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Dan Benjamin: Regarding The Talk Show (5by5.tv)
243 points by ehed on May 21, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 122 comments



Summary for anyone who can't listen:

* Dan says John emailed him and just said it was time to move on and try something new. Dan says he has total respect and understanding for that.

* Dan says he thought if they weren't doing the show anymore, they would retire it together. Surprised and disappointed that John's doing the show on his own and re-using the name.

* Dan wishes they could have done one last episode to reminisce (120 previous episodes) and to thank the fans.

* Dan encourages fans to listen to the new show at muleradio.net.

* No other sordid details, just some personal anecdotes.

I've never listened to any 5by5 podcasts on 5by5, but Dan Benjamin comes across in this audio clip as a total class act.


Dan has always come across as one of the classiest guys on the Internet.

I am genuinely sad to see this happen to him.


Like everyone is saying, Dan comes across really well in this. I don't expect JG will ever give us his take.

RE: never listening to any 5by5 podcasts–I listened to The Talk Show a few times. Maybe it's because I'm used to the dogma of professional broadcasting, but I don't think you've missed out unless you like hearing a couple of guys pause a hell of a lot during an awkward conversation. Almost every episode I heard started with an entirely charmless "Uh, hello?" "Uh is this on?" scenario.

I guess part of the appeal was that it was folksy and just a conversation.


The Talk Show has always been unstructured in my experience. If you listen to some of the other 5by5 podcasts they are much more professionally done - intros/outros, some focus, and sections in some cases. I think Dan is very aware of traditional 'radio' methodology and knows that you do that stuff to guide listeners and give them context. The Talk Show didn't really need that... it was just him and Gruber BS'ing about whatever Apple/tech news was popular that week. Which is fine, because Gruber has some interesting insights on Apple.

Personally, I get that kind of content from the Web already and much prefer deeper analysis of issues. I am a huge fan of Hypercritical because of this, John Siracusa can take a topic and pick it completely apart - and I enjoy picking things apart in parallel while listening. My Talk Show listening was waning in favor of this type of podcast anyway.


The Talk Show was unstructured because of Gruber. As a host you have to work with what you have.

The Talk Show is the only deviation from what Benjamin does. Listening to Gruber on his recent podcast explains the reason why.


I think a big part of the appeal of podcasts is that they don't seem like overproduced, substance-less radio. Gruber has some genuinely good insights, particularly about Apple. I also appreciate that this wasn't some overproduced show with sound effects everywhere.


I'm not saying it should be hosted by the tech equivalent of early morning DJs, but I don't think from what I heard they went into enough depth planning the show. Basically it was Dan Benjamin dragging Gruber over topics until Gruber gets to a point he wants to make, and then Gruber speaks coherently and intelligently for a few minutes, and then there's an awkward pause again and it's back to him being gruff and standoffish and Dan chiming in with what he thinks.

There was so much dead air that I found it really actively hard to listen to. There's no natural flow to the conversation for my ears to acclimate to–a natural groove to fall into when you listen–you cannot passively consume it. You have to be actively listening all the time.

Which is a shame because Hivelogic was one of my favourite weblogs back in the day, and I actually admire Gruber.


I agree. I recently listened to Macbreak Weekly because Gruber was a guest on it, but it was so traditional and produced that I actually didn't like the format. I prefer 5by5 podcasts, especially Hypercritical (as others have mentioned).


I like all the people on the 5by5 podcasts but this is exactly why I don't listen to them.

I wish instead of doing 1 hour 15, they'd do 15 minutes planning, 15 minutes editing and a 45 minute show. There's plenty of good material there, I just feel it gets drowned out.


John Siracusa ('Hypercritical'[1]) spends 5-7 hours a week researching, 1 hour reading numerous responds, 50 minutes in each show responding to follow-ups and spends the remainder of each show (that are between 1h45m-2h30m) on a new topic (in a highly structured way). Give hypercritical a shot (you can start by listening to episodes 42[2] (18 minutes in) and 43[3]) that discusses Job's biography.

[1]: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/

[2]: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/42

[3]: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/43


The funny thing is that most of the complaints I've heard about the show are about how pointless the follow-up responses are. Maybe he should mix up the format to put the new topic first.


Possible tip: Use a dedicated podcast app with playback speed-up functionality. I use Downcast on iOS and DoggCatcher on Android.

Gruber, with his slow speaking and uncomfortable pauses, is much more tolerable at 1.5x. Conversely, if you're listening to someone like Merlin Mann, 0.75x speed can be helpful.


I'm listening to all my podcasts at 2.5x speed. That seems like the limit before it starts to sound weird.

Your brain can understand speech much faster than most people talk.


Editing audio or video generally takes a multiple of the original running time, not 15 minutes at the end.

A 1 hour minimally edited podcast could easily take several hours to edit and review properly.


I don't think it needs doing properly. Seriously, listen to one, if you don't think it could be improved with 15 minutes trimming then I'd be amazed.


I don't know about that. Just to even get an idea of what you want to edit, you need at least the amount of time it takes for you to review your raw material, which in this case could be over 2 hours sometimes...

(I work with a lot of audio, though no podcasts, so I may still be underestimating a bit)


I think you and your GP are right on. I edited a short-lived podcast and regularly spent 1.5 hours producing and editing each 25 minute show. Even if you're using good equipment and have a solid connection, producing a tight podcast necessarily takes more effort than is obvious to the listener. That's kind of the point.


Final reasons might be another point why podcasts without much preparation and only the necessary minimum of post-production are common. I don't know the economics of podcast networks but a post-production infrastructure similar to traditional media would probably be go beyond the financial scope.


I think we are mainly talking about the kind of editing where you delete an entire section because it never got interesting.

Unfortunately, these are live podcasts for the most part so there is no real incentive to do that... you already put it out once as a finished product so why spend more effort on it?


It's the format and it's not for everyone. More preparation might help – some similar podcasts on 5by5 and elsewhere have more structure –, but was probably not John Gruber's style. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes not. I wasn't too happy about the first episode of the 'new' podcast but I'll certainly listen to some future episodes.


>Almost every episode I heard started with an entirely charmless "Uh, hello?" "Uh is this on?" scenario. I guess part of the appeal was that it was folksy and just a conversation.

This is called a warm start, though in the case of the Talk Show, it often started off awkwardly instead of seemingly mid-conversation.

If you listen to the old Stack Overflow podcasts (Spolsky and Atwood, before the "new format), they also did a warm start, but often it was extremely well-executed.


Oh that's a real thing? It always makes me think they screwed up the recording.


You have to listen to The Critical Path, Horace Dediu talks just the information, and nothing else, these information are mostly eye-opening. Some are interviews with bad quality and not that interesting, but most of the others are crown jewels.


Horace's "interviews" are him asking 45 minute questions and interrupting the respondent's answer.


I tried to listen to one once. Just to see what it was about... It started out with Gruber cursing because Dan wasn't on yet or some reason. I gave it a few more minutes; it was like listening in on somebody's private conversation. I didn't get the allure of it at all and killed it.

I don't have the time to internet people chit-chat. I can't do it and work at the same time because I find it distracting. If it was somehow really great and I wanted to listen to it, the best I could offer would be downloading and playing it in the car on a long trip. Just ain't gonna happen.

Do things happen in the podcast that don't make it into a blog post somewhere?


He doesn't mention an email, he says "John expressed to me" which could also mean a telephone call or a meet up.

Just saying


John == Gruber or Siracusa?


Gruber - this is about the Talk Show.


I didn't hear him encouraging Mule Radio or any mention of mule. He just says Gruber started the show on his own.


Then you missed it- starting at 4:17 he says "I do really want to wish John all the best with anything he does, including his new show, and I encourage you to give it a try too. You can check it out at its new home on muleradio.net."


ah, yea totally missed that. thanks.


"Dan Benjamin comes across in this audio clip as a total class act."

He definitely comes across as that, but I'm not sure he is. My gut tells me there was more meaning behind this that none of us are owed, creating public content from it maybe not be the right move; it shows bigger class not to talk about it.


Dan is "on the air" several hours a week. He also has several high profile co-hosts on the air 1+ hour a week. He is also pretty active on Twitter. Plus he has million(s) of fans/listeners of his shows.

How on earth could he let this go without mentioning it in any way? He couldn't have possibly instructed all his co-hosts not to talk about this situation.

Him being a radio man through the bones (as he recently again explained on his interview with Jeffrey Zeldman) I think he handled this the best way he can. Plus, he knows Gruber has an ever bigger following, so he obviously has every reason to tell the truth, or at least tell something Gruber can live with.

All in all a good short explanation, now we can "move on" and enjoy the other 5by5 shows (tried the new Talk Show, didn't like it at all, but maybe it'll improve).


While I appear to be in a minority, I thought the first episode of the Mule Radio version of TTS was better than the 5by5 version usually was. Yes, it was still rambling, but Gruber was engaged and animated, and that gave the show energy that hasn't been there for a while. The 5by5 version increasingly came across like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Phone It In."

I really do like 5by5 in general and at least four of their shows are in my standard rotation -- like everyone else commenting seems to be saying, "Hypercritical" is great, with "Back to Work" a close second. "The Ihnatko Almanac" is a fine not-tech show. I like "Build & Analyze" too, although I'm worried it may exceed my quota for parenting-related subjects. (As a childless middle-aged man, it's just so not in my bailiwick.)


Disclosure: Dan is my friend. He's actually one of my best friends. I know far more about this situation than most, I am not unbiased.

I love Dan for doing this. I think it was the right way to address listeners and also express himself on the topic.

John doesn't need to give his take if he doesn't want to -- and I don't think anyone would expect him to.

People do expect more transparency with Dan, and that's why, however uncomfortable this might have been to discuss, I'm glad Dan took the time to do.

In my professional life, I spend a lot of time analyzing, criticizing and discussing various PR maneuvers of major companies and brands. To me, it's always telling to see how a company or brand deals with a difficult situation.

I think Dan's approach here (and again, I'm totally biased -- though I try to look at this objectively and out of the lens of "my friend") was a great example of how to deal with a private business situation that becomes public.

No one is a villain here. No one did anything wrong. But I'm glad Dan got a chance to talk to his listeners. It's why I listen.

Well done Dan.


I just checked out the new show's site, artwork and listened to the first few minutes. Gruber is clearly a jerk here. Dan is walking his walk here and it's commendable considering the level risen to do so.


I think this private situation only became public when dan mentioned it? if it truely is private why not have that trump whatever public business expectations there are. if it's private, it's private. my personal taste is not to use private situations as pr.


I'm going to have to disagree. It is cynical at best to assume that this situation is being used as PR. Beyond disappointment that the show will not continue as it was, Dan has not exposed his personal feelings on the matter or any private details that should otherwise remain private. There is nothing about switching hosts in a public podcast/show/presentation/etc. that can be considered truly private and deserving of no attention whatsoever. As a listener I found the switch jarring, confusing and leaving lots of questions. Do listeners deserve the intimate details? Of course not, but no one is offering those. All Dan offered was an answer to the question listener's had of "What happened to Dan?", 1/2 of "The Talk Show". It wasn't just JG's show and to offer nothing to the listeners to explain a shift like this leaves lots of questions. The issue became public when JG published the first podcast on Mule with no mention of what Dan's continued involvement might be. Dan had nothing to do with making that issue public, he's merely provided a polite and respectful explanation so everyone can go about their business and not worry about it anymore.

As listeners we are not "entitled" to be treated with respect, but it sure goes a long way in keeping us as listeners and keeping listeners in the loop of major shifts in the show is what I would call respectful. The show on Mule is a different show now, JG is trying to own it and do his own thing with it and there is nothing to criticize there, but it does show a lack of respect for the existing listeners to not at least hint at the changes and give the other host a chance to sign off for the listeners and close the loop. It's not right or wrong, it's simply a choice, just like the choice we make to listen or to leave comments etc.

I am grateful to Dan for filling in the blanks so listeners are no longer distracted by it. I think it's critical to note that he did a masterful job in phrasing it so as not to generate any animosity on the part of the listeners (or between himself and JG) and that's probably the most important aspect of what makes what he did "respectable" versus something to criticize and/or dismiss as a PR stunt.


public: the show moved, fair game

private: what the partners said or didn't say to each other, dynamics of their relationship

good taste is to use all public info as pr, bad taste use private info as pr.

I listened to dan's special again, something just doesn't sound right about it. he wishes john good luck but then implicitly blame's john for not doing one last goodbye show. this is where the (implied) private stuff comes in, who knows why john didn't want to do one last show, maybe john's just an asshole, maybe dan was an asshole and john doesn't want to see him, maybe they're both assholes, who knows. i don't, that's private. so dan should've kept those speculations out of the public ears, but instead he frames john as the guy who didn't feel like he owed it to the fans to have one last show, when the reason for that is probably private. sorry, something just doesn't sit well with me about that.


Brah, chill out. It sounds like you have an axe to grind with Dan. You're insinuating that "PR" is bad. His statement is not inconsistent with anything that Dan has done in the past. He values his relationship with his listeners, what's wrong with that? Do you truly believe a buddhist would go out and turn this incident into a stunt?


He certainly wasn't using this for PR, I know Dan would have preferred for the whole thing to never become a big spectacle on the front page of HN, with YouTube songs and Twitter riots.

But when something IS public, responding is often necessary and I stand by my comment that his response was a perfect example of the right way to do something difficult with class and aplomb.


not using this for pr is not talking about who said/didn't say, did/didn't do what. using it for pr is talking about one-side of a two-sided relationship. Dan's 100% correct to tell his listeners the old show they listened to isn't on any more and his hope they try some of the other shows, takes about 30 seconds. but unfortunately he doesn't stop there, and that's where it crosses the line.


It's not PR. Take his first sentence in the explanation, "Since a lot of people have been asking about it..."

There are a lot of rumors and Dan just rightfully is trying to put in a final statement so that he and the audience can move on. It is customary given the abrupt change in programming and it shows proper respect for the audience.


I've had this nagging feeling for a while that Gruber, while a superb writer, is probably insufferable in real life. That particular kind of nerd that's dangerously smart, always right about whatever they're saying, and just miserable to be around.

I don't want to read in to things (any more than I already am, I guess,) but it sure feels like Gruber handled this poorly. For someone running a site supported nearly entirely by reader contributions and pageviews, it would have been a little more respectable to handle this whole ordeal like a grown-up instead of playing the "I can do what I want, I don't owe you anything, get a life already" card so heavily.


Summary: Dan used to listen to podcasts daily, used to get a real feel for the people he was listening too. So he thinks it's a bit of a shame they can't even do a "one last show." But he wishes all the best.

I love listening to 5by5 episodes. Mainly the siracusa one, and at some point I'll check out Grubers new podcast. My thoughts are that losing Dan from the show is a negative, he's a great speaker with a soothing voice and I enjoy the smalltalk he makes.


I think what Dan does really well is give his co-hosts room to do their thing. He's not got a huge ego, he knows for the most part it's not about him, but he's a great solid foil for others, providing structure.

I think you can only get away with being opinionated and outspoken if you have someone like Dan next to you as a balance and a tether.


It's really going to be a different show now. But John clearly has a completely refreshed voice in the new series, it seems like the move is going to be a net gain for everyone. Many others have pointed out that TTS on 5by5 has not been the same recently. I look forward to listening to the new TTS even though it won't be the same.


Agreed, I actually really enjoy Gruber's tone on the new show.

I'd guess a part of this may be that Gruber wants an editorial reboot with the new show, so that he has more control and it directly complements Daring Fireball (Note the new description: "Sort of like the director's commentary track for Daring Fireball.") I actually look forward to it.

Dan's a good host on other shows, and a class act, but I've felt that he and Gruber lacked chemistry for a long time.


When Gruber said "Readability is run by scumbags" [1] for hijacking referral links, I'd say right back at you, John Gruber, you're a scumbag for hijacking the name of the show and exiting with a total lack of class.

I hope the fluffing [2] Mike Monteiro [3] gave you was worth tossing Dan and 5by5 under the bus.

[1]: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2012/03/30/readability

[2]: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fluffing

[3]: http://twitter.com/mike_wtf


Mike Monteiro is actually https://twitter.com/#!/mike_ftw - FTW, not WTF. (he's got a fairly NSFW twitter background incidentally)


total subconscience slip


Striking juxtaposition of this statement to the "new" Talk Show, (http://muleradio.net/thetalkshow/1/) in which Gruber makes zero mention of Dan or his decision to move on, and instead chooses to start things off talking about.. baseball.


I don't think that's fair since neither party had said anything about the split before that went live.

Now that Dan's expressed his thoughts, I wonder if John will do the same.


Nonetheless Gruber comes out as a jerk... If it was indeed his decision, he should have handled it a little better with Benjamin (telling him sooner, organizing a last show, not reusing the TTS name on mule...), and even if one can argue that he doesn't owe the listener anything, an explanation in the introduction of the new show would have made a good segue...


I find it surprising that so many people are willing to say that Gruber has acted like a jerk.

If anyone has the right to be pissed it'd Dan, yet he seems to be fine (if disappointed) with what's happened. If he's not calling Gruber a jerk I think the rest of us should take our lead there - after all, he knows more than any of us and is personally involved in the whole thing.


Well, I'm certainly not as classy as Dan, kudos to him. But I don't see the point of hiding my disappointment just because I don't know them personally. As Dan said, when you listen to people on the radio every week, you feel close to them. The way it was handled lacked class. Calling Gruber a jerk is just an habit of exaggerating thing on the Internet I guess... We're not entitled to an explanation or a goodbye, but that's the difference between classy a douchy IMO.


'My friend John Gruber' etc. without any restriction – I'm very happy to hear that at least Dan Benjamin still sees John Gruber as a friend.

Dan Benjamin has really class, even in a situation that can't be easy for him.


I give Dan Benjamin huge respect for doing this, he certainly didn't have any obligation to do so. Gruber and Mike Monteiro on the other hand have basically given the audience a massive fuck you. I am not really surprised by that but it is a disappointment and has put me off checking out the new Talk Show going forward, or indeed any Mule Radio podcasts. Dan will be fine anyway, 5by5 has some of the best shows on the internet.


I really enjoyed his bit about how listeners become (unidirectional) "friends" with the hosts that they spend so much time listening too. Dan really understands the sense of loss that the fans feel over not being informed, and I am glad he broached that topic. Of course, this doesn't justify some of the showings of massive entitlement on Twitter etc. But I am glad he recognized the emotional investment of the fans.


Gruber is taking a page out of the Apple PR book by not saying anything, unless there is something good to be said. This may help move the news cycle along but it's still no way to treat a friend.


He's not exactly "not saying anything". The top link on DF ("Why wasn't I consulted", a 16-month old piece) could be interpreted as a reply.

Follow the attribution link and read: "Apropos of nothing. Ahem."


Excellent point. The title of the article which he craftily links to is "The Odd World of Digital Groupies". It's 2.5 years old and has the bolded subtitle " Obsessed fans spend hours online trying to talk to their rock gods—and sometimes, the efforts turn toxic. Doree Shafrir goes inside the bizarre world of extreme internet fandom."


When you live your life off the advertising dollars directed at your audience, it seems like an odd way of commentary.


Right. I hope this isn't Gruber's intent, given that he monetizes his brand (i.e. him) by selling shirts and appearing at conferences. You can't really dictate the terms for interaction when you when you're such a public figure.

If he is saying what GP is suggesting, well, that's the problem with building a cult of personality around yourself: people might buy in a bit too fervently.


Gruber used to have a lot of interesting stuff to say.

In the same way that Jay Leno used to be one of the funniest comics in the 80s and now resorts to Jaywalking to keep his audience, I find DF to be a little boring, consisting of mainly claim chowder, Android schadenfreude, and the occasional long winded rant essay that goes nowhere.


There were lots of armchair quarterbacks talking about how "they don't owe us anything".

There were lots of comments from Gruber, Mike, etc basically mocking people for being upset that the show dropped Dan and moved with no warning.

Dan pretty much nailed it: he feels like they owed the fans one last episode to say goodbye and they didn't get to do that.


Any links for those comments from Mike and Gruber? I haven't seen them.


Its mostly been a twitter based phenom.

http://twitter.com/#!/Mike_FTW

Check out the tweets from May 19 when it seemed to have blown up. Gruber's twitter feed seems more silent.


@Amyjane made some, @Marcoarment retweeted a bunch, and Gruber has been making passive-aggressive posts to Daring Fireball.


Dan truly is a class act. His shows have been a huge source of insight and entertainment to me over the last few years. I'm clicking the "Donate" button on the 5by5 site.


Dan's the best... I am sure 5by5 will do just fine with such superhits like Hypercritical, Back to Work, Build and Analyze etc...

Taking a cue from Dan, i wish Gruber the best, though honestly i won't be listening to him any more


It's a shame, but they'd had a long run of shows, Gruber clearly wanted to do something else which is fine. Could he have handled it better? Sure, of course.

Plus they're still friends on Twitter, and we all know that it's only serious if you unfollow.


"and we all know that it's only serious if you unfollow." eheheheh


Dan Benjamin is a class act.


Not exactly the drama I think everyone was looking for, but I never expected any reaction other than this from Dan. Whether this is the 100% complete truth, we'll never know and we shouldn't care. Time to move on folks, nothing else to see here.


John Gruber is free to tell his side of the story. Anyway, I agree with you that is is time to move. As a listener, I am mainly happy that more and more successful podcast networks appear in the US and elsewhere.


I posted this in the thread from Friday, but think it's worth mentioning again - if you listen to the last few minutes, starting with where Dan mentions the t-shirts, it seems like John was offended by the jokes made at his expense (e.g. not wearing a shirt). Maybe it was the kind of thing that had been accumulating, as I know Dan has made offhand cracks in the past, and perhaps this was the last straw. I believe John felt disrespected/unappreciated, for the last time it seems.


Does anyone else find it amusing that the title of the latest post on daring Fireball is "Why wasn't I consulted?".


I read both "What wasn't I consulted?" and "Behind a Press Release" as being very directed at this situation, neither of which were classy ways for Gruber to handle it, just snide allusions.

Dan's short message was pure class.


Snide allusions indeed. I don't understand why it's so difficult for Gruber to be a little more polite about his response. I'm sure what he is receiving from listeners is definitely not polite, but he has the audience, so I think he should have a higher standard to maintain.


A year old article about "internet people" having some sense of entitlement about other's work? Hardly a coincidence.

It's Gruber's answer to the HN thread & tweets of last week.


The article, though, is spot-on. The problem, to my eyes, is that it doesn't really vibe with the situation.

People are not complaining that they didn't have a say. Most people I've read seem to understand the reasoning behind the initial decision.

What the complaints are about are not about John's decision to leave 5by5 but about the dickish way he decided to do it.

Being a bigger dick afterwards by implying he can do whatever he wants with his podcast (won't even go into how bad it looks that he sees TTS as "his" podcast and not the job of the two, regardless of him being the star host) doesn't help.

The wording of the announcement and the hyperbole he lavishes muleradio with make the whole thing even worse.


One of the tweets that John chose to retweet was a reference to Joan Rivers leaving Johnny Carson - https://twitter.com/#!/dr_mind_bender/status/203903404953714...

It seems that he thinks of podcasts like late night TV - where the audience is just an abstract statistic.

In Dan's response above he makes a reference to drive-time radio talk shows and the sense of relationship (albeit one-way) that comes from that medium. He sees his audience as individual people whereas John only sees the audience as a revenue source.


In a previous life, Gruber might have called himself the "Jackass of the Week" for posting such a link, given how he makes his living from preaching to the choir.


Jonathan Mann wrote a song about the demise of The Talk Show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA2yG6FdfPs

http://www.jonathanmann.net/


This is brilliant! Especially love the "And Gruber's I don't knowing" line. Cracks me up.


This shows again that Dan is one of the coolest podcasters ever! Thank you Dan and Gruber for the countless hours in my ears :)


You have to wonder if John expected this level of backlash. It reminds me of LeBron James' "The Decision" in a lot of ways.

He may be good, but he'll never be loved.


I was prepared to hate the new talk show and Mule Radio Syndicate, but to my surprise, John Gruber sound a lot more energetic than pretty much the last year, now if he can get a co-host to rein him in from time to time and at the same time contribute his/her own thoughts... I think Massimo and Julia from "Rationally Speaking" are a perfect couple. Leo LePorte and Dan Benjamin are total nice guys but seldom say anything insightful, they generally just make light jokes and move the topic along.

I skipped "Let's make mistakes" for nearly half a year before yesterday, they've gotten better I'll have to say.

All in all John Gruber probably was being an ass, now he can be as much of an ass as he want. He can't beat Mike Monteiro on that front.

I enjoy asses.


I don't think Dan's ability to "move the topic along" should be underestimated. It's a real skill to be able to give a discussion somewhat on topic and on time and he is excellent at it.

I can't imagine trying to get even 20 minutes of useful content from Merlin Mann but Dan does it every week on Back to Work!


Actually, I tried a couple of the "talk show" podcasts and found them incredibly boring. Somehow instead of there being any density of insight or intelligence it was just a couple of people talking about random crap.

I've listened to other podcasts, e.g. with Merlin or Marco or "the other John", and those were much better, but it didn't feel to me like Gruber and Benjamin added up to something worth listening to.


But almost all the 5by5 major shows are horribly overtime.

Hypercritical, Back to Work, Build and Analyse, the once Talk Show, every host other than Dan is rambling, on and on and on and on for hours. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, 5by5 podcasts are background noises when I walking around the city, doing chores etc. But information densities are really low (Back to Work is an exception but per Merlin's style it's so all over the places, after a while you just give up caring.)


I've never gotten any of these complaints about shows running "overtime". Personally, the longer the better IMHO. They're podcasts. I listen as much as I can, and then pause them to pick them up later. Short ones are just over quicker and then I have to wait until the next one until there's more to listen to.

PS: (edit) unless its music, I almost always listen to the spoken word at 1.5x or 2x speed.


My main complaint is that no one is saying "let's get back on topic" because the topic is whatever the host wants. So you get a 10 minute digression on random crap. That is the "overtime" part. I wouldn't mind 90 minutes of on-topic chat.


I guess what I was trying to saw was not that Dan can/cannot control the amount of time his co-hosts spend orating, but that he gets them to come out of their shell and say what they truly think on topics. I think it's fair to say that the majority of people on the 5by5 network are not the stereotypical, media-friendly, smooth-talking celebs that we might be used to on traditional radio, but they are very knowledgeable about their topics and speak with conviction - something which is very important. Through various means, including playing dumb at times and asking 'obvious' questions, Dan does an excellent job in getting these 'geeks' to open up and talk at length about things that they are passionate about. I don't see what he does as a being passive and not contributing - I think he is very consciously getting the most out of his co-hosts.


This is a big problem with podcasting in general these days. If you want to listen to even 3 shows per week you could be looking at 4.5 to 5 hours worth of material. I would love to see 5by5 maybe splice up these shows into chapters or otherwise offer some time index that allows me to skip to the parts I'm actually interested in. I would have no problem with a pre/post-roll ad for each segment. There are a number of 5by5 shows I'd like to listen to but I just don't have 10-15 hours per week for it.


Along those lines, I listened to The Talk Show a few times, and it often sounded to me like Dan really had to work to pull material out of Gruber. I would've expected Gruber to just stop podcasting before taking the show elsewhere.


Dan seems conflicted over how it went down, but I'm left feeling this statement shows he is quite angry with John and begrudges how John handled things (no last show and re-using the show name). I disagree this is a 'classy' statement (because of the criticism of his ex-co-host).

I think its trying to be a straightforward telling of Dan's perspective without him being too emotional. I think its pretty good for that. Would love for all parties to to be as open and honest as they can as it will make for compelling radio!

Disclosure: I'm a $5 a month subscriber to 5by5, a Gruber fan, and a big fan of Let's Make Mistakes (and Mike in general).


You can criticize and remain classy. I think Dan did that in this statement.


I agree, and if it's true that John took the show's name without even giving Dan advance notice let alone asking permission, then I'm disappointed. I'm curious in general about mule's split from Dan. I loved the original "fuck you, pay me" but never got into "let's make mistakes" and was surprised that they split off 5by5 (and now appear to be poaching) but I'd like to hear the other side...


Let's Make Mistakes didn't "split off". They paid to be on the 5by5 network and once they established themselves, they moved it to their own network. No funny business there, basically.


I've been curious about that myself. You say that Mike and Katy paid to be on 5by5. How do you know this? I would assume that the arrangement would simply to have shared a portion of the sponsorship money with 5by5.


I wonder if i'm the only one that finds Gruber annoying to listen to after knowing what kind of person he seems to be. I guess i'll swing by DF weekly instead of daily...


I would think that mule radio would be on precarious legal ground carrying and unauthorized continuation of what is (likely) the intellectual property of 5by5. Hard to say for certain without seeing the agreement between 5by5 and Dan but I'm surprised they wouldn't give the show a new name.

(On a personal note I think Dan is getting screwed here after doing most of the work and this has finely put me over the edge in considering Gruber a git)


Dan's a class act.


My takeaway - joint projects, even (or perhaps especially) between friends, need to have clear agreements and binding contracts.


To me 50% of this show was Dan Benjamin. Without him it will not be the same show, even if Gruber is the main draw card. Sad to see him leave, but I'm more interested in what is ahead for Dan. He has a great network.


The final seconds of the last show[1] are pretty uncomfortable to listen to.

[1] http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2443832/Screenshots/Marker%201.m4a


Grubber sounds upset, or guilty. It might be about the t-shirt part, and he not knowing anything about it, or the fact that it was a t-shirt for a show he will not longer be doing (and Dan did not know anything about it). Pretty uncomfortable.


The classiest guy in podcasting. Bravo Sir.


Leo Laporte is pretty damn classy. But do I agree this was a class-act thing to do for the listeners of 5by5.



I have no real idea of who Leo Laporte is, but the article you pasted doesn't paint him in a negative light to me.

He was separated from his wife for a year, and has (apparently openly) been dating this other woman. Some of their personal chat was accidentally displayed "on the air".

So where's the problem and how is it any of our business? And more importantly, how does it reflect badly on him?


Does anyone know the story from Gruber's side?


All good things come to end. Well...


I like Gruber's writing and often chafe at some of the less-insightful things people have to say about him, but I agree 100% with Dan here. It would have been right for Gruber and him to properly cap off the show for the listeners. It would have been right to acknowledge that it really isn't the same show anymore. In addition, it would have been right for Gruber to say how great of a co-host Dan has been, because he has been.

But none of those things happened, and that is shitty. There's really no two ways about it.

This isn't about "I wasn't consulted". This is about respect for the audience and saying at least a few words to them, for crying out loud. It's about acting like they matter just a little. What exactly is The Talk Show, or any show, without listeners? This isn't taking a page out of the Apple PR book -- Apple actually does explain their reasoning for why they do things, when those things affect how people relate to what they make.


I agree, but on the other hand, Dan always says "it's your show" whenever they need to make a decision about something.

Dan also often refrains from correcting or informing Gruber at times when he's unsure or is wrong about something, much to Gruber's disappointment the following episode when Gruber has found it out, again with Dan excusing himself with saying "it's your show".

If I were to venture a guess, Gruber would prefer a co-host that contributes to, rather than mostly guides, the conversation.


I would venture a similar guess. I haven't listened to The Talk Show, but I did listen to The Critical Path with Horace Dedieu for its first few months and based on that I would say that Benjamin isn't even that great of a guide -- I often found his questions and reactions to Dedieu to be naive or uninformed, which eventually irritated me out of listening. His voice is nice to listen to, but I'm not terribly interested in what he has to say.


Who listens to IT podcasts? the world is full of rich and wonderful media broaden your horizons, listen to something that isn't backdated garbage. Imagine all the music genres you could discover, educational materials, languages you could learn, audiobooks ..


Hypercritical (by 5by5) is actually very good.

Amazingly, you argue that people should broaden their horizons (i.e. don't be closeminded) and yet you blindly dismiss IT podcasts completely as back-dated garbage. Discarding whole categories of self-expression/content as crap is the very definition of close-mindedness. Oh, the irony.

Maybe people listen to IT podcasts because they like to. It needs no further justification.


> Who listens to IT podcasts? the world is full of rich and wonderful media broaden your horizons, listen to something that isn't backdated garbage. Imagine all the music genres you could discover, educational materials, languages you could learn, audiobooks ..

I don't listen to music, watch TV/movies (except Kubrick's), waste time with friends more than it is necessary/useful (I enjoy being with friends/family, but not 10 hours a day), and spend most of my spare time reading HN, tech blogs (not TechCrunch, but developers' blogs), listening to audiobooks (to improve my English, as I'm not native), watch educational materials (Both academic, like those from MIT, Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley and technical screencasts, like those of PeepCode).

I said it because I wanted you to know that I try very very hard to spend my time on something useful/informative. And I can tell you that Dan's other show with John Siracusa (of Ars Technica), Hypercritical[1] is so far from backdated garbage that it's not even funny. Every week, Friday nights, I spend about 2 hours listening to him and I don't regret it one bit. I learned a lot from him. If you're not familiar with television technology for example (like me), listen to episode 16, 'The Soap Opera Effect'[2]. You'll learn many new things. It's not his best episode, but I think by listening to that you'll understand what his show is about.

[1]: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical

[2]: 5by5.tv/hypercritical/16


backdated garbage

I do not think that word means what you think it means.




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