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Episode 97 December 26, 2017 | 29min

A Battle for the Net (Again)

Our co-founders discuss the ongoing fight for net neutrality.

Show Notes

Check your shoes. Are you standing in crap already?: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade make the case that net neutrality was never enough. Of course, Congress’s vote to to repeal net neutrality protections will have huge impacts on innovation, product development and the way we think about equality. We delve into the ways that we can we compete with the giants, the disruptive tech that’s created in protest, and we compete for the title of Most Cynical (Spoiler: Rich wins).

00:14 Paul Ford Hi You’re listening to Track Changes, the podcast of Postlight, a digital arts studio at 101 5th Avenue in New York City. My name is Paul Ford. I’m the co-founder of Postlight and the cohost of Track Changes.

Rich Ziade I am the other co and co, Rich Ziade. Paul –

PF Yes, Rich? This is when we do the pitch, right? We talk about how great we are?

PF Yeah, people usually skip over this part but, what the hell, let’s do it anyway.

RZ Yeah we build — we’re a technology shop, a design and technology shop. We design and build amazing products, technology products, whether it be mobile, web, platform, guts underneath: we do it and we do it killer across all sectors. So if you’re in pharma, media, finance; we’re there. We’re there for you.

PF All right. That’s enough pitch.

RZ [email protected]

PF That’s right. That’s how you get in touch with us. That’s an email address, for our younger listeners.

RZ Yes.

PF Um, ok so net neutrality happened.

RZ It sure did, didn’t it? First off: that guy looks like a weasel.

PF I’m not a big fan of that guy.

RZ He’s a weasel. Um –

PF Ok so the person we’re talking about is ahead head of the FCC. I think his name is Ajit –

RZ Ajit –

PF Pai.

RZ Pai or something. Yeah.

PF So he um — he’s just kind of openly — like so many things that are going on right now like he’s just kind of openly in the hands of the big telecommunications firms that wanted net neutrality to go away.

1:39 RZ Well it falls under the grander uh principle of less government, right? That’s kind of the thinking is like, “Why does government have to wedge itself into free markets?”

PF Well so we should also point out that Congress through some miracle in which an angel appears and says, “Don’t do this,” could possibly vote against net neutrality repeal at this point but for the most part looks kind of like a done deal.

RZ Yeah it does. And –

PF Net neutrality is one of the things that every time I read about it I’m like, “I get this. I totally understand it”. And then when I have to explain it my brain turns into a giant piece of sponge cake which is very embarrassing given the business that I’m in.

RZ Yeah.

PF Do you have a good definition?

RZ I do. We actually live in a current state of net bias in that certain people have faster internet than other people. In fact certain people with more money have a faster internet than other people. You’ll notice that if you have a Verizon Fios account or a Spectrum account, you can actually pay for like turbo, ultra turbo turbo. You can just pay an extra 15 bucks a month and you get better speeds. So you could argue that these big internet providers in fact already, quote unquote, discriminate. Meaning if you can afford it you get faster internet than someone else. But what they don’t do is they don’t cut it along data or content. And this is actually happening in certain countries. In certain countries you pay one fee for the internet and then for an extra five dollars a month you get access to YouTube. So it’s not that different from getting basic cable, where you get you know 130 channels and you know deep in your cable box is like there’s always people building houses like as you go into the 100 channel like channel 150, everybody’s building a house.

PF HGTV and stuff like that.

RZ All that nonsense, yeah.

PF Home and Garden –

RZ But so let’s say that’s 50 bucks a month. You get those 130 channels of bullshit. But if you want HBO it’s an extra eight.

PF Ok.

RZ So there isn’t — you know, TV neutrality died a long time ago.

3:58 PF I mean I guess this is a slightly complicated by the fact that many — some of our major cable and internet service providers are also our major content providers.

RZ It’s a mess. The whole thing’s a mess.

PF Time Warner has CNN and HBO and –

RZ That’s right.

PF Comcast has — I don’t know like –

RZ That’s exactly right.

PF Yeah so now they also get to decide — they get to shape the traffic that goes through the pipes.

RZ Yeah, so you could make an argument like well, “Why is this bad? What’s so bad about it? They do it with TV. Why can’t they do the Internet?

PF And people have made that argument and that’s where we are now.

RZ That’s called a free free freer market. Like let the chips fall where they may.

PF I mean my cynical read on this is that it basically came down to whoever’s lobbyists were in control at this moment and that Google, Facebook, and Silicon Valley, in general, just isn’t good at Washington D.C. Like they should have been bribing people ten, 15 years ago.

RZ Yeah.

PF And instead they’ve just showed up with a briefcase full of cash and everybody’s like, “You’re a little late, guys. AT&T and I live here, we have an apartment together.

RZ Yeah.

PF You know, Verizon — we go to the — we swim together, our kids are in school together. And meanwhile you showed up with some cash and were like, “Hey, don’t get rid of net neutrality.” And they’re like, “Yeah, you’re going to be gone in six months, whereas AT&T is here to stay”. And that’s what I think Congress is saying.

RZ That is what Congress is saying and I can make — I think I can make a pretty good case that we already don’t have net neutrality in that the speed of an Amazon.com transaction um in fact affects the rest of the internet. That if you visit a mom and pop e-commerce website um it is still dealing with the same highway system, right? And what you have in the power of an Amazon to not only have amazing hardware and servers that push this stuff out but also its ability through a very complex system of networks and accelerators and caching across the internet to just nudge everybody into the slow lane.

6:06 PF It’s true. Amazon is faster because it is a big platform with more engineers and more power –

RZ Without a doubt.

I can make a pretty good case that we already don’t have net neutrality… in that the speed of an Amazon.com transaction affects the rest of the internet. That if you visit a mom-and-pop e-commerce website, it is still dealing with the same highway system, right? And what you have in the power of an Amazon to not only have amazing hardware and servers that push this stuff out, but also its ability through a very complex system of networks and accelerators and caching across the internet to just nudge everybody into the slow lane.

PF And so they’re able to go, “Look, you know, someone in Topeka wants to buy a Lisa Frank coloring book [mm hmm], let’s make that a two second process”.

RZ That’s right.

PF And so there’s a lot of things that go into that, down to like the design of the webpage, the overall architecture, the way the database works. And if you’re like setting something up on your Yahoo store.

RZ Good luck.

PF You’re just going to have a hell of a time competing.

RZ Yeah.

PF And also I think what you see too is there’s just — search doesn’t drive things in the way that it used to. At one point Google just owned the entire internet and it was kind of a benevolent overlord in a lot of ways [mm hmm]. But increasingly if you want to watch something what do you do? You might go to YouTube, you’re more likely, if you’re in our cohort, to go to Netflix [mm hmm] and then you kind of take Netflix’s bizarre selection. You’re like, “Oh should I watch The Crown or Garfield Four? [RZ laughs] You know Garfield in Space.

RZ Just endless pool — I’ve had entire nights where like I would just turn my wife and say, “Let’s pick something and watch it on Netflix”. And we end up watching 70 to 80 trailers.

PF They should literally just make a show about people picking things to watch on Netflix.

RZ [Laughs] That’s a bad scene.

PF And you just sit there and just like watch. It’s the IKEA of selection services for video — it’s — [right, right] you’re just going to have some kind of fight. I usually just leave the room and go and watch some boring thing.

7:30 RZ Yeah. I want to make a case as to why everybody is pissed off.

PF Ok.

RZ It might be too late.

PF Ok.

RZ The amount of value creation that has occurred on the internet since it started is because of an open transit system that pretty much allowed innovation to flourish because I couldn’t get trounced by Procter and Gamble [mm hmm] or Barnes and Noble, right? Enormous, enormous value creation happened because there was this open place for anyone. It was like when they went west, the colonists were on the East Coast because, you know, vessels and boats were going across the ocean and at one point they said, “Let’s go west”. And it was barren mostly but value creation happened in a maddeningly fast way because there was all this open resource that was available that allowed anyone to compete, right? The free market, right? If you are successful on the internet, what do you do?

PF You become — so successful on the internet, put money aside, is about having a platform where you can centralize and draw more and more attention and engagement towards towards yourself, right.?

RZ That’s right. And the the incumbents protect themselves, right?

PF And boy do they, right?

RZ Exactly.

PF Like there’s not — this is what makes it all so tricky is because net neutrality being repealed it kind of does screw the mom and pops. But boy did they get screwed awhile ago.

RZ They’re already screwed!

PF Right, like we just live in the shadow of Google, Facebook, et cetera –

RZ It’s over!

PF I also live in the shadow of T-Mobile. I live in the shadow of Verizon.

RZ Yeah.

PF Like I can’t — this is a tricky one because like my relationship with global telecommunications and technology firms feels very personal. But ultimately you just — it’s ended up in a situation where angry giants are battling. And the thing that actually created all the value is getting devalued and it’s going to be a little harder to participate.

9:37 RZ And that’s — that’s real. Yeah I mean the decision –

PF Like we didn’t as an organized — as a country are like these big platform companies are like, “Woah! Don’t mess with our ability to really thrive”. But they didn’t say to themselves, like Facebook and Google didn’t say to themselves, “Hey, let’s figure out a way to let a lot of gardens bloom”.

My relationship with global telecommunications and technology firms feels very personal, but ultimately you just — it’s ended up in a situation where angry giants are battling. The thing that actually created all the value is getting devalued and it’s going to be a little harder to participate.

RZ Yeah.

PF And because that really is what matters about net neutrality. They said, “Hey, wait a minute. Don’t take away our ability. You know, we’re going to have to pay extra for YouTube”.

RZ right. Right.

PF Which I get. Fine! But then it’s like when they take it away from you and suddenly like you know if Verizon is making the world harder for Google it’s hard to shed a lot of tears because the sort of the oxygen has been taken away from the open web to such an insane degree.

RZ Oh yeah. Exactly. And let’s face it: I mean Google is not going to be a babe in the woods here. In fact, if Netflix doesn’t like what Time Warner Cable plans to do with it, Netflix has a hell of a lot of leverage.

PF Yeah, they do.

RZ These are monsters fighting monsters here.

PF A lot of big law firms are going to do. I think that’s –

RZ Yeah.

PF Who’s going to really thrive? Lots of lawyers.

RZ [Laughs] I don’t even know if it will be lawyer — I think it’ll just be hardcore negotiate, like, “Listen man, ease up, ease up or we’re going to tighten the screws on you”.

PF “Yeah, we’re going to tell people they can’t have The Crown because they’re on Verizon, right?

RZ [Laughs] I can’t watch trailers [that’s right] on Verizon. So it’s big and messy and complicated.

11:00 PF You know what I keep looking to? And I think what’s interesting is a lot of people are reacting Vice — Vice’s Motherboard and we should say that Vice is a client, by the way, but Vice’s Motherboard came out with an article where they talked about they’re going to install a mesh network at the office. Right? Like people — one of the reactions to all this at a grassroots level is to just go: the things that fundamentally define the internet and all the internet backbones can be recreated elsewhere, cheaply with like sort of consumer grade technology and we can have our own off the grid internet so maybe we should just do that.

RZ It’s just — it makes for a good article, man. I don’t even know what that means. Do you know what that means?

PF It means like just extraordinary levels of piracy, really. Right? [Both laugh] Like, “Ah, man, I just found an open hard drive filled with every you know Star Wars or whatever.

RZ Yeah.

PF Um I mean here’s what I think — here’s one thing I would say I like the idea of a network — like there’s an open cell phone platform, there is open internet platforms. The idea of jumping onto a network where you are basically just peered because you plug into something to the wall and point something out the window –

RZ Yeah.

PF And that people would find each other and connect and then figure out ways to send email to and connect with the larger public internet and get on services and so on is actually how the whole thing came together in the first place.

RZ Yeah.

PF So I don’t want to discount it because I’m with you. I’m like, “Yeah, I love this idea but I’m probably going to go buy a Pixel 2 at the Verizon store in the next couple days”.

RZ It’s just [because] it’s going to be this cute community with a message board.

PF That’s what my life is right now. But I would I would say is a couple years from now we can go, “ Oh man, remember when everybody was all about mesh networks after net neutrality?” But it’s also possible that like five years from now I’m calling you on my mesh phone.

RZ Yeah.

PF Because this stuff does tilt weirdly. Like the more I laugh at something and the more I’m like, “Yeah that’ll never work”. The more the little thing in the back of my neck goes, “Oh hold on a minute”.

13:09 RZ Well let me help you with this, Paul. It’ll never work.

PF Oh great, Rich. Great, we’ll come back to this five years from now.

RZ I will put a wager that it will never work. The inertia of information will have you wondering how you call your friend Dale who is not on the mesh network and off you go.

PF There are solutions there. I mean there’s like — everyone got on WhatsApp one day.

RZ Mm. Yeah.

PF Everybody could get on mesh net.

RZ Yeah

PF Especially if it’s free. Like if it approaches free you have like billions of people who would like this.

RZ Yeah. Um –

PF Alright so we –

RZ — check back in in two years.

PF Alright we differ. We differ a little bit on the possibilities of mesh net.

RZ Anyway I think I’m less upset about it because I think more cynically that we’re already sort of there –

PF I think well that’s real.

RZ So I don’t feel like the world is going to change a whole lot.

PF Well and it’s tricky for us because I would say that some of our success and some of our — some of the things that we service and build as an organization are based on that principle of like, “Let’s centralize, reward people’s engagement”. We work for big media companies, we build platforms so [sure] we are [we’re playing the game] — we’re connected to this, yeah, no and we define success some ways in how we how we play that game.

RZ Speed is a huge part of design and product management and engineering it actually touches everything.

14:39 PF I mean this is the thing like this just happened. We build Internet platforms. What do we do to react to changes in net neutrality? Now, first of all: nothing because, you know, Congress hasn’t even voted on it. And it’s not like there’s going to be a ton of changes in the next ten minutes. [No] but what do we even think as a platform company about something like this changing?

RZ Well I think today nothing. I think two years from now. Do you remember when you used to have um all these different browsers were popping up, right?

PF Sure. Opera, Spyglass –

RZ Correct –

PF — Global News Navigator.

RZ And each one didn’t have like, you know, Zeldman didn’t come yet from on high talking web standards [sure]. So you had all kinds of messy JavaScript in there sending you to different parts of the world, different parts of town to deal with Netscape’s weird seven point one and higher –

PF Oh I see what you’re saying!

RZ — rendering. Right?

PF So there was this point, right, where all the different browsers behaved differently.

RZ And you had to write code and design, sometimes you had to do a completely different design.

PF You did and it would always be like Internet Explorer 5. That was the one that broke everybody’s heart.

RZ Right.

PF And an enormous amount of the current web is a direct response to the nightmare that was Internet Explorer 5.

RZ That’s right. That’s right. So now imagine a world where everything that’s coming in over Verizon has a bar across the top.

PF Right.

16:08 RZ [Laughs] Now I don’t think Verizon is going to be that intrusive.

PF No but it is the kind of like they’re going to — here’s what they could do, right? They could traffic shape so that you get lower resolution unless you pay for a certain plan.

RZ That’d be weird. But yes.

PF I think they actually already do this on Mobile. Right and so you’re at home and you’re logged into your Time Warner and then like every couple of days you get that big pop up modal ad [yup] that says, “Want the high definition experience?”

RZ Yeah.

PF “Ready to pay for it.?” And they’re watching your Netflix and you pay them a premium of four dollars a month [right]. And that’s your high def across everything. It’s high def YouTube, it’s faster traffic.

RZ All of it. And I think, you know, we’ve had Jeffrey Zeldman on the show before and, you know, it was a while ago when he started evangelizing –

PF Standards.

RZ — standards and it was such a boring thing to evangelize. But man there is so much design and engineering energy that was going into dealing with the problem. And I think a lot of creativity and a lot of innovation came out at the other side of standards.

PF No, that’s right. You have creativity because you have constraints, right? You’re like, “Here’s a system and if we follow this system and push against it, we’ll come up with some interesting ideas”. If you give everybody a completely blank page nothing ever happens, it’s chaos.

RZ Right. Right.

PF And so what was happening instead of people pushing against that system they were just hacking against garbage all the time.

RZ All the time. That’s why flash was sort of a safe haven because you knew it was going to run the same way everywhere.

PF I think that’s really important for people to remember. Like, Flash gets associated with banner ads at this point when it first came out it was the only truly consistent cross platform browser environment you knew would work. And so it actually was the place where like if you needed to do something tricky maybe with commerce or video or moving images –

RZ It’s the only way to get consistency.

PF — audio. That was it.

18:01 RZ Right. And so consistency I think is a chal — like, if they start blowing up how the system works consistently, it’s going to slow a lot of things down.

PF Well and what we know already is that service providers, you know, when they have like free Wi-Fi or whatever sometimes they like put a little ad — an ad injection is a big thing.

RZ You misspell a domain?

PF Yeah. And if you –

RZ And it takes you — you end up in this weird part of town [yeah]. Like it does it, Time Warner does this to me now. I think they’re called Spectrum now. They’ve changed their name a lot of times.

PF They’re just trying to make you forget.

RZ Yeah [laughs]. And if you type, you know, gogol.com, you end up in this weird place [oh yeah] where they take the word and search against it. It’s really weird.

PF It’s really weird, right? But they’re going to get — they’re going to get a penny [yeah] out of that process.

RZ Well that’s an error. Right? That’s a user error. How about a non-user error? How about before I end up at the site I show you Lipitor? [Laughs]

PF Well this is the thing, right? And it’s what — an enormous amount of this stuff that I think most people think is actually that there are lots of rules. There aren’t any rules. It is what I can get away with [right]. And so somebody [exactly] — somebody goes like — basically it’s, “Will I suffer an immense brand perception hit if I do this? If I inject ads and everybody’s Wi-Fi connections so that Lipitor pops up [yeah] A) do they even know it’s from me [right] hosting from the free or the whatever Wi-Fi [right] injecting into their New York Times page? Or do they just assume that’s The Times? [Right] And B) if they if it is connected to me in an obvious way, will my brand suffer so much that I will lose market value? [Right]. And so, you know, this is the actual –

RZ They’re going to mess around. I mean [yeah] this is natural in a commercial environment. They’re going to mess around. If they’re the same people that are selling you HBO, they’re going to throw down an ad or a banner that says, “Hey, before you go to the site just keep in mind the new Game of Thrones starts in 26 days,” and then like they can actually check if you have HBO, like as you’re surfing the internet.

20:04 PF [Sighs heavily] this is what’s tricky right. And this is where, again, sorry to bring it back up, but the mesh network starts to become more and more attractive, not because I don’t — the de facto opt in of using modern telecommunications networks is that everybody knows everything about you at all times and can share it with anyone. [Right]. And they use that to shape messages that are designed to stimulate you in such a way that you will get out your wallet which is a very negative form of stimulus. Day in and day out. [Yes]. And there is no true opt out, like not even rich people can escape this stuff

RZ Right. Let me ask you a question now, just to — not to dive into the mesh network cuz one of the things I love about you, Paul, is you’re very unrealistic [mm hmm].Um how does the mesh network get to Twitter?

PF There’s a couple of way — I mean do you want that technical answer or the sort of spiritual answer?

RZ Spiritual.

I don’t think that you can try to compete with the vast force and success of giant centralized platforms. In fact you have to you have to come from another direction and actually try to compete from a very different angle.

PF It probably doesn’t. I don’t think that you can try to compete with the vast force and success of giant centralized platforms. [Yeah] in fact you have to you have to come from another direction and actually try to compete from a very different angle. So Twitter is going to be Twitter and people are going to still gain access to the public internet. And if you are on a mesh network, you can probably still peer with — you can, you can peer with the public internet and go to twitter.com. You might also go to like nycmesh.local.here, you know? [Mm hmm] And that would be your little pocket — vest pocket world.

RZ Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to go great.

PF Regardless. I don’t know. It’s pretty fast, things are — things are getting faster [RZ laughs]. Here’s what I would say, here’s what I would say: all of that aside, I see a usage pattern that’s very different than the current big giant platforms. What I think is let’s say I’m a teenager and I really like another teenagers, my buddy or my you know my best friend, and I want to be kinda in a club with them. What I have — I went to the store where somebody emailed me. I have this thing it’s like a gum stick and every time you — you can snap off little USB keys from the gum stick. And every time you plug one of those into your home computer or into your phone or whatever held device you use day to day [yeah], it gets you into a little secret club made up of –

RZ Called a Russian server.

PF No, no you don’t have to. It’s all peer to peer or it’s on the network or whatever but it’s –

22:18 RZ Sure! I’m gonna plug in USB sticks that I picked up at a bodega.

PF Honestly, I mean [laughing] teenagers would do that, right?

RZ They probably would –

PF No, but they might also just –

RZ Where are you going right now?

PF Where am I going? Where –

RZ Where are you going?

PF Here’s what I’m thinking is that little tiny clubs that are private [RZ laughs] — What I just described to you — let’s say I got it from somewhere clean and easy, somewhere actually –

RZ Postlight provides strategic –

PF Let’s say Postlight did this. Let’s say Postlight went into hardware, you can buy — that little gum stick [RZ laughs] that has like let’s say 10 little USB things is a VPN [uh huh]. That’s all it is a virtual private network [ok]. And so it’s a peer to peer virtual private network where me and my ten friends, and only my ten friends [ok], can hang out, share files, link, and say whatever the hell we want, and no one else knows.

RZ Um. We focus on large scale platforms and scaling those platforms and complex APIs that run between them

PF Yes but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t thinking about the ways that little tiny networks pop up and become much cooler and more interesting than the giant platforms.

RZ That’s fair. That is interesting. It is optimistic. It is idealistic and all should see Paul’s –

PF Teens may not want to be on Facebook.

RZ I think there are less teens on Facebook. Who knows, man? I love the idea of something blowing up the world and putting it — putting together the little pieces again.

PF I think little ad hoc social networks –

RZ I think that stuff is really cool and — and –

PF — like Lego’s.

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t thinking about the ways that little tiny networks pop up and become much cooler and more interesting than the giant platforms.

23:52 RZ Right. Right. Um I just — I just — I’m a bit more of a realist than you are. So anyway here’s I think the message we’re getting across here, and I you know I think I like where you took it because I was just going to end it on a cynical note but you took it to a very promising place. Optimistic place.

PF Here’s the thing is like you actually are seeing me in my — and you like to cast me as like the starry eyed one. I’m actually very cynical. I think people just continually reject big ugly things when they get bored with them and they want to create their own little worlds where they can tell everyone else to go to hell and right now –

RZ And I think that’s fun. I mean –

PF I think the internet is doing a garbage job [yeah] of letting people set up their little scenes.

RZ Yeah. Yeah, I don’t disagree. And I think it would be absolutely fascinating and interesting. I just don’t know if it can withstand the appeal of connec — of the network.

PF I wonder too like if that happens is there also like this point of adulthood where you like say goodbye [yeah] and go –

RZ Yeah, you sound like a 13 year old, which who doesn’t want to sound like a 13 year old these days?

PF No, exactly. Like, you go hang out with your cool buds but there’s probably a point where you’re like, “I’m going to college”. [Yeah] “Dude, yeah I just went and got a Verizon phone, my dad wanted me to get one. He doesn’t want me on the mesh network anymore, he wants me like connected to Wikipedia”.

RZ Which is fine. I mean that’s when you move on from like Gwar to The Counting Crows.

PF [Whistles] I don’t think anyone has ever –

RZ — has ever moved on from Gwar to The Counting Crows?

PF That is not a natural transition.

RZ So are we headed towards a world of shit with net neutrality uh being –

PF I mean I think it sounds like what we said and I think what we’re saying here is that –

RZ Check your shoes! You’re standing in shit already.

25:37 PF Yeah we were kind of already on her way [RZ laughs]. And the giant platform companies made a situation in which they kind of went to war with the baby Bells that have now become the largest telecommunication companies in America [yup]. And they lost. And that’s bad for all of us. But it’s particularly bad for them. And it’ll all just get worked out with a bunch of lawyers and contracts –

RZ Mm hmm. It’ll be given a name, some code name.

PF The thing I hold onto is that first of all: it’s insanely hard and complex to build a truly competitive platform with a capital P on the modern internet because you’re competing with things like YouTube and Amazon. [Yeah] so A) the goalposts got moved quite a while ago. And B) the core fundamentals of the web — like you can still go get a server and set up a webpage — like all the things, all of the standards still do apply [yeah]. In fact it’s actually — they really apply like they work across browsers now. They didn’t used to. So the fundamental promise of this whole shebang is still being honored.

RZ It is and I don’t think that’ll change.

PF I hope not. I mean every time it gets threatened it seems to kind of find its way back. [Yeah yeah] Yeah. Well look, Rich –

RZ Paul!

PF Net neutrality!

RZ We’re going to be ok. I think we’re going to be ok. [I think on that one -] I think it’s a disappointing like signal towards what — how the Internet got us here. It’s like, you know what it is? It got us here and now we’re bailing on it a little bit.

PF Don’t forget it was publicly funded too. Like it’s just this kind of relentless. Can you give a little back? [Yeah]. You know?

RZ You know what — you know it was a tipping point for me? When I thought, “Ok, it’s about to get unfair,” Akamai.

PF Oh when you could pay for cashing.

RZ Akamai came out. When you pay for speed and for like essentially prioritizing yourself –

PF That’s right.

RZ — ahead of others.

PF That’s right.

RZ I was like, “Whoa! This is tricky.”

27:33 PF It is really tricky, it’s very complicated and you know it’s the whole story is one of a public good that as it expanded it became more and more private and more and more centralized –

RZ Natural.

PF So we’ve ended up here [natural]. This is kind of the — yeah, this is the process of these things and it’s not the sort of thing — people are upset about it but it’s not the sort of thing that we really take to the streets about. And so here we are again.

RZ Here we are.

PF So if some new disruptive thing, maybe it’s not gum stick USB keys but some new disruptive crappy thing –

RZ We’re on it!

PF — that terrifies everybody is on its way. [Yes] I believe that.

RZ Yes. Humans are fun.

PF People don’t like big giant things [music fades in]. They like to knock them down [mm hmm]. And so there’s lots of people. Unless Bitcoin is siphoned away so much in electrical energy that it’ll just never happen [both laugh]. Alright, uh so, you know, people should know that this is Track Changes and I’m Paul Ford and that was Rich Ziade and we’re from Postlight.

RZ We love you talking to us.

PF You can send us an email.

RZ [email protected] Send questions, compliments, feedback.

PF Rank us on iTunes, everybody tells us that really matters and we appreciate it when you do. And yeah, we do. We love emails.

RZ We love you.

PF That’s right.

RZ Have a great week, Paul.

PF Bye, have a good week! [Music ramps up].