that was either white listed or paid, most of it was paid, was all [01:23:30] dominated and everything.

I'm like, there are six paid slots here and if you don't pay, you're just not even in the game. That's when it was a real red flag to me of like, oh, this is not about finding the best content and surfacing the best content and being the best algorithm to surface a thing that follows your intent the most. It was more about taking advantage of this very lucrative moment. Now, not every search is [01:24:00] that way, but I think it was emblematic of the problem that Google has this one leg economy, one legged economy based on their search revenue and they were just milking it for all that it's worth and it was no longer about how do we surface the best content for your

Sam Lessin (01:24:20):
Intent. Can I play devil's advocate?

Jason Hiner (01:24:22):
Sure, please.

Sam Lessin (01:24:23):
So I agree with you that it's full of ads, but to play devil's advocate, two factors [01:24:30] going on. One is I'd say the real problem is not Google. The real problem is the public internet is dying. The real problem is that there's not good content on the web and everything is algorithmically generated, and so you can put whatever you want into Google and you'll get an article that says whatever you want it

Leo Laporte (01:24:44):
To say, Sam, you can kind of blame Google for that though, Sam, because everybody's trying to game Google.

Sam Lessin (01:24:49):
I agree that they're part of the story and the cycle around that, but I think the net is, it's like content. There was a magical era, which we all are old enough to remember when [01:25:00] the internet is very utopian. Everyone's going to publish all this great content for free and we're going to have all the world's knowledge is going to be accessible to everyone, et cetera. Turns out economics rule everything and the reason the information's behind paywall and you guys are going behind paywalls and whatever is because good content's expensive and Wikipedia is this weird edge case that still exists, but I argue that that's kind of dying too in its own way and the upshot is,

Leo Laporte (01:25:28):
Wait a minute, Wikipedia is [01:25:30] dying. Don't say it. So the editor community, I mean usage keeps going up, but

Jason Hiner (01:25:38):
But the

Sam Lessin (01:25:38):
Editor community who's contributing, what are the viewpoints and how is it moderating?

Leo Laporte (01:25:42):
Yeah, we were learning that it's a tiny group of individuals.

Sam Lessin (01:25:46):
This is not shocking. I think there was a bunch of internet utopians who had this view, which I was there. I was there. I love

Leo Laporte (01:25:53):
It. I'm one of them.

Sam Lessin (01:25:55):
I think we probably all are here what we want, but the hard reality is that economics [01:26:00] rules these things, and so when you talk about Google search results, they say two things. One is Google can only be as good as the content that's free and public and accessible to it, which I think has been dramatically declining, getting worse on the internet over the last 15 to 20 years compared to what it could have been. Two, is it so wrong in the Google universe, in a world where everything's behind a paywall in an app and all the good content is to say that actually to some degree for most search terms, whoever's got the model to bid the most actually is [01:26:30] the right answer, and so it's not the internet of old, but you're looking for a used car in general. Whoever's running the best model that wants that traffic the best might actually be providing the best deal, and that's the devil advocate play to this. It's not what you and I

Leo Laporte (01:26:46):
Remember maybe or might not. I mean that's putting a lot of weight on economic success.

Sam Lessin (01:26:53):
It's an is a closed loop economy.

Leo Laporte (01:26:56):
They might be the best at making money,

Sam Lessin (01:27:00):
[01:27:00] But it's hard to be the best at making money if your product over the long term. Now, again, I'm playing devil's advocate. I'm not saying I fully believe this. I don't, right, but I think directionally it's important

Leo Laporte (01:27:10):
Tell protocol that

Sam Lessin (01:27:14):
Well, I mean look, you don't pay for what you got to pay. You have an economic model that's going to support what you're doing and drives and there is an unfortunate impact down. I

Leo Laporte (01:27:24):
Don't want to live in a world where the winners of the economic [01:27:30] game are the winners of winner takes all. I don't know if I want to live in that world. I understand. Look, you're in finance, Sam, I understand that, but that is not, to me, that is not the best way to judge quality.

Sam Lessin (01:27:48):
I think about where we're going, think about LLMs and where we're going with that and the economics that are going to surround that and what the algorithms think and don't think and where the data sources are and all that type of stuff. It's a whole, the chess board [01:28:00] of economics on this stuff has been dashed, so you worry about hallucinations, you learn about what answers you get back. These are all very interrelated problems of who pays for what content that shows up where and what's getting surfaced to people, and I think Google existed early on in a moment where it was a very utopian internet and it was awesome and they closed the loop on that in a beautiful way.

Leo Laporte (01:28:22):
Are we in dystopia now? Is this dystopia?

Sam Lessin (01:28:26):
I'd say realism, dystopian strong, but I'd [01:28:30] say realistic.

Leo Laporte (01:28:31):
See, so look how expensive LLMs are to run, so eventually somebody's going to have to pay for this stuff and

Sam Lessin (01:28:41):
It's they're going to get way cheaper. They're going to get way cheaper. Way

Jason Hiner (01:28:43):
Cheaper, yeah, they'll get way cheaper.

Leo Laporte (01:28:45):
Agreed. How is that? Because what is the economy of scale there like

Jason Hiner (01:28:50):
Cost per watt and all the cost of basically power and compute LLMs are just completely about power and compute and the cost of those things,

Leo Laporte (01:29:00):
[01:29:00] Cost of power going down

Jason Hiner (01:29:02):
With renewables.

Sam Lessin (01:29:03):
We're getting much more, they're incredibly inefficient the way they're set up right now and get better. You're going to be running an L l M on your phone in the next five to 10 years,

Owen Thomas (01:29:11):

Jason Hiner (01:29:12):
Yeah, for sure.

Leo Laporte (01:29:14):

Owen Thomas (01:29:15):
I hope I have another thought on. I have another thought on these.

Sam Lessin (01:29:19):
For what it's worth, I won't be because I'll still be on my iPhone. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:29:22):
Not on your mini baby. Not on the mini. Go ahead Owen.

Owen Thomas (01:29:26):
Just another thought on the economics of it and Google's power, Google [01:29:30] has willy-nilly not even knowing what it was doing, shaped entire media economies. When you think about how Google AdWords created this blog revolution in the early two thousands, how the YouTube partner program basically created the video land rush. It's really fascinating to think about and that power of Google, again, partly funded by this cash [01:30:00] machine that they have throwing off that they can kind of funnel into other stuff.

Leo Laporte (01:30:06):
We started this conversation with what if Judge Meta rules against Google, what are his remedies? I think Sam fine is nonsense. It's nothing. It's a slap on the wrist. I would say, Owen, that the remedy is to force Google to stop playing both ends of the ad game to divest to get out of [01:30:30] many of the businesses that they're in. If Google were pure search play, they'd have to be better because they'd be competing. This to me is the antitrust issue. They don't have to be a good search engine.

Sam Lessin (01:30:42):
I'm not sure that's in scope for this trial.

Leo Laporte (01:30:44):
Well, it may not be. You're right, in which case there won't be resolved, but really the monopoly problem here is that Google does not have to be a good search engine because they're not competing as a search engine.

Owen Thomas (01:30:58):
A lot of people have said that [01:31:00] breaking up Google and YouTube would be fantastic for competition because YouTube is now big enough that it can kind of stand

Leo Laporte (01:31:08):
YouTube. I don't know though if you YouTube helps Google, I mean it makes money for Google. I think the ads are the big issue and the fact that Google both buys and sells that Google owns both ends of the market. You're right, that's probably not in the scope of this trial. It is in the scope of one of the trials is over this, is it in the eu? I can't remember now

Jason Hiner (01:31:30):
[01:31:30] To exactly that point, so I'm double clicking on that. Leo is, for example, on those pages where when I was at cnet, and we do this as ZDNet too, but CNET is much larger and so the impact was much more significant was that the landing on those pages, we were essentially competing with Google. Google was putting its own product placements there right ahead of something that we were trying to do [01:32:00] to say, Hey, we've created this coverage of a product and we are trying to rank based on what the traditional rules of the game have been, and instead Google is competing with us. It wants you to stay on the Google page and click on its product, click widget shopping widget for that. That's where it starts to feel like, Ooh, now we're competing with Google for something and Google has complete control over this. [01:32:30] That's where it starts to feel like, Ooh, it's already been enough of a challenge with the media. The way Google has reshaped media and things like that is another place where Google is stepping in and has some clear conflict of interest or at least monopolistic the ability to abuse its monopoly of that search engine page. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:32:52):
This week's suit really your right, Sam, the scope of this is just should Google be buying default search, [01:33:00] but in January, the Department of Justice and the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia sued Google for monopolizing digital advertising technologies. It's the exact thing you were just talking about, Jason, they own the entire chain, the entire ad tech stack, and I don't know what the status of that suit is, but it's pretty clear that that is they own the sell side and the buy side. That's [01:33:30] That's wrong, right? It's bad for the information. It's bad for everybody.

Sam Lessin (01:33:35):
I just think it's like, look, the story. In some ways the government's really good at fighting last generation's battle, right? To some degree that's kind of what they like to do and the reality is, Jason, you're worried about them competing on search result page with a and with sending traffic to a welcome to L l M land, they're not even going to send to you.

Leo Laporte (01:33:54):
Yeah. They just chew up your masticate content and regurgitate [01:34:00] it into the mouth to be a user.

Sam Lessin (01:34:02):
You just say, what did ZDNet say about buying? Well, here's what they

Jason Hiner (01:34:06):
That's right.

Sam Lessin (01:34:06):
The thing that came in mind and I think is like, look, one of the great missteps if you ask me in media history was early on Google did convince all the publishers to make their content free and available on the theory that the traffic was going to drive this big ad business for them and it was worth just giving up all their content to Google for that. That was an unforced and awful error [01:34:30] on the pop part of a lot of the media world, awful and unforced, and they just got convinced and they were suckered in by the free traffic. I think the question that for the l Lmm generation and we're going forward is how are publishers? It is kind of fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me thing with the LLMs and where we're going, which is people are smarter this time around and where we're going with borrowed, et cetera, and they're going to say, no, that's not a deal I'm willing to take, and they

Jason Hiner (01:34:59):
Are [01:35:00] true largely, especially since they agreed to pay Reuters. Now all the rest of the media companies are like, oh, we're going to block ours until you cut a deal with us to use. Well, but

Sam Lessin (01:35:12):
Even that, I mean that that's a sucker deal to get paid for it, and so that's kind of the next generation of the deal if that happens, but we'll see. It's going to be fascinating.

Leo Laporte (01:35:22):
Alright, let me take a break. There's still so many stories to talk about and I mean with this team, this is a fantastic panel. [01:35:30] There's nothing we can't do. Owen Thomas, San Francisco Business Times new managing editor, congratulations on the job, Sam Lessen, who is I think the rest of your life you're going to be an intern at the information. I hate to tell you this, I don't. That

Sam Lessin (01:35:45):
Seems to be the direction we're

Leo Laporte (01:35:46):
Going. I think you hit the glass ceiling. It's, it's sad, but it's

Sam Lessin (01:35:50):
Such a low ceiling. It's wild

Leo Laporte (01:35:54):
Love Sam, and I've loved you since, which was you said 2007. [01:36:00] Wow.

Sam Lessin (01:36:01):
I think so. Seven, eight era.

Leo Laporte (01:36:02):
I was so mad when you sold that because I used it like crazy. It was such a good tool.

Sam Lessin (01:36:08):
I wasn't,

Leo Laporte (01:36:11):
I'm sure that the economics of it were probably not very good, but I loved it. Anyway, great to have you on Sam, and by the way, Sam has a new podcast that he does with Jessica Lessen, Dan Morin and Britt Morin Less and More, and that is such a good idea for his show. Everybody [01:36:30] should more or less, more or less check it out more or less so they got top billing, huh? I would've thought Thank you. Might've it made less and more and then you'd be Well,

Sam Lessin (01:36:41):
Optimism first.

Leo Laporte (01:36:41):
You should have said less is more. How about that? That would've been, that would've been,

Sam Lessin (01:36:46):
Leo, where were you when we were having the planning

Leo Laporte (01:36:47):
This stuff? Yeah, see, see, I got no other skill, but the naming podcast and Jason Heiner from z D net. He's the E I C over there. Let's just keep doing this show every [01:37:00] week. This is so good. I appreciate you guys so much. Our show day, brought to you by Mint Mobile. I appreciate Mint Mobile. I've been a Mitt Mobile customer for the longest time, and I wonder why people pay more because you get such great premium wireless for $15 a month, and sure there's inflation at Mitt Mobile, but not in the price. The amount of data you get for the price keeps going up. It is an amazing deal. Mint Mobile, the first company to [01:37:30] sell premium wireless service online only no stores, so you order from home and you save a ton. Plans start at $15 a month, and that includes, in fact, all their plans include unlimited, nationwide talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest five G network.

This is the best. If you even have any doubts, go get your cell bill. Look at it. Look how much you're paying. It's going [01:38:00] to be 70, 80, $90 a month and then okay, fine. Okay, fine, and then look how much data you're using. Three gigs a month, four gigs, five gigs, 20. Do you need unlimited mint Mobile has it all and it all starts at $15 a month. Unbelievable. Use your own phone, they'll send you a sim or you can use an eim if it's an EIM phone and you can keep your number. They'll port [01:38:30] it right over. Keep your phone, keep your contacts, keep everything. Or they cell phones. I bought an iPhone se. Look at that. 15 bucks a month switch to Mint Mobile. Get premium wireless service starting at $15 a month and get your new wireless plan right now. Ship to your door for slash twit. Just do yourself a favor, just look at what youre spending on your cell bill right now. What would you do? How would you feel if you could cut it to $15 a month, all in no secret hidden fees or nothing? Cut your wireless bill 15 [01:39:00] bucks a month, mint That is the best look, that is the best economic advice of all that. 15 bucks a month, mint

Jason Hiner (01:39:15):
The Mint mobile thing reminds me of something real quick that would be good for us to remind the users, listeners, which is with the iPhone. If you are upgrading to iPhone 15 and you don't have the, hopefully you're not, if you have the 14, you're not crazy. People [01:39:30] like me and Leo who buy the new ones every year, then remember that you have to move to an EIM only if you are in the us so you cannot move your SIM if you have a phone and you're just buying it and you want to move your SIM to it. Now, that's not most people, but if you are, then you have to switch to eim and so you It's

Leo Laporte (01:39:52):
Pretty painless though, right? It

Jason Hiner (01:39:53):
Is pretty painless, and if you run into challenges, they'll walk you through it. Mitt Mobile is actually really good at it. I have [01:40:00] a number of account test accounts that I Yeah, me

Leo Laporte (01:40:03):
Too. I have all, yeah,

Jason Hiner (01:40:04):
Because I have to test different phones, so I have one on, it's like 180 bucks a year, just like you said. It's amazing. It's very easy. It's great. Theirs was one of the ones that's super easy. They have a good process to move it, but remember that and think about that. It might take you a little bit of extra, it might take you an extra moment, especially if it hiccups or anything, not on any of the carriers. So when you're doing your, just [01:40:30] plan for that. If you're moving from an iPhone 13 or earlier where you have a physical sim to a 15 or even if you're buying the 14 because it's still available this year. If you're upgrading, remember that you have to make that transfer to an essem and that process is pretty great except when it isn't, and so just make sure you leave a little bit of time to make sure that's going to work. All

Leo Laporte (01:40:51):
Right. I bought the 15, it's coming on Friday, but I had the 14 pro and I wanted to give it to my sister. I was [01:41:00] visiting with her back east this week, and I was a little worried because first thing I get the sim, I said, you got a earring back or a paperclip I can use? And I got it out and I got out my off iPhone 14. I said, where's,

Jason Hiner (01:41:13):
Oh, shoot, there's no, like

Leo Laporte (01:41:17):
I said, oh, I forgot, it's eim. So she had an iPhone 12, which had a sim. It was painless. The phone to phone update it even said, I see your T-Mobile on this phone, shall I transfer it over [01:41:30] to this phone? And with an eim, your old sim, you can throw it away. It's deactivated and it worked, and it all took half an hour, copied everything over. I have to say, this is something they've really got. They haven't figured out how to buy it conveniently, but once you get it, the transfer was pretty easy. But you're right, it may not be so be aware. It's a good thing.

Jason Hiner (01:41:51):
It's great until it isn't, and then if it isn't, you might have to make a, just don't do it 30 minutes before you're, it's true. Don't do it 30 minutes before you have a really [01:42:00] important phone call or a job interview or something.

Leo Laporte (01:42:03):
We got to move fast. I got a bunch of stories. Sam's got to get going. The Airbnb apocalypse in New York City, New York City decided to crack down on short-term rentals this week. That crackdown took effect. Thousands of Airbnbs gone from New York City, 70% city has started enforcing a law that says you [01:42:30] have to register your home, that you have to be there. See, I never read an Airbnb where the owners are there. That's like, I don't want that. Then I'm a guest in their house. I don't like that. August, there were 22,000 short-term listings in New York City as of September 5th, 6,841. How does Airbnb succeed if cities decide, and by the way, I should say, there's a reason [01:43:00] why New York did this. It's a housing shortage and people are buying apartments, buying houses, renting apartments, not to live in, but to rent 'em out.

Jason Hiner (01:43:10):
And there's already an inventory shortage of housing. And so in the big cities, people are buying these properties to rent or to put on Airbnb, and now people that want to live in the houses are having to, one, if they can find one and get an offer in on time, they're having to pay 20, 30% above asking [01:43:30] price, and it's just gotten out of hand. And this needed a crackdown, and I think that the time is overdue and you're going to see other places. Hawaii had already started to do it. I believe Paris is looking at doing it because so much of their inventory, housing inventory had been bought up by it.

Leo Laporte (01:43:46):
Would you short Airbnb at this point? Is this trouble

Jason Hiner (01:43:50):
Or, I don't buy tech stocks, but not, neither do I Airbnb.

Leo Laporte (01:43:55):
I don't even know what shorting is. I wouldn't know how to do it if you had a gun in my head.

Jason Hiner (01:44:00):
[01:44:00] But yeah, I do think it will be a challenge for Airbnb, especially for the next five years because this housing, this inventory shortage is not going to be fixed soon. It takes time to build houses, and so I'd say the next five years, they're going to be tough for them or there's going to be to be

Leo Laporte (01:44:18):

Jason Hiner (01:44:18):

Sam Lessin (01:44:21):
I think it's just the general trend of the regionalization and the fragmentation of the internet. Good point. The end of our globalized utopia [01:44:30] of openness, and so you have Europe cracking down and doing their own thing on internet companies. You have cities cracking down on Airbnb and Uber and all those stuff. It is fine. They should control their own destiny in terms of how they want to approach supply and the cost of places, et cetera. It Airbnb will survive through this, right? They'll be the only game in town doing certain things. The reality,

Leo Laporte (01:44:52):
We're going to Airbnb in Green Bay in a couple of weeks and it's great. It's got near the stadium so we can walk to the game. It's [01:45:00] got a barbecue pit in the backyard and Green Bay, Wisconsin doesn't really care if Airbnb does business in Green Bay. That's right. No, and they

Jason Hiner (01:45:07):
Have already won. I mean, they have more inventory. They have more room inventory than the top five hotel chains combined at this point. Airbnb does. Wow. I think it's quote me on that. Don't put that in a story, but I think that's the number.

Owen Thomas (01:45:23):
And by the way, Airbnb is in the hotel booking business too, so they have a hedge against cities doing this. They bought hotel [01:45:30] tonight in 2019, and it's kind of compatible. Hotel Tonight is, at this point, it's full service booking, but they kind of specialize in that last minute. I need a place to stay. And so Airbnb could, in theory, just divert people to Hotel Tonight Rooms that it has

Leo Laporte (01:45:51):
Available. And incidentally, if you are in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, we're going to do a nice meetup at the Hitter Land Brewery, September 29th. Put that save the date, put [01:46:00] that in your, I thought

Sam Lessin (01:46:00):
You were going to say you're doing nice meetup at the Airbnb. Just

Leo Laporte (01:46:03):
Exactly what come over to the Airbnb. It's going to be great. We're going to have Kil Baa and Bratwurst and everybody. It'll be fun. It'll be

Jason Hiner (01:46:12):
Fun. Airbnb is also starting to sell experiences too. They have a great app. They have a great system. I've seen

Leo Laporte (01:46:17):
Those ads. Those ads are really, they make me want to do it. They're really good. They find unusual rentals and yeah, that really looks like fun. That's

Jason Hiner (01:46:26):
Kind of what I was thinking about when I said getting creative. If the inventory issue [01:46:30] starts to become and they get cracked down in some of these big touristy cities, then I think you're likely to see them pivot into putting more energy into some things like that.

Leo Laporte (01:46:39):
What about the end of the day? Go ahead. Yeah,

Sam Lessin (01:46:42):
I'd just say it's the same trend. It's the end of the day. It's like, look, these tech companies went from things people didn't care about to these huge successes people didn't expect very quickly. And now everyone wants their pound of flesh where they're going to get it, and if the cities want their pound of flesh, they'll crack down or drive prices up. They'll put fees in. It's just [01:47:00] a big negotiation. Airbnb is big enough and far enough along they'll do just fine and that meta negotiation meanwhile, meanwhile,

Leo Laporte (01:47:09):
Don't invest in WeWork. I hear they're not doing all that. Well,

Sam Lessin (01:47:13):
This might be the moment. It's probably free.

Leo Laporte (01:47:15):
That's cheap. Yeah, actually, they pay you to buy their stock. It's a great deal. Whose business model? I'm a little worried about Unity. This was a nightmare week for Unity. It's a game engine that is widely used effects. It's the only game engine that [01:47:30] you can use on Apple. They don't like Epic so much, and Unreal Engine is not preferred, but Unity decided they're going to raise the fees for developers. They're going to charge per installation 20 cents per installation if you get more than 200,000 downloads. And developers are revolting. And I'm not talking about their personal hygiene. I'm talking about the fact that they don't want to kind of this retroactive fees. [01:48:00] It'll be interesting to see Unity, I suspect will back off in the long run. Any of you follow the game development industry? Maybe this is one just to move on.

Sam Lessin (01:48:11):
Not super deeply, but I would just say again, I think that's actually the thing I think it's a little bit related to is what Nvidia is up to also where they're trying to build their own cloud and get deeper relationships with their customers and get to a position where they can basically extract, basically create more defensibility in their model and then also just [01:48:30] extract more value from the people that are using them most deeply as opposed to just selling a commodity or selling something shrink wrapped off in some way, shape or form. So whether or not Unity pulls it off, I think it just depends how differentiated they really are and how much people need them versus have they overplayed their hand and they're more of a commodity than they think they are.

Leo Laporte (01:48:51):
There's not many alternatives. I mean, if you're a game that's written on Unity, it's not like you're going to go out and write your own engine tomorrow. So you might [01:49:00] be stuck. And maybe that's why there's so much angst over this.

Owen Thomas (01:49:03):
I think it does highlight how delicate these kind of system economics are when you create something that's widely used and people kind of build it into their businesses and then you change the terms. I mean, Elon Musk did this when he took over Twitter and basically vaporized a whole economy of Twitter dependent apps.

Leo Laporte (01:49:27):
Speaking of vaporizing, the French has decided [01:49:30] that the iPhone 12 is dangerous, dangerous radiation and has halted sales for all iPhone twelves. Fortunately. So is Apple with the announcement of the iPhone 15. So I don't know if it's going to be the end of the line, but how did this get through? Apple said, we passed all the tests. Should people using, my mom uses an iPhone 12, should I tell her to stop using it French? This is

Jason Hiner (01:49:58):
A little boy. This is [01:50:00] almost kind of a little bit of an exasperating story because it's levels of radiation that have not been found to be toxic in human cells that are out there for a four year old phone that's been tested and been through lots of tests. And one French agency is like, but in our tests. So I feel like this is one of those stories that just like one person wrote one really egregious [01:50:30] headline and then it just across the internet, now you've got Reuters covering it. I could be wrong about this, but this is what this story feels like to me. Well,

Sam Lessin (01:50:39):
And it feels like two things. It feels like some regulator wanted some not important win to get some minor promotion somewhere and wanted to create some noise for their little agency, and then some reporter wanted some clicks and kind of ran with it. And so it's kind of the degenerate case of government and business and reporting all in once.

Leo Laporte (01:50:58):
So the chairman [01:51:00] of the International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection, which sets the standard on this radiation, said, well, it's not as if this is putting anyone at risk. So I think you're

Sam Lessin (01:51:12):
Right. Well, that guy's psyched who's ever heard of that guy before Rodney? He's like, great.

Leo Laporte (01:51:16):

Sam Lessin (01:51:16):
My moment to get a quote in.

Leo Laporte (01:51:17):
It's not as if it's going to hurt anybody.

Sam Lessin (01:51:22):
Look, my personal bet is these things are probably all, I mean, realistically, they're almost certainly killing us. Not

Leo Laporte (01:51:28):
The many. That's why the mini, ah, [01:51:30] they're all killing us. It's so great. Except

Jason Hiner (01:51:31):
The mini. It's

Leo Laporte (01:51:32):
Just little.

Sam Lessin (01:51:32):
That's why you kind of do the speakerphone and just hold it really far away from you. There's no chance. I mean, let's be honest, in 50 years we'll look back and realize they're definitely killing us somehow, right?

Leo Laporte (01:51:43):
Everything's killing us somehow.

Jason Hiner (01:51:46):
This is the microwave ovens of today. People had a fear for them for literally decades. They tested and tested and tested. They didn't find anything that was damaging to [01:52:00] human cells. Yeah, I feel like there's just a lot of headline traffic chasing on this and grandstanding. It doesn't look very real to me. That said, apple has responded. I think Apple's kind of like, you know what released a software patch that

Leo Laporte (01:52:19):
It turns it down. Now you can't call anybody, but your phone is harmless.

Sam Lessin (01:52:25):
That's okay, because then you'll upgrade to the next phone. That's great. We're going to turn down the radiation

Leo Laporte (01:52:29):
On all phones. [01:52:30] Sam Less. I know you have to go. We're going to let you go. It's so great to talk to you. He is

Sam Lessin (01:52:36):
Great to see you guys permanent

Leo Laporte (01:52:37):
Intern at the information. Listen to their new podcast, more or less podcast and of course general partner at Slow Ventures. Sam, always a pleasure. Thank you for being here. Nice to see you guys. Thanks for having me. Take care. Sam, we have a few more things to do if you want to stick around. Owen and Jason, you got a minute? Yes sir. Alright. Yes sir. But before we continue on, perhaps [01:53:00]  There you go. That was our AI creating soda segment. Didn't see that one coming. Hey, special thanks to both Jason Snell, Jason Snell, Jason Howell and Micah Sargent for filling in for me on this weekend. Google Security now Windows Weekly, letting me go out to Rhode Island to visit. Mom and I did do a of part of the Apple thing in Mackbury quickly from Rhode Island. You know, I have a real [01:55:00] appreciation, Jason and Owen now for, this is hard to do if you're not in the studio. I didn't realize how hard actually you can be. I apologize for you used to it torturing you guys, plus you've got that awesome wing chair, like someday Covid will be over and you all, you can come back. You can visit.

Jason Hiner (01:55:21):
We'll be back. You know what that promo reminded me of is, you know who I bet doesn't have an iPhone 13 mini, is Mike a sergeant? [01:55:30] I actually listened to the Mac Break weekly and Micah was on instead of Snell because he was at Apple, right? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, which was great. It was actually,

Leo Laporte (01:55:42):
Snell loves the, but it's the end of the line. They're not going to make any more. That's one of the things they didn't announce, but one of the outcomes of going to the iPhone 15 is it's the end of the line for the mini. Now we

Jason Hiner (01:55:52):
Can tell Snow where you can go to get

Leo Laporte (01:55:53):
One. Yeah. We know somebody who has 10 of them. We know somebody who's got 10. He's only selling 'em at four times face value, so [01:56:00] that's a good deal. If you love the Mini, this is a horrible story. It makes me mad. Ransomware folks have been at it again. They hit Save the Children, XV Underground bragged on their website. They hit an organization, an N G O, which employs about 25,000 people and has helped more than a billion kids since it was founded in 1919. They called [01:56:30] it the world's leading nonprofit. They stole almost seven terabytes of data, including HR files, personal data, 800 gigabytes of financial data. Can you get much lower than attacking Save the Children? That's just horrific.

Owen Thomas (01:56:49):
Yeah, it's pretty. I think it highlights that a lot of these nonprofits, even one with 25,000 employees is they are [01:57:00] not at the cutting edge of cybersecurity and they are very vulnerable. I've noticed Google advertising, its cybersecurity products as kind of its pitch for Google Cloud, and I think it's interesting. I mean, I don't think they're trying to exactly exploit incidents like this, but it does seem like a selling point that if your company's core business [01:57:30] is not building it and building cybersecurity, why don't you outsource that to someone who

Leo Laporte (01:57:36):
It's not easy. I mean, you would think that M G M, they've got lots of money that they would have pretty good cybersecurity given that they run most of Las Vegas. They also got hit by a ransomware attack and apparently, according to the ransomware folks, it was easy. It was a 10 minute call to the help desk. They [01:58:00] said they went to LinkedIn, they looked up some names of some employees called the Help desk, said, I can't get into my system. The help desk underline help said, oh yeah, we can help you do that, and bam, the bad guys are in. This was right after Social

Owen Thomas (01:58:15):

Leo Laporte (01:58:16):
Yeah, social engineering, and so you've got to presume they've got great perimeter defenses but didn't work. I've seen images of long lines at the hotels. Casino games shut down. [01:58:30] It's got to be costing them a lot of money. Earlier Caesar's had been broken into Caesar's apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal paid half of the $30 million as attackers was demanding just to get them to promise not to release stolen customer data.

Jason Hiner (01:58:53):
There are some systemic issues here like the ransomware problem, and it is a serious problem. [01:59:00] This group was a Chinese group. A lot of these ransomware that they're essentially organized crime that are running these things a lot of times in Eastern Europe or in Asia, in places where there are very high youth. Unemployment is where these things crop up and they are businesses. When we did some research on this a few, about five years ago when tech Republicans Z Net did [01:59:30] some research on these hacker groups, they have HR departments, they have hiring

Owen Thomas (01:59:40):

Leo Laporte (01:59:40):
It's mind boggling. It

Jason Hiner (01:59:41):
Is so professionalized and their job is to go out and do these kinds of things because they don't have, largely in society, they don't have better things for them to do, and so I know maybe that's a little beyond the scope of our podcast, but I think

Leo Laporte (01:59:58):
In some cases it's government though [02:00:00] the The Children hack was from China, as you say. The M G M hack was apparently a Russian based gang known as Black Cat. They've been very active. If they aren't governmental, at least in Russia, operate with the tacit approval of the government. They're not running away from government law enforcement. That's why they can have an HR department.

Owen Thomas (02:00:26):
I mean, there's kind of this tacit encouragement [02:00:30] of and illicit economy because those same assets, it's kind

Leo Laporte (02:00:36):
Of like they're also undermining the west. I mean, don't you think Russia loves it when Caesar's is shut down due to a hack?

Owen Thomas (02:00:45):
Absolutely. It's kind of like Merchant Marine. You want your

Leo Laporte (02:00:50):
Private tier in an earlier era. Privateering era. Yeah. Yeah. Holy mackerel.

Jason Hiner (02:00:56):
That's a good analogy.

Leo Laporte (02:00:57):
What a world, [02:01:00] California, this is a final story. We'll wrap it up. California has passed a very strong right to repair Act guaranteeing seven years of parts for your iPhone with surprisingly the support of Apple. They finally, I think just said, ah, the writing's on the wall. We're going to support this Apple. I think it did get some concessions in terms of security and so forth.

Owen Thomas (02:01:24):
I think Apple can afford to provide those tools. Is it Apple kind of [02:01:30] creating a moat where the smaller Android sellers, Android may be bigger than iPhone overall, but each individual Android maker is smaller and it puts a cost of support and maintenance on its competitors that they're maybe less equipped to bear. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:01:49):
A good point. Of course. So anyway, a victory, I guess for the good guys. Sam Dystopia is not here, so he can't tell us why. This is [02:02:00] just one more piece of the rotting fiber of America, but anyway, we'll wait and see. It is a little suspicious that Apple thinks it's such a good idea. Alright, kids, I think you guys have done Yeoman's work helping me put this show together. We thank Sam Lessen, of course, from the information. Thank you so much, Owen Thomas, and congratulations on the new job managing editor San Francisco [02:02:30] Business Times. Now, I remember that you used to be able to get that for free at news kiosks and stuff, but now do you subscribe to that? How do you get it? It's online. Look at this.

Owen Thomas (02:02:46):
Yeah, it's primarily a subscription business, so if you click into any of those, you will ah, very likely get a paywall message.

Leo Laporte (02:02:53):
That's fine. Having worked at somebody that wasn't charging anything, you probably realized the necessity [02:03:00] of charging

Owen Thomas (02:03:02):
At Protocol. We were certainly talking about creating paywall to products, maybe not the main website, but I

Leo Laporte (02:03:10):
Was so sad. I love protocol, but you need to have a business model, I guess. Right,

Owen Thomas (02:03:16):
And the parent company, American City Business Journals has been around for decades and they've worked out those economics.

Leo Laporte (02:03:26):
I'm so glad you've landed there. It's a perfect place for you and [02:03:30] you're smarts and you might want to give that tree behind you a little bit of water. It looks a little raggedy up at the top there. I'm just saying. Just saying no, does

Owen Thomas (02:03:38):
Taste I'll talk to my gardener.

Leo Laporte (02:03:40):
Oh, and always a pleasure. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. And you, Jason Hino, what can I say? I love Jason, one of the great people in the business full of heart and yet very successful editor-in-chief at ZDNet. Just shows you nice guys can finish first. Thank you.

Jason Hiner (02:04:00):
[02:04:00] Thank you. That's kind of you to say, and I do want to send congrats to Owen two on his gig. They're very lucky to have him. Owen and I have known for a long time. We bumped into each other at a C E S dinner of some sort. I remember one time years ago, and so it's

Leo Laporte (02:04:18):
A small world. This tech journalism,

Owen Thomas (02:04:20):
We'll always have Vegas.

Leo Laporte (02:04:23):
It's funny, I bumped into Owen at a Golden Gate Theater at a Broadway musical, so there [02:04:30] you

Jason Hiner (02:04:30):
Go. Oh, nice.

Leo Laporte (02:04:31):

Jason Hiner (02:04:32):
That would've been a much funner place in some sense, but what was the

Leo Laporte (02:04:36):
Show? Was it Working Tech? Was it the Book of Mormon? I think it was Hamilton. Hamilton. Oh, nice. Was Hamilton nice? I saw it in New York, and then I saw it in San Francisco and it's such a good show. What a good show that was. Love that. So nice. You saw it twice. Ah, yes, exactly.

Jason Hiner (02:04:51):
Amazing show. My favorite

Leo Laporte (02:04:52):
Too. Yeah. Yeah. I think we've talked about that before. It's funny how time flies, [02:05:00] ladies and gentlemen. We thank you so much for joining us. I invite you to join Club Twit to support what we're doing, the paywall. It's not a paywall. I almost called Sam out on that. We don't have a paywall. We offer all these shows ad supported for free, and we hope to always do so, but I have to say, it's not easy these days. All podcasters are seeing a drop off in advertising. We're not sure why, but it's just getting a lot harder to sell ads, and that means it's, we rely [02:05:30] on you, our community to keep this show and all of our shows going. It's easy to do. Just join Club Twit, seven bucks a month. You get ad free versions of all the show because you're paying us.

You don't get the ads, you don't get any of the trackers or any of that stuff. You also get access to the Club Twit Discord, which is a fantastic community where you can chat with us, all our hosts and with each other, and then of course, the Twit plus feed, which has shows we don't put out. Those are paywall. Some of them like Hands-on Macintosh with Micah Sargent Hands [02:06:00] on Windows with Paul Ott, the Untitled Linux Show, Scott Wilkinson's Home Theater Geeks, and we do those because the Club Twit family pays for 'em and they're new shows. They don't have any advertisers. That's how we launch new shows, so if you want us to keep doing these shows, if you want us to launch new shows, if you want to show your support for what is now the longest Running Tech podcast network in America in the world, I think, although I haven't checked some places [02:06:30] in much of the world, you can just do that by going to twit tv slash club twit and I thank you in advance for that.

Our show is available to watch live, as with most of our programming at the live feed, which is Live twit tv. That runs day and night, and if there's shows going on, then we'll show you the production of those shows, TWIT TV slash Live Live twit tv. If you're watching Live Chat live, our I R C is open to all. I just got the bill for another year of I R C, so [02:07:00] I'm going to pay that bill. Don't worry, oed, don't worry. Scooter X, we're going to pay that bill as soon as I get some money. We're going to pay that bill. We also have the Club Twit Discord if you're a Club Twit member after the fact on-demand versions of the show available at twit tv. Our website also on YouTube, there's a dedicated channel on YouTube and probably the best thing to do is subscribe in your favorite podcast player. That way you'll always have the latest edition of this weekend. 10. Thank you, Owen. Thank [02:07:30] you Jason. Thank you, Sam. Thanks to all of you for listening. We'll see you next time. Another twit is in the Can.

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