Control your data: This week on Track Changes Paul and Rich sit down to chat about storage and subscriptions. We talk about Paul’s new network attached storage setup and why we consider it to be the third wave of computing. We also talk about ongoing and annoying online software subscriptions and Rich gives us some good tips on how to remember to cancel those subscriptions before your free months run out.
Paul Ford It’s time you learned to type.
Rich Ziade Me?
PF Yeah. [Music plays alone for 16 seconds, ramps down] So, remember our last episode where we said we were gonna make an intranet for Postlight?
RZ [Suspicious] Yeah.
PF Turns out that we have one.
RZ We do?
PF Yeah, it’s Basecamp and everyone’s organized all the documents and critical docs [music fades out] that you need in order to do your work at Postlight.
PF Yeah, and we get yelled at a lot cuz we don’t use Basecamp that much, where everybody else does.
RZ I don’t like it.
PF I don’t either.
RZ You know what? That’s not enough. If 30 people are working on Basecamp, I can go on Basecamp and—
PF I go on. I use it to do to-dos and stuff, it just—it doesn’t lock into my brain.
RZ I’m not gonna have an argument with Gina while she’s not here—
RZ But I have things to say about this.
PF I just wanna let everyone know that we’re looking forward to this: Gina is going to come on—Gina Trapani, one of the Managing Partners at Postlight, brought this up with me. I said, “Do you wanna come on the podcast and just tell us how we screwed it up?” And she said, “Absolutely.” So, just something for our listeners to look forward to.
RZ I mean, I’m down. It’s like, you ever see when they do the press conference before the UFC match and they both stare at each other [that’s really—] and one person bumps into the other and then next thing you know, they’re separating them cuz it’s getting ugly?
PF Oh, I’m so excited for this. I can’t tell ya. It’s also—it’s totally unfair, it’s two against one . . . and—
RZ It is! It’s the lion’s den, but you know what? Gina has this really disarming quality about her which can really bring the temperature down in a room but it’ll be fun.
PF She has a trick that I do. Well, the thing that I do—and she also does it—which is just agree with the person no matter what they say . . . and then keep going with your point.
RZ Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PF So it’ll be like, “I don’t think anyone should ever own a bicycle ever.” And you’d be like, “Absolutely, no, no. I get that. I get that.”
RZ It’s gonna be great! I’m looking forward to this battle royale.
PF That’s right.
RZ With Gina.
PF Finally, a little conflict on this podcast.
RZ Yeah, yeah. Anyone who wants to come on this podcast and fight with us.
PF Oh my God, please.
RZ Somebody just come talk to us! [Laughs]
PF That’s all we wanna do. We just—because, you know, when you get a typical guest on it’s like, “Tell us about your book.” And you just—we want them to shine [yeah, yeah]. I just—if any of the people who listen in our cohort just wanna come on and have an argument, oh my God!
RZ Pro tip: for anybody who wants to be on this podcast, if your PR person’s gonna reach out to us about visiting . . . we’re not gonna have you on.
PF It just doesn’t—every now and then—
RZ Unless you’re a big deal! [Laughing] Then we’ll have you on!
PF But the thing is, is people come on and they wanna talk about their stuff. All I wanna do is fight about technology. The thing is, is most people talking you really could just, like—if they could just do it in an [sic] FAQ, it would be a lot better.
PF 90% of YouTube should be an [sic] FAQ.
RZ The videos themselves should be answers to questions?
PF We have so little time in this world and everyone is like, “Hey, take a half hour and listen to us,” much like this podcast.
PF But, c’mon, give me a break, just give me five bullet points and then let’s fight a little bit cuz life is short.
RZ Life is short and also I think people wanna be entertained a little bit.
PF Alright, so, I need to talk about something on the podcast.
RZ Uh oh. This took a serious turn. Go.
PF I bought Network Attached Storage over the weekend.
RZ Paul, tell me, what is Network Attached Storage?
PF Well, think—it’s basically a wrapper around a bunch of hard drives. So, first of all, I did buy 40 terabytes of Seagate IronWolf, I think Pro, [chuckling] 7200 RPM. Dude, they come out of the box and they’re like a solid block of aluminum. It’s very pleasing.
RZ Ok. It’s called IronWolf Pro?
PF I think it’s IronWolf, yeah. It’s a Seagate IronWolf Pro 72—and a ten gig or ten terabyte—that’s how old I am—terabyte hard drives. And you get four of em and then you put ‘em in a little box made by a company that I believe is Chinese.
RZ Slow down. You’re going too fast. So this is something called an N-A-S or NAS.
PF Network Attached Storage.
RZ So you bought internal hard drives that would go into any computer.
PF That’s right.
RZ And you bought a few of ‘em—
PF Well, not into a laptop but like into a big computer.
RZ Right, into like a tower or a desktop or—[yeah] so you bought four of them.
PF I bought four of ‘em.
RZ Ten terabytes each.
PF Yeah, so I got—
RZ So, now you’ve got this stack of hard drives—
PF 40 terabytes.
RZ Hard drives are cheap, so.
PF Well, not—as you get up there, as you get to the ten terabytes, they’re like three—400 bucks a pop.
RZ Ok. So you bought these.
RZ And they’re sittin’ there. Now, you could put ‘em in a computer.
PF You could.
RZ Old school.
PF You could.
RZ But you didn’t. What did you buy? You bought—
PF A QNAP Thunderbolt Four-drive NAS.
RZ Good God.
PF I’ve been thinkin’ about this for about a year and a half.
RZ And in its most basic form it’s an enclosure.
PF It’s a box. It’s literally a cube.
RZ Ok. So you put the hard drives in it, what happens next?
PF You connect to it through WiFi, and it’s a web server that has apps on it. And it says, “Here, let’s set this bad boy up for you.”
RZ Ok, so you connect it to your WiFi and then you open your browser [yup] and you hit whatever the IP address of the thing is—
PF 192.168.0.141. That’s what the DHCP connected to.
RZ Ok, and then you this GUI . . . on your web browser. It’s pretty janky, yo. It must be bad.
PF No, no, no, no! It is and it isn’t. Ok, you enter a whole new world of computing, for real. It’s like the third wave. It’s the opposite of mobile. So like desktop, we know what desktop is. And then mobile is like, “Hey, we’re gonna let you do a lot of things but they’re gonna be kinda low bandwidth and they’re gonna be very app driven.”
PF Ok. Now go to the NAS. The NAS is now like a meta-computer. Ok, so here’s the things it includes—
PF I can have—my 40 terabytes actually becomes more like 26 terabytes when I got ‘em all RAID optimized. So that way if a hard drive fails, I can pull one out, put another one in and it’s all good. Physically—the chances of two hard drives failing at once are very, very low. So now I have a nice secure backup for all of my family’s stuff. Like all my Google photos—this is my goal, I wanna get all of my data back in one place.
PF Cuz I’ve got Google Photos, Postlight Dropbox, personal Dropbox—
RZ So this is interesting, you didn’t say, “Oh cool, I got Dropbox or I got iCloud and off we go.” You wanted it. You wanted it in your house.
PF That’s right, I want all the stuff. And I also [yeah] wanna be able—this is personal—but I wanna be able to download large datasets and experiment with them on the weekends. That’s how I like to spend my time and I won’t be judged for it.
PF Now I am gonna say the interface does show signs of originating from another culture and being a little shiny and confusing.
PF But it’s also—it’s an app store model because everything’s an app store now. Everything you do. If you go the bathroom, there’s an app store involved [Rich chuckles] and like—So you get onto the app store and of course, you know, me being me, I’m just like [nasally], “I must know all the options.” And so—So first thing you format the hard drive and then you start to notice you’re in a world of technology that actually looks a little bit like the one in your nerdy head. So, here’s one of the apps: it’s just called Download Manager. So, you just put a URL in and it downloads it. But you could also put a link to a torrent file and it’ll go get that for you too. That’s built in at like the OS level with this bad boy.
RZ Mm, interesting.
PF And so there was a particular 100 gigabyte file I wanted off of The Internet Archive.
PF I just put in the torrent for it because that’s a nice steady way to download.
PF It shares bandwidth—
RZ You’re not downloading movies here.
PF No, no—
RZ This is a legit thing.
PF I would never. Not even cross my mind. And suddenly, like a day and a half later, there’s that file. Just sittin’ there. 100 gigs. All good. And wait, wait, we’re not done. Virtualization and container stations so I can run five different operating systems simultaneously on this thing. And I can connect to them through the web or through HDMI and into a screen. So, it’s kinda the meta-computer, it’s like Linux underneath but then you can do all the really modern things that you think about [yeah]—it’s like a little, tiny cloud.
RZ It’s for media—Often these things are associated with media.
PF Yeah, that’s right—
PF 500 home videos. Or—
RZ Yeah. You don’t need 40 terabytes for documents. Let’s be honest.
PF No, not for Word.
RZ Or even frankly your archive of your email over the years. It doesn’t get that big. It just doesn’t.
PF Now I would say my personal data—and I am a person who has a lot of data—is like a couple terabytes. But the interesting things that happen online like Common Crawl is an archive of the web, you can download huge tranches of the web.
RZ Oh, this is your dream.
PF No, of course, I wanna—
RZ You wanna play around.
PF I wanna play around every now and then and I wanna be able to say, “You know what? I need five terabytes of the web in order to do a little experiment and understand, you know, something about [yeah] how people are using the web or using language.”
RZ Mm hmm.
PF And I can say, “Here. Go get it.”
RZ You know what’s neat about this . . . is, you know, we’re on the older side. So there’s a pinch of nostalgia to all of this. I hope younger people play around like this because this is really what’s going on. Because—and I’ve said this in the past cuz—and I sound old saying it—is that it’s all been masked away now. Like, all I know is that I ran out of space for my photos and then Apple sends me a really well formatted email saying it’s time to pay two dollars a month and [this is why I’m saying it’s the opposite of mobile] no more—“No more problems for you. We’ve got this figured out.” But honestly—
PF “I need 24 dollars a year and I’ll make this go away.”
RZ “I’ll make this go away,” and I don’t want it to go away for my kids. My kids are very young and I want them to actually build the thing and actually play with it and mess around with it. I hope that there’s gonna be opportunities to do that. They’ll see me doing it. You know, my wife bought me a MAME cabinet to play old ar—You know, I essentially had to build this thing from scratch and, I gotta say, my kids loved building it with me. And they loved—and I was testing the triggers on the joysticks and—
PF People need to understand. This thing is very large. It’s like seven feet tall.
RZ It’s one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.
PF Seven feet—Well, the thing is, you have a lovely home. And I know the room it’s in. It’s a lovely, simple room. And then there’s this unbelievably unattractive yellow arcade machine sitting in the middle. It’s kinda great.
RZ It’s like the old Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City threw up into my living room.
PF [Laughs] But it plays Centipede. But also, [yes] it’s kinda great in the living room. Like it’s just this one utterly unacceptable element in the middle of—
RZ It is. It’s been moved, by the way. It’s been moved to what is [sic] formerly the kids’ room cuz they’re getting older and now it’s sort of this reading room, hang out room thing.
PF It’s a shack in the backyard.
RZ It’s a [laughs] shack in the backyard. So, I guess my point is: I think it’s great that you’re scratching an itch that I don’t think enough people know that they can. First off, you’re controlling your data. Your stuff is yours and it’s in your hands right now. I’ve done this, by the way, I didn’t do this to this extreme. I bought a couple of external SSDs and I got all my images. And it was a task to get ‘em out of iPhoto.
PF It’s a chore!
RZ It’s a chore and there were scripts and somebody had built this sort of open source project that actually pulls your Flickr photos cuz they made it real hard. But now I think that they let you do it out of fairness, they send you—they’ll get back to you in two days and then you get like—
PF Well, Google—I’m on Google and Google Takeout is pretty good. You go to Google Takeout and you can get everything. But I will say like what’s wild with this thing is that we’ve gotten so locked into mobile which is you just give the platform total control. This is the opposite. This is sort of like, “Hey, run any operating system you want and yeah, it’s like a weird slightly locked down OS that we built but you’re gonna wanna do all sorts of crazy stuff and download terabytes of data.” That’s cool and that use case isn’t in mainstream computing anymore.
RZ I don’t know if storage, as a concept, is in mainstream computing anymore.
PF Well, cuz you go the cloud.
RZ You go to the cloud. You know when people say, “Which iPhone did you get?” And they say, “I got the 256 gig one.”
RZ I don’t know if they know what they’re talkin’ about.
PF No, they don’t. This is for the small business, too, that’s the other reason people use it but increasingly half the functions that it has are like “mirror your cloud provider” or “accelerate your Dropbox with local storage” that also [yup] syncs back up [yup] and it doesn’t pretend the cloud isn’t there.
RZ Go play!
PF Yeah, yeah.
RZ What I would encourage—like, yeah, do you really need it? Of course you don’t, you could just pay the fees.
PF You know what? This was expensive as hell. It was like, you know, 22-hundred bucks when I was all done.
PF Yeah, cuz you gotta buy the hard drives too.
RZ Well, you bought 40 terabytes. Let’s face it, for most people a five terabyte hard drive? They’re perfectly fine.
PF Yeah, but as you—most of the NASs are actually bigger. It’s—people do need storage. You know who needs storage is like video producers.
RZ Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PF The cloud doesn’t work for them. They need like—
RZ And they need the speed around it and—
PF They need 50 terabytes on Thunderbolt on their desktop.
RZ Yeah and they need access to it fast. Yeah, yeah.
PF Yeah so like people working with uncompressed video, lots of data, you know what’s interesting? You’re starting to see like AI workflows are built into these more and more. Cuz people [makes sense] want that local—you know I’m gonna process a bazillion images and turn them into a machine learning model—
RZ It’s fun to hit the edge and realize, “Oh, there isn’t a cloud service for that.” You know, everything has sort of been abstracted away.
PF That’s right.
RZ And it’s like, “Well, no, there’s still some cases left where I gotta have a big, gleaming, silver, shiny box underneath, giving off heat against my feet.”
PF You know if you were doing high res video and you had like a petabyte of storage, that’s like 30 to 40 years of your life you could record. So when you think about the way things are going—
RZ Oh yeah.
RZ I mean, I thoroughly enjoy Google Photos. I have my stuff mirroring between Google Photos and iPhoto for some reason cuz Google Photos does some fun things with the stuff.
PF Do you still use Microsoft for your video archive?
PF Oh, you got off of that? It’s Dropbox now?
RZ Microsoft for my video . . . oh! Oh, oh, oh! Live like Microsoft Live Storage or whatever the hell it was. One Drive?
RZ Yeah, no, I got off that shit. It is a shitty piece of software.
PF I’m sorry to the 48-hundred people who work on it who listen to the show.
RZ No, it’s not a shitty piece of software. Look, here’s the thing, no, I’m not gonna get into this. It’s bad. It was bad and it was clunky and the tools [Paul crosstalking] were not great.
PF If you weren’t on planet Microsoft, it’s probably not that great for you.
RZ It’s probably gotten better.
RZ Things are getting better everyday.
PF That is wild.
RZ And I compare, I’m like, “Oh have you seen this tool? It’s really bad.” And meanwhile I hadn’t used it in three years and it’s been rebuilt five times.
PF This happens a lot.
RZ Oh! It’s real.
PF You know what happens? When we do our little sessions where we like to watch videos of people using enterprise software during lunchtime.
RZ This is how we run the company here at Postlight.
PF It’s really—it’s kind of embarrassing but that’s the only way to learn. Like, “Hey, what’s Sitecore up to these days?” Everything looks pretty good these days.
RZ Paul, I’m sittin’ here and talkin’ about keepin’ it real by having a silver box that gives off heat under your desk—
PF [Chuckling] I’m sorry. I just had to get it out, ok?
RZ No, no! It’s fine! And I admire it and I respect it—
PF Well, we all have our little hobbies. You set up Pi-hole and build an arcade machine.
RZ I’m still payin’ the fees.
PF I know.
RZ I didn’t even know I was. I didn’t even know that I was paying two dollars a month to have pictures on iCloud.
PF Oh, it’s amazing. Yeah.
RZ I didn’t even know it. Do you know what you pay for?
PF Yes, vaguely. But then apparently I signed up for some educational service for my kids which I have no memory of.
RZ Right, an owl—yeah. It’s just an owl telling me, “You owe five dollars.”
PF Over and over again! And you can’t—like your Amex is like, “Yeah, sure, ok.” The three-dollar Amex charge is the future of the internet.
RZ It is the internet. It is the internet. This actually dovetails into another conversation around money and how important it is to seep into your credit card’s muscle memory.
PF Mm hmm.
RZ And then, all of a sudden, become hardwired such that you’re so buried down in the bill that it’s over. And—
PF Do you do Amex notifications?
RZ I gotta turn ‘em off. I do ‘em—
PF What’s the lower limit there?
RZ It’s not a lower limit. I have the “card not present” transaction which my card rarely gets used for. Like, of course it’s not present! Because the schmucks at Dropbox aren’t—
PF Oh! I see so like if you go out to lunch and you give them a credit card.
RZ It doesn’t give me a notification.
PF Because they literally—a physical card got passed around.
RZ That’s right. It’s like—
PF If something charges you.
RZ Right and for some reason there’s a group of people at Dropbox that only wanna charge me at four in the morning [laughing] Eastern Time.
PF Yeah, no, it’s like, “Oh my God! Who died?” No, it’s—yeah.
RZ It’s just the charge comin’ in. So, I’m seeing all the “card not present” transac—But, for some reason—actually, I’m gonna correct myself: the recurring costs don’t show up.
RZ And if I pull up my credit card right now—
PF So like an A-W-S. You know who bills me a penny a month? Google. Every month I get a bill from Google for one cent. I don’t know what it’s for. It could be for one of our Labs projects that’s kinda sittin’ in the corner—those on my credit card. But it’s just am I gonna just pay the penny? Or am I gonna do the research?
RZ It’s the research—where do you even start?!?
PF Oh, we got in big trouble once because we had a credit card mixed up with Google. And it was like Google, Amex, there are no humans involved.
RZ Oh, no, no, no, it was like an emergency Security Council meeting at the UN to get this resolved. It was unbelievable. [It’s horrible] It took a week!
PF Yeah! And this is like really critical internet services are locked into credit cards and cloud platforms where everything has been optimized to not let you unlock the problem.
RZ Exactly, exactly.
PF Like you can’t pay to make it go away. You can’t just say, like, “Ok, if it’s 10,000 dollars, let us pay the 10,000.” They’re like, “No, you’re on triple double lockdown. And we can’t help you.”
RZ I’m gonna pull up my Amex bill.
PF Oh my God.
RZ Obviously, you know what? What’s the instinct when you pull up your Amex bill? You sort by the biggest charges because you wanna make sure there’s nothing weird going on at the top of the bill. So you sort it against the big charges. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna reverse that and sort it the other way.
PF Rich bringing up his Amex bill is actually probably gonna blow up the browser. Like the DOM isn’t gonna be able to handle it.
RZ It ain’t pretty.
PF No. You start scrolling and about a half hour later, you’re not done scrolling.
RZ I don’t want people to think I’m like this just, you know, big spender type but—
PF No, you know what the worst—No, no, you run everything through Amex. You know, I will say while you’re bringing that up, whenever the Amex gets stolen which happens about, you know, once an hour, they always buy much nicer things than I would ever buy. So it’s sort of weird, it’s like, “Hey, did you buy that Balenciaga bag? Did you get that Hermes scarf?” And it’s like, “That’s not me. You guys know that’s not me.” And I feel that Amex is very judgmental like they’re like, “He’s never buying like a 180 dollar sweater.”
RZ Alright, so I’m at the bottom of my bill now.
PF Alright. That whole story! [Laughing] It took that long!
RZ Spotify is in the mix.
PF Ok. Ok.
RZ I pay more for Spotify cuz it’s 15 dollars because I have a family plan.
PF I do the family plan too. It’s good. Although my children make playlists—can I tell you about my son’s playlist for one minute?
RZ Go for it.
PF It’s the Rocky 4 soundtrack and he’s gone in deep on like the dude who was responsible for the synthesizer and he’s got his other songs on the play—like he went off of the Rocky—he’s like, “This guy can really play synth, dad.” And my son’s eight and he’s like—music to him is the Rocky 4 soundtrack.
RZ I’m paying 50 dollars a month to Google and I could not tell you what I’m paying for.
PF It could be your personal email. No, cuz that’s 25 dollars a year.
RZ First off, I don’t know if it’s for the month. Maybe it’s for year. That’s the other thing, every so often—
PF It could be your personal email for the year.
RZ There’s this great app called Typingclub.com.
PF Mm hmm.
RZ Ok it teaches you to type and it’s beautiful.
PF It is time you learned to type.
PF Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
RZ It’s really like—a lot of animations and stuff. And I was like, “You know the kids are loving this and typing is gonna be important for them.”
PF Well, let’s sign up!
RZ So I signed up and I paid them 50 dollars for the year.
RZ Right. I don’t know when that’s gonna ever end.
PF Oh cuz you got—the thing is, is they always get you after. They’re like, “Hey, we just billed your credit card.”
RZ Well, that’s the thing, right? I mean it’s a yearly thing. They’re not gonna—
PF The right thing to do would be to send you an email and say, “Hey, we noticed you’re not using it too much and we’re gonna bill you on—as you agreed—in the next two weeks, but if you don’t wanna get billed again, click this button right here.”
RZ So now there are services—
PF Let’s name this, right? Passive billing is actually pretty nasty.
RZ You do think it’s nasty?
PF It’s not cool to lock people in and you know they forget. Like if you are a true advocate for your customer, billing them for nothing isn’t cool.
RZ Yeah. But you signed up for the service even though you’re not using it.
PF Yeah, that’s lawyer thinking. That’s not how people think.
RZ You think it should send the note saying, “Hey, you’re not using this much, do you really need to keep paying this?”
PF No one will ever send that email in the history of the internet.
RZ [Laughs] Yeah, but guess what? There are services now that do this.
RZ There are services that you pay for on a monthly basis so that it could tell you that other things you’re paying for on a monthly basis shouldn’t be paid for.
PF This points to some structural problems with the way that we do [Rich laughs boisterously] commerce on the internet. Right? Like you know who could really solve this for you? Stripe. Stripe could give you a tool to manage your recurring billing. So could Amex. Amex could bring up a box and it could say, “Here are the things that bill you every year.”
RZ Amex could do it but Amex likes the spending. There’s [Paul sighs] not a lot of incentive there.
PF That’s the thing, the whole world is aligned against the consumer in this case.
RZ There’s a few. Truebill is one. Trim.
PF That’s not a good name.
RZ Subscript Me.
PF Ok, Subscript Me.
PF That’s not good either. Oh, no, but like a British policeman.
PF Yeah that’s a bondage thing.
RZ Crack My Subs.
PF Ok, that’s an extreme bondage thing. That’s not a tool.
RZ “Hate paying bills you forgot to cancel? Take control of your subscriptions and be reminded before they hit your credit card.”
PF “We’ll bill you an incredibly random amount from a different place every year.”
RZ I don’t understand. First off, I’m on the site, how do you pay these guys?
PF Let me make another point, too, is Amex run by MS-DOS machines? Cuz when you get that little—when you get that notice it’s like, “AMZN asterisks 5-4-3.”
RZ They have a pricing plan where I gotta pay for the people to tell me about my other pricing plans!
PF I mean [laughs].
RZ This is insane! This is insane.
PF The world! The world’s gone crazy!!!
RZ Do you think these guys are like going after each other? Like, “Do you wanna track Track My Subs? Then use Subby!” And Subby—
PF [Crosstalking] Absolutely! Absolutely!
RZ—is also being tracked by Track My Subs.
PF Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
RZ Is that happening you think? Do you really think that’s happening?
PF You know what I would do if I was doing that? They’re all like 10 bucks—what are they like 10 bucks a year?
RZ No, it’s by number of subscriptions, for this particular one.
PF That’s annoying. Here’s what you do with that: you wanna own that space? You just charge 50 cents a month . . . and no one will ever unsubscribe and it’s always—You’re gonna make so much money.
RZ I agree. I mean I’m sure Subby or Bobby or one of these [chuckles] platforms might be doing that. This, by the way, on a much, much, much bigger scale is happening in enterprises. I mean, to the tune of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.
PF Can I make a point too? Is there a reason on your credit card that you couldn’t have like 24 characters to describe where the charge is coming from?
RZ Or spaces between the words? [Laughs]
PF It’s just like could they update that from 1981 mainframe technology?
RZ [Slowly, robotically] Amazon S-V-C-S [laughs].
PF There’s like one DOS machine at Amex processing every transaction.
RZ Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a Com PAC X400—
PF That is actually a crime. Like it’s time to open up a full text field.
RZ You’re wading in the mainframe waters now. It is none of your business!
PF I don’t care. Hire a COBOL engineer and get to work [Rich laughs]. It’s enough—because, seriously, we now rely on these systems. It’s time for them to get out of that legacy mode. It’s ridiculous.
RZ This is a great point because the deciphering of what that charge was—
PF Oh my God!
PF No, it’s like hieroglyphics.
RZ Send a little packet. You know you ever see those Uber receipts that has a little map thing?
PF Mm hmm.
RZ Put it in my Amex bill. It’s ok. You can do it. The tech is there. The technology is ready.
PF Oh! This is—as a New Yorker, the cab company receipts, when they hit your bill—
RZ Oh God.
PF—and it’s like, “Queens Driving Floral”.
RZ Yeah it’s like, “Emile from Queens.” I’m like, “Who the hell is Emile?”
PF No, no, “Emile Car.”
RZ [Laughing] Emile Car!
PF One word. EMILECAR all caps and then we’ll get the like, “Hey, what’s this 24 dollar charge from EMILECAR?
RZ Let me close this podcast—first off, this is one of the more interesting podcasts. We went from storage and paying money for things and then how—what money is. How much money is in your wallet right now?
PF I’ll tell ya, hold on. I’ve got about 200 bucks.
RZ Is that typical?
PF Rich has four dollars.
RZ I have four dollars in my wallet. I rarely have cash in my wallet. I think this speaks to—it’s becoming more and more cryptic to see transactions happen. We’re not seeing the transactions happen.
PF Well cash was easy. You’d go the ATM, you’d get your 120 dollars for the week, and you would kinda know where you were on any given day. It’d be like, “I got like 40 bucks.” You know what else you knew? You knew exactly how much was in your bank account.
RZ Well you see it.
RZ Whether you wanted to see it or not, it always showed you the balance, I think.
PF And you interacted with tellers, too. They would ask you if you wanted your balance.
RZ But that’s gone. We’re done.
PF We’re done with that, right? But we didn’t create a good system.
RZ We found was if you hide it away [sic] there’s opportunity for much more money to be made by hiding it away cuz you can’t see it, you don’t feel it, you’re not feeling it, right? It’s just not there.
PF Did you ever try Mint or any of those services?
RZ I tri—I think I did. I found them very clumsy because they integrate with your bank account and your—I’m sure there’s good ones now. It’s been a long time.
PF It all got better cuz of Plaid. Yodlee was the big one and then Plaid came up and Plaid just got bought for like five billion dollars.
RZ By Visa.
PF That’s right. So there are services but literally, at one point, my bank, I have a kind of broken ass bank, there’s no way around it. You’d call them up and they’d be like—“For them, you actually have to kind—” It’s like essentially you have to use an acoustic modem. It was just comical. And so that’s all getting better because what the banks have realized is they have to offer relatively good APIs into these services or people—
RZ That are bringing information together.
PF Because people like to check things on their apps.
RZ Yeah. Yeah. I think the big tip today is a) um—
PF Let’s get a tip here. We need tips.
RZ No, I think you should use one of these tools. I think some are free and they’re cheap. They are relatively cheap. I mean tracking 20 subscriptions for five dollars, actually wait. That’s per month. That’s a lot.
PF I’m not doing this!
RZ You don’t wanna pay more money to track your shit?
PF Well see Mint and all those were supposed to kinda categorize all your stuff automatically for you.
PF We use a thing called Abacus for expenses.
PF But nothin’ really works cuz they’re all trying to make sense out of like eight characters.
RZ Oh it’s garbage. It’s garbage. Yeah, I mean, here’s the tip I really wanna give—
PF They love to show you that pie chart. They’re like, “Here’s your expenses.”
RZ But yeah, that’s not really helping the thing that’s kinda chewin’ away all day long. Here’s the tip I would leave people with: when new services come out, they’ll give you a lot of months free.
PF Mm, yeah.
RZ Cuz they want you to forget about it. Essentially.
PF I’m on Disney+ through Verizon and probably next year I’m gonna pay about a hundred dollars per baby Yoda appearance.
RZ And you, you know, remembering—what I do is when I try services, I go right on my to-do app, and I say, “Did you like it, Rich?”
RZ And I do like three days before it expires. And then I go and cancel it if I—
PF Oh! That’s smart! So you put a little to-do reminder.
RZ A to-do at the end of that period of time.
PF Holy shit!!! That’s a good tip!
RZ Yeah, it’s a really good tip.
PF You know what that tip is worth? 120 dollars a year.
RZ If you want more tips, Paul, if you’re willing to pay Postlight five dollars a month—
PF [Chuckles] Yeah.
RZ We’ll give you more tips like this.
PF That’s an actually good tip.
RZ Yeah, it is a good tip. It works, actually.
PF Or you could put it in your Google Calendar too.
RZ Cuz boy, you forget, man.
PF Well, that’s the whole point and then they bill you again. And because the entire world is a dark pattern—
RZ All the time.
PF The banking industry is a dark pattern.
RZ All the time, all the time.
PF “Hey, we got your money!”
PF Alright, so, if you wanna give us your money [chuckles].
RZ Yeah, I mean, you wanna spend your money right. All that money you’re saving through these tips—
PF No, you’re not spending your money. Spend your company’s money on amazing digital platforms [music fades in].
RZ We are Postlight.
PF That’s right.
RZ We’ve got some amazing clients; we’ve done work for some of the biggest companies in the world; some of the biggest organizations in the world; and some—
PF If you need to make product so that you can grow—
RZ And startups!
PF If you wanna make a product for growth . . . I know who to talk to.
PF It’s email@example.com.
RZ We think strategically but we also execute design and engineering.
PF Also, we love the work. We like talking about it.
RZ We love talkin’ to people. If you want some advice, for free.
PF For free.
RZ We’re very generous.
PF Not ten dollars a month.
RZ You wanna leave a little somethin’ behind, nobody’s gonna disagree with you but we’ll talk to you.
PF [Laughing] That’s right.
PF Yeah tip—
RZ Wanna drop a ten after this? [Laughing]
PF Tip your salespeople! [Rich laughs] Anybody who wants to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org and also, boy, are we hiring! We’re growing. So—
PF Product Managers, Designers, Engineers, this is a nice place to work with good quality of life. We like parents, we like people from all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of identities, they are utterly welcome.
RZ Remote friendly.
PF We are remote friendly, on the engineering side. Product Design is here in New York City.
PF And we would love to hear from you. So get in touch.
RZ email@example.com. Have a lovely week.
PF Everybody, have a good week! And hopefully we’ll get to fight with Gina soon [music ramps up, plays alone for five seconds, fades out to end].