Episode 01 - Alligator in the Bathroom
In the inaugural episode of Back to Work, Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discuss why they're doing this show, getting back to work instead of buying berets, the lizard brain, and compare the Shadow of the Mouse to San Francisco, and eventually get to some practical tips for removing friction.
Initially Released January 18, 2011
Episode Page Alligator in the Bathroom
Recurring Topics and Characters
Late in the episode Merlin recounts watching Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein as a 4 Year Old and afterward being convinced there was an alligator in his bathroom. His parents were "pretty sure" there was not since they managed the complex and that the bathroom in question was the guest bathroom. The fact that there was not a alligator in the bathroom did not change his fear of the imaginary alligator.
It's not a question of not being scared, it's a question of being scared and not doing it anyway.
Everybody's got a boss, you know? Bono has a boss. Everybody's got a boss. Just in the sense that there is always something you want that you don't have and there's always somebody you need to please on some level.
-Merlin, quoting Gruber on how to think about work.
I think I want to try and cross the Rubicon to get from somewhere between douche-bag advice about "You're a jerk, go work harder," versus 135 New Ways to Update Chrome. Somewhere in between there is a sweet spot and the struggle that have with finding that sweet spot in our work is the same struggle that we'll probably have making this show appeal to everybody.
-Merlin, on his goals for the podcast.
The actual making of stuff ends up being a fairly tedious process-a tedious, lonely, non-beret-wearing process.
As hard as it is to get great at making stuff over and over again, there is something oddly freeing about saying "No, there is not a genie and there is not a muse" and yes it will take you more than four hours a week and you can't do it in a hammock you have to actually get up early and work no one in India will do this for you.
You're going to have to go out and really work on this stuff-if it matters to you. And if it doesn't matter to you then a beret will be fine.
When you know what you care a lot about, you quit making excuses about being distracted. When you are a lot about writing you can do it on the back of a piece of a napkin.
Do you imagine that you go to, like, a store and get magic carpet and suddenly you get to be independent?
The universe doesn't care whether you're scared.
You're like the Dr. Phil of this space.
-Dan, on Merlin's Dr. Philisms.
The homeless guy who you feel, you know, a little nervous around has more Twitter followers than you do.
-Dan, on San Francisco.
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