[email protected]
Episode 47 January 10, 2017 | 49min

Craig Mod on Great Design and Long Journeys — Part 2

The second part of our co-founders' conversation with author Craig Mod.

Show Notes

Physically preserving the contents of the web: in the second and final installment of their conversation with Craig Mod, Paul Ford and Rich Ziade talk to the writer, designer, and technologist about his new book and about the writing platform hi.co, the entire contents of which will be printed on a tiny nickel plate and archived in the Library of Congress. They also answer a listener question about Paul’s anxiety — or, in the listener’s words, “brain space shenanigans” — and whether the frequent subject of Paul’s writing has any bearing on Postlight’s business. (Listen to part one here.)

Rich Ziade: Paul Ford!

Paul Ford: Richard Ziade. Well, you know, I think it’s time for us to do our official podcast, Track Changes.

Rich: Let’s do it.

Paul: Track Changes is the podcast of Postlight, a digital product studio in New York City. Let’s not waste too much time with all this intro stuff.

Rich: OK.

Paul: Let’s get straight to the show. We’re gonna answer an interesting email from a listener.

Rich: This is a really interesting email.

Paul: This is a really interesting email.

Rich: I read it seven times, in fact.

Paul: It got you, it really messed with your brain.

Rich: It really did. Let’s, go through it and read it, read it slowly, Paul.

Paul: Let’s do that, and after that we’re gonna check in again with our friend Craig Mod.

Rich: Wow. Cool. OK.

Paul: And talk with him a little bit about what’s going on in his…wild international world.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: All right, Rich, you ready for this email?

Rich: Go.

Paul: This is from L. Noel, which is a great combination. L Noel Chrisman. He writes the following: “Good morning. I love all the information and background that you both, Paul and Rich, share with both the industry and your company. I’ve also really enjoyed Paul’s previous writings about dealing with anxiety.” That’s true, I have written quite a bit about anxiety. “I’d love to hear your perspectives on running a company while dealing with mental illness/brain space shenanigans. Does Rich ever have any experience with this? What’s it like working with someone who invented an anxiety robot?” That’s me, by the way. “Did Paul’s previous openness about his anxiety ever give Rich any hesitation? Does Paul ever feel that his previous openness has left him exposed within the company, or with perspective investors/clients? I’m tremendously encouraged by Paul’s previous revelations of his anxiety and watching what he’s accomplished while working with it, and I’m fascinated every week with what comes to light on the podcast.” That’s great. “Thank you for sharing all you do. Best, Noel.” So (a) —

Rich: All right.

Paul: Great email! Thank you, Noel. It made us feel great. Very happy.

Rich: OK. So…

Paul: Maybe Noel [pronounced like “Joel”]. I’m sorry. I think he sent us information on pronunciation. I can’t find it.

Rich: Let’s pause. Before we even get into this question.

Paul: I’m very anxious.

Rich: OK.

Paul: I’m very nervous about this podcast.

Rich: We’ve had numerous…let’s call them marketing strategy meetings at Postlight. And one of the things we want to signal out is we can’t just let Track Changes be this sort of self-indulgent thing, where we’re just sort of, oh, that’s hilarious! Let’s talk about it. What we want to do is signal out to everyone that we are badass at our work. At the work we do —

Paul: That we’re serious professionals.

Rich: That we’re serious professionals, you can rely on us. We are…

Paul: Client service experts who truly understand platforms.

Rich: Second to none. So what we’re gonna do then, instead, is talk about how I’m dealing with my co-founder’s anxiety. Which is really gonna just sow the seeds of confidence in prospective clients out there.

Paul: Oh yeah, pick up the phone, send an email to [email protected], and I’ll tell you just what’s worrying me about the color blue right now!

Rich: Exactly. All right, so with that, I do want to say that before we get into this question, I just want to preface it with, we’re an incredibly reliable organization. We get things done. And in the face of adversity, we are a calming force. And that we’re problem solvers. We don’t let emotion get in the way. And that if you’re looking for that in a partner, Postlight is the place to come to. With that, now let’s go back through this list of questions that you’ve put in front of us, Paul Ford.

Paul: All right. So the fundamental question here is what is it like founding a company with a crazy person who puts everything at risk at all times with his mental illness. [laughter]

Rich: I don’t think that’s the question. I think you’re exaggerating a little bit.

Paul: I might be exaggerating a little bit.

Rich: OK, he asked about five questions. Let’s go one by one. What’s the first question he asked in the note?

Paul: What’s it like, Rich, running a company while dealing with mental illness and brain space shenanigans?

Rich: OK. First off, I just have to say, thank you Noel…is it Noel? [like Joel]

Paul: Or Noel [like Knoll].

Rich: Noel.

Paul: Or Noel. [like No-well]

Rich: For really showing us just a real concern for me.

Paul: It’s true.

Rich: He’s really worried —

Paul: The challenge is —

Rich: About how I’m dealing with Paul Ford, right? So, which is, I, I appreciate that. What’s it like? Um…it’s fine. I think what you’ll find, and this is gonna be disappointing to Noel —

Paul: Or No-well.

Rich: Is that — or No-well — what’s gonna be disappointing is that it turns out that Paul Ford is a pro. That he parks a lot of that stuff at work, and in fact, he’s pretty steely-eyed when that Moment, capital M, arrives, he’s the real deal. So no, I don’t have to convince Paul to come out of the bathroom after I hear all that sobbing, it’s just not happening. You’ve got a true professional on your hands, Mr. Listener.

Paul: You know, let me tell — I, look. I have thoughts about this. I decided many, many years ago in my life that most of the people that I was around were behaving in a kind of false manner and I also decided that I wanted to write. And I decided that I would not let my fears of how I would be perceived interfere with the kind of writing that I was gonna do. I was gonna honestly narrate my own experiences. Now at the same time, I found that I truly enjoyed being a professional. I like it. I like working with people, I like client service, I like dealing with complicated problems, and I like understanding how the great, big, giant clanking machinery of the world works. So client service is natural for me. I’ve done it on and off for 20 years. People know me as a writer, but they don’t know that I’ve been consulting all this time.

Rich: Right.

Paul: So there’s this thing going on. I’ll give you an example. I wrote about the fact that my wife and I had real fertility issues, and I —

Rich: Very widely read article.

Paul: Very widely read. And I’ve mentioned it before. And here’s why I wrote that: because as I was going through that experience, I found that very few people felt comfortable writing about it, and I read a lot of nonsense that people had written, and I read a lot of sort of bad articles about that experience.

Rich: Interesting.

Paul: There was a lot by women, and there was very, very little by men. And I thought to myself, if I’m gonna get through this and I’m gonna have this experience, at some point I need to sit down and try to honestly describe what it was like. It was not fatal, it was not the end of my life, but it was a hard and challenging thing. I’m gonna share it, because I think that would be useful to people. I wrote that thing, and I published it, and my friends just poured out of the woodwork. Poured. People I knew, people I’d known for years. And they said, I didn’t know you, too. You were having that experience, I was having it, and they just hadn’t been able to make that link.

Rich: I just wanna, as a reader of that piece, I didn’t go through what you went through, but one of the things I think that really brings your writing, sort of, closer to kind of peoples’ sentiment is your humor, and your willingness to sort of, rather than elevate the thing into this crescendo of, like, swelling music and all this stuff, you actually kind of downplay it, meaning like, hey, look, this is ridiculous.

Paul: Well you always wake up the next morning, right?

Rich: And, yeah, and life is ridiculous.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: And this is part of life, and here we are. And I think that, that’s sort of your ace, in a lot of your writing.

Paul: Look. I mean, here’s the thing: in a professional services context, it’s unusual that I openly discuss aspects of my life.

Rich: In fact, we should assume, by default, that all of us, I mean, as professionals, that’s not why someone is in the room, usually.

Paul: The thing is, yeah, clients don’t care.

Rich: Yeah. They want their thing.

Paul: If they know, they’re just, like, oh yeah, Paul’s a writer, that’s weird, that’s interesting, OK.

Rich: Right.

Paul: And they know that I write about my life. First of all, if you, if you eliminated everyone who had anxiety issues from the leadership of America’s corporate life, there would be no one. It would be like Left Behind. It would just be ghosts.

Rich: I mean these are human beings, right?

Paul: These are human beings.

Rich: There is, in the Fortune 500, a certain number of CEOs, some percentage of the CEOs of the Fortune 500, have an adult diaper fetish.

Paul: Without a doubt.

Rich: I’m fully convinced.

Paul: First of all, they’re all white men, so you know, like…

Rich: There is…

Paul: That’s where it happens.

Rich: An adult crib.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: An adult diaper situation.

Paul: There is…there’s more of them named “Jeff” than there are, like…

Rich: Oh, these are, we’re human.

Paul: There is…

Rich: What I’m getting at here is we’re all human.

Paul: What we know is there’s a Fortune 500 firm with a CEO named Jeff who has an adult diaper fetish.

Rich: Without a doubt.

Paul: I would put $500 on that, and if Jeff comes in in a diaper, I will give him $500.

Rich: With, with, well, I mean…

Paul: I’d also like to pitch him our services here at Postlight.

Rich: Absolutely!

Paul: A digital product studio in New York City.

Rich: Right, where we build mobile apps and platforms. So look.

Paul: Here, but the real answer to the question is no one cares. I know I have a couple things that make my, make my brain a little weird.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: I happen also to be able to write and communicate at a national level, which really comes in handy when we were creating an agency.

Rich: Right. And you really are willing to expose yourself in pretty unusual ways.

Paul: Well let’s…that’s a really bad way to put it, but I am. I don’t want to live a life where I’ve covered up aspects of my personality. I’ve gotten too many emails from people who said, I really, I didn’t know that anyone else felt that way.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And I know for a fact that 40% of the world feels that way.

Rich: Right. Right.

Paul: And so why —

Rich: Well…

Paul: Why live a life of shenanigans and nonsense?

Rich: Correct. And what is probably most disappointing about that note is it doesn’t end with, “And also, Rich, how are you doing?”

Paul: Yeah, they just assume that you’re…

Rich: They assume I’m like some steely-eyed…

Paul: The portrait of mental health and sanity.

Rich: Exactly! And I just want to let everyone know, all the listeners know, that I’m, I’m, I’m a mess.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: I’m a complete mess.

Paul: Oh my God, it’s like…

Rich: If only people could take a glimpse into my, you know, what happens outside of the sort of, you know, the box that is Postlight.

Paul: Come work here and sit in on a marketing meeting. [laughter] You’ll see things…

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: It’s like looking into a kaleidoscope.

Rich: Exactly. So I think, I think, not to disappoint, I think he’s really, he’s really, I think this writer takes comfort in the fact, and is just kind of fascinated by this really vulnerable person but who’s also running this serious company, right?

Paul: I mean, I have to say —

Rich: I think that’s —

Paul: I think people are disappointed, sometimes, because they come to me and they might expect that I am going to connect with them on that wavelength, and that’s in the writing.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But day-to-day I’m here to literally just do a job. There’s another thing going on here. I love work. Like, work is the place where everything else in your life can be pretty bad. You can go to the doctor and have bad news. You can get a weird call from your troubled family member.

Rich: Right.

Paul: And you can go to work and you can bring that drama into work, or you can say, actually, I’m good at my job, gonna do my stuff. I’m gonna answer my emails, and I’m gonna maybe tell my closest friends here what’s going on.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But if the day goes by without me getting something done, then I’ve slipped.

Rich: Right.

Paul: Then there’s a real problem. But if you can actually go to work and get the job done, then you know, you might have a lot to deal with when you go home, but you’re probably gonna be able to deal with it, because you’re able to get the job done, too.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And that is really important to me. I think, when I don’t work, I get real unmoored. I get lost.

Rich: We are fortunate, right? We get to actually have jobs that we like filling our days with.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: And the opportunity to not sit there and sort of stare at the walls and think about sort of the hard things, and actually feel productive and feel like, wow, I got something done today…

Paul: Use some of that mental energy.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: That otherwise might really spin around.

Rich: Oh yeah. It’s a bad scene. I know that I’m not…I’m not good on, like, the Thanksgiving weekend.

Paul: No.

Rich: I’m not good, and it’s not because of the family thing. I’m just…I just have problems with it. It’s just, it’s bad.

Paul: Starting Google spreadsheets at random.

Rich: It’s just bad, right? I can’t, I can’t just say, oh, you know what, I’m gonna watercolor.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: I don’t have that other thing, unfortunately. I love this. I happen to love what I do.

Paul: And there’s a thing that happens as you get older, which is you realize the wheel’s never gonna stop turning.

Rich: Oh no.

Paul: So you just better just get used to that wheel.

Rich: And if anything, find some peace in that, because there are knots in your life that you’re never gonna undo, right? Everybody has them.

Paul: That’s right.

Rich: Whether it be your dad, or your debt, or whatever it may be. And the thing, it’s just such a good feeling to go somewhere and actually have a little project, where my only job is to put those five Lego pieces on top of each other and go home.

Paul: Right.

Rich: And if I can get those five things done, get those five pieces put together in, today, I’m gonna feel like, I got some shit done, and that feels really good.

Paul: No, and…

Rich: Because I’m not gonna fix the nasty ones, right?

Paul: The Lego things, too, are like, those are client problems. You just go and somebody’s like, hey, here’s all the things I’m dealing with, and you go, all right, let’s take them apart, bit by bit. And that is one of the best and most emotionally satisfying things I can do.

Rich: That’s…

Paul: So when someone’s asking what’s it like dealing with all that anxiety, that’s me doing my job, like I’m, I’m in there taking that energy and taking things apart and looking at what people are telling me, and going, wait, what if you did this instead? And that’s the wheel turning. It just keeps turning and turning and turning, and it’s a source of joy.

Rich: That’s, that’s, that’s the rub, right? We’re fortunate in that, you know, what we’re chasing isn’t the primary — it’s not for me, I don’t think it is for you, either. It is not the primary source of anxiety.

Paul: No. We’re not surviving here. We’re thriving.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: These are —

Rich: There are other things. I have, I have kids, and you know, if my kids say their tummy hurts, I worry.

Paul: Right.

Rich: It’s just a natural instinct.

Paul: No, I worry about their safety and well-being.

Rich: Correct.

Paul: I worry about the happiness of my wife. I worry about the wellness of my parents.

Rich: Right.

Paul: But.

Rich: Bigger things.

Paul: What I’ll also say, too: I’ve written about anxiety. I definitely have anxiety that I deal with. I tend to treat it with, you know, carbohydrates and sugar. It’s not great.

Rich: Mmmm.

Paul: But it’s a thing that I know and understand in my life pretty well.

Rich: Right.

Paul: There were points a couple years ago, I’ve written about this, where I’d get random panic attacks and stuff like that. But, you know, I went, saw a shrink, I know what’s happening in there, better than I used to. It doesn’t really come into work very often, and it actually doesn’t come into my life very often. So…

Rich: That’s great.

Paul: Yeah, I think that if we segment people out by their mental state in the creative services industry, every company will need to be about 5% as big as it is today.

Rich: Right.

Paul: People deal with their stuff. The great thing about this industry and about what we do, what I love about it is what I just said. You don’t take all that to work. You go and you do your thing.

Rich: You try not to. I mean, you know…

Paul: People —

Rich: Some people struggle with that —

Paul: Human beings come in the door.

Rich: Right. But you try not to, and in fact, that’s one of the things we kind of take pride in, is like, it’s sort of the, an exception space, where you can step out of your life a little bit and be in this place and do the things that this place wants from you, and then maybe if, and…

Paul: That’s right.

Rich: And go from there.

Paul: That’s right. So that’s, that’s the goal.

Rich: Cool. Now speaking of stepping out, we’re gonna continue a conversation this week.

Paul: With Craig Mod.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: Who is an actual inveterate wanderer.

Rich: Of an exceptional sort. We’re gonna talk a lot more. We’re gonna talk a little bit about his startup today, that he had, from a few years ago.

Paul: We’re gonna talk about…

Rich: See where it ended up.

Paul: We’re gonna talk about nickel.

Rich: We’re gonna talk about nickel, which we’ll get to the details of.

Paul: All right, let’s talk to Craig. So, OK, you went and you started a writing community around travel.

Craig Mod: Yeah.

Paul: For online. Called hi.co.

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: Hi.co was a place with lovely typography, beautiful design, and lots of people came and told stories about traveling.

Rich: Very nice.

Paul: And they connected to maps and…

Craig: Yeah. Well and it was, it didn’t rely on apps, it was all built on the web. I mean, we built it in a time when it was clear everyone in the world was gonna have a smartphone, everywhere.

Rich: Yeah.

Craig: And there was gonna be 3G connectivity everywhere. And so part of it was like, how do you set a stake in the ground that is not dependent on everyone being able to download an app, or building an app for four different platforms.

Rich: So you took a stand, in a sense.

Craig: Yeah, it was a very, it was a lazy stand. It was in some ways a resource constraints stand. But I do think it’s a lot, it’s nice to be able to give someone a URL and they can contribute and you don’t have to think about the mechanics of downloading.

Paul: You’re in a safe space here with that.

Rich: Yeah, we…

Paul: We’re with you.

Rich: We recognize that very much.

Paul: But that was the focus for you for a year or two, at least, right?

Craig: Yeah, I mean it ran for four and a half years.

Paul: OK.

Rich: Did you raise money?

Craig: We, so, uh…

Rich: Well, who’s we, first off?

Craig: Me and uh….Chris Palmieri, in Tokyo.

Paul: Mmmm hmmm.

Craig: He runs a design studio, AQ. And it, it emerged from an older project called Hitotoki, which means “one moment.” And we shortened it to hi…

Paul: Yeah, different URL to hi.co.

Craig: Different URL, but we shortened it because no one in the world can say Hitotoki, so you cut off…

Paul: Well some people in the world, but…

Craig: Cut off the letters.

Paul: But Rich and me? No, not so much.

Craig: Or remember it. So I got, Silicon Valley’s this weird thing, right?

Paul: Yes. [laughter]

Craig: It’s this weird…

Paul: Yes.

Rich: Yes.

Craig: Weird…

Paul: Craig, you called it.

Craig: Weird place, where there’s too much money, there’s just too much money.

Paul: Mmmm hmmm.

Craig: Too few people have it. Those people are, for the most part, completely bonkers. [laughter] And they just throw it around sometimes. So me and Wilson Minor and like 10 other people got an email that said come to this thing, you may or may not have won this thing. We went to this thing and they gave us a $100,000 each.

Rich: Wait, what do you mean?

Craig: This is the thing —

Rich: What is the email?

Paul: You’ve never had this experience?

Rich: No.

Paul: Oh.

Rich: No.

Paul: I’ve never had this experience, either. [laughter]

Rich: So wait, did you submit…something?

Craig: No! It was, they just, out of the blue.

Rich: Your name got tossed around?

Paul: Are you a Thiel Fellow?

Craig: It was so badly organized, just the thing to which came to receive a $100,000, in just the strangest way, it felt like, this was over the weekend a couple billionaires decided —

Paul: Hey, you know what?

Craig: Hey, two million? We’ve got two million bucks. Let’s just give it to people.

Rich: Yeah, let’s just throw it around.

Craig: Let’s just do it. Give me 20 names, we’re going to give them a 100,000 grand each.

Paul: How come I, I had a notable —

Rich: So each individual got a $100,000 grand?

Craig: Yeah, each of us got a $100,000 grand.

Paul: I had a notable blog. Why didn’t this ever happen to me?

Rich: Yeah, I don’t know. Same here.

Paul: Yeah, we know why.

Craig: Coffee.

Paul: Yeah.

Craig: Coffees.

Paul: I’ve made, I’ve made many bad decisions.

Rich: There’s got to be a link somewhere, though.

Craig: It was, who knows?

Rich: There’s got to be a dotted line. I mean, Wilson must’ve known someone that he met at a party or something.

Craig: It’s all, it’s all, you know, it’s the thing that’s so infuriating. It’s like face time, it’s like maybe you met someone at a thing. But like, the more virtual the world becomes the more important it is to sit down with folks for coffee.

Paul: OK, so billionaires called 20 white people together…yeah, yeah.

Craig: Probably.

Paul: And gave them each a $100,000 because it felt cool.

Rich: So you got, now you got a half million bucks, between all of you. I don’t know how many you are.

Craig: We got two million bucks between everyone.

Paul: You were 20 people?

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: So you all said hey, we each got a hundred grand, come over here let’s put it in one pile?

Craig: It was this insane thing that the stipulation was you had to, you could only spend it on investment.

Rich: All right.

Craig: You could only use it to invest in things.

Rich: That’s not that insane. If you’d gone to the mall with that, Craig, I think there’d probably, as crazy as they are in Silicon Valley, that’s not what they wanted you to do.

Paul: Yeah, they didn’t want you to spend it on lottery tickets. [laughter]

Rich: Parliaments.

Paul: I have a line, which is, like, if I ever win the MacArthur Genius Grant, I’m going to spend it all on lottery tickets. [laughter]

Craig: Well that’s what we did. I started a lottery ticket company.

Paul: That’s great. [laughter]

Craig: That I could invest in.

Rich: He’s joking right now. Now he’s joking.

Paul: Yeah, I picked it up.

Craig: That’s all, we all did it. It was a…

Paul: His eyebrows go up about one and a half millimeters and you’re like, “Ohhhhh.”

Rich: OK, so you’ve got two million bucks?

Craig: Yeah, well it was very weird because they didn’t give us any rules. There was no one there to coach us. No one was like, hey, any of you ever invested before?

Paul: What was the room like, where they gave you the money?

Craig: It was… [laughter] It was dark, with a lot of diamonds with spotlights. [laughter]

Rich: Probably was at a strip club. [laughter]

Craig: It was in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. We had to, we wore boxes on our heads to go there, a little sack.

Paul: Right. They had a little a hazing ritual.

Craig: No, it was in, it was in some, it was like a full-on thing with, I think, the only press there was Tech Crunch. It was so, so bizarre.

Rich: Was it Disrupt, or one of those?

Paul: So wait, OK, OK.

Rich: Let’s just accept that he’s got two million bucks.

Paul: Or x amount of dollars that people work together.

Craig: So we get a $100,000. Some of that I invested in Mandy’s company.

Rich: Mandy?

Craig: Mandy Brown.

Paul: Editorially.

Craig: Editorially. So…

Rich: OK.

Craig: So I took a chunk of it —

Rich: Oh, so they were willing to let you, it didn’t have to be one venture?

Craig: Well, this is the thing is that like really, there were, no one was helping us do this.

Rich: Got it. So you gave Mandy Brown’s company some money?

Craig: Gave them some money. And then Wilson Minor was kind of, a lot of people were just frustrated by it. They were like, OK, how do we get rid of this?

Paul : So this is like —

Rich : Interesting.

Craig: It was very weird.

Paul: So this is like universal basic income for rich, connected people? [laughter] Which is really what Silicon Valley wants to do, right? Like it’s, what if we could do it, but only for happy, successful, connected people?

Rich: OK.

Craig: Yeah, only for people who are making at least, you know, $400,000 a year.

Paul: Yeah.

Craig: That’s the cutoff.

Rich: This is tragic. We need to add, like, sad cello music —

Paul: I know.

Rich: Behind this story. It’s very…heartwarming.

Craig: You know, what’s so weird about it, is they did this for two years. There’s a couple rounds of this. And then it just evaporated.

Paul: Sure.

Rich: Well, someone got tired or bored.

Craig: But there was like, that’s six million bucks that was basically…but so this is the thing that I think befuddles me about the universe. And after having lived, I’m glad I went and lived in Silicon Valley. I did that 2010 to, the end of 2010 to the end of 2013.

Rich: OK.

Craig: I was in, mainly in Palo Alto, which I loved. It felt like going to…in terms of the other, feeling like I was surrounded by the other, it felt like I was in a little village in Tibet. You know, it’s like, you know how the universe —

Rich: Really?

Craig: Yeah, you know how the universe like curves around on itself? Like if you go all the way to one edge, you’re actually back at the end — like, it felt to me like a little village in Tibet was as foreign to me as everything that was going on in Palo Alto. And I was just delighted and fascinated. I lived two blocks from Steve Jobs. I was able to rent this really cheap house — this was right before everything cost a trillion dollars — so I was renting a cheap house for a thousand bucks two blocks from Steve Jobs. You’d walk around, it was like being, it was like if you made Dollywood for tech. You’d walk around your neighborhood: oh, there’s Steve Jobs. There’s Larry Page.

Rich: Right, they’re just hanging around.

Craig: Everyone just kind of jogging or walking around.

Rich: Yeah.

Craig: And everyone keeps, Palo Alto, this is old Palo Alto. Nobody has curtains.

Rich: So you’re looking into people’s houses.

Craig: You’re just seeing in everyone’s houses, everyone’s just like, look into our house.

Rich: Right.

Craig: There’s no curtains. So at night you’d walk back, I’d walk back from working and it was beautiful. It felt like a movie set.

Rich: Well that’s the thing. You’re not really living in Palo Alto. You’re just sort of an anthropologist, walking around.

Craig: But you know, I was there for two years. Sort of like deep, deep —

Rich: Yeah, but you’re looking people’s windows, standing in the bushes. That’s not living in Palo Alto.

Paul: Well, it is for…yeah, kind of. [laughter] That’s what I do whenever I’m…it’s not normal?

Rich: OK. So —

Paul: I have to talk to my neighbors.

Rich: Yeah, right.

Paul: OK.

Rich: Did you make friends in Palo Alto?

Craig: I mean, I had a sweatshirt on. [laughter] I had a hoodie.

Paul: OK.

Rich: Did you make friends? Well, we don’t have to get into his Palo Alto life. Let’s go hi.co. So you get this money, you do it.

Craig: So yeah, yeah, so it was like —

Rich: Elevator pitch of hi.co, for those that don’t know what it is.

Craig: Hi.co….geo, I mean, it just sounds like, it just sounds horrible when I do elevator pitch. But it was like geo, sort of stories connected to place. The end, that’s it. And —

Rich: That’s a great catchphrase.

Craig: That’s it, stories connected to place. The idea was that, capturing the writing, the publishing pieces, could work on any device anywhere.

Rich : Right.

Paul: It’s a platform?

Rich: It’s a platform. It’s a social network it sounds like, to some extent, for people who travel and are experiencing things around them? Is that a safe…?

Craig: Well it’s about yeah, I mean, yeah.

Rich: OK.

Craig: Let’s just say that.

Rich: All right, you build it, it’s for the web, there’s no app.

Craig: We built it, it was totally open. We stretched that money as long as we could possibly stretch it. And we ran it for a few years.

Rich: Well tell us about the launch. You’re out, it goes live, and how is the reception?

Craig: Yeah. Oh, it was good. I mean, it was really good. It wasn’t as good as it needed to be to keep the thing going forever.

Rich: OK.

Craig: Or to raise more money.

Rich: I was going to say, was it good enough to go ask for more money?

Craig: No. You know, and the thing, a lot of what I do is not commercially viable.

Rich: OK.

Craig: On a big scale.

Rich: Did you tell that to —

Craig: On a Silicon Valley scale.

Paul: I know that feeling.

Rich: Did you tell that to the people that gave you the money? Just curious.

Craig: Yeah. It wasn’t, I mean, it wasn’t like, this is definitely going to be a failure, let’s put this thing out there.

Rich: I see.

Craig: It was, this is, let’s see what happens.

Rich: What were you, what was your role by the way, were you the CEO?

Craig: CEO, yeah.

Rich: CEO, OK.

Craig: I’m embarrassed to say I was the CEO.

Rich: OK.

Craig: I don’t want to be the CEO.

Paul: Well, now it’s forced upon one by corporate law, it’s OK.

Rich: Yeah, that’s —

Craig : I don ’t wanna be —

Paul: Eh, it’s OK.

Rich: OK, so you’re a couple years in, you’re feeling like OK, this isn’t going to be a meteoric rise?

Craig: Well OK, here’s the thing. Let’s decouple from like the general ways of talking about companies being successful or not. Let’s just talk about things online, digital stuff, having a lifespan, a natural lifespan. It’s like you make a thing, people use it, and maybe there’s a point where you go OK, this doesn’t have the velocity or the energy or whatever to keep going forever. Instead of letting it peter out into nothingness, and maybe maintaining it and as technology changes, not updating to abide by those changes.

Rich: In fact —

Craig: Letting it feel hobbled. Burning a weird trickle of money in the background. Instead of letting that happen, which happens with so many projects.

Rich: Yeah.

Craig: Let’s say God forbid a digital thing have a book end. God forbid it end.

Paul: Party’s over.

Rich: Yeah.

Craig: God forbid there’s a natural stopping point. There might be people still using it, but you go, look, this was the thing. This was the experiment. We did it.

Paul: And then —

Cr aig: That’s success.

Paul: At the end of the experiment —

Rich: That’s a happy ending.

Paul: No, wait. Wait. Because it was very important to Craig that the things that people created using his platform persisted.

Rich: OK.

Paul: That they lasted. So part of that is leaving the servers up.

Craig: Part of that’s keeping servers up.

Rich: All right, wait, hold on. So —

Paul: Wait wait wait. Wait. What?

Rich: I’ve got stuff in this thing. Photos, some journal entries —

Craig: Yeah. You’ve got photos, and the thing that’s interesting about it, is that the community was so tight. All these friendships were kind of born on it. There was a tremendous emotional connection to it —

Rich: How big was the user base?

Craig: Like tens of thousands.

Rich: OK, that’s not nothing.

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: Especially with lots of contributors.

Rich: Yeah. Active tens of thousands is very good. OK.

Paul: So, it’s up there. It’s archived. That’s good, that’s a digital archive, that’s nice.

Craig: Yep.

Paul: But then you said to yourself, is that enough?

Craig: Well, I like making books.

Paul: You like making things.

Craig: I like making stuff. Generally the stuff is shaped like a book.

Paul: But you can’t print a book with tens of thousands of posts.

Craig: Well we were going to do that. I mean there’s this whole movement of the library of the printed web. Or like, printing out everything. There’s the person who printed Wikipedia last year. In a room —

Rich: How big was that?

Craig: I mean, there was a lot of stuff.

Paul: It’s big. It’s a lot of paper.

Craig: There’s a lot of things. You know James Bridle printed the Iraq war, the Wikipedia edit history of the Iraq war entry.

Paul: Yeah, they’re beautiful, actually, all those volumes.

Rich: Wow.

Craig: It’s like 20 volumes, yeah. So, you know I was talking with Blurb, and they, you know they were like yeah, we’ll sponsor you printing out this entire thing. It was going to be, we figured it out, it was going to be I don’t know, like 500 volumes, 400 pages — it was just going to be a lot.

Rich: So wait, this is every photo.

Craig: Every single frame.

Rich: Every entry.

Craig: That was put into the system.

Rich: Would get printed on paper?

Craig: Yeah, but the thing is like, I don’t know. You print it on paper, it takes up a lot of — first of all it takes up a lot of room.

Rich: Yup.

Craig: Someone’s gotta be a steward of this big thing. It’s going to get burned.

Paul: You have to find a library that wanted to preserve it, or…

Craig: And also, it doesn’t last that long. I mean, come on, the time horizon we’re talking about is maybe a hundred, if you’re lucky like a couple hundred years, maybe. And then the chances —

Rich: The paper?

Craig: Of the paper. And then the chances of it remaining intact and not losing, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s not very good. It’s not very durable.

Rich: Yep.

Paul: So what happened then?

Craig: So I was talking with Kevin Kelly. We were having dinner.

Paul: Noted technology thinker and futurist Kevin Kelly.

Craig: And I mention him by name, because —

Rich: Little name dropping.

Craig: Little name dropping.

Paul: His book’s here on the shelf, big yellow book, somewhere.

Craig: But I mention him just because he’s done a lot of work around this stuff. If you’re interested in it go —

Paul: Oh, the Long Now Foundation.

Craig: The Long Now Foundation. And he said there’s a technology that lets you print stuff on little nickel plates and says that, OK.

Paul: Nickel lasts a long time.

Craig: Long story short, there’s a way to print the entire website on a two inch by two inch nickel plate. Everything. The nickel plate lasts 10,000 years. It’s tiny. Most importantly, it’s readable by an optical microscope. So 8,000 years from now, we’ve nuclear annihilated most of everything here, but we can still kind of grind glass. You can make a pretty rudimentary optical microscope. You can read this thing. You’ll be able to read it. You don’t need an algorithm, you don’t need a drive, you don’t need it a decoding —

Rich: There are no, the prerequisites are low. The bar is low.

Craig: Well, what’s interesting is the Voyager record is really fascinating, right? So the, what was it, 1977 they shot that thing up. It was an actual record. On the reverse of it —

Paul: It’s on gold, right? Like…there’s some sort of metal plating.

Craig: There’s a little bit of gold but yeah, I mean it just lasts. But it is a record and if an alien finds it, you need to make a record player to play the record. So on the reverse of the golden record there’s a schematic drawn using sort of mathematics of fundamental properties of atoms, right? That form the basis for making the schematic, about how to build a machine that will read the record. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, right?

Paul: Yeah.

Craig: So this technology that prints on the nickel plate using ions, you can read it with an optical microscope. Anyway, the goal, there were a couple goals. One was, how do we respect the community? Super important. People come, you put a thing online, and you say come, contribute to the thing. That’s a big ask, like I —

Rich: It’s a huge ask.

Craig: A lot of people don’t take that seriously. It’s really…it’s really frustrating. It’s like oh, yeah, we built this thing, yeah you contributed to it, but we didn’t make a trillion dollars so too bad, we’re shutting everything down.

Paul: They…most people do not take that seriously.

Rich: Yes.

Craig: It’s really, it’s lame.

Rich: Right.

Craig: It’s very lame. So anyway, so one was how do we respect the contributions? And then two, how do we make something that’s interesting from this, that’s not totally trivial? Then three, how do we create an archetype for an actual long-term archive?

Rich: OK.

Craig: And this kind of fit the bill for all that.

Paul: So it’s two inch by two inch.

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: OK, so it’s very little.

Craig: It’s very tiny.

Paul: How do you print, is it lasers?

Craig: It’s a laser, ion laser thing.

Paul: OK. Yeah, it’s lasers.

Craig: It’s lasers.

Paul: Yeah. Lasers. That’s good. We don’t, I don’t do enough with lasers. [laughter] You got to do more with lasers. That’s a great, what do they do, is it lasers? That’s…yes.

Craig: That’s it.

Paul: Yeah, OK.

Craig: Is it on a shark? Is it making a disk?

Rich: So you did it?

Craig: We’re doing it, so we’re doing it when I get back to Japan.

Rich: You’re doing it? How much does this process cost?

Craig: Yeah, we, so it costs, it costs a lot of money. So we had to, we ran out of, you know we used all of our money. We don’t have any more money to run this thing. It doesn’t have the velocity to ask for more money, so we have to shut it down. So we said, how do we raise money?

Rich: To archive all this?

Craig: To print this thing? And hi.co was kind of a good URL.

Paul: Ah…four letters.

Craig: Four letters. So we sort of cut off our leg to feed ourself in a way.

Rich: OK.

Craig: In a way. But we moved the archive to hitotoki.org, which was kind of where everything, the online archive. Archive.org has the original archive stuff from hi.co, and through the sale of the domain we were able to raise enough money to be able to afford all of the ion lasering.

Rich: Wow. No kidding?

Craig: Yeah.

Rich: Do you mind if we ask how much?

Craig: So it depends on a number of factors, but we’re estimating we need at least $30,000 to do it right.

Rich: OK.

Paul: But still —

Rich: And hi.co is a nice small domain, short domain name that’s attractive

Paul: What that lets you know is you can print hundreds of thousands of pages on a nickel disk for $30,000.

Rich: OK.

Paul: That’s great, that’s a bargain.

Craig: So then I went to the Library of Congress in April and I met with their, part of their archive team. And I gave them the pitch on it and so they accepted it into the, to be a steward of the plate.

Paul: I mean frankly —

Rich: Cool!

Paul: It’s four square inches.

Rich: Yeah, I mean if they could say, ah, I don’t know, we don’t have room for this.

Paul: Yeah, just put in another book.

Craig: You would be surprised how hard it is to get a cultural institution to accept a thing.

Paul: I would hold onto it for you. I’d put it in my wallet.

Rich: I mean, obviously we’re looking at it in one dimension in terms of, do I have shelf space? But there’s more to it than that, obviously.

Craig: There’s a little more.

Rich: Of course.

Craig: So it’s going to be in at least one good place.

Paul: All right, good.

Craig: And then, well the other goal is to sprinkle it around the continent. So we want to make like five copies of it and have one in Australia, I figure no one’s ever going to do anything to Australia.

Rich: Nah.

Craig: Put it in Australia, probably going to last forever.

Paul: Mmmm hmm.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: OK, so, this is a great outcome. The community is happy.

Rich: An incredibly respectful outcome, by the way. Worth noting.

Craig: We’re trying to be.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Did the community respond well to this outcome, do you think?

Craig: Yeah, I mean no…we got zero death threats.

Paul: Yeah, that’s amazing for the internet.

Craig: That’s insane.

Rich: I once shut down a service and it wasn’t anywhere near as nice.

Paul: No, it can be really difficult to shut down a service.

Rich: Yeah, different podcast.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: You have a book?

Craig: New book.

Rich: A new book…how many books have you published?

Craig: It’s fuzzy.

Rich: With you as contributor/author/photographer/whatever?

Craig: Well, I guess three…ish.

Rich: Oh, OK. So this book is called Koya Bound, K-O-Y-A Bound.

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: What is Koya?

Rich: What is Koya?

Craig: It’s a place. Koya is a place.

Paul: OK.

Rich: It sounds beautiful.

Craig: Guess where it is?

Paul: Japan?

Craig: And?

Paul: No, I really have no idea.

Rich: And?

Craig: In a mountain.

Paul: Oh! Is there a forest?

Craig: Yep.

Paul: Oh, so it’s a forest in a mountain.

Craig: And a cemetery.

Rich: In Japan?

Craig: Incredible cemetery. Yeah, yeah, it’s just a great place.

Rich: OK.

Craig: Wonderful place.

Rich: OK.

Paul: Monkeys?

Craig: The French love it. There’s monkeys…sort of nearby.

Paul: Do the Japanese have bears?

Craig: Lots of bears.

Paul: They do?

Craig: Yeah.

Paul: OK.

Rich: OK, so the book’s called Koya Bound. Tell us a little about this book. It’s big. Physically big.

Craig: It’s a big book. It’s a physically big. So the book wasn’t meant to be a big project. So I do these walks and I started doing these walks three years ago, these pilgrimage walks. Japan is interesting in that it’s an old place? It’s an old place and in 1600 there was a big war that, after the war created a lot of peace. When people had peace, they decided to start doing all these walks. Japanese people historically love to travel, within Japan.

Rich: Interesting.

Craig: Just because it’s hard to go out of Japan. So there are all these roads, these ancient highways and Buddhist pilgrimage walks, Shinto pilgrimage walks.

Paul: Lot of temple-related stuff going on?

Craig: Lot of temple related, well it was, you know, it’s funny. I mean the sense of sort of religiousness was not — people would say they’re going on a pilgrimage only because it was the way to get permission from your local government to leave the town. So you’d say, I want to go on a pilgrimage, and they’d say, OK sure. But really you just wanted to travel.

Paul: You weren’t allowed to leave?

Craig: Yeah, there was a lot of checkpoints and passports and you needed letters from your local magistrate and things like that.

Rich: So you’ve done a lot of these?

Craig: Yeah, and I, one of the things that’s come out of it, as I’ve become more comfortable doing them, I’m more comfortable inviting people to come with me, I feel like I won’t kill them.

Rich: You used to do them alone?

Craig: No, I used to do them with my walking mentor.

Rich: What?

Craig: There was a walking mentor.

Paul: This is a person, not a monkey.

Craig: It is a person.

Rich: This is…

Paul: I feel that this, we’re not getting…it’s a spirit, sort of, guide. No, so wait, so you have a walking mentor?

Craig: I have a walking mentor.

Rich: Is that for like meditative guidance and stuff?

Craig: No, I mean, just someone who knows how to do this stuff.

Rich: Do what? You’re walking.

Craig: To go walk. It’s tough. It’s tricky.

Paul: Got to get the pace right.

Craig: It’s tricky.

Rich: OK. Are you, do you have headphones on? I have to ask.

Craig: No.

Rich: You’ve done a ton of walking. There’s no headphones.

Craig: No headphones.

Rich: OK.

Paul: You listen to the forest. Forest is better music than you could ever have in your ears.

Rich: Oh, be quiet, Paul. [laughter]

Craig: The birdies.

Paul: Yeah.

Craig: The bears.

Rich: I’m buying it.

Craig: Actually, the monkeys.

Rich: I believe what you’re saying.

Craig: The monkeys make…they’re good singers.

Rich: OK.

Craig: So, we go on these walks and I start inviting people, so get back to what Koya Bound is, is I did a walk in March, invited —

Rich: March of this year?

Craig: March of yep, this year.

Rich: ’16.

Craig: 2016. Invited Dan Rubin to come along. He’s a photographer. You may know him from a previous life as a web guru.

Paul: Mmmm hmmm.

Craig: Did a lot of web stuff, web design stuff from, I think, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Invited him to come take some photos. So the idea was that, OK, great, you can go on these walks. You kind of do it, they disappear, they’re wonderful, meditative, beautiful, you eat great food, you take nice baths every night. I mean they’re, it’s kind of the best-case setup for walking in the world, I think. Which is also why it makes it easy to keep doing them.

Paul: Sounds like a great mentorship opportunity.

Craig: Yeah. You guys wanna walk?

Paul: Yeah, I love — yeah, mentor someone on taking a bath.

Craig: Communal bathing is a great thing.

Rich: It would probably be really good for me. My brain is scrambled eggs, so it would be good.

Paul: I’m a miserable human being, this sounds great.

Craig: So Dan and I did a walk. We did the walk and we made, we said let’s make a book, and we decided —

Rich: Because you looked at the photographs you took as you were walking?

Craig: Yeah, well kind of. Well we said, well we’re going to do a walk. I, you know…let’s just make an artifact. An artifact from an experience, right?

Rich: OK.

Craig: So why not? We know how to make books, we’re both designer-y people.

Rich: Uh huh.

Craig: The idea was to just spend basically three days making the book and then just put it up as a print-on-demand thing. And we did the walk, we hid in another little inn for a week making the book, printed out stuff with a cheap Brother laser printer. Put the book together. And then we’re like, well if we made this much stuff, let’s talk with, we realized that we only shot the book with Leica cameras, so we went to, we talked to Leica people and they’re like oh, great, let’s support that. The thing just kind of kept growing.

Rich: Interesting.

Craig: It was really meant to just be a weekend project.

Rich: So you called to the camera, the Leica people? The people who make the camera?

Craig: Yeah, and we’re like —

Rich: Because I’m sure they have a marketing side or whatever.

Craig: Yeah, they’ve got PR people and stuff. So yeah, I don’t know, the thing just kept growing. In the end, we ended going to my Japanese printer that I’d been working with for over ten years. We made a thousand-copy limited edition run of this giant book of photographs.

Rich: Sounds really cool.

Craig: Yeah, it was fun. It was great. You know what’s —

Rich: A thousand, there’s only a thousand copies?

Craig: Only a thousand copies.

Rich: How many have you sold?

Craig: About 750, 800, something like that.

Rich: OK, so you’re going to sell them all.

Craig: Yeah.

Rich: For sure.

Craig: So and then, the pricing of it is it’s a $100 bucks a copy, right? So it’s pricey, and the reason you have to do that is if you’ve if made books, you realize there is no money to be made at the scale most people can do books. Like books become interestingly profitable at about 10,000 copies. Chances are you’re not going to sell 10,000 copies. So what you have to do is you have to kind of mitigate that lack of real profits by making it the special.

Rich: The price.

Craig: Well, you make a special thing, you limit the thing, and you charge what you need to charge for it. Art Space Tokyo, another book that I did, six and a half years ago, I mean it was $65. It was a small little hardcover book but that’s the price we needed to charge for it to be moderately interesting.

Rich: Worthwhile.

Craig: Yeah. So anyway, Koya Bound, $100 bucks. Even after charging that much, the profits are so minuscule.

Rich: This sounds like a labor of love, this was not about —

Craig: Well, it’s like a bat signal.

Rich: Right.

Craig: It’s a bat signal. You put the thing out in the world —

Rich: I mean, did Leica give you money?

Craig: No, no, they gave us —

Rich: Cameras?

Craig: They gave us, like, encouraging emails.

Paul: Oh, that’s nice.

Craig: Yeah, really encouraging —

Rich: That’s it?

Craig: Very encouraging emails.

Rich: That’s not PR!

Craig: And some books. And some books.

Rich: OK.

Craig: And a lot of Instagram love.

Rich: All right.

Paul: That’s fine.

Rich: Leica can step up here. This is a heck of an advertisement for that camera.

Paul: I don’t think Craig’s going to deep down that path.

Rich: Yeah. No, it’s just do the right thing. It’s all good.

Paul: All right, we’ll write them a letter.

Rich: All right, so where is this book, if people are interested?

Craig: So the book is online. It’s only —

Rich: If you type Koya Bound I’m sure you’ll find it.

Craig: The other thing —

Paul: Well, we put links in the thing.

Craig: Well, and the other thing we made was a website. So it’s called walkkumano.com. Because the thing we walked was Kumano Kodo. That’s the pilgrimage path name. Then Koya-san is the kind of endpoint that we got to on the path.

Rich: Very cool.

Craig: And the idea was that well OK, we do this thing. We don’t want to make just an elite sort of object, a $100 book is a ridiculous thing to ask people to buy. I’m embarrassed to ask, no one has to buy that book.

Rich: Right.

Craig: And I want to give everyone the equivalent of that book and even more for free. So we have walkkumano.com.

Rich: Very cool.

Craig: Totally free. It’s kind of like the diary of the walk. It has Strava data, you can look at all our GPS mappings

Rich: Fun.

Craig: You can look at, you can direct links to all the inns we stayed at. Like I you wanted to mimic that walk?

Rich: That’s really cool.

Craig: Go on the website.

Rich: That’s really cool.

Craig: Click through it, scroll through it.

Rich: Yeah, very nice. But we’re about to run out of time but I want to ask you a question.

Craig: Sure.

Rich: That I think the listeners will value. You have sort of an exceptional perspective, just based on your experiences the kind of decisions you’ve made in your life, but if you could share what you’re seeing out there today when it comes to design and craft and what you’re happy about and not so happy about. You don’t have the classic LinkedIn, then job one, then job two, then job three, then job four. I think you’d break LinkedIn. If you actually put in your life to LinkedIn, I think it would crash. But your perspective is so interesting and your values system is so interesting that I think getting your viewpoint on how designers think today and what you’re seeing in design today, I think would be interesting.

Craig: Well here, let me give you some examples of things that I love.

Rich: That would be great.

Craig: How about that? So I love Brother laser printers. I just love them.

Rich: What?

Craig: It’s perfect. It’s like a perfect…like, peak of technology. It’s like where everything was going to and then we finally got there and now it’s there. Brother laser —

Rich: Just the classic $80 Brother laser printer?

Craig: $80 bucks! It’s $80 bucks, you buy cheap toner, the thing lasts forever.

Rich: It really does last forever.

Craig: It prints so quickly. It doesn’t smudge if you get the things wet.

Rich: OK.

Craig: It comes out hot. It’s hot, so you can print out an essay and you feel it’s hot in your hands. It’s like, you feel like —

Rich: That’s probably a safety issue but we won’t…you’re taking a very positive review of that. [laughter]

Craig: It’s not a Samsung printer. It’s just great. I mean, it works reliably. It does one thing. It’s wonderful.

Rich: OK.

Craig: Another thing I love.

Rich: Yes.

Craig: Surgical-grade silicone clothesline.

Rich: What? [laughter]

Craig: So it’s this rubber clothesline. It’s braided, braided silicone.

Rich: OK?

Craig: And you stretch it to make a clothesline wherever you are.

Rich: OK.

Craig : Because you know if you’re traveling you need to wash your undies.

Rich: OK.

Craig: You make the clothesline and because it’s braided silicone, and it’s surgical grade, so it feels really nice, the braids, as it’s stretched, the tension of it being stretched allows the braids to be pulled apart so you can stick your underwear in there to hold onto it. So you don’t need clothespins. It’s beautiful.

Rich: Oh, interesting.

Craig: Does that make sense? Can you imagine that?

Rich: It does.

Paul: It makes perfect sense.

Rich: I mean, OK. Anything else?

Craig: I love that. I love that —

Rich: What are you hating right now?

Craig: I love — let’s focus on the love.

Rich: OK. [laughter]

Craig: I, you know, I’m hating the opposite of this stuff, which is complexity.

Rich: Yeah.

Craig: One thing I’ll say, I think iOS was a very beautiful, incredible, important step forward. If you look at a laptop, it’s the same interface that we’re using in the Mother of All Demos from 60 years ago. It’s the same stuff. These windows you move around, a little mouse pointer. It’s insane! Typing on the thing. The fact that even the terminals there for people to — it’s just crazy. Like if you think about, we’re weird. We are the aberration. Normal users being expected to use a laptop —

Rich: Is a…

Craig: Even today!

Rich: Oh yeah.

Craig: it’s a bonkers thing. Sometimes, like in OS X, sometimes if you close the window, the app doesn’t close. Sometimes if you close the window, the app closes.

Rich: Right.

Craig: Sometimes you have to quit the app. So anyway, to TL;DR, laptops are still too complicated, I think.

Rich: Sure.

Craig: Then iOS when it came out was this beautiful, simple, anyone can understand it. I think in the last couple of years iOS is moving too far in the direction of laptops.

Rich: It’s getting more complicated.

Craig: You can do app side by side, you can, you know, like the notifications? Who knows how notifications works. Nobody knows.

Rich: I have an issue we could talk about —

Paul: I would take that to a governmental body at this point.

Rich: It’s bad.

Paul: It’s a nightmare.

Rich: It’s weird, it’s unpredictable actually.

Craig: It just makes me sad. There are certain, sort of energy current flows inside of tech companies and inside of tech production that force things to get more complicated. This is why I love the Brother printer, because that thing is not going to change. You get the cheapest Brother printer, it has two buttons, an on/off switch and a reset button, that’s all it’s got, and I love that. And it works.

Rich: And it works. It’s true.

Craig: And it works.

Rich: I think we can get Brother to sponsor this podcast.

Paul: I mean, that’s sensible.

Rich: There’s no doubt about it. No one, Brother has not been approached in sponsoring a podcast in 21 years.

Paul: No one is going to Brother and saying like, you guys represent the paragon of great design.

Rich: No, we’re going to see who we can get in touch with.

Paul: It’s true though. I have a $110 full duplex Brother printer at home. It’s small, it’s WiFi, it is beautiful. It just does the thing.

Rich: Yep.

Craig: And it’s so rare to find that.

Rich: Sponsored by, I think we should have Brother sponsor this podcast whether they speak to us or not, because I don’t think anyone’s in the building. I think the reason the Brother printer has not gotten more complicated is because nobody’s in the building.

Paul: There’s literally a printer — [laughter]

Rich: I think they’re just making them.

Paul: There’s a printer that prints Brother printers and —

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: It’s been running for 25 years. Nobody actually goes there anymore. [laughter]

Rich: Right. Craig, this has been amazing.

Craig: It was fun.

Rich: This was a full exploration. I feel like I traveled.

Paul: I do, I feel I know a lot more about Craig and that there’s a continuous thread that is really interesting to see.

Rich: Yeah, and a very unique thread. Very cool. Thank you for doing this. This was great.

Craig: Thank you, thanks for having me.

Paul: Thanks. Well, Rich, mental health and nickel plates.

Rich: I mean, we ran the spectrum today.

Paul: Everything, a little bit of everything.

Rich: Yeah, yeah. Craig was great.

Paul: Fascinating person. Up to all kinds of stuff.

Rich: Interesting person, interesting conversation. I really enjoyed it.

Paul: I love hearing about a resolution, rather than, and just going, hey, let’s take this big idea and let’s do something with it.

Rich: Well, he forces you to sort of think about a different measuring stick.

Paul: That’s right.

Rich: That success is not the unicorn Silicon Valley thing necessarily. He’s got a very different view of what a good outcome is.

Paul: That there can be more than one kind of outcome.

Rich: That’s right.

Paul: That is against Silicon Valley orthodoxy.

Rich: Yeah, I guess —

Paul: There’s one outcome permitted.

Rich: That’s absolutely right.

Paul: And it’s in a hundred or a thousand time multiple.

Rich: And it’s, you know, for people like us who build stuff and ship stuff, it’s really refreshing to hear.

Paul: It’s true, that there’s other ways things can begin and end. So thank you for Craig for coming in and talking to us.

Rich: Thank you, Paul.

Paul: Thank you, Rich.

Rich: We love to hear from people.

Paul: [email protected]. You notice from the at in there, that’s an email address.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: [email protected], give us a good rating on iTunes if it behooves you to do so. Rich, it’s good to sit in a room and talk to you for a while.

Rich: As always, Paul.

Paul: It was great to talk to Craig and if anyone has any ideas at all, we like letters, we like feedback, we like people who want to work with us. All of it is welcome at [email protected].

Rich: Have a great week!

Paul: Bye!