Podcast cover featuring an image of a hand holding an earbud. Split background of purple and white. Aboard name and logo at top. "But That's Another Podcast" at bottom.

Our friend Jim Nielsen cataloged all the podcasts we didn’t record, so Paul and Rich doubled down and recorded six new podcasts in a hurry. The end result is exactly what you would expect. YouTube edition features extra-ridiculous stock imagery.

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E8

But That’s Another Podcast

December 12, 2023

Rich: Good day, Paul.

Paul: Hey, Richard Ziade. What’s your job, by the way? What are you, what are you, what are you doing?

Rich: What?

Paul: What’s your job?

Rich: What do I do for a living?

Paul: Yeah

Rich: We work together every day, bro.

Paul: I know, but you know, people might not know that, just tuning in.

Rich: I’m the co-founder and CEO of Aboard.

Paul: Oh, what’s Aboard?

Rich: Aboard is a killer information-management tool that turns everything into cards. Links that are scattered in your messages, files in the notorious downloads folder, turns them into beautiful cards and makes them available on your phone. Grab the iOS app. That’s my marketing.

Paul: Get that iOS app. No, it’s, it’s, it’s our product. We love it. It was us after really 20 years each of trying to make software more accessible to everyone.

Rich: Yes

Paul: We kind of buckled down and did it.

Rich: Kinda everything we learned.

Paul: And the feedback we’re getting is that we did do it and that it’s pretty useful. So let’s call it on the marketing. I hope to God you go to Aboard.com we really want you to use it and tell us what you think.

Rich: Check it out.

Paul: And now let’s get into the podcast. Rich, it’s kind of a grab-bag.

Rich: Yeah, uh, it is. First off, uh shoutout to an old friend, old colleague. We worked together in different ways in the past. And, uh, his name is Jim, I don’t know if he wants his last name shared. I mean, millions listen to this podcast, Paul, so we should be careful.

Paul: Oh no he writes about us. Give his last name.

Rich: Jim Nielsen.

Paul: Hey, Jim.

Rich: Jim-nielsen.com. This one goes out to you. First paragraph, he wrote a post just for us called “That’s Another Podcast.”

Paul: Yeah that was good.

Rich: It’s a thing we do. Look, man, we meander.

Paul: Boy, do we [chuckles].

Rich: We, [laughter] we, we meander, right? And so, and so sometimes we’re talking and we have a topic we want to cover. And then what ends up happening is we, we sort of veer off. It’s like two dudes having beers, essentially.

Paul: I think what the worst, the reason our sort of media platform works is that you and I ultimately are two dudes having beers.

Rich: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: You know, after the work day is over, well, we have a little thing I call the Saturday night re-org, where you start DMing me about what we need to do in the company. Like these are, we have the same conversations over and over, kind of because we enjoy them.

Rich: We do. It’s hard. We, building businesses is really hard and we like that challenge.

Paul: It is hard.

Rich: So we, we’ll be talking and we’ll talk about this and then we’ll veer off in that direction and then we’ll sometimes throw a speed bump and we, one of us says, “But that’s another podcast.”

Paul: That’s another podcast. Yeah, because you know, we try desperately to stay on target. And in fact, probably a hundred people in our lives have tried desperately to keep us on target.

Rich: [Laughing] To keep us on target, yeah.

Paul: So Jim, God bless him, went and tracked all of those times that we said that over the, over the years on the podcast and, and sort of called us out on it.

Rich: Yeah, so he grabbed snippets, bless his heart, from the transcripts. And we’re gonna go through them, and we’re gonna actually address each one that we seem to have carelessly tossed aside.

Paul: Cross it off the to-do list.

Rich: Let’s do it.

Paul: Alright, what do we got?

Rich: The first is Google’s ability to spy on every aspect of your life. Quote from Paul Ford. “If I search Park Slope apartment two bedroom, two bedroom, it’s very likely that two bedroom apartments will show up at the top of the search results. And the reason that is happening isn’t because Google has this amazing ability to spy and investigate every aspect of your life. It does have that, but we’ll put that aside.” That’s a different, then I said, “That’s a different podcast.”

Paul: That’s right. So, I mean, what am I talking about there? First of all, why didn’t I go down that path and explore that concept at that moment? And the reason is, Google is many things, and this is a sort of recurring theme for me, but these organizations that we deal with, whether it’s the New York Times, the New York MTA, the federal government, they’re vast. They’re never just one thing.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Anything that gets big doesn’t have one set of ethics.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: It doesn’t have one way of making money.

Rich: It’s too big.

Paul: It’s too big.

Rich: It’s too big.

Paul: So Google is vast. Google knows everything you do. Google owns a browser that they distribute called Chrome.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: They have, uh, an advertising platform that tracks sort of all the clicks on the advertising product. You know, you log in through Google when you access things like your email, but also other services.

Rich: Yeah, I mean, they’ve, they’ve, they’ve essentially come to a tacit agreement with the world. Which is, we’re going to give you a bunch of really convenient things for free. And look man, you can criticize Google all you want, but by God, they’ve given us a lot of things for free.

Paul: Not even free, but cheap, right? Like…people don’t remember what mail, email was like before Gmail.

Rich: Oh no, there was like the complexity of setting up a server. Essentially, your job gave you the email. It was hard, it was, like, annoying to do it on your own. Then, you know, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail showed up and things like that.

Paul: No, but they went like, “Hey, how about $25 a user a year?” And by the way, it’s probably more now, but that’s where it started. And then they’re like, and you get docs and kind of enough files. And it’s like, this is a ridiculous amount of value. And the fact is it is secure.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: They know everything you’re doing, but they don’t care. That’s the actual deal that we make with technology companies.

Rich: Well they care a little, Paul, because if I keep saying, man, I don’t know which blender to buy in my email, I might get a blender ad. So I want to put “free” in quotes here.

Paul: Yes.

Rich: Let’s do that. Let’s close down this one by putting “free” in quote jail.

Paul: Well this goes back to something we were talking about earlier. Like, Apple is the true kind of middle and upper class company because they know everything you’re doing, but all they want to do is sell you more Apple products.

Rich: I mean everyone, it’s not a hidden secret what everyone’s agenda is.

Paul: Google knows what you’re doing, and they want to say, hey, I have 30,000 people who like watches, who are really, seem intent to buy right now.

Rich: That’s right. I have a friend, we’re about to do “But That’s Another Podcast,” in this podcast called “But That’s Another Podcast.” I have a friend who air-quotes too much, and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s not making sense when she does it.

Paul: Oh, this is, well, it’s like signs in New York city where they use quotes.

Rich: Yeah. [Laughter]

Paul: No one could, the quote is the most misunderstood of all the, all the punctuation.

Rich: Yeah, yeah. Next Tossed Topic. “VCs give you money and encourage you to light it on fire by referring to its use as burn.” Rich, ”I want to talk on another podcast about how you think about burn. They call it burn, which is hilarious.” That is hilarious.

Paul: That’s it? That’s another podcast?

Rich: That’s another podcast.

Paul: Well I actually went and calculated at one point, how many dollar bills fit in a barrel.

Rich: Okay…

Paul: It’s a hundred thousand.

Rich: That’s a nice number.

Paul: It’s you know, it’s around there and so…

Rich: And the classic barrel? Like a Donkey Kong barrel? [Laughter]

Paul: Yeah, like I did that I went online I like did the math on like a typical barrel size, like hogsheads. And so a hundred thousand dollars in a barrel. And so when I think about startups and I think about media organizations and so on very often I think of them rolling in huge, like, barrels of money and setting them on fire. Most organizations when they start doing digital stuff, they actually would have gotten more value just from the warmth out of simply burning the money.

Rich: I mean that’s real. I think burn is time running out. That’s I think, I mean VCs—it’s not the healthiest relationship, right? They’re like look, you will either go to the moon, or you’re gonna crash and burn and be nothing.

Paul: I mean—

Rich: And so you’re burning through your fuel. There’s a fuel tank, it starts at F and it slowly moves to E. And you’re burning through your resources. That’s a normal, like, sort of subtle way of hinting it. “What’s your burn rate?”

Paul: What is a VC? A VC is the worst parent.

Rich: Or the best, Paul!

Paul: No, the worst.

Rich: We may want to raise VC funding at some point. Come on, now.

Paul: No, because they say, you either get 100 on the test, or you pretty much are dead to me.

Rich: You’re dead yeah, you’re not my son.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: That’s true.

Paul: So burn, yeah, it is um, well, as a framing concept, right? We’re saying that’s another podcast. The framing concept there is that you really can understand businesses in terms of how they’re just, like, setting themselves on fire, like how much they’re chewing through.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And it tends not to be about value or anything long term. It’s purely, it’s month to month, minute to minute.

Rich: I’m going to say something positive about VCs to close this one out.

Paul: Okay.

Rich: I like risk. I like the adventure around it. And there aren’t a lot of people out in the world who are like, “You’re crazy enough to burn through five of these barrels. And I think you’re interesting. So I’m going to take a risk on you.” And I appreciate it.

Paul: I get it, the only thing that drives me bananas is when they get on Twitter and then they’re just like, “Oh boy I’ve been talking to a lot of partners and a lot of firms and boy, that’s it. It’s all over. It’s all done man. It’s gone!”

Rich: Well, yeah the diatribe on climate from the VC is a lot.

Paul: Every single week another VC is like, “You thought it was bad in 2009!!”

Rich: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The next one was about marketing quote on quote. Since we talked about quotes experts. Paul speaking. “You know I’ve met a lot of people in the market. I don’t know if they’re marketing experts.” Rich responding, “That’s another podcast”. We’re not good.

Paul: No, you can just stop there. We’re not good. Marketing is enormous, vast, expensive, confusing, and we, you and I are product people. We like to make things and put them over the line—

Rich : Yeah.

Paul : And that should be enough. And I don’t love, the whole discipline is rough for me, because you’re, it’s essentially like Google and Facebook, and you’re going to give them money in a certain way.

Rich: Yeah, I mean—marketing is real hard.

Paul: Yeah, we hired so many agencies where people would just be like, “I’ve spent that money.”

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And, and you’re like, “Oh, well, what do I get?”

Rich: Yeah. Also, out of fairness to them, we were an agency where you weren’t looking at like, you know, how many widgets you sold that week. It didn’t work that way. You needed, you needed one lead a month.

Paul: That’s it.

Rich: Essentially.

Paul: All right, so marketing,

Rich: Marketing, teach us by the way, if you are interested in talking to us and you think you have the answers, we’d love to hear from you. We might be hiring a marketing agency to help us with various things.

Paul: Please God, we promise we’ll behave.

Rich: We’re actually looking to hire someone.  Next one. SaaS for family dysfunction. This is from the “Personal Brands Are Dead” podcast. I think our podcast is getting darker and darker, Paul. I don’t know.

Paul: Well, it’s a funny one, SaaS, so software as a service product—

Rich: Well let me read the quotes.

Paul: Go ahead.

Rich: Sorry to interrupt you but. Paul, “I’m using Aboard right now to organize the TV shows that my family wants to watch because we fight so much about the TV shows.” Rich, “Sounds like there are underlying issues there, but that’s not what this podcast is about.”  Paul, “Do that. We’ll do another podcast.”

Paul: Well,I don’t think this one’s particularly complicated. Like, this is just, everybody uses fam, uh, software to manage various dysfunctions in their life. That’s the whole function of software.

Rich: I had an idea for an app once.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Uh, that you ran in your taskbar and it was called Mother. And no matter what you did, the confirmation would always make you ask one more, it asks you one more question. So it would say, why would you do that now ?

Paul: This is extremely Lebanese, because your mother calls you 14 times a day.

Rich: She calls me 14 times a day.

Paul: She’s called you twice during this podcast.

Rich: Yeah, yeah, then it would occasionally just have a pop-up that just says sit up straight, like it was just always slowing every creating friction. Family is friction. I mean, it’s beautiful, but it’s friction.

Paul: You want to know the irony here? Um, a couple weeks ago I sat down with my kids and my, my wife and we put the Christmas presents we want into Aboard. We were all in the room together.

Rich: Okay. Santa’s dead

Paul: Yeah, my kids are a little older.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: And so, um, and we put all the gifts into a board and my daughter, I got a watch notification that my daughter wants fuzzy socks, um, because, through Aboard and the product actually kind of knitted us together and we’ve been using it and following up so…

Rich: That’s very cool.

Paul: I mean, I’m sort of marketing our own product here, but what I’m saying is like, there is an element of family dysfunction. Software can help. It’s nice. It’s good. Every family is a little messy.

Rich: You know, my son is on, he just got his phone. And, and what I’m seeing happen is, is he’s trying to wall us off, right? He’s got his phone. He’s got a group chat with like 22 people, no joke. And then he’s got others with three and four and this soccer team and things like that. And I’ll message him like, how’s your day going? And he wants nothing to, he’s trying to create—

Paul: K. K.”

Rich: Yeah, exactly he’s very brief. And I think what he’s trying to do is kind of like create his own social space. Um, like if you, if I gave him another phone that’s purple that’s just called mom and dad’s phone, he’d be all in. He’d be, he’d talk to us on it, but it feels like I’m walking into his crew.

Paul: He doesn’t want you in there, man.

Rich: He doesn’t want you in there, but that, but he does. It is another way to connect. Like I know phones are dangerous for kids. We’re very locked—my, our phone is super, super locked down. His phone is, he can’t do any, he can play 10 minutes of video games a day. Then it just locks up.

Paul: I Had a moment with my daughter the other day where I said, who are you talking to and she said, “Oh the short kid chat.”

Rich: [Laughter] By the way, I, he once showed me, I was like, can I see like, what, what do you guys, cause he got like 316 messages. Like he’d left his phone for an hour.

Paul: I’ve seen it too. It’s not the smartest and most thoughtful communication.

Rich: It is styrofoam packing peanuts inside of a chat.

Paul: Cat memes

Rich: It’s terrible.

Paul: Yeah, yeah it’s, it’s Totino’s Pizza Rolls as a chat product.

Rich: Let’s talk about our dear old friend Newegg.

Paul: Oh, Newegg!

Rich: “Frankly, I think they should shut down Newegg just because of its UI, but that’s a separate podcast.” Paul. “Sometimes you just need a good network-attached storage device, and that’s Newegg.”  I want to say something about Newegg—

Paul: This one, this one’s all you.

Rich: Well, here’s my thing about Newegg. It is, you hit Newegg, and the color scheme ranges from black to like a burnt orange all the way through.

Paul: Yes.

Rich: My computer starts to heat up more because the amount of, like, there’s just a mountain of JavaScript like from years ago in there.

Paul: It’s heating up because it’s anxious that you’re going to replace it.

Rich: [Laughter] Let me, let me, that’s a great, that’s a good joke. I’ll find a rimshot right now.

Paul: [Rimshot impersonation] Cha-chow.

Rich: Newegg, you understand Newegg for me has a, it’s like someone I’ve known for 30 years and I get to talk to about the beginning of the internet. Newegg has been around forever. I actually love Newegg. Newegg is an amazing store. It has, like, timers for deals. Like there’s literally like the seconds are counting down before the graphics card becomes more expensive right before your eyes. It’s actually pretty amazing.

Paul: Look, it’s, the glory and sheer pleasure of commerce is not to be underestimated. Like, there’s that, there’s TigerDirect, there was, remember Woot.com?

Rich: Yeah. It got acquired by Amazon.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: You rate the products with eggs, like they went all in. Someone in that company said, “Why not eggs? We’re called Newegg.”

Paul: I mean, it works. You and I are sitting here on a podcast talking about Newegg.

Rich: I’m also happy that Newegg barreled through Amazon, just landing on earth and is still doing its thing.

Paul: Here’s the thing, I don’t want to buy hard drives from Amazon because you can’t actually trust it. It just sort of throws you a million options and you have to, you have to go parse it. I know if I buy a Seagate, like, two-terabyte hard drive off a Newegg.

Rich: That you’re good.

Paul: I’m getting the thing that I asked for. It’s going to come from the place, you know.

Rich: You ever filtered on Newegg?

Paul: Oh yeah, yeah, I filtered on Newegg. What are you talking about?

Rich: Somebody at a cocktail—“What do you do? Nice to meet you, John. What do you do?” “I am responsible for the filter of the Newegg.”

Paul: The Newegg, the sheer power within the newegg taxonomist role. Like it’s…

Rich: It’s incredible. You could ruin lives with that thing.

Paul: Alright.

Rich: Alright, one more, Paul. “Get your praise where you can”. Rich, this is me talking. “The support lady at the Apple store asked me, ‘Did you back up your phone?’ And I’m like, ‘Of course, I have my phone backing up like every night, it’s all good.’ She gave me a medal for that. She gave me a blue ribbon on my forehead by the time I left.” Paul. “That’s probably the most praise you’ve received in like 36 months.” And then I responded, “It’s been a long time. That’s separate. That’s not this podcast.”

Paul: No, that’s right. Look, praise for middle-aged men who have sold a company is pretty, uh, pretty rare. But also, I’m very suspicious of it.

Rich: I think that’s why I don’t get praise. Uh…

Paul: Yeah, you’re not going to accept it.

Rich: I don’t read praise as like, “Come a little closer, that was very nice to hear.” I’m not good at it.

Paul: We spoke, you and I spoke warmly about each other at the all-hands end-of-year meeting yesterday, right? Like that’s, I said, I, how much I appreciate working with you and vice versa. Right?

Rich: Yes.

Paul: And so like that, that’s kind of, there’s a certain point in your life where praise becomes like, there’s no, nobody wants to give you the random reward anymore because you are the random reward-giver.

Rich: Yeah. I think, I think that’s it, tight? And, and, and, uh, it is a particular…I, I associate praise with agenda. I’m just a suspicious person.

Paul: It’s real. If one of our, one of the people working with us, sat down and said, “Hey, I think you guys are doing a great job running this company.”

Rich: I’d fire them.

Paul: I would be terrified. No, I’d be like, okay, I’m about to get murdered. Or like, I wouldn’t understand it and you know…

Rich: [Laughter] You’re in a car, they’re taking you somewhere.

Paul: I will say I do get, because I still kind of operate in public and write for WIRED and so on, I get nice feedback there.

Rich: I’m sure you do.

Paul: Yeah. And, and it’s, it’s actually something I, I realized at one point I kind of take it for granted. Like I will get, people will say nice things to us. They say nice things about the—

Rich: It’s appreciated. You, you, it  makes you uncomfortable. I’ve seen you get praise and you, you get, you get real wriggly.

Paul: We hear nice things about the podcast, you know, Jim Nielsen wrote a nice post about us. Like we do get a lot of praise for the stuff we do in public. I feel that that is a healthy way to get praise. I like that thing you did. Hey, thank you.

Rich: I like that too. I like that too.

Paul: Direct praise feels very confusing in middle age.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: You’re just like, whoa, hold on.

Rich: Yeah. That’s right.

Paul: Where are we going here?

Rich: I would like to close this podcast by making a request that if you have nice things to say to us,  there’s a window of time, it closes on December 21st. Uh, and we will look at it unironically and thank you in return. And, also, we’ll give you an Aboard hat.

Paul: Good job, I thought you were, I thought you were going to turn this into like, give us five stars, but no, good.

Rich: No, but also please give us five stars. Give us thumbs up. We’re still on YouTube. It’s a weird thing, but let me tell you, if you haven’t seen this, seen us on YouTube, it is surreal.

Paul: Well, it’s not our faces anymore.

Rich: It’s not our faces, but it plays like, um, an old Pink Floyd, like, video. Uh, it’s kind of surreal.

Paul: I don’t know if what we’re doing is sustainable, but it is pretty entertaining.

Rich: It’s very entertaining. You should check it out. Go watch five minutes of it.

Paul: Um, you know, I…

Rich: Jim, thank you again.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: For doing this. We really do appreciate it. Keep listening, spread the word. Uh, the best praise is kind of the jabs like this. Somebody writing a post and saying, “You know, you say this all the time. Why don’t you just talk about it?”

Paul: Oh, the only praise that matters on earth is someone paying attention. That’s all, if I see someone paying attention, I know we’re doing okay.

Rich: That’s right.

Paul: Alright, Rich. Let’s get back to it.

Rich: Alright. Thanks. Have a great week.

Paul: Bye!

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