As the last decade’s big social media platforms crumble, Paul and Rich reflect on the (false) promise of the “global town square,” and the suggestion that putting millions of people in a giant room together could be productive in any way. If the era of building software to facilitate networked connections is truly on the way out, does AI promise a return to an earlier, utility-based era of technology? 

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E17

Demolishing the Global Town Square

Paul Ford: Richard, my friend.

Rich Ziade: Paul Ford. How are you?

Paul: I’m good. We should tell the people who we are. We are the co-founders of Aboard. Aboard.com. Check it out.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: And as we often say, there are big changes coming. We’re working on some new and exciting stuff. We’ve told people about it. Table view, a little bit of mmm—ready? Ready for these two letters? AI. Little AI.

Rich: My name is Rich Ziade.

Paul: [laughing] And I’m Paul Ford.

Rich: Welcome to the Aboard Podcast.

[intro music] 

Paul: Rich, I want to go back to something for a second that was really big in our culture for a minute, and talk about where it all went wrong, and where we’re going. And I can sum it up in three words. I’m going to say three words, and then I want you to tell me what those three words mean to you.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: Global.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: Town.

Rich: Ohhhh noooo….

Paul: Square.

Rich: Yeah… It was optimistic. The idea of it, the vision and dream behind it, was optimistic.

Paul: All right. So, very early days of the internet and the web, I wanted to publish my happy little blog with my happy little stories, and I would do that. And then suddenly, there were ways for people to reply and respond to me.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: And then social media and Twitter show up. And now we have it. We have the great meeting of the minds, the marketplace of ideas, the global town square.

Rich: “Marketplace of ideas” is a hell of a phrase, also. [Paul sighs loudly] As if your ideas are on eBay and people are bidding on them.

Paul: Well, everybody really likes the idea of the market, where everybody can get together and scream as loud as they want, and somehow the truth will emerge.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But every good marketplace that we know about is pretty heavily regulated and has a lot of government oversight.

Rich: Yes. And there’s a reason for that. That’s because the children will destroy the house.

Paul: It’s real. Right? If you let, if you don’t put heavy guardrails on, people will figure out ways—insider trading is a perfect example.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: They’ll just kind of game the system endlessly.

Rich: It is what humans do when left to their own devices. It’s not grounded in evil. It’s grounded in our competitive nature. It’s grounded in our desire to be noticed and acknowledged. It’s grounded in just basic aspects of human psychology and sociology, frankly, if you watch the things that take off and that take hold, whether it be markets for something that, you know, why does this scarf cost $900? Or why did that dumb 12-second video, remember that woman who was, like, pretending to be a video game character or something?

Paul: Oh, yeah. And she was, you know, “Gang gang! Ice cream so good.”

Rich: Yeah. And she took off.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: So I think that… [laughing] our sort of aspirations for the spirited discourse that we expected to have over coffee or tea didn’t really pan out.

Paul: I mean…this is a very—a very, very tricky part of life. I was raised in this kind of like, progressive, do-gooder environment.

Rich: Mmm hmm.

Paul: My family was a catastrophe, but we were very positive in our vision of humanity.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: So…okay.

Rich: Like many families.

Paul: I mean, very normal. Very normal in this way.

Rich: Yeah!

Paul: And one of the trickiest things about middle age for me has been to realize that an awful lot of human beings are deeply average.

Rich: Yup.

Paul: And that they really want average things. Because you come up and you get your liberal arts degree and it’s like, “Boy, if we could just get them more Shakespeare, the world would be so much better.” And what people want? Potato chips.

Rich: Okay, so this….I mean, I’m going to save your personal brand here. What you just said sounded incredibly arrogant and elitist, but you’re right.

Paul: Well, it’s also like, if you go behind the curtain and talk to the professors of liberal arts and sciences?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: They’re sitting there grabbing each other by the shoulder, saying, “They’re illiterates. I can’t stand them,” about their students.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Like, I know this for a fact.

Rich: Yeah. Look, I think—

Paul: Part of this is just being older and being exasperated by the youth.

Rich: Yeah, but I’m exasperated by people that are my age, too.

Paul: [sighs] It’s just that the grand vision, and I think it’s a positive vision, I actually think it’s very much the democratic vision, which is every voice matters. And I think there is a way that you do that, like voting.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Where you say everyone has—and there are, or the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Where you say, there is inherent value in each life, and it is incumbent on all of us to figure out ways to celebrate, honor, and respect that, okay? That is important. That’s religion, that’s government. But it’s not Twitter.

Rich: It’s not. Look, good governance, good civic mechanisms are messy. Even the best ones are very messy. Here’s what it comes down to, dude—we could sit here, this sounds like NPR bullshit right now. We’re going to reset it.

Paul: Okay. We’re gonna reset—

Rich: We’re going to bring a little monster truck—

Paul: Yeah?

Rich: —to this podcast.

Paul: [sings the All Things Considered theme song]

Rich: Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. People try to manipulate other people. Great marketers manipulate you into believing that that $200 belt is going to get you success.

Paul: The classic texts on management all point to this. The best managers are very good manipulators. I read that when I was, like, 20 years old, and I was like, uh-oh, that doesn’t sound good. But it turns out that you can be a positive manipulator. I manipulate my children constantly.

Rich: You could be a positive manipulator. Great politicians—by politicians, not great statesmen and decent, you know, civic leaders, great politicians manipulate.

Paul: Relentlessly. Yes.

Rich: That’s what they do. Relentlessly, right? They play on your emotions. They play on your beliefs. They play on your insecurities. They prey on your sense of injustice.

Paul: One of the great manipulators of the last 30 years was Bill Clinton.

Rich: I mean, the best manipulators don’t look like they’re manipulating. Boy, he didn’t. Right?

Paul: [an attempt at a Bill Clinton impersonation] I feel your pain.

Rich: I feel your pain, right?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: And he had those eyes.

Paul: Uh huh.

Rich: He’d kind of peer at you and whatnot. What happened—and I want to bring this back to tech.

Paul: Good. We should.

Rich: And I want to go through a breakneck history of technology—not just the internet. Technology. Technology was born out of tools. There were mainframes, giant rooms that needed to be cooled so that you could crunch numbers. Then eventually, transistors showed up. Silicon showed up.

Paul: Right.

Rich: And then you had these ugly beige boxes that sat under your desk. And the word processor and the spreadsheet was a miracle. You could get work done with it.

Paul: This all got economically summarized as the productivity revolution. This is the 90s, right? In the 90s, suddenly humans, one human could sit at a desk and do what used to take 10 hours in 10 minutes. And—

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: This meant that the economy started moving faster and faster and faster.

Rich: And you could play video games also.

Paul: There’s that, too, right?

Rich: That was there, right?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: And then the internet shows up. And the internet shows up, in early days in the internet, we didn’t really view it as a social platform.

Paul: Sure.

Rich: We viewed it as a publishing platform. And so that word processing writing that you were doing those essays, or that daily diary—

Paul: It wasn’t software. It was distribution.

Rich: It was distribution.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: So you put it on the internet. And so blogging, early days of blogging, I consider you one of the pioneers of blogging.

Paul: I was, I was…I hated the word blogging. I thought it was reductive.

Rich: I mean, we’re back to NPR, but that’s fine.

Paul: Yeah. Okay, fine.

Rich: You were an early blogger, and blogging, they were essays, mostly. Some were like slice of life. Some were advice from parenting or advice—but it was pretty innocuous stuff. And what was happening was the lions in the Sahara were sort of observing this new animal.

Paul: Right.

Rich: Eventually, there was, I think there were a couple of ad networks, like Federated Media showed up.

Paul: Absolutely.

Rich: Everybody’s like, you know what? You’ve got an audience here.

Paul: I’m seeing, well, you know, a good example would be, like, a website, like Boing Boing—

Rich: Yeah!

Paul: Which is still going, right, which is just like—

Rich: It’s still going, and it—

Paul: News, and there were kind of nerdy stuff going on, and it was a little pop—

Rich: You could pay the salaries of a dozen people.

Paul: Right. Right.

Rich: And off you go, right? And you’re telling something about the world. And you had sites like Gizmodo, early days, and Jason Kottke, who’s I consider another pioneer of blogging. Jason would just share interesting things he found.

Paul: No, here was an ad network called The Deck.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But, and you know who, because it’s a tech-focused audience, and these are very high-margin products you’d end up with like, Adobe would want to advertise a new product inside of—

Rich: That’s right. That’s right.

Paul: Inside of these networks, because it was a good way for them to reach 100,000 people.

Rich: That’s right. Back to what I was saying earlier. It was not viewed as a tool to manipulate other people.

Paul: Not in a—I mean, no, not any more than any other kind of media at the time. And in fact, less so. There was a lot of media criticism about how the network news was manipulating people and so on. The internet was seen as counter-programming to that. It was seen as independent and authentic.

Rich: That’s right. That’s right. And so what you had really was a medium, as you look back to the tech history timeline, from beige computers under your desk, and word processors and spreadsheets, and frankly, blogging. Creation, these were tools to create.

Paul: Correct.

Rich: Not purely tools to consume. Like, Instagram hasn’t shown up yet, where you just scroll mindlessly.

Paul: Well, Amazon is a little baby that sells you books.

Rich: Amazon’s a little baby. Facebook hasn’t shown up yet. The real accelerators around sort of snack-sized consumption like TikTok and Instagram come later and really take off later.

Paul: And maybe you have, like, kind of 50 million people on this platform.

Rich: Twitter shows up.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Rich? And Twitter is a small percentage of Facebook’s footprint, but found its niche in political discourse and news. Like, it became the news media.

Paul: It was also very frothy. There was always something new. There was Weird Twitter. It had a lot of in-jokes. So it felt like you were a part of a very large, but still very weird club.

Rich: That’s right. And so what materialized as you look at across this timeline, we went from tools around creation and editorial, and even if it’s your own blog post, it was hard, it took work, it took a day sometimes to write your thing, to much lower overhead to pushing content out, and then the systems optimized for consumption, not creation. That shift from creator to consumer caused a seismic change. And now let’s go back to the global town square.

Paul: Well, actually, hold on. Let’s just be very clear about what did that, which is that suddenly, you could sell an aggregated audience for a lot of money to brand—

Rich: [overlapping] Advertising, marketing, that’s right.

Paul: Brand advertisers. So now, it’s not just Adobe saying, hey, I know where we can get 100 new people to go buy Photoshop.

Rich: Correct.

Paul: It’s now, I need to tell everyone about how new Clorox bleach now has lemon scent.

Rich: Yes, that’s right. And it turns out, well, okay, how do I keep you engaged? And this is well-documented.

Paul: This is actually, I want you to finish this thought, but this is the destruction of the gifted-program version of the Internet. And now we’re back to the regular program.

Rich: We’re back to the regular program.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: And I’ll tell you what, people, all the energy went. All the energy went to. How do you know Uncle Joe on his phone? Not, do we add rich-text editing for Uncle Joe’s editor? It became about consumption entirely.

Paul: Even more so. And this is where, in retrospect, this ended up creating the situation for the vast moral failure that we saw inside social media. It was, how do we get out of the way of everybody adding content that will keep Uncle Joe occupied? It wasn’t, let’s force-feed him freedom-eagle content about how Hillary Clinton actually has horns growing out of her head.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: What they saw is that Uncle Joe just kept on clicking, and they could keep selling him to Procter & Gamble.

Rich: It is way easier and way more satisfying to sit and consume than it is to create, right? Now, we say, when you say global town square, you make it sound like there are three seater tables with espresso cups on them, and everyone’s having little debates.

Paul: A little. And you’d get up on a soapbox, and you would say, like that guy in the Norman Rockwell painting—

Rich: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: Who’s like, standing up in the crowd.

Rich: A little bit of discussion, but then it’s like, “Ah, you’re being ridiculous.” And then you go back to your discussion.

Paul: [crank voice] I want to say I disagree with the way that cloture works in the Senate.

Rich: So here is what came of the global town square. There are 300 people sitting in cafes talking, and then ten people show up naked. Another ten show up with megaphones. And another ten show up waving Nazi flags. Now, what does this mean? What it means is—

Paul: Well, this happened in Berlin. [laughter] But yes…

Rich: This exact situation happened in Berlin. What it means is that dream of discourse, peer-to-peer discourse, heated debates about some policy or whatever? The oxygen that was needed for that was sucked out because everybody put their coffee cup down, stopped, and looked.

Paul: It’s such a dude fantasy. The town square, too. Like, it’s just going to all be ideas. It’s going to be very…

Rich: Those paintings of the Founding Fathers, like, having those heated debates.

Paul: And when you talk to people who are not kind of white dudes, they’re just like, yeah, it doesn’t always work out the way you thought. But here we all had to learn it together. The reality is, I think there is a good rule, which is if someone shows up naked and screaming in the middle of a normal room?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: They will get all the attention. And if you don’t have a mechanism, if someone showed up, we’re right now in a nice office, okay, someone shows up naked and screaming, what are we going to do?

Rich: We’re going to stop what we’re doing and pay attention.

Paul: Yeah. And then we’re going to call someone.

Rich: We’re going to call someone.

Paul: Hopefully a medical professional will come and help the naked screaming person. But there’s no one to call in the global town square.

Rich: There’s no one to call. In fact, not only is there no one to call, the mechanisms of how these signals get sent along amplify the ones that get you riled up here.

Paul: Here, I want you to be a person, we’ll be at the table when the naked screaming, here’s the naked screaming person. Okay, just observe what you’re seeing here.

Rich: Um, Paul, this is weird and disturbing. Hold on, hold your thought.

Paul: But no, hold on a minute, Rich. Let’s hear what he has to say.

Rich: Okay. See that through. And then that person starts ranting on about like, Nazi nonsense.

Paul: Rich, I got to tell you, I listened to Naked Screaming Guy, and he had some really interesting questions about the way that we do affirmative action in America.

Rich: [laughing] I mean, a small percentage will connect.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Most of the time I get riled up because I’m on the other side. It’s not just a naked screaming person anymore. I’m going to give it all my attention because I must fight this message, fight this signal. The dynamics around polarization get us so excited. I have a good friend who’s one of the smartest people I know and bites the dumbest bait I’ve ever seen, over and over again. Why? Because it’s optimized for his attention—not because he buys into it. It’s optimized because it validates all of the biases that they have internally.

Paul: No, but this is fundamental, which is you think that you’re delivering ideas, debate, and philosophical exchange. You are not. And I have a lot of questions about this in my own career. What you are delivering, always, is validation. You can’t escape this when you are making content. People consume the content, seeking validation in context. No one organically seeks out conflict and pressure against their well, their carefully constructed belief system.

Rich: That’s right. That’s right.

Paul: And so that’s how you end up—and it’s, and then the global town square, what it did, and the phrase context collapse gets thrown out a lot, right?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But suddenly you have people who have very constructed, consistent belief systems. A conservative on one side, a liberal on the other, but also, like, a Black person in New York City who is part of the Nation of Islam.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah.

Paul: Right? Like, their belief system works for them day to day.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah.

Paul: Right? And on the other side, you have the Communist Party in California, and you put them all in a room together? They don’t have a common context.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And the system is like, isn’t this great? It’s working just as it’s supposed to.

Rich: They don’t have a common context, and they have conflicting worldviews. And the systems in place, the systems that were used for word processing and spreadsheets, are designed to amplify those divisions. Because if you amplify those divisions, everyone engages it.

Paul: That’s where we are.

Rich: Everyone engages it.

Paul: And it used to be, you would go to their store and you’d be, like, “How are the kids?”

Rich: Yeahyeahyeah!

Paul: “Okay.” And you’d know that on Sunday, you did radically different things.

Rich: You would say, “Oh, God, she’s nice. They’re weird, but she’s nice.” [laughing]

Paul: “They’re weird. I’m glad she doesn’t run our government,” right?

Rich: [laughing] “She bakes an amazing casserole every Sunday for the church.” or wherever.

Paul: And the kids play together, and it’s all good. And so then you—

Rich: We grew up in New York City. I mean, I grew up in New York City. You lived in New York City many years. That is what New York City is.

Paul: It really is. We have tremendous tools—and the term tolerance is always a tricky one because it implies this idea that you’re supposed to just tolerate other people.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But the reality is, that’s what humans are. You have your little tribe that you are a member of, and then you interact with all these other cohorts. And frankly, you might kind of just not really respect or love that other cohort. But while you are in the room together, you are going to be very respectful. And in fact, if you want to see a kid get corrected in New York City, it’s when they’re disrespectful to the other group.

Rich: Yeah, totally. Totally.

Paul: They cannot be.

Rich: I mean, respect is a baseline, but when the polar opposite of everything I’m about is put in front of me, it is catnip, man.

Paul: It is.

Rich: It gets me real excited, and I really engage it, and everyone is guilty of it. You know how this got framed? It’s funny, I think the woke narrative is kind of dying out now. The right is like, “The left is too woke” and whatnot. To me, as I observe it all, everybody’s thin skinned. Everybody’s incredibly sensitive because the nerves are frayed at this point.

Paul: They are. And you can win the argument by not acknowledging my concerns, you’ve made everything much, much worse.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And so it’s bizarre that we thought that this could be the global town square, because it’s actually the opposite. It’s a system for keeping ideas out of the commons because they’re like—

Rich: That’s exactly it.

Paul: —it’s too intense and too emotional. And so what you end up with is everybody having conversations in the group chat back along their ideological lines.

Rich: Yes, that’s right.

Paul: That’s pointing over there and going, that’s a nightmare.

Rich: By the way, I’m no historian, but I have read a couple of books around revolutions, because they’re just this crazy moment, right? And consistently, Paul, revolutions are sort of driven by vision or like a document that someone wrote that got printed.

Paul: Right.

Rich: Revolution happens. They get rid of the king, or they get rid of whatever, and it is an absolute sloppy mess of terror and horror for years afterwards. We’re not good at it. The town square that was supposed to surface after they got rid of the king led to some of the most heinous crimes.

Paul: We actually did pretty well in this country compared to most other revolutions.

Rich: We did. I don’t view this—they call it the American Revolution, but I don’t think it was the American Revolution. It was essentially a separation. You didn’t overturn the king of England. So I view it differently than like, the French Revolution.

Paul: No, that’s true. We didn’t behead the king.

Rich: We didn’t behead the king, and we weren’t looking to replace a vacuum.

Paul: No, nor did we go invade England.

Rich: Correct.

Paul: We just said, like, “Hey, we’re going to take this. This is ours.”

Rich: That’s right. That’s right. Versus the French and the Russians. And again, I’m no historian, but, boy, when they came in—soon after the Iranian Revolution, look, the shah was placed there by the U.S. He was a shill, essentially. He was there. He was a puppet. They got rid of him. It’s like, okay, I get it. We killed one of your great Muslim leaders. Your land has oil on it. They were trying to exploit you. They come in, and what kicks in? A very rigid, tough regime that whiplashes in the other direction. We’re wading into new waters. I guess what I’m trying to say is, back to the vision of the global town square. We are divisive by nature when you give us power, and the internet gave everybody power.

Paul: I feel that the lesson of the last 15 years is, it’s the Amazon two-pizza rule, which is you should never have a team larger than two pizzas, that could eat, like, two pizzas.

Rich: Like, never have a global town square more than two pizzas?

Paul: That’s about it. And you see this, when the group chat gets above about eight people?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: It all starts to go south. You invite that one extra person in and they’re like, “I really do have some concerns about what we’re doing here.”

Rich: Do you know why? Why do you think that is?

Paul: I think it’s just power. And I don’t think it’s understood as power by people internally. Here’s why, because you and I are people who actually have a lot of power and control over our own lives. I’m very aware of what a ridiculous level of privilege that is.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And you see, when people don’t, they just are angling and they don’t even know they are.

Rich: I don’t think they know they are. I think that’s right. I think when it shifts from group to when you cross eight people, it’s an audience, it’s no longer a small group.

Paul: That’s right. And now ideological cohesion can’t be assumed. It has to be sort of enforced.

Rich: Yes. Yes. Exactly. Am I here to blame tech? I think we can do a couple of things differently as we look ahead. I think, going back to what I said earlier about giving people tools to create, not just to consume. Giving people…essentially making people feel empowered enough to feel productive. I don’t mean just in political discourse, but just generally.

Paul: I mean, frankly, you and I have been living this for years now as we’re trying to get Aboard done, because we’re trying to create a utility.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: That isn’t a network.

Rich: And isn’t seeking network effects.

Paul: And I got to tell you, we went out and talked to a bunch of VCs. They weren’t excited.

Rich: No.

Paul: They were like, “What are you guys doing?” I do feel, actually, that weirdly, it feels like the culture is changing. And I feel that in some ways, we should come back to this in the next episode, because this is kind of the negative vision. I think there is a positive vision here, where I do feel, and this is a funny thing, I didn’t feel this with crypto. I feel that going back to utility is part of the AI narrative, but that’s getting lost in all of the copyright and all—literally, because AI has jammed itself into the global town square.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: The concept of it—

Rich: It’s giving speeches in the global town square.

Paul: It is, right? And so the utility of it and the fact that it is actually just a tool, not a magical baby that talks to you, but a tool, is getting lost. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: It can run on your phone. It can be desktop software. We don’t think of it that way because we’re so internet poisoned. Right?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But AI, the things that Chat GPT does, can run locally and they can be good utilities that you can use to get things done.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And so I feel that the whole industry actually is trending back towards a productivity utility, individual empowerment point of view.

Rich: You believe that?

Paul: I do. I just don’t think it—

Rich: Or are you being hopeful?

Paul: Partly hopeful, but I actually think it’s there.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: I think it’s there, but I don’t think we have the language or the capability to engage with that because we have been wrecked. The culture of tech has been wrecked. Crypto, to my mind, has a lot to answer for in this regard because it just turned everything into the most pure market possible and gave nothing back intellectually.

Rich: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: Everybody got really into blockchains and forgot about humans.

Rich: I agree with you. If we had skipped the social media phase and gotten right to AI, everyone would be talking about AI in terms of enhancing work.

Paul: Correct. And they are. And that is the actual dialogue that’s happening—

Rich: That’s, I think, one of the positives. That’s one of the glimmers of hope here.

Paul: Well, and that conversation is happening everywhere except in the commons where everybody’s like, the monster has come again.

Rich: Yes, and I get that. And I get the mistrust there. I get it.

Paul: Tech is in a position as an industry where it has to earn a normal human being’s respect and trust again.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: Because—

Rich: That’s a good thing.

Paul: No, they bought all those NBA playing-card NFTs?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And they’re like, why, don’t come back with another thing?

Rich: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. And also, it’s jaw-droppingly powerful.

Paul: It really is.

Rich: And people are just trying to make sense of it.

Paul: The next podcast, let’s talk about…

Rich: Let’s look ahead.

Paul: Let’s talk about utility and productivity, and can we get back to 1985 via AI? Can we get back to that positive moment where you flip on the screen and it’s like—

Rich: Most of our fans were not born.

Paul: Yeah, but they do, they spent their entire childhood, thinking about that era and reading bulleted lists about it on Buzfeed. Rest in peace. [laughter] And so, uh, we have a common context here.

Rich: Yeah. All right. We’re set up to think ahead now and maybe there’s a more optimistic future.

Paul: I’m going for optimism. Until November 2024, I’m doubling down on positivity, man.

Rich: What choice do we have?

Paul: It is banana-kooky times out there.

Rich: It is. Check out Aboard at aboard.com. We’re sort of setting you up for some big, exciting changes we’ve got coming.

Paul: Well, we’re talking about what’s on our mind without over-promising about our product.

Rich: Yeah, yeah. No vaporware here. [outro music] Hit us up. Hello@aboard.com. Always a pleasure talking to you, Paul. Have a lovely week.

Paul: Same here, Rich. I guess I’ll talk to you again this time next week, but not in between.

Rich: Not at all.

Paul: Not a word.

Rich: Have a lovely week, Paul.

Paul: You, too, Richard.

Rich: Bye bye.

Paul: Bye.

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