Paul and Rich explore the web as a platform for everyone’s data, leading to a shocking number of digressions into the class structure inherent in Android and iOS, how Google manages data, and old naked nudes. As noted at the beginning of the video, this one doesn’t feature their little heads. They’re going back to basics. This one does include so, so much AI and stock imagery though. It’s hallucinatory. Enjoy!

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E6

The Web is a Sticky Pickle

November 28, 2023

Rich: My name is Rich Ziade.

Paul: And I’m Paul Ford and you are listening to and/or watching the Aboard podcast.

Rich: I hope you’re watching it because we’re putting effort, little by little, into the quality of the video that we are posting to YouTube.

Paul: We are on the AV squad and the co-founders of this company.

Rich: The goal is to be slightly less embarrassing each episode. 

Paul: You know, someone today just actually was talking about how they liked our newsletter. And not because of the inherent quality of it.

Rich: Huh.

Paul: But because there was one point where I used the name of our old company. I was like, “As the co-founder of,” and I named the old company.

Rich: Uh-huh.

Paul: And sent that out to all of the Aboard people.

Rich: Why? Well, okay explain that.

Paul: Because my brain just skipped, I just, like, mentioned it by accident.

Rich: Oh, the accident. 

Paul: Yeah, yeah. 

Rich: It’s human connection.

Paul: And then I replied, I was like, okay, I’m an idiot to everybody and I got a lot of replies—and she was telling me today, like I forwarded that around because I work in academia and everyone’s terrified to make a mistake. It actually turns out that you can completely humiliate yourself. She actually was, she said…

Rich: She connected to it.

Paul: No no, it was great. She was like, “Even a serious error like that one.” Which I loved— [laughter]. 

Rich: [Laughter]

Paul: It was totally fair, right? Um, and…

Rich: Yes, um, this is the Aboard podcast. 

Paul: Yes it is, Richard. What are we talking about today? I drove the last one. Why don’t you drive this one? Why don’t you come up with something? Why don’t you do a damn thing? 

Rich: I’m gonna do a damn thing.

Paul: Okay.

Rich: I want to talk, we often put on sort of quasi-historian hats. 

Paul: Yes. 

Rich: When we talk about technology.

Paul: And robes, we wear a lot of robes.

Rich: A lot of robes and such. And I want to talk about the history of the web and how the web evolved.

Paul: Okay. Oh, that sounds great, that’s a really unusual topic for us. That’s great. 

Rich: No, no, we’re gonna [laughter], we’re gonna jump to today because there’s a point in all of it. The web today is actually one giant weirdly connected database.

Paul: Okay, let’s try to make this interesting.

Rich: Okay. Now…hold on, I will make it interesting. Give me a second. 

Paul: Louder and funnier.

Rich: Louder and funnier. So here’s the deal: Most things point to other things on the internet.

Paul: Links.

Rich: Links. Links are still running the world today. You still get a link to a thing, you get a link to a product.

Paul: Wikipedia, or you get the email from your bank saying go to the bank website.

Rich: Link to a red sweater that’s on sale.

Paul: That’s actually phishing, don’t. Yeah, link to a red sweater.

Rich: Exactly, exactly. And what you usually get is content that is consumed by humans, pointing to other content to be consumed by humans. Check out this very cool red sweater. It’s a great deal. And it’s in the newsletter and it points to you know, a red sweater at Target.com. It’s a link.

Paul: You know what’s happening today? 

Rich: What? 

Paul: Black Friday! Even though it’s like Friday before Black Friday.

Rich: Well, it’s like Black November.

Paul: It really is wild.

Rich: It’s really wild, it’s really wild. So, there is another layer that’s actually really interesting. And you know, who, who made it happen? We can thank someone for that.

Paul: Mmm.

Rich: Google. Google is always trying to get smarter and smarter. You ever search on Google, you know, “when was, you know, when, how many home runs did Mickey Mantle hit?”

Paul: I often am really doing a lot of Mickey Mantle-related research.

Rich: Mickey Mantle is a baseball player, and what it shows is in big font up at the top, “594 home runs.” And if you ask it when someone was born or how long War World II went on for.

Paul: Mmm hmmm. Long time.

Rich: It’ll say “five years and six months,” and it looks like it answered your question. It’s actually the same technology that’s used when you use, like, one of those talking boxes like Alexa or Google Home or Siri. And the way Google has created this knowledge—

Paul: Knowledge base.

Rich: Not just lists of links, is it essentially told all the citizens of the internet, “Listen, when you put webpages up, behave yourself in a certain way and we will treat them better because we’re Google.” 

Paul: Mmm hmmm.

Rich: Right? And then what happened was they built something called a knowledge graph.

Paul: Sure.

Rich: The knowledge graph is essentially all the information that’s gotten from Wikipedia.

Paul: Let me give a less library-style example. Data…

Rich: Did you call me a librarian?

Paul: Yes, and you’re, you’re, you’re welcome. I love librarians. Know—when you search for, we live in… what’s this neighborhood called that we’re in right now?

Rich: We are in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. 

Paul: So if I search “Park Slope apartment, two bedroom,” it’s very likely that two bedroom apartments will show up at the top of the search results.

Rich: Correct. 

Paul: 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.

Rich: It’s a different podcast.

Paul: It’s because Zillow and similar websites want to get you to pay attention to them.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: And they know that you are going to go to Google and you are going to type in “two bedroom apartment.”

Rich: That’s right.

Paul: And so they put special structured data at the top of their web pages.

Rich: Ahh.

Paul: And Google indexes it. And you can actually, this is, it’s, that’s called a schema. If you go to schema.org, you’ll actually see, it’s like a glossary of how you do this.

Rich: Yes. 

Paul: And so people are giving—Google got everyone to behave because they want to get into those Google search results without paying for Google advertising.

Rich: That’s right.

Paul: And Google wants a better and sort of more data driven web. And so like, and it’s funny actually when you go and you investigate this, because our product actually makes use of that scheme of data. Some places really only want Google to have it. They don’t really want everybody else to be able to get in there.

Rich: Correct, yes. Because you could, you could weaponize that data, right, in a way. 

Paul: Yeah. 

Rich: Um, and, and, look, I could look at Google one or two ways here. This is a little bit about Google. 

Paul: Okay. 

Rich: One way to look at it is like, they essentially anointed themselves stewards of the internet and said, “Look, if you want us to effectively treat you well, and you want full citizenship on the world—on the nation of internet, you should do these things.” They can’t force you to do them. There are a lot of bad web pages out there that don’t do them, right? But frankly, if you are a real-estate broker, you’re going to want to do them well, because everybody starts with Google. So you could look at Google negatively here. 

Paul: Well, there’s a moment—

Rich: Do you look at Google negatively?

Paul: I don’t look at any of the… I remember once, you know, if you live in New York City, do you read the New York Times?

Rich: I do.

Paul: I have a subscription. I mean, it’s a funny thing because the New York Times has this big global profile, but if you live here, it’s actually your hometown paper. It’s one of several hometown papers.

Rich: It’s one of several, yes.

Paul: But for a certain, like, it tells you things that are going on, like, about the people in the city that you wouldn’t otherwise know. 

Rich: Yes. 

Paul: So, okay. And I used to get angry about the New York Times in a kind of political way, a lot of the time. Because it just, like, wouldn’t go far enough or something would happen in an op-ed—

Rich: You didn’t agree with a position.

Paul: A friend of mine took me aside and was like, look, look at that institution, you often read it. You play, you know, you do the crossword. It’s vast.

Rich: It’s vast.

Paul: You get to criticize a specific part of it. But if you want to come at the whole organization, that’s like coming at a whole government, right? 

Rich: Yeah, yeah.  

Paul: Like it’s not trivial. 

Rich: Over one policy position, or one law or whatever. 

Paul: What I think happens is that all gets lumped into hypocrisy. So it’s like, “Oh, Apple isn’t great? Well, what kind of phone do you have in your pocket? Does it have an Apple logo on it? Gotcha!”

Rich: Yeah, yeah. 

Paul: And the reality is like… If I’m going to participate in the world that I find interesting, I’m going to engage with Google, and sometimes it is going to do wonderful things for me. And I don’t want to just say, like, “Oh, they did those wonderful things again.” I actually want to acknowledge that, like, huge amounts of human effort went into that. And there was all kind of intent and so on. I mean, what Google did that was fascinating, right, the web was kind of a big open, semi-open platform. Microsoft had tried to kind of take it over and other people—

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: But it was really emerging as like its own thing, and Google went, “Absolutely, that is what we love. We were so into it, We’re so into it in fact that we’re making a completely open source web browser of our own called Chrome.”

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: Which will just, it’s not even going to favor Google services. It’s just making sure that, like, everything is great for everybody forever.

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: And then slowly just like, just that created so much…

Rich: Swallowed everything whole.

Paul: It didn’t even swallow. It just created gravity, right? 

Rich: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul: It just suddenly everybody was…

Rich: Bad gravity?

Paul: It’s like anything, man. You know what’s nice? Logging in with Google. You know what’s weird? Google knows who logs into what.

Rich: Okay.

Paul: Right. So then you…

Rich: Look, we’re all doing this right? We’re all and we’re all participating. So I agree with you, I don’t have the position that Google is, was a bully on the internet and forced everyone to do anything. Their argument is we’re just a, we’re a citizen like you, but we just, people happen to start their day with us, right? And so you should probably behave a certain way. And we’ll make—we’ll provide value back to you. That’s the promise. Now, this exists, the knowledge graph exists. By the way, shout out to Wikipedia, which is kind of the, I mean, we’ve talked about AI a lot on this podcast. It is a key chunk of the knowledge upload to these AI engines out there in the world. 

Paul: It’s the last…

Rich: Wikipedia is a glorious piece of semantic information.

Paul: It’s the last true website.

Rich: It’s the last true website. So Google, by the way, unapologetic, I think they donate a lot of money to Wikipedia, if I’m not mistaken.

Paul: Yeah, and there’s…

Rich: You know why? Because that banner ad gets projected across Google headquarters.

Paul: Of Jimmy Wales’s face?

Rich: Of his face saying $5. And then, yeah.

Paul: People are funny. They’re just like, Wikipedia has too much money. And I’m like, does it? Is that our problem as a society? Really? 

Rich: [Laughter]

Paul: That the one good thing is overfunded. Aw, geez. What a shame.

Rich: Yeah, yeah. Um, but yeah, I mean, it’s a wonderful sort of…tended-to source of information that everyone benefits from.

Paul: Mmm hmmm.

Rich: I do think that it presented a strange artifact that others can pick up, and no one has bothered to, which is interesting to me.

Paul: Wikipedia?

Rich: No, this knowledge graph, this beautiful set of connections that exist on the internet. Why do you think no one has bothered?

Paul: People have bothered. So I think there are, there are systems out there that do use that data. There’s people—so let’s be clear about what we’re talking about. We’re talking about, like, semantically structured data at the top of web pages and openly published that anyone could spider and use to build their own knowledge products, like a Google.

Rich: Like Google top of search, yes. 

Paul: I could, if you gave me a couple million dollars right now, I think I could make a very credible apartment-hunter app.

Rich: Yes. Yes.

Paul: Okay. So I think that, first of all, though. It’s that couple million dollars right? Like it’s not a casual enterprise and you sort of, It’s expensive enough to do a good job and the data is still messy and it still expires. 

Rich: There’s always that last mile, yeah.

Paul: That I don’t think unless you’re inside of a larger context, like building an apartment tool inside of a realty operation or already at Zillow or things like that—it’s hard to kind of like everything is so big. It’s hard to make that jump.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Look, there is an index of the web. You could build your own Google, it is called common Crawl, you can download huge chunks of the entire internet, terabytes and terabytes. It’s all…

Rich: You’ve mentioned this before. How big is it?

Paul: Like petabytes, like it’s huge.

Rich: But you can download it?

Paul: It’s vast. You can download any piece of it. It’s in s3 buckets on the internet. It’s very—the problem with it, this scale it’s not tractable, right? Doing things, I can sit down and I can do amazing things with computers. I can look at a hundred thousand websites in a couple of hours. And…good for me.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But, you very, but a hundred thousand actually doesn’t mean anything anymore. Like, it’s millions of, you know, millions of apartments, billions of transactions. There’s billions of web pages. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And so, like, What can I do with Common Crawl? Lots of people do lots of things with it. Like, they’re using it to feed AI tools or eating that data and so on and so forth. But creating your own Google is just, like, kind of not trivial. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: What database do you use, right? 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: So, so a lot of it’s open. A lot of it’s out there. I want to build a knowledge product. The problem is, if I want to build a knowledge product, going to the open web is really hard. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Wikipedia is a pretty good structured data set. There are others, IMDB is a good structured data set. So, you know, I could start there, Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s very hard to, like, take something that’s kind of muddy, clean it up.

Rich: I mean, Google has thousands of people wading through that stuff.

Paul: And 20 years of experience doing it and it sets the standard, right?

Rich: It sets the standard, yeah.

Paul: So so you’re, you’re, it’s a very unusual moment because I think everybody would argue that the web is much worse than it used to be. Objectively, there’s probably about as much good communication and interesting data. It’s just, we’re swallowed up by a social media news cycle. And the golden days of like everybody—you know, having a blog was like having a garage band. Like it was cool, you know, you’d walk by and you’d hear them practicing.

Rich: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s true. I think we’re conditioned to taking in, like, really loud, crazy stuff because it just tickles our brain. 

Paul: Yeah. 

Rich: I also think even not that, even just going to almost anywhere on the web, it is a minefield. It’s just a rough scene. And then that’s why I wanted to have this conversation. Because if you tell me, “Hey, go do some research and find out for me and get me the top 20 of this,” and then you’re just, your hands are sticky by the end of it, it’s just, your feet are glued to the ground, you’re kind of in this gross place.

Paul: There are two ways to do that. There’s either somebody already did it for you on Wikipedia.

Rich: That’s true.

Paul: That’s nice. 

Rich: But that’s not current, oftentimes, a lot of times it’s like, okay, find me office space in Seattle.

Paul: You can’t, or, or you can find the data on like using ChatGPT. The thing you’re describing is hard. It’s very hard to do.

Rich: I think that’s why I wanted to talk about this, because I think we’ve, we, we made an agreement many years ago, which is this, frankly, absolute superpower would be free of charge. 

Paul: Yes.

Rich: We just made that agreement. Like, we pay for cell phones, we pay for, for, um, membership to museums, but this one thing, which happens to be seismic in its impact on the world, is going to stay free.

Paul: It was a terrible deal.

Rich: Do you think it was a terrible deal?

Paul: Yeah—

Rich: What would we have what we have today without it though?

Paul: No, and it wouldn’t be at this scale. There are, there are trade-offs, but I’ll tell you what, and it, you know, would the world look more like AOL plus People magazine, you know, like, yeah, I mean, there’s that, right? So I think, um…

Rich: Should the pla—should the web be hostile?

Paul: Well, here’s the experience that sucks. The experience is, there’s, something happens in a town and you, you see the link to the local newspaper story. Big day for the local newspaper. And you go there and it pops up, uh, it pops up an ad. Okay, that’s their right. But the ad is so broken that the site doesn’t work anymore.

Rich: Oh no, the whole newspaper slid to the bottom of your screen [Laughter]

Paul: Yes, so now, now you reload the page and it says, “Hey, see, you’re trying to get back here a lot. Gonna need you to subscribe.”

Rich: Yeah. It’s a…

Paul: And you’re like, I read one paragraph of your freaking story and I guess our relationship has now ended.

Rich: And your population is 42,000.

Paul: Yes, I’m just like, I guess I’ll just get this data literally anywhere else. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And so, uh, so, I feel that—sorry, my children are pinging me on my phone.

Rich: This is charming. Let it happen.

Paul: Okay, we’re just going to have some pings. There’s a lot of coordination because they’re going to the library, speaking of librarians.

Rich: Amazing, amazing. Are there tools out there that make it better? Do people care? Well, let me backup, Paul Ford. Let me ask the nastier question.

Paul: I mean, I’m literally like…

Rich: Does anyone care about tools?

Paul: Oh God, yes.

Rich: They do?

Paul: Yes, but it is not a va—like here, there’s a fascinating cultural breakdown where a really, really small portion of humanity cares deeply about tools and they are convinced that everyone else does, too. And immensely shocked and disappointed when they find out—

Rich: Always.

Paul: How much… you know I’ve talked to recently Obsidian users and you know people who use these software tools and they love them and they live them and there is this moment, I’ve had this moment a few times, especially as a writer where your stuff goes out…I can’t take this anymore I’m gonna yell at my children. No, I’m not, I’m going to but I am gonna… You know, have you ever tried, you don’t use an Apple watch, you hate them.

Rich: I don’t, I use regular watches.

Paul: Oh my God, I don’t know how to disable things on an Apple watch.

Rich: Really?

Paul: Everything is…

Rich: You can take it and take it off and throw it across the room.

Paul: I’m getting old, and there’s a high-risk thing where they put the thing that makes your phone beep, so you can find your phone right above Do Not Disturb. So you are like 80 percent more likely to just get like everything starts ringing really badly. Anyway, okay. We’ll leave this in for charm, hi everybody. People love tools and most people don’t care. Most people, um…

Rich: They really don’t. 

Paul: They really don’t. And you just have this experience when you go out, whenever you do anything and you actually start to interact with the broader public, what you realize is that you live in a bubble where your priorities are shared by others.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And most people, like, the vast group of humans like 99.99—like 6 nines.

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: Don’t share those priorities at all. Some of them just want a piece of fish. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Some of them want a nice sweater. And some of them want to be good at their job, which doesn’t involve using complicated software tools.

Rich: If there was a cleaner version of the internet.

Paul: Are we marketing?

Rich: No, hold on. 

Paul: Oh, okay. I got confused.

Rich: It’s a browser, it’s called. 

Paul: Cause I need you to tell me if we’re marketing.

Rich:. We’re not, we’re not yet. We will soon though, don’t get me wrong.

Paul: Okay. 

Rich: These podcasts don’t make themselves. 

Paul: We’re building an information management tool 

Rich: No, but I want to go more ambitious than that.

Paul: Oh okay.

Rich: Which I think there’s value in that. I want to talk about that in a minute. But, if you had a new browser called, um, Cleanse.

Paul: Cleanse, that’s great, good, yes, Cleanse.

Rich: And when you search on it, it’s like, it’s the internet, but it doesn’t, it isn’t a minefield.

Paul: This is happening. There are like new search engines people are paying for that are just cleaned up. And this was like DuckDuckGo, and there’s a couple others.

Rich: Okay. Why don’t you use them? I mean, DuckDuckGo has been around for a while. They have their little following.

Paul: No, uh, frankly, because if I was a journalist, I think I would. If I was back being a journalist again, I would.

Rich: Mmm interesting.

Paul: If I need to, but right now, um, um, the kind of data, I’m, I’m enjoying using ChatGPT, etc. 

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: I’m getting my data out of books and videos. I’m not, I’m not in a world in which I need to quickly triage 500 sources.

Rich: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: And my to do, my Google Calendar is enough of a to-do list. I’m doing things in big chunks. When we ran the agency, and I was doing competitive research all the time and so on, I needed a to-do list with checkboxes and I needed to be able to look at, you know, cause clients would come in, leads would come in and I need to like go find stuff out really fast.

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: Anything that would make that better was worth it.

Rich: Yeah, yeah. 

Paul: So smarter tools for dealing with LinkedIn or, or, or CRMs or whatever.

Rich: We’re nerds, let’s face it. Yeah, like you said a small percentage are into tools. Everybody else is like, “Well you just got to drive through Times Square to get to the shop. That’s just life.”

Paul: This, this moment in the culture was really profound, which was tech was a nerd thing. It was generally, if you were into tech, you were a dorky person. 

Rich: [Laughter]

Paul: And you were, and if you, if you wanted to hang out with cool people, you had to hide the fact that you knew how to use a computer.

Rich: It was lame, it was lame.

Paul: It was really bad. 

Rich: You were a lame dude.

Paul: I remember in high school seeing a guy with a manual for the Amiga computer system, which I deeply loved and desperately wanting to talk to him and going, “No.”

Rich: You didn’t want to, well, why not?

Paul: I wasn’t gonna take that social risk. 

Rich: [Laughter]

Paul: I was I had I, had just found my precipice of safety, right? 

Rich: Got it. 

Paul: I wasn’t gonna go hang…

Rich: Got it.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, and no no, but like so, you create this system. The Google guys, they’re all dorks. And then you create something and you realize there’s an unbelievable amount of value in it. People are ready, they are coming on. They want to buy apartments, and it’s about to commercialize. And then there’s nothing in between. It’s almost like now we have no middle class. There’s no digital middle class. 

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: It’s like unwashed masses jamming stuff in the box, paying with their attention, and buying stuff through ads. And then there is the ultra-wealthy creators of those systems, literally in terms of like, they get all the attention. 

Rich: They took all the land. 

Paul: They did, and they eliminated the sort of, the concept of a digital middle class. And I think that when people were like, paying $20 a month, that’s a middle-class idea.

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: That is not like you’re gonna we’re gonna jam this in your eyeballs and you’re gonna buy more candy bars. It’s like, you have a little disposable income because you’re and you’re gonna use that money because you value your time and attention and experience. The people who identified how to make digital middle class truly work are Apple.

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: Apple said you’re gonna spend $500 more.

Rich: They take privacy very seriously.

Paul: And you are gonna…

Rich: Safari browser is an aggressive, like anti-tracking. I think, I’m not, I don’t know this for sure. I think by default, like you could turn them on again, but it’s super aggressive.

Paul: Apple is a testament to middle-class technology. Google is not. Google is just, like, lowest-common denominator is where we’re gonna start.

Rich: We got all the land. You want to come to town?

Paul: Mmm hmmm.

Rich: Yeah. You’re coming through our town.

Paul: That’s right. And there’s actually…

Rich: You’re going to see all the billboards on the way.

Paul: And you actually see that class system play out. 

Rich: Interesting. 

Paul: And like how in the ecosystems, like Android is a working-class platform.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: And, and iPhone is not.

Rich: No. It’s a gated community.

Paul: And there’s like a tension between green bubbles and blue bubbles in the chat, and you know. 

Rich: It’s a gated community, and it has near-zero crime, and the lawns are immaculate. You could argue it’s a little more…my mom won’t go to iPhone. She won’t go to iOS.

Paul: It’s sterile. 

Rich: Yeah. It’s very, it’s very… Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of soulless in a weird, creepy way. Sort of like their keynotes. I mean, let’s face it, they’re at a certain point where they really don’t want to move the needle too much.

Paul: It’s what are you going to do? That is a… but it’s not only that they don’t want to, but it’s like you kind of can’t when you’re at that scale.

Rich: Yeah, I’m ready to step into absolutely naked marketing right now. 

Paul: Okay, okay. Well, what was the point of all of this? You’re driving. 

Rich: Yeah, I think the point of it is, well I think… 

Paul: We can’t do naked marketing now that we’re on video. Like, that was fine to say back in the day. 

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: But now we can’t. I can’t. I’m staring at a camera. The last thing wants from me—

Rich: Yeah. I meant unapologetic…

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: [Laughter] My point of all this is that it’s an, I’m going to make a meta observation and then jump to my, my unapologetic marketing pitch.

Paul: Please, please go meta. 

Rich: My meta observation is we, over time, will accept a crazy set of circumstances as normal.

Paul: I mean this is, like, this is how…

Rich: I mean we really will. We will, we will [laughter].

Paul: Well you know the proof of that is just like every family. 

Rich: [laughter] Exactly, exactly.

Paul: Like, you’ll hear, you’ll talk to people and they’ll be like, “Well yeah on Christmas my mom and dad would just open the presents naked.” 

Rich: Yeah, yeah [laughter].

Paul: And you’ll be like, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. And they’re like, oh, I guess it’s…

Rich: It’s normal…

Paul: Yeah no, it’s just, we’re Swedish!

Rich: Oh well, I want to tell you… I was about to go to marketing. I’m actually going to tell you a different story. We had friends, they’re like Finnish, and…he was Swiss, she was Finnish, I correct myself.

Paul: Okay.

Rich: And they met, he met her family and then within, like, and they went to a retreat, like in the mountains and…

Paul: Neither is a very demonstrative culture.

Rich: No, but listen to this. So I guess part of sort of welcoming him in but also kind of testing him? Like all her uncles and her dad took him to like the sauna, like together, because apparently it’s incredibly normal. 

Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Rich: And everyone’s genitals were out.

Paul: But I don’t think that, for the Finns is that? I thought they were saunas, too, this was a big deal for him? 

Rich: Well, it’s not even, I mean, I think regardless of what’s going on.

Paul: It is…

Rich: It’s first off, these are all like 50- and 60-year-old dudes, right?

Paul: And he’s like in his 20s.

Rich: Yeah, he’s in his twenties. He’s like, he’s in love with, like, you know, the daughter, the girl and she’s in love with him. It’s like, go get to know my family. And everybody’s like, everybody’s clothes come off.

Paul: That’s rough stuff. You don’t want to see the advanced-age genitals of your family. Future family.

Rich: He was telling me the story. To your point, he wasn’t, he was like, isn’t that crazy? It wasn’t that crazy to me, but that’s crazy to you.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Rich: Like it was more like that, but I’m like, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s great. Now I’m going to segue that little aside into why Aboard is, what Aboard is about when we…

Paul: First let’s… people are checking in on this thing, they may not know what it is. Aboard is a, it kind of looks like a bookmarking tool, but it is a data-management platform that’s really easy and really smart about web data.

Rich: You said it beautifully, Paul. 

Paul: Thank you. 

Rich:  And this is kind of, this is how I want to tie it back to this whole conversation. When we share a link with each other in chat or in an email, that link essentially said here, essentially says, “Here is the key. Here’s the latitude and longitude to a location on the internet that you’re going to have to walk through and see absolute hell to get to.”

Paul: Probably.

Rich: Probably, right? Not always. And so what that means is that it is just a pointer, a reference point on the internet. What Aboard does—and that’s why we’re gonna start to talk more about Aboard as a data platform because it isn’t link storage. That’s not what Aboard is. What Aboard does is it when you give it a link, it unpacks it, looks at the data inside, and makes it pretty for you.

Paul: To be clear to everyone, we’re not going to market the product out. Like, we’re going to talk about why we made decisions about web data, because we love the web. Like, I don’t want people to listen to this and go, “Oh, really? Here we go. I gotta listen to that?”

Rich: Paul?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Nobody cares.

Paul: I know nobody cares.

Rich: Nobody really cares. Um, I think the highlight I would make with Aboard and this is the, the, the, I think the takeaway from this particular, uh, point is that it’s really pretty. The web is actually really pretty—when you clean it up, it’s just beautiful.

Paul: It’s a great application delivery platform these days. 

Rich: It’s great, it’s great. 

Paul: Yeah, it’s really nice.

Rich: It’s great. I want to echo something you said to me a while ago. Building Aboard has been a journey, and something you said to me, I think it was a year ago or maybe four weeks ago—I’m not sure—was, how about we build something that makes the web a little bit better.

Paul: Mmm hmmm.

Rich: And that’s really hard to do. Like, people say that, and they have aspirations around it, but it’s really hard to do. 

Paul: We set out to do it thinking it was going to be like, we, we, we built a certain layer of the product and then we’re like, let’s give this three more months. 

Rich: Yeah. 

Paul: And make the web a little bit better. And…

Rich: Yeah. That was five years ago. 

Paul: [Chuckles] that was a year ago. And we were off by a factor of four and we’re actually really good at software estimation. 

Rich: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Paul:It just turns out that it is a big sticky pickle out there. 

Rich: Yes. Hence the title of this YouTube slash podcast video.

Paul: Sticky Pickle.  

Rich: Not after the story about the Swiss and the Finnish [laughter]. It’s not going to be called Sticky Pickle. Um, I’m Rich Ziade, check out Aboard at aboard.com. By the way, by the time you watch this, the mobile app will probably be out. Check out the mobile app.

Paul: Notice that probably, that last little hedge right there. 

Rich: Jeez. 

Paul: I think it’ll be out.

Rich: Let’s air that laundry.

Paul: No, I’m excited. I’m very excited. Aboard is a, Aboard is good and we want to hear your feedback. We’d love to actually talk to you if you’re using it, get in touch. We’re, we’re doing more and more user interviews and learning a lot. The platform’s kind of sort of taken a lot of shape and so it’d be cool. So reach out if you have something to tell us. Oh: hello@aboard.com.

Rich: Yeah, reach out at hello@aboard.com via email. 

Paul: Yeah. 

Rich: Uh, and if you’re enjoying this podcast, if you’re watching, subscribe.

Paul: Like and subscribe, my friends.

Rich: Like and subscribe. I’m saying it now because what I’m going to do is in post production, I’m going to make a little animation of a finger going up and a bell and…

Paul: Our video editing tool has like those all built in.

Rich: I know 

Paul: It’s pretty disgusting. 

Rich: Speaking of a gross internet [laughter].

Paul: I love being a middle-aged influencer. Alright Richard, well let’s get back to work.

Rich: Have a wonderful week. 

Paul: I’m going to take down the green screens.

Rich: Bye bye. 

Paul: Bye.

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