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John Gruber takes 'The Talk Show' to Mule Radio (daringfireball.net)
96 points by lleims on May 18, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 157 comments

Trying hard to see the rationale behind this split. Gruber's emphasis has always been on "quality," "being the best," and "being right" in everything he does. Thus the only light through which I can see this decision is his belief that the show is better without Dan. Their relationship throughout The Talk Show has had its tumultuous moments: in early episodes, Benjamin's using an Android phone drew Gruber's ire, and then later there was animosity when Benjamin would show up for the Bond episodes unprepared. Gruber would accuse Dan of "yeah yeahing" his co-hosts and contributing little in the way of earnest dissent.

On the other hand, I always had the sense that Benjamin regarded Gruber as a kneejerk Apple apologist, and this too could not have helped their relationship.

But their differences led to the show's magic. Their contrasting styles would turn the show into a focused, intimate meditation on Gruber's thoughts on industry (plus side interests of baseball, Kubrick, etc.), often serving as a preview of what written work would be to come on Daring Fireball. While it can come across as aloofness, Dan has the passive ability to subtly guide the conversation and give it some sense of structure, and he's great at knowing when to let the other person speak. There were also incredibly funny moments of East Coast camaraderie that would keep the side topics interesting and lively.

It seems that Gruber has taken all of this for granted in deciding his show is better without Benjamin. Quite sad.

I'm pretty disappointed with this move. I was getting a little tired of the Talk Show on 5By5 but it was still enjoyable because Dan brought humor and structure to the show.

I remember when Let's Make Mistakes split off and formed a new podcast network it felt odd to me at the time, like they used 5By5 to get some initial audience and then took them for themselves. For some reason it fit with the impression I get that Mike Monteiro is an asshole.

With this move I am done with the Talk Show. I just dont care any more.

This. Gruber's flippant attitude has been bringing the Talk Show down for the past few months. Dan is what holds it together. These days, Hypercritical is by far the best podcast I listen to.

It's not worth listening to without Dan Benjamin.

Hypercritical is an awesome podcast. I love that Dan mostly sits back and lets John go on his long rants.

Agreed on Hypercritical being the stronger show now. It's also something that ages better, so that old episodes are still informative.

Absolutely. After months of being constantly busy, finally I had a few days to myself and listened to first episodes of Hypercritical (I got on aboard from episode 30) and they are really informative. Even those that are about really old events (like iPhone 5 predictions) are really insightful.

I was gonna say this, you nailed it. I find myself going back to 2011 to catch up on some current follow up

I'd be really really sad if hypercritical gets cancelled. I hope John Siracusa never leaves 5by5 - Dan Benjamin doesn't contribute that much to the show, but is still a great host.

Hypercritical is excellent.

That's what makes the shows good. Dan, like most hosts that own networks (like Leo) don't really know a lot and don't really contribute to the conversation. Their job is to get the best cohorts and let them do their thing. As far as I'm concerned, the less Dan talks, the better. That's more time that people like Siracusa and Marco get to talk.

That's out of order. Dan is a coder, a writer, something of a designer, and has founded or been involved with several startups. He shows he knows a thing or two.

Put another way, I very much doubt any of these co-hosts you admire share your view that Dan is clueless.

Yes, he is a coder (Ruby on Rails), has had talks on Ruby, is familiar with iOS development, Perl, PHP (he said PHP was the language he used daily for a couple years) and is not clueless at all. He has also done a few PeepCode screencasts (Ruby, Sinatra, jQuery, Mercurial, Command Line, vi, ...).

The problem is John Siracusa, who basically knows too much.

Dan does know a lot about development. But compared to people like Marco and John Siracusa, who know about everything, Dan seems to take a back seat to the other co-hosts.

Dan is a smart guy; however, he doesn't have the in-depth tactical knowledge about how Apple works. Some of his questions and assertions about Apple are naive, which can be frustrating to listen to at times.

Hypercritical is a GREAT show. So is Back to Work

Agreed... I tried listening to the new format and it is basically background noise. Dan added a lot to the show.

F*ck! You stole my words. I feel exactly the same.

>It's not worth listening to without Dan Benjamin.

Totally agreed. I know views are split on Gruber and I fell on the side of genuinely liking his blog and The Talk Show, but I think I'm done with both.

I can't imagine how someone could do this to Dan.

Hypercritical is the new hotness anyway.

Yeah, Dan seems like the kind of nice guy you just cant help but like. Seems to me like he's been stabbed in the back on this one.

Shame on Gruber.

Disagree that he's been stabbed in the back. He was stabbed in the front.

I'm absolutely disgusted right now. I shouldn't feel like it, but I think Gruber has screwed me personally. Shame on him (though I understand that he has a family and needs to make a living), but I just can't imagine how anyone could do it to Dan Benjamin...

I was never a talk show fan and prefer the excellent Hypercritical (with John Siracusa). For those who haven't listened to hypercritical: give it a shot, you won't regret it -- http://5by5.tv/hypercritical

Speaking of 'asshole', name and logo of the Ass, ehmm, Mule Radio Network are certainly a match! ;)

Let's make mistakes was an odd fit anyway, a bit like The Incomparable (which is very good but would belong more to a macworld network obviously).

Listening right now to the mule version of The Talk Show, it feels dull and way worse than when cohosted by Dan. It would actually be way funnier with a cohost like Mike Monteiro.

Agreed. It's not the same. Shame on @gruber.

Shame on you John Gruber.

Seriously though, it's John's show and he's free to take it to another network. I just _really_ hope that this transition was done in a respectful manner and that there isn't bad blood between 5by5 and Mule.

A little background: Let's Make Mistakes, Mule Radio's main show, got started with 5by5's help. Let's Make Mistakes was a 5by5 network show for it's first year of existence. It garnered all of the listenership and cross promotion that comes with being part of 5by5. After a year of getting traction, Mule split the show off into its own podcasting network, essentially becoming a competitor to 5by5. If Mule now aggressively poached The Talk Show from 5by5 then it was certainly a dick move.

Of course, we don't have all the details and this is just speculation. So again, I hope this was done in a way that respected Dan and 5by5.

I don't know if the transition was respectful in what regards Dan, but it sure was not respectful towards the listeners.

As you, I also feel he's free to move his show wherever he wants, but I also thing he owes his listeners an explanation, or at least a comment. 5by5 was the house we visited to listen to John (with Dan) and we show up and he's not there. A mere link on his website, with no explanation, is, in my opinion, rather distasteful. I haven't heard the new episode until the end, so I don't know if he makes any comment at the end. But certainly there's no explanation or introduction. Even if they parted ways in an unfriendly fashion, he still owes a lot to Benjamin.

Finally, he's an awful Sponsor message reader. Poor Piezo.

As much as like Gruber, hearing him read Piezo’s sponsor message was kind of painful.

> If Mule now aggressively poached The Talk Show from 5by5 then it was certainly a dick move.

Looks like John was the initiator:

> John approached us and we were thrilled to welcome him.


I've seen Gruber say that Mike Montero was a really good friend of his a few times. He was even on their show. The move could be because he wanted to be with friends and support their efforts.

Feel free to show how you feel by rating the podcast in iTunes and the new mule radio app as well.

Say what you will about Mike Arrington fueling lots of silly drama, but at least when something like this happens he's open about it and we get to hear his side of the story. By remaining tight-lipped, Dan's inviting lots of speculation. Which is worse?

Last fall, Dan, John Siracusa, Merlin, and Marco were enchanted by his new producer, Faith Korpi. A couple of months later she disappeared. Jake Erickson wrote the following on Quora: "She and Dan had a falling out. She was fired from 5by5, but was given Geek Friday back as a concession to Dan's other hosts. They are not speaking any more."

The fact that within the span of a few months Dan lost Let's Make Mistakes, The Talk Show, and the producer that his other hosts stuck up for strongly hints that there is something about Dan's off-air personality that rubs people the wrong way.

Thanks for clearing that up. It seemed weird that after making such a big deal about hiring Faith, Dan didn't say anything after she was clearly gone. I thought she added a lot to 5by5.

The fact that within the span of a few months Dan lost Let's Make Mistakes

To be fair, Let's Make Mistakes wasn't "lost." Mike Monteiro actually spun it off into its own podcasting network: http://muleradio.net/

Interestingly, the Jake Erickson quotes have been deleted from Quora.

This is a shame, because I think that Dan Benjamin is a funny guy and good host. It took me a while to realize it. I initially came to 5by5 for Siracusa, Dediu, Gruber and Arment (in that order) but the longer I listen the more I appreciate Dan.

Just last week I was loving how Dan will say something outrageous, framed as a casual, factual statement about the co-host, to elicit a reaction. ("You just sit around in your underwear while you're doing this podcast." - not an actual quote, I'm just characterizing). Of everybody else, Gruber responded with the least appreciation of Dan's humor.

Oh well, maybe the new chemistry will be good too.

There are some moments between Mann and Benjamin that are so funny that I have to pause, finish laughing and resume.

It's always when they cycle through "I think you mean.." and "No, you're probably thinking..."

What are Mann's episodes about? I tried to listen a few times but I never fully understood what it was about and got confused... Could you give me a few pointers?!

Ha, I believe the original intent is to discuss productivity which is what Mann consults with business / startups.

It doesn't always go as planned which is probably why you were confused. The show is filled with random tangents which could be just as engaging. Topics include his other podcasts, Sodastream, keyboard, GTD, daughter, Star Wars, etc.

Pro Tip: sit with the episode for at least 30 minutes if you really want to hear the topic of the week. The first 29 minutes are build up to excellence.

Edit: I love the fact that while I was typing two other posts described the exact same thing. Awesome.

This 5by5 drawing sums it up, http://goo.gl/6kXwj It's a good network overall, Merlin's show is mostly funny, he can touch on interesting topics about productivity, but mostly his character is very peculiar.

:) I can almost hear Siracusa saying that!

Who's the guy in the middle left?

(I think the discussion on this submission is one of the most intellectually-uninteresting HN discussions ever!)

Guy on the middle left is Zeldman

Productivity...well, kind of. If the show is an hour long you get 45 minutes of madness with Mann and Dan talking almost incoherently but then you get 15 minutes of brilliance from Mann. I always walk away with some useful quip or anecdote about life or work.

I suggest starting from the beginning. There is a lot of gold in those first few months of episodes, and they tend to get to the meat faster. These days they've built up quite a thick layer of memes and inside jokes, but they still talk about good stuff. If you don't enjoy the humor it's probably not worth it, but you won't be giving it a fair shot unless you get in from the ground floor. It's also probably the only 5by5 show that ages well.

They're supposedly about productivity, but most of the show is just Mann saying things in strange voices. If you can make it past the first ~20 minutes, things get less absurd and the hosts begin to form coherent thoughts.

Honestly, Merlin's meta commentary on the rest of the 5by5 network is what kills me, every time. I almost crashed on my way to work during the "King Marco" episode.

I think you're thinking of "I think you're thinking of…"

So meta!

I don't know what happened here, but I agree with some of the other commenters that Dan really helped make this show what it is. He kept John focused and provided his own great input.

To be honest, I'll probably not follow The Talk Show anymore, and in my mind, the show was far from making or breaking 5by5.

I had noticed in the past weeks that Gruber wasn't writing or posting interesting stuff as much as before, Daring Fireball started to looked more like "curated" advertising for apps (paid or not paid, not sure about it); and it really is getting boring... and now you come up with this?. The sudden, and unexpected, move of one of the most beloved podcasts in the world (a big part thanks to Dan) without a word?

Gruber, you OWE an explanation to your readers, period!.

As Jim Dalrymple commented in his post (http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/05/17/blogging-is-not-a-thin...) :

"Blogging is also about trust. If you’re readers know that you are writing from your heart, they will listen. They will engage you, and in the process you will learn something new. That, in turn, will help shape your opinions.

Blogging doesn’t have an agenda, other than expressing your true thoughts on a subject."

That trust just started to crumble..

So Mule now has The Talk Show and its new iOS app is really a reskinned 5by5 app that never was released (check inside the app bundle and you'll see the class prefix is FBF and the 5by5 logo is even in there—presumably unused).

Nerd drama.

edit: here's a screengrab of the Mule Radio app bundle if you're curious: http://cl.ly/1E240C0C272c2R3L2N19

Hi there, I'm Dan, CEO of Black Pixel. I'd like to clear the air on this issue.

The application and the source code in question belongs to Black Pixel. We designed and developed the application in-house, at our own expense, and were going to license the binary for free, non-exclusive use on the 5by5 network, but that deal didn't work out.

Quite some time later, we got to know the folks at Mule Radio, and felt like there might be a good opportunity for our work to see the light of day. So we discussed things with them and licensed the binaries to them for use on their show.

So, to be clear, this app belongs to Black Pixel. We've never received a dime of money for it from anyone, because we wanted to have complete creative control over the product. We're happy that our app has found a home and are donating our time to support and add new features to the application as time goes on.

We hope you enjoy it.

-Daniel Pasco, CEO Black Pixel

You guys definitely should have refactored the class prefix and removed the 5by5 assets though, right?

Thanks Daniel. The app is great, as we expect from you guys.

Glad the app was able to see the light of day. It's a wonderful app and it's great that it was able to be used for a network, and people worthy of it.

Thanks for clarifying that.

> We've never received a dime of money for it from anyone

"Fuck you. Pay me" - Mike Monteiro.


You have never received a dime of money for your app. So did you donate your app to the Mule Radio Network?

I had never heard of Black Pixel before. Now I know that you (or at least one of your developers) is rather of the lazy kind. Comm'on, renaming 5by5 to mule should have been a no-brainer!

Jim here, I work at Mule Design, host a show on Mule Radio and had the pleasure of working with the fine folks at Black Pixel on the app.

> I had never heard of Black Pixel before. Now I know that you (or at least one of your developers) is rather of the lazy kind.

You know what? It was a bug. Bugs happen. We actually discovered it a few days ago but, the app store being what it is, we couldn't get it swapped out in time. We have nothing but the highest confidence in Black Pixel and would jump at the opportunity to work with them again.

No one involved in this is being lazy and your insinuation is not only wrong and rude it's completely unnecessary.

Duly noted, thank you.


I listen to the talk show (and a lot of other podcasts) while I work. <gossipy>It seemed like there was some tension from John's perspective on the last episode</gossipy> Then it was strange that there wasnt an ep last week. Now we know why.

Wasn't there a sense of tension in like half of all episodes?

Hahah yeah. I thought it was just Gruber's personality. There were probably problems when Gruber slammed Readabliity as a scam while one of their investors is Jeffery Zeldman, another 5by5 host. He talked bad about it for a few episodes

I remember that episode and Dan seemed uncomfortable when John kept going and going about the topic. I don't know Dan personally, but I honestly think that he didn't like the fact that John called the "Readability guys" scumbags several times.

Or that he wouldn't like anyone saying that kind of stuff on his shows. I understand him.

I gotta say though, kudos to Dan for exercising superior patience throughout

Jeffery Zeldman gave Dan an interview on the latest episode of his show (#70, http://5by5.tv/bigwebshow/70 ), coincidence?

Mule Radio was started by Mike Monteiro who used to do the Let's Make Mistakes podcast on 5by5. Not sure what that means but it might explain why they could've originally been building a 5by5 powered app and then switched to a different thing.

EDIT: As I suspected there's nothing shady going on, but my guess as to the ownership was wrong. It's explained here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3994053

Anyone who listened to the shows last year knows Dan was working with Black Pixel on the 5by5 app. Why that fell through we won't know, but this app is clearly the result of that.

If true, it's funny that John published another post a few minutes after the main one saying this about the new Mule Radio app: "The interface is simple and beautiful"


It would be interesting to know who paid how much of the app development. I hope Dan Benjamin did not get screwed by Gruber, the Mule Radio Network AND Black Pixel …

No need to speculate in that direction. These are big companies and smart people—I'm sure they came to an agreement. I just found the whole thing odd.

Big companies? What big companies? Everybody involved works for himself.

Maybe not the best wording on my part. I meant that they're reputable folks all around. There was no reason to speculate negatively about the app and Daniel's explanation above confirms that.

It is only an explanation from ONE of the parties involved (although following Occam's razor I am willing to believe it).

Can someone please explain the whole story from the start? I do not understand anything.

5by5 has an app, only recently released. Why would there be another one? Is the app 5by5 has the same as this Mule one? What is this Mule thing? Is it completely new?

Dan was talking about iOS app for long, long time - it was (presumably) nearly finished, but never released - app that was released recently is new project/rewrite of the old one.

Now we know what happened with that version.

I don’t understand what you mean. I’m even more confused now. How many different 5by5 apps are there?

Note: I listen to Talk Show only occasionally, I'm more of Hypercritical guy.

So, Dan wanted an iOS app for some time now (year? more?) - and he was working with Black Pixel (http://blackpixel.com) on that.

We don't know exactly why, but that app was never released - Dan stopped talking about it (I'm not actually sure about this, somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.). Recently, he (again, not sure) wrote new app - that's what's on App Store as 5by5 app.

Parts of "old" app were apparently reused by Black Pixel while working on Mule Radio app (also by Black Pixel.).

Ah, ok, now the picture is becoming a lot clearer. Thanks for the clarification!

The 5by5 app is a lot more live-listening-focused than the Black Pixel one. The Black Pixel/Mule app is a curated podcasting client. The current 5by5 app is specifically focused on live broadcast/notification/listening. It's an interesting contrast, IMHO; I wish each app had some of the features of the other.

There's only one. 5by5's app is for listening to live broadcasts of shows on their network.

Presumably, they were previously working with BlackPixel to do a podcasting app for the 5by5 shows, which was never released. The Mule Radio app appears to be a re-branded version of that unreleased app.

According to this tweet by Dan Benjamin about adding podcasting to the 5by5 app, he feels other apps already do it better. This may have been the reason why they scuttled their own podcasting app and went with a live broadcast app instead:


@klausa: Wouldn't it be standard practice to remove any references to 5by5, if only for legal reasons?

Awkward goodbye from John to Dan on the last show: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2443832/Screenshots/Marker%201.m4a

This is sad news. Dan was the one who balanced Gruber's cockiness. Oh well, though, 5by5 will be fine with its other good shows. Oh John Siracusa, please don't leave!

Hypercritical is by far my favorite podcast, it took the top spot on my playlists from the Talk Show a long time ago. I get the impression Siracusa does that podcast for fun, not profit and would never ditch Dan like Gruber has.

Also seems a bit odd that Dan announced another big show today.


Probably coincidental, but TTH was a tent pole show, and Big Week appears to be one as well.

I also think that bringing in Dalrymple might have made 5by5 feel too crowded. To my knowledge, of the 5 or so major podcasts on 5by5, Talk Show was the only one hosted by a blogger. (Though I'm hesitant to call John a blogger because he rarely writes original content. 95% of DF is links or quotes with one sentence of analysis, but that's neither here nor there) Dalrymple was only the second blogger, and Gruber must have felt that Jim was stealing his thunder.

Frankly, I think it's for the best. The Talk Show has been going down hill, and can't hold a candle to B&A or Hypercritical.

Interestingly, the new show (Big Week) has a color scheme based on the Talk Show's.

Wow, didn't see that coming. Just last episode Dan & John were talking about reviving the movie review series with Hitchcock. I wonder if it has something to do with bringing Dalrymple on full time on Amplified, or Dan's persistent admonishment of Gruber's use of wifi during recording, or maybe Monteiro poached him with a paycheck. Yeah I know it makes me a bit of a jackass to speculate like a celebrity gossip writer, but this is infinitely more interesting to me than real celebrities.

I imagine that this is money related. The Talk Show was one of the original shows. 5by5 has grown a lot since then. Dan has put ton of work in to his company. And it shows. Perhaps as a business 5by5 is doing much better now then it was when it started out. Perhaps gruber was still operating under the original agreement him and dan had when they first teamed up. Maybe gruber is no longer satisfied with their agreement seeing how well the talk show franchisee is doing.

This seemed more apparent when Dan teased him a bit for not wearing the 5by5 shirt. Seemed like a sore point. Dan left me with a small impression that gruber what "phoning it in" by commenting on the fact that gruber didn't dress up for the show. Dan, it's a radio show. Good luck guys.

It's fun to guess at these things.

I think this caught Dan by surprised. Dan got the Talk Show shirts made up and he seem pretty excited when he announced them during the last two minutes of episode 90. Gruber didn't seem to care at all.

I'm sure Mule offered Gruber a lot of money to bring the podcast to them. Got to support the family right?

John seemed really pissed off during the last 2 mins on episode 90. Seems like that t-shirt announcement was the final straw.

It's a shame. Dan gives John structure. On the new Talk Show John's rambling all over the place. Sad.

Here are the last ten seconds in the history of The Talk Show on 5by5:

Benjamin: "We'll be back regular time next week, right?" Gruber: "I guess so." Benjamin: "Ok. Thanks John." Gruber: "Adios."

Just relistened. Yeah the last 2 minutes sounded like typical Gruber, but the last 10 seconds do have an extra bit of awkwardness now with this news. Who knows.

Kind of sounds like Gruber didn't like it when Dan said "So, you approved a new 5by5 t-shirt."

That strikes me as something Gruber would get pissed off about — Dan not clearing something like a new t-shirt that uses 'his' brand.

Googling "5by5 tshirts "the talk show"", found a link described as.

"The Talk Show T-Shirt (WWDC 2012 Edition) has finally arrived!Featuring The Talk Show logo printed on a black"


"This run is done, thanks for coming by!"

Already pulled.

I think the run was only supposed to be very short anyway (it ended a while back), to be ready in time for WWDC.

yip - i listened to it again just now - while it is not uncommon for gruber to take like 3 mins to respond to questions on TTS I thought he was a bit hesitant with the "I guess so" - he must have known.

I felt the same way as you at the time I listened to it originally but it's very possible we are over analyzing it too.

One day a week I work on-site for a client and it's a monster commute. I need four hours of podcasts each week to make the drive down and back bearable. The Talk Show helped me get through a big chunk of that so it's a bummer to see its old format go away.

I'm going to give the new Talk Show a shot though. Even though Mike Monteiro doesn't appear to be directly involved with this new version (yet) my usual reaction to most things involving him isn't very favorable. I don't particularly enjoy his current podcast at Mule Radio and his recent book is good but not as good as he or the people involved want you to believe it is. But I find Gruber's take on most things, in particular Apple, too good to just automatically discount this new show through guilt by association.

Just more gossip, but the first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of @Mike_FTW is "Fuck You, Pay Me". Which in principle isn't bad, but ...

That's the big difference I see between Dan Benjamin and Mike Monteiro.

Dan is a professional and has my respect, where as Monteiro makes cheap vulgar jokes. I know which attitude I prefer to support.

You're not alone in this regard.

I'd bet that's the core of it. Gruber probably thought he deserved more money, and Mule was willing to give it to him. The 5by5 hosts bring the lion's share of the value to the network, and I can't blame them if they want to get paid as such. It isn't screwing 5by5, per se, but perhaps a little scummy (as Gruber might write)?

UPDATE: Other explanations I'd also bet on (might as well hedge, right?): (1) Gruber wanted to be with his friends on the Mule network (2) 5by5 was getting a little crowded, and Gruber wanted the Talk Show to stick out a bit more.

Do Gruber, Arment et al. actually get paid for co-hosting such podcast shows? If so, how much can I geek celebrity expect in terms of USD?

I had always assumed it was free and easy advertisement for their apps, sites etc.

They get paid. Dan talks about it occasionally, around talking about FreshBooks, I think.

No idea how much, but I think it was David Smith of Developing Perspective that said a week of DF sponsorship was $7K and 5by5 $5K? Sure at least the latter must depend on the show. Plus I'm probably mixing things up. Episode 42?

They do. In an episode of the After Dark (called Pamphlet) Dan talks a lot about 5by5, the equipment he uses and various other things, including addressing questions about whether hosts get paid. He says, in short, that if you hear a sponsor on the show then the host is getting paid.


Those shirts are now collector's items, probably.

Yeah, like Confederate currency.

Damn, I nearly bought one but didn't get round to it and now I probably never can. Would pay a premium for one now.

Daring Fireball just started up their shirts again. Coincidence?

Please let us know how you are sure Mule offered any money let alone a lot.


We can't know. Mule prices their sponsorships at 200$ (without TTS, lets see when this show is priced in). TTS at 5by5 was charging a lot much higher.

So I suspect Gruber was making less and less % of the 5by5 total income as other shows became more popular (hypercritical hit a million downloads when the Lion review, also Marco Arment's show was pretty popular judging by my twitter timeline) and also more and more shows.

When TTS came back more than two years ago it was a handful of podcasts on 5by5 making less money, but I suspect Gruber took the biggest chunk then. Now he didn't anymore and the overall quantity didn't increase enough, so he moved to new pastures where he will get more money and maybe more control of the show.


It's funny how so people always assume there has to be horrible personal conflicts behind these things. In my experience people mostly move on because they think they have found a better opportunity for themselves. Hard to second guess people's career moves.

Here's the thing. I loved the Talk Show for the longest time, but even recently noticed that things were starting to... go downhill. Never would have guessed it was between the hosts but the magic wasn't there anymore. It seemed more like a chore. I missed the Bond stuff a lot, and was looking forward to the potential next movie club but it never happened. And then things just seemed to become more and more pauses and more and more wasted hours.

Another thing: Gruber's a terrible host. Don't get me wrong, I think the man is great, his blog fantastic, a magnificent writer, and a really smart guy. But his constant pauses, breaks, and seeming unwillingness to be on a show doesn't make for good listening. Which is why Dan was KEY to the show. Having him to help guide the conversation, reel Gruber back in, and most importantly, feed him the softballs so Gruber could knock them out of the park was KEY to the success of the show.

I just don't understand how Gruber can expect to do the show without him. Now maybe if part of this was because of bad blood, and Gruber is joined by his friends it won't matter, he will WANT to talk to them and it wont be an issue. But I don't know.

All in all, I'm not sure I'm going to keep listening. Gruber & Friends only interests me if the friends are the aforementioned Lonely Sandwich, or Merlin, or other guys who's shows and insight I've come to know and love.

As for the reasoning? Your guess is as good as mine, and I think people are right in assuming it's bad blood otherwise an official statement should have come from someone. To be fair, as respect to the fans and people who listen one, if not both should have said something (Leo Laporte is very open when his shows/hosts move on) because it's the professional thing to do. If the split is personal not professional the silence makes more sense. That said, these guys make themselves out to be professional so even if it was personal they should still have come out an said something (again, see Laporte).

One thing is for certain. Listen to Dan's back and forth with hosts like Siracusa, Dalrymple, and of course Merlin Mann. Merlin signs off with an "I Love You" and you can tell there's a genuine friendship amongst that professional relationship. Gruber and Dan never had that, so maybe its for the best they go their separate ways.

But for both to say nothing to anyone is a big Screw You to the fans (note I only used screw to be polite, I would have opted for the harsher option), and doesn't leave me wanting to hear Talk Show 3.0.

I'll still read Daring Fireball religiously though.

Well, lets see how Gruber does without Dan. To be honest, they never seemed to be a particularly good match to me.

An anonymous Quora user lays out some pretty compelling reasons that this is all about money. Anyone else think they are perhaps not just idly speculating? http://www.quora.com/The-Talk-Show/Why-did-John-Grubers-The-...

I'd have to agree with you there - the content of the post, and the anonymity of its author, do indeed make it seem like it's not someone just spitballing, but someone "familiar with the situation".

According to @muleradio's twitter stream, Gruber approached them. No poaching. Sounds like it was John's idea entirely.

People hate change. Worse, people hate surprising change.

Mike is mostly mocking the people upset with this on Twitter, but if you enjoy a show made up of two people, people get annoyed when one party leaves with no explanation.

Lots of people say "they don't OWE us an explanation". I disagree. People invested in 5by5 through buying shirts, buying the app, listening to ads and using their promo codes, and the time they spent listening and interacting with the network. And when you sign off a show saying another one is coming, and then switch networks and drop 1/2 of the show with no explanation, that's rude.

The way this went down, there's two possibilities:

1. Dan had no idea, which is why he got the shirts printed and TTS was still on 5by5's recording schedule as of Gruber's announcement it moved to Mule.

2. Dan was in on it, but had agreed with Gruber and Mule to keep it secret, for whatever reason.

How could Dan Benjamin be on it? The poor guy created a new set of 'talk show/5by5' t-shirts literally days ago (in time for WWDC) and was so happy about it...

I can't say that I'll be updating my podcast client to follow his smug ass.

I know it's not fair or logical, but I can't help but think this entire deal feels wrong because Mike embraces the dick role and Dan comes off as a great guy.

damn - that's a real shame. Listening to John and Dan shoot the breeze on any range of topics is/was one of the highlights of the week (podcast highlights anyway!). I'm assuming this wasn't a clean split given it was unannounced and given the T-Shirts which were printed for WWDC as announced on TTS90. I understand Dan and John have been good friends for a long time - hope this doesn't kill their friendship.

No doubt Dan is pissed, but holding back his anger because that's his nature.

The Talk Show was started by John and Dan in 2007. The website (thetalkshow.net) is registered to Dan and was most likely coded by him as well. Dan has just as much invested into The Talk Show as Gruber. It would've been much classier to leave 5by5 and start an entire new show.

The Talk Show is Dan and John. Period.

Something to think about. This isn't the first time a show disappeared. Remember when Geek Friday was good and Dan was co-hosting it with Faith? One wonders what happened, any why Dan was made angry enough to suggest a truly dismal co-host for Faith. Blame Gruber if you want, but I'm almost certain that Dan had a part in this too.

There's a post above that explains this, but essentially Dan fired her as his producer, and the other hosts rallied for her to get the show back.

I disagree that the show is bad, though. Jason's hilarious, despite his terrible taste in movies. The two of them have great chemistry together.

As a long-time listener, I feel a peculiar closeness with the hosts, even though I've never met either one. Having witnessed [the public part of] their friendship evolve, it is sad to think that something may have happened that soured it. Still waiting to see what Dan/5by5 will say, as the silence on bigweek.co/twitter/5by5.tv has been uncomfortable, to say the least.

I still enjoy John's shows, but I agree with many others in this thread on this point: a year ago, TTS was the podcast in my list that I'd drop any other to listen to when a new one aired. Lately, that's become Hypercritical, which always leaves me feeling like I learned something.

I just re listened to the last 5 minutes, and between the t-shirts that Dan says John approved (which he denies) and the jokes at John's expense, he was insulted. I'm sure there was more going on behind the scenes, but those two things are clearly the last straw.

The number of shows on 5by5 based around "Apple/Something" was approaching parody anyway. By my count, there are 5-6 remaining for your perusal.

I do like 5by5, and use Macs myself, but a toning down of the echo-chamber is not all bad.

Indeed. I listened to Marco Arment, Gruber and Siracusa everyweek. And then Horace Dediu every other week... but I got really tired and started skipping parts or shows altogether because I didnt want to sit through listening the same thing 4 times (ie: Apple v. Samsung, iOS5 launch, Lion launch, etc).

I think i learnt the most with Siracusa and Horace Dediu, but the show with Merlin Mann is the most inspirational.

Back to Work is probably my favourite podcast! It's definitely not an "Apple and stuff" show :)

Yep, that's primarily why it's my favorite as well.

Why so? It's the biggest company in the world, or at least it is sometimes. Apple's a big deal, in a bunch of ways. And most of the tech press is clueless about them.

I'm genuinely disappointed with this trasition. I don't know why Mr. John Gruber and Mr. Dan Benjamin have shied away from giving a formal explanation for this inexplicable split. And that is the thing that bugs me.

When professional relationships split, it's fairly easy and common to talk about.

When personal relationships split, it's a very hard, emotional thing to talk about, and people tend to shy away from discussing it.

And that's what has me worried, and most upset.

So, what happened to the 5by5 edition?

Of course they DO NOT owe us an explanation about what happened, but it will be nice to hear something, just because we care about the show.

This incident also sheds a different light on another tidbit on talk show history. In one of the earlier episodes of the 5by5 version Dan and John were talking about how Dan's recommendation of "Silent Running" to John basically ended the first run of the talk show. At the time I thought that was just a joke. But after this I'm really wondering if that supposed friendship between the two wasn't all that strong after all.

I don't know why Gruber switched networks any more than the rest of you guys.

But for crying out loud, this is ridiculous. The Kremlinology going on here is batshit insane! It's like reading the National Enquirer, only with less real information!

Hell, it could be nothing more than Dan & John's schedules no longer syncing up.

What a bunch of gossipy hens.

Gossip? Maybe

But when you have spent almost 2 hours a week listening to them, or even with a donation. Well, you tend to care. And you want to know why something is not like it was anymore. Lacking an official response... we'd want to fill the blanks.

This is very interesting that this comes right after a pretty successful launch of the 5by5 iOS app.

I think Gruber probably wanted a higher % and more money from it than Dan was willing. Maybe even more than the other hosts?

Gruber and Dan's chemistry on the show was definitely on the decline since the old Bond movie reviews, though.

looks like Gruber has scrubbed the links to The Talk Show from Daring Fireball (other than the links from today to the new show).

it's just a shame that John isn't respectful enough of his readers/listeners to just admit what happened to break up his relationship with Dan.

Not true. Links from daringfireball.net to older episodes of the Talk Show are still intact:


Hard to tell if I'm biased or if this new format is as boring as it seems. Will have to try again tomorrow. Got about 10 minutes in tonight.

It's almost strange how bad it is. Really under appreciated db.

A web app for the new show http://infostripe.com/thetalkshow

I will miss Dan and John's talks. I think it's incredibly reductive to think that the Talk Show was only Gruber's opinions.

It's like a band. Lots of good bands split up. Some bands explain why, others just give a cryptic message.

I supported 'The Talk Show' on 5by5 via Instacast and Flattr. What's the Mule Radio Network's on Flattr?

just heard the new talk show. it's just not the same. i liked the original dynamic more.

In all fairness, it's episode 1. Takes a while (10-15 episodes, in my limited podcasting experience) to find the groove.

Yeah, but you know what, it's not.

It's called "The Talk Show". Gruber/Mule is using the built in fan-base from the previous show, and by calling it the same, be it "Talk Show 3.0" or "Talk Show Season 3" you're inviting comparisons to the previous one and it's not the same.

Everytime a new television season starts up we don't say "oh it takes a few episodes to get the footing", that's what season 1 is for.

Calling this "The Talk Show" (which it clearly isn't), using similar graphics, similar style, all of those things are, as Gruber would say, dick moves. If Gruber wanted to leave the show, move to another network fine. But come up with a new title. Many people would just assume "oh okay, Gruber has a new show that he's doing". Once we went a few weeks without Talk Show we might think "Hmm, guess The Talk Show is done?" and that's that.

But by DELIBERATELY making this out to be the same show is a bit scummy.

Maybe Dan fired John, and as payback he did this. Maybe John quit and took the show with him. Either way, it should have been launched and branded as a completely new thing if thats how they want it to be thought as.

If they're going to call it "The Talk Show" than its a continuation of what we already had and therefore I expect the quality 90 episodes brings. And if that's not there I'll give up, just like I do with TV shows that run their course after a few seasons.

5by5 seems like a lot more consistent network since it is run as a full time endeavor.

Gruber has always seemed a dick, which to be fair, is part of his charm. Dan has always seemed a gentleman, which is what made their banter so enjoyable.

But this is low. Add the fact that neither Dan nor John have taken the high road and announced the split publicly and with decorum, is souring my opinion of both of them.

We couldn't know to what extent Dan was taken by surprise. It turns out he was at least somewhat surprised:


In light of that, I don't think the weekend was too long to wait for a statement from him.

Gruber, on the other hand, obviously knew of his own plans well in advance.

kind of a dick move by gruber. my thoughts on here


I just hope they are still friends.

Gruber knew what was coming and said nothing.

Benjamin was hit broadside and made an honorable statement.

That's all we need to know.

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