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Still in reactive mode: On this week’s episode of Track Changes we continue off from last week to talk about broad trends in information technology in 2020. This week we dig into the more unsettling trends, like foreign interference in elections, a need for better and more proactive laws that govern internet use and cloud service confusion. We also chat about the return of bundled content creation and break down an unprecedented year in information technology. 

Transcript

Rich Ziade Well, the truth is I wouldn’t have drank mercury. . .if I was around back then. 

Paul Ford If your humors are bad enough, you’ll try anything [Rich starts to laugh. Music plays for 16 seconds, ramps down]. Richard! 

RZ Yes, Paul? 

PF Alright, at the end of the last podcast we ended with—Rarely do we do this: we ended with a cliffhanger. 

RZ I know, it’s exciting. 

PF I’m hangin’ off the cliff by my little fingers right now. We said that 2020 is gonna be kind of a shit show. 

RZ You did say that [music fades out] and I’m very curious to hear what that means. 

PF Kind of a strong statement for an agency, right? Like—

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF [Nasally] “Oh, billings will be down.” No. 


RZ No. 

PF Here’s what I’m saying: we are looking at an unprecedented year in information technology. First of all, I’ll give you a hint. Ivanka Trump is gonna headline CES. She’s gonna keynote the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the big one. 

RZ What? 

PF I know! Right? And so, like, that’s a start. You’re like, “What’s happenin’?!?” 

RZ What does that mean? 

PF Nobody knows what it means! Nobody can figure it out. And everybody’s writing think pieces about what does CES mean. I mean CES now is a place where people go and think about drones. 

RZ I always viewed CES—and it still is to this day. I mean, it’s a lot of big TVs. We added four inches and we took the border out of it. And I think LG’s been trying to roll up a TV. There is a team at LG—

PF LG, man! [Laughs]

[1:24]

RZ That just—“Just come hold this with me!” 

PF You know what—

RZ And all they’re doing is trying to roll up a TV! 

PF You know the worst thing is you stand outside there and it’s like, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” Crunch. [Rich laughs] And then you go back to—

RZ No, but wait, let’s go back here. I mean Ivanka Trump, what’s she gonna talk about at CES? 

PF I don’t know. I don’t know. 

RZ It’s gonna be about [jinx with Paul] women. 

PF Women and change and stuff like that. 

RZ Women—

PF She’ll make like a funny joke about her dad but then she’ll say like, “Actually, when you look at it, technology has really grown in leaps and bounds under the Trump admin—” I mean it’s just all the stuff. 

RZ Ok. 

PF But that’s not even what—

RZ That’s not the shit show, though. 

PF That’s not the shit show. That’s just the disaster of American culture, right? Like that’s [ok] just who we are. The election’s coming. And that alone is usually an American disaster but now you’ve got a lot of state actors that wanna mess with our social networks. 

RZ Well, they wanna mess with our system of government and democracy, right? 

PF [Crosstalking] Well cuz they wanna—Yeah, they wanna convince people to vote for people who are in their best interests. 

RZ Not in? 

[2:25]

PF The person’s best interest. 

RZ Correct. Correct. 

PF They’re using. . .it could be fake news; it could be algorithmically generated stuff; it could be bots piling on—

RZ Can we get ahead of that? Is it even possible? 

PF Well, here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what it is. It is just a bunch of people. [Rich laughs boisterously] Like it’s not—

RZ You know, isn’t that funny?! 

PF [Laughing] Yeah. 

RZ All this incredible technology. 

PF Oh yeah!

RZ And it comes down to armies of people—

PF Just sittin’ in rooms. 

RZ—in cubicles. 

PF Yeah, in cubicles. Like not—they’re not in an operating theater with screens in the front. Maybe they are; maybe they’ll do that; maybe it’ll like—lights will blink and it’ll be like, “Oh, we have an outbreak in sector 45.” [Rich laughs] More likely it’ll be like, “Who is dongwarrior35?” [Rich laughing] Right? Like that’s—that’s—

RZ And it’ll be reactive, right? 

PF Oh, just constantly it’s going—

RZ Why is that?

PF I think like monkeys with baseball bats trying to like hit other monkeys on the head. 

[3:21]

RZ There is a filter, Paul, that put a neon hat on my head and smoothed out my skin so I could tell my mom, “Happy New Year.” 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ It was an incredible piece of technology cuz it was tracking my eyes and my mouth and my face, so it really looked very realistic. 

PF Great. 

RZ They pulled that off. . .but we are still in a reactive mode around. . .

PF Your face is just a big sack of meat. . .ok? And I can take a picture of that sack of meat and I can run a filter on it and I can give it back to you and be like, “Look!” And I put a funny hat on it. I’d be like, “Here’s a sack of meat with a hat on it.” 

RZ Ok. 

PF There’s only about, you know, a couple zillion faces and they all are within parameters. Human beings are frickin’ random. You let people run around and do whatever they want and say things. There are ranges of faces but there are combinatorial explosions of behavior. 

RZ I’m gonna counter that. I agree with you. [Ok] I mean a lot of the laws that exist today [mm hmm] are to derandomize. 

PF Absolutely! 

RZ Right? Otherwise, I would get in my car—

PF No, the law—

RZ—and drive diagonally, directly into the muffin place [laughs]. 

PF No, it’d be great, just as the crow flies. 

RZ [Laughing] Yeah, exactly. 

PF You should just break through the window and help yourself to the muffins, why pay? 

RZ Exactly. 

PF No, so you gotta put those parameters around the vast, ridiculous range of human behavior. 

[4:39]

RZ Exactly, but you know what happens when you put parameters in? You lose money. 

PF Yeah, it’s terrible isn’t it? 

RZ That’s what it is! [Ah! It’s unfortunate] That’s what you’re talking about. So I don’t buy the—

PF No, the muffin place! The muffin place does a lot better. . .because—

RZ With my car running through the front? 

PF Not according to like Peter Thiel and other libertarians but all the—I think the muffin place [ha ha!]—even though the muffin place has to pay taxes and so on, the fact that the muffin place gets like a steady supply of flour—

RZ The fact that there is order—

PF Yeah. And that if a man comes and, like, takes off his pants in the muffin place a policeman will come and say, “Don’t do that.” 

RZ Right. Which will protect the muffin place which allow people to freely go and shop there. So—

PF And take your kids! And you’re like, “Hey, honey, you wanna go get some muffins?” 

RZ Correct. 

PF And then you create the second generation of muffin consumers. 

RZ Correct. But let’s face it: there is a resistance and Facebook is the first that comes to mind—

PF Oh yeah. 

RZ There is a resistance to proactively step in and essentially put those restrictions in place. The truth is we don’t have the laws today. We’re behind. 

PF Yeah, this is how—

RZ The laws are behind right now. 

[5:35]

PF This is how I see Facebook: it’s 50,000 people under a half inch of water going [like drowning] “Blug blug blug blug bleh,” and you’re like, “No! You guys are absolutely allowing terrible things to happen!” And they go, “Bleh bluh bluh bluh bluh blu-bluh.” 

RZ Can you imagine when we went from horses to cars? 

PF Uh huh! 

RZ Horse drawn carriages to cars. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ And obviously—they said, “Woah woah woah! Before we put these cars on the road—” 

PF No. 

RZ Let’s take about six to 12 months; get some really thoughtful jurists. . .in a room—

PF Oh no, it was—

RZ—and write some laws. 

PF It was like running human bodies through a lemon squeezer. 

RZ Ha! I mean the sad fact—

PF [Laughing] Let’s write the letter! “ We here at Cars, take your physical [Rich laughing] integrity very seriously. [Rich continues laughing] Unfortunately, accidents do occur. However, it’s our absolute intention to continue to find ways not to make people die when they are hit by cars.” 

RZ Yeah, but—

PF No, but fast—

RZ Humans are gonna try! It’s like, wait a minute, ok, cars: it starts to get competitive, people are selling cars. The Ford Model T comes out. 

PF I know! 

RZ Hold on, I come up with the Ziade Model Z. 

PF That actually [chuckles]—God, that sounds like a real car. [Rich laughing] Oh! I think I had one in high school. 

[6:40]

RZ But you know what’s cool about it? 

PF Yeah—

RZ I can do adult seat driver—

PF Yeah. 

RZ Baby seat. Mom’s on the right side. So I’ve got all—

PF Yeah this just all goes—

RZ The family of three. 

PF This all goes to point out that nobody is ever gonna make out in a Ziade Model Z [Rich laughs boisterously]. This—[laughs] This is the lamest car—Anyway, ok, the Ziade Model Z! 

RZ It goes out, sales are strong first year. 

PF Oh yeah. 

RZ Nobody thought about putting a little seat in between the two—the driver and the passenger. 

PF This isn’t gonna end well. 

RZ And then—

PF No. Summarize—

RZ—babies start flying through the windshield! 

PF Ahhhh! 

RZ And they’re like, “You know what? This Model Z situation—” And I’m like, “C’mon, guys, parents have to be [laughing] responsible for their children.” Right? “And the breaks work. You know, be a little more careful with your kids.” 

PF “We here at Ziade Model Z Cars take your children very seriously.” 

RZ Exactly! 

[7:28]

PF You know what’s interesting, too, like, you and I, we both live in perfectly fine New York City neighborhoods but mine’s a little rough around the edges still. 

RZ First you mock my large television, now you point out [no, no, but hold on] that I live in a nicer neighborhood than you. 

PF Does anyone ever pull up on the sidewalk in front of your house? Like does anyone ever drive a car on the sidewalk in front of your house? 

RZ No. 

PF They do in my neighborhood. 

RZ It’s like a thing, right? 

PF Well, it’s just like there’s a lot of auto body shops and there’s like a gas station—

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta watch out. 

PF Every now and then somebody will just like pull a car in front of a drug store on our block and just like pull out onto the sidewalk to get out of traffic. 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. 

PF And you’re like, “Eh but I’m here with my kids.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And New York City has a thing called Vision Zero, we’re trying to reduce all this stuff. Like, the point I’m making is like you’re a hundred plus years in and you’re still trying to accomodate for the incredible randomness of car culture and it still kills an unbelievable number of people. 

RZ Oh, yeah. Absolutely. This is the thing to point out: there are tons of laws and violations around driving and parking, for Christ’s sake. 

PF Yeah. People think that you can put a tech platform on rails. That you can go, “You guys forgot to hit the nice filter!” 

[8:32]

RZ Will the companies alone take care of themselves and self police? 

PF No! Never! 

RZ Never. 

PF And that’s also just kind of the deal. Like the caveat emptor fundamentals of our society. 

RZ I agree with you. I think—

PF No, because people think, “Where’s the nice filter?” And, “Where’s—” You know? 

RZ Twitter tried it! 

PF Yeah. 

RZ Not tried it—I mean they have made—they said, “You know what? No more. No more political ads!” 

PF No—

RZ They’re like, “You know what? We can’t control this. This is crazy.” 

PF Yeah. 

RZ That is a bitter pill to swallow for a commercial business. That’s a lot of money they’re turning away. 

PF It’s a helluva—And the minute they say it, people on Twitter are angry, and they’re all lawyers. Everyone on Twitter is a lawyer, right? And so they’re like, “Well, there are eight million exceptions that allow Super PACs to, you know, fund baby murder. 

RZ That move essentially, I mean, is a big one. 

PF It is a big one. 

RZ It’s a very big one. 

PF And you can’t win and what’s gonna happen now? Right? I think Facebook is—

[9:19]

RZ Is that it? This is about money? Billions are at stake. Is that right? Is it billions? Do billions get spent in the 2020 election? 

PF Listen, on a marketing podcast you’re not really supposed to drill into the dark heart of your, like, entire commercial culture but you think about it, right? We build these giant platforms, they consolidate unbelievable amounts of capital. And they are owned by their shareholders and they are beholden to return that capital in some form to their shareholders. 

RZ But there’s a slippery slope here, right? 

PF Well, and then you have a government that would like a civil society and fair and just elections. And those two things usually aren’t at odds with, like, Joe’s Shoe Shop. But with Facebook and Twitter they are. 

RZ I wanna twist it on its—I wanna flip it on it’s head. 


PF Go! Twist away!

RZ I’m gonna be Facebook for a second. 

PF Are you Mark Zuckerberg right now? 

RZ Fine. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ Ads can be misleading. Ads are misleading. Ads—any ad, oftentimes, is misleading. Every cover of Men’s Fitness Magazine is misleading. 

PF Oh. I feel so much better. 

RZ There’s [chuckles] tons of stuff out there. We have to trust the individual. We have to trust the individual. 

PF People want airbrushed models. 

RZ People want airbrushed models and also people can call out nonsense. Ultimately, we should be able to call out our nonsense. Can’t we trust our own people to see that this is a ridiculous, over the top ad. I can see it. You put any ad in front of me, Paul, and I will know if it’s a bunch of bullshit or not. So then leave people alone. Stop trying to spoon feed them, exactly what you think is the information they can tolerate or stomach and not try to confuse them. Don’t patronize people. People are capable of making judgements. This is painfully paternalistic—what you’re suggesting. To police ads. I mean, people have been selling shitty medicine for years until the FDA came around and said, “Ok, enough of that.” People should use—

[11:09]

PF Oh! Oh did the FDA come around? That was cool. 

RZ Ok. 

PF And the FTC and all these other things. We needed those people would sell things like mercury. 

RZ Right. 

PF For you to drink. Our brains are also consumers, just like that. It’s not just food and medicine that you put in your body, it’s not just poison in the air that can hurt, things can get into your brain and can ruin your ability to perceive the world. And there are lies perpetrated by foreign governments, doesn’t that bother you? 

RZ Absolutely. I’m trying to come up with a compelling case. . .against where I think this should go which is it should be regulated but—

PF I mean this is tricky because if you believe that a government has a function, you kinda do land going, “They need to regulate social media and the way that information moves around.” 

RZ Is this about protecting people who can’t seem to protect themselves, Paul? 

PF I think it’s the conversation of the moment. I don’t think there’s clarity on any side. And I don’t think we have a government. . .that understands the issues. 

RZ I think it’s too early. I think—I think—[trails off].

PF That’s an important thing. And it’s horrible, it’s horrible to say because you can see the harm now but law takes so damn long. 

RZ It takes a long time. 

PF And we gotta—and also we have utterly screwed up our law making system today. Like it’s just a mess. 

RZ A mess. 

[12:19]

PF Right? But like at the best you’d be lookin’ at ten years, and the harm is being done today. It’s just hard. 

RZ Ok, let me ask you this. Sort of separate, really, as an issue. Look at these foreign governments stickin’ their noses in and essentially manipulating tools and our system to affect elections, right? 

PF You know what’s tricky, too? Is we don’t know—

RZ Why don’t we just cut ‘em out of the internet? 

PF We could. We don’t really—you don’t wanna do that. It messes with your global trade and also, I don’t know, you probably don’t wanna mess up—

RZ No but just certain ports only. 

PF Yeah—[both laugh]. It’s probably a rud like 79! 79! 

RZ [Laughing] Yeah! 

PF You know what? First of all, that would mess up our ability to interfere with their elections which, let’s be honest, like we have certain things that we need to do too. 

RZ How come we’ve been messing with each other’s elections? 

PF [Chuckles] We just—

RZ It’s just a guy named Stan though for the last 200 years. He just goes over—

PF I mean you know South America didn’t have a lot of pity for us [Rich laughs boisterously] like um—No, look, I think that’s real, right? Like it’s—

RZ It’s just the scale of what you can do today is—

PF Well, what is blowing our minds is that a state actor that we thought we had marginalized in the form of Russia. . .which doesn’t have as much money; is nowhere near as big and powerful as America is. It still has a Soviet reputation but it is—

RZ Fight asymmetrically through these tools, right? 

[13:55]

PF [Exasperated] Chooo! Right? And it’s like they are able to really do damage. 

RZ You ever see when they show footage, “It all leads back to this building.” And it’s a shitty little building. 

PF It’s really not a great building! You’d figure it would be like a Moscow skyscraper and there’d be like seven floors. 

RZ Yeah and it would be gleaming but it’s not [no]. It’s rough and then downstairs, at the ground level, there’s like a juice place [laughs]. 

PF No, it’s literally—it’s like—it’s like in Jersey! 

RZ It’s bad! It’s bad! 

PF Yeah! 

RZ Which just gives you a sense of how assymetrical it can really be. Like—

PF Oh you just need a good wire. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Yeah. And also it’s clear you don’t need super geniuses. You just need people who are happy to like reload Twitter and get paid. 

RZ Yup. 

PF I mean can you imagine the scripting tools? They probably have great programming languages for just obliterating Twitter accounts. You know? Just—

RZ Oh, yeah, yeah. 

PF Like drag and drop. Really nice. 

RZ I mean you’re helping the state. This isn’t just a job. 

PF This is the thing: it’s the same dorks that are at Facebook are the same dorks that are in Russia sittin’ there going, “Well, you know, it’s a job.” And then you do your standup. And you do the meeting. And then—

[14:33]

RZ Look, this is the reality. I mean you’re talking about it really being a well paid job in a difficult place. 

PF Ah! In a global technology culture, using the same tools and routines [yeah]. It’s just one is trying to create total chaos and the other one would like to mitigate the chaos without risking the volume of transactions on the platform. 

RZ Yup. 

PF Non-politically. 

RZ Ok. 

PF Cloud services. 2020 is the year, I think, when you’ll have to scroll for five minutes to see every Amazon service on that list. 

RZ I can’t take that list. 

PF And then there’s the Google Cloud platform list. Who could be the new cloud? It’s time for like some really, like, old school company that shouldn’t be in there like, Ford Motor Company. 

RZ HP. 

PF Yeah, HP Clou—I’m sure there is one. 

RZ There probably is one. 

PF There’s always a cloud. IBM is a big player. 

RZ Gateway. 

PF Gateway Cloud! All I’m saying is the number of cloud services and the way that they’re orchestrated and connected and the fact that you can’t figure out what any of them are or what they mean has to get resolved through design and product strategy this year. They have to fix this. We can’t take it anymore. Wait, Rich, what are you doin’? You just got on the computer. 

RZ There’s HP Cloud. 

PF Yeah, I know. 

[15:40]

RZ HP is for toner and printers, dude! 

PF I’m sorry, buddy. I didn’t wanna—

RZ “Artificial intelligence blockchain, composable infrastructure—” 

PF Oh!! God! Stop! Stop! 

RZ “Data and analytics, deep learning.” 

PF Rich! Rich? I didn’t want you to know about this. 

RZ Why would—This isn’t HP. This is just—

PF Oh no, this is HP cuz remember they own Dell? 

RZ No! 

PF Don’t they? 

RZ This is just like Microsoft. Somebody skinned it. 

PF No, no. 

RZ They hired Postlight. We’d like to announce [chuckling] our latest—

PF No, you have to have a cloud. I bet there’s like a Tata Cloud. Does Tata Motors have a cloud? 

RZ Yeah. “Power your cloud engine.” It’s called IZO Cloud Platform “to propel your digi—” Everybody’s got a cloud? 

PF I’m tellin’ you we gotta get this under control. 

RZ How many clouds are there? 

PF There’s gonna be hundreds of clouds. 

[16:24]

RZ When we say clouds do we just mean essentially—

PF What’s bigger than cloud? Right? It’s gonna be like—

RZ Sky? 

PF Storm? [Rich laughs] Storm computing. 

RZ [Laughs] That’s incredibly. 

PF Yeah so I think like, that industry needs to help out a little bit and stop just like throwing—It reminds me of the eighties. It’s like Commodore 64 programs on floppies. There’s thousands of them. The cloud was supposed to make everything simple, structured, easy, and, like, [mm hmm] and efficient, and it was somebody else’s computer and they could deal with it. 

RZ It brought a whole new level of complexity, right? 

PF Everything gets messed up. 

RZ Everything gets messed up. You know what it is? It’s not that it gets messed up, it’s that needs create product. When you’re coming in at that level—

PF Right, right! Cuz it’s like, oh, you know—[stammers] DNS is hard! 

RZ DNS is hard but then no, no, go vertical, Paul. We’re talking about like just airline ticketing systems. There’s 16 probably chunks of cloud services that have to get glued together to make it work. And so there’s only 15 out there, so you create the 16th and it becomes, you know, hundreds and millions of dollars in revenue—

PF God! That’s a great—you get promoted, you get to buy a lake house. 

RZ Absolutely. You just create these systems and you know what it is? They’re born out of services. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ They’re actually not born out of product research. They’re not born [no] out of that at all. 

PF Except for like the Amazon ones, they tend not to be born out of like that pure usage where it’s just like, “Oh, people need DNSL.” 

RZ Yeah. 

[17:40]

PF It’s like, “Oh, well, you know, this ERP Module—” You know when you go to the website and even if you’re very technically aware, you just can’t figure out what the hell they’re talking about. 

RZ Yup. 

PF That’s what those are. 

RZ Yup. 100%

PF Alright, what else you got? 

RZ I wanna talk about a comeback. There was a day where you would jump to different frequencies to receive bundled sets of content that were only available on that particular frequency. They were called channels. 

PF Oh! Like on a television. 

RZ If you wanted to watch Dynasty.

PF Mm hmm. Mm hmm. 

RZ Which you can look up. You had to have ABC. If you wanted to watch, I think Dukes of Hazzard was on CBS, you needed CBS—

PF As you’re saying this, I’m having a visceral memory of, like, the chunk of turning the TV. Chunk, chunk, chunk—

RZ Chunk, chunk, chunk-chunk. And so the idea of owning content and making it available in one place, the value then was ads. It was Neilsen boxes and advertising. 

PF That’s right. So, you had amazing programs, they ran ads on them, and people paid you lots of money. 

RZ Internet shows up. Shattered all of it. You could buy—essentially what you had was this marketplace where bidders from Hulu and Netflix and other places would go like, “You know what? Can I have that for two years? I’ll pay you some money. And gimme just these movies—nobody’s watching these. Just give me like Billy Madison 5 or whatever and give me ‘em all. I’ll put ‘em all on here. They’re expire, maybe I’ll renew ‘em, maybe I won’t. I don’t know.” 

PF Maybe you’ll sell ‘em to somewhere else. It’s a marketplace now. 

[19:01]

RZ The channel paradigm got shattered and to the point where it was convenience. Like, “Oh wait a minute. I’m gonna need essentially two places: Netflix, HBO, maybe one more. And I’m good [mm hmm], right?” But, what’s happened? And this is happening and it’s gonna happen in an accelerated way in 2020—

PF Oh!! Here’s another—yeah this is the shit show moment. 

RZ We went back to the frequencies. 

PF Yeah, we are—

RZ The people who actually own the content want it back. 

PF You might as well give people a box that has like Disney+ on the channel changer. 

RZ When you buy a new TV—

PF You know what? When you get a Roku, yeah, same thing! 

RZ There are buttons on the remote—the channels [yeah!] are back, essentially. And Netflix knew it was coming cuz they were like, “You know what? People are gonna not give us these one day so we’re gonna have to make our own shit, call Kevin Spacey.” 

PF Except—Oh, yeah, that was another bad phone call. [Rich laughs] Instead of the FCC regulating the airwaves and large, relatively monopolistic, giant media companies controlling what you can see, the internet has disrupted all of that. What’s wild though is the internet always kind of returns to form. Like when people figure out how to make money, then there’s this moment when the internet comes in and blows it all up, like Netflix. And everyone’s like, “Oh my God! TVs over! Rest in peace, NBC!” 

RZ Correct. 

PF And then somehow the old middleman strategy always emerges, except there’s usually someone else making the money this time. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF But then, you know, CBS will show up in there and they’ll be like, “Yeah, put us on one of the remotes.” 

RZ [Stammers] I forgot who paid an ungodly amount of money for Seinfeld.

[20:21]

PF When you own and control those properties, oh my God. 

RZ It’s always about—it’s been about content and it’s back to being about content. 

PF It’s like real estate. You’re just like, “Nah, I have a giant skyscraper right downtown. If you wanna run your business out of a skyscraper, [that’s right] you gotta pay me rent.” 

RZ The gravitational pull of content is so powerful that even the tech companies have decided they need to create their own content. So you now have Apple [Paul laughs] making TV shows. 

PF Oh, in quotes! That one with the dude from Aquaman where it’s just clearly [laughs wheezily]—

RZ That’s—

PF See. It’s called See, S-E-E [laughs]. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. I feel like it was—

PF That’s like the name of a restaurant in Williamsburg, right? It’s just—

RZ It actually is a restaurant in Williamsburg. 

PF I know. I know. 

RZ And so, you know, you’ve got Disney+. They were the most motivated. They were like, “You know what? Give it all back.” 

PF Well, also—

RZ “No more renewals. Give me back Toy Story 2 and 3 and give me ‘em all back.” 

PF Cuz, you know, you hear NBC and mostly what you hear is like a lot of ads for Toyotas in your brain and then you’re like, “Did they have the Superbowl?” But when you hear Disney, you go, “My children’s eyes will light up with joy as they experience a branded entertainment product unlike any other.” 

RZ People don’t realize how much Disney actually owns. 

[21:30]

PF Oh my God, it’s terrifying. 

RZ It’s terrifying. 

PF Especially, did you—[stammers] did you get it? I got it. 

RZ I didn’t. I’m gonna get it. 

PF It’s excellent. It had a couple of glitches in the beginning but I think it uses the MLB—they already had a video platform that they owned. They did a good job overall. There was like a rough week when they launched but the thing works fine. You know, but you get back in the seventies, like there were a lot of dogs that had professions like the shaggy DA, you know? [Rich laughs] It’s wild to me that he was a district attorney. I feel—

RZ The Disney juggernaut is probably one of the most impressive media trajectories ever. 

PF Yeah. Well cuz then you got your theme park like it’s just like 360 degrees forever. 

RZ Yes. 

PF Are you perceiving more—I don’t even know what to call it, rebundling? 

RZ Well, I don’t know. I mean, it was gonna be Netflix and HBO for me and now it’s—

PF No, no—

RZ Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Disney+. 

PF Well you know what? 

RZ I’m back to channels! 

PF Wait, Verizon gave me Disney+ for free and there was like an ESPN, Hulu, Disney+ combo for 15.99 a month. So it’s cable but ad hoc in a nightmare way—

RZ Exactly—

PF Bundled through with no net neutrality. 

RZ Exactly. Exactly. 

[22:28]

PF Who’s gonna—I’m waiting for the—cuz, you know, there’s all those—

RZ Sports is weird right now. 

PF There’s all those streaming services too. Have you seen Curiosity? 

RZ I know what you’re talking about. There’s another one it’s just British shows. 

PF Yeah, I got Curiosity for free—

RZ They’re channels!! 

PF No, I know, it’s just a bunch of documentaries in a bundle. I got Curiosity for free from something—oh, from my cable provider. They were just like, “Hey, you want this?” 

RZ Is it any good? It’s like third rate documentaries? 

PF Yeah, it’s— you know, it’s aliens and pyrami—it’s very sincere. 

RZ [Rich laughs] I guess what I’m trying—

PF No, no, but take a minute. Let’s figure out who’s next. 

RZ Who’s next? 

PF Who’s gonna—I mean like who’s bad? Like when do we get—

RZ Oh, like a terrible unbundling of some kind? 

PF No, you know what’s gonna be terrible? You know what’s real? The KFC Channel. Or like the KFC+. 

RZ Like cooking? 

PF It’ll be something like that. Somebody’s gonna go like, “Wait a minute, don’t just do a show. Don’t just YouTube videos, don’t just do social—” 

RZ Kentucky Fried Chicken ads? 

PF It turns out that we—

RZ For hours on end? 

[23:22]

PF But KFC then they’ll like license The Andy Griffith Show

RZ Oh my God!

PF Yeah, yeah. That’s coming. 

RZ That sort of thing! 

PF And every time you boot up, it’s just Colonel Sanders just pulsating [Rich laughs]. Right? So McDonald’s. Or you know what’s next, too? I mean Apple has this, right? So, Google, thank God, is not making TV shows. 

RZ As a species. . .[laughing] we’re not doing good! This is like a forward-thinking tech podcast, this is all we could come up with? [Listen, I’ve been trying—] We took the same programs, took ‘em out of—You ever see like when a kid takes all the stuff out of a box just to put ‘em back in a box? [Laughing

PF Oh yeah, yeah. That’s what’s gonna happen. 

RZ This is not impressive in any meaningful way. 

PF No, it’s really bad. 

RZ It’s cool that I can watch it on my phone on the train. 

PF You forgot to mention Amazon which has like eight million programs and they’re just like, “Yeah, we got a lot of programs.” 

RZ It’s a shit box. 

PF No, but some of them are great! 

RZ Some are good. They’ve gotten better but it really is junk food. It’s that weird—

PF Amazon has the longest tail. 

RZ Do you ever go to the aisle in the supermarket where they just kinda jammed all the ethnic food into one place? 

[24:23]

PF Oh! Where you’re like—it’s like Irish potatoes, matzo balls, and then like—

RZ Like goya—

PF Goya octopus [Rich laughing] are all on like—they’re on like two shelves. 

RZ They don’t know what to do. 

PF It’s like the worst atlas in the world. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. 

PF You’re absolutely right. It’s not the good supermarket. It’s the C-Town ethnic section. 

RZ Exactly, exactly. 

PF C-Town for people who don’t know is like—

RZ And that’s just cuz Amazon’s like, “Yeah, we gotta go there too. Let us play.” So, here we are. 

PF Ugh. God! 

RZ Anyway, this is the shit show—2020 shit show podcast. 

PF Listen, let’s get into the year. Here’s the good news: it’s a lot. There’s a lot to do cuz there’s a lot happening. 

RZ There is a lot to do. 

PF [High pitched] Oof! 

RZ I’m generally an optimistic person. I’m hoping there are gonna be positive outcomes, I hope, on the other side of this year. 

PF I—you know—

RZ We see a good, normal election and—

PF Yeah, me too. I would like to see civic society get returned to something like a baseline that we can all start to operate from. 

RZ Yes. 

[25:15]

PF The other thing is just like—We’re joking about this but the truth is it’s always this way. It’s always more than you can handle. . .poured directly into your eyeballs like Clockwork Orange and you’re going, “What are they doing?!” 

RZ We tend to dive in, right? Cause that swirl of chaos to happen. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ Learn. Get really hurt, really badly. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ And then say, “Ok, I get it. Let me just put up the fence here. And put some cushions over there. And then we won’t get hurt next time.” It’s how things have happened historically [music fades in] for humans forever. 

PF No, it’s real. In 2021, there’ll be a product called One Cloud and in 2022 there’ll be a thing called—

RZ One Channel? 

PF One Channel. 

RZ I don’t have to change channels. 

PF That’s right, it’ll be one channel. 

RZ I mean—

PF And it’s gonna app integrated and like they’re gonna—The worlds all sort of converge and then people go like, “God, remember? Remember when you had to actually hit a button to get Netflix on your phone? It didn’t just like read it electrically off your tongue?” 

RZ Listen, if you need help navigating these treacherous waters—

PF That’s right. 

RZ Who should you call, Paul? 

PF You should calllll Postlight! There’s a lot goin’ on out there, friends. And—

RZ Also, if you wanna work here and ride these treacherous waters? 

PF You should calllll Postlight! hello@postlight.com is how you reach us. Look, I mean, we’re focusing on the negative but it’s the industry we love and we like the drama of it and we like all the things happening. We’re gonna be in a different place next year but the weird thing is it’ll also look a lot like this. 

RZ Yes. 

PF This is an evergreen—

RZ We love the chaos. 

PF Yeah, it’ll just be different nouns. I mean, it’s time to dive in; it’s January. 

RZ Maybe it’s time for Postlight Cloud. 

PF You know what? You know what? It’s gonna be One Cloud. Alright—

RZ On that serene note—

PF Yup. Let’s go flying through the one single cloud. 

RZ Have a lovely week, everyone. 

PF Bye! [Music ramps up, plays alone for four seconds, fades out to end.]