20 Episode results for "Thelonius Monk"

TKC 529 Bestselling Author Scott Pratt

The Kindle Chronicles

49:29 min | 2 years ago

TKC 529 Bestselling Author Scott Pratt

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things. Amazon. I'm ledger Lee. This is the show for September twenty first twenty eighteen. I'm going to do kind of bare bones show today. I'm at my home in Cambridge mass, and we're dealing with the aftermath of an accident. My mother had up at ocean park. She was on her scooter and fell. It fell on top of her and she fractured her right hip. This is Tuesday night, and this was all coming at the time that they were moving from their home in Cambridge to a new independent living community outside Boston. So all of a sudden into the midst of that trauma or crisis, whatever you wanna call it a big event for the family. All of a sudden we're in the hospital and bitter for main and then by ambulance to Mass General in Boston. Good news is she had the operation yesterday at Mass General and. The doctor called me yesterday afternoon. Dr. Harrison said the operation was a complete success. The fracture is being contained with pins and a plate so that she'll have as much use of that leg as before. So a huge relief. The idea of eighty nine year old woman going through surgery was something just outside of my realm of understanding. But when you get into the hands of professionals like the team at Mass General and her her doctor, Dr Timothy Timothy ferris in the whole crew amazing things are possible. Dad is out at the new place. I, I'm going to be going out to get him bream into the hospital again today, and we're doing shifts of family members, making sure mom always had somebody with her, and that's that's what this week has been like. I did have a chance to record an interview at the mass that though that was at the Bedford hospital. Human resources department gave me a cubicle that I was able to. To set up a Skype call with Scott Pratt, a wonderful Katie p. author who writes mystery series and so that I've got that in the can and also this week, Jeff Bezos did a remarkable interview which I just had a chance to start listening to this morning with a guy from Bloomberg and this was in DC at the economic club. I think it's just great. I it seeing Basil's talk about being the richest man in the world and his philanthropy initiative. I've just there's about forty five minutes of and the first five minutes of it. I took out the your buds and said, Darlene, you got to hear this. This is amazing. My plan is not sure I'm going to be able to actually record at the hospital today, but I will have a chance to go to the visitors room and with my laptop and put together a show for you. That has the interview. And then as much of the Basil's interview. As we'll fill the usual forty, five fifty eight and I don't think I'm gonna put it music. I'm just gonna give it to you kind of in raw form. I probably won't have time to edit the interview with Scott. They'll do some of that. Unfortunately, the audio is not that great. I guess maybe the internet at the bittered hospital was a little dicey. So kind of a barebones podcast today dedicated to my mother, lowest edge, really appreciate any prayers you could offer for her speedy and full recovery and transitioning into her new life. And it's a time of the family, feeling strong and life feeling fradulent, precious and gratitude for technology. I'll have to say as part of a theme of the show that. When the doctors were telling me how anesthesia has changed in the past fifty years since I was having knee operations that nearby children's hospital, it's just a relentless pace of improvement that makes Mira calls happen like putting together the fractured hip of eighty nine year old woman and having it all just turn out fine. So feeling very full, very tired and hope you have happy first day of autumn and all have hopefully have this show up at the usual time sometime later today. Thanks for listening. Here is my human-made bumper music do do do. I've been working with publicist kindle, direct publishing Amazon to highlight authors that she thinks I might be interested in that you might be interested in. This is the second author that has come to us this way. It's Scott Pratt, and he lives in Tennessee near Knoxville, a believe, and I reached him the other day to talk about his series. He has to series, you'll hear about, and also the amazing story of his transition from being a lawyer to being a writer of crime. Mystery novels I began by asking him, you know what? I can't remember what I began by asking him with, but we're just going to start playing the interview, and you'll learn all about this wonderful writer by listening to it. Enjoy doo, doo doo doo doo doo doo ice. Got, hey, very good. Can you see and hear me. Good. Likewise, miracle. About that. We had some more pleasantries greetings, and we're going to try to set up a backup that his son Dylan was going to make, but that got a little complicated. And as this part of the pre interview is going on, I made the mistake in my confusion at the hospital of turning off the record button thinking, well, I'll just start the record bugging when we start talking and look down six minutes into our conversation and realized I hadn't recorded it. So this part of the interview picks up after about six minutes of conversation, and I think he was talking about, I just can't remember what we were talking about, but it falls right in the middle of a story, and I apologize for not being able to replicate what we were talking about in the missing six minutes. I mean you, of course, this guy is a good friend. You read all the ladders. You prove everything. All that. We let me do that. And he said, yeah, sure. So I start threatening to sue penguin because they didn't promote the books. And the law says that you have to give on if you're going to publish a product you have you have an obligation to give that product a reasonable chance of success. Given the marketplace blam in the legal thriller marketplace which is used. So I started asking them for my marketing budgets and they don't. So the laws on my side and eventually after ear pestered them so much. They finally just gave me the rights back to the first three books. In meantime, I'd written a couple of more a done. A lot of studying red, Joe, Colin rasp blog about self publishing and. I put this business plan together and start looking at KP real hard and decided to go ahead and do that. I published gum at innocent clients in November of two thousand twelve, and I sold seven copies first day ninety nine cents and. I don't think I'm gonna get rich this, but be analyst keep going. And then two weeks later released in good faith and then two weeks after that, I released in Justice sprawl, two weeks later, a release, so reasonable fear. And within two months, I had five books up. Anna would sell them about two hundred day to books day at still ninety nine cents minute January. I went to the to ninety nine price point because your profit margin goes from thirty percent to seventy percent. And I thought, well, I won't tell any boats at this price and I go to bed on. A New Year's Eve, and I get up the next morning at the two ninety nine and I made a bunch of money while I was sleeping. Span task. So we just we just kept going and then Dylan. Was in college at your son? Yes, sunny. He was majoring in marketing. He was a news, tremendous baseball player, and I was afraid of losing to. As freight go- listen to baseball, but around. I hate this, but he got hurt and he didn't get drafted. So he starts selling cell phones for Verizon and within six months of may starting on Katie p I made sixty granted one month. Wow. So I go Dylan and I said, you want a job in come out may do this because there's a lot to it and I need to be writing books so don't come on. He comes in. He starts studying and Dylan his account. Number one. He's extremely bright. And number two, he. He just really pours himself in something when he and he does it. And I think Dylan knows as much about Amazon as anybody that works at Amazon and about their sales out rhythm about the whole and especially about sewing books. He, he just learned how to do it and we got everything you know, branded. We're, we're built conscious about our brand. We try to put out real high quality stuff. The reviews. The lowest reviewed book that I have in the Dillard series is the first one, an innocent client, and it's four, five while and the highest one is four eight. That's the last one that we put out. And so the fans there, the religious really liked the stories, and I really enjoy telling, you know. So once I got into a situation where money was coming in and I didn't have to worry about that and I could go back to riding Dylan was handling all the other stuff. He just start concentrating on how can we make this bigger when we make this bigger and she helped to do that. They make it very easy. We got a couple of book ups and Dan, he started talking to AG riddle. And so the people that were having. Zinc kind of success that we were as indie guys, and he learned about targeted advertising and we start spending money on advertising and it's just kind of snowball gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and grossing of of your grossing. How much on on my best month has been three hundred forty thousand dollars. My goodness. So well, you to sound like a well matched pair in terms of the parts of the work that you're doing. We're we've always been really, really close. We're just and and it's. He's, I'm just more of the creative. And he is more detail oriented and he's very. He signed to Agana lyrical in all of those things that you need in a person who's who's marketing your books. Well, let's talk a little bit about Joe Dillard. What what sort of a character is he? I, I've read. I was going to finish the book, but when my mom got hospitalized, I know about halfway through and I'm pretty impressed with this guy. He's a very appealing. Lawyer protagonists, but when you think of him and his essential qualities, what are they and perhaps would have how have they evolved over the nine book so far. I think conflicted if the first thing when when you talk about Joe Dillard I, he wants to be a good person. That's what he mainly wants to be in the world of girl defense. It's not always easy to be Irv is not always be good. I, you're dealing with if you only with bad people all the time, your own clients, lighting, all the time police officers that you feel with a lot of times getting two cases in there. They just want to win. You know, it gets to a point where once they make it arrest it, it turns into game where who wins from lose so back concerned, you know, the truth gets away. He's willing to sometimes shirt the roles a little bit know that the ass to is very devoted to. Family early deployed to fly. I didn't want him. They want him to be an anti hero. Didn't want him to be drunk. You know a wanting to be a good person operating in a very bad worlds. And I thought it would offer a lot of opportunities to him and all these different themes that are able to examine over the years. And you know, people look at at criminal defense lawyers and they scumbag, you know, I, I thing they bad purse and I can't see you anymore. By the way, the audio is getting a little scratchy. Can you kill the video icon on your side and we'll just stick with voice. I think we'll have a little better quality. Yeah, I'm not saying that's okay. Let's just keep going on. Remember what you were saying last, fuck. Yeah, I, it just saved me an opportunity to. Two. Examine all these things. One of the one of the things that I wanted to. He central in in the in the series was the relationship between this land and his family, and he ages naturally everybody ages through throughout series. But it was, I remember, you know, when I was doing my kids, never looked at me and. And so then why do you defend all these terrible people why you do this? And it did come up, they they knew what I what I was about in my my thing was about, you know, the constitution and everybody has right to it to defense. And I, I enjoy the ballots. I enjoyed holding the government to their own rules to their own standards and making sure that you know if they're gonna put somebody in case, they follow their own rules and. That's what Billy. That's what Diller at his core is all about. And of course, you know, you could get into all beings kind of wild scenarios along the way, but. Truth really is stranger to pitch in. And I, I handled cases that are. Stranger than the the ones that are right. That's just that's just the way it is. You know, it's, it's a, it's a really fascinating world and that's why that's why on order NYPD blue and all these, you know, great television shows that have been on for so long as why they hunt for so long and why he whether still why they keep making crime stuff because it's it's fascinating to examine the motivations behind the behavior. They'll do terrible things, and then the people that try and try to prosecute the judge, all of it just all of it is fascinating extended fascinating. As long as I be finding it bassin dating. I think I keep right. I think I don't know if Joe in the book someone in the first book says anybody is capable of murder under the right circumstances. Is that kind of your feeling? Yes. Yeah, it is. I think. And they people can be pushed to a point where they will. They'll don't do something. They they could be pushed to extremes. Yeah. How 'bout Dan street of what sort of character is he. There's a, there's different than Joe. He's an anti hero. He starts out as a as a younger defense lawyer, criminal defense lawyer, but he wants winds up being framed for murder and gets into federal maximum security prison. And in the first book he escaped from jersey and pre Brazil himself innocent, but then going forward in talking to the editors as a Johnson bursar, and this wasn't my decision, but it actually turned out to be gone. Wall white and breaking bad was really hot. It's time and the anti hero. And you know, Heisenberg or whatever his name was, and this alter ego that he had, and they would be fun to take a lawyer like Darren, who's been through this gerbil traumatic experience and kind of turn him in that direction. And that's what I did. And in the book when a really turned, and he started killing people. People readers didn't like it's the lowest rate, but habits of four and. They didn't like the idea of the protagonists being kilter, but. I did it in such a way that he could just find his mind, and a lot of people could just by. Why he did what he did and and they're going back to the motivations for human behavior. What would drive somebody to kill and. So without getting too much of it that way, I turned down into anti hero. It's three book series not redeemed him in third book, and we haven't decided whether we're going to go forward with a fourth book because got into a. Assigned to deal with audible to, I knew series of three three book series for them, and that's fascinating because they're the fastest growing segment in the industry. Will that just be an audio Booker? Will there also be print book with it? Yeah, it's a cool setup for me. It's four months of audio exclusively, but they promote it very heavily. It's called audible original, and I'll be there first legal mystery thriller guy or wider, and so they'll promoted the and I was already supposed to have it done. But unfortunately, my wife got really sick back in January and she onto passing or junior, and so I got, I got behind, you know. Sorry to hear that. But anyway, of ill dump, promoted before months. And I'm sure though the cell and then f. will you read it yourself. No, they. The actually talking about weeks Reese Witherspoon which would be tastic. Yeah. Wow. They wanted to female protagonist, and they wanted me to set Nashville speaking of national and option familiar with national. I said, yeah, I can do that. And it all out. Not even having to go down there, but, but I still I've been down there too. Just go to court systems meets lawyers, judges and things like that. But after four months, then I get the Bibo rights. So. It's a then you can do it in those formats right now. Do it through Katie Pete. Yeah. Yeah, it's going to be. I think it's going to be really lucrative. It's just a another opportunity another to grow. Now, how did the Darren street series end up with Thomas and Mercer of did you approach them? They saw how you're doing on KDP and approach to or bachelorette they saw good. I was in KPMG a an acquisition editor named shirts, the doll Sydney. And now I talked to him on the phone, and I was really conflicted because I had a bad experience with penguin, and I didn't want to really go back to give somebody else all that control over my decree. I mean, the royalties they, they just they think, thirty five percents that said, you know. So I'm working for half the royalties, but I'm also thinking, okay, this is Thomas merger, their Amazon company. They have all this. Promotional potential. I mean, they can really blow me they wanted to so. I, I said, no, I said, no, thank you. Appreciate it. And then a year later. I say her synopsis, I just been leading this Darren street thing. Percolate mom line for year, and I wrote an outline center synopsis and big bought. This really do three and Sagir now we'll go shot. So what's your experience with Thomas and Mercer bent so far compared to that earlier experience with penguin out night day John day, they're fantastic. As far as dealing the people that I've dealt with there, they were. Disgrace, you know the market. I was a little disappointed to be honest in the beginning at the boy promoted things. I thought they'd be more aggressive about it, but they looked at more long-term term and like right now today. They put my first title. It's called Justice redeemed of the dick Dan street series in what they call prime reading. Oh yeah. And it's number eighteen. It was sort on the number fourteen ranked rider in store. So. They I've stayed when over the last few years I stayed in the top one hundred mostly in the top. Fifty got up to ties maybe number four. But you know, when when you're up there at number fourteen, you're moving a lot of books and it has a as a halo effect to onto the Dillard's here. I see. Because you know, people read their in St.. They like it. Especially if they're series readers big over and they get a hold of Dillard and don't blow through that whole series. A really like readers have blow through the whole series. Yeah, yeah, that's that's like printing money. That's fantastic. Now, one thing I noticed in the first show Dillard book. I was reading it on my kindle, and I love the x Ray of feature where you see kind of the bones of the book, and you can remind yourself who character is yours was the first time I had seen in addition to kind of times the characters mentioned, I think you call it an author's note and it's it's a, it's a first person. Note like this is one of my favorite characters or this character. Are you a one first people to do that kind of KDP thing was that was one of their one of their early betas and which you're not supposed to talk about, but they told me I can't talk about that. And. Dole when when they first came to us it on, we're talking about it and. We start. That would be a really cool experience for reader to be able to go in and you know, click on a character maybe at somebody the appeared earlier or just click on whatever, you know, whatever, and just give them my perspective, the author's perspective because you don't get, you know, you don't get that. We just, you certainly can't get it in paper, but you rarely get it and in a digital. And so I took, I took it seriously, you know, and and I took my time with it and I think it that I've got nothing but positive feedback from that. It was a good program. They can scale back on it since then. You know, we don't do it anymore. They had an aspect here. How long did they do that beta with you? We'll see. I'm thinking we did that in two thousand fourteen I see. And was a tight time consuming you. You had to do something for each major character even some of the lesser characters. Yeah, it did. It took some time, you know, took took some time away from from writing the next book, which is what other writer, what you always do. You know you're right words the next the next, but I think it was worth it. Yeah. The other thing I noticed is that I can see under public highlights how many people have highlighted a passage and you've got really impressive. They'll be a passage that two or three hundred people have highlighted. Is that of assistance to you as an author? Do you ever kind of go back and find the parts of a book where your readers are essentially telling you? I love this part and something that helps inform you as you're writing your current book. Usually, I mean, I don't really used as informative. I use it. Like, I guess it does help me know what people like, you know, and what, what kind of. What really moves them enough to tie light something because that's a something that you know that they got to go out of their way to do that. They have to stop highlight the thing and it's like them, send me an Email. Yeah, same same kind of thing. And so yeah, and it helped him. With with some characters. Okay. On keeping this character, they really like him. So this character is going to recur in might be gone for one book, but he's gonna come back. And that's some of the, like some of the witticisms from early in Barlow Leon Bates liens not in the first book, but he's a shared. If that comes along. Second vote and turned into a really popular character. People highlight a lot of things that Leon says, because I use him to. I lived in Tennessee four off. Oh gosh. I've lived here for almost fifty years now and except when I was gone in the military. And so I've heard a lot of countries stuff. You know a lot of these old Appalachian sayings, and Leon uses a lot of the. And people people get big kick out of that, and they'll highlight on one of them that just pops in mind as the sun sundown chime up the same dogs ass everyday. If it did work, his ribs. That is a lot of back there. On having a character, they'll just come out spit, something like that, right. I could see how the reader would respond with some of that. Well, what's your, what's the latest book out that is available? And how soon as your next book in which series is going to be the latest book out is a is due process at Joe Dillard book, and it came out. Gosh, it's been. I think it was July last year. We put that book out, but the next book will be out next month and it's it's a collaboration. Never done this before, and it's entirely is standalone. It's a serial killer police procedural that on wrote with a guy that's been a detective for twenty five years. And that was an unusual process writing with someone. And. I don't know that I'm gonna do it with one other guy, and I'll probably do it with Mark stout is is protected. Probably do it with Mark, maybe one more time, but I'm doing more to help them get started and I am to make money, right. You know, I'm trying to make them some money and and Mark, you know, he's been added for a long time against retired a couple of years. And then the other guy, just it was a newspaper writer, stench Kelly, Hodge news, newspaper writer for thirty five years in print. You know, print newspapers, they just walked in one day. He'd been there for thirty five years. Okay, you're you're done well, and. So he wrote up live three books and he'd put him up there. Good books. But when you're new, I mean, they're what I six million titles in the kindle store down. Yeah, a couple of million authors or billion authors, and it's hard to to get tension. It's just hard to get any tracks. Yeah. And so I'm trying to use my my brand by platform to help these guys get started, not do a couple of books with them. You know, it was split the royalties for years. And then after that, I'll let them have the royalties. And then after a couple of books then hopefully they can move on on their own. Well, that's cool. When you're doing a books like that, do you have them up available for preorder already or when when will people be able to. We do real short, are our strategy on priori is different than a lot of people we do. We do real short Priore like day. What I do is I send out emails in our start sending out emails to to my Email. This have several thousand people on my Email list, just people that have either signed up for it or who will written to and they're rabbit. I mean, the ram pants and so. I send something out to them saying, okay, we're going to release this book now sent him a chapter two, and then I sent him another Email saying, okay, you can pre-order, it starts today and save a dollar, and but it's going to be out in two days and what happens when you do it that way is that you sell all of these books in one day two days and that Amazon algorithm, it catches it. Oh man, here's a product. It's really been and it gives it no place and you sell more books that way rather than doing a long drawn out of priori. The sounds like one of the smart things that Dylan his understood of the Amazon algorithms since all him tastic it's common sense. I mean, this logical that you do that you've had a chance to see the power of. It is. Well, he's, he's experimented, you know, we a written thirteen books, so he's had, you know, he said, different each time time to experiment with different ways of doing it, but he got it down now. Got it. There. Tastic. Anything else you'd like to mention that we haven't talked about that you think my listeners might want to know that I got. Sorry to. Could run deal for judge. I think they might. Jan by this judge that I've been. I had been cheating with basically for five years, and I gave him an opening why didn't really kick nobody. He thought he saw over eighty through j. And then he started finding complaints against the board professional responsibility. And they suspended me say, why not here? And it really made me angry and I went home on my wife. By sundown national to based can. And I read the the Lincoln older by Michael Connell. Yup. Yup. Came back home. I'm not gonna practice on any more. We mean. Cardi giving, you know, all the stuff. The way they're feeding me. They can do this. I'm not going back and she Laurie to, and I said, I held look Joe Jorissen. I'm like, I can. I can. Right. So CISCO's this. Yeah, and Conway. Car guy. So three hundred million books. Bye. She looked at me and she said, okay, yeah, that's that's what you things you can do it. And I had no idea how difficult it would be. I mean, no idea, but I wanted to. Wow, no running into. The woman then running around who was formerly editor for some Schuster for a long time. And she started around company called the Royal department and she helped me a belt. My first vote and over eighteen months and the we sold it or we got Philip. Since New York to rapid and resold it the. The. It took a while. We were poor for a long time. Bankruptcy and living in my mother-in-law's facing repel, here's. But we got out of there. Whenever she bankruptcy. Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, the judge has denigrated no way. I. Actually about four months ago and the answer, but I loved him the message and thank you for joining me into a millionaire. So your choice. That's great. I've been speaking was got Pratt, the selling author of the Joe Dillard and Darren street series. Thanks very much Scott. Due to do to finish up the show. Now with a clip from the David Rubenstein show to peer conversations. It was tapes, clever, thirteenth, his interview with Jeff Bezos, some things I've heard Ford, but there's some very fresh stuff and some funny stuff in these opening minutes, hoping joy it, your stock is actually up seventy percent this year. Is there one thing that you think is responsible for that several things because seventy percent is pretty good. Now I I have been lecturing. They have all hands meetings Amazon for twenty years ever since we've been twenty one years now. Nine hundred ninety seven. Every almost every all hands meeting. I look when the stock is up thirty percent in a month, don't kill thirty, percents smarter because when the stock is down, thirty percent a month, it's not gonna feel so good to be feel thirty percent dumber. And that's what happens. Never spend any time thinking about the daily stock price, I don't. Okay. So as a result of going up seventy percent this year you have become the wealthiest man in the world. It is at a title that you really wanted or not. I isn't going to hurt you. I have never sought that title and it was fine being the second wealthiest person in the world actually worked fine. It's not. It is a day. It I, I would say it's something people naturally curious about, you know, it's kind of an interesting curiosity, but it's not the thing I would much rather, they said like, you know, inventor, Jeff Bezos or entrepreneurship basis, or you know, father, Jeff vase. Those kinds of things are much more meaningful to me and the the, it's an output measure that you look at the financial success of Amazon and the the stock I own sixteen percent of Amazon Amazon's worth roughly a trillion dollars. That means that what we have built over twenty years. We have built eight hundred and forty billion dollars of wealth for other people, and that's great. That's how it should be. You know there, I believe so powerfully in the ability of entrepreneurial capitalism and free markets to solve so many of the world's frauds, not all of them, but so many of them. So you live in Washington state near. Seattle, we're outside of Seattle. Now, the man who was the richest man for about twenty years named Bill Gates. Yeah. And what is the likelihood that the two richest men in the world if not only in the same country, not only the same state in the same city, but in the same neighborhood, I mean, is there something in that neighborhood that we should know about. Are there any more houses for sale there. After I saw Bill. Not not too long ago. You know, we were joking about the world's richest man thing, and I basically said, thank you know, I said, you're welcome, and he immediately turned to me. Thank you, but no Medina is a great little. It's a suburb of Seattle, and you know, I don't think there's anything special in the water there. I did locate Amazon in Seattle because of Microsoft. I thought that that big pool of technical talent would provide a good place to recruit talented people from. And that did turn out to be true. So it's not a complete coincidence. There's some correlation there you go into a store when you want to buy something. Do you have to put a credit card down to Sam? Got bazo sin. They send you. How you and you have to care, you carry cash around or you do carry cash and I have a have credit cards. Yeah. And if your credit to show my driver's license and you know, what are you ever had a credit card on? I'd never. I have. I've had my credit card tonight. What are you saying when you say to give him another credit card? Say here, try this one. So you made it in announcement that is the most significant philanthropic gift you've made in the type? It was a. About a about a year ago, you said you wanted to look for some good philanthropic ideas and you've got, I think forty, seven thousand of them and you reviewed them. And how did you decide where to put this two billion dollars? And would you describe exactly what you're gonna? That process was very helpful. So I, I listened ideas kind of crowd sourced and I got literally, as you said something like forty, seven thousand, maybe even a little more. Some of them came to my inbox. Most of them came on social media, and I read through thousands and thousands of them. My office kind of correlated the mall and put them into buckets, and there were some themes that emerged, but the other thing that's fascinating about the kind of actually did you see just how long tailed it is. People are interested in trying to help the world and so many different ways. A lot of people are very interested in homelessness, including me. A lot of people are very interested in education and of all kinds. I'm very interested in early education and. I made the, you know, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My mother has become an running the Basil's family foundation. She has to become an expert in in early education. I'm a student of Montessori schools. Started. Montessori when I was two years old and the the, the teacher complained to my mother monitor schoolteacher convenient, whether that I was to task focused in she, she couldn't get me to switch tasks since she would have to just pick up my share and move me. And by the way, I think that's if you have people who work with me still probably true today eight, you're ever call. You sense inside she was responsible for your success. No, I'm in touch with several of my high school elementary school teacher, so, but I don't know any of my Montessori school teachers tank. So the gifted you're giving, essentially you're going to have some for preschool for children who need preschool, free, treat, forget full tuition, preschool, Bonna story inspired. I'm very excited about that because I'm going to operate that that's going to be an operating nonprofit, and we're going to put them in low income neighborhoods. We know for fact that if a kid falls behind, it's really, really hard to catch up. And if you can give somebody a leg up when they're two, three or four years old, by the time they get to kindergarten or first grade, they're much less likely to fall behind. You can still happen, but you've really improve their odds. The money spent there is going to pay gigantic dividends for decades. The other part of your gift will be to give awards out to, and that's going to be more traditional grant making philanthropy. So there I'm going to. Identify with the help of team identify and fund vet and fund family homeless shelters. And that will be you said you would give an initial two billion dollars spec to add to that? Yeah, it's day one. Everything I've ever done has started small. Amazon started with a couple of people and blue origin started with five people, and the budget of blue was very, very small. Now, the budget of blue origins approaches a billion dollars a year next year. It'll be more than a billion dollars in Amazon who literally was Tim build today. It's half a million people, but you you, it's hard to remember for you guys. But for me, it's like yesterday I was driving the packages for the post office myself and hoping one day we could afford a forklift and so so for me, I've seen small things get big and it's part of this day one mentality. I like treating things as if if there's. Small, you know, Amazon, even though it is a large company, I wanted to have the heart and spirit of small one and then so anyway, the day one foundation is going to be like, that will will will will wander a little bit too. So we have some various Pacific ideas of what we wanna do, but I believe in the power of wandering, all of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart intuition, guts, you know, not not analysis when you can make a decision with analysis you should do so. But it turns out in life that your most important decisions are always made with instinct intuition, taste heart. And that's what we'll do this day. One foundation to the customer is going to be the child. This is this is so important because the secret sauce of Amazon, whether civil principles, Amazon, but the. Number one thing that has made us successful by far is obsessive compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor. And I talk so often to other ios and some other CEO's and also founders entrepreneurs and I can tell even though they're talking about customers, they're really focusing on competitors, and it is a huge advantage to any company. If you can stay focused on your customer instead of your competitors, then you have to identify who is your customer. So at the Washington Post, for example, is the customer. The people who buy advertisements from us know the customer is the reader in the school who are the customers that the parents is that the teachers now it is the child and that's what we're going to do. We're going to be obsessively compulsively focused on the child. We're going to be scientific when we can be, and we're gonna use heart and intuition. When we when we when you use. Your intuition make decisions. Where is the intuition leading you now on your second headquarters? Can can. We just take a moment to knowledge that that may be the best segue. In the history. Interviewing. Seriously, David is that is all right. That's amazing. Answer is the answer is very simple. We we will announce a decision before the end of this year. So we've made tremendous progress. The team is working their butts off on it and we will get there. No, be nice. Come on. I'm just finishing this up in a visitor's lounge at Mass General. Mama's head kind of tough day today at first day after the surgery, and we're all weary. If it's going to be a long slog so again, prayers welcome for Lois edge early. And this is lenna Julie for the kindle chronicles at Massachusetts General Hospital. Thanks for listening.

Amazon Joe Dillard Dylan writer Jeff Bezos Massachusetts General Hospital Scott Pratt editor Basil Joe Bedford hospital Tennessee David Rubenstein Boston baseball Cambridge bittered hospital Lee ocean park Dr. Harrison
TKC 566 Amazon Previews the Future at re:MARS

The Kindle Chronicles

52:48 min | 1 year ago

TKC 566 Amazon Previews the Future at re:MARS

"Hi Linda, Julie, I am in Las Vegas on June. Seventh twenty nineteen and this sort of the kindle chronicles is pretty much about the future. The reason I have been in Las Vegas this week is that I have been attending remorse an Amazon conference that used to be a private invitation only event that Jeff Bezos would invite scientists and other people in the various categories of the name and our S stands for machine learning automation, robots and space. This is the first year they open it up to the public, and I had a chance to cover as a member of the press for the kindle chronicles. I've I had fifty pages of notes on my remarkable and hours of recording. So I've spent the morning here missing the last session, so that I could try to organize my thoughts about what I've learned power been inspired to pass along to for today's up. So then I'll be flying back to Denver later tonight to set the stage a little, I estimate that maybe three to five thousand people attended. You could tell that from. How many people were in the big ballroom for the keynote addresses security was pretty high there? There were lots of folks that were talking into sort of secret service style your plugs and also quite a number dogs around sniffing the area. You may have read that there was a disruption during Jeff's presentation yesterday a woman came, I think, from the back of the stage and she was had credentials. She had a lanyard in a of some kind. But she had a statement that she made briefly in less than a minute. She was pretty calmly escorted off the stage and Jeff resumed his talk as if nothing had happened. Just Basil's wasn't as big a presence at this version of Mars, as, apparently, he was in previous ones to based on press coverage that I saw where he was walking robot dog and playing kind of a host role at this event, the person who was introducing us there were two Dave limb. P- head of Amazon devices and services and Jeff Wilkie who's seems to be kind of head of everything else, and Hudson thoughts on that in a moment, Jeff appeared yesterday, which is Thursday for about a half hour forty minute. Fireside chat, as it was called in this was he was sitting in a comfortable chair with Jenny freshwater, who's Amazon executive who is in the work of predicting demand for products. She has very concise questions. I recorded it myself was in the front row naturally, but my recording his a little bit marred by my own reactions to things. And this is a pilot's five minutes of highlights from Jeff's conversation with Jenny that talks about what he might have done if you hadn't ended up at Amazon, the moon starting a business and other things which will give you a feeling for the talk. Jeff, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Happy to be here. I think we can all agree this Amazon thing. It seems to be working for you. But if it weren't what would you be doing? Well. I really glad it is working. That is good. I love my job. I tap danced into the office. If it was on had worked out, probably be an extremely happy software. Engineer. Do you ever have trouble winning support for any of your ideas? The answer is, yes, I have to, if I have a new idea that I am in love with wanna see pursued I do have to build support for it just like anybody would because you need very smart. People to embrace the idea and move forward. We have a framework, and it was on its one of our leadership principles called disagree and commit. And that is extremely useful. Because after discussing idea, you do need to make a decision and move forward. And people, the whole team is to really commit to that, when I really feel strongly about something and the team disagrees with me. I have a phrase that I like to use which is helpful, which is, I want you to gamble with me on this. It's very different from from freezing nevarez, because the truth is when you're in a position like that, where nobody knows what the right answer is you're not saying, I'm right on this. Go do this. You're saying, I want you to gamble with me on this because I don't know if it's right, either I disagree could all the time and I promise the people when I do it very clear. I don't agree with this. I think it's probably not going to work, but I will never say I told you so I'm going to be on your team. I will do everything I can to make it work. What's the big bet that we've taken recently at Amazon, recent one is it would be project Kuyper. This is our Leo satellite constellation. Is the the goal. Here's broadband everywhere. One of the things that does just the way the systems work, you have equal broadband all over the surface of the earth. Not exactly. Equal tends to be a little bit more concentrated toward the poles. Unfortunately. But, but, but you end up servicing the whole world is it's really good. It by definition unit accessing people who are under band with rural areas remote areas that I think you can see going forward internet to access to broadband is going to be very close to being a fundamental human need. As for Inc will ever have Amazon fulfilment centers on the moon. That's very. Good question. Contemplated that to we'll start out. Delivering liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen is going to be a small selection. But but, but a very important one. What advice would you give anyone in the room who's looking to start their own business? I could ask this question from time and. There are few pieces of it. If you're if you want to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing is to be customer obsessed so don't satisfy your customers figure out how to absolutely delight them. That is the number one thing. Whoever your customers are passion. You have got to have some passion for the arena that you're going to develop and work in, because otherwise you're going to be competing against people who do have compassion for that. And they're going to build better products and services you can't be a mercenary. You have to missionary missioner's build better products and services always win. Mercenaries are just trying to make money in paradoxally, the missionaries always making more money to pick something that you actually have a genuine passion for you. Have to take risk to be willing to take risk. If you aren't going to take risk if you. Come up with the business. I do. There's, there's no risk there. You're probably, you know. Probably already being done. Those is already been done. They're being done well by many, many people, so gotta have something that might not work. And so you have to accept that your business is going to be in many was an experiment, and it might fail. And that's okay. That's what risk is. The good news is Amazon. We still take risks all the time and we encourage it and we talk about failure. We should be feeling our failures have to grow with the company, we need big failures if we're going to be moving the needle, we need to have billion dollar skill failures. And if we're not, we're not swinging. We're not swinging hard enough. The day before Jeff Bezos addressed the entire group. We heard from Jeff Wilkie, who is the head of worldwide operations that Amazon. He's listed as CEO for worldwide activities. And I remember that when we. With John Rosman last week, he had said that he thought Jeff Wilkie might be someone who is being groomed to be the successor for Jeff Basil's ever decides to move onto fulltime emphasis on his blue origin, space project and other activities as I was thinking about Jeff Wilkie and wondering, well is this really the next Jeff Bezos? I did some looking up and I found out that Bill Gates had retired from active running of Microsoft really turning over Microsoft, two bomber when gates was fifty eight years old. Jeff is now fifty five years old. So if he were to follow his fellow Seattle executive, and I think they're pretty close sometime in the next three years, we might be seeing that kind of succession happen, the setup for Wilkie struck me as almost introducing himself and clearly this had been a. Agenda for this event must have been figured out by Jeff, and everybody at, at Amazon, when he took the stage for the keynote, it was as, if he was introducing himself as somebody who has a long history with Amazon, and who is currently in charge of it sounds like most of the employees in the company, particularly poignant part of this sort of. Imagery of per perhaps, passing the baton were to photos, and you'll hear him talking about them. One of Jeff rookie and one of Jeff Bezos, it apparently similar age. I guess, maybe nine years old, something that each of them at a computer and the. Sense that these two were very similar types and Jeff Wilkie came to Amazon five years after it was founded in nineteen ninety four and has been involved in it ever since a very intimate level. So anyway, lots of speculation about who, if Jeff is going to stay as the head of Amazon for a long time, and if he is going to move on to other activities who might take place and we have seen a little bit of information about that here at remarks. Here's how Jeff Wilkie introduced himself during his keynote. I'm one of the other jets Amazon. Were fishing CO, the worldwide consumer business. This includes prime robotics, fulfillment, Amazon, business and over prime air, of course dot com. Germany 'em such pan and more altogether. These groups account for more than six hundred thousand and Sony. We're kindred spirits. Emerson is company founded by computer scientists federal coach, and he presently were propelled forward by pioneering workaday on. This next clip is where they were showing the photo of Jeff Jeff as boys at their computers. And I noticed that Jeff Wilkie referred to Jeff Basil's is simply the founder, not the founder and CEO as I think about it, when he lists all of the consumer parts of Amazon that will key is head of AWS Amazon, web services is not part of that, and it doesn't have as many employees, for sure. But it's a huge part of Amazon's revenue and income. So there, there are lots of other key executives and it's. Just because this particular executive has line authority over so many -ployees doesn't necessarily mean there's a succession in the works, but the imagery of this presentation did make me think of what might be a head. Technology companies from the start it helps it our founders computers invisible. I up to programmer, that's me. This is my tax in one thousand Peter, buddy. Reading room have gap. If you have what, you know, it had Myers Kate member. It was not useful for reading. Partway. I'm looking at this picture. And I'm guessing Jeff ready was connected. The sudden acid storage in the cloud. I had used the tape recorder by that's different quarter in order to save data and it wasn't very much. The best thing I dig with this in about one thousand nine hundred bytes, I wrote a video poker machine after visiting big of my grandparents and had on this week. I was impressed with Jeff Wilkie speaking style, a good presence on stage and he'll did a good job, setting the stage for the topics of remarks conference by going all the way back and telling this engaging story about Amazon's early efforts to have more efficient logistics and what came after that. I let love rations I started asking questions about how decided where to place in the Tory in which we're houses film centers signed orders to it was especially important to get this right during the holiday season when capacity? So constrained for us. We didn't have much away operations research or form of five Matthews at the time we relying primarily on skipped. Let me explain skiff really skip is not an. Skips. Skiving skip had a model of whole operation is that. And when you balance the word or solve the problem walk into office, you'd explain the situation and he can eat who it exactly you go. Maybe he would figure out what we had to change wouldn't turn and usually. Right. But after my first holiday, I was pretty convinced that skip was not going to scale. Two thousand we set up an operations research team to begin to work on proving the outcomes ran our operations. Sure that wasn't the first mention of algorithm at remorse because machine learning and artificial intelligence or were constant theme throughout the whole proceedings. Probably mentioned more than any other terms during the during the session. This was a challenge for me, because I will confess to having the Vegas sense of what they and machine learning are. I did some googling on this just to orient myself and found that machine learning is a subset of a and it clearly has to do with math that has to do with algorithms. And some of these presentations, took advantage of the fact that there was a huge screen behind the stage where the speakers would speak. It just was endless over the whole wall. And sometimes there would be formulas that would go for one end of the screen to the other, and there would be. Charts talking about all of the, the different ways that Amazon is using machine learning to improve efficiency, and delivery on behalf of customers, and I was impressed. I mean I, I don't think they were just baffling us with Bs and, and clearly there were most of the people in the audience, I think our people that were not as intimidated by these terms or the details. What it's doing as I was. And the purpose of the event is to actually share working knowledge. So the fact that they were frayed to use terms, which civilians would find very daunting. Was was. You know, it was appropriate to this particular audience. I did run across a resource that I'm going to be using to improve my understanding of this area at breakfast in the press room on the first day I met Kathleen Walsh and Ron schmeltzer, who work at a company called cognitive decline in Washington DC. And this is a company, which is focused on a and, and machine learning research, does advisory and best practices methodology. They also do a podcast, it's called today and I have had a chance to listen to it. And they were also broadcasting or recording episodes of their podcast at the expo at remarks, and I had a chance to sit in on one of their conversations with a really smart guy from the Jet Propulsion lab lab. So because they are practitioners of machine learning, plus they're really good podcasters. They have a very tight show. Well, recorded, I think this is. Going to be a chance to. Learn more and I'll I'll have linked to their show in the show notes. In case you want to take advantage of what they know machine learning clearly important, clearly embedded throughout Amazon. Some of the early story of how the scientists at Amazon were are now deployed everywhere in the company and so nothing really happens without taking advantage of this very powerful technology that uses data and algorithms and smart connections with the real world on behalf of customers to make things happen, which we talk a lot about here in the show. Well, now they can deliver to your garage or your car now. We're gonna have one day, service these, these things, which in some ways strike us as magical or delightful. Would you go back behind the curtain UC, a bunch of guys with of very detailed powerful? Analytic tools numbers algorithms and the whole bit making it happen. And that was perhaps, the one of the strongest impressions, I had of being at this event surrounded by folks, that this is just their world, and they're making pretty amazing things happen because of. The are in Mars. It was a little easier to get my mind around because there's actual things robots that you can see an admire during one of the key notes the head of. Boston dynamics showed of a robot kind of like a dog four legs. And it was there on the stage actually fell down, one moment, which is kind of dramatic, but it got it self up, and then another one came out into the audience and came very close to walking down the aisle of quite an eerie scene, and then videos that this fellow showed remorse, impressive, there was a two very human looking robot onto feet, one hundred sixty five pounds of what I'm trying to way and it could do backflips and walk in its hands and then end up in a forward, somersault, just really amazing stuff, that is actually real, not all of it is commercial yet, but it's way more sophisticated than I had imagined in the expo area. I did have a chance to take a look at a one robot named daisy. And then I don't know if you'd call it a robot. But it was a, a Walker that. Someone would use who's older who had some robotic like characteristics, and was from that was the one from the Netherlands, and then daisy was developed at Carnegie Mellon. I did some recordings to give you a feel for what these two robots in the expo were all about. My name's Jones ready. Students in gonna give. By robotics lab working with Professor, Michio. That's but in one month, I'll be my own professor at Singapore. National University of Singapore, nobody my own in robotics robotics. Wow. What kind of resources will you have their to be defined the job? But yeah, I'm looking at getting one of those most likely thinking that I do with multiple simple robots. I see we'll tell me about what we're looking at here. Deasy modular hikes, about robots since composed of multiple joins the old city. Those joints or self composed modules containing actuation motor sense. I'm you the precise gooders and bit of computation insurance. One thing that is very, very particular about deviants those or what's called cheers, elastic, meaning that after the motor output of the shaft is element that allows to measure talk and this measure of talking to be used to measure balance, but also extend forces of is that you can put on the robots and you could show up physically. But if you move over here with you push on days, here, it will naturally cycle through its gates. We can recover it sense coverings balance. The seeming sensing the torque can feel something's pushing against trying to minimize extent fos by taking a step away from the budget. Well, the really good and robust platform to do commotion of a variety of terrain, especially rough -tory see matching files Mods Inc lines as there is to, to have a platform that you can build any type of payload on top of perceptions. Cameras night, ause hearing manipulating armed can do making place. Gathering information all on top of latte from the no Camotes in any very rough terrain. So the idea here is search and rescue fest, but also mapping or inspection in dangerous areas areas where you do not want to deploy evens like a nuclear plant. Now, does this have location capability built in or would that be something you'd add to the platform, it's something that we have built in, but it is not built in yet. So there's new as you can see this, this new cameras on it right now. We have a perception that we have designed for it with cameras, lighters. And this can do slam Daniels liberalisation mapping. So you guys in the world and you could do some more high-level deployments where you give it some attorney or even some intelligence. So it has six legs, six legs are better than four way. Why six legs, six legs? It's two three days you can move in what we ultimately, try. Flood, we always have three legs on the ground and three with relax the ground full control over the body's always stable in the middle of call, the support, polical strangle, connecting ground. And since you have three legs on the ground, you can also fully control the orientation of the body, we need that you can always stabilize some of the videos that we have. And you can control the orientation of perception system as a camera at the dash, you could control. Worries looking wants to look at it could be stable while it's actually moving exactly which is the big advantage, if you want to, again work over Raftery. Now, did you hear the talk this morning about the Kate darling for MIT wins? People form emotional attachments to daisy. Your level. I don't know if I'm with days they have strong feelings today's. Account of more than this. But. The crowd pleaser people. Love this robot. It's the right factor to not be too impressive, but not to tiny. It's very cute. And it has very bio inspired human like locomotion, and people really like is that part of the design when you start from the ground up to build something like this. Are you thinking we'll looks looks at this because it might add to some of that human connection or does it just happen naturally? No matter what you, build. I don't know how much it was intentional. But all of the robot that we've done in the lab. And this is this is made by spinoff from the lab happier about it. One of those are very well made and are very pleasing to the I, I don't know if it's very to be conscious effort, but it definitely was out of the design. We do not want to make robots that are scary look ugly. So you're not trying to make them choose to not make them not not exactly. And is this available for purchaser commercial product. The full base has eighteen joints. And this is commercially available. Also daisy patch. And can you say roughly what the price ranges, is it a million dollars or twenty thousand or what? It's closer to any five thousand eighty five thousand. Actually, it is very precise, very robust. And the all quite rice about every, and this electric that you have to plug her in, and you get a couple of hours of action, this two batteries on charge about two to three hours those batteries will give you about three hours of demo time recall demo times where most of the time, it's at Stanford, sometimes if you want to continue, seperation continues walking would be closer to forty five minutes. I see it, given, by the way is from Switzerland, the French speaking, part of Switzerland. But as you can tell his English is excellent. I wanted to ask him about that robot that I've been playing with, I think I've talked to you about on the show few times, made by Ocoee, and unfortunately, the company went bankrupt, and I thought, he might know the story because it came out of Carnegie Mellon, where he's located. And in fact, he did I think this is an instructive story to include because. There was a lot of upbeat talk about robots, but the truth is, it's, it's a tough business to actually succeed in as this particular company found out now. Bought a toy that I came out of Carnegie Mellon. But the company has gone bankrupt Anki vector. I love that robot was crawl around my desk and do things. And I thought it was so promising. I don't are you familiar with that story coming out of melon, just a business plan that didn't quite mesh the way they thought it would? So I am familiar with this. I don't know how much I can. How much I can say publicly? Lebron apparently was a rough year for personal robotics in general. This was most of the funding that Felton funding. Also got another funding at the beginning. But then it started falling, and I think they started diversifying the portfolio. Victor was one thing, but they had a couple of more secret projects in the way that might have used up a lot of their money without getting to a point where you could get this money back. I think that was the big the big effects in the bankruptcy, which is a big suppressed. It was very sudden on offense that we know that worked there. And it was a Monday meeting euro fire Wednesday. We'll get one week of severance. I thought it was intriguing model because it felt like there was I forget what the first Cosmo was the first one and then vector, and they were toys, my grandsons love them. It felt like they were hoping to sell enough of the toys to make like a real robot. Exactly. I think that was the idea. I still don't know the details about motive the secret. I don't know if you ever do. Yeah. Educational, robots would definitely I face. Yeah, if you were really smart about robotics, where would you try to go in the world? Now to Kennedy Mellon is. Spot of the big four right now in the US or you have Stanford Berkeley MIT. CMU has been consistently in number one in the previous years in, in robotics, and computer science, it is a big hob for strong innovation and also specifically applied robotics. We haven't lot robots among the only launch version of the results of work on robots everyday as opposed to the places, which are doing a lot of sedation work, less deployments really focused on having those robots go from lab to be outside and for this, you need to work specifically on them. I love that. It's in Pittsburgh. I mean city that was big in steel and fill in her times trying to reinvented as a robot. Speaking back up here and take also Facebook's opening a second quarter, also we have Google. There's a there's a lot of things Uber is that there's another things happening. A lot of them being driven by the successive, CMU and Pittsburgh. So we have a lot of seventy right now. It's a few booths down from daisy was Leah who is actually a Walker. And this is Eric last Blom perception and machine. Learning engineer at our robotics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he begins telling us how much it costs. And thousand euros. It's mainly because of complexity in the system, there's about seventy centers, but usually it's being bald not by individuals, but by institutions like hospitals nursing homes in homes. Right. And then they rented out. We'll tell me what it does so. Well, it's a stroller and a normal solar just supports your weight. Now. You say stroller here we would say, Walker all that. So if you're walking along, and you need help, would you call a stroller. And. I guess we call it like that stroller is what we put babies in here. Yeah. Walker is for older people like me. Okay. All right. So it's a Walker Walker. And and what what's the robotic part of it? What does it do? Because it has. Rice. Yeah. Have portions inside they send what users intending to do so Neo respond Forni and take you to a whole lot of fourth to there. You just have to focus on the walking, and supporting your way as an that's one thing. But it's also navigate almost three or home so using it center. It's been create a map, the environments, and never got through it, and avoid obstacles, for example, when you're lying down in bed, you can just press a button. I have about, oh, you've got a wristwatch, they'll come from the charging station, and you can get out of bed, and then can you talk to it and say, Leah take me to the kitchen? Well, that's a very good question. So this is the first version, we started working on this. I live before all those Amazon services out, and then we started deliberating more with them. So in the second version, we'll have these features integrators short. Because in fact, we have menu tablet quite hard to navigate. Old people specifically, so indeed, just being able to talk to it as much more intuitive. Yeah. We're working on now. So now it almost looks like an is at an ipad sitting on it or not an ipad. But it's. Yeah. And so as you face it, you're looking at the tablet, and then you just tap to well, it says kitchen, if I tap on kitchen to go to the kitchen. Yes, I said the kitchen to be right here. Okay. We're in the kitchen. Virtual talker. Yeah. See closer. It's so she's giving you some, some coaching here. It's meant to correct your postures if you're walking bit like like this. Yeah. Then forward than it'll tell you, that because there's a camera looking at how your postures or sensors in the handle very well. Because there's a three camera, right? I see on the. Yeah, yeah. So now if I present his button or in back to the oh, I see. So this way, you can use to come to you. Yes. Now, if someone was my father, sometimes has vertigo, and he's not too stable, if he started to fall down would be able to help them, not fall. You're figuring out all of our. Right here. Stop. Going to the kitchen. So of course, one thing we want. Is that a news forward when you intend to move going too fast? Demonstrators for you. Oh break. She'll. Which would be what would happen if you are starting to fall down. Exactly. And that's what you wanna prevent, and that's being measured by number of, like. Like they measured the distance. And as soon as that increases to March, and the poor a few. Stop holding these handles. Okay. So you take then it'll it won't just roll away from. What about the red buttons with the exclamation, Mark today? Do that is for emergency about them. Yeah. Generally, there's another home of situations where we have to use it is. It'll stop. Oh, I see. And of essays. It's pretty. It's retained by itself. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's great anything else about it that we didn't mention. Well, one thing that I think is pretty cool, especially for people is we have these workouts. Oh, so one thing you can do is dance with a few dances programs in here. The world's Sumba in walls the hours. How's your samba? Let's see you. Do. Very well. This is due to keep people active entertaining. Right. Right. Especially elderly people really like the active. That's nice. So he could do a dancing worker. What's a fit test fit? This is for example, when you sit down and you can practice speaking yourself. Oh, yeah. Handlebar rate ready to, to gives them strength. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, great. Thank you very much. Thank you. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of discussion of Alexa, at remarks, and I had a chance at the press question answer, period. Dave limp, and Jeff Wilkie to ask Dave a question about the development of Alexis personality. And we learn something in this answer, which I'll be following up on later of Lennon's early can o'connell's. I guess, question for for Dave in light of key darlings intriguing insights into how humans react to robots. I wonder if thinking about Alexa, Alexa, had a personality when it was first introduced six years ago and over that time if you've got folks on your team, who are consciously, creating sort of personality for this person that we talked to so many times a day. How would you describe her personality? Now what it might be like, in the future. Sometimes not being I with something happy accident. And we work verse voices to be out world. They were out of phones for less before we did that is awesome of started. They were very -tarian. They were detained and they were manned troll, maybe navigation and you're doing manning control personality. I think it's the way you don't you're steering wheel art at personality. And so, and so let me step back. Step back from that. And we didn't have that latest by having latest from day one, we were able to think about Alexa app. Now's volume of person and it started with the week where the wick were of you say to have her begin listen to you. Alexa, they'll say the art it would have been much easier. Trust being to be hey, Amazon AM on much easier. Wait word model. It has less way less error rates to bring it up early on. But we still having a name in this case Alexa was so much more personality. And that's the first half has been from day one. It's been a conscious effort. We have like a lot of things that other entire dedicated team single threaded, they we every day and all about Alexis personality and their replicated around the world over personality. Germany is the internet. She hasn't common dress. She's Bradley intelligence. She's. Incredibly, but. If you were answers from her hand, he's different another thing. We were really hard on this Alexa has any in- you've ever gone to dinner dinner party devoid. Opinions he wanted to rot not walk at dinner party is orbited party. And so you can ask Alexa, her Veras beer in the US is different than fater. Germany's is a global effort with lots of people at work on it. Alexa, was also the topic of a workshop that I took the first full day of the session, and I sat next to a young man, named Alex Alpert, who is going to be a senior at the university of Maryland and had a tent, it was attending the, the, the conference as a student and was able to cut six hundred thousand two thousand dollars to be there as a student. I thought he was a good example of how the excitement around the technology talked about, at Mars really has an impact on someone who is young and bishops and smart like, Alex, so at we had lunch together after the session, and I asked if he would just tell little bit about why he was there and give a little more insight into what the world looks like from someone who's probably about twenty years old at this point. He starts just saying how he ended up at remorse. My friend, who works at Amazon, and the DC area told me about it, and I was just super interested in hearing from professionals in the field about automation machine learning getting on skills networking, now, we were sitting at the same table in the workshop on working with Alexa, and what, what were you hoping to learn in that session? So I definitely wanted to learn more about AWS and work with the Elec center face. So, so, yeah, I think I definitely got a little bit of experience and I definitely know where to start. If I was interested in doing project like this in the future. What was your impression of Kennedy interface? We had to walk through setting up, Alexa, count and different was that well-designed in your view based on your experience. Or what was your sense of how acceptable they're making this kind of? Technology to people varying skills and backgrounds. To'real was pretty thorough. I definitely think someone with technical experience go through easier. But I think they do make acceptable to most people. It might take a little longer, but I definitely think they provide some of those foundational building blocks was this the first time that you've worked with a raspberry computer. Yeah, this is my first drafts very pint experience. The thing is tiny, it is it really a computer. Oh, yeah. I've seen them used being used for all kinds of things and it's pretty powerful. As you could see it was able to handle all that stuff. We were doing the it's fascinating how they're just making everything smaller and smaller, and it's going to be essential for the future development of tea. Things have to be able to have that high processing on a on a small small piece of hardware. How about the Alexa pieces as you head out in when you finish school in your work. Do you expect voice interface to replace all the other ways that we've talked to computers in the next ten or twenty years? I think it really depends on the news. So. Yeah. For a home devices, I think, voice will eventually become the primary method of input. But for work, I still think the traditional keyboard will be used just in terms of ease of use, and speed. Because. Yeah. That's right. And precision, I I've been amazed to see. How challenging it is to have natural speech turned into something that can be used by a computer. Why is that so complicated? Well, 'cause language itself is complicated. We, we just take that for granted, you know, we speak on its basis, we don't really understand, you know, the, the natural language like the wind that works. But if you actually have studied linguistics, and if you try to program, something like us from scratch as the presenter showed, there's many different ways to say, one command and your device leads to be somehow figure that out. Do you think Amazon is way ahead of Google and everybody else in having devoted so much resources and people to working with natural speech and the Alexi interface? So I think they have an upper hand. Because I think Alexa devices are more popular and because more people have Alexa devices. Amazon has more data to go off of more data to learn from. So just based on that. I think they definitely have an advantage for sure. How concerned are you about Alexa, listening to us are being hacked, and all of this information? Some of it ending up in the cloud after the week word. But what your level of paranoia on a one to ten scale on misuse of this kind of technology? Yeah. I would I would say a seven, especially in the wake of these recent news articles showing that Amazon pays people to listen to what you say. Alexa, and on the one hand, you see, that's necessary for the development of technology. Another hand, you have this device in your home, and it's kind of, you know, it feels like a violation of privacy, so it's definitely about struggle between functionality and security that we as a society, are going to have to ask ourselves. What's more important, where do we have to make these kinds of sacrifices for the advancement of technology? It also seems to that, you know, people are concerned about this. But if you give them a choice to say, well, how much privacy do you want, which of these settings on Facebook? Do you want to tweak? I my feeling is that I have a feeling a lot of people who are just general user say, you know, I don't have time to worry about all of these settings. I, I maybe want somebody else to make those decisions for me. And if that's the case, I wonder how you keep the vigilance on the privacy side to, to be as important as it should be conditionally overwhelming. That's why. I think companies can do a better job at making it more accessible to the user to specify their security, preferences on these popular social media sites or any other service. We is how vigilant are you? Like say on. Do you have pretty simple passwords? You have different password every website. Do you go to or so I, I really try to diversify my passwords, and Google Chrome has this new feature where said, just a very strong password that randomly generates which is interesting because then you actually, you never memorize it because it saved so that adds the additional concern of well, someone just got under computer it, can log onto anything because the pasta say. That can actually defeat the purpose of a strong password. That's like those one password programs that do that. I mean, there's, there's different precaution precautions different companies take like, you know, forcing you to change our password ivory hundred eighty days that's a common practice of seeing. I think all those all those practices help. We're asking people, you know, humans cannot remember several in a new unique complex password for each service that us, that's just not. Yeah, you can't expect that as a company you have to take that into account. You know how much effort the day-to-day users going to put on. Yeah. Now, you're interning for a government contractor would kind of an opportunity is that for you, as you go into your senior year. So I think that that experience will give me a different viewpoint working for a company in the private sector and working for a government contractor is very different. Not only in terms of the work itself, but in terms of company culture benefits like that. So I I'm super excited to see what it's like, and we'll that start after this conference. Yes, XT week. And then go for the summer and then you'll be back to school at school. Yeah. Very excited. Well, I appreciate your help. I there was a I think, maybe for the first forty minutes, I had the allusion that I might be able to keep up with everybody doing this gave me some kind advice along the way. I appreciate it. Of course. It's always fun, working with other people helping each other. Because in a career you're going to be on a team. So to Mabel to collaborate help each other. That's right. And I found a little typo you've made in a URL saved your bacon there. Yeah. Everyone has something to help the person with for sure. Well, I'm sure you can imagine there, plenty of other things that I could have passed along to you and I didn't get to the end of my list. But I've got check out of my room at the trio at five, which is about an hour and twenty minutes away. I extended it so that I could finish up and still fly to Denver. I'll conclude with summarizing my sense of the future, as it appeared to me here at remorse one topic, which came up a couple of times was the potential antitrust action against Amazon, Jeff Wilkie. I heard answer the same question the same way a couple of times. He he framed it by saying, big companies like Amazon deserve. Screw scrutiny, and we welcome that our goal is to withstand any scrutiny that we get. I'm sure that's not the last time that topics is going to come up and. I think one impression I have from this conferences that any idea of breaking up Amazon, because it's too big really does violence to the sense of how the different parts of Amazon are helping not only the company itself, but making technology available to others. The there's a robo maker capability which enables small startups to simulate the results and success of their robots Ed vastly cheaper cost than they might do anywhere else. And of course, WS made all kinds of businesses possible. So also talking to some people from overseas, I, I met a guy from Israel, another guy from the Belgium, and the idea that the US would break up one of its successful companies compared with, you know, say China, the chances that China would break up Alibaba for, for some sort of. Theoretical antitrust concept that Yale student at thought up and was being bandied about by political candidates, people just, you know, shaking their head as am I but it's, you know, Amazon smart to say, yes, scrutiny is appropriate and I would agree with that. And I would expect them to work pretty hard at making sure that the things that are flowing from the size of Amazon benefit, not only customers, but hopefully society as well. I feel pretty optimistic about the future after spending this time at remarks, you obviously everybody there knew their issues about privacy, and different things which did come up. It wasn't a total ration for the future. But I'll say that it left me, very optimistic about Amazon's prospects and I had a moment where I was they had a replica of the blue origin space cab. Missile there and just in front of the re registration area so you could go in there, you could sit in one of the six seats, they were totally reclining. So I guess when when you take that ride in the rocket your reclining, and they have great big windows, you can look out. And, and then once the weightless nece kicks in you can float around the capsule for a few moments. I'll have to confess that I it, it made me dream of one day having a chance to to ride, and in that vehicle, and why not imagine the Jeff Bezos. Is there? I, I asked Alexa for some help to figure out if, if, if I'm shooting at t Casey, one thousand the one thousand weekly episode of the show, Jeff will be sixty three years old. I'll be seventy seven and that would occur in October of twenty twenty seven by then maybe it'll be kind of a routine trip probably still an expensive trip to head up there and it'd be a short interview, but it would get pretty wonderful time to be floating around in space. Asking Jeff a few questions by then? I'm sure the he will have turned over the reins of Amazon to someone else so that he can devote fulltime to his really more and more compelling vision of space, as the way to save the earth, which is really how he frames that I got to drive a ride in a pace car at the Las Vegas speedway last night. They had a big party out there, and I was going hundred twenty five miles an hour and of some kind of souped up car angling around the turn it was pretty terrifying. And there was also a huge fight of robots. Fight to the death of these robots kind of an elimination series I've never seen anything like that myself either. So lots to save her and be looking forward to following up on some ideas for interviews. I've hoped to find that group that is in charge of Alexis personality to see if we can get an interview with them, I would be surprised if they're based in Cambridge, and I made a number of different connections with people here that, I'll be following up for interviews and the, the coming weeks and months. Time to pack up time to get this up on the internet and head to the airport. Thanks for listening. Love to hear any impressions you have of what I talked about or what you might read about remorse and how optimistic you are about the future. You can send me Email at pod. Chronicles CI, mail dot com. This is Len Edger Lee for the kindle chronicles from Las Vegas by.

Amazon Jeff Jeff Jeff Wilkie Jeff Bezos Alexa Jeff Basil executive US Denver Las Vegas CMU Germany Engineer Facebook Pittsburgh Google Kennedy Mellon Alexis Netherlands National University of Singapo
TKC 533 New Kindle Paperwhite!

The Kindle Chronicles

44:58 min | 2 years ago

TKC 533 New Kindle Paperwhite!

"K. almost forty m. Alexa stop. And. I'm headed for south station, catch the fella to New York City on for a preview of a new addition to the kindle lineup. That's all they said. Can't talk about until next week, but I thought to do some recording to chronicle the. One day trip down back to New York City to visit with a couple of Amazon executives, and I'll get over about a half an hour headed for south station. My auto sleep apps. I got four hours of sleep, so I hope it'll be some that I can add on the train. Good morning. I recorded that sleepy opening bit week ago, Friday, October twelfth. And on lifted its news embargo on the briefing Tuesday morning, October sixteenth at was at nine AM eastern time. If you are a subscriber to my free kindle chronicles newsletter received an Email at approximately nine two with news of the all new kindle paper white. It's available now for preorder with the first shipments arriving on November. Seventh, I am here at ocean park Maine in the cottage that has heat. So it's very quiet time of year. The off-season beautiful up here, sunny day, brisk outside and ocean that I'm looking at here out. The window is very blue just like a dark cobalt blue. For some reason. I don't know if it gets bluer as it gets colder, but it looks pretty cold today, and I am going to tell you the story of this major up. Date for the paperweight along the way. I will include a couple of color audio clips from my Amtrak ride to New York. And while I was waiting the waiting area before my briefing, and then I recorded some post briefing first impressions on a beautiful October day on thirty fourth street in Manhattan about as far away from the scene as you can imagine, that was on my way back to Pennsylvania station. So I hope you'll enjoy the ride and learn enough about the new paper way to help you decide whether this kindle has your name on it, or maybe the name of someone you love enough to buy them. The newest member in this nearly eleven year old family of kindle e-readers. Four fifty AM. I'm sitting in the quiet car of the Sella about to pull out of south station in ten minutes, banana. Four hours of sleep, which I plan to add to the ride. Hopefully the quiet car will really be quiet. Adventure begins at the six, four of an Amazon office spaces next to the bookstore process from the entire state building on west thirty fourth street at little tired, looking forward to a half hour with Kevin, Keith, who is the head of Amazon devices? Talked to him back in March five hundred episode of the show. So he's going to be your plus someone who runs product development for the kindle side, and I'm very excited to see what might be announced today. As I've grown accustomed to pardon office space, the rug and. Waiting area has couch and to couple chairs. One uncomfortable chairs, coffee nearby, and plant is a plant and there's an umbrella stand. So that's handy. High ceilings kind of industrial space at that moment. My host from Amazon PR agency came to fetch me to take me in for the session. We walked down a couple of hallways to a room that felt like a community college classroom. I don't remember any art on the walls just a table. I don't think it was a table mate from adore, like the famously Spartan furniture and some Seattle offices for him. Ceann awaiting me were Kevin, Keith vice president frames on devices and your twos. He's head of product management for kindle, and there was also a woman that I've met four from Amazon's in house media relations team. I'm gonna take a moment here. Tuck little shop about my coverage of the briefing, which followed a similar process as my last trip to New York for. The introduction of kindle oasis in April of twenty. Sixteen this fantastic opportunity to be included in these private briefings about the new devices, their embargoed for a few days. So you have time to kind of consider what you've heard and prepare your coverage. But the format poses a particular challenge for me compared perhaps with other members of the media. I don't think anyone else enters Amazon device briefing hoping record enough audio to fill the better part of a forty five minute show, and they're doing smaller clips, and there may be recording just for the purpose of writing stories. Migra ground rules have been no recording of initial part of the briefing when the new products features are described, and then there's time at the end for recorded questions and answers. I tried to get that format change in advance of this briefing, but I didn't succeed. I, I don't know if my message actually cut to the people at Seattle that I usually deal with him. I should have done it about a week and a head. Head of the session. But anyway, as I Rives said, no, sorry, you can't record until the briefing. The overview of the product is finished and then we can have some QNA. Well, this meant that when Kevin, Keith again, his well practice, but natural presentation, the new paper wide was thinking mainly of the clock. I knew that everything he was saying would be covered in a very thorough press release embargoed until the the visual release, and I just wanted him to get through it as quickly as possible. So I could turn on the bad boy blue yeti microphone that I carried with me and my knapsack, and I had hooked up to logic ten running on my MAC book pro computers. So I had a good setup ready for when I was going to be able to start recording. And I wanted that to happen sooner rather than later I took notes in my reporter's notebook Kevin was speaking. I didn't ask any questions I had so much thought, no, no questions. If I ask questions is going to be even less time than I can record. And when I look back, I realized I didn't even ask to hold the new paper. Wait. I could see that it had a flush front screen without the best of the twenty fifteen paper wise very handsome, but I can't tell you what the rubberized backfield's like or whether I could detect with my hand that it's about ten percent lighter and thinner than the previous model. I don't think I picked it up my hand just was nodding and indicated understood everything that Kevin was saying so that we could kind of keep it moving. If I had thought to bring one of my paper whites, the three, the there. Now, three years old, then I probably would have said, okay, I wanna hold one in one hand and I wanna hold the new one and the other. See if I could detect the the improvements in the weight and the thinnest. But if I've got a paperweight I think it's probably back in Denver or might be in storage in Cambridge while we continue our construction project. In any event, Kevin took about fifteen minutes to describe the new paper white, and that meant that my audio recorded QNA session is about fifteen minutes. Let's listen to that. Now, and afterward I'm gonna go back into some more detail about the paperweights prudence and also take a look at the new software that was released at the same time for the paper white and other kindles, including the current base model kindle, and the top of the line away sus I've learned the past that you guys improve and innovate based on feedback from customers, and so you got a new product here. What would you say was the prime bit of feedback over many years ago it was when you were envisioning this that led to this new paper way? Yeah. Yeah, we very much pay attention to our customers. We listen a lot in direct feedback that we get through views as well as talking directly to our customers. And one of the things we heard from the waste and on voyage is they love this flush front display. It's gives a real, sleek modern look. It feels great in the hand. So that was one of the innovations we wanted to bring down to the paperweight tablet or excuse me, paper reader, and that is one that we really thought a lot about. It's very difficult to do that and to be able to maintain a really low price point. And so that was a big innovation for us. And the second was waterproofing. Waterproofing is one that customers have really loved about their kindle away SIS, and be able to bring that to the paperweight is also something that we really wanted to be able to do. Likewise. On to be able to go beyond just water resistance or splash proof. Just something that's truly waterproof across a bunch of different environments. We hear from our customers all the time and actually see it on social media where people will take their paper way with a plastic baggie to the hot tub or to the pool or to the beach. And we wanna make sure that they didn't have to do that. They have a great experience with their device. This result of fall and begi stock. Problem for them. Okay. Here's a bone of bone feedback. I'm this is feedback. What are the things that is a minor irritating to me, but it's it's a customer you're taking is that when I'm reading a kindle book on my always and then I switched to reading it on, I o s kindle at the controls here on the lower left are slightly different. In another words on the I o s if you tap you get pages of total, which is handy, patiently five point two hours left to read the book and time left on the aces I get location which you know Jeff himself told me Egar's ago was like a dead end road, they realized nobody likes locations, but but the still has location. It does have page number but not pages of total pages. So you get these sort of minor some. What you're taking differences among kindle device. And in the one that I think is the most egregious that's I think it's also in your area is on the echo spot. The the buttons on the top are low volume. Turn it on plus volume on the echo, show the the turn it on button is on the left in those low volume. So when I'm groping for my ankle spot, I'm thinking, okay, plus, oh, no, this is the spot not the show right. And it just seems like an unfortunate bit of not coordinating among devices in a way that would benefit customers if you did, and I figured, I know you have kind of Thomas teams and everybody kinda works on their side of it, but should there may be more coordination, so simple design functions like that or uniform across devices? Yes, good feedback. We try to as much as we can do that coordination sometimes across different device types. The location of buttons house the very just because of the way that the boards relate out or inter stuff going. Right. Exactly. Right. And so depending on the size of the the placement, you might have different kind of button place or someone we're trying to match to the next device or something like that. I ide- teams really work to try to make those things consistent for our customers in on the devices for for kindle, there's a place in the settings that you can actually change what it says at the bottom in terms of time in the book. And so there's a way to change that locations thing too, or. Let's see. At this point, I couldn't help making trip pretty deep into the weeds as Kevin was showing me away that you can adjust the settings for a book. It doesn't seem to be replicable to me now, even with the latest software on my waist, but he was going into settings that would enable you to set a different default for the information that shows up at the lower left of page. If you're reading on your kindle, you can see a page location or the number of the pages, and there is a setting that will tell you which of those shows up as the default. You can also tap on those two toggle through the series it. It didn't really go to my question about how come those choices at the lower left of the pager different on a kindle than they are on the kindle app on the iphone, which was the point I was making I when I hear this and I listened to their cash, you know, these guys are showing their kindle, and here's this guy that's been talking about the kennel every week for ten years. Maybe he just needs to. Lighten up because he's getting so exercised about such a minor issue, but I don't know. I felt strongly about it in. I take them at their word that they're obsessed with customer reaction. I am a kindle customer from for the past decade, and this really does bug me anyone. I'm reading kindle book on one device. Why can't it act the same way on other devices? It just seems to me, that's kind of a basic customer-friendly thing. So the message get through to to Kevin into your and they they were taking it seriously. They weren't in any way kind of mocking me Leeson the way that I could detect, but then the message get through. So then we would little further into the settings thing and then moved on from there. So you said you can show the clock way reading. You can show time left in the book time left in the chapter, pigeon the book location, so you can have different. Settings, therefore, so this would be like the default, if whatever these I choose the one I'm going to. Right. Exactly. So if you change to page now you have pitched twenty. I can change here just by tapping when I'm in the book. Exactly through. Exactly. Okay. Exactly. Yeah. So so it's an interesting way to be able to give customers choice. Yeah, and how they love to see it. I personally I'm the time in chapter. Yeah. Yeah, I want to know if I can read this chap. Exactly. Sometimes, you know, I actually had to change my wife's device because sometimes when she's reading and she, you know, I want her attention. I'm like. So I can have a conversation with you, you know when we're fist or something. Yeah, exactly. It's like you're in the middle of a chapter. You're like engrossing like, okay, I got four minutes. The the rule is she's at ninety percent of the book, do not talk to her. Great. I think what percent are you in the other one? The one thing, the one pep I do have is sometimes the if especially if you're in nonfiction. Yeah, you know a lot of the appendices bibliography and so forth is included in that percentage. Sometimes you'll like I have this much more left than it finishes at ninety. Five percent. Fix that. I've wondered, am I really this far away from finishing the Booker going to be fifty pages? It's interesting question is like the the epilogue and the bibliography or not. So it's a good piece. If you back, we'll give to the to their crazy because everybody have their own little thing. What perfection of writing the book is. Now what thing that always comes up, there's there's sort of a low level of chronic anxiety among a lot of my listeners than the ink platform is certainly not the buzz that was when it was the only Kimball device ten years ago and all this other stuff. We know people reading more on phones on tablets. What can you say to assure of me? And my other listeners that that love the e ink devices that it's still really important to keep innovating improving jet for the foreseeable future? Yeah, so we're absolutely committed. To kindle and to continuing to innovate for Kimmel customers. You'll see with the new kindle paperweight bringing a lot of really great hardware innovation, making it thinner lighter, having a flush front, display symbol, similar that can noises. So that has great reading experience with one hand. Waterproofing bringing that down to people way. Those are all really strong innovations that we're going to be doing on behalf of the customer and we'll continue to do in the future. So so rest assured that that this is important. It was our first vice were in our eleventh year of kindle, and our customers are still buying as many kindles as ever as we mentioned prime day was our biggest sales day of the year and actually ever history for kindle. And so we see customers still love their kindle devices. So we're excited to continue to innovate for them. And you know, we mentioned earlier, a lot of the feedback we get is really outdoor reading, really amazing battery life. And I think something that is more potent than ever is lack of distractions. So internally, say kindle is really reading time. It's not screen time. Because you don't have those distractions of Email social media notifications and. Phone calls and text messages. So we think it's always going to have a really strong place with our customers. Sometimes I've wondered, you know, there's a talk about there was gonna be a color kindle, and there was was the company, but I think he sold it, but it it had a problem because it might have been a color screen, but it would have been fast enough to play video and so in and there goes your, your single focused use, and I can almost imagine a time when there would. I mean, say Inc came out and said, we've increased the speed one hundred fold on the e ink display. Now you can do tweets nineteen, and all the rest of the experimental browser is now like a real browser. It's almost like you'd have to say, we don't want it. This is what we're doing here and we, but I know you can't talk about the future, but it it strikes. I guess what I'm asking is. It sounds like you've really embraced that part of the ink kindles, whether it's the ink or some other technology in the future that this is like an oasis for readers to read and that that may be a continuing goal and mission going forward. Yeah, we use the term internally sanctuary. It's a sanctuary for reading that, you know, you can really get lost in the author's world and the books that you're reading. And and so the whole point of all of our devices is really to kind of fade away into the background. And so we always try to push to make it thinner lighter and better reading experience so that you can really get lost in those books and that will continue to be our focus going forward. The price is going up ten dollars on the new paperweight. It was one hundred twenty. This'll be one hundred thirty four gigabyte and you've you've laid out the advantages waterproof the. If you were going to talk to a customer's dollars more, what am I getting for my ten dollars? It's the most maybe what was the most difficult thing to do cost wise, and then your sense of where does that ten dollars value and maybe more really get delivered in this new paper way? Well, we still think the new pip away is amazing value for customers. And as you look at some of the new features that we brought from our premium devices to the paperweight, the flush front display, very, very difficult to build a device at this price point without a Belleville raise puzzle. And so that was a technical challenge to be bring waterproof to this price point as well. Very challenging in like I mentioned, not just what a resistant, but what proof. So that customers they literally drop it in pool and we read it fry peac eight, which means it could. Sit and water for six feet of depth for for sixty minutes and still survive and be fine. So those innovations also continue take a light and thin device to make it thinner and lighter. So all those pieces doubling storage so customers can take even more books bring audible to the device this. Yeah, it's it's a, it's a pretty long list of innovations that we've tried to bring to the device. And as we've mentioned before, I think we really are trying to just break even with the hardware and we really see value with our customers aligned to if they're using the device, not just perching sing that of ice. And so we continue to take that philosophy with our vices. Available, win ships win. So it's going to be preorder is on October sixteenth, and then November seventh is when customers will start receiving vices. You're, you have anything you want to adhere. What's the coolest thing from a product development perspective? You're bent sitting on the other side of the table a little bit of ways from the yeti Mike phone. So I slid it over as to give him a chance to make some comments. Very interesting guy. He's been one of the other briefings that I was at, and it was tough to have to choose who I was talking to, but Kevin was kind of the ranking guy, and he was cute up to to do the bulk of the briefing, but glutted had a chance to share at least this bit of what yours perspective was governed talked about. Most of the I mean, fos was bringing down the tubes to the Pippa white on, so giving customers the choice to do audible vision to audible books. I think that's that's a feature. And then of course, the waterproofing of the device at this price point. So we were spending a lot of time on the on engineering, reliability, testing on waterproofing, seeing that he's actually really important feature. We have a lot of customers that love that feature for the different experiences, reading, invest top, reading the pouring at the beach and bringing to the price point. So that's what we're, we. I soon you're listening to customers now to plan the next improvement in the lineup here for the kindles. If somebody has a great idea, is there a best way to get it in front of you? So part of the Knicks. Kindle feedback. There's a Email that actually customer do provide us feedback even through reviews. We reviews. We do a lot of. Analysis of what people are asking for we look for themes in those reviews to understand what customers might be doing with the devices, what what they might be looking for. And then we do a lot of Ford looking on technologies that might be coming, and we tend to really focus on those areas that are unique to any reader. Just back to your question on how can we make the battery life even better? You know, that's what people love and differentiates it from tablet. How can we make that clear free screen and that reading spirits, even better? How can we, you know, make sure that the the books are even more interesting. We have features that go beyond a book, so these personals ation options. Those are the kind of things that we hear from our customers. We try to react to. Thank you. Yeah, thank you. I had about an hour and a half before the train back to Boston left that gave me time to have lunch. I texted my nephew, Jesse who works in New York. He's in the film business and spends a fair amount of time ram Penn station because he lives in New Jersey. So he recommended a place that turn out to be very tasty, shake shack and had a hamburger vanilla malt. And then as I was hitting back to Penn station, that was a sunny spot in front of Macy's that I stop just to recollect some thoughts and start processing. How is going to share this experience with you on the show? It's two hours ahead. My briefing and Amazon on the new paperweights. I noticed they were calling at the all new paperweight preferred, just going the new paper way. That's simple and it's pretty impressive is waterproof. It's flat screen. The vessel and thinner little lighter. These things start out so thin and light to get any improvements on those vengeance is impressive hit cost, ten dollars more than the existing paper white. And I asked Kevin, Keith, what's the best way to explain why that price went up either in cost or value to the customer hit pretty good sponsor. That would chill here. I continue to be a little bit frustrated with how these things are set up. I pressed a little with my contacts and as PR department to see if I could record the whole session. I, you know, to spend eight hours coming down here by train and back and then have a half hour session of which I can only record half of it is a little bit frustrating, but I tried to come down from that and enter into it and. Equanimity. And that's what happened in. These guys are great. I really appreciate having time with people with this high level of the company doing such I work and I know there's a lot of other refix these days. I am standing on west thirty fourth street across from crocs old navy at my back to Macy's, beautiful sunny day, probably temperature, probably in the mid sixties, and I've got about an hour before I catch the cell of pack to Boston at one o'clock, I'll be getting over five and I'll be putting together this week's show. I get back to a house long, Dan, four hours sleep plus some naptime on the train. All right. Well, let's kick into some of the details on the new vite device. I've got the press release which did arrive. It's very thorough as I knew it would be, and it gives me a chance to just work through an emphasize the aspects of this. This really is a, I think, notable improvement of the paper white, which is the best selling kindle. It has been for a long time now and they, they worked on it in ways that I know must have been challenging when you make a device. That's that thin, even thinner and lighter. That's that's always impressive. Even if when I had a chance to hold two of them one in one hand one or the other, I couldn't detect it. I just love the idea that they keep pressing in that direction because it really it does matter as say, it helps the disappeared, the story for not carrying something that's heavy, especially when you're reading bed. The audible part is pretty neat. I haven't used that except a. Try it on my Awasthi. So now the paper white has the ability to hook up with a speaker or your buds and listen to a story, and you can go into the audible store straight from the kindle. I was able to replicate that by a upgrading the software on my always so that it's like the the new paperweight and you can switch back and forth. You can be reading. I have a Amazon tap speaker here, and I downloaded a book that's actually audible original so that it's only available on audible. It's a Michael Lewis book, which is about big storms coming. And let's see what that sounds like. Tapping play on my away SIS. Audible originals presents the coming storm written and performed by Michael Lewis. The coming storm. As she walked the path tornado. So now I can switch there is you just go back and then you can be switching to the reading of it? Oh, no. On this when you can't because there isn't a book version of it, the only version you can listen to on this, Michael Lewis, audible original is on this, but if it was a another book and I got one being mortal by Togo on day great book as being helpful and kind of mums situation after her hip fracture there I can switch back and forth and there's just tabs to to do that pretty handy. I think that's important addition to the paperweight it makes sense that kind of the flagship kindle would now be able to have that integration with audible. I in mentioning the weight I, I actually looked at the numbers and again, these are things I think it would be hard to detect with your hand. But when I looked at the data for the last paper way, the twenty fifteen paper. For white with wifi. It weighed seven point three ounces and that made it heavier than the aces which was six point eight ounces. Now, the new paper white is six point four ounces. So it's it's actually lighter than the aces which I think it's kind of cool. Again, I think these will be hard to detect, but it shows that the really pushing the the paperweight envelope as a result is in in that now being the, the lightest of kindles, I think it's probably lighter than the basic kindle, but I'd have to have to double check that that six point, four ounces for the new paper white is actually twelve percent lighter than the twenty fifteen three g paperweight for some reasons, a little ways. Little more in the three g version of it is ten point, five percent lighter. So that's what they were using in the press releases. If you get a new paper white for its says, limited. Time offer. I don't know how long that's going to be available, but you get six months of kindle unlimited for free. That's a sixty dollar value. So that's pretty good if you thought you'd might like to try kindle unlimited. And it does have the basic. Paper white for one hundred thirty dollars has twice the storage of the previous model. So it has eight gigabytes storage instead of four. And then you can buy a more expensive one. If you go up to thirty two gigabytes of storage, this is with special offers instead of costing. One hundred thirty dollars that cost one hundred sixty dollars those prices. If you don't want special authors offers. I love special offers that are always books in my case. And sometimes they're interesting. The basic eight gigabyte paperweight will cost one hundred fifty dollars. And if you want the thirty two gigabyte, it goes up to one hundred eighty six. Oddly there's only one configuration that enables you to get three g covers. That's the cellular ability, which means if you're at the airport and you're planes leaving soon, you just get time to grab one more book. You don't and you have a good time to get on the airports wifi. It can be pretty handy to have that always on three g. capability to get that on the new paper white. You'll have to have the thirty two gigabyte model and you'll have to have it without the special offers and the total price for all that will be two hundred and fifty dollars still pretty good. Bye. And quite a bit less expensive than the Acis version of that. Other things that they've improved. There are five LED lights. So the the bath of light that comes over the paper white is going to be a little smoother little brighter than it was on the previous one. It's waterproof, of course that has been emphasized. I saw someone that might have been the verge call it water resistant in Iran a correction. I'm sure that Amazon's crack PR team could after them because they said it's not water resistant. It's waterproof. Now it talks about an IP x rating. I don't know what that means, but they do specify that you can put this new paper wide into up to two meters freshwater. So that's about six feet for up to sixty minutes maybe next summer. I'll do a test of to tell you how how long can put it in saltwater, specially if there's a little surf here at ocean park, the press release talks about a back made of soft grip -able material. That doesn't say rubberized. That makes me wish I had actually picked up that thing. So I could tell you what my impressions of the grip ability of it is, but I suspected feels pretty good. In the hand, I, I always liked to have a case on my kindles. They did have some cases they're examining there was one of those pretty nice leather case fifty or sixty dollars. I don't like the cases that they were showing as well as I like the case on the ACS because on the basis you can bend back corner of the case. And then it will stand up on a table. Sometimes when coffee shop, I like just having the aces stand up on its own case without having to lean it up against something. The paper white case is just a flat case. It doesn't have the ability to turn into a stand. There might be some third party cases that would generate that capability at some point. The most striking design improvement on the paper white is the one that I could see just by looking at the example that was at the briefing and that's the flush the full flush screen. There isn't a Bill or kind of an edge rounded. I think that this is important because it just looks more modern. It looks like the aces which has got a totally flush screen, and so it's, it looks more like the aways than it is going to look like the standard kindle and also the voyage, which is still in the lineup or the older paper whites. There's something about that scream being recessed into the bell. I think I've always said, well, dusk get caught in there or sand it. It may maybe looks like it could cast a tiny little shadow and it's just not as good a design. I think they were smart to focus on now. They probably did hear a lot of feedback about it. The. The size of the screen is the same as the earlier paper white. It's just that it there's a, the margin around the screen is now at the same level as the screen at self. So it all looks very smooth and easy to read. The lightness I think is because they, they've got a plastic. It's a plastic screen. So the that helps affect the the weight and it's easy to read just like the previous kindles and the that same six, six inch size. So new flush front design that was emphasizing all material. I can see why because that had to be hard to do, and it looks really sharp. For finish up telling you about the software update which coincided with the release of the paperweight and now has spread to the other devices? I was able to download it on my away. SIS, I'd like to check in with some of your comments. I heard from Barbara who wrote good morning land. I'm a longtime listener to your kindle chronicles. Our book club recently read a gentleman in Moscow. It was joined by all I read the book on my kindle away, says some others head a hardcover edition. I was surprised to learn. The hard cover was full interesting. Footnotes might kindle lacked the footnotes. Is this common for Amazon to not include footnotes in their kindles. I certainly missed the footnotes in gentleman in Moscow. I just thought you might know thanks for your help. I have never come across that in my reading and I haven't heard about it from any other listeners. My first question was, were the footnotes possibly tucked in the back. Back of the book, making it difficult to find them maybe weren't links to them in a well formatted book. If there's a footnote in the kennel version, just tap on the little super script number and it will take you either to the bottom of the page or the back if that's where the footnotes are. So this might have been just something that wasn't formatted accurately, but certainly that's a real flaw in a book. If you can't have the same content that someone reading it in hard covers. So Barbara, thanks for sending that along from Los Gatos California. A Dan wrote this response to some of the reports of the new paper white, very enticing when it says soft feel is like a rubber feel well, I have to go back to the press release talking. It's it's grip -able whether it's a rubber feel, we'll have to determine when we see it. I liked by the way the fact that now that there are bookstores and there are kiosks, lots of. Balls and whole foods with a new paperweight paperweight out now, say compared to three years ago when the last update you really have plenty of places that you can go and actually feel one, and you can decide if you think the the screen is grip -able or pleasantly rubberized or anything else about it. You can check out that full fresh flush, that's easy to say, flush front screen, and you're not just depending on images from the the website. So there's been an improvement in our ability to check things out before we get them. Dan continued, I'm interested, but I think I'll stay with my voyage for now. I'd like to see if there's any update for the oasis. Although I think it's unlikely Amazon would update another kindle device soon. They'd probably have done them together. I'm torn. I see the new home screen will be an update for some older paperweights. Was there any word that they might bring it to the voyage and Acis that might help me with my decision then. I think they said that the update of the software is gonna be available for everything more recent than twenty thirteen. I think that would include the voyage, so probably the voyage is gonna. Get that update. Can't wait to hear more about this about it on this week's episode. Dan concludes hope your mom's improving our thoughts and prayers are with her in your family. Say, mom is definitely improving of shit hip surgery thing about a month ago, and the rehab is winding down to where she may be able to join my dad and their residential unit in this place that they're living at west of Boston, and it's been a rough road for her certainly and the rest of the family, but it's gratifying how we're all pulling together each day seems to get a little bit better. Appreciate your thoughts and prayers. John AGA wrote before there was any news about the trip. I think I had mentioned on the last show to New York City. I think mostly probably knew from past coverage where I was going to be going without having to say way that in any way undermined the embargo John says, I think I have a good regarding chipped in New York City. I think I have a good idea. I your trip is about to new kindles. Well, close a new basic kindle with an upgrade with an e ink, Pearl display to an Iain Carter display with a PPI increase next, a paper white four, the paper, four. We'll have an improved lighting system check bluetooth for audible check and thirty two gigabytes of internal storage. So John, you nailed it. In terms of your hunch about the paper white. I wouldn't have been surprised to see an upgrade of the basic kindle as well. But I think you're right that if they were going to do that, they would have done at the same. Time. So probably not this year. John continues my wishlist for additional bells and whistles increased ram to make it more responsive, a micro chip upgrade to improve responsiveness upgrade the kindle operating system, which I believe is based on Android, four point. Oh, the newest fire tablet is based on a newer Android version. Seven dot o. also called Nogot a smooth screen edge, like the voyage, not a raised edge, like the paperwork, right. Three check built in overdrive support. That's the library of platform. Since we have overdrive as an app on fire tablets, dreaming big built in speakers and the ability to plug in wired earbud ear buds. I missed that audio support from my old kindle keyboard. Looking forward to the big reveal. Thank you for all the time, energy and passion you share with us. Thanks, John. As you can tell, this is wicked fund. Let's finish up with a software update the home. Mm screen is changed and it's, you can swipe a reveal some additional tips recommendations. They seem to be based on your reading. I've saw that on my always update. I couldn't see one thing that I remember seeing at the briefing which was kind of a little inspirational quote about how cool it is to be a reader, the one I remember seeing so that it lowers your stress level. If you re just a little bit each day, you can personalize your reading with different settings. If you like the fought a certain way, the boldness level set just right or intention, you can create saved settings that duplicate that whenever you're reading or you can switch among different settings. Pretty cool. You can return kindle owners lending library books from within your library with a long pressing on a bar borrowed book than selecting return. The percent of battery remaining is shown labels for the standard toolbar. Labels are added under each con on the standard toolbar for improve navigate. Nation. So speaking of the software in ways that looked pretty good, not not like dramatic, and you're still going to be able to find your way around on the software without any problems at all, but that's in you, can it'll if you connect a wifi, you'd be seeing the software update arrive automatically. If you're eager to get to the Lincoln, the show where you can find the upgrade for your model, I've ever ready recorded the interview for next week. It is with Simon Eskillson. He wrote a inciteful blog post headed how I read and I guarantee you that you won't think about the way you read the same after listening to science, thoughtful discussion of this subject. I'm also hoping to connect him with your and Kevin because his recommendation for the kindle platform going deeper as a way for people to not only read and recall to actually learn. From what they read over a period of time. I think that's the kind of thing that the kindle team might just get excited about. So I'll be trying to get them connected after next week show Leonard really notion park main thanks for listening.

kindle Amazon Kevin New York City Boston Dan Seattle Keith New York south station product development ocean park Maine Macy Alexa
Don't Fall For It

On The Media

50:21 min | 7 months ago

Don't Fall For It

"Journalists. Walk into post office and they see not the connective tissue of this country. They see another failing organ of big government. The Post Office has been under siege for decades. No. Thanks to the media from WNYC in New York this is on the media I'm Brooke Gladstone and I'm Bob Garfield the announcement of Kamala Harris for veep unleashing the inevitable racist slurs. But this time journalists were ready for the birther claim is a lie full stop. It is easy to debunk as somebody WHO's two plus two equals tag. Also, scuttling the post office pardoning Susan B. Anthonys, smiling upon Cunanan heading toward election day trump fills Lee ether with many shiny objects. It's Cliche to say this is a distraction. This is a distraction, but the end result is the same. We get distracted why it matters subway stay focused in a news you. After this? Church. Listener Support W. nyc studios. Moved from WNYC NEW YORK. This is on the media. I'm Brooke Gladstone and I'm Bob Garfield the narrative at this year's Democratic National Convention was unambiguous. The upcoming election isn't a referendum on a partisan America because Look John Casick and Colin Powell and even Anonymous Republicans are on the bandwagon. The messaging in fact was barely even about Joe Biden. No we were warned something far more urgent is at stake. Democracy. Itself the science-based action, the hero Zach win three months ago is essential to safeguard lives livelihood and the life of our democracy. And who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy. This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down. If that's what it takes for them to win. Funny. They should mention because the backdrop for these saved democracy please was the administration's brazen attempts to gut the US Postal Service. Before the biggest mail in voting exercise in history at the beginning of the weekend. Donald trump basically said I'm going to sabotage the post office at its most basic. This election is about preserving our democracy. During this president's term the. Thinkable has become normal. He has tried to prevent people from voting on the mind the US Postal Service, you know the president may hate the post office, but he's still going to have to send them a change of address card come January simmering crisis boiled over last Thursday when trump admitted that his gutting the institution was intended to hobble voting by mail believed at least by him to favor Democrats they want twenty, five, billion dollars billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to. Have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren't getting there by the way those are just two items but if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail in voting because they're not equipped to have it during a Senate hearing on Friday recently appointed Postmaster General Louis to joy was grilled by the Homeland Security Committee about his sweeping cutbacks that intentionally or not fulfilled trump's vision. But as Republicans on the committee were quick to observe. He didn't start the fire or what I've heard so far today. Apparently, the post office never had any issues. There was never any delays. There was never any mail that was late they were never need financial problems. There was never any challenge, the mail in voting's until sixty five days ago when you arrive and then apparently all chaos has broken out in the Post Office Fair Point Senator James Langford but what he and his GOP colleagues failed to point out was that it was their party's own policies that intentionally or not crippled postal service to begin with and according to New Republic Staff. Writer. Alex Shepherd when journalists are talking about the public sector, they tend to be sucked into a similar partisan ideological narrative. Yet, the postal service exists as a kind of symbol of good government and it's one that has been surprisingly resilient to Republican attacks particularly ones aimed at privatizing various public sector services, but that hasn't dimmed their enthusiasm for making widespread demands for greater efficiency that in fact, lower efficiency, these have certainly increased over the last fifteen years, but it feels like we've only started paying attention to them over the last week or so. Now, you just said lead to greater efficiency I by creating lower efficiency and we'll get to that in a moment but first, we should observe that this process goes back decades. Along with the privatization dreams for schools, colleges, social security prisons, even parts of the military. But you right that particular image we have of the post office today really has its origins in two thousand and six house Oh. Yeah. In two thousand and six Congress passed the Postal Accountability and enhancement act known as Paige. And that required USPS to make a number of changes. The most substantial was that required them to fully fund all of their pension seventy five years in advance, which created a seventy two billion dollar hole in the operating budget immediately, no other institution is required to do this, and it immediately turned a profitable arm of the federal government into an unprofitable one now, the timing. Of That was interesting because that was a year in which the USPS was as it had been for several years in the black it was also the year that facebook opened up to everyone and you start to see large standing changes in the way that people communicate that also has provided a hit to the postal services budget, but not as substantial as this one about pensions. Over, the past couple of months, we've observed trump's overt meddling into the post office in the person of his new postmaster. General Louis. Joy He is an. underqualified trump mega donor with financial ties to postal service competitors and next thing you know he was cutting overtime for workers in the middle of a pandemic in advance of an election and had removed mail sorting machines from post offices nationwide, which raised media eyebrows but not exactly at first at least alarm until about a week ago when trump blurted out his sabotage scheme on. Fox Business. These are hard journalistic moments about public sector institutions follow a pattern yet in the case of us. There their few things happening where at the same time? Lewis. Did joy is fulfilling this long standing conservative project of hobbling US PS of creating space in which its competitors can thrive. He is also doing. So at a time where it will almost certainly if not aid the president's reelection campaign than certainly bolster claims that he may make challenging the legitimacy of the election, the press is largely focused on the second one of those still and the first part is I think still gone unnoticed. You send that the Republican strategy over the decades has been to de fund the Post Office for example, by forcing them to fund their pension plan going out seventy five years in order to actually force their service to deteriorate in order ultimately to privatize the organization what Louis Joy has been doing since the spring. is familiar to anyone who's covered the private equity industry in America in recent years it's you look at an organization that's losing money, and then you strip resources from it in the name of efficiency, and then of course, it becomes less efficient and you're in this endless cycle of taking things away. But the larger project I think is ideological as much as it is practical. Conservatives, don't like the fact that this is a government institution that works that the USPS should be treated like a business that's put a giant target on its back the postal service itself is a kind of American value saying that we're all Americans and we all should be connected together. No matter what that costs the drive to privatize that not only would have dramatic consequences for people who rely on USPS to get medication. Or to keep in touch with loved ones particularly incarcerated people but it also would be a betrayal of what I think is an ideal which is that we should have a system that brings us all together. You believe that we've allowed a distorted picture of the public sector to form in the public's mind over decades and and that we even internalized the Reagan doctrine that big government is not the solution but the problem. Drunk the KOOL aid halfway. Yeah. I think that the image of a postal worker remains newman from Seinfeld. The stance. It's not to be. So I'm hanging up. You quit the post office kind of. I'm still collecting checks I'm just not delivering mail. Somebody who's lazy they take a three hour break. The Post Office itself is a drab and dreary place where you waited line for hours and then are told to go somewhere else. It's sort of the DMV next door part of the issue is political and that Democrats have also internalized. Ideas but I think that there's also a sense that journalists walk into a post office and they see not the connective tissue of this country they see another failing organ of big government. One of the strange things about all this handwringing about if the USPS can handle the election is that they just finished a substantial project which is handling the United States census USPS does this kind of work all the time and they've done it despite the fact that they've been hobbled by staffing cuts and demands to to run a business when it's not a business and how do we get the narrative that you just provided? Back into the minds of the media. If in fact we have drunk the KOOL aid. I think that there's a real shyness about communicating values in media. That's not true when it comes to sort of First Amendment issues, members of the press will always beat their chests when they're kicked out of a White House briefing room or something, but you don't get that with other values. Instead, there's a real reliance on others you need advocacy groups, you need the postal workers union. Were members of the Democratic Party but there are a lot of cases where those voices aren't going to be forthcoming and that you need to look institutions for what they provide beyond prophet and efficiency. It's a public service and the American people for the most part recognized as that it's congress that hasn't, and if it does do that, then I think things will get a lot better. Alex, thank you. Thank you. Alex Shepherd is staff writer at the new. Republic. Journalists will be keeping their eyes on the postal service in the coming months, and so will the Hustler's inhabiting are warped media ecosystem? The result will be a flood of information misinformation and even some disinformation New York Times opinion writer Charlie Wars L. Wonders whether we as news consumers given the stakes and the circumstances can even maintain focus on the heart of the story I am worried. That we want if I'm being very honest that we won't be able to focus on it. On Monday of this week, trump floated the idea that he could have not just a second but even a third term. Spider. My campaign, we get a Redo of. We seen him this week pardon Susan B. Anthony Chew was never pardoned. Did. You know that she was never thought. We'd seen him float the idea perhaps pardoning Ed Snowden who he wants called a traitor. I'm not that aware of the snowden situation but I wouldn't started looking at it. There are many many people that seems to be a split decision that many people think that. He should be somehow treated differently and other people think he did very bad things and I'm going to take it's Cliche to say this is the distraction. This is a distraction and it might not even always be intentional but the end result is the same we get distracted. So I'm not very confident that we won't go chasing the shiny objects but the one thing that we can do is when we are focusing on the story when we are focusing on the post office story that we don't get distracted by the shiny objects in that, you know we don't go chasing the refurbished blue mailboxes instead of. What's happening truly behind the scenes administratively in some of these institutions let's talk about those disappearing blue mailboxes. Here it is. You might have already seen it. That's a truck as you can tell being loaded up with blue post office boxes, Mark Delaney snap this photo in north Portland and it went viral in no time journalists Gary he he actually called up the Wisconsin depository for the Mailbox Hartford finishing co and they refurbish mailboxes they take them off the street they fix them, they put them back out and so this is a piece of really incendiary content that's gone incredibly viral that as it turns out. Actually just standard operating procedure. The best way for some of this news to get buried the important news the news about the undermining of norms is for there to be such a flood of muddled information that just becomes a story. That's so saturated that we don't WanNa hear about it anymore and people get bored and move on and for the media we have to keep up the focus on that in terms of you know what we amplify and what we report. Knowing that they're actually bathing the press to. Create a lot of commotion. How does the news consumer find the signal in drown out the distraction? I think there's two important things to keep hold of one is that this is the home stretch for this particular election cycle. This is a moment where it is incredibly important to pay attention is exhausting may be the second part is you need to be mindful of that flooding the zone strategy that your focus is going to be pulled in many different ways and I think being mindful of that helps inoculate against it if to set your priorities of what is important to you and I think the media has signaled that this postal service crippling is the big story right now. So keeping a focus on that, keeping a focus on the pandemic response, picking the things that are important to you and not letting trump's pardon of Susan B. Anthony Distract from the bigger stories. Yeah one. Last thing. On the media's listeners are careful consumers of the news. But. It's pretty well documented than most Americans do not delve too deeply in new stories and where they come from and the issues behind them it's all kind of background noise they tune in or tune out depending on what's going on with the kids and all the other mundane aspects of American life that are themselves overwhelming. So. How should we let that figure into how we cover the story? It's about. Clarity. It's about focusing on that main store. You know it's very clear what the intentions are. He said it and I think drilling down on that not trying to be overly clever about it not trying to you know come up with a a day to story on day one it's the meat and potatoes of what we're supposed to do. Often, we get lost in it because this has been such a complicating. Presidency, with regard to the truth but I think in this case, it's actually a very clear the president trying to erode a bunch of norms and he set it out loud if we need to keep the spotlight on that. Charlie. Thank you so much. Thanks. Charlie. Wars Zell is an opinion writer at large for. New York Times. Coming up why black politicians seeking higher office will always be prey to bogus questions about citizenship this is on the media. This is on the media. I'm Bob Garfield Brooke. Gladstone. Since the announcement of Kamala Harris Joe Biden's running-mate. WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING DONALD TRUMP test driving attack plans and real time will he settled on nasty woman choose probably Nastier than even Pocahontas to Joe Biden our fraud slow joe and phony comma perfect together wrong for America or plain old incompetent I. think she's going to be a big failure. It seems all of the above and more including revving up an old save for the current president that she isn't sufficiently American to run I. Heard it. Today that she doesn't meet the requirements. Malarkey as they say. Comma Harris is a citizen fully. Vp but that didn't stop the live from getting an airing on Newsweek and a mentioned by the president at a press conference. Of course, he did it's a tactic tried and true for distracting the media and dog whistling his base the quintessential shiny object notoriously employed when Obama was running for office I, want him to. Say. This is a really old canard and unfortunately it's still with US Marc. Joseph Stern covers courts and the law for sleet he's. The birtherism lie all the way back to an eighteen. Fifty seven Supreme Court decision. We have to go to the dread Scott decision in eighteen, fifty seven, which was the notorious Supreme Court ruling. That said that black people could not be citizens of the United States that they had no rights that the white man was bound to respect. They are an inferior order, the Supreme Court said, and so they simply cannot obtain citizenship in this nation overt racism of the most rank and of foreign kind, and the dread Scott decision was one of the sparks of the civil war, and after that civil war, the nation passed a constitutional amendment, the fourteenth. WHO's very first sentence is a direct rebuke to dread. Scott's what's it say it says all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction narrows our citizens of the United States. It doesn't just say they will become citizens. These people have always been citizens and we are now ensuring that their citizenship cannot be questioned. Nice idea. Here we are in two thousand, twenty it's still getting questions. So what is new about the CARMELA further lie basically nothing because even though we'd seem to settle the question of birthright citizenship once and for all when the first black senator was sent to Congress in eighteen seventy Hiram revels, some racist senators tried to deny him. To be a senator, you have to have had American citizenship for at least nine years. So these racist Congressman said, we only pass the fourteenth amendment two years ago. That was when this guy got citizenship that was obviously rejected almost out of hand by the senators who had just passed the fourteenth amendment who were still there in the Senate and they were able to say pretty definitively no, we meant to say that these folks have always. been citizens. What we did was confirm a truce that had been widely recognized up until dread Scott reverse it could you give me a quick summary of the differences between the Obama birther lie and the Harris birther lie the Obama birther lie asked dot if he was an American citizen but just whether he was natural worn the Kabul ally Asif, she is a citizen at all. So what does the argument being presented by such people as? John Eastman of the Claremont Institute in Newsweek the title of op-ed was almost polite. Some questions for Kamla Harris about eligibility Eastman's OP. Ed presents arguments that he has been making for many years that those four words subject to the jurisdiction means something totally different from what everybody understood them to mean in eighteen sixty eight. So backup little Kamla. Harris's parents were immigrants to the United States. They were both here. On visas no laws broken. Of course individuals coming to the United States on visas can have children here and it has long been understood that those children become American citizens because they are born on American soil and they don't fall into the exceptions laid out by Congress when it passed the fourteenth amendment but John Eastman has a different theory. He thinks that the words subject to the jurisdiction have this secret meet. And that is that you have to oh, your allegiance exclusively to the United States in order to pass on citizenship to your child even if your child is born in the United States, he says that because Carmela Harris's parents were foreign nationals when she was born, they owed their allegiance to other countries and so they were unable to pass along citizenship to Kamla because they were not fully subject to American jurisdiction instead, they were subject to the jurisdiction of India and Jamaica, but Mark Liss was in Newsweek. op-ed Claremont Institute, which you talk about Eastman is a senior fellow. What is the Claremont Institute? So the Claremont Institute is a conservative think tank although I think tank is a bit of a misnomer here. It's located in. California. It was founded by four students of a guy named Harry Jaffa who was a kind of gold water conservative in the sixties and seventies this was founded in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seventy, nine, and the idea was to spread these goldwater ask. Ideas to revive the celebration of American nationalism American exceptionalism at a time when conservatives perceived it to be on the decline this was the the later part of Jimmy. Carter's presidency, the Malays speech Yada Yada, and so the Claremont Institute burst onto the scene and tribe to kind of intellectualize theories about American nationalism and American identity that had been a little bit further on the fringe of the rights but. We're at that stage making their way to the center of the GOP. But then it started to evolve. Let's say the ninety s and in the early two thousands I would think devolve is maybe a better word look I. Don't think the ceremony institute was ever totally free of media this I'm right. The very ideas that it was promoting had a bit of an undercurrent of whites national. Identity and my view but astor, Jaffa it and after the conservative movement, fully embrace some of these nationalistic ideas, the Claremont. Institute. Moved further and further to the right onto the fringe and instead of just talking about American nationalism, it will talk about almost an American ethnic identity who is truly American and who is an interloper and its main course of attack here was against immigrants mostly from Mexico Central America. DEEM TO BE INFERIOR countries with inferior or in the words of the dread. Scott decision you're being a little nightmare in your article you called it a racist fever swamp with deep connections to the conspiratorial alt-right that had granted a fellowship to a guy named Jack Pa- Sobek who helped promote the pizza gate conspiracy theory. This is the idea that the Democratic Party is involved in some sort of child sex ring so in. The last ten years it has just collapsed into insane paranoid all rights terror of non white people, and almost all of its scholarship is directed toward presenting these outrageous theories about why non white people are not really Americans and especially during the trump presidency has fully embraced the tackiest and most dangerous conspiratorial elements of the Trumpian movement including Pizza Gate, and you say that few if any of the supporters of the birtherism lie. Lack connections to the Clermont in. That includes Eastman. Who wrote the op-ed questioning Kamala Harris eligibility in Newsweek and also Josh Hammer who was the Newsweek editor who commissioned the piece is a former fellow at the institute. It seems like when it comes to birtherism all roads lead to Clermont. Michael Anton who wrote apiece arguing against birthright citizenship in the Washington Post in two thousand eighteen is guess what a senior fellow there as well, and by the way the scholar to really pitch this idea that the children of. Immigrants do knock at birthright citizenship the United States, he was a clermont scholar. His name was Edward earlier, he wrote this book that was just outwardly racist against Mexican immigrants and proposed violently expelling the children of Mexican immigrants who are American citizens back into Mexico because he claimed that they were stateless foreigners. So I assume that you are braced for this Kamala Harris birther thing. Well, when I first saw the piece I have to say I felt nauseated because I knew there was A. Chance I would have to respond and I've written about this issue a great deal and I fear that even responding to these theory is, is like giving more oxygen to the fire because it creates this illusion that there's a debate here and debate has to have two sides and there just isn't another side to this issue. Right? The birther claim is a live full stop. It is as easy to debunk as somebody uses two plus two week ten and still Newsweek publishes this piece. Which means we're going to be talking about it it's going to spread like wildfire across all of the conspiratorial facebook pages that Mark Zuckerberg refuses shutdown. Alan and it's going to become an issue that dogs Kamla Harris just like the Obama, birther Lies Dogs Barack Obama. I mean at one point twenty, five percent of respondents to a poll said that they questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. These things may sound ridiculous but they do gain a purchase. You know we are so much more divided now. As a nation then we were. Even. Turning the last campaign the one before that. I'm just wondering whether this is just meet to a base that has committed itself long ago to The presidency of Donald Trump and whether it'll just sort of bounce off people who don't support him or independence this lie about birthright citizenship it has implications way beyond this presidential election. There are at least eighteen million children or of immigrants in the United States right now if eastern were correct which he is not then all of those people are stateless could be stripped of citizenship stripped of all of their rights and privileges and finally expelled from the country that is extremely frightening. White nationalist fantasy, and the facts that a law professor and someone affiliated with. A think tank can promote it in the pages of Newsweek suggest to me that we need to educate people and explained that. American citizenship does not rest on your parents allegiance to another country or this one. So I kind of hope that there are some people who haven't really thought about this who are reasonable people who can learn from the conversation we're having now and some of the articles that have been written in response to. That this has been settled since at least eighteen, sixty eight and that the next black person who runs for president or vice president is going to have their citizenship challenged, and maybe we can shrink the group of people who buy into it next time around mark. Thank you very much. Thank you so much Mark Joseph. Stern covers courts and the law for slate. As Stern, just observed a lot is riding on how the media covers this particular falsehood against Kamala Harris. So how are we doing? Eugene Scott who writes about identity politics for the fix of the Washington Post says that some media outlets definitely are better now at calling out racism in lies. Welcome to the show Jean. Thanks for having me. You've observed that during the Obama birther escapade outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times we're slow to call anything racist. It was something that did not have to go as unaddressed as did and really could have been stopped earlier on and called out for what it is. If newsrooms were more diverse if individuals who make decisions better reflect the population as a whole could provide some perspective about how those types of rumors effect people. But your general feeling is that there has been some progress from two thousand eight to today and the persistence of this birther lie that at least, some of the media aren't going to be as tied up in false balance without a doubt I. Mean we saw that within the first week cable news outlets like CNN and MSNBC. The Washington Post and some other legacy media organizations in their opening graphs they call birtherism lives. It was clear that Camera Harris was eligible for the vice presidency. They referenced the row that birtherism played in president trump's ascendance to the White House we've seen a big shift in newsrooms blatantly call ideas and actions races and I think that quite. It's one of the big changes in media that we saw come with the trump administration. I think our current president has put forward ideas and policies that stowe blatantly discriminated against people because of their identities that newsrooms could not accurately cover what was happening without calling it racism what about Newsweek's participation in elevating the birtherism lie about Harris? Doesn't that indicate a persistent problem in how legacy media covers birtherism it does in by no means was my piece attempting to indicate that the media had handled perfectly but the reality is the way the Newsweek's editor 's responded almost immediately to that column that was so controversial I think demonstrates a change even within legacy media what do you think the impact is of the conservative media? Well, I think we've seen some conservative media outlets to distinguish themselves from the Fox. News is end federalists of the world. We see national review in bulwarks online at even the American conservative be more bowed and separating themselves from ideas that they deem racist in part because I. Think views of the GOP as a whole in the last few years have led many people to conclude that it is a safe place for racist ideas like birtherism. But yes, we obviously also see somebody outlets that are locking step with the trump administration and those organizations. We have no expectation that they will call things up what about the argument that bringing up this birtherism lie at all basically feeds oxygen to the flames. I can't imagine that there's any validity to any argument that suggests that racist should not be called out if any institution and America have been complicit and turning a blind eye to white supremacy, historically, the mainstream media has been of the. And treating idea has an argument S if they should be ignored literally lease blood on hats there have been people who have died have endured significant harm because of editorial decisions to refuse to call racism what it is, and I think what we're seeing in this current moment with semi outlets being more vocal in calling things racists is a recognition that there are people on the other end of these ideas and theories. They're just not thoughts. They have impact on people's lives, and if we want those lives to be protected and valued in if they truly matter, racism has to be called out. So what it is. I totally get that. But I I was just thinking of this example stay with me for second. In, two, thousand, five, the CDC put out a flyer to combat myths about the flu vaccine and it was like false. The side effects of the vaccine are worse than the flu. True. The Flu Vaccine Saves. Lives. And one study found that within thirty minutes older Americans misremembered twenty eight percent of the false statements is true and it took younger people about three days to miss remember it in other words. In trying to combat ally stating the Lai. Might actually entrench it and somebody said that maybe you should make like a truth sandwich say. Kamala Harris is entirely legally entitled to run for the vice presidency of the United. States. Then say B. s about birtherism is falls and then go back and say again there is no question that she is entitled to Run for the vice presidency of the United, states what I'm saying is Should there be a specific protocol for how the media cover lies. Well, there could be, but I think the reality is that so many media outlets are different at their core in terms of what they aim to do and desire to do that. We shouldn't really expect consistency across the board. The reality also is that whether or not someone receives the truth when you're doing some fact, checking isn't. Completely, the responsibility or fought, should I say of the media outlet you're dealing with so many different factors here but what won't leave them to embrace the truth or even know it is ignoring and not addressing it at all, and so that has to be done some things always better than nothing sink. So. Thank you very much eugene take care Eugene. Scott writes about identity politics for the fix at the Washington Post. Coming up Cunanan crawls out from under the rocks of the lunatic fringe and slithers towards the nation's kept. This is Omnimedia. This is on the media. I'm Bob Garfield and I'm Brooke Gladstone in the past two weeks. Denizens of the furthest fringe of the political right have doug new trenches in the heart of the GOP. I A SELF-DESCRIBED PROUD ISLAMAPHOBIA president trump has fired off a series of tweets touting the wing of Laura Luminary far right activists who just won the Republican Nomination Florida's Twenty First District Luma. Calling Islam quote a cancer on humanity and then there's Q. Modry Taylor Green is now likely to win a US House seat in Georgia this November serve in Congress embraced the conspiracy group Cunanan, and other racist offensive attacks which brings us to a total of eleven. Cunanan supporting Republican nominees to run for Congress on the fall ballot. For those who understandably resist encoding this kind of information. Is the anonymous conspiracy theorist who claims that the deep state is out to foil Donald Trump's efforts to save America from Democrats Hollywood Actors Sexual Predators Satanists in cannibals. There have been violent crimes associated with Cunanan, and the FBI has labeled the Group A domestic terrorism threat. The president had this to say about the Cunanan crowd. These people that love our country and they just don't like seeing it. So I don't know really anything about it other than. They do supposedly like me. To Newark Public Staff Writer Alex Parine this new foothold is disquieting, but it masks the real threat making its home in the Republican. Party. For that, he turns to the nominee for North Carolina's eleventh district in North Carolina. Republicans choosing twenty four year old investor madison coauthored in the runoff the vacated by trump chief of staff mark bells a June CNN article described him as quote, the young political newcomer who beat trump's pick likewise an. NPR piece suggested that his biggest challenge would be his youth and thus he was squeezed into a well-known trope if you are looking at the campaign interviews and his website and things like that, he didn't give you a lot there to really dig into issues wives but there were biographical things they missed two that came out later. Yeah I read the article in Jazz Abell Esther Wang she paints a very different portrait of the Guy Yes. He has misled people about being except to the Naval Academy he had not been, but that's been part of his patriotic selling point. He claims to be real estate investor, but he is a real estate investor only in the sense that he started an LLC last year that has purchased one property. He is often photographed with very expensive guns and so on and took a notable European vacation to that has also become subject to more scrutiny. Right. That's to Hitler's vacation spot, which he'd apparently put on his bucket list. You're concerned about elements of his self presentation, one of which being the insignia on one of his guns of flag that tends to fly in places where he is yes and even the name of his investment company. Yes. He named his investment company S. P Q R. Holdings S Q r is an abbreviation for the Latin term senators, populous romanesque, which of the Roman Senate and people. which is the name of a Mary, Beard Book About Ancient Rome. Also, an extremely popular phrase among certain right wing extremist groups. The flag is the Betsy Ross flag, which has the so-called original thirteen states, flag. It's stars in a circle. Again, that could be normal patriotism from WHO's from one of the original thirteen colonies. It's also happens to be a flag that is very popular among the so-called Patriot movement. Another far-right group I mentioned this in Sydney that was on his gun holster it was a spartan soldiers helmet. As far soldiers home is often associated with the oath keepers. One of the most rightwing for anti-government three percenter groups out there. But it's also just maybe a cool symbol to put on your gun holster. There's also the fact that up until this got publicity cawthorn only followed eight hundred people on Twitter eighty-eight is incredibly common white, Supremacist Code Meeting Hail Hitler, but it could just be a coincidence. Again, I don't really know what cawthorn factual beliefs are. What I do know is that it's very unusual for someone as young as him to be an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump and many young enthusiastic supporters of Donald trump enjoy flirting with or toying with symbols of far-right extremism. You argue that Kaufman's rise fits into a pattern that you've seen coming for a while Republican Party filling up with extremists that there's a vacuum at the heart of the party. Well, one source of that vacuum I think we can look at cawthorn age. There's a massive age gap in American Politics Right now that is actually historically unusual whereas the Democrats are frequently having. A sort of generational battle between different factions of young people who wished to the future leaders of the Party in the trump era republicans really only have one kind of person entering Republican politics from a young age. The way that they come to conservative politics is not going to be reading the National Review It's much more likely that they're gonNA come to it through trump or Through a far right group. So what happens to the moderate wing of the party since George W Bush's term when the Republican Party was at a very, very low ebb after Obama's reelection as well they had to sort of determine what they were going to do to regain popularity and a lot of smart people in the party were like we have to get more comfortable with. Multiculturalism. We have to get more comfortable with the fact that America's changing and I think what happened is at doubling down on racial grievance remained the best way to win a Republican primary. They couldn't change their most dedicated voter base. So you say that we're locked into a two party system and that is also something that enabled the far right to take over the Republican Party. Yes. But at this point, it's written into state constitutions in New York. For example, board of elections is controlled by two parties that gives you like a lot of power. If you're able to take control of one of the parties I, think that our politics are not so different from that of many European countries but where they would have a centre-right party in a far right party, we just have one right wing party that the far right is in charge of. Americans might wish to vote for sort of coalition of moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats that might be what Americans want. They are given the option of the Conservative Party and the other party they are more often than not choosing to elevate people who are much more extreme than voters might even belief. So. I don't think that the intellectual firepower there anymore, and what we're seeing is a vacuum ideas into which. All this cookie? Stuff is flooding. Cunanan is actually a great example of the base sort of coming for a party. What I'm worried about is that you could see the organized right taking over the Republican Party in the service of white nationalism. Basically, that's what is scary to me about the candidate about whom I cannot be sure whether or not he traffic's any of this stuff. You're talking about the young Mr Cawthorn about Madison Cawthorn. Exactly. He went to a college for one semester that you described as kind of a either school for Political Conservatives and you've also observed that there's a pretty pricey machine engineered to produce people like cawthorn. There's a lot of money in conservative politics for identifying talent groups like Charlie. Kirk. TURNING-POINT USA and all these others that they go around to identify young people who will be future conservative politicians or fill out the conservative think tanks the computer conservative. My fear now is that when they go to seek out these future leaders, the only people that they will find willing to be part of. Organiz. Republican politics in the era of Donald. Trump. Who is incredibly unpopular among all young people. The only people find are people who are already attracted to far right believes and the alt-right. The three percenters in the oath keepers in the Patriot movement and all those things have been around for a long time. But they have gotten very good at using the Internet to identify like minded people and I worry that they are going to begin entering the conservative institutions. Is the GOP Zombie Party or is it changing its identity in step with a new divisive era? What you know what the scholar? Walter. Dean. Burnham famously called political realignment something that happens every generation or couple of generations is this just the Republican party changing its identity? That's kind of the big question. If this is the opening stages of realignment, it's interesting to consider. Because on the one hand, you have a lot of moderate Republicans who are now identifying with the Democratic Party he just because of Donald Trump at the same time, you have to think that if trump loses. There will be some of the same talk there was in twenty twelve after Mitt Romney lost about how the Republican Party needs to change. Ideally, for the sake of our democracy, I would like it to become a more representative and more centre-right institution but had a lot of opportunities and it's been very hard for them to get off the path or on. Ext. thank you very much. Thank you. Alex Perrine is a staff writer, the New Republic, his recent article is called. Madison Cawthorn is the future of the Republican Party. That's it for this week show on the media's produced by Alana. Casanova Burgess Mike Low Ensure Laya fettered John Hanrahan, Zander Ellen, and Louise's blonde. Do we say goodbye to Eleanor? Nash. We never actually met but has been wonderful on zoo. And our show was edited by Brooke Our Directors Jennifer Munson are engineered. This week was Josh. Yes even though we never got to meet you in the flesh, it was delightful having you on the show. Catcher Rogers is our executive producer on the media is a production of WNYC studios. I'm Brooke Gladstone. Bob Garfield.

Donald Trump Kamala Harris Republican Party president America US Post Office US Postal Service Barack Obama Eugene Scott Congress Brooke Gladstone Washington Post Newsweek Bob Garfield Democratic Party Charlie Wars New York Times birtherism Claremont Institute
TKC 569 Chris Schluep & Erin Kodicek

The Kindle Chronicles

46:35 min | 1 year ago

TKC 569 Chris Schluep & Erin Kodicek

"Hi, this is land. You can probably tell where I am by the sound of the waves, I am at ocean park. Maine, just south of Portland and we've been here about a week. At the cottage Durling has been doing a quilting workshop up in harp. Swell Maine, which is finished today? She is a sleep up in bed. It's coming up on. Nine o'clock getting a little dark out here. So I thought I would talk to you for a while here by the ocean. And then when I get up the cottage, I'll interviews already to go, and I won't have to be talking to the microphone in the same room that she's trying to sleep in. I also want to do this, because today turned out to be a, a very pleasant example of things that happen here at ocean park place. I think coming ever since I was a boy, and same with my dad goes way back in the family to my great grandfather. And as I've thought about this place and this time of the year, that has come to be kind of a seasonal pleasure for us. It has to do with time and it has to do with family and sounds kind of simple and obvious. But today today, I had a experience of which has still got be kind of smiling, and I wanna tell you about it. I had a plan to get this show done early. That's really my plan when I climbed podcast mountain on a Friday. So in Darley went off harp swell, I was already to get cracking, but. My sister. Stephanie, who's here said that she was going to be having lunch with her oldest friend, Susie Pierce, as we knew her in those days back away, Masschusetts. And in addition to being Steffi's. Oldest best friend, Susie was kind of my I love in, in that sort of innocent way of seven, or eight year old eighty nine we went to the strawberry festival together. That's always a marker force and thinking back. She was my date, my first date, I suppose at the strawberry festival, so I, I may have run into Suzy once in my life. But I basically didn't remember her except for in those early days. So I can I come with you. I would love to just surprise Suzie show up and give her a greeting you guys can have lunch. I'll take over back. Or maybe I'll work on the show there at a different table at the restaurant. So we drove up to low ses natural food market and restaurant on route one toward Portland. And I saw there she was walking along the sidewalk and looking love. Wli and wonderful. She's always had curly hair and just a happy person, and I gave her a big hug, and, and it was a moment, you know, you're here, I am with, with Susie Pierce, and we visited for awhile. We start had salads and all these memories. You know what her mother, you know, my mother called her mother pesty Pierce and all the things they did. And could times they had and, and mino- as life goes on the challenges, come up. But even those things seem sort of soft in the remembering of them with such an old friend, so that got my day started in perhaps kind of an altered state, you know, that I came back to the cottage and Satari now I'm really going to buckle down and work on the show, and I can still have time to get it done before Darlene gets home. Well, just as I was about to start telling you the news of the day, and the tech dip and all the rest. The air conditioned guy showed up and the issue there was that the cottage that's next we stay in, which is where mom and dad's day and they're coming up next week, does ninety two moms, ninety living in independent living and settling in after nine months or so. And this is the place they had their honeymoon. This is a place that they've been coming to other lives. And they've got a plan to come up and the logistics of getting them up here challenging these days and my nephew, Seth who'd stay at the cottage, this week said, you know that that air conditioning, the second floor just doesn't seem to be working and it's been chilly this week. So it really wasn't an issue. But if it was going to be ninety degrees when mom and dad get up here. That was not going to work. So I had called the people that put in the new compressor, they showed up right away. And John, Josh showed up and showed them all of the vents and you know what was going wrong with the nest thermostat? And they went down into the crawlspace to try to figure out what was happening how come there wasn't any cooler blowing the way that it, it was supposed to at this point. It's almost as if there was another self, my I dunno. My non summer sell for my non ocean park. South would've just been tapping on the dining room table at the cottage saying. You know, I going here I gotta get the show on the road. And instead, I just found myself, contented to sit there, you know, was looking at some of the episode things I was gonna talk about my iphone and reading some news, and they would come up once in a while from the hole in the floor say, well, we think it might be this, or maybe a switch or it might be that and day, eventually. Figured out what the problem was and maybe a half an hour gone by by then. That was all ready to just sort of say. Well, thanks a lot, John. That's great. You know, send us the Bill, whatever. But I don't know how it started. But either John, or I said something that referencing interest in politics, and he was off to the races. He had such kind of original take on all things politically wasn't left. He wasn't right last in twenty sixteen. He wrote in his own name and the presidential election because he could not vote for either one of them and, and I was just in a listening mood. I, I, I just was curious what you know where he was coming from. And so he went on for I don't know fifteen minutes, maybe more starting up stairs, ended up in the kitchen. And by the time we'd left an I share some of my Perspective's it wasn't all listening thing we shook hands warmly, and they hit it off. And, you know, I think them very much for coming in short notice the fix the air conditioning form of dad's visit. And at was guessing folks walking along the beach here returning. Get out of the way there. So that was, I was running late could still get the show done because I don't was it. Maybe getting on four o'clock or so and Durling thought might be coming home late in the last day of the workshop, just at that moment, I got a text from my nephew Seth, and it said, could you check the cottage for stuffed walrus? It's what Luke sleeps with, and I think I left it out Seth and his two boys Luke and Matthew has daughter eve had been here this week at the cottage. And I had watched him pack up. You get three kids. A lot of gear that goes with moving three kids for a week at the beach back and he was doing his wife was on another trip. And so the, you know, the, the he was responsible for the boys and he was doing an amazing job. He he was organizing all the packing. He was sweating getting the car packed and. Managing the kids. And I, I had this when I saw that text I just had a stab of empathy or poignant, feeling for this young man managing these kids doing such a good job, and he forgot the one he was supposed to absolutely not forget, which was the stuffed walrus because Luke needed to fall asleep. So I without even thinking about said, you know, I could probably fed exit to, I didn't know what that would mean. How far they have to drive. And it turned out I had to borrow stiffy car 'cause Darlene, the tesla and drive up to Portland rush hour sit there in traffic. There was stalled and took a picture of the walrus on the dashboard of the car, and Texas. The saith found out that the walruses name is Mao. M. A O, M, A, O, and got to the FedEx place in nice young woman named Lori was looking frazzled because it was getting toward the, the last trucks departure of the day. And I said, you know, I get this walrus to my grand nephew Lincoln mass, and can you help me find a box that would work and so then she shifted into the same kind of soft space. And so while I think he'd like it in this one, you know, and she pick just the right size box. So he'd have kind of. Snug fit. But, you know, we weren't like stuffing inanimate object. We were like giving him a nice place to ride to Lincoln mass and got it often it's going to be delivered to Luke's home by ten AM tomorrow, pretty cool. Well on the way back to the cottage from Portland. The FedEx office ahead. One of those moments that I sometimes I joke with early season. I've had ten happy happy times in my life, you know. And it's, it's a rare thing, but this is one of them, and it was just the, the happiness of having done something for this kid reunite with his stuffed walrus. And when I was a boy, my stuffed animals, were like date they were essential and had a lot of creativity making up stories about him and all that I'm walking back up to the cottage now because the mosquitos getting me and so driving back to Portland. It was. Just the sense of what a fun thing to have done, and Seth was so appreciative, you know, kind of save the day, had a chance to be kind of a hero in my nephews is, and we exchanged some appreciative texts back and forth reach other. It was it was very sweet. So when I think about. The confluence of family and time here that, that is what has added up to this day feeling unusual. And you know, standing here looking at the cottage that my dad's father's death mother's father, but back in the thirties, you know, it's kind of grown into a little place for the family has come over the years. And I'm standing here on the boardwalk, sixty eight years old going to be sixty nine in August. Picturing, right there next to the cottage. I remember getting tricycle, I wrote that song about, and then all this family, you know, the, the nephews, the grand nephews, and my daughters, my grandsons my parents in their nineties and. They all spread out and intersect with this particular place in Maine. And I guess it makes me feel larger and smaller at the same time that or it softens me up. It, it messes with my usual requirements for happiness, that I'm going to get this show done early, and it's gonna look just like this, or it's gonna look just like that, and the events and the coincidences of this day, just sort of shook me off the usual track in a way that was very pleasant. And that's this garrison Keeler would be, that's, that's the news from Lakewood begun. That's the news from ocean park, Maine and head up now and be talking fairly. Softly, there in the room to not weekday early up and, and get this show on its way to you. And he's mosquitoes are eating me alive. Okay. The interview this week is with Chris and Aaron KOTA check, they are book, editors Amazon dot com, and that means they are part of a team that reads a ton of books year round in order to recommend great reading Amazon customers. The book editors last week announced their best books of the year so far list, and I reached Chris and Aaron by Skype on Monday, June twenty-fourth to talk about the selections IBM by asking them to tell us about their work before joining the books team starting with Aaron coda. Check. Amazon for twelve years now. Just why look so tired. Glad your listeners can't see that actually started on the kindle team and I helped launch the KENDALL. And now I think I've been on the physical book team while we're all one team now for five years. But we've all been in the book industry, all of our lives before that I was working in brick and mortar bookstores I didn't realize you're on the kindle team. So were you, you're on the Kilty before the kindle was even launched I was on the original team that launched? The kendall. Yes. The sketch with the scroll wheel. I was there. That's pretty cool. And Chris Hello. Have you been in Amazon? I've been Amazon for eight years, and I started in publishing and came out here to do this job crate, and you have a new leader now of the team, Sarah, Gilman. That's right. We worked with Sarah for year. I mean forever. I mean, actually I've worked since I started here. But yeah, she's she is Arnie leader. So it's good because she comes from a publicity background, that's, I think that's going to help us to get out to more people. Yeah. I've met her. I think she moved out to Seattle from New York, right? Sarah, and I worked together in New York too. I don't I never would have imagined that this is where we end up working together again. But, but it's been great. It's a great town. Why do you release a list called best books of the year so far? It's only June. The seems early for list with that name. What's the thinking the genus the halfway marker for the year? And it's also a time when a lot of people are going on vacation. So they're gonna be filling their their bags and filling their kindles with books. And if you're having trouble figuring out what to fill those things with we are happy to help you just visit Amazon dot com slash best book so far. It used to be the lot of the books were held for the fall or the second half of the year. But I think last. Year. You said the best books of the year so far ended up being the best book for the whole year. Is there a trend of the best books may end up being published at anytime during the year instead of the second half? Yeah. I think I think there was always a thought that you had to put big books out in the fall, that was the big reading time is big review time. It was before Christmas. So are the holiday sales, but, you know, people start figuring out was there, a lot of good windows to publish a great book, and you might have a little bit less noise around it. So, so, yes, the last year, we, we actually we never picked a book a number one book in best of the year so far that ended up being our best book of the year. So that was actually a little troubling for us. It was that book was educated by tear westover, and it was actually published in February. I believe of last year. We tried to find a book that was better than educated. But we, we just couldn't do. I said, I said to tear west, and it's, it's I feel like it's my job to find a book to push your book off of number one. She took it pretty well actually we couldn't do. Yeah. Well, and you felt uncomfortable that just because it was sort of giving that top shot to the same book. It's sort of like doing it twice, as opposed to having a chance to shine the light that brightly on another book. Is that why it was a little unnerving that was part of it, and just sort of the tradition of there's got to be a big great book that comes out in you? Maybe we're missing something. But I think we made the right shows remind me about how many people are on the books team that are reaching the consensus for this list. There's five of us on aditorial camper. Then we also have a group of voracious readers from across the company that help us, and it's sort of like a, a big book club that with no wine and the other differences that were reading books that are not available to the public, that's for example, where reading books that are coming out in September right now. Oh, right. The reading books that are coming out and twenty twenty right? Yeah. Yes. Yeah. And when you when you prepare the best book so far. Are what are the discussions like what, what are the kind of rules of engagement? And if you have a book that you love are there kind of accepted arguments to, to try to get it up. The list and things that aren't so accepted or I'd love to sit in on one of these discussions. But what would I hear if I did, I always like to say we do it the old fashioned way. We argue. But the reality is, we pick you pick the month every month. So we have a bunch of books that were starting with we have kind of a skeleton of what we're following and then around April or so we start thinking about what are the best books that we read this year to start coming up with the list, then we start talking and cajoling in horse-trading a little bit. And then in the end if it comes down to we argue but it's pretty it's fairly simple. Yeah. Nightly, you can imagine, and that's because we're all passionate book worms, and we all have varying reading tastes, too, and that's you know, that's really by design, also because our customers have varying reading tastes. So, you know when you come to our features whether it's best books for the month or best books of the year so far. And you're somebody that likes to read literary fiction or history or mystery or romance or science fiction, whatever it is that you like to read, you should be able to go to those features and find a great book for you. That's really important to us to be to be on, never as readers to read across a spectrum of different kinds of books and to recommend the best book in that right now. I wanna get to kind of the top ten of the of the best books, but you also as you've just said, you help people find books within certain jars at this point in the year, what are the jars that people can also go to at this book site, and find help. In to their particular taste. So we have fourteen categories from nonfiction science fiction. I mean I could everything between biographies and memoirs history mystery and children's. And how deep do you go, like say if I'm a racist mystery, reader, gonna find twenty of the best mystery so far this year? Is there certain number or some categories have different numbers twenty? Twenty eight category. So that's fantastic. Because then you can go right? And then you're sort of plucking all the categories when you, you create that sort of top list of the criminal Graham, and it doesn't necessarily represent every category, we're really trying to pick the best of the best. Well, let's, let's dig right into that city of girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I listened to that interview Aaron that you did with her those fascinating. Tell us about that book and why it may be a good fit for the times. It really is read for our times. It takes place in New York in the nineteen forties. And it's this body big-hearted romp. And there's this, this really colorful character in it, who's the proprietor of the dilapidated theater. And she says at one point, people are suffering. Life is hard. Let's put on a show, so perspective, readers of this book. I would say, people are suffering life is hard read this book because it'll cheer you up. I think the injection of joy that we need, right? Now. And let's that interviews is talks that each of her novels is in some ways on auto biography, what, what were you picking up in talking to what she was working on, as she was, was writing this book that this book, and for her last book signature of all things she talks about how fiction is really a less constrained form of memoir, though. When you're reading it, you feel like you're reading a little bit of an autobiography you're getting some inside scoop on Elizabeth Gilbert, really fascinating. Well, let's work down. I've got on my fire move. I've got the list looks like from left to. Right. Is going from talked about. So as the next one the silent patient. Yes, it is. Yeah, that was does a book that came out early in the year, actually and at the time we said it felt like it could be the big debut thriller of the year turns out to be the big debut through of the year so far. So we'll. We'll see at the end of the year. But the story is basically there's a woman her name is Alicia Berenson cheese, a famous. She's a painter, and she's married to this sort of glamorous, photographer. They live in this big house in London. She comes home one day and shoots. Her husband, five times in the face, and then refuses to speak again and is institutionalized outside of London and doesn't talk until this criminal psychologist, Feo favor kind of works as way into talk to her. I would say that the first few chapters take a little bit of time to get going. But once this book starts rolling it starts rolling. It's very cinematic. They're great twists and turns down. I think it's definitely it's a great relief and it's obviously resonated with readers as well. And this is a debut first book published by this author. That's right. And he used to be. Well, I think he's also he's, he's a screenwriter by trade. I believe so that, that really shines through in the book. Next one is once more we saw stars Jason green an incredibly moving memoir. Jason lost his six year old daughter or not roll daughter. I think to a freak accident. And so this book is about loss is about grief, and it's about how you break your life again in the face of those things. Just the idea of that book, terrifies me. It must have something to overcome the terror that any, parent or grandparent would have to even hear that setup. What, what, what makes it something that isn't terrifying to read once you've finished it. I think that none of us are immune to these profound losses in life. It's just it's part of life. And I think he has said when something like that happens, people will say, I'm sorry, I have no words and his response to that is there are words, and I put my words in this book, and it can be just as healing for you to read them as it was for me to write them. Beautiful. Mrs everything MRs everything by Jennifer winer. I think it's our best book yet, and it is a multi generational tale of two sisters, and it really traces how far women have come from the nineteen fifties until today. But also, how far we have to go. That's novel. It is novel. It's based on her mother, though. She was inspired by her mother, one of the characters in Joe. So it's very personal as well. The night tiger midnight tiger by gangs. Chu is an unusual literary murder mystery that fed and colonial Malaysia. And I say unusual, because there's some supernatural elements to it. But I think if you're someone that is traditional literary fiction reader or traditional murder mystery three-hitter reader. I think I really encourage you to pick this one up and give it a go because I think it will broaden your reading horizons and you'll be really glad that you did in either direction. If you think you only read literary fiction, you might broaden. To find out. There's some good thrillers to read as well. Back daisy Jones in the six so this is a book, that's told as that as an oral history about a band that didn't really exist in the late sixties early seventies. But because of the format it seems very real. There was a bad call to sticks and it was led by the charismatic leader named Billy done, but they didn't really take off until they brought on this sort of young mysterious singer named daisy Jones. And this is basically that story, teller Jenkins read, great job of sort of releasing the story to build tension and, you know, and it seems so real because of the format it's a really fun read under land. So this is an interesting book. This is not a good book. If you're claustrophobic, it's. Basically about everything that's under our feet from cage to underground rivers to the category, combs Paris, even to like, like, indust- nuclear waste sites. And so it's part of venture. It's parts of natural history. It's very much sort of philosophical journey, he talks a lot about deep time, which when compared to, like, sort of human history is much longer and more stable, period. And he kind of he, he associates, deep time with all the things that are under our feet. So I, I would call it sort of a thinking person's adventure. Well sound, I think, for the puck has said that he actually did all these things he didn't use a double, or it was that the adventure is following him? I mean it's really he's, he's the guy your phone around to all these places it's great and the unwinding of your era. This is another tearjerker sad book, and we loved it for the same reasons that we love the previous sad book, that we spoke about, I would say that these, these are actually books that I don't think that I like in my normal life. I think I don't. And then while you pick up one of these books and you start reading it in the languages of youthful, and, like Erin said, there, you actually feel better about life when you turn the last page in this case, Julia Williams born of the at Phnom. She came to this country. Poor, she studied hard. She became a successful lawyer. She married, the man of dreams GM two great kids. And then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And so, I like to say that this is a, a memoir that looks at our worst fear, which is that we would be diagnosed with the disease. But then also looks at our greatest hope, which is that we would face life fully, and honestly. So I found this ultimately very. Uplifting. And it's beautifully written book. How about save me the plums? Yes. Save me the plums is a food memoir, by famed chef and food writer Ruth racial, and movement Mars continue to be popular. And this is another really terrific one covers her tenure at the storied gourmet magazine no flipping through a my screen here. How many are we at number ten X? Number ten. Okay. Let's do it. That's by Thomas. Harris it's, it's actually pronounce carry Maura. We believe really were. Really were. That's the tough thing with book someone listen to an audio book. Carry more is a character in the latest Thomas novel. He of course, wrote sounds lambs and invented Hannibal Lecter, which offer that low need deserves a lot of credit. But it's been thirteen years since he published his last book. There's no Hannibal Lecter in this book, in instead, there's a person named Hans Peter Schneider, who's equally creepy. And the basic story is that other thousand pounds of gold buried under a mansion in Miami. And everybody's trying to find it and carry more is the caretaker of the mansion, she's been through a lot in her life. She knows you'll tons, Peter Schneider, and there lots of twists and turns delightful murders, there are arts go. Yeah. It's a pretty quick read. So it's kind of a perfect summary. Stop on. But yeah, we really liked this book. That's great. When you look at the list that you came up with I imagine, some of them are already pretty visible on other lists of getting a lot of discussion. Is there one or two that you're glad is on the list, because so? Far they haven't got the notice that perhaps you hope they will receive partly through being on your list. This is interesting for us because I think, you know, since we do best in the month, we hope that we've already brought attention to them on some level. And then also when we're reading the books we're reading as Aaron said earlier reading months in advance. So we're basically reading vacuum. We don't know we know that, you know, Thomas Harris's latest novel is going to get some attention. But something like unwinding of miracle or under land, or anything like that. We're not so sure. So Phil think, though, if, if people haven't taken notice by now, then, we're not doing our jobs. So we, we take that very seriously really try to highlight these books initially in the in the best book of the month part of the equation, and then now and especially now it's great to have. That's the other thing. That's great about best books of the year so far because we have another. Other by the apple so that we say, hey really are incredible. Please read them. So our hope is that we brought attention to these books, initially. And that now we're really pulling out the best books should really pay attention these ones. Exactly. Now has implemented doing this for about ten years now in terms of highlighting, best books and even more longer, actually. Yeah. Because it was it was actually when I when I was editor, remember, I got a book in the top ten of the best of the year and made a big deal. Yeah. So, you know, it was I was paying attention to this for years before I got here. So I, I wouldn't be surprised it's been twenty years. Oh well now and with that history. And just we know how popular Amazon is place pipe books. If a book gets one of these top spots on the list the publishers relief to scramble to print enough of them or what, what kind of. Impact in general terms. Can you say is there on the sales of a book that, that gets this kind of attention? I would say, you know it varies because this is more of an art than science, you know publishing in general, I think is sometimes things really resonate. And sometimes, sometimes they just it's just crickets, but, you know, but we have like they're definitely examples of books that we have made with our list really, really proud of that. I will say, though, that when we are compiling, these lists failed isn't something that we take into consideration. It truly is what was your favorite book, or what book resonated with you. The most. And what do we think are that, that readers will love right? It seems like in the past I've seen in the Amazon bookstores books that your team has highlighted in. It's specifically said. Is going to be some kind of displays about these books that you've chosen in the stores maybe in the four star stores as well. Can go into the Amazon brick and mortar bookstores right now you can find our best books of the year so far picks, and you can also find city of girls by Elizabeth Gilbert in the four star stores because the four star stores, it's a, it's a collection of books along with everything else, those. There's one of those in Denver and I went in, and it was just like entering a trance was like, you know, there's dog stuff here and there's a book the, the gear and I dunno I sort of love those stores. If you think back on the discussions was there, one book that it took a lot longer to reach a consensus about compared to the others physically, the most discussion, usually surrounds, what the number one pick is going to be and last year with educated by terror westover and this year with city of girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, they were unanimous selections, which is extremely rare so for us. I think most of the discussion generated with about the rest of the order. We put a lot of thought into the order, in particular, we don't want to we don't want to have narrow book at the top. We're gonna have a book that is will appeal to a broad audience that they're not like who are these people. What are they trying to do too? So we get to the top three we can start getting narrower books. But yeah, that's our view is that we want readers to find a book. They loved not specific type of reader. I'm looking at a beach here. I know there's probably going to be lots of people reading thinking about be treating are there, one or two that are shorter than the others that be kind of a quick read at the beach and, or, and how about at the other end of are there, any Moby Dick out there, huge novels that people just love carrying around in paper or on their kindles with the sort of the shortest, the longest of the list, I would recommend thrillers as their short. They're shorter. I mean, I think that the two sad books, the Jason green, and the Julia Williams are probably even shorter perhaps Mercifully shorter. But I. Yeah. And city girls is a great summary, and I have to say when it first landed on my desk with I was a little suspicious. You know, it's kind of a brick and I thought, you know, this is the author of e pray love. So did her editor come in and say, you know, Liz, you just do what you, you, do you, you know, and, but I have to say there's, there's not a wasted page, and it's a really propulsed quick, read, and then, and then deeper double list. I don't know where it is. But it's in the second half of the top twenty is a book called the Parisian by Isabela Ahmad debut novel sort of an old fashioned sweeping. Book about a Palestinian man goes to France falls in love with France. And with the woman eventually returns to his homeland, I would say that the Moby Dick of this list. You're just a big sweeping ovation novels when I call now. I've been following the podcast that you all are doing. And it's let's start early this year. How long have you ended come up, I think early this year thing. Yeah, you're doing it every every couple of weeks. You've got interviews with authors, including Elizabeth Gilbert on the most recent one as a podcast or I'm curious when, when you when you launched this idea of podcast for the, the book review in the book editors what you hope to accomplish. And then what you've learned about podcasting on this topic of books and authors. His your vision of what you're doing when you sit around and microphone kind of evolved over the last few months. Well, first of all, we since we started, we have a lot more respect for people like you. Vigilant. Well. It's a lot harder than it sounds of you know that we've learned that. Yeah. I somewhat jokingly say that we should record them during happy hour because I think the microphone gets turned on occasionally some stage fright will set in. And when that happens, I'm comforted by something I heard Brandon Stanton say of humans of New York fame, and he was giving this talk in front of a huge group of people, and he was very, very nervous and someone said to him, you know, not that you want that to overpower you, but that's actually a good time that you're nervous because it means that you care, and it means that you respect your audience. So I would say to our audience, whether we sound nervous or not. We care about what we're doing. And we respect you appreciate you for listening. And I, I think the hardest thing is going back and listening to yourself and try to figure out how to prove, you know, I don't know if you've found that when you first started. Yeah, so we're, we're working on it, and I. Think we're getting great people in and I think we're we coming more comfortable in front of the microphone. So we're pretty happy with the way it's going. The. Once in a while when you're doing a podcast, your mind just goes blank. Question. So I've done a lot of interviews with authors. And I hadn't really had much experience with it before. And when you're sitting down with an author. What do you hope happens are, I mean, there's the, you want to tell enough about the book that people can decide whether or not to read it, you want to obviously, don't want spoilers. But I, I have this sense that I haven't quite figured out, yet what the perfect author interview looks like I have sometimes when I connect with an offer, I think it was just great. I had a sense that I get to know them and that they enjoyed the conversation. That's one thing I sort of test myself by, but, but do you have any kind of a template that or, or aspirations when you sit down with a an author in the setting of what you hope will happen? Yeah. I think I probably shorter than you. But I always I, I. I've worked with for a long time. And so I, I don't worry too much about whether we're gonna hit it off because we generally do, but the thing that I'm trying to express to a listener is why I'm so excited about their book like this author's book, like that's what I most want to express gone someone. Said think, oh, this is something I care about this is something I wanna I wanna read or look into, you know. So that's very simple for me. Yeah. And that's the thing I always think what do I wanna get out of an author interview, and I'm listening to one. And I listened to them for one of two reasons. Either I'm trying to figure out whether or not I wanna read their book. And so, I need more information to be able to make that decision or I'm already a fan about author on going to buy the book. I, maybe I read the book, but I want some nuggets of interesting information about that Booker about the author that I don't already know. So for me if, if we can take care of those two groups of people than I think we've done our job. And I also my goal is to not bore the person that I'm interviewing because you know, a lot of times they're on a book tour. They're answering the same questions over and over again. And those are very necessary questions. But I all I love. You know, when they say, hey, you know, nobody's ever asked me that before. That's really great question. It doesn't happen often, but something that I always strive for I should actually I should revise my answer. I should have been working with authors a lot. So I know that some are just gonna hate you matter, so five comfortable, you're okay with it, but generally, I like them. I. It's my station. I've I, I don't know if I've ever actually interviewed didn't stay at late reading the whole book. But I know that one that's gonna happen. If I may happen this week I've trying to finish the boat. The was sent to me for an interview Thursday. But are you always interviewing people when you read the whole book, and if not what's your strategy for talking to an author and sort of without a net knowing that you might ask something that proves that you haven't read the book, I read that book two or three on this, and they just two or three times. Oh my now. You're really scaring me. I don't really to three times, but I'll read it, and I think I think they can tell like often though. Thank you say, like, oh I can tell you read the book that happening again. We do things called fish bowls here where we interview an author front of a big group of Amazon employee's. And I talked to Admiral MC. Craven who wrote make your bad. And then she stories we're talking, mostly about these stories night, outdone it talking to his wife and she's like you actually read the book. It's by the way, the top pick in the history category. And then but it's happened with lots of other people where they, they actually thank us for reading the filth. Nice. You know, when when you hear that, and it's also kind of sad, thinking, they're talking to a lot of people that haven't read the book, but on the other hand, I always ask the first question, I tend to ask, is, how do you describe the book which sounds like a question, someone who hasn't read the book without, you know, but it is, I think it's important to know how they describe their book, and that's a question. They know they're going to ask. So it is sort of a handy starting place. I remember hearing on the New York Times book review podcast wants to garner was talking about a time. He'd been handed an author interview at the last minute, and he had not read a page of the book and so he's trying to hit you came up with a brilliant solution to the problem. He he sat down. He said so your book why now. Keeping them back actually, does, there was a time at be a few years ago, probably five years ago when I interviewed, sir Wilson's our kids editor, and she was supposed to talk to Daniel handler, who wrote the lemonade snickered books is a big deal. I have not read the lemony snicker books. She was shink, right? Yes. She was sick. She gave me the questions and I my first question was about Limone. Snick it. Figured out pretty quickly that I hadn't read it. And then he just proceeded dissect me. Yeah. That is not something you want to have Daniel. Or. He was he was. I was I was laughing at the same time that he was the were wiping, wiping, the floor with me, it might have ended more interesting interview. They are. -taining front about the fact that I had read the book. So, you know, that, that would have given him something different to do in the book tour, white wipe up the floor with an interviewer. Well, this is great. And I think on behalf of my listeners and readers everywhere, repre- sheet the work you put into this, because it is so helpful. I mean, there's so many books to read and to have an organized list and one that, you know, this kind of care goes into, it's really quite a good service. And so thank you for for the work. Thanks, thanks for thanks for getting the word out there. And you're right. We do love our job. It is. It's a great job. We're happy. We can help people. Yeah. Then again, it's Amazon dot com slash death. Book so far great. Thanks to both take care. Let me turn off the recording. Now to excellent. That's it for this week. Next week's guest will be Lauren bickering author of a satirical, yet, moving novel titled how could she published last week by Viking? I have finished the book, which is about the complex friendships among three women whose lives, take them apart, and then bring them together and surprising ways. And I recorded my conversation with Lauren yesterday. I told Dr Lene that I was about two thirds of the way through the book and nothing had happened yet, which actually showed how my understanding of women's friendship is very rudimentary. The book finishes quite an impact, and I really enjoyed hearing from its author about why she wrote the book, and what she hopes it reveals music for my podcast is from an original flowness monk, composition named, well, you needn't this version is remote by Yvan monta, GATT, on the variations time age as perspective CD by public transit. Recording linearly for the kindle chronicles in ocean park. Maine. Hope you've enjoyed our time at the beach ear. And they'll be more as the summer goes on.

Amazon ocean park Maine Portland Elizabeth Gilbert New York Seth editor John Susie Pierce Darlene Jason green cottage Durling Aaron Luke FedEx Julia Williams Thomas Harris Darley Steffi
TKC 555 Creativity Whisperer Austin Kleon

The Kindle Chronicles

45:27 min | 2 years ago

TKC 555 Creativity Whisperer Austin Kleon

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm linden. Julie today is March twenty second twenty nineteen. Greetings to you from downtown Denver, Colorado where I have enjoyed settling in after a very full ten days in Austin, stay with my cousin Peter tie, tending south by south west. And it's good to be back to the mile high city, and Darlene was away for well to she had head off Omaha because her brother was sick in the hospital. So we finally get back together after nearly two weeks apart. That's it's been good. I recorded two interviews this week the first with col Needham, founder and CEO of IMDB one of 'em's on very first acquisition that has grown to become the number one movie website in the world with an audience of more than two hundred fifty million visitors each month, you're gonna hear that interview next week. And this week's conversation is the other interview I conducted its with a favorite author of mine who I I heard it south by south west and number of years ago. He has a new book out and his name is Austin clan off. Audio difficulty during my Skype connection with Austin who was in Austin led to my losing track of the time. So it went a little longer than usual. And I'm going to have this episode be made up entirely of our conversation. D'orleans brother, by the way, Rodman is fine. He was in the hospital. I think just for one night he fell in the bathroom his head, and it turned out he had a pad virus. Dehydration. And all of a sudden things took a pretty sharp. Turn us all worry. But he's back home and feeling grateful that it wasn't anything more serious at the time that this happened was at heart attack would was all of a sudden perfectly healthy guy a lot younger than I am is passed out knows way of the hospital. So each day each day is. Worth worth considering a deep way, which I think is why you might get some inspiration from hearing from Austin, let's music, I'll tell you a little bit him. Us clean. That's K. L E O N is an author speaker blogger newsletter publisher whose current series of books of creativity began in two thousand twelve with steal like an artist ten things. Nobody told you about being creative. I heard him speak to a huge audience of south by southwest five years ago after publication of the second book in the series show, your work, ten ways to share your creativity and get discovered on April. Second coming up. Workman publishing will publish the third book in the series. That's keep going ten ways to stay creative in good times and bad when we spoke this week on Wednesday March twentieth. Austin was thirteen days away from publication of keep going on his blog at Austin, clean dot com. He had described the period between finishing a book and its publication as a challenging one. So I began by asking him to say a little bit more about that. What jonathan? Latham calls the gulp, which is you know, that moment in time between when the book doesn't really belong to you anymore. But it doesn't really belong to anyone else yet either. It's sort of like, it's hard to scribe. It's almost like waiting for Christmas morning, except your Santa Claus. And you don't know if anyone wants the presence. Never thought of it that way. I don't know. Like if Santa Claus was a traveling salesman. That'd be. Yeah. That's pretty much. What it's like. Yeah. Santa Claus traveling say open and waiting on Christmas. All of a sudden, have empathy for him. I've never had for sixty eight years. I just always assumed he knew how happy he was making everybody. Well. You're on the book tour, you're flying one of the numerous places, you're gonna be flying to a couple of weeks and somebody sits down, and they find out you're an author that you have a new book, and they so what's your new book about what would you tell them there in the in the aisle seat of your southwest late? Well, I would usually probably, you know, stumble and fumble around and totally drop it somehow probably, but the new book is is simply what it says on the box. It's just a way to stay creative and good times and bad times. I'm going to break in here to share some audio trouble. We head you're going to hear some static. And when I picked up that we were having trouble. We we started the interview over basically at a certain point. But what he says in the next thirty six seconds. I really want you to hear. And I wanna promise you that that knowing static in the background will only last for a brief period time, then we're gonna pick up where we resumed recording. And for some reason there was no static the rest of the times. It feels like the world keeps getting crazier and creative work never gets any easier. And so I wanted to write a book about that kind of you know, took on those two things at the same time. And I think that the main line of the book is that it probably won't ever get these year. You know, life is crazy and are is hard. But there are ways. To cope with it. And there are ways to kind of recover your spirit particularly times of of of chaotic times to mentions you've made it through the difficult listing part of the interview there is one other part that I had cut because the static just get to bed in which Austin says that's this this third book in his series of books is he said, it's a book that I wanted to read it's a book that I needed myself these talking about keeping on which is the book that's going to be publishing April second. And then he talks about the first two books. He said the other books were written for other people will resume with where he describes those first two books which were titled steal like an artist and show your work steal like an artist was a book written for kinda younger number version of me. It was it was a book for artists and writers and creative people who are kind of just first getting started in their career. And then share your work was the second book in. In that series. And share your work was a book about self promotion for people who hate the idea of self promotion, basically, so show your work was a book about once you kind of discover your thing. And what you do how do you get out into the world? So other people care about it and keep going is the third in the trilogy, and it's simply about how do you be in this kind of work for the long haul? How do you establish a creative life and keep it going indefinitely for as long as as as you have basically when you say? Trilogy. Have you decided for sure that there won't be another book like this same size? Same look the general same topic that there's another creative mountaineer gonna be climbing and in another two or three years. Well, nothing set in stone. You know, I would I I feel like going the perfect ending for trilogy. But you know, Indiana Jones and the last crusade was pretty good ending. Hopefully, I don't do a crystal skull. But, but you know. Yeah. I always keep it open. But for right now, it feels like a like a box set. You know, it'd be like the books talk to each other in a really good way. And I would you know, I wouldn't you kind of. I would love to you know, I'd love to do something else. You know? I would love to do another format. I would love to to another. You know, something that I would love to do anything different. But then I also know that that these books work, and and it's it's it feels I feel like it's rare for an author to not only feel like they've discovered their voice and in a style of writing that suits what they're trying to say perfectly. But to also find format for a book that seems to perfectly. Capture your kind of mode of thinking in writing and illustrating. I think is very I understand. Now, how rare that is? And so I try to be grateful for that. You know, when I first started out, if you would told me that my books, we're going to be shelved and self help, you know, I would never believe you. And I also when I first got started. I had no idea. There was such a thing as like an illustrated gift book, you know, like, I just didn't know that those John res- sort of existed in publishing and really fun thing for me about doing this kind of book that exists that there's actually a precedent for that. Didn't know, you know, when I did steal like an artist that there was a precedent for as allows me to kind of be as weird as I wanna be in a mainstream format and that is. As the great gift that these books have given to me. And so it will be hard. When I do, you know, the next book, it will be hard to abandon that format because it it fits me. I saw one new thing. I thought there's some cartoon characters. Looks like one's a cowboy one's a cow. But they both look like their skulls, and they they have some edgy communication between them is that the first time you've used those two characters something you've published. Yeah. Those those characters I don't have names for them. They started appearing in my journal a couple of years ago, and they became like, I, you know, I very rarely write fiction, but I've read novelist talk before about how the character speak because they wanna speak. You know, the that novelist get visited by characters. And I always thought it sounded really hokey and kind of like, you know, quasi. I I don't know it just it seemed funky to me. But these characters kind of. Appeared in my in my journals. And I would let them say things that I didn't feel comfortable saying in my journals. And then when I was working on the book, they just were able to say things that I didn't really wanna say myself. And so I they just they became like little mascots for me. So I think there's only like through re or four of those comics in the in the book, but they do make they they make random appearances. And I always think it's fun in books to put little if not Easter eggs, you know, to have little things that mean something to you that may or may not mean something to the reader, but it was interesting because as I was putting the book together I noticed that. There's a section where my son gills. He drew a bunch of skeletons, and I also. Put those in the book. And so they kind of echo each other. And this kind of funny way. And now that I think about it. There's also robots that my son. Oh and did. And there's a robot that I did so skeletons robots. You can kinda tell that this is almost like a I don't think of it as an apocalyptic self-help book. You know, it's it's it's America two thousand nineteen know robots and skeletons or on the on the brain, you may be on the verge of creating an entirely new genre. Bookstores will have to have an apocalyptic self help section. I I could see opening anything. I be anything happening. Now, you know with the publication coming April second. Oh, yeah. If someone preorder 's keeping before midnight eastern time on April Fools day. What do they get? In addition to the book, we have this very cool print that is a reproduction of one of the blackout poems on the books. Do these things called blackout poems? And and for your listeners if they've never seen them. It sorta looks like at the CIA did haiku. It's a newspaper article and I- blackout everything. But a few words, and they kind of make like funny, phrases or sayings, and the one that starts the book is called overheard on the Titanic. And it has the words. I mean, yes, we're sinking but the music is exceptional. And so that kind of starts the book, and and that's a print. You can actually get an it's eight by ten it's really nicely done. And you get one of those for free. Actually, if you preorder and the the the instructions for that are on my website Austin Qiliang dot com yet. It looks pretty simple. You buy wherever you buy. You get an order number you enter it in. Then you you send your address. So it's pretty pretty f- low friction way of getting this. When you buy the book. Yeah. Keep your receipt and fill out the form on the site. And they'll send you a print. It's great. Cool and subsequent ready got in there. And it's really fun to see those out in the world. You have pretty daunting book tour coming up starting April. Second going all the way to may twenty eighth in Vancouver twenty-seven stops by my count. Do you have any strategy for staying fresh insane over that amount of time talking about your book? And yeah, there's there's different levels of staying alive on tour. There's there's the physical ANL where you're just trying to I try to avoid booze and try to eat, right. Are usually try to eat vegetarian on the road, actually. 'cause I just find that that less less chance of getting something bad, and you know, just kind of keeps you a little cleaner. But that there's the mental part of. And for that, you know, try to just read on the plane a lot, you know, I find the reading always kinda restores me. Mentally and spiritually, I guess the third big problem of of book tour for me is that it just it gets so tiring talking about yourself every night and something that you've done, and so one of the things I like to do on tour is just try to you know, kind of point outwards a little bit on tour. And I always try at my book readings to like recommend another book that I love, you know, pull something I I try to shop the store if it's at a store bookstore. And I think we have a weird mix of like indie bookstores and libraries and couple of other weird venues on this tour, which is kind of fun. But I always just try to. Point outwards because I think the best kind of remedy forgetting over your fatigue of talking about yourself as to talk about other people and kind of shine the light outwards. So I'm gonna try on this tour. I'm gonna try to keep up my blog. My daily blogging habit. And my, you know, weekly newsletter habit. And we'll see how that goes. It's a lot Torres tough. And it's especially tough being away from my family for about two months, but it is amazing to get out and meet readers face to face. Christopher Hitchens had this great line. And he said, you know, putting a book out into the world. You basically meet all the people that you should have talked to before you wrote the book. Yeah, they like, you know, they Email you, and they come to your book talks, and they tell you what you got right. They tell you what you got wrong. And he said inevitably having a book out in the world. It's like a free education that goes on for a lifetime. And I really feel that way. I always it's hard for me to start another book before the last one is out in the world because I'm so influenced by you know, what my audience. Thinks after the last one and what they asked me and how we interact and stuff. So it's bookstore for me is also a research mission. You know, I wanna hear what's on people's minds. And I wanna know what they're thinking and worrying about and eat help with and I wanna hear what they can give to me, you know, like what they're into and stuff like that. So it's a great. It's always a journey book for and I'm, you know, not everyone gets to go on one. I have a great publisher workman middle that still bankrolls book tours for me. So I'm I try to get the most out of them. I can see you're gonna couple of stops here in Colorado in boulder and tattered cover, which is the best bookstore around. And I think I might be here. So my chances come say those events. Yeah. So we're at the boulder bookstore in boulder, and then we're at tired cover, which is just a great. I love that store. I mean, both stores are great. But yeah at that. Have to great bookstores let like fifty miles with any other an hour. The great thing. Well, let's talk just dip in a couple of samples of things in the book that would be fun to talk about the show up and the the ten chapters. You start out emphasizing the importance of today in mentioned groundhog day, one of my favorite movies any idea. How many times you've seen groundhog day though? Many. I mean, you probably not as many as I probably I, you know, I try to watch it once a year and they've probably been doing that for like the past ten years. So I probably I dunno dozen times or maybe more, and it's an interesting movie because so many religions have claimed that movie for their like that was the great story that herald Ramos, the director the late great herald Ramos probably known best to my generation as Egon in Ghostbusters. But herald Ramos into the generation before us. It's like, you know. Just depends on what generation you're in. Those guys are so interesting particularly Bill Murray 'cause he's lasted so long. But herald, Raymond said, you know, he heard from rabbis from pre. From Buddhist monks, and they all sort of claimed groundhog day for their own religion. That groundhog day was really the perfect kind of expression of the message of their religion. And for for me, though, it really feels just like feels for everyone else that as such a relevance for creative work because I I really think that creative work is something that no matter where you're at in your career, like what plateau you've reached or, you know, your greatest achievements, or whether you've just bombed terribly the question what next is always there. No matter what you do that question. Always hovers above you in every day. When you go to your desk, it's like a blank page. You know, sometimes literally like if you're a writer. And sometimes, you know, figuratively. But yeah, I thought groundhog day was a great place to start with this book because it's kind of an old fashioned feeling. But that is the, you know, the the line borrowed from AA, which is like just take one day at a time. And I think they, you know, the creative people that I know who have been able to sustain long careers. They have some sort of daily practice that they return to over and over they have some sort of practice verb something that they do every day and those and then the their days add up into something bigger. Yeah. It's such a movie about transformation. I mean, the idea that he gets to practice each small moment of day over and over and over and each time, you little kinder be a little more skillful that kind of circularity of of what he's learning does that fit into your sense of creativity. As as a circular process for you where you're you're having a chance to try the same creative challenge over over and getting a little better each time. Yeah, for sure I mean, I used to have the sold Russian proverb tact above. My death said repetition is the mother of all learning. And now the other thing I really like about groundhog day is that it's really when he starts. I mean, he almost is a guy who it's really when he takes on these kind of if you think about the third act. I mean, he he just learns to do these things that are intrinsically cool. You know, like he learns the play the piano, he learns how to sculpt, you know, he he he actually like takes on these creative practices after he's tried to do all the stuff like game, the the universe and try to cheat and steal as you know, try to it's really. When he turns within, and he discovers, you know, reading and playing the piano, ice sculpting. They sort becomes the kind of person that you'd fall in love with, you know, and I think that's the great message for all humans. But also, you know, definitely creative people is that you have to kind of become the kind of person that you'd fall in love with you know, and the way to do that is to simply do these verbs that you wanna do, you know, fills the guy that does things, you know, that's the thing. I really like that movie. He's a character that does things. Which sounds really, you know, it sounds really simple. But it's it's not well, that's one of your points almost wondered if if you had that in mind as the title of the book because you had it as a title of your talk at the media lab MIT to don't be now be verb L. Yeah. That's talk a little bit about the meaning behind that. So I gave a talk. It am I at the media lab called creative is not a noun, and that's one of the points in the book. And I I'm very skeptical of people who identify as this kind of vague now like a creative. I'm very like. Okay. What would a creative do? Because to me creativity is a tool you use it to do things like use it to organize your living room or use it to write a novel or you use it to you know, develop a better missile. They'll like blow up a whole village. Wjr in another country, you know, like creativity. This toll that sort of that you can use for a lot of different things and the whole idea that you'd be like a creative and your whole job is to just be creative. As just this. Murky bazaar thing for me. And I think it what it leads up to is like a bunch of lifestyle choices, you know. It's like, oh, I'm creative. I wear Worby Parker glasses, and I have a MAC book. And I, you know, co work at this place in town. You know, whatever it is. And I always feel like I'm very skeptical of job titles, and I'm very skeptical of of nouns because to me making our writing designing all of those things are their verve and their processes, and humans processes to you know, humans are verbs. They're they're kind of evolving things. Constantly. And so that you would call yourself a creative to meet this never never stuck. So I wanted to say the opposite. Which is you know, creative is not a noun. It's more like a verb at something that you do, you know, and it's something that you it's a way of operating, basically. And and so to me that was a that that was just like a huge huge moment in my life. When I realized that like, I have to be some pre chosen now that what I had to do was to do these verbs that I love do these things that I love and eventually they would talk to each other, and it would become this kind of career at it might not have an easy now to go with it was down that you were chasing before the the insight writer artist would what were you trying to fill in while you're thinking. Now, I always just wanted to be a writer. I mean that was the first thing I ever wanted to be that's kind of how I feel about myself. Now, I mean almost I've dropped the word artist. Actually from a lot of my, you know, when I talk about myself now, I rarely call myself an artist because I really just think of myself as a writer who draws and that's actually something I stole from Saul Steinberg cartoon. You know writer who draws seems to describe what it is that I do best because I I fundamentally myself as someone who thinks like a writer who basically operates like a writer who's trained like a writer, but just has these auxiliary things, and they're not even exhilarate because they're kind of central, but where visual thinking and in right and drawing is like a huge part of the process in. And of course, you know, speaking, and the web has always played a big part in my work to you know, I just I would I was very young. I was interested in in in, you know, now, you would call them polymath, which is the word I detest, but renaissance men sounds kind of gendered. So I don't really know. I guess polymath is I just don't so tweedy to me. I'm just a person who's interested in different things. And I didn't wanna be limited. And I knew that. I I knew that. It was always a particular challenge for people who wanted to do kind of multifaceted careers. But it just always seemed worth it to me to keep those passions in my life. You know? You've talked about hobbies in the book that the there's the things you do. And if you're lucky you can make a living doing them, and the value of things that you do just yourself just because they're hobbies what are your hobbies? Now that are kind of in that private space that you're not leaning on them for a living. You know, this is the thing if you turn your hobby into a career, you gotta find other hobbies 'cause hobbies really the thing that I in my opinion, a hobby as a thing that fills your time. And that gives you a gives it only gives it doesn't really take a kind of refuels you for me. It'd be music. I mean, playing the piano every time I play Bach on the piano. I just feel like someone's scrubbed my brain with a brillo pad, basically. And I find it. You know, I find playing the piano, and and playing music to be one of the great. I. I simply I truly believe that music is the best art form. And I think it's universal, and it's my favorite art form. And I think it always will be and I'm feel blessed that I never tried to turn into my career as much as I admire musicians. And I I have so many friends or musician's. I I do love the fact that use is simply about love for me as nothing to do with anything professional. So that's my big hobby. I would like to you know, I would love to. I'd like to take cooking. My wife is like a terrific cook. And so I don't do a lot of cooking. But I find cooking to be like a really interesting creative activity that I wanted to get into a while and to give my wife a break from. So that's something. I've always wanted to pick up I love playing cards, but I can my generation isn't really into playing cards anymore. So I I need to get a card game going and Austin. Like poker? Well, I grew up playing like like Chen Rummy or like euchre's I grew up in the midwest. So I grew up playing euchre, which is, you know, only your mid western listeners will probably know, but anything really that is just an excuse for people to sit around the table. And look at each other like, that's such a rare. That's the thing. I really love about playing cards is that you know, you especially like a four hand game as when on this when in this modern day and age people sit around table and look at each other. You know, it's like eating or playing cards or maybe playing a board game or something. Yeah. Yeah. We couple of friends who live in casper for some reason. I get the idea of how do you play dominos? And now every time they come we play dominos and eight Larry issue. No. Yeah. I just I love the idea of having a set of friends that every time they come over like you do something. Like, there's some kind of like, oh, yeah, they come over, and we play dominos, or we do a deck of, you know, we'd play euchre whatever just I just feel like I truly think that part of the problem for people right now like they've just lost hot like hobbies or just like on their way out. And it's or well actually wrote really beautifully about hobbies George Orwell wrote about the British penchant for hobbies. And he he wrote during the war. He felt that hobbies because they were individual activities. His big thing about Britain was that it was a it was a culture essentially of individuals and that people like things like gardening, and like Orwell wrote about how he felt like hobbies were. Were actually a defense against talibanism because they were such an individual activity. He felt like Britain's spirit of individualism. Always kept them sort of like ins like like it was a like an inoculation against towel -tarian ISM. And when I read that I thought oh, my gosh that really like that really really resonates with me right now. 'cause the idea that like a hobby something that you do for yourself that you would keep in your life just to kind of enrich and fortify. You could also be a thing that that kind of you know, inoculate you against hate this kind of mass frenzy the goes around to you that makes you more of an individual. And you know, gardening comes up a lot in this book. I was the last chapter actually is called plant guard again. Not a gardener. But my wife is and I got really really interested in gardening as a metaphor for creative work because it's very much the opposite of like, something like carpentry or sculpting, where you have this thing chisel it into something gardening is more about like creating the environment in which a thing can kinda grow on its own. There's actually been really good parent Alvin gopnik put out a parenting book that was called like the carpenter versus the Gardner, and or that's the metaphor. She used and and she used it to talk about like different parenting styles. And I just think for creative work. It's interesting. How many great kinda minds I look up to think in terms of gardening for what they do. They're trying to create the environments in which things can of happen on their own. Prince has a great song called roadhouse garden. And he's talking about studio, and he calls it, this is the garden where ideas grow, and that's how he thought of his studio and the ban craftwork said the same thing they said that their studio was like an electronic garden where they went. And they kind of like grew sounds, and I got really interested in that. And I think that I dunno. Yeah. Gardening seems like a great and it's a solitary activity. You know, it's like something you do with your hands. You're out in the air seems like the opposite of everything that's going on right now. And so I wanted to write about that. Well, the other thing out near the place the demons don't like walking. And did you go for walk three mile walk with your wife and your son's today? I got back from it right before lunch. Got notice on the walk. What's an example of what you can see? But doing that every day. Well, sometimes I don't notice anything. Sometimes it's more of an inward journey, and that's something. I really like about the walk my four year old today. He he was reading the stop signs. So that was kinda fun S T O P stop. And there's something about looking at the world through children's is that you just for one thing they're lower to the ground. So they notice all the things that you don't really see. So they'll notice like little landscaping signs or they'll notice things on the sidewalk. Squirrels you know that today. But yeah, today, what do we what do we notice the stop sign before you're old is what knows? But the thing I really like about walking is I like that. I like that sometimes you run into things and the outside world is the thing that you notice, and then sometimes it's the inner world, it's all your anxieties, and your fears and demons, you know. And today, it was funny because we started this conversation. We're talking about the goal. You know, the part time when the books done, and it's not out in the world yet that was a big that was a big conversation topic for the walk today with my wife, and I we were talking about when anxious time this is for everyone and in our family, even because, you know, dad's going to be gone for a really long time. He's gonna come back, you know, every four or five days, but like, you know, he's going to be gone. And he's on this big adventure and things are going to be different here. And you know, it's just like a time of great anxiety. So it's actually I I love going on tour the spring because if eels like things are kind of lightening up. Yeah. And it's it's nice to go on tour in the spring. 'cause everywhere is kind of beautiful in April may so it's it's a good thing. But yeah, I. I think the walking so many of our family problems get sorted out on those walks that we do every morning. It's it's invaluable to me. It's the thing that you know, we spent some time up north this winter. And that was the thing that really killed me was you know, trying to get out for a walk in. Kind of brutal. I I that that walk is is a central. It strikes me that we go to a place up in Maine in the summers in one summer, my wife, and I married forty three years. I'll jump in here again with a correction we've been married thirty four years. It'll be thirty five on may six and I am sensitive to the Tennessee. I had sometimes transpose numbers and just get numbers wrong in light of John Hickenlooper. Confession and frequently in the early days of his campaign that he can't recognize faces. He has some kind of condition. He's also dyslexic and. You know, I get really mad at myself as soon as I said that I thought, oh, I just said it was married. Forty three years. He must think I'm ninety six years old or something and kick go back and fix it. But I'll fix it here for the record return out of what I was talking about the walks, Darlene. I have up at ocean park just decided to walk a mile down to this pier. And back each morning so two mile walk low tide. I I remember feeling how come I feel differently toward this person the most important person might life when we're walking together somewhere in the things we can say to each other. And how we say it, then if we're at the kitchen table having breakfast, or in any other setting is at the motion is that the being outside, and it just seems to reboot a relationship, and I can imagine if you're doing it as you're doing it like a practice. It really starts changing things it changes things. And if you don't get to do it, you feel it really. Hard like if you don't get out for your walk. I've always felt that. You've been married for a really long time. And I haven't been married for as long, but I've been married for twelve years and one of the things I've noticed is. When you're walking together, you kinda shoulder to shoulder the sense. Like, you're facing the same thing. Like, you're you're pointed in the same direction. I I really think there's something about being pointed in the same direction. You know, if you're sitting like next time, you go to a diner. I really love saying next to my wife. There's something about sitting across from the it's like a showdown, we're like facing each other. And it's just a different vibe. I always noticed that every time we had a meal together where we sat shoulder to shoulder felt more like a conspiracy like what we were conspiring together that we were we were sort of in on something together versus when we face each other. So I do think that personally there's something about kind of being shoulder to shoulder and moving through the the world and facing the same thing for some reason that I think is is really powerful. I think that's part of it. But I also think it's just like you're on this off. Dec- together this mini journey and you feel like a team, you know, even like dot, you know, sometimes I feel like a dog when Bush on the kids around, you know, it's like we're whole crew. It's like a caravan, you know, and it just kinda unites you you've got. More than sixty thousand subscribers to the Email newsletter, which I get something. So I think it's a similar thing that you're talking about when you're at the bookstores, you're always pointing out to things which interest you, and it's not like, you know, you share you got a book coming out and stuff like that. But that's a that's a very alive way that you connect with people who are interested in. You were the books, of course, are are also major every three years, you have a book in the blog daily blogger if you had to choose which of those three children of yours that you you could only have that as a way to connect with other people or maybe just compare them. A where do you get the most information about your work on those three platforms, or what are the other pluses and minuses of communicating those three ways while I have a very bit and p. Pieces form over time into something bigger kind of process. So the so there's actually parts that people don't see the occasionally show, you know, maybe on Instagram or on Twitter or something. But basically I carry around this little pocket notebook all day. Just like all other writers. You know, I make notes to myself all day long about whatever. And then in the morning, I have a diary that I go to and this is just a plain old fashioned diary that I sit down and do like three to five pages and every day. And then every day, I try to put something on the blog. Now, I've been doing that for about two years. You know, that's how the blog started. And it's come back around to that. When they sit down to the blog every day. My sort of take whatever's come up through the notebook or the diary and kind of try to come up with something that I think would face outward and means something to someone else. Although sometimes I just do something. That I want to share. And then the blog I will point to from the newsletter, of course. But then also point to other stuff, and then those blog posts over time, become talks. And then the talks are usually what become a buck. You know? Usually when I have like a talk. That's really good. If it like ones that self to to a book, we'll do a book. So it's. Everything's so integrated that I don't really know, you know, what I don't know that I could choose although I will say that my blog has from the very first, you know, from two thousand let's see two thousand and five. So I've been logging for fourteen years that blog has been the heart of everything I've ever done. And so I think that as far as value. I would probably go with the blog, but these days, I find my diary to be the most valuable writing I do because I think that now that I've kind of become a public person, and I have an audience I find these kind of old fashioned modes of expression, like diary to be hugely valuable the only other thing. I wanted to say about the processes, this is a very old process. This is actually exactly what Henry David Thoreau would do. And he's been a big influence on me in the past couple of years. I mean. Throw would take these epic walks. You know around concord and the grounding environment, and he'd scribbled notes and the garden, and he would scribble notes to himself, and then he would go back and write for several hours in his journal about, you know, the things he saw the things he experience, and then he would give lectures, and he would turn the diary entries into lectures. And then he turned the lectures in the book. So it's actually very old model that I just and that's kind of what David sedaris does too in a sense. And it just works for me. I don't think I've stopped kind of thinking top-down books kind of arrive for me in bits and pieces, and that just seems to be have to trust the process as they say, you know, I try not to get too. I'm trying now not to get too anxious between books and to. Understand that if I'm writing a lot if I'm sharing a lot that good things will come out of it. Oh, I think they clearly have in this book that is gonna be making its way to everybody. I haven't speaking with Austin Qiliang, author of keep going ten ways to stay creative in good times and bad. It's available for preorder with delivery on April. Second say, thanks writing this book Boston and for talking about it with us today.

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TKC 531 Live from Digital Book World in Nashville

The Kindle Chronicles

44:58 min | 2 years ago

TKC 531 Live from Digital Book World in Nashville

"This is linearly with an episode of the kindergarten at Kohl's slight from national the Boston. This is going to be an experiment. Know it's going to be a lot of background noise so I won't have that much for voice over. I've been at digital world with David peach this week, and I've got a lot of audio on my computer that I pointed to stitch together to give you sounds of some people. We heard also couple of conversations David night had during the show. This will give you a flavor for the breath of the material. And a lot of pretty interesting ideas. I thought. The as if grab she were with us at the show at the music city center in Nashville. I appreciate those of you that reached out to desert for my mother. She's still having a pretty tough time after broken heavy. I've been out of touch these past four days and Woody board to getting back out there to see how things are going to third, my dad and I will be babysitting with Arlene with earth four year old, two grandsons live next door to assume change all that meanest w time that I devote to quitting episode together, man. That's why I've talked from the night roll an aisle seat on the southwest Boston. I'm I'm putting her and I worked for Amazon and I have a team that helps teach people how to bid Alexa skills. You mentioned in the workshop? The difference between writing for the year and writing for the. Wicky you say about that in general, maybe just give one or two examples of pre ten of a radical way to think that there's actually different ways of writing for those two. Yeah. We'll one ways you can think about this as a fewer read a section out of a novel like Harry Potter novel or something like that. And then you watch the same scene in a movie. You'll hear different dialogue and everything. Right it differently. Here's a couple of examples that you everybody. I think we'll probably get pretty quickly like when you're writing a paper, you probably have paragraphs and the paragraphs have a topic sentence and then supporting points on the concluding sentence. And those are really good for reading because you basically learned to read the first sentence and kind of nor the rest of paragraph. And then unless you don't quite get it, then you take some more time in dwell on that paragraph. With voice, there's no dwelling going back and looking at the previous stop. So really what you wanna do is US not the context I and they make your point versus have a topic and then support your toppings almost just the reverse just the reverse, right. That's going to have. We talked to like, we'll we'll start. I might. I might say something to rates just a little bit in the beginning, but a land out and then sit, here's here's the point. There's some other differences too, which is just how do you comprehend what you're saying. And so one technique that people use when they're writing is they make lists. And so in a list there's a, there's a thing called Oxford comma, separated list. And so this is where you might say thing. One thing to come thing, three and thing for and you put the comma before the and so you know that those two things group in voice you can do that, but lists get pretty tedious to hear all the options. You don't really know when they're gonna end and what's happening. And so there's another technical clustering the helps you. So an example of that is I heard on the radio actually NPR somebody was saying these hours live all over the world. They're in North America and South America, as well as Europe and Asia. And so you like the clustered did this and this as well as this and that. And so you do that with phone numbers to like, you might say two, four, seven, forty, seven, right. And you keep going. So yeah, this this technique this little different for voice. Punctuation is really important with voice periods where you need them and columnist for pausing exclamation marks to indicate things, and you don't need that as much it writing. It's nice, but you can actually get with a little bit more. So people who are working on a Alexa skills, and even in the simple exercise, like you walked us through using an Alexa blueprint that you can do an Alexa. Yep. You almost have to learn a new way of writing when you're starting to do your first experimentation with this platform you do. I, I've written a lot of things on like listening, be great. I'm designing out my skill and I listened to it and like I got to change it, right. So I think it's very important to very like, right, what you want, make sure you're getting the value of your customer very quickly, but then drop it into like a blueprint or drop it into the in the testing tools. You have a voice tool that you can listen to. The sounds just go into this to hear it and see if it works right. Talk to a friend like there's a technique called wizard of Oz, where you pretend like you're the, you're Alexa if somebody else to pretend like they're human and then you and then you have the conversation back. You can hear it really quickly. Now, the blueprint tool it came out in April and I tried it and I see there's a lot more of them now up there and walked through the workshop, what level of. I mean, I can't picture my eighty nine year old mother doing a blueprint on Alexa, but what's your sense of who you're gearing that ten of introductory way of experimenting with Alexis? Customizing? How much does someone have to not really do. Yeah. Well, you don't need to know any language or anything like that. You don't even really need to know the logic around programming language to make it work because you're what you're doing is you're going to in your filling out a form. So actually think you're eighty nine year old grandma could do like for example, a question answer blueprint where she would say, I have a question which is. Hey, what's my favorite? Snicker doodle recipe? And then she could provide the answer to it. Now anytime somebody says, hey, what's my favorite sticker recipe to Alexa, it would say back her her one. Right? And that's just a question and answer, like, I mean, you got to be able to type and getting stuff. And so there is a conceptual leave you have to make, which is on Alexa, and you kind of understand how people talk to Alexa back and forth. But once I think you grow up that piece of it, you understand that piece of it. It's pretty straightforward. I've seen very young children make stuff for their mother's day. I don't know. I don't know. There's no real technical barrier is just a desire. I think maybe there would be a guide. I mean, a grandchild help. Grandmother gets set up at three and then you know do something. So he pretty amazing. So neat. That's part of what why voices so cool it's all about is because it really is a communal kind of an experience where I'm not stuffing my face and my phone. I'm doing something with Riva me recipe. We're all doing recipe together. If I get a fact, we're all getting the fact together. And so I love that you brought up like two people to work the other big skill just piles onto that experience. Last question, I know you've got a twitch presence. What are some of the other ways that if people get excited about this, they could learn at their own speed and villas for into it as as they want to. Yeah, so I think it starts with our website which should be developing on Amazon dot com. And then from there you can find all about Alexa and toils videos and everything and Dev dachshund. He goes deep as you need to their. That's everything our. Which channel. So that's a a place where people livestream stuff. So you're were there. We go on air. We're hanging out with everybody. We just chat with them. So that's twitch. Dot TV, slash Amazon, Alexa, and then you can find us on YouTube. You can find me on Twitter linked in. We're just call hanging out in those places. Get everybody. What's the Alexa skill that gets used most in your home? There's a few. I mean, of course, he's timers of music. Something happened. Let me talk about a skill that I really like. You just it has the dog been ped- and then it'll say, no, it hasn't been fitted. Which like St. the now. And you feed the dog and then Wade online son comes by your wife? His, yeah, spent twenty minutes ago when our go is really no way. So whoever fed the dog is sort of telling Alexa who can tell the next person exactly you Doug just now with set a time stamp and then the next person come by. And if that one's called. Yeah, it's has my dog within. Yeah, as we just find as my dog fit and able to avoid twice my dog. Is it like the skill. Yeah, I'm want Mossberg and I am a former technology columnist conference producer podcast or cetera. Do you have a kind of a basic observation about how well Amazon played? It's surprisingly strong hand that the introduction of Alexa as a platform you have to make should Fini Alexa platform and the divide the echo devices. And I do think there's now typically with the recent mass management for so many echo devices that I think there's a real risk of consumer confusion. Obviously, I'm not critical of the stronger play just to say Alexis a platform. We're going to put in Weber's devices with light to licensing. That makes sense to me, but I don't know that an average. Average person walked down the street here in Nashville or anywhere else would be able to distinguish between one echo. Another are spurred was the keynote speaker began to the world. On Tuesday. He said a fascinating framework by talking about ambient computing acuity will be all around as he put into the wolves. Romans said, you'll be in a room like this, and it'll all be sensors, listening ability to provide information just the way laptop computer does now. They far reaching vision, my guy whose retired as a technology called still really at the top of his game as he set the stage for this entire conference about digital publishing later that morning, David, I said down relatively quiet part of a hallway to talk about what we get hurt so far. When you think of Paul cut singer, who was the Alexa platform guy yesterday that did the workshop? What was your big takeaway from that session? One is that he made it very acceptable and giving us showing us tools that said, this is this is how you can get started. I had tried to do an Alexa app before. And just got overwhelmed, but he made it accessible a couple of things that he specifically talked about in this voice. I idea is that to navigate menus on a website with a mouse. You have to go through all of these different levels, but with voice I, you can. You can get there by just just talking about it. And then he talked about these types of services voice first, Alexa, particularly as being a social event as opposed to just something I do on my phone by myself, I'm sharing it with a room, so it's I, I appreciate it that perspective. When I'm thinking about creating skills, what thing I noticed in comparison with Cortana which I used because now Cortana lives on echo devices Cortana every time it answered the questions, the Microsoft, a voice. Agent, it would say the exact same thing. Is there anything else I can help you with? And after about three times it gets so irritating and I notice that Paul was saying, you can't just repeat things when you've got a voice interface, you have to, you have to vary it and what he was talking about the difference between writing for the year writing for the I, I sometimes wonder what are these thousands of people that Amazon is hiring for the Alexa team? What are they doing? And I thought I glimpsed that they're just moving this whole interface down to increasing levels of affective, nece natural use. And I wonder if that's a competitive advantage that if people try to platforms and they go with the one that just seems more natural. But I thought I just saw a glimpse of how hard it is to to get a new platform like this better than all the rest. And maybe that's what on is actually accomplishing in the early days. One funny story about that idea of Amazon kind of predicting what it is you're going to ask or say, one time, my wife total exit, do something, and I totally Lexus. She didn't have to listen to my wife. We were just duping around and because my wife had contradicted something I just told Alexa do, and Alexa responded with well, I've been programmed to listen to to everybody and be kind, and you know the whole idea of just just being a real person which of course, I know Alexis not a real person, but sometimes she response like one and that so much better than hearing the same. Same response droning over and over. So what about Walt Mossberg. I read just this morning his his last article that he wrote, which he referenced in this session. And so this session was pretty much just that article expanded and he talked about the lull of four were at right now in. We've had all this massive improvement and and technology advancement in the last forty years. But we're kind of at a at a downtime right now. And of course the Alexa people are saying, oh, no, we're not. We're, we're really charging four with this, but you look at the well, I look at the smartphone. I go to Africa. Everybody's got a smartphone and that ten years ago, not everybody had a notebook computer, and most people still don't have a computer, but they have a smartphone that has changed the world, Alexis touching the world like that. But as Walt said, we're in this low that we're getting ready to see what's coming out of the labs and in the labs. I think it is pretty exciting. What's going on. I think some of the stuff he talked about was a little fanciful. As far as this ambient computing, I think we will get there. I don't think it's going to really look much different ten years from now. One thing I was thinking about when I listen to what Walt may be in his seventies, I would guess he seventy-one. So when he talks about something that's going to be happening in fully adopted in twenty years, he's going to be ninety one, which my dad's ninety. One, I hope well lives that long. And that I bet he'll be following things, but it gets to be intriguing to me. I'm sixty eight. You see these things coming and you kind of get a sense of the pace of it, and it's like, I don't want to ever die because I'll miss so much after that happens. It's intriguing to think of an older person trying to stay up with these things and what's the impact on their life. At some point, you just think AM not going to be here be. I'm not processing this information as well as I used to. It's time to just go back and read books on paper or something. You're at an age where you do remember before this forty one year change that he was talking about today. I'm only forty eight, so I don't remember the world really before all the technology change. And so I'm thinking, okay. Yeah, it's going to keep changing in the same way. It has always changed, but it hasn't always changed that way. And but for my lifetime it has. And so it will be interesting to see how long this lull as he called lasts. And whether it really is a law or if it's just a couple years of, okay, things are quiet, but something's around the corner that's going to really break out and and be. A phenomenal. I was surprised that the emphasis that he put on the necessity for laws to create guardrails for this next great revolution a, it's hard to be optimistic that that could really happen when the political system this country is so kind of broken in in gridlock. And then I kind of wondered if there aren't guardrails, these things won't just stop and wait for the guardrails to be built and maybe that's okay, maybe that's just the nature of it. But what was your reaction to the emphasis that he put on that of the need for laws that we just don't really see having happened yet in this country? I think I think there's been a lot of technological changes over the last hundred years that we didn't have laws for. We didn't foresee and and we've made it. Okay. So I think things will will get there now, does that mean we've not had any problems. In the legal system. Now we've got problems. We've got things we have to deal with. I, I don't know that I'm necessarily negative on the fact that we don't have the laws yet. I am a little concerned well more than little little concerned about the whole privacy thing. You know when we do have ambient computing, we do need a better protection for the individual. But when we get to the point that he's talking about where their sensors in the walls that will know what it is you wanna see on TV and just show it right there on the wall. When we get to that point, I think we'll have the laws in place. I agree. Well, lots more to come. It's great being here with you, Dave. Thank you for your been helpful in so many ways already, and I think we'll have fun bouncing ideas off each other as as continues to there was an awards thing with Dan rather than director kindly. Inducted into the hall of fame, the digital were all famous along with Marie Dutton Brown, who's had a really remarkable career in the book, visit various aspects of it, part of it at Doubleday in Harlem free. So many ways. Rear were so frivolous. Background noise Marie spoke quite softly. So my recording of her comments didn't come through to well, one thing she mentioned she works now as an agent and she's working on a book by a ten year old writer, April Ryan called geeky stem cell jokes. It's going to be coming out in a year. So I'm interested to that as I started my own acceptance remarks after Baddeley's kind introduction, then recorded. Law every meet rural New Year's. And. And. Allow students on. School. Liz early. And public some things about. Lose all over that. War. And. And on Tara. Were thing. I'm going to be on the minority. Maybe. Time, and he's been a model. Shown. Infirmity. Decelerate and that'll do it. Digital Roll Hall of fame. Route, and I wanna see it Ryan future episodes. Be here. Great year. I covered this over several years. I did was held in New York and loved red team. Here. The ashen reddish shows for life and his. Reminded need that cannot surprising things winning in some heart. In my case, I've always loved. We always love tech catches have been experiencing tests were years ten. What was in two thousand seven again for being boss of raise. I thought. So this. Next summer Friday. Ramos. This show says. News, I still married. Through says, or patients type tests have not been heeded, especially Asian trips abroad. When I said half a, we tried to get online to little creek show. Needed to intro. What I see as devotion to the show. Other Asian. I have friends religious role. I have five hundred thirty stations with people. Love. And taking all his much. I fired missionaries every sector of district. On publishers agents who sellers including man has done, showed waste started companies twenty four years ago to sell those online. So really, I love how your. This. Overs of technologies. This Hannibal with me, Massachusetts Thursday tune, and. The conversation. It was great having to cover the conference and the second day second full day yesterday, David peach did one of his own interviews speaker. I was here because I had been at a different session. Melissa Hammersley. I'm a co founder and the chief design officer of novel effect in what we do is we create voice driven soundscape for children's books. So we add the music sound effects, characters voices. As you read aloud from the print book with their child. You mentioned in your talk that you have a, you know, if I have the physical book that I've bought, then I can read it along with your your novel affects how many books do you have in your in your catalog? Yes. So right now in our free IOS app, we have over two hundred bucks. What we've tried to do when we're curated that collection is pick books that we know parents and teachers have on their selves and breed with children. But we're also working with publishers and independent authors to bring their content to the app in the way that they want your on IOS. Now when you roll out to Android to this, Mark speakers, will all of those titles be there, or do you have to then work those out also? No. So the way our system is built once we have the back end of the technology running, we'll be able to deploy all of the books and soundscape. So we've created to each system as its. Unleashed. So the system then is just an interface to which already had right, correct. We can add our own stories, but in the sound and stuff, can we do that with with a book already have or is that a story that I've written for my children? So you when when we have the studio available, the creation studio available to the public, you would be able to write your own story and then add the music town affects to the story that you've created for your children or for your for your class, or what have you. We we are working through the process of understanding how we will be able to allow users to create soundscape for books that are written and distributed by publishers because we wouldn't want to get into any sort of infringement on their publishing rights, and we wouldn't want them to be concerned about the content that's being created. So we're still working that part out. But right now or when. It's available, you would absolutely be able to do it for a story that you yourself ever and. I'm back home in Cambridge, so the audio is going to be a little better now that I'm back with my blue yeti microphone. The other interesting part of digital book world for me yesterday was that I moderated a panel about podcasting in publishing. This is something that Bradley met rock had asked me to do, and it was an excellent panel at had a woman from the MacMillan podcasts operation. Kathy Doyle, rob wall choose been working at Lipson ever since I've been doing my podcast is a real nationally known figure in the podcasting movement. And then fella named Asif who has a company that is able to take audio and do transcripts for for free. I tried it on my podcast and then that helps search because their meta data and search terms that are put in, it's called audio burst and a very powerful tool. So the four of us. Were in a room with probably about one hundred people there. By the time. There are people sitting on the floor standing room only and a lot of people very interested in how podcasting might help them to promote authors and to do other work. I'd say most of the people in the room were representing publishers out play some excerpts from that panel, which was held yesterday. You probably have a lot of people come up to you. I wanted to podcast doing a pie chest and they might have expectations about how much work is when to do it. And do they generally underestimate him out of work is going to require to successful podcast, would you would you tell people to get their expectations to to reality from the start? Well, I say five one five end. It's you wanted to block something might get you five minutes lock in our to put it out as an audio Pakistani take you five hours that all together is. So it is a lot more work to do. That's why there's a lot less Autoplex we have to put in perspective. There's six hundred million laws out there. There's only about five hundred thousand podcasts which less than two hundred thousand for at least a new episode in the last year. So the competitions a lot less on the pike casting side. So yes, it does take more. That's why there's a lot less podcast is out there, but the hard part really the end of the day is creation of the content coming up with good content. Recording is pretty is pretty easy, and the editing isn't too bad either, and you should by the way that's doesn't takes a little bit longer. One of the big differences between successful guests and not successful is. I literally one time her podcast versus there was presence. Hold on. I he's and walked away from five minutes. That is okay. I look forward to as a high caste creator. I think that the bars raising in terms of the quality of the listening experience in and one show that I love to for clues as to what's coming is radio lab, and they are doing very creative things. It's not just people talking and kind of an NPR way they'll they'll, they'll be talking cut in kind of a real time from the studio and go back to the interview. There's a lot of jumping around which is perfectly possible to do with podcast. But in the early casting period, it was just, you know, some as a Mike and they're talking and they're just talking talking and nal if you like what they're talking about. Great. But I have, yes, Gration as somebody hosts doing this five or ten years to to try some some new things. So sometimes I'll have an interview and they'll be something that's on great clear cut in and say, well, actually. When he was answering that question, I was hoping that he would say something else to this sort of a metal layer. And I think it adds to the energy of the listening experience when there's some surprising breaks in. I guess music, some vulgar, music, things like that and individual pike. Caster like myself and perhaps a publisher is getting into it. You're not going to be radio lab. You're not gonna cereal as Hugh Steph and you don't have to be. But I think if you're going to be a sort of an animated likely player in the space, you have to take advantage of the creative possibilities that it represents and pay. Chances one show can not quite make meet the bar and if you're doing it regularly was a lot of shows after that. So people forget the sermon in quake turnout shift now to an interview that Dave tonight did plea was yesterday, and it was two brothers, David, and Jeff cooked entrepreneurs of had some incredible success with businesses that they've started apps and then sold for one hundred million dollars. One told my yearbook, the one that interested me the most was called reader coin. And it began with a children's book which Jeff wrote, and here he explains how it happened. It started off as a bedtime story. I would tell my daughter and. She on these twenty minute drive to school every morning. We used to live relatively close to a relatively far away from the school. She would ask for this another story, and this is when she was in second grade. So I would have to tell a story about this girl Veronica who lived on the side of a volcano and veronica's more or less my daughter Madeline, and fill this story with some characters. And then I had to kind of keep those characters straight and come up with things for them to do. So I started researching volcanos are reading a fairly widely read on volcanoes at this point and and then I started writing down some of the stories I thought were better and and that that basically began to process I when I originally started writing, I thought it was going to be short poem. His three hundred twenty pages later. So you try to find some readers for it. You did a number of things. We'll fast forward to reader coin, and how did you come up with that idea David? So when Jeff, I launched his book too. We were having a hard time with that discovery and just finding people to read his book. We tried going the giveaways route and he ended up spending over five thousand dollars just trying to get people to read is book and the wings on good reads on good reads, and in the end, we also didn't feel like the people were giving away the books to actually reading the book all the ways, and we're kind of having really disappointing time trying to give away the books in that sense. So we have experienced making apps and we thought maybe we could do something better and the idea to pay people to read kind of was in our minds and that would be an natural incentive. We saw things like sweat coin. In going around which pays people to run and charity mile which. Idia when you run you kind of earn points that you could donate to a charity and stuff like that. And we were inspired by deals like that. We're seeming to be successful and like natural incentives to kind of get people to do stuff like that. And so we built reader coin kind of round that idea of incentivising readers to read and after growing it for a while we got Jeff spoke on, we added tons of classics. So read of anything like pride and prejudice or something like that to on there right now. And right now, we're also just trying to get a lot more authors to join. Now you're showing me earlier Jeff, some fascinating information for you as an author. What can you tell about who's reading Veronica and the volcano today? Yeah, so you could tell actually quite a bit. So in, I think catnip for authors is actually apt there's an author tab, and if you top into it, you can see the listening and reading time both today and all time. So for example, if I tap into it right now, I see that there were fifty two hours of listening time on Veronica in the volcano today, an hour of reading time across thirty four listeners and six readers. Forty total unique. Forty, four discover taps twenty twenty six times it's added to the library all in. You're looking at almost four thousand hours of of total listening and reading time. And this this divide on listening and reading is actually true of the entire network. So it's almost ten to one people prefer the listening to the reading. Even though every book on the platform can be listened to or read through the platform. If if an author is using the platform, they can tell that they're paying in reader coin for these numbers for the time. Can you give an idea of a rough ballpark of what kind of cost is this sort of readership entail for the author? Yeah, actually the authors getting paid to promote the book. So the reader coin model is it's basically promotion that pays. So the author is earning reader coin for every ten minutes anyone's spends listening or reading their work, and so is the reader now the author has the option to take their reader coin and basically give it back to the reader by saying, I want my book to be a bonus book. Then bonus books appear in more prominence throughout the application. Veronica volcano is bonus book. Basically what it means is our default algorithm is ranked on top earning books. Obviously, the more reader coin book earns the more likely it's going to rank relatively high, highly albums, and you could also just filter the search results by bonus books so that that that will naturally gravitate readers right now, readers read maybe two one, two, two, the non bonus books, but there's, you know, sixteen hundred plus non bonus books and and that and a handful of bonus books, maybe maybe a few dozen who's who's buying the reader coin. So the reader coin is aimed at driving users into the app. So I mean, my my experience is building significant apps with four plus million daily active users and indicates of my yearbook, which my brother and I started together back into hasn't five and we didn't monetize platform for a number of years. So then we sold if you're one hundred million dollars, right? You're in the period now where you're putting money in, right? But it's it's very thoughtful. So. What we essentially do is pay out about a penny in a penny to two pennies per hour. Anybody spends listening or reading based on other apps that I've created. You know, I know that you tend to be able to monetize an app anywhere between ten cents to sixty cents an hour of time. The person spends listening or spends using the app and ten cents would be actually pretty low. So I think our senses, yes, it's certainly. We're not emphasizing the monetization aspect because really the the whole ballgame is. Can you get the reader? Yeah. What's scale are you at now in terms of number of readers, number of authors just launch this summer relatively low scale. You know, we're at about fifteen hundred to two thousand daily active users right now. Actually our stats are public. You can look at them. I think from our Facebook page, you could probably find them. But what we are seeing as well, I think well in excess of one hundred thousand minutes per day of listening and reading time, it works out to be something on the order of about one hundred and fifty minutes spent per day per person on the platform so that that's been the most surprising stat we've seen. Yeah, over two hours of times. I think when we originally set the economy, we're like, well. Thirty minutes which seem reasonable, and maybe even on the high end, but it's two hours a day that that person's spends the average person spends reading your list. Now reader coin, given all the talk about blockchain and tokens. This is not that right. That's right. So I mean, it's it's more like a Dave mentioned sweat coin. It's similar to to that and engagement currency that you weren't through engagement that you can then exchange for for wards. There could eventually be a blockchain play down the road if you had substantial scale, but you know, we're not. We're not about to do an ICU related to this. I wish that I'd had more time to learn about reader coined. It seemed like a very creative idea in these brothers obviously knew what they were doing because it has some other success with apps and the idea of getting paid for reading a book. Part of me thinks that's that's wrong. I have a bit of a reading snub and I think I remember. Kids in school that their parents would pay them to read books. I thought, well, jeez, you know, nobody's gonna have to pay me to read a book because I love reading, so I would have that hurdle to it, but I see what they're doing. It's a way for an author to get targeted information about who's reading the books and the payment is strong enough to be more like a game than anything that you're really going to get significant monetary benefits benefits for. But digital book world, creative ideas, young brothers doing things, I love it. I'll mention that there was some blockchain activity at this conference. You might be relieved to know that I didn't have time to sit in on session by publica and another company. There was one session that I was at it would David and the guy started programming on the theory of platform, and I don't know how to program and was just really getting over my head. I don't know what I was doing to to spend the time and David piped up at one point. So I think you left a semi colon out of line twenty. Five on the program that he was working. But the point was that blockchain is something that publishers are doing real experiments with, and there was some information about it at digital book world, which I won't be able to explain to you much what it meant, but it it was happening and it was real and and there were there were some people there that were following it a lot more closely. And I was in spite of my MIT blockchain course, which is got two weeks ago and I have been enjoying learning about the topic in general. I'll finish up with the part of David Mayes last conversation that we had today before we left and it'll give you a feeling for some of the other sessions that we attended, and it was fun to sit down and have these conversations. I wasn't exactly thinking those Tessa meets three characters up in the theater talking and kibitzing about everything. But we had some common interests and he was very good company at the conference in really appreciate the time that he spent helping me out. One thing that I was, I wanted to have a chance to hear about libraries and you went to that session have founder of overdrive, what were some of the highlights of that session of it was called the evolving job of modern librarians and how they talked about. Book lending and who the patrons are in everything. There wasn't so much about what overdrive. Does the assumption was that everybody knew who overdrive, what's it was more and I really enjoyed this how how the libraries can engage with the with the patron. One of the comments was the library is the place where the librarian does their work, but a librarian so much more than just a book person. It's a a broker of information. One of the guys asked the question, how many of you out the audience has a personal librarian? Two of us raised our hand. I was one of them and somebody else raising and he said, well, I would like to be your personal library in if you have a question, if you need information, give me a call, come get my car. That's what we do. We like to help people find information. I thought that was great. So somebody who was a library and you sort of showing these ample of how librarian should connect with people more than they do his his point. Was is that you can use your library. You know, that's what we as librarians are, and he is the librarian for the or one of the librarians here at the Nashville public library. And he was here saying, you know, you need to engage with with someone that can help you find information and don't be intimidated by that. Sometimes people go into libraries, they're afraid to ask a question because sometimes librarians make people feel like you're so stupid for asking this question. I've been to libraries like that, but I also I go to a library where I feel like I have a personal librarian and, and I appreciate that. So that was one of the things that was commented about this morning and then the library. This is a quote by one of the ladies that actually works at a digital only library. She said the library is not the destination anymore. The customer is the destination, the patron, and what she meant by that is we need to take. Information to where they're at, maybe they, maybe they don't get into the library because they don't know about it in in her cases, digital library. And she said, we go to the DMV. We go to the food Bank. The people we serve are are the people who may not even have their own car. We go to the, we go ride public buses and we take devices and get them to sign up and say, here you can check out this device a, she didn't say Kindo. She didn't say Kobo, but it was some kind of device like that or, you know, sign up and now go to our website and download all these resources. If you need them this for this special episode about digital book world, I wanna thank David peach helping me out. I wanna thank Bradley met rock and his excellent staff there at score publishing, Peggy Deen Ray. The rest of the team. It was quite a massive undertaking to move this conference from New York City to Nashville and. And this is the first the holding of the conference in Nashville since score publishing. I think they did a fantastic job, and I was really glad to be part of it next week. I'm going to be sitting down to talk with Dave Flusher who has long running evil genius podcast, very creative guy, and he has a do it yourself way of scanning books that he's going to talk about new just find out. He's always interesting to talk to about books that'll be next week. Thanks for listening.

Alexa Amazon David Dave Flusher David peach Nashville Alexis publisher Walt Mossberg NPR New York City Boston Paul April Ryan Fini Alexa Harry Potter Kohl Bradley Woody
TKC 557 Fantasy Author Michael J. Sullivan

The Kindle Chronicles

46:29 min | 2 years ago

TKC 557 Fantasy Author Michael J. Sullivan

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm linearly today is April fifth twenty nineteen. Greetings from downtown Denver. Our sedate adult high rise condo here and Lodo is going to undergo a big change tomorrow. Saturday, April six that's because my daughter Roo husband, Mike and their two sons Jake five and Ryan three are going to arrive at Denver national airport at around ten thirty tomorrow for a four day visit since we don't have a car here in Denver. I rented a minivan from enterprise for their stay in Cambridge and our opponent Cambridge ruined Mike and the boys our next door neighbors. So it's really going to be fun to have them looking out of these high windows at the downtown in the Rockies, it's a very different world from their leafy residential home back in Cambridge visiting different worlds is an experienced that lovers of fantasy fiction. Enjoy learned that firsthand in the last few weeks while reading theft of swords the first of two fantasy series by Michael j Sullivan. It's a deeply creative task to create an entirely new world set centuries ago, populated by humans wizards and elves Tolkien did it, of course. And Michael j Sullivan has extended the Jarrah with his own unique sensibility one that displays an impressive devotion to his readers. Unlike some fantasy novels his do not begin with lengthy history and geography lessons or in the reader for the rest of the story, he learned from mysteries and suspense novels to jump right in with characters and action that draw a reader into his new world page by page when you're writing at the world, she just build in the background. You should get to know it by experienced not having to be told in page after page and getting a whole world history because that's boring and people tend to skin that kind of stuff. Also this week reports of an Alexa competitor to Apple's air pods. A divorce announced by Twitter and a -tective for your physical book library. Per step in news this week. Bloomberg had a report of a competitor to Apple's air buds that would work with Alexa. And the report is fairly specific. It says that it's likely to come as early as the second half of this year. They also kind of suggested September is a time that was on tense route release new hardware products that certainly would fit to get it out before Christmas. They this is being developed apparently ad lab. One twenty six which is where the kindle get it start and all of the rest of the hardware that Amazon has created since then they are trying to get better audio quality than air pods. And it's going to have a case, which can also charge it, and they'll be micro USB cable that charges the case. I have the air pods second-generation, which just came out recently. And they are have fifty percent longer battery life. I think they're supposed to be faster. I I haven't really noticed that the big difference with them is that instead of having to tap to get Alexa. You can just say or Syria. Sorry, you just say, hey, Siri. And then Siri will do all the things that Siri can do that means that if this description is right? The air pods second-generation gonna be a lot like the Alexa pods because you're going to be able to just say Alexa, and do things with your pods. Now. The Alexa airports are going to have to be paired with a smartphone iphone or Android, and I don't know if you're going to be able to pair them with echo speakers. I don't know why that would have any benefit because you can talk to the speaker. Why would you use the air pods? Not clear exactly how this would work, especially if you use Siri for things, you're certainly. Switch pods in your ears, depending on which you're talking to. But it's a being portrayed in this story as a significant entrance into wearables by Amazon. Pretty interesting story. Second story in the news this week in January Jeff MacKenzie Basil's said that they were separating and going to divorce and the divorce was finalized, a hope by tweet a little unusually they created a special Twitter account for MacKenzie doesn't have any buddy that she's following. And she just put up a single tweet that said that the divorce was final and that he retweeted her tweet with some. You know, very supportive words, they were supporting each other and ending this marriage in a way that at least at the public level of Twitter dinette which rancor in it, which is good to see given that some of the other coverage of Jeff's adventures in the last few months that could conceivably have meant the divorce would have a little tougher tone to it the part that the markets were probably looking at is that he retains all voting power over the stock that they had together they had sixteen percent of Amazon stock. She is going to get four percent of it. And that'll be worth thirty six billion dollars making her by one report. I saw the third richest woman in the world. He keeps a twelve percent. And that'll be worth one hundred seven billion dollars. And he's got all the the voting rights to the stocks of no changes in his ability to manage Amazon based on that amount of stock that he owns. The stock price for AMC end didn't show any reaction to this. So I think it all played out the way the market hoped would. Wish them both. Well, she certainly going to have an interesting new period of her life. What does she do with thirty six billion dollars? She's a novelist quite a good, novelist. And now she's a woman on her own with quite a fortune. For the tip. I had an interesting exchange with the listener named Jennifer hsu-tuan S C H UCA M A N N A. Jennifer wrote relate saw your name on a recommended newsletter and has since visited your site impressive body of work. I know that you don't do tech support. But I am hoping that with your love of creativity. And your knowledge of the kindle that perhaps you've discovered a solution to my problem and covered it in one of your podcast where I could learn how to do it. I want to print out the book covers of all the books on my kindle, I have a rather large library print books. And ideally, I'd like to stick a laminated picture of my kindle books in the location on my bookshelf, where the physical book would go if I owned it this way when I'm doing a visual search of a topic in my physical bookshelves I'll be reminded of the related books in my kindle, I often by whichever versions on sale. And sometimes I buy both as a result. Salt. I can have books on my kindle that. I never read because I've forgotten are there. I also liked the idea of being able to physically sort books into piles of research. I am doing books on craft or books for reading pleasure. And then organize them into a reading list based on my current interests while they're ways to do this on the kindle collections that cetera. I find it's not the same as being able to sort stack. Shuffled books in the same way. I'm used to doing physically I'm hoping that perhaps you've covered this topic on your podcast and could refer me to a specific episode where you cover how to do this or something similar again. I policy is that this probably is mechanic question respond to but I've been unable to find a solution. Elsewhere. I'm hoping you perhaps your experience will turn up something. I have over looked I replied to Jennifer telling her I loved her question because I thought it showed that she's a kindred spirit with a lot of listeners myself. So her love of books in both forms paper and e book, and I love the idea of kind of putting something into her physical book shelves. That would flag her to remind her that she has an e books on a certain title what I came up with was pretty simple idea. And I tried it using my iphone tennis max, I pulled up a kindle book from my library. I navigate it to the cover of it. Then I simply took a screen shot which on the iphone. I pressed the button on the right of the phone, and and at the same time the up volume button on the left that makes a screen shot of whatever's on the screen. It would be easy from there to take that image of the book cover and transfer it to my computer, maybe dragged into a word document just some way to print it perhaps on high quality photo paper. And then laminate it in a way that it would have some kind of durability to slide into the library. I also said the question along to Amazon, but I've got an answer of general nature that wasn't precisely helpful in answering Jennifer's question. She wrote after receiving. My idea. Thank you so much for your quick reply. Actually, like your suggestion to take a photo of a cover accessing my kindle content list on the Amazon website is just a couple of clicks to get to the cover and save it. I think he will be an easy monotonous tasks to do well watching a movie or listening to a podcast or audible book, then I can print them out in any form that I want while they will still take a bit of time. I'm sure I have already wasted equal amounts of time looking for other solutions. Thank you so much for your suggestion. So that's a the happy outcome there. The an idea the underlying ideas one that maybe you would have some interest in if you would like to have some signifying actual physical thing in your book library that tells you where among them you've got kindle books. So thanks for that. Great question. Jennifer. If you have a tech tip question that you think I might be able to help you with you can send it to me at pod chronicles at g mail dot com. Michael J Sullivan's novels have sold at least one point five million copies mainly in the fantasy genre. Did right one scifi novel? I heard about him from listener Shimon shot in Krakow Poland. Who thought I would be interested in partly because he is a hybrid author having published with two of the big five publishers has shed and penguin Random House as well as on his own sold and has also garnered impressive backing on several Kickstarter projects that raise money to help him publish his work. I reached Michael on April Fools day at his rustic cabin in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia since his latest Kickstarter project was just finishing. I began by asking about that part of his work. I learned a lot about Kickstarter as a tool for authors. But you might find this topic a bit dry, and if you wanna skip ahead about ten minutes. That's the part where we start talking about the rich imagined world of his right era series and his philosophy of writing for an audience of devoted fans. This first part of. Our conversation begins with how he and his wife Robin came to use Kickstarter as a tool for publishing and promoting his books. The reason why we started doing kick start in the first place was due to the fact that at the time we had just gotten published through New York, and I knew number of other authors who tried a head gotten published and they had like a three book series. And the first book did not so great. The second book did worse when they got to the third book New York didn't wanna pick them up for that next title. And they had a number of fans who wanted to get, you know, the last book, but there was no way for them to publish it. And so what I suggested was because I had actually started lax we started in a small publisher. But then I did the bulk of my early work and self publishing. So I told my said, well, you can always sell publish, and there were no, no, we can't do that. I'm not good at publishing, and even if I did I wouldn't have the money, and I said, well, you can kick start it. You can do that. And they said to me. No, no. That's not gonna work because you know. I would never be able to be a success. I said you have fans you have a fan base. That's who you're trying to get the book out too. So all you have to do is contact them. They will essentially preorder the book, which will give you the money to produce it, and and get it out there, and they were not I couldn't convince them just possible. So as an experiment, I decided to try this because I had written a science fiction novel and most of my books are fantasy. And so I I wrote a science fiction novel, and my publisher was not interested in picking it up, which was fine. Because like I said I had a background in publishing. Just you know, it's okay with down by self publish it. Great. So in order to launch that we dick sperm I didn't have to do it. But I wanted to see how it works. So that I could go to these other people explain to them if it worked or if it didn't. And so we did what was known as Jala world at the time. And I run to that Kickstarter as it turned out. I learned a couple of things first of all it. Can be done. Second of all you can actually we blew it away. I think we wanted we worked out how much we wanted for that we figured how much money was going to cost. And then I cut it in half and said, I would put up half, and I would get half from them. And we're really looking twenty thousand dollars. I think and that way we may way over that. But the thing I really learned about that was not only can you get funding for the project. But almost nobody backed that project who was a fan of my books, and the interesting thing is when you're when you're self publishing or even if you're traditional publishing it's often hard to get outside of your own echo chamber, people who know about you is great you're working in enclosed ecosystem. But when you want to get more people to discover, you you wanna get out of that pond. And that's the hard part. Well, Kickstarter gives you that option by being able to relate to Kickstarter people people who just love looking to kick stars load backing things. And so I ask. We got a hold new group of readers just directly from working to kickstart, which was this is a happy accident and this. So now, I was able to go back and tell people look see this is a viable option, and it has worked for that. Now. Most recently, I've left orbit and went over to del Rey on problem that I wanted my next book to be released in hardcover, and they were not willing to do that. They didn't feel for some reason. That's but I should be doing. But when it went to del Rey, IS them. And I said, you know, I I won't sign a contract with you unless you be doing a hardcover, and they said, well, of course, we're going to hardcover. With access to our door. Like, oh, well, great. 'cause that's what I've been told before. So we did the first. Few books and the age of legend series in hardcover, which was great. But now I was doing self publishing books for my right ear series. And I wanted to hardcovers for those as well now, hardcover printing is a whole different thing. Besides doing direct press if you're going through Amazon the net, and if you don't understand yet. That's when someone buys it. And when they buy it, it is made it is not doesn't exist until you purchase it. So in that, it's a very safe bet. Right. I mean, the book is even credited, but when you're doing a hardcover run it has to be done in advance. We have to do an actual print run and that costs money. That's by the books tend to cost a lot more is because the whole binding processes is considerably more expensive. So in order to do hardcovers for my prequel series. I decided to do another Kickstarter, and we put out one for I think the first one was death of dual gas and. That one again, we estimated actually forget the number. We estimated for. But again, we sold far more than I had anticipated. So that proved that system as well. And we I think we did one for the follow up book, which was when his daughter in part of this was to raise the money the capital to essentially do that print run advance. So that then people could essentially it's just damn pre ordering my book, which gives me the money to make. But the other thing like I said is it intent continue to grow people people. Who'd never heard of you were like, oh, I heard about this thing I want to jump into this and people love the idea that they are part of it that they get to be back that they helped bring this to life. And the interesting thing of that is not only did we get new is on me as a writer, but also people who backed it said that themselves I love this project. This is my project too, and they would. Go out, and they would leave reviews they get up I had cheerleaders free of charge. So and they would like I said they would read because they we get the book in advance of everyone else intentionally because I'm now giving my book are selling my book. In fact, two people who are already predisposed to like, which is wonderful if you're trying to sell a product. So these people read my books want to give it a good review 'cause they want other people to know about the great project that they're invested in. So for the first six months, these people were putting out good reviews talking it up, and I had a lot of nice buzz as a result of that. Now, the most recent one that I did was because I was working through del Rey as I said. But they'll Ray had an issue where they were having a corporate came down decide they decided all books are all deals. Must include audio e book. And print. They won't do a deal, otherwise well as it turned out when I went to them originally, I had already told them that I had sold the audio rights to all of these books. So we had a contract for the first three books of the series the next three books. We did not have a a contract for. So when it came around to doing those next three books while they were fine. Not having an audio for the first three books the second books. They they required the audio and say, well, I'm sorry, but we don't have that anymore. So that was like, okay. Well, unfortunately, they were happy with us. We were happy with them. But we can no longer do business because of corporate law as a result of that what I wanted to do now was at wanted to not make my readers upset because these books were coming out in hardcover, and they were high quality, and I did not want them to get the fourth book and a six book series and have it not matched the first three. So what I did was I talked to Delray, and we did research, and we found out exactly who their printer was what paper they? Us what they use. And we had the artists Marquesa Manetti who had done the cover for the previous books, and we wanted to replicate the process completely. So as a result of that, again, we were going to need a little bit more money to make sure that this all came into being so for the last Kickstarter again, we went out, and we presented once more and said, we wanna you know, we wanna fund this. And as it turns out, again, I we we ended up making go see ten thousand one hundred ten thousand eight hundred sixty five dollars, and we had two thousand five hundred fifty three backers at the time. I think it was the number three or number four highest funded fiction project debt kicks head done in your goal for that was like twenty five thousand or so this one was a little bit higher. I forget look at it. But I forget my wife. I said she's the one who does most of my my my. Business stuff. I try to stay out of her way advertising agency for a while. And and once I got it off the ground to the point where I was actually making more money than she was at her engineering job that meal you hired her to be the president of my company. She's so much veteran. But anyway, you far exceeded the goal of this most recent one, yes, we have done that. In fact, the first everyone the projects that I've done have ranked in the top ten or top twenty when they're when they're being completed will when you describe the Kickstarter project for this most recent when you said that you you had checked in you would be able to get a loan from the Bank to to do this. And but it looks like you certainly didn't have to get a loan to the Bank. And plus there was some extra money. What what were you able to do for your readers with the more money that you raise then you would have needed to for the original purpose? Well, a lot of it was there were additional things we provided for one of them, which is kind of interesting. We actually have some people actually come to the cabin here. They spend a weekend that that was one of the more unusual little tidbits, and they'll be coming soon. But those are kind of fun, and but there's there's a little perks. Are the things they don't they get the book and advance. And then there's like graphic novels and things in the short stories that I produced that were all thrown into the mix at different levels. Like, I said the real mastermind here would be my wife image disappointed. She's not here at the moment. To give you a lot more detail than how the Kickstarter were. Michael Sullivan has been at his writing for long time. So I shifted at this point to ask him about the beginnings of his writing career. I I started trying to get published around truth and seven I had I had agent would to every publisher. They all rejected me finally, my wife at the time decided to self publish it. Because she really felt she was confident it was going to do. Well, but this was before the kindle before e books so going to print them up and sell them out of the trunk of our car kind of thing, and we had printed up three hundred copies of the book when we had to look in our Email and discovered three months prior to that a very small company in publisher in Minnesota wanted to publish me. It was kinda pointed because my wife went to Trump to learn how to do this and just as she's about the lunch. You can't do it. So she ended up giving seminars in washing. In DC at local libraries, just to tell everyone else. How to do this turned out to be good? Because like I said after that first publisher. They printed the first book, and then they kind of have financial problems where he could do the second one. So we bought back our rights, and we started self publishing it right about the time in two thousand eight which is when the kindle was first released in April, which was the month, I released so my first self published book came out the very month that the kindle was was open widespread. So that's how that got started. So yes, two thousand eight is when I started really self publishing my books. I was then picked up by orbit in two thousand a well two thousand ten the books didn't actually get released until November of two thousand eleven and so is and I had three books because early done they released in succession one month after that one came out November then December, and then the last three books was in December of two thousand twelve and this was a an. Imprint of has chat. Right. That's correct. Fast forward to where you are. Now, it looks like you've sold over a million books worldwide. What's the the total impact of of your books in the success in finding audience so far? Well, I think technically I've sold. How's it about one and a half million English? I have no idea worldwide. I mean, I I'm published and I think I sixteen seventeen different languages, I eighty seven different contracts all over the world. Most of those are hard to track because they don't have the same accounting that we do United States. So it it's hard to track. I think anyone's gonna be doing that because I have multiple foreign agents, and they're handling voice. I have no idea. I couldn't tell you. How many I have across the road. But I know I have at least one and a half million sold at this time. Well, let's talk about the world that you created that has generated this kind of interest among your readers it. I took your suggestion. And I started reading deft of swords, which is the the first of the radio series. And then as you go forward the next series actually takes you back in time to that. And then the most recent wouldn't go even further back, but this this idea of creating a world, and then putting as much effort into it as you have put into it to to have everything match among the different books, if you were going to describe this world that you've created to someone what is it like, what would what somebody going to experience if they devote the time to become someone who really is a traveler, and and almost a a resident of this world when they're reading your books. Well, for the most part, it's it's primarily very similar. Or to medieval Europe, which is a lot of the basis of many fantasy books ever since Tolkien. I wasn't particularly trying to do anything unusual or original in that respect my intention had been that I was reading fantasy novels. I had gotten away from it for a long time knows learning how to write I actually did read fancy for a long time. But when I came back to it. I encountered one problem that I kept bothering me, which is there was this history class that you head to take it to beginning of every book, which before you got into the story before you even knew whether you liked the author or would like the story or the characters you had to have this massive amount of information to class in history about road. Most the book started that way, they would have the obligatory open the book and it begins with in the year. The great God are off before the great rain of. And he will go on for several pages like that. And I kept thinking is they're going to be a character. Trying to do something at. Any point in the story. And I actually picked up some thriller books, and you know, these these these, you know, detective novels or whatever and they start off in grab your attention. And they hold it to the whole story. It's like the author recognizes that it's a responsibility to entertain you. Whereas a lot of the people I felt with fantasy. We're like, no, they're they felt their responsibility was to make this very. Indepth world that had so many facets that it would seem once you head read five or six of their books. It would seem real, and there are many people in Tennessee who read fancy for that very reason. I was not one of them. I I think if you love a character in a story, then eventually because you just love it so much you want more information at that point. Yes, all that detail is wonderful. But you're not going to get to that point until you are invested. So the idea I had was that. If I started off with a very simple story with two very simple characters easily understood and sit in a place that was easy to comprehend nights kings. You know, castles, all these things that we're knows about. I don't explain them to you. So it's not a different language, and I can just tell you about very small story about these two men who are thieves one is a cynical thief, and the other one is more idealistic fighter their team together. They're hired to steal a sword. When they get there. They find the dead body of the king and realize they're in trouble because they've been set up to take the fall for it. And there's just a very simple story. Everyone can follow that and get interested. And they understand the problem that these people have right now, and I don't have to tell you anything about the world. But as I progress in the story the world has to bubble up because I had to explain this of that just by logic. You know, just by putting one block upon another simple things, such as you know. I I was struck by the fact, if you read Hemingway, you'll find that he almost never describes his characters, but you come away with an understanding of what they look like how do you do that? And it's very subtle. It's like Bob said looking up to Jack Jack is taller than Bob. Even though you may not even have consciously picked up on it. You just got that information. The same thing applies for fantasy in my respect that when you're writing it the world should just build in the background. You should get to know it by experience not having to be told in page after page and getting a whole world history because that's boring and people tend to skin that kind of stuff I like to try right? So that if people skim they'll totally ruin the book as. The entertaining enough that they won't want to. So that was what I was trying to. But the world they created was very simple. You know, like, I said, medieval kings, and so on and so forth, and there is magic. But the magic is kept very kind of low key. Because I was when I read Lord of the rings. I was fascinated if you go back through there, there's very little magic in it. I mean, it hardly ever appears even the wizards that when they're doing magic, it's a small thing. Most of the story doesn't revolve around that, you know, that this is a magical place there's magical things that go on. But you don't really see too much. But when you do then it's huge because it is so unusual so dramatic and that was what I was going for. I wanted to how very realistic world of of you know, kings, and queens and all that kind of stuff with magic that is kept in a very kind of your back pocket. And when that comes out, you have a sense of all I also didn't want to write on the sense of kings, and queens. I literally wanted to have that world. But i'm. Going to talk about this little guy on the street who's having a bad day. And then from there it gets bigger in the world blossoms in the story blossoms till at some point what's third off as a simple little sword source jury story that could almost have been like short story. Suddenly becomes this massive epic world in his massive epic story. And you're not really sure when that happened. It's snuck up on you when you world, you know, what's at stake in it's a massive story. But that's so the subtle thing. I try to slip in two characters Royston Hadrian who I'm getting to know in the first book, do they continue all the way through the year revelations and chronicles so the right year revelations, and I'm impressed. You actually said that correctly. You must have heard this. A lot of trouble with our? So the right. You're revelations to six story, and it begins with like I said that the stealing of that sword and ends with the completion of this massive event, which I won't go into. So when I got done with that, my wife said that was great. I want to read more about these guys. She said it's not fair that you can like think about them anytime you want. I can't have time with them. She particularly liked one of them Henry and right? She had a crush on him. She liked both the yes, she she likes him most. And so what I did was when I finished the series. I wrote it specifically. So that it had what I thought was the best possible ending book could have because literally I have. Hundreds of different characters. The all you find out what happens to every single one is all tied up in a neat. Little bow at the end. So that there's nothing that ever anyone should ever have a problem with after that because it's such a beautiful ending. So I wanna go beyond it. I didn't wanna have sequel. I didn't want to jump the shark just keep having more and more things for Rosen hatred into because each book in this series is in it's better than the last one. I did it intentionally which is actually stupid because you want the first book to be really good to get readers. I didn't do that. The first book is the weakest and keeps getting better as you go along and the stakes kept getting higher. So we need to last one. It's huge. There's no way I could spell that up with a bigger more dramatic funding. If I don't then it'll be disappointment. So instead of that the main characters what are the other things that happens and fantasy is it happens so often, it's it's amazing. It's also one of my pet peeves is that almost all fantasy books start with a child character. And you show how they grow up, and they come of age in something happens. And even the ones where you start with him as an adult. You have flashbacks to see how they got there. And I don't know of any other genres that does that. I mean, what's wrong with being an adult comments about being a child at one point. Sure. But you don't go the effort of actually showing the childhood. It's silly. I mean, I didn't get to see how great great gas was born. So this was silly. And so I didn't want to go that far. But what I wanted to do was the Mike characters have been together for twelve years. They knew each other really, well, they were friends for a long time, and they had a lot of back history. So I can pull on you know, old jokes. They have at each other and make it seem like they had been together for a long time. But when my wife wanted more stories, I said to myself, well, I have twelve years they were together, I could actually drop some prequels in there. And what I thought was a number of people have written to me and said, you know, they couldn't believe how these two characters who are so different for another could ever have become friends. So that to me was challenge. So I'd like, yes, I will show you how this happened. It was if you had the questions that people like why does Adrian have three swords and so on and so forth, Nazis absurd. So I want to explain all these little legendary things. So I wrote. The first book of being when they met crouch our? Yeah. The crown that was fun. That was fun. The show kind of the origin story if they're a superheroes. That's your thing that you kind of need that people would like to see how that occurred, and then I wrote and that was sort of a two book series because it rolls into the second book, very neatly. So those first two books are almost like one story, although they take place when you're apart. So then I wanted to take those those first two years, and I thought well, you know, I could actually write a book one for every of the twelve years they were together. So that was kind of what I didn't know was people hate prequels. I didn't know this. But this is one of the reasons why might publish it was not so thrilled with me doing. But I guess it has something to do with the whole Star Wars movie thing that then set people off, and I guess he was the only one who have done and people don't like knowing that the characters are going to live or I guess also when people are doing a prequel they're just kind of going through the motions to make more money just based off of off the information dirty gave out so, but that's not what I did. I actually wrote a complete story and his attorney out people love the prequels. So I didn't fall into that trap. And they've been very well received. So those are the first ones, and I have got four out of I think there should be a total ten of them to account for all the years. And they're they're doing very well. Those are the ones we I said it was kick starting to do the hardcover. Some I can't do the first two because those are owned by orbit, but everything after that has been released in hardcover and paperback. Did you model rice and Hadron on parts of yourself? Did they each represent parts of yourself? Yeah. I mean pretty much every character, right? Has a little bit of me into it. I often referred with being like real magic. There's a luge where you can kind of fake things. But then if you really want to affect a reader, you have to go in and use real personal feelings real personal ideas with them. Yes. In fact, it's funny because Royces my bad side and Hadrian is my good side. And there was one time. I my wife was sick. And she was in the hospital, and she called me and let me know. And I was coming down. She says, oh, please bring Hadrian not Royce. Because she knows that Royce comes out. Bring hadrian. So you got those two I do drop on it. You know, Adrian's might better half the person who I am when I'm good and Royces the Preussen when I I get really your -tated like one time. My my daughter was hit by a car, and it was my daughter's fault. She pulled. She was riding a bike with my wife, and she pulled right out in front of the oncoming car an elderly couple, they weren't going very very fast, but she flipped over the hood and everything and they stopped got out. They took care of her. They got her and drove her home ticket to the hospital got to the hospital, the doctor there insisted that I fill out a police report about these two people because they're going to have to talk to a police officer, but hitting this kid, and I said they were not involved in it. It wasn't their fault. We're good. And he says, no, you absolutely have to do this to which I said, no, I absolutely don't suddenly ROY started coming out of this point good. I mean, I was a little bit angry with the circus. Stances? And I'm like, this is not a tiny pressing me. And he is insisting that I was going to have to fill out a police report saying that you know, you might want to sue them at that point. I got really kind of angry, and I think I may have threatened his life. That's right. And that's the thing which I don't like to see the one that has three swords now. No, no, he's he's the one who doesn't appear to have any weapon attacker, but it doesn't actually appear to have. He's the person who's solution to everything is these solutions just to kill the. That's just why not I mean. He he's exactly that individual who in a horror film when you stab the bag any falls down. He's like, oh, no, no don't stop there. Head off the carcass and selling because we don't we don't take chances Hadrian is the person who would be noble and honorable and say, oh by not your down. Now, I will help you up because now we're gonna see friends because we settled, but not no not rices just vicious cold. I can see the benefits of that. You have a place to put those parts of you that if they sneak out into a marriage a real life. They could cause trouble. But in a fantasy story they can just make the reading really fun. Yes. I also had one situation where a bunch of people reading my books and they were talking afterwards. And the conclusion of all the women in the readers group was they all love Adrian. But Royce was hot. That was one of the weirdest thing. I wrote a character who's hot, okay? That's a good side had to come from somewhere. Well, this is STAN tastic I hit. I tell you how I heard about. You have a listener in Krakow Poland Shimon shot, and he has been after me for months to try to track you down for a conversation and his survey Shen. Caught my eye. He said that your your commitment to readers is striking. And he he told the story of this must have been hollow world, he you had some profanity, and you knew that some of your readers might mind. So you released two versions of the book one for people that didn't mind strong language, and and not really as much as my thing. So when I wrote ROY era, I when I'm sitting this story in a medieval historic period, I don't use modern-day profanity because it seems so terribly out of place. It would be like using the word dude, it it's too modern to me because for me most the profanity stuff that we very I heard in a Martin Scorsese film in the late sixties early seventies. So that's locked into a such a modern era that I just didn't use. I substituted it for the most part with like English profanity what you'd see in the old movies. That was fine. With me. Also, I kind of Sunday was writing it for my daughter who had dyslexia. And so I wasn't gonna fill it with a lot of sex or graphic violence or profanity. So when I wrote those it wasn't that. I was trying to do that specifically, which is something I didn't feel any need for it. I mean sex in the book really wasn't gonna move the plot forward. So I didn't see any time to spend. I mean, you wouldn't show people go to the bathroom either. Because it doesn't move the plot. So neither one of those things were necessary. Well, people got to like that about my reading because apparently in fantasy this there is a great deal of sex and profanity and so on and so forth. I even know that because I mean, I'm used to the older stuff where they didn't have it either. So this was became something that readers of mine expected from an I saw people thanked me for that. I was like, oh because when I'm reading Hala world Hal rule takes place in the real world contemporary age, and I'm trying to make certain statements with that story, and those people in net story would be profane in their. Guage? So when I wrote that I wrote it honest to what it should be. But then I realized a lot of my readers. So when I made the kindle when I made the book. I simply search replace in profanity didn't take that long. And then I loaded both of those books into the book. So that you simply get both books. You be start at you click on the link that takes you to the beginning of the book that you want to read cool, this kind of your people because they the end of the book, and it would show so much more to go. But that's yeah. He's. A little bit for the most part. I mean, you had to books in your possession at all time. So you you put it wasn't that much of an extra effort on my part. But it really did provide the readers with a solution to this problem that they just didn't want to read that I'm like fine. You don't have to use sit in the s I session last week that you plan to write until you're too old and feeble not rate that's pretty much. Now, I'm thinking. Yeah. I was gonna ask you. How will you know? You know, I got a similar thing. I'm sixty sixty nine this year. I pictured just doing this podcast. You know well into my eighties nineties if I king, right? You can keep going that. Yeah. That's right. He's just you just keep doing it until and then you reach a point where you can't remember what you said in the last show. So you just keep doing the same show over and over again the same stories. Yeah. I do that are ready that I've written ever since. I was thirteen years old. I've never written to get published. I was writing just because I enjoy writing. And I often said if you want to be a writer make sure that you're going into it for love of writing. Because if you're going into it for getting published or making money, you're the good chance you're gonna be highly disappointed. But if you're doing it because you enjoy doing it, then you'll never be disciplined. And maybe like I said it took me twenty years from the first time I started writing novels at the time, I actually pose published. So but for. For me. I mean, I stopped writing. Because of the fact after after about twenty years, I stopped writing because I felt that I was wasting my life. I was putting it was almost like drug addiction. I was putting too much of my life into that aspect will everyone else was making careers moving that I had to put that aside and do something different. But yeah, it's I will probably continue to do it. Because I've always done it. It's not something. I I do for a living. It's just something. I do as a living person as your life. Yeah. So it's just it's just enjoyable for me to do. I have to create something. I I do ideal paintings. I dried stories, you know music. They can think of I always having some sort of creative outlet and tested. I've been speaking with Michael j Sullivan bestselling author of the epic fantasy series the radio of revelations the Ray year chronicles and legends of the first empire. Thanks very much. Michael. Thank you. Next week's guest will be James mcreavy vice president principle analysts forced or research frequent guests in the show. He's going to be giving us a preview of information that he will present formally in a webinar April twenty third titled are you fit for the future? You can't shape the future with tools that you don't have the cost for non members of foresters three hundred dollars. I actually invested in that order to hear James's thoughts on the future. I thought that we pretty valuable. There's a possibility that James might be able to offer a discount to kennel chronicles listeners for the show, and I'll have details on that next week. If we have them speaking of the future, I have launched a new and separate podcast this week, titled edge cast, it's going to enable me to think out loud about politics and other matters that are germane to the kindle chronicles. I'm using an elegant podcast app named anchor. And you can check it out at anchor FM slash Len hyphen Edger -ly as a postscript to my conversation with Michael Salvin this morning. I received an Email from his wife, Robin, saying that she had been taking care of his ninety seven year old mother, Anna may I think is how that would be pronounced A M A E in Michigan after a hospitalization while Michael stayed home in Virginia and condition that I did not appear serious. But it took a turn for the worse. And she ended up passing away at her home with hospice care Tuesday. That would have been the day after I spoke with Michael she said, she couldn't say enough good about the hospice workers and she gave quite a moving account of of that sad loss for their family. After describing the passing of Michael's mother. She continued to business like way to the details of the Kickstarter project, and you could see that she has really helped him out with the business side of his writing work. So I'd like to close this episode of the show with the prayers for Michael's family and their time of loss. A Leonard Cohen song. I'm learning guitar contains. Some lines that maybe might be fitting for the the passing of an author's mother. There's a blaze of light in every word. It doesn't matter which you've heard the holy or the broken alley Louisa. Yes. Impeach Anna may pass to another world this week at the age of ninety seven. This is linearly for the kindle chronicles from downtown Denver. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day. Bye.

Amazon Michael j Sullivan Alexa Jennifer hsu-tuan Michael publisher Denver Mike Twitter Virginia writer Siri Adrian Jeff MacKenzie Basil Robin Siri Apple
TKC 524 Bestselling T&M Author Robert Dugoni

The Kindle Chronicles

44:58 min | 2 years ago

TKC 524 Bestselling T&M Author Robert Dugoni

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things. Amazon I'm early today is August seventeenth twenty eighteen. Greetings from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I am rebooting my circadian rhythms after a two day. Western states are federation meeting in Denver. I flew out Wednesday morning and arrived back at Logan airport past midnight last night spending one night in our hometown, Denver, it was sunny and dry in Denver, and I loved getting even a brief taste of mile high life in the midst of our half year here in Cambridge and Maine before leaving for Denver, I reached author, Robert de Goni for conversation about his latest Tracy Crosswhite novel, and how Thomas and Mercer mysteries imprint of Amazon publishing differs from the big five publishers who published his first few novels. I'd say the primary difference between Thomas Mercer and my experience with the five publishing is that Thomas and Mercer never stops selling my books because of my Denver trip this week. I'm going to go straight to the interview and then catch up with some of your comments. Then. I hope to navigate the tesla model three to ocean park this afternoon soon enough to miss the heat of the Friday afternoon, rush hour. That's people leaving Boston for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, for some cooler weather. Robert de Goni is a graduate of Stanford where he majored in communications and journalism. Alright, for the Stanford daily. He worked briefly as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times before heading to law school at UCLA. He practices a trial attorney for thirteen years in San Francisco before moving to Seattle with his wife and his plan was to write novels. He is a versatile writer at home in the mystery genre, as well as standalone novels. He has won numerous writing awards and his books have sold more than three million copies. Bob came to my attention via and unusual recommendation for my wife Arlene who is a voracious reader of mysteries. When she finished the fifth book in his Tracy Crosswhite series based on a detective in Seattle. She told me I head to have him on the show. That's the first time I think in ten years she's ever made that director request. So I jumped at the chance to schedule an interview with the crack publicity team at Amazon Publishing's, Thomas and Mercer. Imprint. I reached rubber do Goni by Skype on Monday, August thirteenth, and I began by asking him what led to the writing of his latest Tracy, white cross mystery, a steep price published on June twenty. Sixth, that's funny. Funny story. Wait, it came about, I I flew down to the bay area in San Francisco, visit my mom, and I took an Uber to get your house. And there was a young man in the car. We started chatting and he was looked to be of Middle Eastern descent, whatever head just got married. And I asked to be known as girlfriend for life is wife for a long time, and he told me it was an arranged marriage. And so we started chatting about it a little bit. And he started telling me things. I asked him if he was terrified Camaro many hardly do, and he said he wasn't because his parents had been arranged marriage. They've been married for over thirty years. So one thing led to another. I got to got my mom's office. She still works and I found a computer and I started doing research. And I had another idea to sort of already formulating for for Dell in FIS. I wanted the other two detectives, one of the homicide detectives. I worked with talk to me a little bit about an area of Seattle where they had a lot of crime and and so I had another another story going and Dell and his wife as are the product of blind date. So I just sort of started meshing the two stories together, and I came up with really two storylines I came up with with a murder in an area of Seattle that Dell has go to investigate in turns out that fast is facing the son of a man who he put in prison. And then I had the second story, which was Tracy, who was investigating the death of a young woman of e- east Indian descent, whose parents wanted her to submit to an arranged marriage and she was. Very sort of a more modern kid grew up here in the United States and didn't want submit to it and suddenly disappears. They don't know. She's just being we counsel trend or she's being or if something has more nefarious as happened to her. You know, in here in Seattle, we have a lot of lot of east Indians have common to the area to work for Microsoft, and so it was a lot of them. The second generation, the kids are, you know, very, very American. And so I started thinking it, it'd be nice sort of a nice contrast. Nice, a nice conflict, both familial conflict in the asylum conflict, and I just started putting the two together and seem to work. So would you put those two together? I suppose there was a chance you weren't going to be able to fit them together, you, you entered into writing those stories without actually. No. Knowing how you are going to tie them together in a book? I did. I am. I'm inorganic writer not a not an outline or I mean, I understand story structure a lot better than I did twenty years ago. So understand how stories stories supposed to unfold than I understand that were two plotlines when one plot line sort of descends intention, the other plotlines should be ascending intention, but you know, part of the thrill for me in writing is the discovery process and there as I get done and I am like almost cheering inside because it wasn't something that I intimated doing. It wasn't something that I saw coming, but it will fit perfectly. And then like all writers are those days where I get down and I go with Elsa. You know, but that's part of the writing process and the series of trees across might mystery series. I was meisters grave published November first twenty fourteen that turn out to be a very successful book. And I've heard talk about it in in other conversations. November I was the publication date. Did you know that day that you kind of had a tiger by the tail with that book or how soon was obvious that this was in a way gonna change your life? I knew I had a tiger by the tail, and the reason why I knew I had tiger by the tail was that it had been put in kindle I program. So it was one of four books that prime members could download for free the month before, and I knew that it had over two hundred thousand downloads at so win that book when that book hit. I think within the first day I have a couple of thousand if not more reviews on Amazon and the reviews were very, very positive. Now, I, I didn't really know that it was going to change my life on ener very much has until probably about six months into it. When I started realizing how powerful Thomson Mercer. My my publisher is what what they're able to do for me what they were for the riders, they're committed the selling and they know how to sell. And boy, they sold the heck out of that book. And I had a second book right away ready to go. They told me right up front. They said you let us worry about the marketing and promotion. You just write the next because that's the best promotion you can do. And I have followed their mantra for the since twenty four teen. And I just finished my panther eleven book with them in in about five years for five years. And boy, they sell. They can sell the heck out of a book. They really can't. Let's give a quick summary of the books two through five of the her final breath in the clearing. The trap grew close to home would water some of the plotlines that you have in those books cover Pinal breath was actually a book that came out. Out of my sisters gray originally. I had a second story line in in my sister's grave about a serial killer who is killing young women in in Seattle might agent was always very big on on, you know, a police officer has more than one case. So let's see your police officer doing something else. But when I went and talked with Amazon, the very first time a my editor their there. Turkey said to me, I think you're, I think you're you're, you're impinging on the original plot. Let's pull that plot out. It would make a great second plot. So that's the story. The second plot Tracy's trying to find the serial killer whose killing young women in of course, let's very personal the her because she lost her sister at the age of eighteen to pretty horrific. Killer the third. Let's see. What's the third in the series. In in the clearing came about from a conversation I have with my agent on the phone talking to on, she told me that she was just reading about a a cold case that had been solved that involve the hit run and how the hit and run had really changed the lives of of obviously the the young woman who had been killed in her family, but also the people who'd been in the car who had hit it. And that was, I thought, just the great plotline for a story. And so I, I wrote a close to home, said it down in an area of Washington state close to the Oregon border small little town. I remember something that Allen Turkis had said to me about what crimes due to small towns in particular, a big town we have, we have murders and I'm not. I'm not trying to in any way minimize them, but in small town when there's a murder, everybody knows and it's a bad situation. So that was the that was the third one. And then the. Girl came about from a conversation I had with my homicide detectives who are friends of mine. I'd taken them out to dinner to thank them for all the healthy had been giving me and we were sort of chatting. And one of them said to me, you know what you ought to do. Y'all put a body in the crab pot in a web in a crab pot. What does the crab putt crab pot is a pot that you you lower down into the water with bait and you. You try to catch crabs, and there are a number of different sizes of get, including these industrial size crab pots, which you see on things like the the deadliest catch, you know, television series and things like that. And I looked at him and I thought that is just the most horrific thing I've ever heard, where did you come up with that? And he had a case. And he said that if the boyfriend had not broken, they never would have found the body because you know what the the horrific thing that happens too. Body when it's put into the crap on his submerges it becomes bait and and crabs and other animals organisms feed off of it. So it can be really pretty horrific. And in the middle of writing that story, there was a story here in Washington state where a woman found a head in a crackpot. They had no no idea how it had happened, how it got in there. They don't know what the situation was. So anyway, Tracy begins to try to figure out who's the woman in the craft pot. That was a really difficult story for me to write because originally I started out with an idea that was going to ride a thriller that took place on mount Ranier. My son had just climbed mount rainier that summer. I just thought it'd be a fascinating place the try to exist and try to solve a crime. But every time I talked to my house, I detected they'd say, why is she up on the mound? Why is she up on the mountain? And so I, I kind of switched. I started writing the crab pot story and in my head I kept having. This twenty one twenty twenty one year old young girl from Portland talking to me and I couldn't figure out why the hell she was talking to me, but she just stayed in my head. And so finally one day I just decided whatever she was gonna tell me whatever her story was. I was going to ride it and I wrote about seventy five pages of this young woman story. And when I got done, I realized why not Ranier fit into the story while so it was. It was really, it was a, it was one of those books. I really have the trust. My instincts have trust the way that I did things, but it was also a little scary because I never knew fully if the two stories we're gonna melt together. Now, the trap girl we've just been talking about correct? Yes. And how close to home with the whole whole different setting, their Costa home, Kim, about really because of the opioid crisis here in in in in the Pacific northwest, really all over the United States. And I started. Doing research on the opioid crisis and started finding out really some, you know, terrible things that nobody really soft for coming. I mean, I don't think marijuana is a gateway drug, but at the same time when marijuana became legalized, many of the Mexican drug cartels realized that they were going to be losing their profits and they plowed under their marijuana fields in they started planning poppies and that's why now you can get heroin for less than a pack of cigarettes. And so I just started studying sort of that whole controversy and an and found a pretty good story about the, you know, the opioid crisis of heroin, crisis, and all those kinds of things clus I had a woman in one of my writing classes who was a Jag officer here in Seattle, and and I thought again, it would be it would be a really cool setting to bring in Jag military law and she was yes, she was a big help. On that foot. Jag officer, somebody who practices within the military legal framework, correct. They aren't. They are lawyers within the military framework. She was defense lawyer. Interesting. Now your first series attorney, David Sloan. It looks as if you publish the the first of those jury master with Hess shed in two thousand eight in second third books were published in two thousand nine, two thousand ten by touchstone, which is an imprint of Simon Schuster. So you had three books that were published by big five publishers. Before the fourth book was published by Amazon. This gives you kinda great vantage point to compare from an author's point of view in probably focusing on, you've said, Tom's Mercer's powerful seller. How would you contrast and compare your. -perience having your book sold by those two big five publishers versus your experience with Thomson Mercer here that would really wanna may they were. They were really great people, and I and I, I, I really respected how they treated me. I'd say the one of the things I always tell authors now having learned from experience is don't don't underestimate loyalty and and I made that mistake I left has shet- and and I, I left four dollars met for money, and my father at the time was still alive. And he said to me, you know, Bob, there's something to be said about loyalty and I, I didn't listen to him and I and I should have. And so one of the things I always tell riders, if you find good publisher, treat you well, then treat them well. And I'd say for me, the publisher that has treated me, the best has been just fantastic. Has been Tom. Immersing and the difference for me the I'd say the primary difference between Thomas Mercer in my experience with big five publishing is that Thomas and Mercer never stops selling books. When I'm with a big five publisher, you know, my book will come out and their what there would be publicity leading up to the books release. And then that would be a publicity for about three weeks after the book's release I might or might not want to tour and they might or might not assign me a specific publicists and then that would be the book would go through. It's it's, it's Eichel and and the book Silvo k will. Then that was okay with the shed. They're still selling my sister's grave, and it is four or five years Lamey tomes versa. Palms emerging using with Thomas emerges. They are still selling my sister's grave in large quantities, and you know, they're constantly. They're constantly asking me about programs. Would you be willing to put. My sister's grave in a program in which you know there was one where anybody that downloads the downloads, the turbo tax gets free copy of your book. There was another one you're going to be put in. You know, in the Hilton hotels. I mean, they're just all there's always a program in, I always say, because they're always selling my book and you know, to this day, I think as of maybe a week ago, I haven't checked been on vacation, but a week ago, I think my sister's grant was in the top ten again and was out since twenty fourteen, you know, they, they're constantly selling me constantly selling my books, they, they never stopped. They never give in. And when I have a new book coming out, that's another opportunity for them to go back in settled entire backlist. I'd say that's the biggest difference for me between the two between Thomas Mercer and big, five publishing. The other thing that I want I always emphasized to writers is. Thomas in Mercer is a is a five publisher in every sense of the word. I haven't great enter their Gracie. Oil is a fantastic ever. My books are are developed going through development at it. That would rival anything. Anybody goes to mine, developmental editor. Never lets me get away with any. I mean, she is. She is. We just got through and I knew both that will be out next April and it went from five hundred seventy page novel down to about four four ninety. When it gets done with a development and it goes the copy at it and it's copy. And then when we get done with all that because I am so widely read, they have a third person that goes through and just looks for every little thing. I have a person that designs my cover. I have a person that works on me with title. I mean, I haven't person in marketing that I work with. I mean, they have everything that a big five publisher has. Sometimes people make the mistake. They think what you're probably by Amazon yourself published on not not even close. I, they, I couldn't do one tenth of the stuff that Thomas immersion does for me when the other big differences that I appreciate people listen to this show. I know preciado his that Thomas Mercer the other Amazon publishing imprint. They published the price e books at, you know, under five dollars, reasonable. There's kindle unlimited. And a lot of that I assume means that compared with your publishing with Shatin and Simon Schuster, a larger proportion of your books maybe are being read as kindle books because the pricing is so sane. Yeah, that that's very true. I very large portion. I boats radish kennel books, but by here's the more important aspect of that, I get emails constantly. I'm constantly from readers who will say things to me like I am. Going through cancer treatment. And I read seven books week, and I was so grateful that I was able to find your for four ninety nine because I can't afford to spend twenty five dollars on ten books. I get. I get those emails all the time. I'm not exaggerating. I get probably five. Six may be PanAm month. People who will say to me, I must shut in in in Kansas City and I don't have any real outside interest except reading, and it was so nice to be able to download your book and to escape from my problems for a while. And you know, for off of, that's incredibly are warming and it's incredibly moving to to to to realize the power of book. I know that some of the big five publishers have in the past said, they don't want to devaluate book. But boy, I don't know what greater value you can get from a book than to get an Email from someone that says something like that. To me that makes it all worth while I've never heard of put that way that's really moving. That's what it's about. Connecting with one reader. It's about it's about it's about getting is about having your work, read and appreciated and boy for someone to say something to you. I just had a new book come out with life union called extrordinary life of Sam, hell it's phenomenally well. I think he's like a four point eight rating and I have had emails from people saying to me, you made me believe in God, you rekindled my face. You made me realize that my life is extraordinarily. You made me realize that everybody in this world has problems and it's it's the life is really about how we overcome those problems. Again, I mean, you know, you can't put a price tag on that, and people will say to me, I've read your book. I read that book three times and I'm keeping it on my shelf and I'll read it every year. You know, for me, that's what it's about. It's about it's about people connecting with your book and finding finding something that that helps them as a person helps them as as a human being. It doesn't always happen that way. I and I and I know that I mean different books react. People have different responses to different books, but as a writer, that's, that's really what I what I'm trying to do. The life of Sam. Hell that's a standalone you published in April in lake union as a different imprint than Thomas and Mercer kind of book clubs, oriented imprint. I think how different is that way? Is that a literary book compared with mystery genre Booker? How do you see those two books in in the writing of them? Yes, it's, you know, I never wanted to use the word literary because anybody would read. And you also kind of set yourself up for for someone to take some swipes at that your your vocabulary is not have raw, but it it it. It is a literary novel. It's a contemporary novel. You wanna call it that. And it's a story of a young man's life. One with ocular albums, which means he has red eyes and and his mother is is very devote Catholic, and she always tells him you have extrordinary is 'cause you're going to leave next door Neri life because he was born in the sixties. So colored contact lenses did not come into vote really until the mid to late eighties. And so you know, it's sort of like Harry Potter who has lightened scar on his head. It can't be avoided. You can't hide it. And so it's really the story of him and his two other misfit friends told through the perspective of Sam, hell as an adult. When I wrote it. I was nervous about because I wrote it wrote the first draft in five weeks and I finished ten years later. And I was nervous about it. But you know, when when lake union read it, they said, we know how we know how to handle it. We know how to handle the fact that you're known to be a mystery thriller writer, and this is a different genre, but we can. We can do that. We can take care of, we can handle it. And boy, they really have they really have. Was there the idea of you polishing that went under a different authors name considered in? No, it it never really came up because they, they said they said we can lead can reach out to our readers I and and after we reach out to our readers than, you know, be your, your large mystery thriller audience will find their way to the book because they really loved the book, and they really thought the book was going to do well, but they said, let us let us go first to the people that read our lake union and then we'll, we'll go from there. So that book has been has really done well. I saw one review of somebody who who loved your mysteries and said, I'm going to read this book just because I respect this author and they left a five star review and said, I love this book to even though it is different than it sounds like that hasn't been unusual experience? Not yet. I think I had wanted one or two people who are who are like. You know who don't read, who don't those kind of novels and felt like, you know, I don't know what you wanna call it betrayed or whatever. Bayton switch? Yeah, for the both part, no. For the most part, it even the people that have read my mysteries, like you just said, who who say, well, I'm gonna read this other vote because I like this offer. They have a totally different experience, but it's for them spending enjoyable experience. What can you tell us about the sister thriller? That's the one that's available for preorder now publication April night. Is that part of the Tracy Crosswhite series? No. Glad you last. That is a really cool story. I had that book sort of fall into my lap. I had I had a gentleman who who I can't name in Seattle who was really, really loved my books and said, he had a story I might be interested in and you know, I don't. I don't really follow up on those very often, but I look this guy up after couple of emails and he was very legitimate businessman and yada, yada, yada. Anyway, we met the short of a long story is back in the nineteen eighties. He was he was acquitted of espionage. He was. He was a working for the CIA and some things went sideways and and he was acquitted Alaskan is. So you have to got through talking. I told him, I said, you know, he didn't want me to write this story. You thought I wrote well, and he loved the David Sloan books. And in the David's phone books, there's a character named Charles Jenkins who is in CIA officer living. On an island in the north last sort of as hermit is now, married has child and, and I said, but you know, I think I think I, I would like to be able to write a story in which Charles Jiang is the main character. And on one of the, he'll go into Russia. He'll be, you'll be called back to duty. He'll go into Russia because Russia's very sexy right now, and he'll realize that things were not as represented to him and he'll be running for his life and when he finds base on of the governing. Okay. And then you know, he, he gets, he tried for Piaget. So anyway, I talked to, I said, if you would be willing to help me with sort of some of the spy aspects and things like that. And so when I wrote the book, boy, I was just flying through it. I just I thought it was the most fun I've ever had a writer I live, I sorta was living by the mantra of my friend and writing writing guy that I teach with Stephen, James and Stephen. All he says to me is whatever the first choices for the character to do next. You can't do that. You have to find something else feel. I just had a ball writing this book and when I got done, I didn't know what I had, but I, I set it off to be read by simple readers and then by agents, and then by my anger and mandate just loved that story. And I love that story. So. So is in a standalone storage as does the David Sloan appear in it, or is it just Davis known? David Sloan comes in as a lawyer, help his friend. I thought it was a stand alone out, but when I got done, I had I had to former CIA officers who were helping me on the book. And then two two guys had worked in the Soviet Union in the nineteen seventies eighties who were businessmen and all four of them got the ended up. Okay said, so you're doing a sequel. And I said, am I. And they told me they called me. What about the vote? They thought was going to be the next the next book in the series, and then share out when when my ages my editor read it, they loved it so much that the they, they said, yeah, let's let's look into doing doing a sequel so problem. Probably gonna do another one. Hubbub. Tracy crossway. Anything further planned in that series? Yeah, I, it's funny. I've been getting a lot of emails from readers because in in the in the book a steep price, there's a couple of very personal things that happened with Tracy and lotteries have interpreted that to mean that's the end of the series. It doesn't face. He is going to go forward and and I have another idea that I'm sort of working on. I'm taking a few weeks off here, but I have another idea that's formulated in my head where she's going to go back home. She's going to go back home to cedar growth for reasons that become apparent in sneak price. And things are gonna happen back when she's home. Some, that's all I kind of have in my head at the moment. But I'm sure, I'm sure that will be more your plate seems pretty full. You know, it's it's what I love to do. I almost feel sort of out of water when I'm not writing. I took some time off last summer. My agents said to me, you have one book coming out both this. You have some time in took me like two weeks to really sort of unwind and just sort of relax because I love what I do. I always say to people, I feel very blessed. I feel extremely blessed that I get to do what I love for living, and and that's the thing that Thomas and Mercer and Laking have given me. They'd giving me the ability to do what I love to do for a living. And I've told them on many occasions, you changed my life and you change the lives of my family members because of it. Is there anything that you miss about being a trial attorney now. Short answer. It is a tough job, and I respect that had a good trial lawyers because it is a tough job. I mean, I don't people don't realize they see movies and read books about guys in trial, but they don't realize what it takes to get to trial and be in trial, and it is. It is a lot of work and boy, the guys that are really good, they they are n. shoulders above the others. I have. I have tremendous respect for voters. It's it's a tough job. Some people think writing is gem, easy job. Just pick up a pen piece of paper and you go, would he thinks the most difficult part of being a writer. Well, I started writing fulltime. I mean, I was writer. I wrote the LA times. I wrote legal briefs. I wrote all my out my all my life. I was on the Stanford daily news journalism, this program, I was wrote nice school on the chief. I wrote my whole life and I got out and I started writing the nineteen ninety eight and I had forty something rejection. I always tell people the hardest are of writing is for me was era that's and not understanding the craft. Writing the novel is a craft. And if you don't understand the crap, you are going to spin your wheels, spin, your real. It is very rare to find the person who understands not only how to tell us story, but can right. You know, you might have somebody that can right, but they don't know how to tell the story. You might have somebody that knows how to tell the story, but can't right. And so I think the biggest thing I always tell new writers is is learned the craft. He does one save you a lot of time and to. You'll begin to appreciate how difficult storytelling this. And as for may be held to grow up in a large family or what are the other ways to. Saul the air against problem. Yeah, my my brothers and sisters are not not to impress with anything. I'm one of ten, so they're, you know, they have some pretty remarkable lives themselves. They're a lot of them are doctors surgeons. So they have those moments that we talked about earlier in our interview. They have those moments where we have people come to them to thank them for you know, they're alive. You know, people who had cancer, who my brothers have gone in and save the end. You know, it's a, it's a whole different form of appreciation. I've been talking with rubber do Goni bestselling author of the tracing white cross and David Sloan series and other books. Thanks very much. Thanks. I appreciate it. Thanks. You have me on. Time now for your comments? Al-din it road and Email about the interview. I did with university of Nebraska Omaha. So she professor Jim Jones. He writes Len, although I was out of teaching role before the advent of tablets, readers, cetera. I have been interested in watching developments in classroom learning technology. I agree with Jim that physically navigating traditional textbook, especially in a classroom setting is much more practical than electric forms, especially. So when the forms may vary across platforms in the same classroom, for example, are we referring to the quote page number or non page position number used on the kindle. What if I'm reading on a Chromebook or other laptop, it's going to be interesting to see how educators manage the increasing villa -bility of technology and resources that it provides this Zahle continuing. I have rather bifurcated fears, edgy innovators, see technol-. As a replacement for techs and other resources and jump in without assessment that is careful enough and traditionalist resist the movement altogether. I do wonder about the rates of retention and assimilation of material quired by electron ick versus paper. I find that when reading extended technical materials, the reader and even the tablet is not my preferred medium. You've likely seen the recent research suggesting that? No, taking my hand promotes more attention than keyboarding. I look forward to seeing similar results comparing reading methods. Thanks for hosting these conversations. Alan. And earlier message offered these reflections on the tenth anniversary of the show. I did not get around to congratulate you on the began versity earlier. He writes, but certainly want to extend those good wishes and a big thanks for your commitment to such monumental project. I can't claim to have been there from the first, but figure that I've been very regular for at least eight of the ten years. It has certainly. Become part of my ritual. I also hope you don't take seriously that suggestion that you refrain from weather. Forecasts may tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure from Mark Robertson hot, hot Dallas, no matter how dreadful the heat. I always look forward to hearing about main Cambridge or Denver. I also create your main sunrise pictures on Instagram. You can see those Instagram pictures at Instagram, dot com. Slash Len Edgeley and since my bed in ocean park looks out to the east, I get a good view of the sunset. Each have get very picky. If if it doesn't paint the sky in the low tide flat complete colors, I just roll over and and don't rows myself to go take a picture put on instrument, but thanks for mentioning that l. he continues one of the things I find interesting was addressed by several of your correspondence last week. This is an relation to the tenth anniversary. I read most things on kindle and increasingly. Use audible. Often, those formats are used jointly through whisper sink. In fact, I find myself urinated when whisper saying is unavailable and I have to keep track when going back and forth. Occasionally I end up with a paper copy. Also, the electric versions are especially helpful for my aging vision yet. I still get the to sit down with a book in quotes. I was especially interested to hear the relationship between John and formats both in individual preferences and sales numbers to the extent those are known or shared. I'm also becoming more custom to e book resources at the public library after trying library access and finding overcomplicated. I recently learned about Libby the app from overdrive and have had better luck with that. The IOS app, that's I phone ipad is very user, friendly and manageable. I have used it as a reader audio player and have also used it to download borrowed books from Amazon. I have found in my library at least. That availability sometimes limited and you'd better be ready to drop everything when a wanted book becomes available. I am trying, however, to take better advantage of that quote, free resource again, congratulations on the anniversary and best wishes in the next decade. I appreciate your insights and enjoy following your travels and insights. Take care l. dent. Thanks very much for that l. and don't worry. I will keep mentioning the weather from time to time whether fair or foul. Here's a comment from listener. Roxanne who writes, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy listening to your podcast. I to have multiple kindles and several different echoes. I like all of your content and yours is one of the first podcast I listen to each week. I think if you weeks ago, you ask for days for new features on kindles, and I would like to suggest a countdown timer and accumulative timer. So many schools and reading programs require parents and kids to keep track of their reading time. And it is always a struggle to do that. I think this would be a great feature to add and maybe opened up the kindle to a new group of readers that would appreciate the feature, Roxanne. I think it's a great idea rocks and I sure that's the case that people are being assigned the task of reading for certain period each day. And if that was built in aspect of kindle in the app, so it would be pretty cool. And finally, here's an Email from Dan Campbell and California Highland just heads up in reading some recent kindle discussions folks are. Saying the kindle world scout programs are no longer. I know you tried scout some while ago. If I remember I did try scout that was Amazon's experiment in crowd sourcing the finding of books to publish a. They published quite a number of books, but they're not accepting any more submissions for the program. There is a link where you can go and see books that were published as a result of the scout program, and they have a lot of convenient ways to categorize it including which books ended up being the most pro popular. It's another example of them is on doing an innovation, trying it for while and not getting stuck with it forever. Perhaps the use of it diminished on the part of authors submitting it and any event. There was a lot of books that were published that way that I'm sure reached audiences that they wouldn't have otherwise reached. Dan continues since my wife and I recently moved boxes of books are heavy. I haven't been able to listen to each t Casey episode as faithfully as I want. So I don't know. You've already talked about this meaning the kindle scout now, kindle worlds. That was, I think, fan fiction where you could write your own contribution to a series and the authors would make it possible to do that without any copyright problems. And that again is another experiment which has run its course. Dan says, I did listen to the university show what fun. You're right, that kindle technology is pretty much the norm for us aficionado. So transitioning to a few more author interviews works well trust you Darlene Claire are well in our new house. Janice has her own quilting room. See attached happiness is stitching in the ditch who knew cheerily Dan, I recognize the photos that he included of his wife Johnson. Her quilting reminded me a lot of what I live with with d'orleans quilting in here in a main in Denver. There's always a lot of good fabric around some beautiful work. She, she finished one of. Photograph of me looking down at a sea-lion in the Galapagos, which from our trip, three or four years ago. And it's a stunning capturing of the moment. That's what she does. When we go on these trips, she'll take photos and then for the next several years quilts will gradually emerge which capture the memories, and that's that's pretty wonderful aspect of. Having a quilter as a partner, which Dan knows that's it for this week. I don't know yet who will be joining me for the interview next week, but I have a couple of ideas that I'm pursuing. There are thirteen days left for you to subscribe to the free kindle chronicles Email newsletter before I draw a winner of an unopened kindle paper, white from the list of subscribers. There are currently for hundred sixty three subscriber. So that's better odds than winning your average local lottery to subscribe navigate to the kindle chronicles dot com than at the right side of the page. You will see a box headline. Get your free kindle chronicles newsletter. Just enter your first name and Email address to sign up after it won't bother me. If after the drawing which I'll do on my birthday, August thirtieth, you can unsubscribe. If you don't wanna continue getting those weekly emails. These are where I just highlight that the show is up and give you some sense of what's in the weeks program. If I get news sometimes from Amazon, which I do. If there's a new kindle coming out or something that I'll send a special mailing to the Email list saying, just received this press release or Amazon. So you might be getting some Amazon information that way. If you're subscribe to the mailing list next week, I hope to update you on kindle direct publishing options. I hadn't realized until I heard from one of you that create space is being phased out. And now kindle direct publishing simply offers e kindle versions and paperback versions under one umbrella. I'm going to have a chance to learn more about this has been a while since I've helped someone put a book together because my sister Stephanie has very exciting book that she's been working on for years, and we're getting into the final phases of putting it up on Amazon. So be able to tell you about that process. And I hope that once it's up that they'll be the first time, I'll have a chance to interview my sister on the show in the coming weeks. Once her book is available at Amazon music for my podcast is from. An original Thelonious monk composition named, well, you needn't. This version is rung by Email monta GATT on the variations and time a jazz perspective CD by public transit recording. This is linearly for the kindle chronicles from Cambridge mass. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day. Bye.

kindle Amazon writer Thomson Mercer Seattle publisher Thomas Tracy David Sloan Denver officer editor Tracy Crosswhite Stanford daily murder Robert de Goni United States CIA Los Angeles Times Bob
TKC 570 Author Lauren Mechling

The Kindle Chronicles

47:26 min | 1 year ago

TKC 570 Author Lauren Mechling

"Hi this is truly i am standing down by the water at ocean park main welcome to the kindle chronicles this is episode five hundred seventy on d day after the fourth of july july fifth i had quite a few more comments down there by the water describing describing the scene in poetic tropes a the lights here seven o'clock nice late low tide but the window is just too much i had i had a win sock over my zoom h one recorder and it just is dumped on thumping pumping in that it was not pretty listen to so i am still looking out of the water here for my desk and the second floor bedroom is and i'm still seeing the light and it is a a a really pleasant night here it's been a nice day at ocean park yesterday i did another tour of musical duty with see ocean park marching band in the ocean park parade osha parks a small community just a classic little resort community and i think that about half half of the people who lives in and around ocean park are in the parade any other half were watching the parade i think we are just society cheer would switch that if you sat in a lawn chair and watch the parade last year then you had the march in one of the the very rag tag collections of people that go through the streets of ocean park but there about twenty of us that are tuneup with her cause those five minute rehearsal before we step off and sometimes it is just an emotional it i dunno it has quite an impact on me there's one corner you come down temple avenue and you take a left on west grand and that seems to be a favorite spot the people were standing fifteen twenty deep and so there's a real crowd is as you're coming along and we generally try to play one of the songs we actually know like halls of montezuma or or america the beautiful or yankee doodle dandy so you've got twenty people really kind of playing their hearts out on these issues and you know when play 'cause you feel like an idiot you've got this plastic thing in your mouth and you're you're marching along and you're you're a homing and making this this odd sound and the people go crazy i mean when they see this group of their neighbors all wearing red t shirts saying you know ocean park is banned doing a patriotic song on the fourth of july at ocean park a place where families come generally you know for decades it's just one of these places where lots of people have been coming for lots of years so you get the the years they're rolling by in a it's quite moving i i find myself kind of wiping away tiers is i have some of these people are waving and i'm waving back in a pretty cool and then when i finally got around to in front of the ocean park sawdust out found where you know darlene at my grandsons my daughters and my sister their all their hand my sister to his face diamond with my parents were not able to come for the first time this year ninety to ninety and they've been coming at this place ever since their honeymoon before she was holding up awry phone with face time on it and saying say hello to mom and dad so as i'm i took a little time out from whatever as playing at that moment to give a little wave and say hi is there watching from their independent living a community outside of boston remarkable memories and a part of the magic of of coming to this place and and a participating in it's it's odd rituals last week i recorded a conversation with lauren mc lincoln author who had published her first adult novel two days before we spoke last week published by viking and imprint of penguin random house and it is the story of three women and their friendships spanning a number of years this is about female friendship and how devastating at wonderful it can be in the news this week i'm going to get her a bunch of facts and tidbits to share my enthusiasm and excitement for prime day which arrives on july fifteenth and sixteenth us actually prime days this year and so that's the big story of the week and let's get to it into computer how many days until july fifteenth saint july fifteenth twenty nineteen is in ten days there you have it ten days until prime day just remind you how big an event this is for amazon would be for any retailer an article in forbes by pamela in danzig earlier this is last week predicted that fifty million americans are chewing up for amazon prime day and this is based on some marketing surveys and estimates by various people a prime day twenty eighteen was second only to be period thanksgiving black friday through cyber monday last year of last year that weekend generated over a hundred and eighty million items sold breaking all company record's but prime day twenty eighteen was the far behind with one hundred million items sold a over that year's day and a half events so last year was a day and a half now they've added it so it's gonna be forty eight hours a this is a likely to be bigger this year because now whole foods is much more in on the action and they're already offering a if you buy something from whole foods as you get into be a period period leading up to prime day they automatically will add ten dollars on your amazon account that you can spend on prime day internet retailer is a that is a research company and they estimated amazon took in four point two billion dollars last you're a and that was seventy four percent more sales in twenty seventeen that's prime day twenty seventeen a day and a half those billions of sales were done so it's a big one company feed visor found that about half half of the hundred and one million u s prime members plant a shop this year another study a pick that participation even higher at seventy six percent so if you're a prime member and i suspect everybody listening to this show is a prime member you probably are going to be spending some time at amazon dot com or on your amazon app on your phone looking for deals and i i've had been looking at stories today to try to come up with some tips that might be helpful to you make the most out of this i began my own preparation for prime day with you in mind by identifying a couple of items which i have been thinking about buying in that they weigh the retail lust get started one is for for an all electric scooter and this'll be something like the scooters that we've been riding around in denver by companies like bird and lime and lift and it turns out that even on regular days not just prime days these scooters are going for like three hundred dollars i would have thought they would have been well over a thousand and there's a segway one which is much more expensive but the ones that bird users are a pretty reasonably priced this just seems like a perfect kind of product for amazon you know cut a third often selling for two hundred dollars instead of three hundred dollars so i put this scooter in my a wishlist and i was assuming that somehow i would be able to have deep prime day deals if they hit what's in my wishlist pop up but i called amazon did get some help on this and i don't think it's automatic i i think just because i have something in my wishlist if it turns out that it's it's gonna be heavily discounted on prime day that doesn't and automatically tied to my wishlist but what the person who i talked to said was that a few days before prime day starts on the fifteenth certainly by the fourteenth we will all receive emails that tell us exactly how to set up a list of products we wanna watch on prime day the they're going to be a million products have some kind of a deal on prime day so it's it's a completely overwhelming scale but if we can find something that we would be interested in buying if there is a thirty forty percent discount a then this is it it's handy to be able to get that information right away in of course they make the the hype is a this deal just started there's only fifty of them now twenty of them have already been sold and you could see the progress bar you know going along looking as all these other people snap up the scooters that you're trying to get and so the the sooner you see that something's available the sooner you'll be able to buy it and maybe one of the fortunate people that receives it there is an app amazon app on the phone and android a this is a pretty robust tap it you could use it to access alexa you can see orders there's a it's really a full featured happened there is something that enables you to use that after follow what's what's happening on prime day i came across a another tool which might be useful i think i'm gonna stick with apple my phone but this is called amazon assistant and you can it's an extension they could add on your browser is available for firefox a google chrome and 'em what's the third one safari oh yeah that's that's the apple and so once you a download this extension you've got a little amazon button on duty bar of your browser and that will be placed you could track fact deals from and you can get a alerts when something that you're following is showing up if a deal goes live z amazon assistant button will display and alert showing the number of deals that are alive and then you can click to see what you're how you're deal is doing this app is also able to find items that you might be looking at at another site like maybe walmart target something like that and if it's available at amazon it'll send you over there and you can see how how the prices compare was a with the competitors i didn't realize this probably happened last year that walmart target they are having big sales on the fifteenth and sixteenth i think walmart's marts jumping a little ahead on the fourteenth to take advantage of this feeding retail frenzy that amazon is creating to sell lots of a sales in in their stores so they're they're kind of taking advantage of something which their competitor bitter has created and why not the more the merrier deals have already been starting and these are called early prime day deals i read about this in an article by rick brighter at c net and give you an example of some of these amazon music unlimited that's kind of the huge supply of music that you can get i use that for playing music on my echo device and really really happy with it a it sells for seven dollars ninety nine cents a month but there is in early prime day deal which has four months of this costing only ninety nine cents and then it it kicks into the eight dollars a month after that this prime members only and it's only if you haven't subscribed amazon music before here a few other examples of the deals that are already available this kind of a prelude the fire tv recast is selling four hundred thirty dollars and that's a hundred dollars hours off i don't have one of these i don't really see a need for it as i understand it if you have some way to get free over their tv coming in from an antenna or some other the i guess it's all from an antenna you can record things the just it's dvr basically for things which are coming over a year tv some way and that is a an item which is a hundred dollars off echo dot which is the hockey puck a this is now the third generation of the dots of the speakers are pretty good you know this is come a long way since the first echo device and they're selling for twenty five dollars which is fifty percent off they normally are fifty dollars and selling twentyfive that's a good deal the full size echo that's kind tall canister the pringles can that selling now for sixty five dollars that's a savings of thirty dollars and last year during prime day twenty eighteen it was even more than that it was seventy dollars to get the full size echo and even today before prime day it's sixty five so maybe it'll even go lower there is an item color chamberlain my cue smart garage door opener coming with amazon cloud camera and that's only four hundred dollars that's a savings of eighty eight dollars if you've been thinking you might wanna switch from listening to ear buds that are connected the wires connected to your phone which is starting to look a little bit old fashioned these days compared to the neat little air pods is just dangling you're here there are some pre prime day deals on apple air pods that kind of surprised me the most expensive ones are usually a two hundred dollars and they're on sale now for a hundred eighty dollars twenty dollars off these of the air pods that you can't just sit down on red around charger without having a plug it in with a wire these secondgeneration air pods with the standard case a that's not wireless they're selling four hundred forty five dollars that's a fourteen dollar savings so a good time to make the transition the air pods prime membership if you are familiar with it it costs a hundred nineteen dollars a year a year by by the month and if you wanna just jump on prime for a month in and take advantage of these deals because you could do that there's also a free thirty day trial but you have to have not a prime member to be able to activate that but if that's the case you could get a free thirty day trial scarf up you're prime day deals and then not continue the monthly charge it's a pretty clearly a good savings if you do the annual prime fee for a hundred nineteen dollars if you do see a thirteen dollars a month that's a hunter fifty six dollars or thirty seven dollars more or by doing it monthly at midnight pacific time on july fifteenth when they prime prime day deals go live you'll start seeing a prime day deal in turquoise under any item that is a prime a deal and you can watch it and then you'll you'll be able to tell right away once the sale begins which items are being promoted you may have figured out that i really enjoy prime day had a kind of counting the days to the fifteenth in addition to that electric scooter i'm gonna have my eye on awebber liquid propane grill they're selling now four hundred seventy nine dollars on amazon there'll be nice item db heavily discounted because the one that we've been using here at the cottage for years has finally given up the ghost in a is is nearly impossible the cook a hotdog gone so we could use some new webber grill this makes it sound like i take a rational approach to prime day i yeah i'm just using it to get good deals on things that i have a reason to get well electric scooter don't even have a question about that but what really happens is some crazy thing or a pop pop up on my phone and it will look compelling it'll be such a deal that i i ended up buying some things i hadn't plans do but i don't ever really regret the things that i buy on prime day you know i've got a water holder that i still using my bike and i got a deal on eight packages of deodorant one year and i i i think i finally used a lot but every time i reach that deodorant i think i got a great deal on these things that's that's fun so some of these deals or the gift keep on giving all year round i hope you enjoy prime day if you have some experiences let me know it well we've got another week they go i was hoping to get some amazon executives on the show next week to talk about prime day and i had a but they were very they liked the approach and the questions i sample they just couldn't find any executive who had enough time to sit down with me and i am sure this is gonna be a crazy busy time for the top the bottom having seen that warehouse i i love to be a fly on the wall at the warehouse so we the tour of on the fifteenth and sixteenth the see you know how many canoes they're moving through there and the the bustle of a those two days compared to the days a couple of weeks when we took her to her and time now for the interview lauren mc ling at her last name is spelled n b c h l i n g but it's pronounced mc ling a she has written for the new york times wall street journal slate the new yorker on line in vogue where she continues to write a regular book but column she has worked as a crime reporter in metro columnist for the new york sun she's been a young adult novelist in features editor at the wall street journal lauren is a graduate of harvard college and lives in brooklyn with her husband and two children i connected with her by phone in scape last week to talk about her debut a no adult novel how could she published by viking in imprint of penguin random house and that was a two days before conversations when the book was released i began by asking her to reason excerpt from her new novel i wanna apologize in advance at one point i confused two of the characters in the book in my questioning and she politely set me straight geraldine is the one who makes a splash in podcasting not rachel here is lauren of setting up a scene in giving us a good excerpt from the book so this is a section concerning two of the three characters as rachel and geraldine and geraldine is the one of the three friends who is not doing as well in life as her other friends who have ended up leaving toronto moving to new york making it for themselves and geraldine has finally finally have woken up from this stupor of sadness and she's lined up a job interview in new york city so she tells her friend rachel that she's gonna be coming to town and rachel says this is so exciting on text rachel meant it she's grown to believe the geraldine is never going to move on from the weird job for which she was exquisitely overqualified she was going to die recycling second rate content from memorabilia magazines moulder and on airport newsstand end in hospital waiting room rachel secretly thought it only somebody with jared themes brutal upbringing would accept her present circumstances geraldine some other night nurse with a soft spot for hockey you players would never that a motive and her father is alive but not present rachel is happy to give geraldine whenever support she needed side she liked having her old friend around in the presence of geraldine rachel instantly returned turn to a twenty five year old girl about town rachel hoping some want miserable in toronto yeah stressed out about work in dating as if it were a high intensity aerobic activity beauty with info flower then and even the people who didn't wanna kiss her used to find her intriguing it would like to be reminded of that and then there's all these movies about sunny and geraldine invariably saw during her visit at some preposterous glamorous event and rachel would listen to geraldine recap and chew over the details like a dog sucking mero out of a bone information about johnny was bitter poison to rachel sense of self insanity yet she couldn't get enough this is what they're what you to spoke about so this book is about female friendship and how devastating and wonderful it can be it is about three women who became very close when they were working together in their early twenties magazine in toronto and when you are in your early twenties and you are able to stay at work all hours of the day and weekend you know it's very intense circumstantial friendships do form and these three women are now in the present tense of the book occupying very different i think given his rung on the ladder of life and yet they're still still connected and they're still in touch and they still means so much to each other and the book is about how the three of them navigate the changes that have come to pass and how over the course of one year they are there for each other and they keep each other company and they manipulate each other and they help each other and they hurt each other and two of the three characters end up trading places essentially how old were you when you started writing this book a the tracks it's fascinating arc of of friendships assume you've had friendships and you're able to draw some of that but i i talk about the genesis of the book and then they get you set it aside free year end and a what would it look like in your life i started writing the book when i think of is thirty two an i start at as a not eighty a job job from it you know it was i saying i needed to put down on paper i learned some i'd been worked as a young adult author and i'd written six books are wondering if published online but written six books and and i was feeling less and less close to the concerns of fourteen year old much as i love them i was becoming older and myself and i was haunted by the fact really that my best friend at the time had decided she did one of my friend anymore and i really missed her and i also was very it was very sad to discover you know just come to realize that there is no replacing her i could make new close friends but they would be very important to there's a new phase in my life but that person who i kicked around west when i was in my twenties you know she was gone and in a way so is that part that person who i was then like she raised her memories and in any event i became just fascinated with the ways that women have such intense connections with each other and the ways that we fixate on each other and we smart over the little things that we say that might hurt each other and in any amount i i started writing a story about three women and i liked the idea of how how time can really mess up de equation because when a friendship is established on the pleasant equilibrium is reached dot becomes vulnerable to changes occur in one or both women's live so i started writing it when i'm thirty two and then i got a job offer to go work at vogue magazine and i've been working at a newspaper is all my life so this is a huge change speaking of changes in somebody's life and identity and it was a you know i i i didn't have experience in magazines and i i had a lot to learn and i really wanted to excel so i decided okay have a toddler son i haven't infant daughter i'm gonna try to figure out how to do this new jobs to the book you know there wasn't room for the book and i put it away and then about a year later on my husband remember what i've been writing and he asked me to show him the pages and he read them he's a writer to and he's a he's a publisher and he thought there was something interesting there and so he sent them to his agent to a suggested she sent them to her colleague who is sort of young young age and who really connected with the material and so this my agent claudia ballers said there's something there you know you have to finish this let's do this and from that point on it i guess yes i stopped going to yoga so much of this became my new hobby of everyday everyday i would write a little bit and it was i mean i hear about writers who you know especially now when they're these hashtag writing challenges of like two thousand words a day you're right you're novel and before that is not how i work i essentially it's pathetic her i work at a caterpillar eater i i agree you work sentences over years so you know it's just sort of a but slowly study like putting a couple of grains of sand into a ball and then you finally have a sandbox after years well when you're husband a found the book and urge you to finish it was just like half half completed her how much did you have to go at that point i had a lot to go because it wasn't i mean i think i had eighteen pages and then i think i got up to a hundred pages before we felt like it would even fared asking agent the take a look just doesn't seem fair you know just comes on what the pitch is we that'd be more substantial and yes so then i finished it and then i know i kept working working on it i am i up some of the drama and i really i really let it rip you know some they're i think they're women initially were a bit more they were better behaved by really let them say what are feeling well i love the story because a you know reading this book is a man it's not the kind of book i usually reid but i was fascinated when heather told me about it and so you're husband who probably have friendships quite a bit different different than the ones you have with you're women friends or what did he see in it as a man that made him confident that this might be a book would a really offer something important to women or i sort of understand if nick foles writer friend who is a woman who saw this totally oh you gotta do this but it's a guys so what would you yeah i think if i recall correctly i think the thing that he even excited about i don't wanna sound like i'm bragging but it was the the pro side where he is he thought that the the sentences were interesting end as a you know an avid reader unpublished sure you know he reads tons of submissions and tons of books i you know i i think he believed leave in my talent as a writer 'em so it wasn't so much that he thought i needed to write a book about you know this particular subject but he has always encouraged me to be braver and to you know to allow in you know intensity in honesty come into my work and so i think he also reacted to that i mean at the time he was a young adult publisher and he was working on like you know fantasy novel you know really you know lots of like the word fighting vampire fighting i think john element of that here it was just a in a more more grounded an adult's version but i yeah to doing on yes yes i think you know i mean it was i think there's something to be said for writing writing something really matters to you and it it it i had written say i've been writing as young writer writing things that matter to me and and i sort of tried to chase after trends in the market and i think some people can do that too great success at i think there is a lack of true investment of or troop session coming through when i was writing about you know bad guys and mobsters and vampires i was just sort of trying to to write something and then i decided that i you know the books i reid are nothing like that i know i you know i read lots and lots of contemporary classics fiction so i took the elements of the bucks i like it went from there yeah big steps will end a i think he says it's important so the a a a woman who's in a heterosexual relationship needs conversations with women and i may have been a surfer jackie male so but i've been married thirty four years and i sometimes listen to my wife talking to her friends especially her longtime friends first of all how long they can talk with each other without stopping that amazes me how much they laugh and how intimate gets in a lot of times i think gosh isn't it sad that i leave with this woman fascinating any woman and i can't hit our stations like that with her and a you know you're you're you're writing a female friendship you're in a marriage you've got kids have you and your husband learned anything about how men and women can have conversations that are released and some big ways that is trying is the conversations you have with other women well i mean we don't model that conversation rapid as i have another woman i think they would drive my my husband matt phonics right it's like a migrant 'cause what you're saying i the early you know i'm the book published two days ago an early the early stages of response and there's been some very very sweet and passionate responses from men which shocks me and one man articulated it and he said the reason he was so into the book because it made him feel she saw something that he doesn't have and then he wished he had you know i mean my husband has you know he's he has friends and friends said he's had or i mean most of his life and he sees them regularly but it's much much different mode of saying friends with someone he has long get togethers like his friend one on one every few months and then there isn't really a lot of glue in between they they have a lot to talk about when they see other but they're not texting each other delight each other know how tired day are or how how they feel after having you know ran into someone elevator i you know i appreciate and there's i feel i hate making generalization and but 'em there sometimes it's it's it's a nice racing a reality check to talk to my husband because i think i can go down these wormholes of harping on things and obsessing over things and you know he reminds me one of the things he often reminds me of 'em which actually helps and fiction writing it just there's there's always more than one reality going on and if you know if i feel that someone was weird to me you know what maybe she broke up with her boyfriend last week you know in often that that's it's it's you know sometime 'em there's a reason why i feel you know i feel like my impression of a botched interaction are you know are rated in that mean it means you're not yeah yeah well there's a lot of how do you believe i usually get traded across the memory in in my experience this show point out things i think the reverse is i'll have some simple view something she'll just add you know there's seven different nuances here that you haven't even thought about and a so if you're white hong kong well you know i think this book just sort of helped me a appreciator bore i don't that that that may seem odd but anyway i i really did enjoy it you've got some interesting things the well what if you're y project a you you sort of purpose then of innovative surreal novel through late facebook and twitter is whether you're you're a heartless made laura moser and slap the airline tamara's you were at harvard folk okay i had amesbury transfer i met her i see i see so the plan a the orientations at amherst and then you ended up serving a what year did you graduated from harvard i graduated like four ninety nine ninety nine right now i graduated fifty years rela almost fifty years ago seventy two shows preacher front pleased at the time oh wow at all did you work on the crimson at all when you were there i did and i am not that i contributed to that confidence i wasn't you know part of the infrastructure but i am basically and i sort of i still do journalism where i i volunteered to write about things that you want you want it exposure to i remember i i learned that one of my favorite comedians jock that jonathan katz had a show called doctor cap on the animated show but he lives in newton massachusetts so i got to so and hang out with him an interview having for an article said the consent my my idea yeah well they're the same way they do it in covering the news board which is which i did and wiped out a year of my life it was so intense but i did that for the on the literary magazine advocate it's horrible they're one of the you know i think one of the parts of that was involved like sitting through a meeting at which and story i had written what's being discussed no one i'd written it and they hated as well that that's relax periods and getting tough enough to be a writer the probably yeah they'll find that senator public thing yeah yeah well i was of course interrupted there's a there's a podcast theme in the book a a look see geraldine who starts out kind of a victim of the disruption everybody immediate white white you in the story you're in your perception of what word to podcasting in twenty seventeen what was it about her the majors which is surprising successes of podcast her well at that at that person has um you know she has this trait where she she's a terrific big sinker and a bit of a dreamer and she can ask questions of people that are unlike you know the the typical chit chat but we banter around so she's doing it at the beginning of no going to dinner parties and asking the people at the table what do you what do you think a skyscraper symbolizes or is while you know at least nfc some people across all their eyes and they they don't really you know she's still notebooks and she writes notes amount but intact this curia matron sort of a bit of blindness to how other people reacting are that allows her to to she's very self expressive on the podcast and she also really wants to know about the people who she's talking to so she's not hobnobbing or you know a star a what have you to she's really 'em she wants to know what makes people tech and how how the world works and i think i think it has good feeling like she's being on the margins she she needs to know the answers 'cause she doesn't have that and there's coming she's asking just because you want to know yes yes it's on right and this innocent and that she thinks it's you know he could get aunts and write it down in her dope and that will propel her to the life that she kind of it yeah but you know sort of i think she surprise surprise everybody herself included that she is able to change until sore when you know in she's thirty six yeah yeah yeah well now in you you said the story in twenty seventeen two years ago which it's been a long time in podcasting it it as you're listening to podcasts and noticing what works in hungary upcoming stars are how would you compare what it's like to try to be a rachel in podcasting in twenty nineteen compare the two years ago you mean gallatin geraldine so yeah right so i haven't listened to podcast since two thousand five i remember because like data to win a show that i love launched an assignment looking for a long time and tracking their the changes in the way they've been becoming more and more sophisticated which it was her sleep they had they had the politico gab fest whom i you know i would you know i used to in the morning go to sleep tony page and review articles and everyone out but they were so i and then i got into to not gonna you know afterwards mark marin who's just starting out 'em and he i mean his show is amazing back when it was starting out because there is a sense of freedom there is a sense what i'm shouting into the void podcast weren't really a capital t saying they were you know kind of a conversation and maybe there is a mike in the room but she liked the mike in the room you know as i've been you know a guest on podcast now and i i love the way that the the form 'em you know inspires us to look each other and they hire just taught in a way that isn't as common as it used to be because we were all in her stupid phones 'em but i think podcast you know they're becoming clear and more you know a lot more sophisticated than sort of more edited and i imagine reworked and you know sort of the way that we you know we used to think of this american life life being so produced perfection joining where we're seeing more and more shows along those lines and you know like a source shows that tell a narrative and it's almost like a you know a six part netflix series and then they're still the shows that i'm more partial to a which are just the they feel very honestly feel like means or blog their shows where like this one where people just have a conversation and i love the ones where there are regulars 'em regular host you know always i like the ones where there's no to host who now each other and i get to know them over time time and it's it's a fun hey kind of intimacy substitution a and b it's a fun game to play you know listening to people who are theoretically interviewing an actor but also revealing yelling episode by episode pieces about in the south but i i i come to learn who they are yeah my friends while in i've listened to play political games too many years is real what it reminded timmy in fact as i was reading your book that you get to feel like you know these people you know david john emily and and to see more on dickerson and then definitely really their careers have just rocketed and david duke atlas obscure thing what's that about he used to be boss and sometimes i hear the tension among them the david he's he's jealous you know it's like god you know with only yeah and yeah because they've been doing so long a yeah i'm sure they they're very fond of each other and they have that same quality of friends from the old days could have had the navigation in their case of very public display of the different trajectory of their life yeah yes i mean it's funny i just i as a fan of theirs and they they just seems so now i feel like they're my cousins and do something about them but they're they're you know slightly different from the kind of lime close friends what they're doing different things different entrust i'm not at all the political junkie i just kind of like the show because i i love them 'em but it's been funny i think i i'm i'm i'm so happy i you're right like when i when i learned that john and moving to sixty minutes i felt like almost as if my son had done good so crowded known him since way back when and i wonder if i have the same reaction if an actual remind suddenly got to become you know huge superstar and i am sad to say i would probably have mixed feelings but yeah yeah it's a more you were a statement of infringe on the head there be a good friend in compare much over the more closely well all right good when you're at the passer activity listening to a podcast so i don't have any yeah we don't have any backstory nominee history you never had any opportunity to hurt my feelings you know so it's a great way to have a smooth friendships just become obsessed with i never thought of that well a we gotta be mindful of time and they get a busy day but a i was wondering if you know you said that when you became a mother it's sort of reboot you're friendships and by some didn't i would think writing a very intimate book about women's friendships would be kind of a similar a reboot the very best thing that happened at a there's gonna be sort of you're friendship alignment post the public version you i haven't i let's see i i i i've been surprised 'em in that there is i there is a whole thing there's a very honest you know blinding like streak that runs through the book an i definitely thought that it would be yeah i'm exposing my darkest thoughts and feelings and i thought i would cut people off me and so i mean who what's gonna happen but so far it's drawing closer and people feel people who read in talking about a friends of mine say people feel grateful that i'm voicing these issues that it's it's really silly because it's not like i'm some major scoop that i've discovered you know there's like this conspiracy that's running the country talking about friendship is really difficult i don't know why feel so novel but it does and and it's a little upsetting for a concerning the 'cause they're all my friends are banding together to undermine the theme of my book because people have been so supportive of end generis i mean yes i yeah i might have to this right my next book about how great when what you should do the whole day we're here for you right all you have to write a book about you know women who can't do it in my pocket i personally they will be friends forever well that would be a wonderful outcome you'd you'd be giving people ought to consider who are in your network and maybe you're just gonna kind of revive and refresh your own network of friends who grew out of philosophy oh yeah well this has been great a i've been speaking with lauren mechlin me author of how could she her debut adult novel published two days ago by viking thanks very much learn yourself i'm talking yeah that's it for this week i was going to as i said i hope they do sort of a prime day special with somebody from amazon on that didn't work out but then i had another idea that i think will be fun and that is i'm going to be doing man on the beach interviews tomorrow saturday and sunday and then on tuesday were heading down at cambridge and they were gonna see my friend then beach and carols in connecticut so i'm gonna just prowls the beach looking for kindles andy the going with my zoom h one a recorder hopefully won't be too windy that day and ask what people are eating which kindle they're using how long they've been breathing have they dropped their kendall in the water and just do some kind of improv interviews with people that are on the beach the speech on a nice sunny day a they're gonna be hundreds of kendall readers out there the beach so i i think we can have some fun talking to them for next week's show this is len actually at ocean park main perhaps sitting in my favorite room of any place that i spent time in over

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TKC 559 Fellow HBS Alum Allen Hughes

The Kindle Chronicles

50:12 min | 2 years ago

TKC 559 Fellow HBS Alum Allen Hughes

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Lynn Edgeley today is April nineteenth twenty nineteen. Welcome to you from downtown Denver, Colorado, beautiful sunny night. We're about to head out to the tattered cover bookstore to hear Austin clan. Read from his new book keep going, and I won't be able to finish up the show before we leave. But then after I get back. We'll have it up hopefully sometime before midnight, my conversation this week is with a young man who works at Amazon on the kindle team. His name is Alan Hughes, and he had a particular role in the development of the new basic kindle, which began shipping last week having a low everyday price tends to attract more new to category customers folksy haven't given a dedicated reader device a chance before also this week. I'm going to talk to about an article I came across from twenty years ago in wired magazine that has some stories budget Basil's I've never seen before. And fascinating insights from that period of companies history that explained some. Of the things that are happening now. And we're also going to have a long helpful tech. Tip Email sent was by listener, Tom simple. Let's jump in. The new story that I'd like to share with you this week is one that's about twenty years old. And I was following a story about predictions Jeff Bezos to may twenty years ago that had come out to be true. And then this was a link going further back, and this one really fascinated me. It was in wired magazine on March first nineteen ninety nine written by chip Bayer's. And it's titled the inner Basil's that's a really long piece about eight hundred eight thousand six hundred words, and it it starts with a story. You know, you hear these stories about bazo, and you can hear the same stories. This is one I've just never heard before. And it set at about Christmas nineteen ninety seven in a Florida resort named Amelia Island. And it's a convenience store. Flash foods convenience store, and the story starts out saying that they've got four commandos. That are doing timed purchase a quart of milk. And one of them's in the car. One of them is buying the milk. One of them's keeping a lookout, and and they're all sort of pretending to be commandos doing this operation at this convenience store in Florida. Well, it turns out that one of the commandos is named. Soza, and that's that's Jeff Basil's backwards. And the other is his father Mike pays those on. The other is his brother, I think he's Mark break Basil's than his mother. Jackie is at the wheel of the rented Chevy suburban, and they just set this thing up. It's like cause player role playing thing where they had to buy a carton of milk, and they turned it into this operation. Well, this story has all kinds of things which delight me one of them is that twenty years later, Amazon go is kind of organized around how fast can you get into a store to get perhaps a court gallon of milk or some other thing? And I wonder if anywhere in the development of on go Jeff Basil's was remembering the the commando raid on flash foods in Amelia Island. You know, what you see see things like this? Stretch out over years. I find really fascinating. And then the other part of it is usually grown man at that point. He was in his thirties. He wasn't a kid, but he's acting like kid with his family, and and the imagination and the adventure of of going into the store and turning it into a little drama, and and then just it. It's almost a parable because they're messing with retail. They're taking a very traditional store selling milk, and they're turning it into this adventure. I think they might even had walkie talkies at they're talking to each other when they did it. So this becomes a delightful part of the Basil's cannon that I that I found the story in this wired magazine and the piece goes on to sort of project forward, the am visions that Basil's those was already talking about. And one quote is he says strip malls are history and some of the things which are said well, not quite yet. But you can certainly see. See that the transit. He was pursuing of Amazon being able to sell everything and focus on the customers. They, you know, the story is not all that far off even when it starts talking about what things are going to be like in twenty twenty. There's also quite a powerful quote bazo ses talking about consumerism at its worst worst. And he says consumers at its worst is getting people to buy things that don't actually improve their lives. The one thing that offends me. The most is when I walk by Bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their homes. So they can go on vacation that's approaching evil kind of a morality to being customer focused. And this is something I think is is actually part of Basil's make up the other inside. I got we've known that. Jeff's mother's father. Lawrence Preston, pop Giza. It's GI SEM. Not exactly sure how you'd say that easy. Maybe the stories that we hear our how Jeff used to go to his ranch each summer when he was a boy. And so I've always thought of, you know, pop Jesus This rancher guy in kind of homespun and filling Basil's with lots of knowledge about life as they were branding cattle doing the other things you do in ranch. Well, it turns out that this maternal. Grandfather was in space technology at DARPA that I think that's the military. I don't know what that stands for. But it's basically at the source of the internet back in the fifties. And then after that, he supervised twenty five thousand atomic energy commission, employee's in the west, and he was the labs that he was over were Sandia labs, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs through the most famous. Labs for the atomic energy commission after all that he returned to south Texas to this ranch in nineteen sixty eight and Jeff was born in nineteen sixty four. So, you know, as he was growing up and his boyhood would have all been about pop. His grandfather at the ranch, so some pretty high-powered history on that side of the family Basil's mother, and that was the grandfather that when she became pregnant as a seventeen year old in public school. I think in Albuquerque he went into the school said, you will not force this girl to stop her studies because she's pregnant you're you're gonna educate her like you do everyone else, and there was an echo there of fairly strong character. And who was standing up for his daughter in in a challenging position to be teenage bride back then and in Albuquerque. The story ends with a quote, which I love because it's got an echo or maybe a prelude to the to the twenty thousand letter to shareholders by Basil's in this article in wired, he's quoted as saying one of the things that I hope will distinguish Amazon dot com that we continue to be a company that defies easy analogy. This requires a lot of innovation and innovation requires a lot of random walk. Now random walk is an quite these words that he mentioned in the most recent letter shareholders, he called wandering and one reference to that in the shareholder's letter says wandering is essential counterbalance to officiency you need to employ employ both the outside discoveries. The non linear ones are highly likely to require wandering. So he's talking about it as random walks twenty years ago, and he's he's still seeing the advantages. Of wandering and that part of things I just got back from listening to Austin clan clan. Talk about his his new book keep going at the tattered cover here in Denver. And he had an interesting. I think he came in the Q and A someone said what were you most? Like, what age are you? Now most life when when you're growing up. He thought about thought was great question. So did I and he said, I think I'm more like I was ten when I was ten years old than I was when I was nineteen and he was saying that when he was ten he he you know, he was a writer. He was a drawer he hit. He hadn't been forced or incented by school to separate as I'm going to be a writer room. I'm going to go off the artistic it's he just kept both when he was later in his teens. I think he he abandoned some of that unity of artistic creation, and but. But as a an adult who's really worked on what desert mean is life? And that's the source of these three books that he's he's written about art. He's back to being a ten year old, and he does have sort of a child like way of talking about things quite simply, and and I find in an inspiring way. I have a feeling that Jeff Bezos. If he were asked that question say, you know, what what age do you feel most Kintu now? And I wouldn't be surprised if he picked around ten this article has some other escapades that he did a entrepeneurship thing setting up a camp for kids. And and when he was a ten year old, I think he was full of wonderful of hijinks star. The Star Wars stuff was started that early but his sort of playful wondering strategy at Amazon as huge as it is reminds me of the energy of ten. Year old. So that would be an interesting by graphical experiment to see if you could really draw the lines between what this kid was doing when his tannin what he's doing. Now is the head of Amazon so heavenly to that in the show notes, the inner Basil's by chip Bayer's in wired magazine, another indication one another thing I like about this wired magazine, I think it's one of the best magazines around for the future technology, just smart stuff. And here's a piece, I if you had read this piece twenty years ago, and you're trying to say, what do I wanna buy on Stocker? What do I think's going to happen from this company? I think you would have been left saying this guy. This guy is coming from a very original place and his aspirations for what he's gonna do to revolutionize retailing. If you take in this article seriously twenty years ago that in wired you would have been pretty well served by an I think that quality writing is still a very characteristic of wired. For the tech tip. I wanna share an Email that I received last week from Tom simple, and it's on this new read unreal filter. That is going to be added to the software. The kindle it's being rolled out. And you'll hear more about it in my conversation with Alan Hughes. Tom wrote if you've been paying attention to release notes, Amazon has been letting us know they were going to be adding redone read filter to kindle and kindle mobile apps for Android. It showed up this morning on my iphone and my kindle when I fired it up this afternoon. The required software updates came out a week or two ago. But the features were not a activated until stay as far as I can tell. So on kindle generation or later, I think you need five one one or five dot one dot one dot one depending on the model and a recent IOS or Android kindle app version now explains how this works now each book has a property that can be toggle between read and unread read or unread. I believe that a book is automatically set to red status when you get to the end of the book, and the before you go screen comes up whether or not good reads or is linked by you can also toggle it manually, a red tag appears in live reviews for those books which have the property set to read. So it's easy to identify books that you have not read when browsing in any view mode or collection. Tom says reviewing my library. It appears many of the books. I have in fact, read do not have read status, but the before you go be Weiji feature. And it's good reads reading status Mirroring has only existed for. Two or three years so books prior to that would not have the associated data in any case red status independent of current reading position apart from needing to navigate to the end of the book to trigger the BYU screen, which you can also bring up without going to the end of the book, he says so people need to set it up manually for anything that they read a while back. You do that with a long press on the item to bring up the menu of the option. There's no need to download a prior to this. Tom says I've maintained collections for previously read and to be read but not always consistently. Once I make a pass through these to make sure they have the proper red status. I can just to lead them. And for the most part anything, I read going forward will automatically get red status when I finish it. So that's a new trusting take on it. And we're going to hear more about it in the conversation with Hughes. I said now I had asked him a question during our conversation. I said when this. Update comes will automatically go back and Mark all the books of my archive too. Because I've may be got one hundred books that I bought and I just haven't read yet. So I was wondering if it will say I haven't seen that book open. We're going to call that unread. He wasn't sure about that. So I deleted the question when we recording. But they got back to me afterward, and they provided this answer when you receive the software update books who've previously finished will be marked as read in your library in to cross your reading devices, including kindle, fire, tablet, and free kindle apps. Fry and Android customers can also manually choose to Mark books. They've finished reading now. I think atomic seen something here that they didn't actually include in the answer. Because if there's automatic marking books. It may not work before the time that the good reason Gration was was giving the opportunity to Mark books as read I think that's what he was saying. But at least in the more recent purchases, this marking of books as read is going to be done automatically. But I think that's gonna be gonna be curious to see when it hits my devices. So I can try it out. Time now for the interview. Allen Hughes earned a bachelor's degree in finance at the university of Iowa in two thousand two and an MBA at the Harvard Business School in two thousand nine after H B S he worked at best buy for two years before joining Amazon in twenty twelve as senior manager account management and sales operations in that job. He managed retailer relationships and sales operations for fire tablet and kindle e-readers sales to US retailers like best buy where he'd worked before two promotions later, he is currently director sales and marketing for kindle, e-readers and fire tablets, I caught up with Alan on Wednesday, April seventeenth by Skype in Seattle. And I began by asking just what his current responsibilities cover it Amazon. My team is responsible for what we call the go to market strategy. So basically, we work with our product marketing team to understand what customers are interested. In what technologies are available? What will really drive excitement from our customer base work with the product management team to develop the red map, and then bring that road map to life and the go to market process involves things like naming pricing positioning which distribution channels will use as well as saying close to the customer on what features will get the most excited about buying. Our products would features will help drive usage of those products. And then that's kind of one part second part of the job is actually driving demand for products once they launch. So in the go to market phase were creating kind of the the foundation for successful product launch. And making sure we've got the right features highlighted in pulled Ford for customers in the once we've launched we really are trying to drive demand. So notice on your on your site, you linked to some of our promotional events. That's part of what my team does ensuring. We have supply making sure that we're working to distribution partners to to dry. Demand now. So that's part of the job. That's pretty cool. Because you're you're really sort of both ends of the process. The listening to the customer and imagining what they might want. And then. Making sure that people know about it, and the demand is enhanced by the various tools that you have. Yeah. It's pretty cool. You know, we typical product development process, maybe takes a a year or two from kind of when we think of a product we actually bring it to the customers. And then we might sell it for two or three years if tracked some of our products that were were thinking about these products building the product selling it, and you know, three or four years go by and I gotta be there for all of it. And it's fun to be part of that process. Will let's focus in on the the new basic kindle, which let's see I think that ships last week, right? Started shipping students last week. And when the big change in that is the front lit screen because the previous basic kindle, head of similar shape. It was the entry level kindle, and this one with the with the light really is a big difference. I assume that must have come out of your listening to customers and getting guidance from them about how important it would be to add light. But what can you say about the decision to make this kind of the most important improvement in the basic, kindle, sure. Yeah. You know as someone who's follows Amazon. I'm sure you're wherever leadership principles customer obsession is one of our big and of founding leadership principle so really starts with with into the customer, and especially in a product category where we have some history we have the advantage of looking through customer reviews and getting feedback. We talk to customers and qualitative sessions, and what we found consistently was what customers loved about our paper white product and our voyage in our waste products. That we've had is the the screen and the front lights is a big feature of the screen. So that was pretty straightforward from a product development perspective understand that that would be a big win for customers. And we're really excited to bring that product customers at a price point that's below one hundred dollars every day. Now, I think this is probably the first time that the entry level kindle in its newest interational has actually increased in price. It's now ninety as opposed to eighty. I'm sure that must have factored into your analysis. As well. How did you weigh the the disadvantage of having to raise the price lightly with the advantage of adding the light? Yeah, it's always a carefully pricings always carefully considered decision. And we to give as much value as we can't the customer's. We were excited to bring front with product to customers under hundred dollars our previous paper right product first product. We had with the front light was under nineteen. So, you know, felt like it was a good good discount from there. You know, we really were were excited that we will stay under one hundred with with the front light. The other thing that the wait is slightly higher hundred seventy four grams versus one hundred sixty I assume that's because you're you're adding some stuff to put those lights in at certainly part of it. Anytime we develop a product there's a number of factors go into making. Sure, it's it's durable products. It's got the teachers that we want. It's, you know, stay. Being a pace with the latest technologies. And so while different was part of it. There's a few other architectural pieces that moved around as well. But we we're excited about was, you know, maintaining a product that you know, for practical purposes, about half, the weight of typical paperback as well as remaining the lightest item in our product in our lineup. There's something very pleasing about it. I I mentioned it last week show when I was had a chance to use the review copy. You know, you read the specs you see it. And you think ok new basic, kindle, cool. But to have it in my my hands, especially when I wasn't using the cover. I don't know if the corners are more rounded or the sort of comparing with the paperweight actually and thinking this thing sort of feels like the kindle, it's just like, it's it's right down to the minimalist basics. Still has the light. But is that kind of tactile advantage to it something that kind of comes into the design process. You try this out with customers or just your own sense of it? Yeah. That's that's awesome. Yet that glad you're glad you're feeling that as you use it personally when one of the things that's unique with kindle is. We know customers will hold the device in their hands for hours on end. And so we take a lot of pride in insuring that the devices comfortable, the hold for extended reading periods personally, I tend to lay in bed at so I'm trying to hold a device of my head. So wait factory mentions, very important. But also just the ability to hold with one hand and have it feel comfortable. So that we spend a good deal of time with the product and engineering teams making sure that the curvature of the device the weighting of the device materials that we use feel great to hold in your hand. Make sure that it feels good for the typical human hands. So different different sizes of hands and different age ranges. There's a lot to goes into it. But you know, we're we're pleased with this device. It feel great to hold in your hands. And you know, that was a key design principle for us who was lining up. I'm going to try to video comparison this, but I had the new basic, kindle, paper, white and my away SIS the latest version of the aces. When you go from the the basic kindle to the paperweight the big change. There is the the flat surface of the paper way. There's no there's no sort of a recess for the screen, and I remember when that change was introduced last year seemed really cool, and and really sort of a great improvement for the paper white. So then I was just trying to say, well, why is that better dust can get caught in the whole or it's somehow not as sleek. But when you think about the the design implications of device, that's flat all along the case of it as opposed to dropping the screen in a recessed. What are the pros and cons or how do you see those two choices design? Yeah. Stewed observation of how the devices differ. The when it comes to the flush front, you know, from from our perspective. It was a chance to to make the paper to introduce last year. Kind of have that sleek and modern feel to it consistent with what customers experience with tablets or start funds that they that they probably have in their lives for some customers. Probably feels a little bit more pleasing to hold the hand. And also, there's a practical piece of it no crumbs dust that can get kinda trapped in there. You know, we're pro though is that we offer choice to customers. And so we've able to have a lower price product that has a few less bells and whistles stay under that hundred dollars but included feature customers like the most with the front light. Well, offering things like flush front, and waterproof and more storage and a higher. Resolution screen is customer step up to the paperweight now in your sort of first part the go to market listening to customers thinking of the. Next version of it at that point are you or maybe now after you've been marketing for well work in the demand side, are there types of customer groups that you think this kindle is particularly well suited for students people who don't read as many books as as other readers or it's a second kindle for the Beecher. What what kinds of use cases in your experience in talking to customers as this one really stand out for sure. On the from a customer perspective. You know price remains an important at consideration. And so having a low everyday price tend to attract more new to category customers folks, haven't given a dedicated reader device a chance before and so we like having that sub one hundred dollar price point give customers the chance to enter into the category. So that that's always an important factor for us when we think about kind of pricing at our in our lineup, and the choice that we offer from from a customer perspective, though, we find that customers of whether it's our entry kindle our paper y at our our waste program. You can find veracious readers at any of those devices, you know, reading many many books a month and really enjoying their device in in consistent using it every day into it. You know, that piece the date is pretty interesting just on how customers use. But from a, you know, who we targeting we really focus on is kind of. Customers who want to start their journeying with eroding and really wanna chance to have that distraction free experience, you know, device it can take anywhere. They can read outside can read on the subway on the way to work. They could read on a park bench or at each battery that no they don't have to charge every night like their smartphone that they the most likely having their pocket, and you know, they can, sir. Taking advantage of the features that go beyond a book. So whether it's something simple like using the dictionary to look word or using cabbie Leary builder to you know, perhaps Tekla more challenging book, you know, those are, you know, those are the types of customers and the angle that we go after. And I've been surprised because some of my friends that I thought would be early book adopters turned out not to be in. I can imagine that the the entry ramp onto the eve or highway can occur at all ages. All demographics. There's some kind of a moment of readiness especially for people that love books and love reading that. They finally say cheese whiz. My book shelves full or some kind of triggering point says, all right? I guess I'll try one of these kindles ten years after it was introduced. Do you have any insight you in your own circle or things that you hear from customers of how does a late adopter, finally decide to to pick up a kindle and start reading this way. I'll give you my own personal story. This is somewhat sad that I'm sharing this. I've been associated with with irs's largely on the kind of demand driving side for some time. It actually worked previously with Amazon when I was at best buy kind of back in two thousand nine two thousand ten and so I'd have had readers in my home in my life for awhile, and I read on them but not consistently and about a year ago when I started in this category. I started to get more into the part where side to understand features and nine months ago. I really started to enjoy some of the reading teachers kindle features that I hadn't thought would matter. But really did so one was you mentioned kinda that endless shelf. And it'll be the ability to take a lot of books with you. My son started to read the Harry Potter series. I started read the Harry Potter series of longside him, you know, kinda reading different paces and he's reading at school. I'm reading, you know, on the bus ride home. And while the first book is pretty thin by the time. We get to the fourth book, it is not thin. Anymore? It's not the fourth book. It's the fourth and fifth book jam together from fate, Hugh, my son, explain it. So you know, just being able to carry all those books made a difference. And then, you know, as I started to read digitally, I realized just the weight, and the how long can read in the reading sessions really made a difference to read a little bit on my phone, certainly read physical books, but I think customers as they get through that, you know, first book first few hundred pages of of something they really start to feel the benefits of the device, and then it becomes this is my tool for reading. This is this is where I wanna go to escape this is where I wanna go to just get lost in an author's world. And you know, our job or you know, I would see myself an team focused on is. But we gotta get the device in a customer's hands, and then really have great software content experiences to get them engaged. And that's let us to things like offering kindle in limited as no extended free trial for customers. Tons of great content, and limited, including all the hair. Powder books. That's let us to to redesign the home screen a little bit. So it's easier to find content and for customers to get into that first book and really have success reading. That's what tends to to dry people from. Yeah. That's interesting concept. Maybe I'll think about it to us is really compelling and can see myself reading aloud books this way. I think too. You know, there's some people that have been critics of kindle other e-readers for for not being complex enough to give all these different ways to organize the funds and all this Craig Bod, some other people, but people I respect they're really looking at the product with with a lot of intelligence, but I've always thought that because of what you just talked about person picks up to kindle tries. I. It's to be an easy low barrier experience. You know, you're going to you're gonna learn how to get to the next page. You're going to pretty easy to increase the font size. You know, my wife has been sort of observing my passion for this for ten years. And she doesn't highlight. She doesn't send passages to Twitter. She doesn't use anything other than just reading ton of books this way. And I think that if it would have been really tempting for your kindle teams to say cash been ten years. Can't we start doing some really fancy cool stuff that could have ended up being a barrier for customers that are coming in. And there are tools that if if you want to you can go and find a lot of highlighting stuff has gotten very sophisticated and they -bility to get it. But, but but is that a kind of philosophy that you've had just make this thing really easy to fall in love with and immerse yourself in. There's really kind of goes to the four focus areas for us for kindle sits. Is that that great reading experience with the screen that allows you to read anywhere? So that's you know, we've feel really good about what we've been able to do with the whole line of their now in two is data relief kind of go anywhere beanie where for periods of time. And then it really gets to the points to think you're heading which is it's distraction free. So it there's no Twitter has no tweets coming in. There's no I messages or text messages. There's no internet browser to go get distracted by his you and the author kind of getting lost in their world. And then if you want there's this feature that go beyond a book, you know, I found it really helpful as I've been reading through, you know, some some novels actually look up a word that I didn't know the meaning to or you know, when I'm with my son, we can get some help on some vocabulary builder type stuff, and he can eat more challenged. I think that's the, you know, it's there when you wanted and we try to ensure that we're removing distractions for customers, but if they want help, and they want to go deeper, we love the that electric tech. The technology allows us to go beyond a book and let customers a little bit deeper if they want to this good approach will back to the the basic kindle the review copy that came was the white white cover. My paperweight is the black the white better. It just seemed lighter cooler something can you say which model people prefer which color people prefer the white or the black. Or would how does the that choice? Look to you from from your perspective. Yeah, we were excited to offer customers choice. And so we me love that. We have the kindle product in whiten black and white the without kind of going into this specific mixes it does vary by country, but white is very popular whites popular color. Not just for kindle, but for phone and for tablets, white remains, very popular color. So we see we see good percent customers. Choose that. And you know, we're super excited to deal with offer that choice now. Now, if somebody is starting out, and you know, they're looking at this kindle as maybe their entry to the experience. This KENDALL comes with four gigabytes of storage, if they go to start in at the paper white that starts out with gigabytes, and then thirty two gigabytes choice how in sort of layman's terms number of books or number of audible books that you could have what kind of guidance would you have for customer to to make that choice between something that has a four gigabyte storage versus eight that you'd get on the entry level paper way. Support gigabytes whole holds thousands of bucks about fourteen audiobooks. So that's kind of if you were to break down, comparative content type seem AAC bites obviously extends doubles that from a customer perspective. What we find is customers. Love their collections. You get your your library. Yeah. Physical books lying around in my own anecdote was watching my dad slowly build his book library in his office and consuming first half of a wall. Then a whole another wall. You know? You know, kind of overwhelming his office books, but so customers love to just have their Ribe Ray. And the fact that they can carry with them, and the fact that customer used their kindles really view it as a as a key tool for them and Fitz friend, but it certainly a trusted companion device customers like the Bill dot library, and given the the owner device for periods of time. Having extra storage kind of gives them the confidence to have those books with them. Of course, everything they will in the cloud. So whenever you know, they're connected. They can always go get a book. It's do want to keep it off the device. We try to offer choice along those lines. I think in the past Amazon has said that the paper white is the best selling model of the kindle, can you say, whether that's still the case with the latest configuration of the lineup rightly remains most popular product, and you know, when we think about as we look at our product lineup. It's really we like a an customers. Tell us a great intersection of values that we have the six inch three hundred PPI screen with you know, the five LED's create a really clean uniform screen experience. We have to flush front that we chatted about the waterproofing teacher, which is previously available only on this. You have the increase storage that we were just discussing. If you want to, you know, spend forty dollars less. We've got a great option now that has that front way. And if you wanna spend more and have the seven inch display with the patron buttons in organic design, we've got choice few there. So paper kind of remains. The most hops product, but we're excited that on either rent customers choice. Now, I think another improvement in the basic kindle is it's one generation up in e ink screen. What's the name of the current technology? You're using this one for the eating screen. This is the Carta one point to in the prior incarnation was the Pearl if you had a Pearl screen versus a Carta screen in front of you, would you really be able to see much of a difference. He thinks so so one is contrast. It's it's a crisper screen. Fear familiar with our prior paper right program at the previous we launched last year used the same technology. So it's just a crisper screen with better with better clarity. There's also little difference. In terms of as you turn pages. How frequently things you the whole screen flashes. A little longer period of time before the screen flashes. I see and some new software improvements were talked about at the time that this kindle was introduced, and I think that one of them was and I haven't found it yet on my devices, but is currently away to automatically have your archive divided into books that you've read in books that you haven't read is that one of the features. Threw three suffer update. Okay. Says you're not missing. It's not available customer jeopardy becoming shortly sets consider Markaz read. So you know, what's been read in? What is what is to be read? So as you as you complete a book, it will noted as such in your library, and then sink that across all the other surfaces in which you have the kindle app installed capacity touch. I think that's another change. This kindle has capacity touch. What was the previous technology called wasn't capacitor touch is infrared basically had a out of technology win across the screen. This prevents objects other than your finger from turning the page that requires the technology, Susan phones and tablets to actually turn the page. Are there any other offer improvements coming of that will be available on all three models in the in the coming months? So the when they we mentioned it a little bit earlier in you've probably experienced it on your paper devices, the new home screen as the new home screen. It's now you can now scroll and get a little bit more real estate and see more recommendations knows we were chatting about earlier getting customers into a book that they might be interested in getting them reading his really key part of our job gets customers most value out of their devices, and you know, can really solidifies that that content experience. It also services free, content and content. You might have access to as a prime customer can do on the mid customer. So we really see that as a as a big improvement from discovery perspective. Now, you mentioned that you're reading habits have been sort of tracked the different relationships you've had professionally with with the product. So if you're reading a book in your also, we haven't talked about the your other the other side of your work on the fire, tablets. We can be kindle books. I read a lot on my fire HD eight seems like during the day, I tend to read on the fire H T eight perhaps because I don't mind if every once in a while I'm going to go to Twitter, or if I want to look something up it'll go straight to the web. It's just faster. I like the color at night. I'm more on the e ink screen kind of back and forth. And I read on my my big phone ten max. And all that. What what's how would you describe the terrain of your reading? Across the devices when when you're reading a book and different settings and places. Yeah, it's interesting kinda weekday versus weekends. So super me on the weekday. I'm a bus commuter into Amazon's. We have shuttle service and I ride twenty twenty thirty minutes each each way each day. So on the bus. It's it's high aspire to use the kindle, I will admit that the phone tablets, the are both friends on the bus as well. Depending on what I'm doing. And how interested how interesting that book is that lasts chapters. The Harry Potter book than to be whatever device. Get my hands on. It night on the weekend on the weekdays. It's always it's always the kindle so right now, I'm using our paperweight. I was using are always as for while. I was using the kindle you have as we're testing. So I've kind of tried them all but at night, you know, for me that longer reading session and really kind of sitting and being able to enjoy for thirty minutes or so before we go to bed is preferred device on the weekends. It's also it's the paper white devices to kindle, so, you know, more frequently vertical on the weekends sitting in the chair sitting on the couch, and my son will be reading and I'll read next to him. He drew assign place on the couch. So that mom could see it. It said reading please do not disturb our own own private little sanctuary there. Six year old sister as well. If she got a kick out of it, but on the weekends. I tend to to to use the kindle device and put the phone. Away and put the tablets way. When I'm with my children. That's interesting because that way, you're sort of protecting that weekend space for family, or your your mind isn't quite moving faster as intensely as it has to at work. I'm sure it's sort of an outward visible sign that you're you're trying to live in a different space on the weekend. Yeah. In just the distraction free piece is so key to me, and you know with work and Email and everything else that happens in this modern age good to physically be apart from it. So that you cannot find yourself distracted a otherwise might slip back into check an Email in thirty minutes later. You're you're doing something you wish you weren't. So it's fun to have just have the candle. I've had the experience. My wife always read on a kindle. She doesn't have a tablet and hates to read on her phone. And sometimes we'll say all right. Let's read together. You know, this is what people do and they've been married as long as we are and said, yes, let's do that. And I'll feel like if she's on her kindle, and I'm on my. Fire tablet. I'm somehow not with her as much as if I also was reading kindle that. I have only brought a certain proportion of my mind and attention into the room into her presence reading a book. And she I think she notices that she kinda else you can't remember anything specific she'll. Feel a little judgment coming her way. Saying I thought we were going to be reading together there, you are on that stupid tablet. When you're on the kindle, there's only one thing you're doing. So I think it's a good way to be for, you know, the customer the consumer and we're excited that we could bring to customers. Well, let's finish with some cool stuff that you're reading on on your kindles near fires. What's what's book that you'd recommend? Well, it's the addition to the Harry Potter series. Yes. I've been told it's going to be quite popular. And you know, twenty years after the fact, I've only started the rest of society highly recommend that. I just read deep work, which I found fascinating are no feww read that book. He basically describes kind of how the human mind body work, and how the actually want to make breakthroughs in your work or your whatever your career. Maybe it really comes from undistracted concentrated time that you can spend a Cal Newport the. The really comes from Penick concentrated on uninterrupted time, then gives any highly convincing in. That's how everybody works. It's he makes it very compelling case. And then he goes your strategies to actually create that space in your wife. So that you can actually be productive. And so I, you know, someone names on things on my plate. And if you've been to do I've found it very useful to read that book. And you know, if I can adopt twenty percent of what he recommends think victims bigly forward recommend spotted. I reached out trying to get an interview with them because the fascinated he mentioned the kindle as we've been talking as a way to do research more deeply or to as a tool in in his when he talks about ways to deep work effective. He has another book that my wife is reading my wife read deeper as well called digital minimalism. I. I think he mentioned it in there. Maybe by name in deep work. He definitely mentioned it in concept, which is if you're going to if you want to do something electrically put it in airplane mode, turn off the distraction distracting components of it. I don't believe he mentioned kindle specifically in Indy work, but he certainly alludes to the concept of being undistracted is a key way to to get deeper in the topics. You're interested in new makes sense. Well, anything else about this? Cool new basic kindle that. We haven't talked about that when you think back twenty years from now you're going to particularly remember going over. I think we went over the key points. Now, we're we're really excited that we have a lineup now that includes a front light. Which knows if each customers really love love since the first day, we introduced it proud of that. And and we're pleased that shipping the devices to customers now in or excited dead keeps selling get more customers to read. Excellent. I have been speaking with Alan Hughes, Amazon's director of sales and marketing for kindle, e-readers and fire tablets. Thanks very much, Allan. Thank you. Great chatting with you take care. One of the things I enjoyed about that conversation with Alan was the fact that I graduated from Harvard Business School thirty two years before he did and talking a little bit about before it. We started recording. A lot of his experience was the same of mine intensity of the three cases each day, and he found time to be part of an extracurricular club. The he was the head of the tech media club at H B S, and I had a two year old daughter Sara at the time. And so I had a pretty full plate too. But fun to see somebody going through the same as that. I went through and then any up at a job at Amazon, which is obviously pretty exciting. I can relate to a kind of Walter Mitty way. Also wanna thank Amazon's inside and outside PR team. They they always do a good job setting up interviews, but particularly this time I was traveling in south bend, Indiana and the back and forth by Email with page Weber and her team. Was officially timely and they're fun to work with. So always always a lot of you. Don't see the background. Sometimes when these interviews get set up with busy people at Amazon, but that that part of the team is always really helpful to me. So well done and thank you all. Have come pass along from John Otto who noticed kind of an error that I made in the last episode talking about the new kindle he says Highland. I have to correct you on the weight of the paperweight four I checked out the paperwork for stats using the M's on chap shopping apps on my fire, each d- ten Amazon states that paper way for ways six point four ounces. Not six point eight ounces as I had said, the new basic kindle is six point one ounces. I don't believe a point three ounce difference would feel like much of a difference. The flat screen three two gigabyte, internal storage and water resistance is worth a lot to me. Big thumbs up regarding the paperweight for. I also got the Amazon water resistance cloth cover it works. Great. Well, John, I think I did have some confusion there. Your numbers do track. The specs for the kindle in the paper white wifi only models where I got let astray is that. I was comparing the basic kindle, which is. Only available in wifi only with a paperweight that I have that has three g so that one weighs a little bit more at six point eight ounces compared with six point four for the wifi only when I put the two devices on our kitchen scale, the basic into weighed in at six ounces, even and that was three quarters of an ounce less than the paperweight three g. So I think that's why when I held them in my hands. I did think I could feel that three quarters of announced difference in weight between the paperwork three G and the and the wife, but anyway, I want to clear that up and appreciate the John spotted that. That's it for this week Darlie night attended Austin cleanse reading at the tattered cover. I made a recording of I think the quality was pretty good. And I we're going to have a short week next week as we're flying to Saint Louis on Wednesday, then out Boston from her mother's ninth birthday. So I really going to have about two days to put the show together. And I reached out to the founder of the remarkable tablet for an interview I really would like to talk to him. But haven't heard back yet. So I think what I might do is bring you some of the particularly the Q and A of Austin's talk here Denver as the the main kind of feature for next week show unless the can come up with something on short notice Monday or Tuesday. This is Len Julie for the kindle chronicles from downtown Denver. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have day by.

Amazon kindle Jeff Basil Alan Hughes wired magazine Denver Austin clan Twitter Jeff Bezos Harry Potter Tom simple Florida Harvard Business School Amelia Island Lynn Edgeley Chevy Mike
TKC 554 South By Southwest

The Kindle Chronicles

43:24 min | 2 years ago

TKC 554 South By Southwest

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. Steve Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Lynn Edgeley. Today's the ides of March. That's the fifteenth day of the month twenty nineteen. Greetings from Austin, Texas. I have been attending south by south west most of this week. I've also been doing some projects with my cousin Peter tight, I'm staying with him. And he's about to make a big transition into a senior community here in Austin. So we've done some of that I back and forth. From stimulating tech sessions, particularly some appearance by presidential candidates. A little tour on a CNN townhall Bennett, very full week of multidimensional activity, all of it. Pre stimulating I've managed to get enough sleep too. So I'm going to organize the show around a single topic. This is something which I picked up at one of the sessions. I'm going to be telling you about in the topic is trust. And what we will see is that you can increase the trustworthiness of your activities. With some three tips from speaker that I heard and. Talking about those you'll hear some excerpts from that particular talk, and I'm going to loop everything into consideration of trust. As a way to navigate through some of the experiences that had most impact on me here at south by south west. Let's will music and then we'll just jump right in. Good morning, everybody. Trust is complicated. That is Neil. Plus Rica in ballroom, d at the Austin convention center. That's one of the biggest venues seats hundreds of people and his was featured session title building trust in distrustful times. He is the author of the book of awesome. And he runs a website about happiness. I hadn't heard of this fellow before I walked into ballroom, deep kind of on a whim. I thought I would just wander up toward ballroom Deasy who was there and trusted something sounded interesting enough to sit down of glad I did. This is what he had to say at the intro. And then we're going to drill a little deeper. It is new is layered is not faceted. It is mysterious. It's the Ganic nebulous important thing. And it's so critical for all of us. Whether we are an artist whether we are brand, whether we are company and individual a member of family member of nonprofits critical for all of us to know how to manage and grow trust. But we live in an era with the lowest levels of trust ever recorded in decades. I think you've heard enough to catch that this is an animated speaker was very easy to listen to. He was also a very well organized speaker he had distilled his thoughts about this big topic of trust into three points. And he went through them one two three. And at the end he had a circle where all three of them were displayed. And he let it stay up there on the slides long enough. So everybody could take pictures of it with their iphones. So they'd be able to remember the three points are first finite over infinite second human over algorithm and three go all in show. All in since we are going to be spending some time with Neil's ideas. Let's give a chance to introduce them. So properly name is Neil neoplasia. I am the author of a number of books all focus on intentional living. My first book is called the book of awesome, which is all about gratitude. My most recent book is called the happiness equation, which is all about happiness. The book have coming out. This fall is all about failure and resilience and the book I'm working on today is all about trust. So let's crack in two three ways we can all learn how to build more trust today. If I had two pictures one of Neal's three points to carry with me, I think it would be this first one finite over infinite he said several times in an era of infinite choice that the value of curation skyrockets, this is instantly understandable to me when I am in front of my computer anytime during the day, like when I'm driving to work on the podcast and really get focus. This flow of information of options of music of entertainment of ideas. It's truly endless it's truly infinite. And so places where I can have a curated look at material. This is why value subscription to the Washington Post or the New York Times. My problem is I have too many subscriptions. But when I go into one of those established newspapers, the financial times, the Wall Street Journal, I'm getting curated look that has certain perspectives that I understand and trust in value at this infinite amount of news, and that value just gets very high Neil has used this idea to talk about the one thousand most formative books he's going through three books in a show on his podcast. And he he's really kind of a specialty of finding things that he takes a lot of time choosing. And then putting his choices in front of his audience in ways, which I I'm sure he is he's got all kinds of followers, and the value of it is obvious to me one example that he had is fits are. Area of interest here. And it's about the Y independent bookstores are doing so well in the age of Amazon, and maybe why over the last six years, and what we call the retail apocalypse here in the states when Amazon took over the book industry, and they have two hundred million books, and they're always the cheapest why over that exact same six year stretch the number of independent curated finite. Bookstores liked by forty percent props independent bookstores anyone in the room that's a fan like me. To who doesn't like independent bookstores tattered cover in Denver being one of my favorite examples props also to Amazon because it is also seeing the value of creation. We've from time to time had people from the books team. Their whole job is to find the best books and talk about them in highlight them on the Amazon book review blog, and now they have a podcast as well. There's a real value to be highlighting books right in the middle of all of those millions of books. I don't think it's quite a hundred million books as a bit of an exaggeration. But certainly lots of books available at Amazon one of the reasons I left to go to south by southwest each year is to find ideas and actually use them. And as I was listening to Neil talk about finite over infant. I was thinking of the kindle chronicles podcast. I think it's one of the reasons that it has been good idea for most of these years to finish the show at right about forty five minutes. It used to be forty five fifty eight I've given myself. Little slack on that. But to know that when you start the show it's gonna last forty five minutes, and then it's going to be done. There isn't going to be another one until next Friday. So it's a finite amount of material about finite number of topics, namely, kindle books and Amazon clarity of Neal's. First point makes me think that within those topics it's bills trust in with you. When I'm talking to to pick things that are most interesting to talk about used to pull my hair out as I was looking at five or ten stories about Amazon and a week, and that I had to get them all in be kind of comprehensive on those topics. But lately, and I think I would even more doing this as a result of his talk. Find the thing that I really wanna talk about that that tickles me in some kind of a way or bothers me. And then go there and have a curated way of talking about the general topics so finite over infinite. Here's what's next number two. Human over algorithm. He started this topic for the cute story about being in bed with his wife going to early one night when the kids were asleep and the next day after they'd had a night together. She says you sent me an Email at ten o'clock last night. He said, no, I was asleep next to you. That's impossible turns out he had I set up mail chimp to send out emails about his blog or his podcast or something since she his subscribed to him. She got one of the emails because of an algorithm, and it really irritated her. Because she thought that he was sending these posts out our her and the rest of his subscribers manually that he writes a post and then he hits the button when she found out. It was an algorithm there was sending her husband's a material to her. It just went down in her Steve's you didn't trust it as much. So it was a it was a clever way to introduce the topic. The second point. His actually made me feel better. Because I've always thought, gee, I should be using algorithms. I should be sending tweets out after episode and having some program to it for me or the mail chimp letters to those of you who subscribe to the kennel chronicles newsletter. I do everything manually when I finished the show. I write that letter to mail chimp. And then I sent it out myself, and I'm gonna keep doing that. So if you get something from me can be pretty sure that I hit the send but myself, it wasn't an algorithm. An alternate way of stating the second point humans over Al algorithms was brains over bots and to illustrate that he told the story of vici- the best Uber driver in the universe. I saw something that night as I was leaving the bar that I had never seen before my life. And I have never seen says. And it was this. A guy named Vish was picking me up with a four point nine nine writing and almost five thousand rides. I look everyone around me at the bottom like. I'm about to drive home. From the world greatest. Uber driver. People behind five in me. Right. And let you guys know what it's like people in the front. I'm the more high five and me right Bill. I'm excited. I'm like, this is going to be so interesting. What's going to be like is it like an old crystal in the back when it what's up? So I hope in the door and forgive the Indian accent grew up hearing it in my house and everywhere the only accent I will ever attempt. Okay. Bye opened the door. He looks me in the eye turns around he's like is it Neil Neil. I'm like it is Neil. It is real. And yet in the backseat of the car, we have this great conversation on the way home and he's funny smiling. He's got a great personality as you would expect based on the rating, and as we get close to my house. I said, you know, what vici- you might actually be the world's greatest. Uber driver. A never I think all the time. I've never seen a rating close to you. He's like is it true? Is I don't know if it's true. He's like, there's no there's no leaderboard. There's no way the check. He's all all I can see is the last five hundred ratings. I've got really can show me. He's like, yeah. Here. It's here sled shows up on the screen showing nothing but five point ratings revenge. That's an actual screen shot. He has five hundred straight. I'm like, no one's better than you. How could they be? In an era of bots. We want brains, maybe handshakes, and smiles or what are actually becoming the scarcest resources of all planned this point to the kindle chronicles isn't quite as strict as the first I don't use many algorithms. I do put the podcast out on lips. And it goes all over the world and the internet. There's some sort of automated things that happen. But one thing that has been more and more important to me over the years of doing the show is heavy chance to connect with people in person. And as an example here in Austin when I come down, I drove for an hour and a half to have lunch with Mark Roberts listener from the Dallas area. And we always have great time. We talked about politics and lots of other things, and then I drove an hour hour and a half back to Austin, I get emails from we we stay in touch. But there's nothing like sitting across a table from someone and he says, you might try the fry deep fried pickles, which I did. And they were great. It's the same with Catherine. Mom, a listener here in. Austin? I've met with several times when I've been at south by each time. You know, we don't stay in touch much in the intervening year, but because of shared interests the fact, she'd listened to the show, and we we know each other very intriguing launch. This went Kennedy. We ended up talking about her her husband died and now she's engaged. Remarried? We talked about marriage. We talked about all kinds of things that were fascinating. And she took a picture of me writing one of the scooters down the sidewalk, which greatly appreciated emails ways to touch listeners and hear from listeners. It's it's always worth the effort to make some kind of a human connection even with something. That's being distributed electrically like a podcast now, it's time for our third and final point. And this one is go all in show all in. I think I've intuitively known the value of focusing on topic, right? From the start of this show ten years ago. On the kindle, and now settling into the kindle books and all things Amazon actually listened to this part of Neal's talk, I thought well, I've got sort of three four on this show, and maybe I should pare down to two maybe the just about the kindle in books or just books Amazon, and I couldn't find one that I would willingly drop off. So I think I've pretty pretty set settled with the idea that I'm going all in on these three topics all in in the sense that it's all I talked about each week. And it's what I've talked about for ten years. So this growing time of spending on the topic is how I'm interpreting the the the goal in show all in as you'd expect. He had a good story to illustrate this third and last point about trust. I'm walking around Toronto one day. There's a neighborhood just to the west of the downtown core. Call parkdale for those that may not Toronto kind of a grittier grittier neighborhood gentrifying neighborhood. I'm walking past the dollar stores. Money Mars than I stumbled upon this place called Craig's cookies, right? Great neighborhood or to neighbor. But I'm like Greg's cookies. What does a bright yellow building? No way just sells cookies a walk into the store shore enough. This is the display looking at a photograph of what's in the displays at the store. There's no brownies. There's no tarts there's no croissants. There's no pies. It's just cookies a guy looks Minia presume, he's cranky looks. He says is a cookie time. What are you going to say? I'm like hell, yeah. It's time to chocolate. So I over to cookies he's hi, I'm Craig thanks for coming in my stories. Like, here's here's your chocolate chip cookies and touch looks. He's like you wanna shot a cold milk. They only have one drink. You can kind of see it in the background. It's just cold milk. That's it all they sell cookies and coal mill. So I leave this place, and I'm like, wow. Good luck to that guy. Like like, how are you going to pay downtown Toronto rents by selling chocolate chip cookies for three dollars a pop. I give this guy like a month. You know? But I'm such a nice guy. I'm super I'm super nice. I'm going to I'm going to send them a couple bulk orders, I'm gonna like send a couple of gift bag orders through the store. You don't try to keep them a float? So I I do that. I do that. And I go back six months later. There's a different personal to open. Second of all there's a guy behind the counter. It's not Craig and I come in. I'm like, hey, you guys are here. I'm like, this is great. I'm like, congratulations. What time I'm Neil on the guy that's been sending you the bulk orders once in a while like ice like no idea who I am. I'm like I want like a Pat on the back of one like thank you for keeping helping us pay the he's like do we do dozens of orders day? I don't I don't know how to keep Giacomo dozens of day. He's like, yeah. Like rope it Norsar. Now, we're selling ninety dozen a day before lunch. They invited us up rent free. They just want the smell of chocolate chip cookies in their store. You're still in ninety doesn't just that one store that you're not even paying rent for. He's like, yeah. Go all in. So is it kindle time. We're going to return to kneel in the conclusion of his talk, but I want to use the topic of trust to segue to another unusual aspect of south by southwest this year, and that was a lineup of presidential candidates and people kind of involved in presidential politics on both sides of the aisle more on the democratic side, then the Republican, but this was at a nice intimate theatre where Austin city lights, I believe is filmed and over the first two days, the first this is the first weekend we heard from Senator Amy klobuchar from Minnesota Bill weld, former governor from -chusetts said that he's toying with running in there as a Republican challenger to President Trump Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, former governor John Hickenlooper from Colorado who I've been very interested in supporting John casick, former governor of Ohio who surprised people I think by saying that he has not ruled out running himself. For US secretary of housing urban development, Huiliang cuss, Castro and mayor Pete Buddha. Judge he's mayor of south bend, Indiana. And then a late addition was governor Jay is Louie of Washington state who had just announced about a week before the Saul happen. In addition. There were two candidates that were appeared that night at us CNN town hall and also people to judge was there quite light. Bring Sanders was in there. Joe Biden was there. They had tried to get both of them to come. If you if there was a way to evaluate. How all of these candidates did along with Kevin McCarthy who was is Republican House minority leader trust, you know, the there many of them are specifically addressing the divisiveness in the country and offering their solution to it, which you know, Volvo voting for them. But as. As I was watching all of these sessions, and I hadn't yet heard Neal's talk. But when I think back on who had the most impact on me who seemed to resonate with the audience. I think trust would be an example. And I think you could probably go through the three elements that Neal's talking about as a way to evaluate who's using these various tools to increase their trust level. I'll give you an example of how an evaluation by trust level might worth on one of the candidates. I listen to an interview I did about two thirds of the way through the list of candidates with Evan Smith who's head of the Texas Tribune talking about how he came to organize this event itself by south west arterial was either be declared candidate or somebody who is plausibly. Look into Ray. So in the case of governor casick who was your yesterday Saturdays. We stand here talking on Sunday morning. He's not in the race. He said yesterday cop to the fact that he's considering it which surprised to no one ultimately may not run. So it was not you didn't have to be in. You just had to be looking at it when we talked to Hickenlooper originally, and we didn't know that he would be in by the time of south west. We thought he might be considering it, and we actually had a sense that he was going to get in. But. In the case of governor Inslee who kicks off this morning as we stand here against on morning. He wasn't even into race until March first which is about a nine days ago, and we call that morning and had him committed by the afternoon and unusual aspect of the format. Was that each candidate had an hour with one interviewer in their varied folks from time magazine different publications, generally young edgy diverse. Interviewers who did a good job? I I'm always interested interviews, and I was asking Evan. What was sort of thinking on these interviews? I think as an interviewer you you you run toward the ball as well. Like it's worth right? You know, you run toward the bowl not away from it. And I think in the case of these interviews ease the ball is visible run toward the ball. Yeah. I've from Denver and interesting Hickenlooper where was the ball when you assigned his interview. Well, you know, I've known governor Hickenlooper weirdly personally for a while he his first wife was very friend. Of mine for thirty years, and I went to his wedding or strangely enough. She was writing writing for Texas monthly banks that I ended. So I we will colleagues officer boss in in those years. He he's been to our festival couple of different times. I think governor Hickenlooper Israeli guy because as the governor of state like Colorado, he's dealt with almost every issue that chief executive of sorts can deal with and he's not alone at governor Inslee in the similar sense. Governor case when he was running Hieaux same the set of experiences that have governor has different than set of experiences of Senator has chief executive model versus legislator model. He's also temperamentally a little bit more small immoderate than other people. And I think his background is small business person. Probably gives them a different perspective. Here's another excerpt of my conversation with Evan in which he's talking about the venue. It was a wonderfully lit and arranged venue amphitheater style, it could flex up to I think up to two thousand people, but on the lower level where a lot of people a lot of the candidates just fill the lower level. And it it was a good place to sit in and feel like you were overhearing a fairly intimate conversation. He puts it this way. There's an intimacy to an environment like this. I mean, we're in a very large venue and again over the course of the day. They were more people are fewer people depending on who the interviewee was. But it's a pretty intimate room and how people being interviewed at that level react in a situation. Like this in the moment is telling that's why I think the power of public conversation is. Undeniable, you know, you put somebody on a stage in front of a room full of people you ask him questions, and you see how the react. And I think that's a good measure of whether for the job. Let's go back to ballroom D because after having heard the candidates in that intimate setting when Neil was giving his talk about trust. I I wanted to know if he would have any advice for a candidate who was trying to develop trust and thinking of the methodology that he's developed and shared with us. Here's how can kind of crush of people up there at the stage after his talk and just got this brief snippet from him. You have any sense of what it means to build trust. If you're running for office and doing everything everyone the instinct in politics trying to be this gigantic wide average candidate. No, you gotta be you. Ask yourself deep in your heart deep in your values things stand for declare those things write them down both on the Levin victim unmovable unchangeable on the national let the people decide if they don't want you. That's fine. Let your values your values you live with you went on your values win ever could advice and when it comes to trust. And I was thinking about this about the candidates. I thought the fellow from Colorado did a good job generating trust because he was speaking. So humanly definitely not an algorithm in touch with the most human emotions when he was talking about the difficulties of being in the restaurant business and being in politics when he has a condition called face blindness. And this is where the brain is simply not wired to retain information about the configuration of a face to the point where he can recognize. People. I had a friend in college whose brother was terrible car accident on the Massachusetts turnpike, and he had that same condition and for years, we just learned that when we talked to link we had to tell him who we were even as he was looking at us, and I was surprised to find out the John Hickenlooper has the same condition. He told a. Interesting aspect of it. He said that he had learned basically to hack this condition and still function in these very outward facing professions and in the restaurant business. He realized that if someone could tell that he didn't recognize them. They would be offended as though somebody that knew very well. And so he would present to each person that came into restaurant as if he knew them, and he couldn't overdo it because it was sort of strangely. Oh, hey, how are you lend than this? And they didn't know a mole that would be odd. But he generated a sort of default of looking forward to seeing every person because he thought well, some of these people I'm supposed to know, and the others that I don't know aren't going to mind being greeted in such a friendly way. And then his other conditions dyslexia any talked about that. So in this intimate setting of theater, he put out some fairly personal information that I think probably. The effect of generating some trust the one that did really well in that feature in the CNN town hall was the south bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buddha, judge, and here's a clip where Jake tapper is asking him the topic is healthcare in you'll have the the tail end of that. And then it goes into something which get fairly personal and was kind of holding my breath wondering, you know, can this guy talk about this? So recently after his loss and for three seven year old young man, he he did pretty well. And it's become very personal for me too. Because we lost my father a few weeks ago. And it was it was the cancer. It was a brutally difficult time for our family. I make decisions for a living. And I was not prepared for some of the decisions that we fixed in consultation with the medical team. But what I'll say is the decisions that that we made only had to be about what was medically. Right for dad, and what was right for our family. We didn't have to think about whether our family would be financially ruined because of Medicare, and I want that to be available that kind of security that kind of freedom frankly to be available to every American. I just wanna take moment. I want to ask you about your bother Joseph. We're going to the audience picture of him. He was an English professor at Notre Dame. He passed away in January just few days after you announced you're exploring a presidential bid. I just wanted to take a moment to honor as memory and also ask you, what did he think about running for president? He was excited. He he came to this country from Malta this tiny nation, someone place footage as a common name. And he came here for the educational opportunities that this country offered then he became an American citizen after that he believed in education, he believed in this country. But also was very passionate about all the ways it was falling short. And so I don't think he ever guessed that I'd be doing this. Frankly, we didn't either until about a year ago. But when I was getting ready to make the announcement. He was already in pretty rough shape was intimated at that point. And I wasn't sure about whether to go, but I knew he wanted to happen. And so I said, you know, hope I'll make you proud and and he mouthed around the around the tube. You will. And and I think we are like to think we are. I'm sure you're making him proud Pete Buddha. Jesuits the third candidate that was featured at the town hall. The first candidate John Delaney was someone for whom I had submitted a question online. This was before I left. Enver? And I saw that. This town hall was going to be held there. They said, you know, submit questions for the audience, maybe you'll be picked and I got a call here. Peter's house the night before the town hall from producer CNN saying we have chosen your question. And we'd like you to ask it at the town hall of former congressman Delaney this pretty cool. So get there at the appointed time, and there was a seat with my name on it and kind of producer floor person who explained how this was going to work. They gave me a printed out copy of the question that I had submitted quite a lot of care went into this. If you watch these town halls I had to sign a statement saying guest. This wasn't fact the question that I had submitted protecting themselves against anybody that might suspect that their questions that are planted. But yes, it was my question. And when the time came for me to leave my seat Annette ask my question, the producer came and tapped me, and she had shown me. There was a kind of a cross Mark in tape on the floor. And I went to stand there as the person on the left side of the stages. Face the stage was finishing up their question. So I'm standing there in the lights on I've got my little piece of paper. And I wanna make sure that I get it. Right. And then the next thing, I know this is what I hear. I wanna bring in Len edge relief from Denver, Colorado. He's a retired natural gas executive lent. I congressman you have been visiting with voters for a year now. And I wonder what advantage. Do you think that will give you now that many others are entering the race? So I guess I didn't clear the field is what you're saying. Listen, I think it's a huge advantage. Right. Because I've had an opportunity to listen to people not only about an opportunity introduced myself to folks, but I've really had enough listen to so that was my moment on CNN went out live all over the world at one of the thing that showed the precision of this event was as Mike question was approaching. I, you know, pretty lease a fifty fifty chance Jake tapper is going to be talking about Len Ed girly. That's a common mispronunciation by name. But Katie the woman that was kind of my handler came up to me about five minutes before my question came to how do you pronounce your name, and she had a an earpiece, and I guess at some point before Jake was calling my name she had explained to him that I said, it's Edger Lee soft g edge, really? And and that's how he pronounced it. If you've listened to the show for few years, I think you'll remember probably two or three years ago virtual reality or VR made a big splash. And I remember that there was a VR gallery. Probably at the Marriott. No. There was at the Hilton. At that time before the Marriott was built. And you could go in that time there maybe five or six booths and you could put on the VR headsets there. The old clunky ones that had to have a smartphone in it, and you could watch VR movie, and I watched one, and it was pretty cool. Well, now two three years down the road of VR. There was a much larger area. I'd maybe there were twenty different booze of of people that were showing VR productions, and I had some extra time before my supper with Bryant person. So I picked a line that wasn't too long said BBC. Well, this has got to be quality. And it was it was a six minute production set in world. Or one it was animated, but the animation was very lifelike was realistic animation. That was on the topic of field, postcards, and these were postcards with soldiers in World War One could send to home in Britain, simply indicating that they were live. They couldn't put any messages on their. But when one of these postcards would arrive at someone's home sure would bring great joy to know that as of the time it was sent the the loved one was alive. Well in this experience, you find yourself once you're settled in with a headset. And you've got the headphones and all your in a trench. And if you look up with your head UC barbed wire, and it's a very eerie feeling to magin what it was like in those trenches heard about trench warfare World War One. But I've never actually been in anything that was a reproduction of one and with VR. That's exactly where you are. The other scene is in a home looks. Like a middle class home in England. And it's a hallway and these field, postcards, are sort of flying toward you. And you're you're getting the feeling of how many of these were sent from the front to the homes, and at one point a postman brings one of the cards, and it's kind of handing it to you the trust aspect of it. I think is a dimension of VR, and I've heard people in the past it's an empathy machine. So that when you're plopped down in the middle of scene, and especially if it's a film scene. So the you're actually seeing real people around you as opposed to animation. The the it's eerie because you have so much more empathy for the people in whatever the scene is happening in this animated one the trust had to do with being located in the physical environment. I think another way that you could use Neal's test for how to increase trust was the simplicity of it that it was a finite number. Of impressions or information about World War One. You could there's so many ways that you could portray were one. This is about one simple thing field, postcards, and it's all about that. So it's a finite image of an infinite tragedy and catastrophe in human history after I saw the experience on my headset. As I was leaving somebody mentioned that the producer or a producer. I guess was they're able to talk. So I talked briefly. And here's here's some excerpts of what she had to say. My name is and I'm of for company fifty nine production based so we have created a via project by something guy. Put nothing to be. It's an amazing variance fights on one indication assets that were made during what will one it's based on field. Scott. It's cold in the way of quick. Communication in what will one between soldiers on the front line and people by because it was multiple choice. There was no need for censorship on the on the postcards. So they used to be able to accept very quickly. If anything was written on the postcards other than the multiple choice options. It would just be destroyed. So soldiers you use it. So that they can communicate very quickly to tell the families and loved ones that they were still alive. Schmidt with a quick away. The other way and one way. About nine they could send letters and Postles back again, go through the censorship person bit flow. But it was it was just one way from the from soldiers to people that sell them to the really. We're getting close to the end of my consideration of trust it south by southwest as I was going to the conference. I was also spending some time with my cousin Peter because he has decided that it's a good time for him to move into a community of people. He's been living on his own here in Austin. He's blind. And he doesn't amazing job of living independently. But you know, it's I think there's some loneliness to it. It's a challenging way to live for anyone as they get into their advanced years. He's a couple years older than I am going to be seventy one this year. So we've is it a couple of places, and there's some trust here in this part of the story as well that didn't have to south by south west. But it got me thinking about it, and we had an unusual experience because we we went to one place, and we both liked it. The folks were friendly, and it was a pleasant. Space in the unit that he was looking at it didn't have such good walking capabilities, and that's really important to them. So we then went to a related facility that's actually run by the same company. And we each had the same sense that it was a heavier environment. It was just didn't have the informality the life the spontaneity of the first one. And this is all being picked up by our senses because we're we're being toured around and we had a launch and the marketing people were fantastic, they were answering all our questions and giving all the information. But as going on there's this other channel of sensory information, which were both reading the character, the sanctuary or they ambiance of the place. And when we had a chance to compare notes together with each other, we both boy just something heavy about this place. And I was because I could see there was heavy furniture in the lobby. Looked kind of like a big old hotel as opposed to community. And I was picking this up mainly through visual clues Peter was getting the exact same information about this place. He has an incredible sense of sound, and maybe some of the Rome or whatever. But but mainly in sound, and we marvelled that we had both come up with the same assessment of on base. Kind of our six senses actually are are shared actual senses. Even though we were getting such different information coming in because he's he's blind. And I'm not. I think you can trust that. And when you are picking up information on channels other than the facts and figures how much is the unit gonna cost what's the square footage. All of the information was coming to us. But we were both picking up some pretty accurate information that we could trust on the other dimension the other trust part of that story is what we went back to the first place. The woman Debbie Holly, wonderful marketing person at the first place. Peter had mentioned that he loves to cook. And he does he he loves the grill steak, and when we're together we we have some great meals because he is a little scary for me to watch him out there with his hands over the grill to touch the stakes and the flames are flying up. He's. Assessing how on the stakes are by his hands. But he does love to cook. Well, we got back Debbie Holly, the market person had a bag for him. And it was kind of a gift bag with tissue paper. She somehow. Well, we were gone for a couple of hours head located a two volume, Betty Crocker cookbook. In braille and I was really touch minute. I thought you know, she's doing your job as she hopes that Peter will move into the community. But what if thoughtful thing to do and what a tangible thing she did that it helped? I think did help us both trust her as someone that would be good to deal with an it helped us to get a feeling for the character of this community. And if all goes, well and the rest of my trip here, I think that the next time I come visit Peter out by south west. He's going to be in this great community and the one of the rooms will have guest bit. And it's another place to stay next year next week. I will be back in Denver. I fly. Back on Monday. And I've got some interviews sort of bunched up together, but they're going to be available for you to hear during the next three weeks. Austin Qiliang has a new book out. He's a big star of past south by southwest. This one's title. Keep going ten ways to stay creative in good times and bad L. Also be talking with Michael j Sullivan who writes fantasy novels very successful self-published novelist, and then call Needham who is the founder of IM db the movie database that was acquired by Amazon. So sometimes I'm scrambling early in the week to find interview. So it's going to be nice to have interviews signed up for the next few weeks. I think I've got to do two or three of these interviews all next week. So I'm going to be doing some preparation in a scramble when I get back to Denver seem be good to be back on ten days and staying in touch with early. The echo show. I took the little echoes spot with me. So I've got it at my pets. High table can drop in under lean with the echo show on my desk. Well, I hope even -joyed this little unusual tour of south by southwest through the lens of trust. And I'd like to conclude with the stirring, conclusion of Neil pest Rica's talk in ballroom de I feel so grateful to be able to come to south by southwest each year to kind of veteran at this point. And I I hope you've enjoyed this version of it. And I look forward to returning next year the final choice the final question, which is what kind of world. Do we want to live in the we wanna live in this low trust world that we're in right now, we're all we're trying to do with other upgrade our Email lists. In our walking billboards, we see attention spans. We see eyeballs we see brains. We see monetize everything, you know. Saw billboard just down the street this morning. It's like this is how these companies see you and stuff human figures dollar signs that the world we wanna live in this bag and endless infinite algorithm. Ick world of low trust or do we want to add back some human connection? Do we want to stand up for what we believe in and tell people that clearly we wanna go all in on that. Do we want to have finite offerings be clear about what we're passionate about? Let our passions lead us and put them out there. And do we wanna live in a world with more compassion, and more empathy and a lot more trust? I help you. Join me and saying yes, thank you so much for your time today.

Amazon Austin Neil Neil Peter Neal Denver John Hickenlooper CNN Colorado producer town hall Toronto Steve Evan Smith Texas kindle Craig CNN town hall south bend Austin convention center
TKC 552 Visit to Belmont Hill School

The Kindle Chronicles

55:35 min | 2 years ago

TKC 552 Visit to Belmont Hill School

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Linda Julie today is March first twenty nineteen. Welcome to you from downtown Denver, we returned here from our stained Cambridge Massachusetts three days ago on a tight deadline tonight because I get the show done before friends. Tom and Tisch Atkinson arrived from casper Wyoming for a visit for a few days they had planned to come on Sunday. But we've got a pretty serious winter storm warning coming our way. So they've decided to come down early. You may remember the Tom was a big help to me when we were shipping a thousand kindles to service personnel serving overseas that was in our e books troops program. Few years back. This week. I had planned to interview the author AG riddle about his latest book winter world, which was published this week, but Jerry came down with a bad head cold. And he said his voice was really not ready to be recorded. So I luckily I had audio from my visit to my old school in Massachusetts Belmont hill school. So that's what you're going to hear in this episode. I made a presentation to a creative writing class of juniors and covered a number of topics which I hope will be of interest to you. And and in particular, I think you Manjo the questions that I was asked at the end of the session. So you'll be hearing that and before we get to the interview I'll point you to a deep dive news story about the creation story of Alexa, and a tech tip about how to find everything that Alexa, has recorded on your echo network. The article that I wanna talk to you about was published in wired last month. I came across it this week, and the author is James flay hosts, it's titled Amazon Alexa in the search for the one perfect answer a link to it in the show notes. It highlights of someone I had never heard of in the UK William Tunstall pedal. Tunstall hyphen PD, oh e was early on working on what would become Alexa. He developed a company that was researching this back in the early nineties back when the internet was basically getting going and his company created something called evey which made its debut in January twenty twelve few months after apple announced Siri, and he was creating device at about the time that Amazon was working on. Echo. So when the echo came out in two thousand fourteen it's question answering abilities would be significantly powered by EV. The circle says, and that buyer was Amazon and the device was the echo. The intriguing part of this story is well is the idea of voice technology, Alexa, giving us one answer. Instead of what we had come to see as the normal way that we find things on the internet, you Google something. And then you you get a list of links, and you can go down through the first page of links. Most of us don't go much beyond the first page of the links that are returned. And hopefully, find something that's of use to us the the alternative way of looking for information and expecting to find it is called the one shot answer and Tunstall PetO says that this was really kind of tabu in the early days of the internet. And when Google was developing a search engine because I think it will it's hard to do. And it wasn't something that people were tuned into. Expecting or wanting now when we ask a question, the the whole effort of the eye and the the machine language, and and the the crunching of the data to come up with the best answer for question has gotten very sophisticated, and it opened my eyes to things which I can ask my devices here, which are much more complicated than what's the weather or set a timer things like that. And I'm gonna try a couple of examples here that I got out of this article to compare how Alexa does with the Google home, Google assistant. So the first one is computer. Computer is a bat a bird. No, that's our mammals. Okay. That's that's her answer. Hey, Google is a bat a bird. On the website kids on W. They say a longtime ago people used to think that's where birds without feathers. But now, we know that there is no such thing. As a federalist bird. We know that bats are mammals just like people. Too. Good answers. They're they're both accurate. When I pulled it up on the echo shoulders image of a Pat and Google is providing a little richer answer that question, I call that one a tie. Computer is Madonna single. Madonna's not currently she has been married twice to Sean Penn from nineteen eighty five to nineteen eighty nine and Ritchie for two thousand to two thousand eight. She is reportedly dating Carlos Leon. Hey, Google is Madonna single. According to Wicketpeer Madonna performing burning up the second single from her debut studio album on the rebel heart tour American singer, Madonna has released a legal stuff. So Alexa wins that one Google saw. The word heard the word single and went straight to a recording. Whereas Alexa, was the one the figure out that that we're asking if she was married. Last one computer, how did the Romans tell time at night. Sorry. I don't do that. Hey, Google, how did the Romans tell time at night. On the website the conversation dot com, they say the Romans also used water clocks, which they calibrated from the dial in so they could measure time, even when the sun was not shining at night or on foggy days. Google definitely wins that one the the article described some of the design of these thing, you have sort of a tree of knowledge that is built to try to branch toward answers too complicated questions and quite well done and gives you a feeling for how much work is going on behind the scenes to have natural questions answered in ways that are useful than coming up with as they say a one shot answer in passing one tidbit in the articles impress me it said in two thousand eighteen alone. According to a report by NPR and Edison research the prevalence of smart speakers in American Home households grew by seventy eight percent. So I take that as a seventy eight percent of the number of smart speakers in our homes just last year. And I suspect that there's going to be continued gross the growth of that nature this year. This fellow that created the voice of became Alexa, is not with Amazon anymore. He left in twenty sixteen. It doesn't say where he ended up, but Mr. Tunstall Beddoe plays a real role in something which is becoming ubiquitous in a lot of our homes, though, wired writer puts us in a larger context by saying that what we're seeing is a shift of the conventional web, the one that we grew up with you think of Google searches with what he's calling the conversational web. So using voice assistance to get one shot answer gradually without us really noticing it when we get a few more years down the road. It's just going to be the way we get information, and it's radically different. With a lot of implications for advertising and everyone wants to be in position zero. Which is what they call the top result from a search. They don't wanna be. In the top ten of the top five. They really have to be in positions zero or else. They're just not even going to be in front of the people who are asking the questions. For the tech tip. I will have a link to an article that I came across in the verge which talks about how to find the recordings that Alexa, devices are making, and if you want to delete them as a way to declare them out. I followed a link on this. There's two ways to do it. You can you'll find directions on how to navigate to the recordings that have been made on your Lexa app on your smartphone. And then there's sort of an easier handier way to look at it on a computer. If you Google Alexa privacy, you'll find a page that has all of your recordings laid out in a very convenient way. So I was trying this out, and you know, that well, I'll hear my own voice. It was a little bit unnerve ING because I have Alexa devices here in our home in Denver. Also. I have back in Cambridge. And it turns out that when I was listening to the voice history for today and the other day, I heard some voices from the devices that are listed at our Cambridge home that were in weren't there. So we'll who's giving Alexa devices commands at our home in Cambridge. Well, turns out it's the workmen. Kevin John Greg is really enjoy having them around. But apparently when we're not there, they they know that these are Alexa devices, and they asked to play the Beatles. And they ask for some interesting music. And if I play the these recordings I can hear the voices. And it'll say, oh, yeah. Well, there's there's Kevin. And you see it by day by day. You can see on the log like here's one the says play the beetle. So I'll play this and you'll hear are. Friend Kevin talking to our Alexa, back in Cambridge. When I didn't know that he was. Play the Beatles. And then he was also interested in another grew from the sixties play Donovan there, I also was able to hear because I'm hooked up with my parents Amazon account. So that I can drop in with the echo show. I was seeing devices that were listed it their house at the place that they're living, and I was hearing their housekeeper Marie giving. Some commands to Alexa to play Mozart and play different things. So there's nothing really creepy about this. I I know all these people, and it makes sense that I'm not the only one using Alexa, Darlene can use them also. But you get a feeling for how this audio is captured and it's vailable to us, and you can wipe them out. If you don't like the idea of the voices of people that you're in your house that are using it you can just delete all recordings for today. They also say that. If you wipe out the history, then Alexa, isn't quite as good at understanding what you're trying to say. So when I saw these I I don't know the no no real reason to wipe these out. And I just I would like her to have to be smart and knowing what I'm saying. Anyway, if you especially if you've got a lot of devices, and if you're up with any other family members, and you want to hear how people are using the devices, I can imagine this might be handy. If you've got children and your children are asking for problematic things for Alexa, do when you're not there. You can go in and find all of that. And if maybe you have to have some conversations about the proper use of technology in your home, Amazon's gonna provide some information that could be useful so Alexis recording us and making pretty easy to find out what she's hearing. Let's head now to Belmont hill school in Belmont, Massachusetts the school. I attended for six years, including my high school years. It was founded in nineteen Twenty-three. It is still an all boys school and the boys all wear coats and ties. So when I made my way to Belmont hill from Cambridge. We could go today on Friday. I've ended up in a classroom with about twenty of the boys. Who are they're called fifth formers that they use the form system. I think that's from England. And so v form is the same as junior or eleventh grade, this was a creative writing class given taught by Dr Jean tift who is of talented teacher woman teacher, they didn't have those in my day fifty years ago, and I met her at my fiftieth reunion last year, we got talking about how maybe the students would be interested to hear from me during her creative writing class. So that's that's how I ended up at Belmont hill on this trip. It was really kind of a time machine to because I get there, and I I wore coat and tie. You know, I don't have to but I have habit. So I was dressed appropriately. And thinking why fifty years ago or more I was sitting in this these seats we didn't have the kind of seminar tables, the the way that these kids had that we were all sitting around. More like a college setting almost we had the little chairs with the arms on them. And everything's changed. There's been so many new buildings the school has been very successful. So everything is is new I had to kind of locate by vectors, the fact that the doctor tiffs class was near favourite English class. I had Dr Henry Sawyer who would bring his golden retriever Robbie to class things that you could do in a private school that probably against the rules in a public school. So anyway, there I was and I didn't preparation I really hope that I would have lots of time for questions I didn't end up in talking a little bit more than I hope we get a little bit of a late start. But you're going to hear me talk about self publishing podcasting and low residents MFA programs these are areas that I thought they might be interested in and I said a blue yeti microphone in the middle of the table. So that they would be able to make. Comments and questions you'll hear reference to the panel. That's a excellent school newspaper, which is still published on hill. And in my day. I was the editor in chief on it. That was a real important part of my high school years. And then I ended up on the news port at the Harvard crimson, the daily newspaper at Harvard and after college got jobs in as a reporter in Rhode Island, and then as a energy magazine editor in Wyoming. So the the nights that I spent. Working late. Putting the panel together ended up being a key part of my career after that. So this is Dutch gene tift introducing me and lightly edited this, but you'll get a feel for my presentation, and especially the questions afterward. Heavily here tonight. The hot tall Alonso view as one in your physician here and has done so many different kinds of writing his and other things in your life. You've had a long, and that's anything Pap. Now. We're talking about you editor and she panel Europe year. So he's just here Millette, you if you don't mind a little bit about your happen. And and talk to us about your already learnt looking size about closing. So this is this is right being him. The pleasure. I feel like I'm probably chime sheen fifty years ago. I think there was an English class right about here that I loved when I was at he'll Mr. Sawyer and used to bring her to class. Cozy dogs around here. Good good. Well, what I doing you'll see microphone air, and so we're recording. And I have a weekly podcast called kindle chronicles. And it comes up refried eight. So on March eighth my plan is that. We'll we'll have some excerpts from this class as part of my forty five minutes show, March eighth. And so I just try to talk for about half the billable time. And then we'll have a conversation just throw questions at about things I've mentioned or anything else. And I think it will be interest to my listeners the pike cast is about the kindle authors. Do author interviews and Amazon. Those are the kind of might treat main areas and probably about five hundred thousand people listen to each show, it's gonna manipulates in terms of pike Casco, they tend to be pretext Atty illiterate. And so I think they're going to be interested to hear from you guys about what you're doing creative writing with kinds of thoughts. You have the future is you enter into the world letters or whatever else you doing. The creative arts that's your path. If you think if you're gonna ask a question, you might kinda lead toward the microphones kind of clearly don't have to yell, and I thinking that the first time that you're on air just say your name, what form you're in where you're just a little bit of intro the first time, and then we'll just let it go. The other thing we're not broadcasting. Now, it's not live. It's reported in edit. So if there's any mistakes or things. You know, if you make some kind of romantic mistake or something edited out for you want to keep anybody out of college here. And. Yeah. So that's that's what we're doing with podcast. And I'm gonna talk about podcasting so publishing, and I'm gonna talk a little bit of the low residents NFA program that I did poetry anytime and then going questions, so how many of you have podcast yourself that you're doing. How many of you? Listen to podcasts. Okay. Good. My pitch for podcasting. Is you know, if you're a writer and doing things doing jeans class here. One of the most important things is to find your voice that a writer who has a clear unique voice that's consistent and has really found the sweet spot of their own identity own voice. I've always found that's the strongest writers are so if you do a podcast, you're by definition using voice. You're speaking is an oral form. And if you do it regularly on a topic that you care about you have a chance to kind of learn the rhythms of your own voice. You you hear how you're saying things that sound natural. And you hear that part seem to be like playing a role wasn't really myself in that part. I've been doing it every week for ten years. So over that period of time. I when I go back and listen to older shows, I can really here where I was struggling to claim my voice. So I think that podcasting is a unique opportunity for anybody. That's doing something creative because any creative endeavor. You're trying to find. What do you have to offer the world? Nobody else has and podcast and can be helpful. The other great thing about high casting is because you're putting stuff out on the internet. You know, you start with something you're passionate about and it can be very specific. And you're gonna find your tribe of people who are also interested in that subject, and that's rewarding because you don't feel so alone. You feel like well, I'm not the only crazy person who's interested in, you know, the kindle authors. Amazon there's you know, civil hundred people, maybe maybe. Thousands. And when you hear back from your tried. You're hearing their perspectives on things that you really care about. So each week when I put up show, I generally get back from people saying, hey that was great. It didn't quite agree with this. You should really interview this person because you know, their natural for your show. So does this kind of a dialogue with like minded people who you can find via your podcast on the internet. And I think that's that's. Plus. Earth thing is if you pick something, and then you stick with it. Like I have for every week for ten years you become an expert. I mean when I started out, and I I like the kindle I like writing I wanna talk about it. When I got a chance to interview some of the people at Amazon, for example. A little nervous. Like, what's this retired guy? Who's gonna podcast? Why are they gonna wanna talk to me? And now tenures in when Amazon interested in kindle or fire. They include me in the the media sessions where they save this is earning device on Bargo till next week. So I get to talk to these on executives, and I know worries because a lot of times these guys come in like the last three years I've been covering the kindle for ten years. So as I know more about the need it. And it's it's not because so smart it's just been doing have been paying attention to the subject regularly for so long that expertise just kind of naturally develops. And that's that's really fun. If you've got questions about things the tools the way that I do the podcast. Glad to talk about it. Just. Mentioned three when I record this. And I've worked on it. In logic pro which is the editing program at us like create an MP three file gotta get it up on the internet. So it's got to be somewhere on the internet. So that when somebody hits the podcast app on your life on search for the kindle chronicles. Then they tap on the episode. It comes down from the internet to device, and you have to pay somebody to store those files I use Lipson. And I think that's limit has the market share. I think I pay fifteen or twenty dollars a month for them to store all of my episodes. And if for some reason an episode gets crazy numbers of listeners, you know, if there's one hundred thousand people download it. I still pay twenty dollars a month. They don't charge me each time someone downloads. They just charge me for the. Space on her shelf where I keep that up. Blue Getty, microphone Iceland, secular. Half of the people doing podcasts are using this microphone cousin hundred three dollars on Amazon. It's it's very high-quality. You you could pay more than that for a microphone. He goes. Okay lesson. Get maybe eight percent quality. But that went is really works. Well candidate. Do probably have to. Into snowballs to now when I record I usually have a pop filter that because there's the close of if if I if I was just talking to that you'd hear the sounds, and so it's better to have a around mesh thing front of it. Okay. Recommendation about of ready shorts raise and and maybe write poetry. It's not adding more sense to do as podcast for you. Here. The author reading shorts to rate of you like the idea of publishing rights written for people who are. But I think both, you know, I don't know too many podcasts actually throughout hymns thousands of podcasts. But I could imagine a podcast like sue work. You're doing in the class year short story home, and if you could kind of identify your interest in your approach, you could be saying student of dollar hill, and this is going to be a show about my work on this collection of short stories. And because a lot of people are very interested in the creative process. So particularly, you know, guys your age if you. A little context and say, well, what did I decide to write a short story about this topic? We'll I'll tell you. This is my experience my background, my family would ever. And then read the story. So you give it some context. And then you've put it out there. I think that would be an example of powerful podcast if you were just putting up your stories of poems without that kind of context introduction. I think could be a little dry heart grab he. And then in the self publishing of the the next thing. I'll talk about the chance to compare those two options. When Amazon introduced the kindle, November two thousand seven the same day that the first kindle was available. They launch something called kindled. Rick publishing K G P. And what that meant was right from the start if you had a a novel or collection short stories, and it was a word format on your computer. You could without paying ends on anything uploaded and have it be available for sale at dot com. With the other billions of books that are there and since then last year's hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people have done. They've they submitted things in EBA format in their available for purchase on Amazon. And what's happened is that some people have had great success doing that they found readers. They're quitting their day jobs. They're they're becoming raiders by annual sub self. Publish on this platform that Amazon low conflict pm on traditional publishers so Amazon created its own. Poaching company called him publishing, and they kinda changed the rules. They're paying raiders higher royalties. They are placing e books more like three dollars book as opposed to fourteen dollars rent house in the other charging. So it's kind of a road publishing entity that Amazon created. If you combine the publishing books with the cell phone books that that counts forty two percent of US adult fiction that was post last year. So it's become this huge. It's gone from basically zero and ten years ago. So publishing was the credits. If you were loser forget, you publish you pay somebody, you're publish your book. And it was just Baresi. Those days are over when people think self publishing they might think of Andy Lear guy the Martian who self published his book first. And then it went on come. Visually believable think there are any number of self published authors. Who started that way to the point where this is now just of you'll option if you're you know, being opposed books. So I would just say if in your future you see yourself writing book. Yes. The traditional sectors still exists wonderful. There's fabulous people work at the big publishing companies can find an agent sell your book and all that. But there's this whole other path now that did this ten years ago in its if it's worth being aware of as you think about the author. Killed. Rick publishing now thinking you've you guys are creative. You're doing things you may wanna have audience and get some reaction kill publishing. If you got short stories, you could just tonight, though, publish a book on Amazon, they take twenty four hours to make sure it's not go porn or something. They the passes that are censored it'll be up there tomorrow warning, you know, your your cousin San Francisco bite. So that's that's one path. That's available is aiming what pad. What had okay. Pet dot com is a. It's a publishing platform, and you can serve rate your book in real time and get feedback from people as you're reading chapters. I did this five years ago book, I was reading about the apple watch I came out, and it was pretty cool because I'd sit there, and I read a chapter a hip publish, and then a few people would read it. I get a few responses back saying, hey, that was interesting. But what about this? And there are now I think there's fifty million people who are members what bets huge platform, it's free. And that would be a way wanna gets reacted to something writing. You've just create a walkout. And do it. I don't know if there's an age that. That. This rainfall. I said you can just start writing school paper like all the get feedback sourcing of your favorite pro. On that. Yeah. The other one that I use is more for nonfiction called medium. Everybody have medium dot com. That's it was created by one of the founders of Twitter, and you can write an essay on medium where I love about. It is as you're writing it. It's formatting it. Exactly how the reader will. It's beautiful. Used to call it. What you see is what you get busy week. And as you're writing you're seeing your your piece showing up you don't have to go through to draft, then steps instantly. It's looking just the way to publish this. Pretty cool. The last way to spread which writing to people is kind of simplest one as Email. I know there's a guy who graduate Harvard, and I think what he was Cyril friends school in DC. He was a funny guy. And he would just write this stuff like comments, and he sent it up to like five or ten people, you know, friends family, and they would get it read it bear today's IRS, and he. It gradually just grew and grew and grew and and that was sort of his launching pad for now, he's quite a well known guy in digital media. He was a keynote speaker itself I self west of years ago, and they'll start with him just sending stuff out to a few people on Email. Now, you can do that. If you just have g mail account this mail chimp that I've listed there is a nice Email newsletter creation services free up two thousand people. So if your distribution list is less than two thousand people you have mail chimp set up a distribution for free. It's pretty easy setup. Let's just throw a pot casing interested say you leak on hill college, and you get a job somewhere that isn't in the creative industries your banker or something just you know, you're making a living. But you still have this hope that someday you're gonna write the great American or become a major poet their these low residents MFA programs and instead of going somewhere for two years to get a masters in firearms. You get your generally go for eight or ten days a semester to campus when I went to Bennington, and in between, your your rigors reading list, usually, and you're submitting to rental work to teacher who's an established polar writer, some kind on faculty program. So you have five or six really intense back and forth with teacher go to the campus with all the students you do workshops like what you're doing here. If it's this summer camp for writers for ten days. It's really fun. And then you go through the next period. Of course, they generally cost ten thousand twenty thousand a year you come out. And it's something you could do while you were doing job and very powerful way to again, find your voice, and and really find where you fit in the world letters. By doing something that attentive. The people was your Denison around that. Or was that there fulltime I did the low residents, I repeat I retired job at a gas company west and I did retire from here. I went to her college majoring government to speaker. And then I got an MBA Harvard, and then I worked in journalism. I got a corporate job when I retired from the corporate job at that. Got an MBA harbor about NFA poetry bounce things. And now the NBA benefit. So I can talk to anybody. Great. Thank you hear about some of the way. White journal entry out by wanted to take creative writing and many people say I loved to as young I never time for it more and this can happen again. But you know, the things are passionate about you got. Living in crew yourself. That's very valid. But then to to remember keep the parts of you are possible to bring back in at minus been now he put himself through law school. Building houses. And now he thinks that that's von lay. They wish is building. It's actually kind of trying to transition into that. And he's got a little price on the side makes himself happy to do something creative. And just. Member always take with insurance. Not just one way. Good and successful life. Exactly. Let's I'm going to turn up. Shoot. So who's going to question or something creative challenge? A working actress of pressure about podcasts. General bouquet say who you are unable Garvey Manion fit former here, again, what do you think about the past ten years about how podcasts kind of had this kind of huge surge in popularity just in general. Well, it's it's been pretty stunning. A lot of it's happened on kind of professional end like NPR serial podcast. It was watched by billions of people so love for people are listening to podcasts, that's drawing more content. And and it's getting easier to listen to podcasts just about in. But he can get the podcast app on their iphone. Enter kindling finding JIMBO chronicles or or whatever else you want. Apart of this harder to see are more podcasts like mine. I don't make money from my podcasts real niche audience. And I think that sector's probably growing as well. The trouble is that it's it's harder for what you're doing to be found by anyone because there's such an expansion of the number of them. And I think it's going to continue. I think venture ly- the car is going to be the place that really is gonna drive podcast adoption because it's still a little funky. You know, you have to get in the car at your outgoing. Eventually you're going to be able to just say car. Finding putt cast about the Red Sox in vulnerable disturb playing. So you'll have this really low barrier of finding stuff that you want. And and you know, people spend a lot of time to cars, and that I think is going to end the other thing that smart, speakers, Alexa, and all that. Those are now if you have a smart speaker, and you say Alexa, play the chronicles podcast my podcast, come right up. Just go out there and find it. So the easier it gets for people to find this stuff. They will just keep growing. The city gets outgrow radio shows talkradio, you might I people predicted that long time, and it never really seems to happen. But I can imagine the time, you know, maybe ten years from now where people will think it's odd to have to turn on something. When it's happening is opposed to be able to do it. Whenever it's convenient to listen to it. We watch anymore. It's right. Everybody. Other questions half like what you name tag. It's really important. 'cause you treat your audience before the name is is important. You know? If you put kindle in IT thing, but podcast is the first one that comes up, and that's because a lot of five hundred fifty episodes, but danger podcasts think of word that maybe makes. Fight will searching. Will. Anybody have does this give anybody in idea that goal tonight create a podcast? So what would you call it? What would you? If you have time if you were overburdened with homework to do. Finally, I just have a question for you on a major the fives. Well from us did you realize you want to podcasts? Good question. I went to a I had been blogging in the nineties, and I went to a conference in Banff, Canada, coal logs and dogs and the deal was gonna learn how to be better blogger and we're going to get a dog sled. Right. And and they did his own stocks. It was great. And the first night. I was there these guys with like little thing Harper's doing this receptions over making a podcast. What's up typecast? Well, thank you, create audio. He put up on the internet. Anybody can listen to it. And they probably told me about lips. And I went back to my room at night. And I created a count put up. My first episode called it. The the pod chronicles. I'm here in Banda. I'm just doing my podcast here. So I was just playing around with it for probably three years or so learning Mike phones. Learn the editing wearing all that. Not really knowing what I wanted to view my show about. And that's when the kindle it's introduced to seven. I just had the sense that I talk about this every week for ever because like so interested in the whole idea of an e book with that might mean for literature authors. So I just you know, probably I sold on July twenty six. Eight. So there was glad it worked out that way. Because I had learned a lot of the mechanics putting podcast together before my topic was kind of cute. Because just being so happy think about. And yes, that's how that happened and usually long your punk cats, Forty-five minutes, usually have a twenty to thirty minute interview with somebody that I have news items of kindle or on. And then tips over some new way to. Talk about it. And they usually some comments. I'm also a former from what's if you had like this another podcast what your favorite podcasts. Well, I'm always looking for podcast have interviews. So I can learn of do better interview. I think well, my favorite interviewers guidance John Thornhill at the financial times. And I think it's podcast is called Techtronic. It's all about technology. Always has a guest on his questions are very short. He listens really actively. So that somebody goes on and on kind of the next questions right on the money away. The advance the conversation. So like a lot is this a strange guy named Dave slush earlier who hasn't pie cast called the evil genius. And he just he just starts talking into a microphone about stuff that is going on with his life. And it's it's oddly Besnik writing he takes a lot of risks talking about personal stuff mother's death of things that are happening, and I've just grown to light the sound voice. So that that's what I was. L A lot political stuff, David Axelrod's. The axe files has really good interviews and. How about some of you the regime has listening podcast? What was into? Yep. Yes. Young part by. Pardon my take. No, what's that about? Fours of tests. Yeah. Interesting. Every weekly. Jona wide also born five Newton sometimes into section ten. Also by barstool sports. It's about the Red Sox. Like, it's pretty funny. And you said you've talked about the kindles just talk about the socks forever. So disea- guess on or is it just that they recently got access to their. So they like during see obviously. But during the season they would interview players. Yeah. Manager office does who's always. Ziff in crows also form five for school. I also do barstool sports casts, spin chiklis skin chiklis, fit LIPA. Chiklis lakes, spitting chiklis. Yeah. Like to because it's about hockey all the former players have a accent gel players come on till funny stories playing stuff like that. Predictions. Doesn't get sense that show. We have hundreds of thousands of listeners pre small group of listeners. Gets a lot of years, but a specific. Right. Right. The Joe Rogan podcast. I heard of that this like this like three hours long yet. He does like he doesn't talk week like three long. But he interviews all matter people. It's like one week in my interview someone is talking about like nutrition next week went better do mosque. He has that. Yeah. He has also decreased watch the pot see as well. Yes. He's like a he's like a comedian, but in as professional job, but I think the podcast is so popular now that just as well is really interesting because they're super lawn, and there's he comes out with a bunch of week, and there's kind of like all topics. So if you had like any topic, you can find podcast on the questions are really good. Great interview. He cleared prepares would he's interviewing somebody else. Yeah. They'll ask questions you. No. Hill interview physicists. Tyson. It'll turn around and do some technology. They'll do something music artists and stuff in come in. If you ask them about their house. Yeah. Go on. I'm listening to right now is about talking Harvard Motzer who works in anti-aging. Yeah. And then he doesn't eat another one. We go about this guy. Talking about the Cozma's has all sorts of crazy. Yeah. Yeah. His Joe Rogan. Yes. I think it's the Joe Rogan experience this like fifth time somebody mentioned really jolt this guy. Sieber opinionated, though, super Pinon that helps I think he's I think he's slow around. I just want. I just want people. Yes. You said that you've been being gassed? You've bacon coffee. If you find it more of a short or or myth. Chore? What's hit? That's interesting. Well, I think it's sometimes it's a chore honest. It'll give to be George Friday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Interview yet. Podcast. Mount I climb that we have to climb podcast. And so there is that and but generally such much meditative as. I feel like I'm retired. I'm sixty eight and every week. I get to talk to somebody who has got something. Interesting to say, and I choose people because what they did a post, and that was really interesting they go go coming out interested in. So if heels more like a privilege to be able to just reach out to almost anybody wanna talk, and it's still early. I prepare like crazy half hour the Mike falls on like all of my senses are alert. And so it's sure like plugging my creativity into a socket once a week, and there's always a period where I think this is the show that it's going to completely bomb and always happens when I sure that and then getting toward the end of it. And it's coming together. I can see it here. It is great. Show. All right. And then I was listening to the next. I think is a genus says. Yeah. Avi towards the most not most fans, but the best your opinion must either interesting. You got to this. Well, I've interviewed Jeff Basil's twice have Amazon. The. School. Really nice guy. Like he said a little top. He he said boy when I left kind of crazy, so. Dial your microphone bag. Hey, what he was great. I think in other words, my favorite ones because to portrait Pennington, I studied poet, John Ashbery, a modern poet, some no, and he came out with some EBA verse books and through the pulse. Chancy interview on the phone with them York. And this is John, Azure, is really old thrilling just a chance to I said, why do you love writing poetry, and he kind of laughed? I don't know if I really love it was just czar improved kind of a conversation with an icon. Doll halls. And then to miss writing cools, Patricia Cornwell. And that people just starting out sometimes a debut, author, really wonderful view. How easy is it for you to like contact these people are do they respond very quickly. Yeah. I pretty active on Twitter. So a lot of times I'll see if I can find someone on Twitter. Do tweet and. I'd say at least half the time. I hear back from people and a lot of it is I never have anybody. Surprisingly, I don't ever have anybody say how many people listen to your podcasts. As is this worth my time. But when I reach out to someone say, hey, I saw what you wrote about Amazon. In the post this morning. And I thought it was really interesting because this in in I have a show called cockles in that little plug in. Beatles on the show couple times, would you like to interview? And I think people when they feel like somebody has noticed them in a real way just trying to get something from them open to having tells competition. So it's president easy times. Where Tuesday morning women interview. I see something come across. And I sent him something and in ten minutes of schedule. That's always have of the you talked about your voice, how you found your voice is when you're talking on the cafes has been you're writing differ, or do you see a good of common? Well, see them kind of verging. You know, I I like to think that my writing is getting better because I hearing my voice as I write. So it's more informed. You know, there's the sentence structure has jumped short long sentence. And I great out a script most weeks. So it goes the other way to that. Lot of the show I will have scripted. But then when I read it I'll read it in a way that it's it doesn't sound like reading script. It's just reminding me healthy going, so they they kind of help each other. Import by time because we nonfiction as wonderful having on fiction writing class the world has obsessing on fiction. But were they parv members fine to relieve you can't live without fiction and poetry trying to keep that life. And I get it with a self publishing health issues fits, and I love that idea that kind of talking about at process, but you know, you have any other thoughts for how these guys are just finished one short story. Try new one in poetry or any other ways to we that into pass world. Or would it be more about maybe salt publishing? I I think it would be really pockets that way, you know. Shoe? We pick that up. Thanks very much. Well, those a lot of fun we've gone well over the usual time, but I wanted to get that whole thing in part report of my personal archive. The return to Belmont hill. So next week. We'll hear from Jerry riddle, the we were going to do this week overly his voice has recovered. I do wanna say that Wendell webs fire tablets got snapped up. Very quickly. You reached out one of you? I heard stop during the walk and send an Email right away and got one of the tablets, and they've all been sent by window. We'll have more information on that including program that Mark Cerro has got in California. He got one of them. And then window bought another word for him. So that was a great project and Wendell. Thank you for doing that. I have a little more information on that next week. This is leading edge early for the kindle chronicles in downtown Denver. I really appreciate your listening to my show and Tommy tissue not arrived yet. So we made our deadline can I?

Amazon Alexa Google writer Denver Belmont hill school apple Beatles Twitter Belmont hill Jerry riddle kindle Joe Rogan Wicketpeer Madonna Kevin John Greg William Tunstall Red Sox Carlos Leon NPR Cambridge
TKC 530 Paul Slavin

The Kindle Chronicles

44:59 min | 2 years ago

TKC 530 Paul Slavin

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle books. All things Amazon. I'm Leonard Julie today is September twenty eighth twenty eighteen putting the show together in a bit of a rush. As was the case last week of stories. A lot better this week than it was as we're it was either before or after mums surgery for a broken hip. I'm putting this episode together in a lovely location west of Boston where she has started rehab following hip surgery at Mass General hospital. Dad is settling into their apartment at the same facility. So he has an easy walk down just a few hallways to be with mom. Anytime day or night. I told, mom, I will be available anytime she needs me today, and otherwise we'll be working here at a desk in their apartment looking out at a river that we used to canoe on as a family with our Basset hound pokey and mom did a beautiful, vivid oil portrait of pokey, kind of sitting up looking out the back end of Jeep, and we have. That painting in the outside entry way, as you walk in from the elevator at greets visitors as they approached the apartment. This has not been an easy stretch of road for our family, but I am grateful to have the trials taking place in such a healing and well, run place, aided by a highly professional empathetic staff. I also want to thank those sent your notices of. Support and prayers coming from everywhere from Dallas to Poland, and I always pass them along to moment. She gets a big kick out of the idea that the people that listen to this show or out there pulling for much appreciated and you're going to hear a greeting from my mother at the end of the show I recorded earlier today down in her room in the rehab wing, and I hope you'll enjoy it two days ago. Here I recorded a conversation with this week's guest. Paul Slaven who is CEO of open road integrated media open road has been a pioneer in making high quality backlist books available in digital format, and that means Slaven keeps watch on reported declines in the book share of overall book publishing. Despite what some say, it's not that there's that the consumer is turned off from me books. It's not that something's happening out there. It's it's where people are focusing their marketing efforts. I had hoped to do something more like. A normal show today. But as the day wore on, it was clear that I am going to have to abbreviate it. You'll have some of my homemade bumpers as last week, and I'm going to present the interview first and then follow it with audio excerpts from the verges excellent coverage of Amazon's announcement last week of really a dizzying array of new Alexa powered devices. Dan Seaford was there at the domes and Seattle filing immediately after Dave limps overview of the products. I have covered events like that in the past. I know how challenging it is to record first impression, videos without a script and never mind when there's not just a few devices to talk about, but well over fifty. Dan's work under that pressure shows him to be a talented tech journalist, and I like how he is a free to express his personal enthusiasm for some of these cool new devices with that. Let's turn to the interview. Doo doo, doo, doo doo doo. Paul Slaven was named CEO of open road integrated media in may of twenty sixteen. I have been a big fan of open road ever since it was founded in two thousand nine by Jane Friedman for the purpose of making high quality backlist book titles available as e books in a head Jane on the show a few times before she retired. When I last spoke with Paul slave in January of two thousand seventeen. He was aspiring to lead open road to its first full year of profitability and innovative initiative. He told us about at the time was called open road ignition, which helps other publishers to increase sales of their backlist titles. We've, we've really focused on the consumer and understanding their needs because they tell us because we, you know, we pay attention from data perspective and what they're looking at and what they what they buy. And we noticed over time that as good a catalog as we had of twelve thousand or so books. There were just plenty of. Things we were not able to fulfil for them. I always use the example of somebody who happens to really big Amish romance of which there is, you know a subset of the really liked that. Well, we only have forty and somebody who likes Amish romance can read one week and we're going to run out of them very fast. So the Genesis of it was, how do we provide them with more things that they desire more things that they love? Because again, and you'll hear me say this over and over again, we are about satisfying as best as possible, the needs of our consumers, whether they are are what we characterizes owned. Consumers were rented numbers. We wanna give them obviously what it is they want. What happened very quickly as we realized that we could sell other publishers books with great alacrity, right? We've discovered that we could increase their sales very dramatically in an area that many of them from a resource perspective just couldn't get to, you know. I respect the fact that most publishers are about their new books and getting their new books about what we don't draw that distinction really between front list and backlist. We just want to give our consumers things that they love and as much of it as as possible. But in the process of doing that, we recognized are real that we could really crush other people's catalogs and we're totally cool about that. We think that's great. It's great for the consumer. It's great for the publisher. How many publishers do you have participating at this point? I think right now we have just under fifteen with at least another fifteen in what we characterizes our pipeline about the come on in the big and small, John there from Houghton Mifflin has been a terrific partner. Grove has been a terrific partner case mate, Cossack sky horse. We have. We have a lot of really strong partners, and you know, we work with very closely and we. Try to deliver good metrics to them and and we are delivering without exception. We are delivering significant increases in sales to each one of those publishers. How many titles have been involved. So far we have about five thousand and really that's five thousand that we've acquired are pretty much from spring. It wasn't until spring of twenty eight teen that we really ramped this whole process up when we were experimenting before that. So in August, for instance, we brought on thirteen hundred bucks September over a thousand October will launch about twelve hundred, November were on track to about another fifteen hundred. So it's it's a lot of, you know, it's a lot of really great content. The press release that you put out a said that you've seen as much as triple the sales for backwards book that's in this program may be give a specific example of I, I suspect you've got some pretty happy publishers if you can go into the backlist and generate that kind of an increase. Hitter? What do they say? The three axes are average. We have publishers and and take these with a grain of salt because it's sometimes it's the first time. These books have been out in a long time, but I believe diversion books. Small publisher were showing twelve hundred percent increases. We gotten, you know, other people are seeing similar increases. Houghton Mifflin is it's been a five x increase, but we can confidently say that we will always deliver more than one hundred percent. And I think our internal average average is about one hundred seventy five percent increase some obviously bigger than others. And that can depend on a lot of different factors, right? What why? One will do a hundred and seventy five and another rule do twelve hundred percent, but three x were very comfortable telling publisher that we will three x their sales. Well, am I right that the the newsletters you're, you're putting out the early bird newsletters? And I think you've got some others. Different genres. Are they one of the ways that you are able to have these kinds of good results through ignition? Sure. I mean, the newsletters are very powerful way for us to have a one to one relationship with our consumers. Consumer told us what they're interested in the consumer then has certain habits and behaviors that they feel they've allowed us to look at. So if we see that you're interested in science books, we'll put more science books in front of you. We say, you're interested in particular kind of science book. We'll show you something else that we believe is club. So yes, the what we characterizes our this really this audience, which we have spent a lot of time in energy developing. It's about two billion now act of book buyers, people who love the content, we put in front of them. That is a very powerful driver of what it is that we are doing. I think we talked last time. I was thinking out loud that. I could imagine if you see what I'm clicking on, you might be able to send out the early bird linearly newsletter that tells me a list that's specifically tailored to individual. Are you any closer than to that than you were? You're Sogo. We are significantly closer, but we're on the really. We had very, very lightly on that one because if you make a mistake, people are very unforgiving to I just wanna. Make sure that that that that is is close to perfect when we do that, it really has to be perfect, and we're having great success without having that extremely. I love of personalization that said, being able to send out a individualized newsletter to everybody, it is the goal and we have for a company of our size. We have very significant data team marketing data team tech team, but just hired a new CTO. Oh, I mean, we, we spend the very large portion of our earnings, go towards developing products like would be an example of a mistake that you might work. If you sort of moved to quickly toward that goal of an individually targeted newsletter. In example, I've seen other places obviously we have informed as sometimes it can be too close, and that's that is a is a feeling that they just doesn't feel like it's right. It can also just be as simple as we just call it completely wrong, or you know the the algorithm isn't working one hundred percent of the time. So for a week you're getting romance. When you clearly you hate romance, you don't get a lot of chances in the, you know, in e mailing and the newsletters, if you betray someone's trust, or if you just don't give them what they want. They're not gonna open it and our open rate are in the just shy forty percent, which for the industry is an extra. Namely high number because we're careful. Yeah. So if I did like as romance and you sent me a bunch of unitarian romance, biles books or something that could be perceived laughable Beckett, it could be it, could they are you could say, well, you know what? The unitarian are cool too. Beckley John run, not sure. I'm not sure if there's any unitarian. Roman did. My parents would like it because they were married in the unitarian church in every masters seventy years ago I might add and I've ever if you ever come up with a unitarian romance title, I hope you'll send me an alert to because I know to avid readers that would love it wouldn't. I mean the the sort of the fifties fiction out of Connecticut. All strikes a humanitarian romance isn't John Updike really unitarian romance. You're probably right close as yet. When you're marketing backlist book versus new book, new title. Just completely different. What have you mad about how to get a backwards title out there compared with kind of standard procedure for getting visibility for a new title. You know, again, I don't really beauty is being different. Obviously, if you have you've all Hariri or James Patterson, or some somebody who's very, very well known. Maybe there's some different things that do, but essentially any piece of content. Any book is put it in front of somebody who's interested. They don't care whether it's backlist frontlines. They just care that it the fills, their desire for information or entertainment or something. So I don't. I don't really see the difference. It's difficult to get a backlist book reviewed. It happens Bill Gates, air a couple times a year. We'll review a book of ours and it will take off. But outside of that, frankly, are successes in understanding our consumer understanding digital marketing, and putting the right content in front of that person hopefully win. They are interested in purchasing? Yeah, it doesn't matter when the book was published. No, it can be front list. It could be backlist it's, you know, it's all the same to us. Interesting. I think there was a mentioned in the release that you put out the e book sales declining across the industry. What what are you seeing there? How much of a decline in and how do you explain it. So it it it depends. I mean, industry-wide, if you took all a bucks that it looks like it's going down maybe seven to ten percent. If you look at the very tops booksellers, it looks like it's down thirty percent. I describe it to limit of resources. Really the booksellers have so many marketing resources. They've made up financial commitment to affront list book, and that's where they're going to put their money, which is great, let they, they're good at that. Let them do that. We don't need to do this. We can, but we'll take the fifteen and a half million titles that exist out there that are not being focused on and we can help sell those. Some of that data that comes out from author earnings data guy. It seems like if you look at the indie publishing and Amazon Publishing's numbers must come through the usual industry sources, but it's probably a different picture overall for books if you count that indeed, self publishing sector. Possibly, yeah, hard to get those numbers, but even Amazon will tell us, you know, anecdotally that e book sales are not growing, but it's, you know, it's it's not despite what some say. It's not that there's that the consumer is turned off from me books. It's not that something's happening out there. It's it's where people are focusing their marketing efforts and focusing on front list in front list is generally up a printer. Well, no. How about open roads, publishing, everyone's rile out, see something from John fine and others that you've got a great new, Graham Greene books are now available on open road. When you think of the past year, what are some of the highlights of the authors that you've been able to bring out? You know, Joan Diddy in Graham Greene are two really good examples of, you know, new new books that we brought on. We're not spending as much time though acquiring new books. There just aren't that many, you know, Jane built the company around this. This list of wonderful backlist titles. That's, you know, that's pretty much that's pretty much a thing of the past. So we'll we'll pick and choose when we can find something really great. Yeah, that makes sense. How many early bird newsletters do you have going out now each day? Well, the early bird will go out about thirteen times a week. Not necessarily if you're. An early bird subscriber. You will not necessarily get thirteen. You might get six. You might get twelve that frequency is dependent on on how often you open it up, but we send out about thirteen of weak on, you know, at at the most. And then we have other newsletters not just early bird books. We have newsletters associated with our content verticals, right porn list. Of those newsletters that are aimed at different genres past year has one shown surprising growth. I mean, you put it out there just gets gobbled up like sharks in the water by readers. There are so eager to to get it. You know, they all done well, I'm trying to one. They tend to go, it's it's funny. They're sorta spiky and I can't answer that exactly why it spikes the way it is. The porta list has done exceedingly well, though hunch when we thought it I, that's science fiction. Okay. Now you had another tool that sounds very promising called Orion, and I think that enabled you to help create a website for Gina or even a book. Yeah. Has that been an active program where we don't, we don't talk about it much because it's finished and we utilize it all the time. And now it's just mostly dating. So you know, from a tech perspective, we're spending a lot more time. In building marketing dashboards and ways to make our marketers more efficient, would Mark dashboard, kind of information would be on that. You know it, it collects all the information that a market may need in order to make a decision we now have, let's say, if you take our catalog and the books that we are representing other publishers, we now have maybe eighteen thousand books that we are marketing. And actually our marketing department is slightly smaller than it was eighteen months ago. So the marketers as you provide them with better tools, you know, ways of of assessing Facebook campaign ways of of watching Amazon, you know, all the tools they need in order to say, how book is doing platform, our newsletter, you know, they don't have to scrape themselves or look it up themselves, just sits there and it allows them to make much faster decision. It's use their time better. Yeah. Books have been sort of the hot new thing lately, dissolved road doing anything with audio books. Yeah. I mean, we have audio books, not all the books that we have. Do we have audio rights or but we are actually audiobooks are a little bit like promise books in that in the industry. You know, there's a lot of energy around a new book and what we're trying to use the data that we have on our books to say, look, it's not a new book, but it gets great traction here the people with whom you know the kinds of people with whom it does get great traction. We thinks it makes sense for you to either take our audio version or create an audio version. So it's a, you know, it's a process of getting your voice heard in the know that audio market. It seems like there's been migration to smartphones, especially smartphones, get bigger. I think I'm going to have to get for one of these new iphone x. max or whatever it is they're flipping for an. Gives. Well, I have a great one because I say this is for reading books. The only reason I'm getting is because I'm such a book lover. I have to have this area guy. My wife isn't buying it, but is that sort of reached a plateau of some kind of people shift now from it's still growing. It there where people are increasingly reading on their smartphones. The iphone. Each interational comes out in his better and better. So the it's not like people are switching off of kindles and ipads. They're these are really additive. You know, I look at my own experience. I have a book that I'm reading at home and it's a paper book. And yes, I buy paper books. I like paper pucks right when I go on a trip, I have that paper book. I also have to have at a knee and I'll read it on my ipad. And when I'm taking this endless subway rides from home into work, I'm reading it on my iphone. So I'm reading on multiple platforms and I'm reading more than ever and having a great time. Right. Some books I by only as some books I by only in pay, but an awful lot of books I buy in print hand in e because it allows me to constantly be reading like you buy love reading and might not exactly. You had a letter to employees? I think looked like it. Maybe you had written at the end of twenty sixteen in you're talking about twenty seventeen. I thought you had kind of a poetic description. You said you saw the year twenty seventeen as the marathon begins. And I, I wondered how how that went the few finish the marathon. Well, and if you came up with a similarly artistic way to describe the twenty eighteen for your employees. Well, glad you thought that was our testing or poetic twenty seventeen and a very well for us. The company became profitable. The company grew, you know, at a very high rate of growth from a revenue perspective, we were able to give raises and have a party. You know, there was all the lovely thing that you want to do. Twenty eighteen. I don't know. Fi described is anything I probably would have described it as a marathon because I describe everything is a marathon, and sometimes as a knife fight. Because nothing, you know, this is not none of these businesses are easy businesses. The technology's always changing. The competition is always changing. We have all sorts of partners. We're trying to make happy, and it is my expectation from my senior staff and myself that we are always interesting. Everything is in hitter ration- based in hopefully data conversation and moving very, very quickly. I think we move slowly here. People who come into the company go, the pace in the company is extraordinary. You know how quickly we will try something. If it fails will get rid of it or we'll try something different. So it is a marathon in that every day, there's a problem to be solved every day. There's a new way to put great content in front of our consumers every day, you know, the the website crashes or you know, the server goes down or you know something, so it is America. We are not a big. The company, but we are a company which believe in I can take virtually no credit for it. It is our chief marketing officer, Mary mcilvanney, it's my CFO. It's my other senior executives who really understand this business every single day. They're coming up with a new idea new way to make the business better or new way to make one of our publishing partners happier. You know, how can we make them more money when we started and ignition, we were not the liberating, the high multiple we are now we were giving him great returns. But you know, we were looking at two point, five x, like six months ago. Now we're looking at three, six. So how do you do that? Right? What is the? What are the processes that we're putting into place when we would bring in a catalog of books or selection of books from publisher? It started by taking a six weeks to process. Let's say five hundred titles doing the meta data, making sure that it was the righty mile, etc. He got that process now down to a week while, right. So how that happens is. Constant asking, why constant improvement, you know, in a willingness to fail as long as we fail fast. The image out of my mind of marathoner in a knife fight. Well, you haven't been to New York in alive. True. I have started a six week online course at MIT on blockchain technology. I get really interested in down south by southwest. And is that sort of a buzzword, but it seems like there should be some applicability of that technology that actually starts being adopted in publishing. Is that something that you've taken a look at or you've got anybody burrowing into as long as you don't ask me any detailed questions about it because I couldn't answer, but we had an have still. We brought in a guy who you know is all maybe twenty three in is considered one of the leading experts on blockchain and pike dente Tate. And by dented, not they get any bar than that, but we had a lot of conversations with him. He continues to be associated with the company. I don't see anything on the immediate horizon, but it's cool. And one of the things we do is we look at cool technology. To see, but we were very jazzed have him, you know, have them in the building and have access to his his skill sets. He's about Twenty-three. Just graduated from MIT or something just graduated from Oxford. Okay. Well, that's almost as good. Anything else we have talked about the head, your tension or you're excited about especially looking ahead to twenty nineteen any anything on the horizon. You know, look for from my perspective, I'm looking at building a sustainable, profitable competent. We have done very well over the last couple of years. We've gone from a terrific vision in Jane's vision. We've evolved significantly in many respects. It's the same company. In many respects. It's very different company, and we've grown, we've grown very, very nicely next year. If nothing changes that's big, that's big yet if nothing chain, we will grow. Explosively next year is where the all of the things that we've done should should really come into play peo-. Not not necessarily intending, we're we're investor back shop and you know, I, I serve at their pleasure. I took my last company on an IPO and I didn't have very good time of it. Not gonna love that. But again, you know, my job is our job here is to put great wonderful content in front of consumers that they're gonna love, and then they're going to come back. And as long as we're doing that, everything else takes care of itself. I've been speaking with Paul Slaven chief executive officer of open road integrated media. Thanks very much. Paul. Thank you to do to do to do to do. Let's turn now to the Alexa devices that were announced last week in Seattle. This first clip that I'm going to play for you as dancy for talking about the probably the one that for some reason got most people's attention and that's the Alexa microwave. This shows him demonstrating it, and that's helpful. And then once at the end of the video, I'm going to talk to you about a pretty smart wired analysis of why this particular device is such a significant advance and it clearly points toward Amazon's aspirations for future smart home technology. Here's what Dan had to say a recording at the event in Seattle and this dancy for with the verge here. Amazon's offices where they just announced bunch of new echo and Alexa powered mid things in one of the most interesting. Things that they've announced is new Amazon basics microwave. Now this is a basic microwave. It's a fifty nine ninety nine, seven hundred watt point, seven cubic foot, basic microwave. Basically the most standard microwave you can look at. But what they've done is they've added a new feature to be able to control it with Alexa. You can see there's a button here that says, ask Alexa. So the microwave itself is paired to this echo fuss over here. So I can do something like put a potato in there, which I've got pushed the button and say. One potato. And it's automatically you control the microwave to the automatic mode for the potato. You can do this with popcorn and you can do the defrosting can do this with a whole bunch of different things that you might use a Mike right for. You can also stop it with your voice. Stop the microwave. And there you go. Now, the other thing that you can do is you can use your voice directly with the echo plus without having to touch them regulate at all. So I say Alexa microwave, one potato. And it does the exact same thing there. Similar stump. Now, the way the Amazon was able to do this is with the new Amazon connect module, which adds bluetooth and wifi, and some of the other things that are necessary to make it possible for places to talk to Alexa and talk to the cloud and become smart. Now, Amazon's using this as a kind of a demo of the the product and the Amazon connect feature, but you can still buy it at sixty bucks. You can order it today and it will ship sometime in November. But what the real model here is when other plans makers can easily integrate Alexa services right into their things. So if it's a washing machine or an oven or microwave oven or something else like that, it makes it very easy for them to do that. It's pretty interesting. It's pretty wild and it's pretty cool. I will have a link to that video and the others that I am using from Dan siefert's coverage of the new products. I want to turn now to that wired article. It was originally in wired. I don't see the author's name, but it was a thoughtful take on the microwave, which. The microwave came in for some Twitter abuse, which everything does. But this author wired said the star and symbol for this bold new wave of Lexa devices is the Amazon basics microwave. It looks like a regular microwave, not an overly fancy wound, seven hundred watt microwave by touching the Alexa button on it, which is at the bottom of the key pad on the outside of the microwave. You can contact a nearby echo speaker, and that will let you tell the microwave, what you want to cook. Apparently, there isn't a speaker or microphone built into the microwave itself has to somehow have you talking to an echo device that does have a microphone. Once you are connected that way, it can do things which the normal microwave can't do like cook one potato. And in that case, the microwave knows how to do you know what power to choose and how much time you don't have to try to read the manual and find out. All these different settings. I've often thought microwave is kind kinda useful useless that way because the there's the ability to do a lot of things with a microwave which hasn't changed since they are introduced in the seventies this article points out, but who's going to spend that much time in the manual to figure out where the button is they can cook popcorn or do the potato or different things like that. Now, the opportunity to just use the quality of Alexa with this device in the wired article says, if Amazon gets it right, a voice controlled microwave could bring this data device into the twenty first century microwave has been around since the seventies. I didn't realize this the sales peaked in the mid two thousand having grown since then author said to heat frozen vegetables in my microwave, you have to press the cook button. Wait, then press five, wait, then press two. There are more than. Eighty button combinations that you have to memorize the us precisely. He says it's more difficult than memorizing attack combos in street fighter two. That's video game. I haven't tried yet instead, you can maybe do things like defrost two cups of frozen peas and then let Alexa and the do the heavy listing. Amazon said at the launch event that the microwave should be able to defrost several types of foods like vegetables or chicken by varying the microwaves power level, as well as just in the cook time. Standard. Microwaves, of course can't learn new tricks, but we all know that Alexa can. So it can be constantly improved for some things when I want to warm up my coffee in a microwave. I know where the add thirty seconds button is, and I hit four times to get my coffee to the to the temperature that I want. And I also know how to stop the Mike way by hitting a single button. Some of these things Alexis going to take more time. And be a pain in the neck to do, but it's intriguing to imagine that the Alexa capability, if it's performed in a subtle way that Amazon and tests and it was going to be testing it, of course it could open up new new horizons. It only costs sixty dollars. So that's about half the price of some competitors. And the wired article concludes if Alexis succeeds and I can see forget how long it takes to cook a potato or the mind, numbing button combination. I need to defrost veggies in the microwave count me in, I ordered one of these. I think I'll put it up on my den at the house in Cambridge and be trying along with my all my, I've got my Google home device. I've got the apple home pod, and I've got Alexa in echo show. Now I'm going to have an Alexa microwave once it ships. I think it ships sometime in November. Pretty smart. And this one will be a fun one to watch. The next video that I wanna share from Dan. He talks about the echo show the new echo show, and this is another device that I, I used to be able to just by all the devices when Amazon was announcing, you know a lineup like this, and I certainly am not able to do that with this many devices. But I did order one of the microwaves, and I ordered an echo show that has a ten inch screen instead of the existing seven inch screen. Here's what Dan recorded in video of his first impressions. Watching one of these new larger echo shows in Seattle. One of the biggest new products is a new update to the echo shown. This is Amazon's scream products. That kind of is like if you had an echo and had a screen at the same time and all the different things that you can do with that, they release an echo show about little over year ago now. So this is their second version and some of the things that they've added to this. Pretty important person. Most obvious thing is it's got a way bigger screen this now, a ten inch HD sway as the seven inch stream before it also has a new refined design that little wedge shit going on. But on the back here you can see it's got this fabric finish as opposed to the plastic. Those before it's really nice looking comes in both white or black, and then what they really don't as well as really upgraded the audio quality of this. You got to side firing speakers in the back and then a passive radiator for base. So you're listening to music or watching TV or watching a video on this. You can get a lot better quality of sound, then you could with the original echo show. Now you could also still do the same types of things with video chat. You can drop in and call other echo shows or eco products or echo or Amazon, Alexa apps on mobile devices and things like that. And they've updated a ton of the user interactions and software on this, including things like adding a browser. So now if I say Alexa open, so then if. My voice doesn't crack. Alexa open. So just like the fire TV, it's got Amazon silk browser as well as the Firefox browser available, and then you can brow things like YouTube can watch YouTube videos on your show, which it's been kind of difficult thing to do in the past. You can also of course browsed any other website you want. You just type in address that you want and hit go in your good to go. So that's really nice to add. It's one of the things missing from the echo is he believed to watch videos. Of course, you can also watch all of Amazon's fire or excuse me on prime video content on here as well as things like from other top video services. It also integrate to the bunch of other new products. Amazon announced like a DVR that pulls in signals from the air and Lasi to record them, and then you can watch them on your echo show. Now that's the echo show. This is going to be two hundred and twenty nine dollars the same price as the prior model leaves available for order. Real soon is going to be shipping next month, but that's. It's only one of the many things that you've got here. So we've got a lot of other stuff to look at the next vice that Dan Seaford did a first of the Seattle event was the new echoed dot? I'll have it linked to this. You'll be able to see the video. It really does look attractive. It's rounded. It's got the sort of fabric sides and the original daughter. The previous generation dot was just kind of sharp edged and it didn't. It's amazing how quickly something and start looking out of date just by some new design in the new one. And as you'll hear from Dan, they're also some other quality advantages to the new and the prices, the same. I did not buy one of these because I have so many echo devices. I don't know why I buy all these devices. I think I think, oh, this'll be great, and my parent's house in this particular room and I have a bag of devices that I need to send EBay or perhaps raffled off to you doing some kind of promotion of the show. But my. My inventory of echo dots is too great for me to buy one of these, even though I was curious about it. In addition to the echo show, there's also a new echo dot, and it looks like this and you can see that compared to the old echo dot, which is Amazon's most popular echo device using the new dot is quite a bit larger that a little bit more rounded of a design fabric finish. It's really nice looking, but the big difference here is sound falling. Amazon says that it's got a much larger speaker inside and it's more powerful output and you can really hear the difference. If you ask a simple things like, Alexa, what's the weather. Currently in Seattle, fifty, seven degrees Fahrenheit with cloudy skies. You can expect more of the same today with a high of sixty three degrees in a look, even like voice responses like that. Sound so much better on this dot than the prior one. And of course, if you're listening to music sounds even better than that. So I can do something like. Alexa play drink. Suffering songs like Drake on Amazon music. So it sounds a lot better. That's obvious Alexa stop. But the other thing is that you're not losing anything from this echoed out to if you're upgrading from the old one, he's still ability to output even larger speakers with a three point, five meter, Jackie can still bluetooth pair this to a bigger speaker if you want. And it's got four microphones instead of the seven at the old model had which might make a difference in how well it's able to hear you from across the room. But we see a bunch of products that are like the Google home that only two microphones they're able to hear you pretty well. That's probably too much of not too much concern. And then of course, now if you really wanna go nuts with your sound, you compare to these a stereo set and you can can have twice as much sound and with left and right channels, and you can add the new echoes sub woofer to them. So you can have an actual two point. One surround sound or twenty one sound system with just a couple of echo dots. Now, just like the echo show me available for preorder today should be next month. It's forty, nine hundred nine. So it's the same price as before. This is looking pretty cool. The third device. That I really want to have, but I can't pre-order it yet is called eco auto, the first eco for your car. It's being offered on an invitation basis. Only you can send them an Email which I did right away and then like some of the other devices that Amazon has ruled out, you won't be able to buy one unless you receive an Email invitation. It only costs twenty five dollars. It looks like a pretty cool little device. It's going to go in the car. Of course I can picture it and tests are tesla and enable you to connect to Alexa using your phone at has eight microphone in it. So it should be able to pick up the voice a lot better than there was another device I was using Ford and it just had a hard time hearing my voice to connect to Alexa. This is a serious product of Amazon is designing to its standards to connect with the car. It even has things where he can create routines and as your car approaches your driveway, Alexa will. Know where you are and we'll get the car door to open the garage door to open and a lot of things like that. Now I don't have any pull with Amazon, even though I've been doing a show about the Amazon and kindle and other devices for ten years. And so the only way I am going to get my hands on this. I'm lucky enough to have an invitation in a similar product rollout for the echo. Look, I got a great bit of help from listener Garrett Riley who did receive an invitation for the echo. Look didn't think he really wanted the device that much. And so he was, I think he bought it. He had to buy it from his account because that was the one that got the invitation. Then I reimbursed him and I got an echo look, even though I never did get an invitation for if by chance you submit a request for an invitation to purchase one of these items that they only going to cost twenty five dollars on the initial rollout half price, and you don't think you want to have a lexin your car, or you think it's. Something you won't use. I would really appreciate your making it available to me so that I can try it out and talk to everybody about it. And if you do succeed in getting an invitation, just send me an Email at pod chronicles at gmail.com. And I will jump at the chance to try it out with with your assistance. I think when I the look came out, I lead pretty hard on some of my public affairs contacted Amazon thinking, hey, you know, and they said, sorry, land this thing is is is not ridable, and even somebody who has done a lot for the company, they all enjoy the show. I think there was no way to break into this invitation algorithm as to who was going to be getting it. And so I'm at the, I'm at the mercy of the odds here and I'm sure they're, they're not great. It's not going to be released until sometime later this year before I head down to her room in the rehab part of the place here I wanna share my brief conversation that I had with mum earlier in the day. She knows that I. I've talked to some poets on the show and that poetry is an interest of mine. And so that's what she was thinking of when I asked her, if she would share some remarks with you. Thing to have happened to me. I've loved poetry, all my life in my son, since you poems and talks about poetry on the ten, though chronicles. I wonder how many times the children in a how. Sadly here. Money, reciting a poem that he used to know from his childhood. I think he is love poetry as I do at all. Rather came from my mother. She used to take us walking in the woods and she would walk along reciting poems. And one of them was the snow had begun the gloaming in busily all the night. Had he the fields and highways with the silent and why you still remember that pole? Yeah. It's beautiful, and you've said, nice things about my poems and dad's poems to, oh, yes. Well, I have so many people. I cannot forget. Thanks. My welcome.

Amazon Alexa Seattle Dan Jane Friedman Paul Slaven publisher Dan Seaford Mass General hospital Boston kindle Amazon Publishing Google Leonard Julie Poland Dallas John Updike Bill Gates CEO John fine
TKC 560 My Niece Sarah Rock

The Kindle Chronicles

55:16 min | 2 years ago

TKC 560 My Niece Sarah Rock

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Lenasia early today is April twenty six twenty nineteen. Greetings to you from Saint Louis, Missouri where Darlene and I have been celebrating the approaching graduation of our niece Sarah rock from Saint Louis university next month, the main interview this week is going to give you a chance to meet this remarkable young woman along with several fellow engineering students in separate interviews later. They are all about twenty two years old. And by search at Google see that they're the tail end of the millennial generation which goes from age twenty two to age thirty seven, and I have found this so inspiring to, you know, hear what there has been up to the family member in the last four years, plus some of these other people that you're going to hear from if this is the the group that is going to be leading us forward. I think it's there's cause for optimism and hope and at my my mind has been full of ideas that I learned in in talking with them. So this is perhaps a special episode celebration of voices of the future, especially of the young. Women who are heading out to make their marks and use their talents on problems that sometimes just seem too big to solve before we get to the SOL you story. The by the way, Saint Louis university. S L U is known locally as Slough. So you'll hear that mention, but we'll take a look at a couple of news stories and tech tip. And then dive into these conversations here in Saint Louis. In news this week, Elizabeth Warren, and I see n n townhall, featuring five candidates back to back continued her case for breaking up Amazon. I heard her do version of this Austin during south by southwest and must be polling. Well, because she is continuing her critique focusing on Amazon's online marketplace, she describes it as a platform which Amazon can manipulate to its own advantage by promoting products. Amazon sells alongside third party sellers. Warren this week as she didn't Austin. And March makes her critique apparently easy to understand by saying you can run the platform that is you can be the unpire in the baseball game. And you can run an honest platform or you can be a player that is you can have a business or you can have a team in the game. But you don't get to be the m unpire and have a team in the game. Well, when you put it that way who could disagree. The problem with the sports analogy is that Amazon is not really fielding its own. Team on its fast online market place in any meaningful way. In a rebuttal reported by business cider the company stated that it's private labels such as Amazon basics batteries, which I buy a lot of account for only one percent of its business. Amazon also said contrary to warns certian that it does not quote us individual sellers data to launch private-label products. Their statement to business insider continued Amazon uses data about individual sellers only to support them or enhance or protect our customers. Experience we prohibit the use of individual sellers data to compete with them through our first party offerings including through our private label products. They added private-label products are a common retail practice. And Amazon's private-label products are only about one percent of our total sales. This is far less than other retailers. Many of whom have private label products that represent twenty five percent or more of their sales. The company said I'm glad to see him on putting out its side of the story because the. Democratic primaries going to generate a lot of proposals about the company as well. As other big tech enterprises. I'm not one who thinks there might never be twenty first century antitrust case to bring against big tech. But I hope Madam for it will be based on facts about the real economic impact of these companies on consumers in society as if to emphasize Amazon's continuing innovation on behalf of customers the company in discussing its latest record earnings report yesterday announced that it is taking steps to offer free one day shipping to prime members. That's an impressive improvement over the current two day shipping that's included in prime. They didn't say when this might actually go into place. What they'll be taking steps this year toward that goal. Those sorts of advances combined with Amazon's consistently stellar customer satisfaction surveys. I think may lead voters policy makers to tread pretty carefully before making any real world moves toward breaking the company into pieces that might. Not add up to the same level of innovation low prices wide, selection and amazingly fast livery for the tech tip. I wanna mention change that I've noticed on my e ink kindles, I believe it's across all three of them, the oasis and the paperweight, and the basic, kindle what happens is that. When I highlight a passage in the book instead of the gray highlight appearing over the words, as I drag my stylus or finger across those words are now underlined as I define the highlighted word or passage, and there's a little Mark that shows on the left margin showing how many lines are highlighted. It's not clear to me immediately. What the benefit of this changes? It does seem to make it easier to see the word that I'm highlighting. And once I have the passage defined. I can tap to highlight. Or to make a note as before I see I can get some more information from Amazon on this imp- this change, and it came over on an update that I received wirelessly on my. Vices if you've noticed it have any thoughts on what the advantages of it. Are you could send me an Email at pod chronicles at gmaiLcom? Okay. Let's turn back to Saint Louis university or Slough I recorded the interview Sarah rock my niece on Wednesday, April twenty fourth. She's the daughter Darling's brother Rodney's wife, Connie, she grew up in Omaha Nebraska, where she graduated from fort Calhoun high school. She was the valedictorian of her class of twenty fifteen for years later, Darlene, and I are here in Saint Louis to attend presentation that her team is going is made for their senior project next month. She is going to graduate in the honors program at SO, us parks. College of engineering in aviation with the bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. I was glad she agreed to an interview because I think you're going to hear in her voice as I said, I kind of hope for the future at twenty two years old. She's a woman full of promise married last summer to another remarkable young person. Her husband, Nick who lives. On a couch in the library with Dr Lene and Clearwell spoke with Sarah, I'm pleased with this new Eirik, Mike microphone that I'm using to record on my iphone, but some static of some kind crept in about halfway into this interview. It doesn't last long so stay with it. And then it clears up for the rest of the time for our conversation. Sarah, chose a basement room with good good acoustics because of the books along one wall, and I began by asking her to describe where we were where at Saint Louis university, the Catholic study center, and this is like a library. Oh, yeah. This is kind of the library for the center. Now, you grew up in Omaha. You're my niece. I've seen grow up from way. Little and I remember when you chose to come here. Did you look at the number schools? You are great student at you went to school in forecast. Hoon right. Why did you choose to come here? I was really interested in biomedical engineering. So I was looking at schools with the good biomedical engineering program. Slough was on my. List, but it wasn't really high on my list, it kinda just came down to scholarships and also the culture on campus. I looked at really big schools like Georgia Tech and the culture on campus seem to be study all the time and not really have like friends or get a chance to do community service and sleuth really big community service. So that appealed to me. Having come here. Now spent four years here was there's something about the experience that surprise. You was different than you expected when you chose it. Yeah. I was expecting it to be more of a faith based school since it was a Catholic school had gone to public school my whole life. So I didn't really know what to expect sloughs very focused on social Justice and community service, which has been really good really good experience to get to experience that in a way that I wouldn't have if I had gone to different school. But I guess I expect it to be more like a Newman center all over campus. And it is not in terms of the students would proportion of the students. You think are serious in their faith. And the way you are versus suitor pretty much coming at it from a secular point of view. I would guess less than twenty percent are serious in their faith. But I'm not sure. When you arrived were you taking courses in the biology area at first, and then how did you make this transition? Yes, I took general biology general chemistry math freshman year for degree in biomedical engineering. We had an introduction biomedical engineering class freshman year, and they brought in alumni from Slough to talk about how how they'd been doing since graduation and the majority of them if they didn't go to med school really struggled to find a job in biomedical engineering. It's a really research heavy field. There's not a lot of industry spots for them. At least from what the alumni Slough have found. And I knew I was really interested in working in industry working more on projects instead of doing research in a lab. So I thought mechanical engineering would give me the opportunity to continue working. On projects that interest interested me, but had a little bit more job security. Was it hard to make that transition? Did you you realize soon enough? So that you could just spend most of your time workout in the mechanical engineering. Yeah. It wasn't too hard. I took some classes over the summer. So I did have to play catch up with some of the math and physics that didn't take freshman year. But yeah, it's a pretty similar major. So it wasn't too hard to switch actually having two semesters of biology has been helpful for some my engineering classes, some of the concepts are really similar to how the body works. So I found that that's kind of an advantage. I'm always interested in the technology of students in colleges universities. I there was a time. I think when evokes I came out ten years ago people that oh, well textbooks will all be books. You know, there's so many advantages, but my pressure is that there really hasn't been a great deal of use of textbooks of e books has textbooks that been your experience here, all of the classes that I've had e books in the book comes with a purchase of a physical textbook, which has been interesting. The books are really handy, and I end up using them all the time because it's on my laptop, but I had to buy the physical textbook anyway. So it's not really cutting down on a cost will what's handy about the book versions of them? You don't have to carry around a textbook. I don't have any extra room my backpack. Riven one textbook. Let alone textbooks for all of my classes, and you highlighting on a an e book textbook, and there's convenient ways to capture the highlights when you're preparing papers or for tests. I don't typically highlight. But I don't typically highlight reel textbooks either physical textbooks. But it is really handy to have the textbook on one half of my screen, and then notes on the other half of my screen and just being able to not even switch my gaze from computer to textbook and just stay on my computer type away. What are the rules been for whether you can text and check Twitter and do stuff on your phone during classes, most teachers will say something at the beginning of the semester. Discouraging it most teachers won't say you can't have your phone at all. But they will say like, please don't text please don't take calls during class, but it's not really enforced. I've only had one professor freshman year in a big lecture hall try to enforce that rule. Most other professors will just like make a comment at the beginning of the semester, and then students will precede detect anyway, they'll just ignore it. That's pretty hard to to stop that wave. Yeah. Tell me about your reading when you're in high school and college have you read any novels or you reading things outside of school work at all. Or what kind of a reader have you been over the years? It's been hard to be a outside of schoolwork reader in high school. I had a lot more time for it in college. It's really hard. When you've been studying all day to like get some time for yourself into convince yourself that you want to spend that time doing more reading. But yeah, I've had a little bit of time in college to read Nick Knight. Actually, Nick, my husband since we're doing mission work with focus. They actually gave us homework assignments before beforehand, we have to do some online classes in with that. They gave us five books that they recommended reading before mission. Works of the semester has been a lot of doing reading for that outside of my coursework. Well, let's talk about focus. What what does that stand for the fellowship of Catholic university students, and is it just in the US? No, it's international as well. But Nick Knight being first year missionaries will be put in the United States this year year here, and then you'll be sent somewhere overseas not necessarily you can choose to be sent somewhere overseas in it's kind of discernment. So if they feel you'd be a good fit overseas, but most missionaries stay in the United States their whole time, what's its relationship to the Catholic church. It's kind of considered an apostolate of the Catholic church. So it's not run by a religious order on their priests involved that our chaplains that serve, but it was founded by lay men and women who saw that the majority of the people leaving the Catholic church were between the ages of eighteen and twenty two. And so they wanted to find find a way to engage Catholics at that young age to help them understand the faith better. Encourage them to teach their friends start bible studies. So they formed fellowship of Catholic university students. It's very similar to Protestant groups on campus like crew or Kyle bible studies discipleship, but yeah, it's run completely by lay people. So yeah, not a religious order just serves the Catholic church which missionary work afterward. You'll be doing this year. And then maybe overseas. Well, the mission is on college campuses. So the whole you just doing mission at college campuses somewhere other than Slough, right, right? Yeah. There's mission trips that go off of college campuses. But the primary goal of focuses to beyond mission on a college campus. And in that kind of work, you Nick would be. Hosting meetings bible studies different events, four students in some other place. Right. Yeah. So there would we'd probably be working closely with the Newman center, helping them with events primarily what a missionary does is they live in community with their teammates inform intentional community. And they also lead bible studies for students and engage students in discipleship. I remembered Harvard there was a Newman center, I guess it was office part of her. But there were Harvard students, and there was one guy really liked any live there. It was like a place where he could live, and they worshiped in this focus have actual places where people live or it's more sort of a program in these universities. It's more of a program. More kind of like employee's working in tandem with the Newman center on campus. So yeah, they would live off campus in parts that they choose. So. Yeah, that's not really necessarily living on campus. But more kind of like employs to the Newman center, but working with this outside company to build up with the Newman centers doing on campus. Do you have any hopes as to where you might end up when when this year focuses over Nick wants to go to law school? So we'll probably end up in a city with a law school that he's able to attend Putera like to go to Creighton right now. But we'll just kinda see where we end up where focus places us if we like this city that we're in there. So yeah, not sure. No, you say when you started out shifted from into the mechanical engineering, partly because of the job opportunities. And you're choosing a path for focus at least for the short term that probably isn't as lucrative some of the jobs. You could have got as a mechanical engineer somewhere that that's a pretty fundamental fork in the road as you're leaving college. So what are the pros and cons of those two pads? I guess when I mean job security don't necessarily mean the best paying job. I mean, a job that I would enjoy doing and with focus. It's a job that I know I'd be really passionate about really enjoy doing it doesn't necessarily build off of the degree that I just got. But I'm sure I'll be using principles that I've learned from the degree in the job. So yet did that answer your question. Yes. So it's something you really engaged with and the salary aspects of it. Well, Nick, it's a lot agree. There's gonna be some. Opportunities there. Although there's ways to poor as lawyers. Well, what you may be fine. I guess when I grew up in I graduated seventy two and there was let's take out of the sixties and the whole choice between leading kind of an idealistic life of service with, you know, very modest income or just really trying to get wealthy these were sort of profound decisions that we talked about late at night in the dorms. And I I'm interested to get a sense of forty years later, someone with has much potential to really go in any direction you want as you Nick have how how you're sort of aiming your life of between the the options of a service life with with less income versus more traditional professional life with you know, all the things that money can buy. I mean, mechanical engineering, not completely off the table. So I could definitely see myself working in some kind of industry job with mechanical engineering. Eventually, I mean, I would of course, like salary that's big enough to support a family but outside of that. I guess my primary concern right now is more. Like, what is what jobs might passionate about? What jobs will I be excited to go to work for what jobs can I impact the world the most at as of right now, I'm feeling most called toward job like focus. That's not really traditional path for someone with a bachelor of science that could easily change in the future. I could definitely see myself pursuing some kind of job in mechanical engineering that could be equally as enjoyable, but. Yeah. For the time being I figured this was a good first step after gradu-. Nation sense. Well, let's talking about your you've got a presentation that has to do with something that you've created with the team. This is mechanical engineering project. Tell me about that slew for their engineering graduates you have to complete a year long capstone project. So at least for mechanical engineering Slough, they divided us into teams of about five or six and we each each team collaborated came up with picked a project. So our team was really concerned with having a project that left some kind of impact on the community around us. And so traditionally the mechanical engineering projects in the past Slough have been a project that you make to prove some kind of concept to kinda prove that you can design something in build something. And then you give it to slew to put on display one of our teammates was really passionate about making a project that we could. Give to someone. There's an organization called go baby go that it's a nonprofit I believe in they design actually they modify existing kids cars that they can ride into those little jeeps that kids can ride in for kids with disabilities. So that they can control it themselves. Young kids like two to four year olds or. Yeah. Probably under the age of five. Yeah. And so we really liked that idea, and we found a child in the Saint Louis area that had actually their parents had reached out to go baby. Go the go baby go wasn't able to work with them. So we decided to work with them. It's a young. Our client is a young boy three years old. He has spina bifida which has left him with lower extremity paralysis. So he can't use traditional kids cars because he can't control the pedals. And so we've designed a car that is completely controlled by hand. So there's traditional steering, and then there's a potential Matre in the steering wheel. So he can adjust a lever in the steering wheel by hand to control the speed. So we've made the car almost completely from scratch designed the frame design the steering, we're working with on electrical engineering, professor to get the Motors running. So it's been a long project name of the. What's the name of the writer and his he sat on a car yet? He's we've used him once for kind of measuring to make sure we're on track for the car. But no he hasn't. He hasn't seen the car yet since it's been more put together you've got you'll do presentation about this. But then there's some more work before. He'll actually get to take his first drive in the car. Yeah. Yeah. So we'll we'll do a presentation tomorrow. Our first presentation on the car. So the car is currently the steering is functioning right now. So currently we have a chassis and steering system. That works, thankfully, we don't have the Motors running yet. So it'll be a little bit longer before writers able to actually get in the car and drive it himself. It'd be quite a moment. Yeah. I'm excited for that day. How about the brakes? How are you going to design the brakes for the for the car that's all in the electrical system? So I haven't been working on the electrical system. So I can't say too much about it. But one of our teammates has been coding, we're using an Dino to control the speed of the car. So the Dino will control the Motors, and then the actual control that rider has in the steering wheel. Like, I said in the potential meter. So that'll all be controlled with microchip given this invention a name for presentations. We call it riders new ride. I own afoul would be really selling product. If we named it that. But that's that's what we've come up. With sounds pretty good. If you think back on your four years here and experience class teacher Philo student think twenty thirty years down the road when you think of Slough, you're likely to have a memory that. Perhaps was kind of an inflection point in your life or helped you understand what you think you're about in a new way what comes to mind in that category. It's a good question. Why been really involved with the Catholic study center here in also in Kyle Christian fellowship on campus? And I don't know if I can come up with a specific moment, but those both have been very impactful in just figuring out discerning, my next steps after graduation discerning kind of sloughs whole mission for the greater good. So I have this degree. But what can I do with it that will actually leave an impact? So both of those groups have been really helpful informative in that. That's great. Wasted too much time partying. It sounds like no not too much. I've been speaking with my niece Sarah rock who's graduating next month in the honors program at Saint Louis university's parks college of engineering aviation. She'll be earning. A bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. I'd say she spent her for years pretty well here. Thanks a lot. Thanks. The day after I spoke with Sarah, we Darlie economy rod toured big room at Slough full of her fellow students standing by posters describing their senior projects. They were all dressed to the nines bring brimming with pride about what they had created or discovered. Sarah and her teammates had writers new ride on a table next to the poster, and it was an impressive creation, even though it is not fully fleshed out yet with the controls that it will eventually have that they designed I'd say they're about one hundred projects on display, and I took my microphone iphone with me to chat with a couple of the other teams. And I think you'll you'll hear this intelligence optimism that these twenty two year olds have as a head out into the world with their undergraduate engineering degrees from Saint Louis university. You know, I'll use it oppressive school. But I have a feeling that if we'd had a chance of is it many other colleges in the US in the world would find a similar level of forward. Memento? Autumn among the among them Eleni ills the generation that is now larger than my boomer cohort and more power to them. I I'm kaylin gallatin. I'm a senior Saint at Saint Louis university. And I am doing a device that measures opiate use though opioids, of course in the news. How would this device be useful in combating the opioid epidemic? So yes, so currently about one hundred and fifteen people in the US everyday die from opioid overdoses. And so this device, you know, later on down the road, currently it's still in prototype stage, but it could help physicians get that real time data by measuring heart rate skin temperature and exceleron how much your body moves around, and the physicians will be able to remotely look at that data and see whenever their spikes or changes in it to the no-one patients overdosing or whether they're not taking their medication taking just threat amount. So it kind of helps that physicians can monitor them. Outside of the clinic, which that's obviously a lot of people are overdosing and physicians are able to get there fast enough to say their life or combat whatever's going on. So that is really the need that kind of set us up for this project certain parameters of the things you can measure that are clearly an overdose. False positive or negative. Right. So one thing so with the heart rate skin to turn exceleron when your body initially a starts metabolising the opioid, you're going to have spikes and all three of those heart. You're gonna get that initial high. So your heart's going to be really fast. Your skin's going to get warmer you're going to move around or shake, and then whenever you kind of reach the half-life of the drug you'll calm down. And so you're going to see drastically low heart rates, very cool skin temperature, and you'll be like lethargic and just kind of calm down as you're writing out that high and so by seeing those changes over span of time, we'll be able to know that. Okay. This person just took opioids this person, it's overdosing because they had a very high heart rate compared to their baseline, and now, you know, their heart rates at like thirty beats per minute or something that is life threatening. And one thing that could be. A problem with this exercising, and so we would have the patient monitor their exercise use as much as they can obviously. But write it down whenever they do it throughout the day. So then that will know that they're exercising, and they're not about to die could see the difference and feed it in right because they would have theoretically spikes and all those they would maintain those spikes. Whereas with opioids have the spike with an initially get that low which patients exercising. You're never going to get that low you'll just return to baseline. So when you see that pattern is their place in that pattern where someone is most at risk of dying. Actually, the dip is when they're starting to die or not sorry tonight. But that's when it becomes more life threatening. Because with opioids people they usually die by stop. They stopped breathing and so their heart get super slow, and they brought it gets very cold because the blood's not moving around. And so that dip would be kind of a warning sign to like we need to check up on this person. And also the time span from that spike to dip. Would be another indicator that their body kind of shutting down and coming off. Well, can you tell me a little bit about the process? I mean, did you have an idea for this that ended up being pretty close to where you ended up or what what was sort of the discovery that that led you to what you've got here today? So we worked with Dr Scher who's over on slew med, and it was originally his idea because he works in a family medicine clinic, and he like has patients who are dying from opioids and like he knows first-hand. And so he gave us the project idea, and then we kind of went from there and dug into research about it and found a bunch of articles which there are devices in the research phase that is for measuring opioid use. We're not the only one, but none of them have come to market, and they have measured heart rate skin temperature and acceleration and found that there are changes when they did clinical trials with people doing opiates. We initially had electro dermal activity since they're on there. That measures skin conducting so kinda sweating, and so initially, you know, with opioids you're gonna start sweating as you get hotter and have that high. So that's how we were that kind of made our idea novel and something other from the rest was having the four sensors, but we went through and I are with stance for institutional review board protocol which under Saint Louis university. We have to do that to go through clinical trials and the I R B since the electrodes activities since small very small current through your body to measure the conducting from two electrodes. They were like since your students and undergrad you're not allowed to do this. So we had to take that out of the project and just go with heart rate skin temperature acceleration. And so then we submitted another Rb protocol, and we got a proven for clinical trials and that was about two or like one and a half weeks ago, which graduations like in two weeks, so timing. Yeah. Which we didn't have time to do clinical trials, but it was still like a great accomplishment to get approval because. As undergrads that is a great milestone to hin like we're very proud of ourselves for getting there. So we did get approval, although we won't be able to use it. We would like to pass this onto future senior design teams. And so we could actually test this device with people taking opioids because right now we can just test ourselves which none of us are taking opioid. So it's all just baseline average twenty two year olds what their heart rates can tip and everything is, but yeah, eventually we like to pass this onto future senior design teams kind of sees since there is a market for this. And it's you know, we have an epidemic going on. We'd love to do all we can to help fight that. And save lives. What was the doctor who initiated the idea how his reacted to to what you've gotten so far? He's very I would say proud of us for getting this for like actually going just from research to bind sensors making a printed circuit board, and then it actually can accurately measure heart rate. Skin temperature acceleration. And then getting that IRA be approval. He was guys this. Great, congratulations. But yeah with graduation. We won't could do. It was good that that must have been very disappointing with at the first rejection from the, but then you kept going, and you did it that shows you could be of scientists that actually get something done. If you've got that kind of persistence good work ethic with us. But it was a great learning experience because we've learned about the RBM class. But if you don't have a project, you'll never get firsthand with FDA all these big companies and things so that was a really cool learning experience to be able to go through all this paperwork, and, you know, make sure there's no risk to the patient and just learn all this stuff and undergrad before we get to the actual jobs where you know, we won't have to learning because we came in with that. So it kind of gives us an extra edge for whatever pads. We go down in the future. Okay. Well, that's my next week know these part of your teammates. Okay. Hi, I'm Linda, Julie. I'm doing podcast and from Denver. And so I just had a great overview here. What I would like is if the three of you could just each say where you're from. And what you plan to do after your graduate. So you all graduating now. Okay. Okay. What's on? So I'm Caitlyn again, I'm from Jefferson City, Missouri. And I am working for a company called Abbott. And I'm going into their cardiac rhythm management and Electrophysiology field. Helping cardiologists in the OR put in pacemakers or cardiac ablation for heart arrhythmia, and there's an actual this isn't an internship. This is an actual entry level jobs job. It takes three years of training within the company and then after three years, I'll get to go out not have to shadow or have someone looking over me. Where will you be based? I'm going to be based in Kansas City, Missouri. Okay. Who are what's your future? Look like, so my name's Luke vest, and I'm going to be attending Saint Louis university medical school next year, where are you from Alton, Illinois? So about forty minutes away from Saint Louis, so pretty close to home. But yeah, I'm pretty excited. I'm not sure what kind of doctor I want to be. But hopefully, I can figure that out pretty soon is this project that you did helpful in the path to medical school. Oh, definitely because you really have to think about how technology is used in hospital to improve patient care. So everything should be done with the patient in mind. And that's gonna be really helpful. When I'm in medical school learning about these things because that should be your first thought, you know, how can I best help the patient? I'm Paul Rashard, and I'm from Saint Louis and right now, I'm looking for bio electrics work in Saint Louis for company that's making products or medical or what would kind of feel would you like to end up in? Yes, I'd like to do medical electron much like this one much like this project was. So I'd be looking mostly at a hardware stuff and potentially potentially doing software with the hardware. So like coating heart like making hardware, and then coating the micro-processor to interact with the hardware. My name is Matthew Patrick O'Brien. I'm at the Slough senior, design symposium, and presenting my seniors project now did you do this alone? Yeah. I worked alone on it. My professor doctor guy offered me a lot of guidance. So never was really alone. And what was the Genesis? What what led you to spend about a year working on this, right? Yeah. Yeah. All senior my idea came from that the toy industry is actually a really big market. And currently there are no biosensor toys, or at least a limited amount. So I was thinking if there's an easy reliable biosensor toying that would be marketable biosensor, meaning you touch it at three your eyes, or what's an example of biosensor any signal from a live person typically people it can be anything alive. So and what did you come up with a long title is? And Electra my controlled vehicle with machine learning classification, the if we're ever gonna Mark. It it. It's called the muscle car. Also, I've play on the words. Yes. And the simple thing is you flex, and it turns on and goes, it'll go faster if you're flexing harder. Your own muscle. Yes. It could work for any muscle since it just picks up signal. It doesn't up like it's not specific to a bicep, but I would recommend using it with your bicep. Ram around. Yes. If if we hit market I would make a sleeve for just so it's easier to slip on and off. 'cause you'll notice on here there electrodes, which are sticky sometimes I can hurt to take off. And I don't want that for kids, and what kinds of things could you make do just by Justin your muscles of tension. Currently there's only it only moves forward, and it has moved board at an alterable speed based on how hard you're flexing with more censors. I can make do more can make it go left and right or for back. If we made a sleeve, I would put more sensors in it. But since this is only a one year project. I only use one sensor able to the left and right by movements of your arm. Movement of your arm typically implies like shoulder movement, but this movement. Yes. Like that movement. It uses your it would pick up the signal. Yes. So definitely anything. That moves the muscle is going to give you a way to give the car some guy. Yeah. It'll see it'll see a way form so. Yeah. This was me right here. So that was before. And then you'll notice boom, it's pretty recognizable. Where the when you're flexing. Yes. There is a smaller peak here that is an example of a one. So there's output strength. This is one that's ten well as you worked on this. Did you come up against some dead ends and frustrations? And how did you get around him? Yes. So you'll notice there is no car here. That's a frustration. Very right at the end of the line, my engine stopped working. So the thing that turns those gears, and that's a hardware difficulty hard to get around. I it's too late to order new one. So where did you get the original? So yes, this Duino set there's a robot. Shop is the. Name of the shop online, and I got their version to to road. I played around with are doing oh a little video game card, and, but but are those broader than that, it's it's sort of open source. Hardware that you can use something like this. Oh, yeah. Definitely. Yeah. So normally this is a this is just the car on top of it. I have a little red piece that is an EM G. And that's the beautiful thing about EMC as electro Migrelief. That's what reads muscles electorate, really electric city from your mouth. Yeah. So it'll go on here, and then we'll input the signal into their so yeah, Dino's are massively flexible a lot of other projects areas. Yeah. I've noticed that. Now, how does the information get from the rap on your muscle assume, it's wirelessly to the device? So right now, I'm using electrons. So they're just tach to the car. Yes. This go to it. If it were a project I would make the sleeve with a bluetooth input. This does have bluetooth. I was afraid it would mess with the signal quality as wireless often does. So I didn't include it right now. When you think about how this might be used are there any sort of therapeutic or teach? Ching uses or mainly just a fun thing that a kid could do maybe getting to learn how strong they were how their muscles can make things happen. Yeah. There are multiple education purposes. They could understand how your muscles are activated from this especially with the graph showing activation. Another person that I I don't know where she went. She came up with this idea is for physical therapy. It would be a fun way to do physical therapy because especially when you're muscle atrophy. And when it goes away, especially it would be a fun way to get back into working you'd be making something fun happen while you're exercise as opposed to just sitting there working out. Yeah. It'd be a lot more fun. What happens from here is anybody else going to carry it on for you after graduation. I hope so, but I'm going to grad school, and I'm not doing this. So where are you going to grad school, either Slough or university Galway in? Yeah. Yeah. So I'm lucky enough to I haven't decided yet. So. When you think ten years down the road all the things you've been interested in here. Slough what kind of a career or mission? Can you imagine for yourself? That's a good question. It's tough on when you think about often, especially towards the end of college. Specifically with research. I wanna I wanna get into neuro degenerative diseases. So you'll notice what this. Your muscle works because it receives electricity from your nervous system. I had a there was a monk at my high school who suffered from LS. Hey, my tropic Maiyo muscle. A my tropic lateral sclerosis. It's when you can't Lou Gehrig's disease? Yeah. Yes. He had. Yes. He was he developed it shaking hand. You were close to him and thought boy I'd like to solve the sometime awful. And it's only gonna get worse. It's really bad. It's a it's a death sentence. So if I can find a way to slow it reverse it research, it I I was. Yeah. That's my drive makes a kind of personal. Yes. Yes. I still talk to his father Agusan, and where which school is Saint Louis priory high school. Yeah. Benedictine monk father Gessen. He was a great guy. I loved all of his classes. Yeah. So it was said, well, I hope he lives long enough to see a device, maybe he inspired definitely it named after. Yes. Since my inspirations for names aren't very good. Now, this was the tongue. Glad you came up with the the muscle car. That's a good one still someone else's someone else. Gave me the idea. That's basic science. Thanks a lot. Thank you. Thank you very much to hear from my niece arrow, one more time. And also there was another Sarah on her team who I spoke with. It was very interested in where she's headed after Slough because she's gonna be working robotics, which is of course, interest of mine. My name is Sarah Silbert, and I'm a senior in mechanical engineering Saint Louis university. We were talking earlier about what's next for you. And it's going to be in what field robotics, you're at. That's lou. Yes, is it a big department of you said there's some pretty top people in the faculty how many students will you be working within its Liu? So they're only a couple really working on robotics. Specifically, it's more of a mixed in with other research, topics. But the couple of faculty that we have do robotics works, especially Dr guerrilla wits to some very top notch people, and I'm really excited to get to continue working with her when you're doing research as a grad student on robotics. Are you working on things that are likely to be coming soon to the consumer market like within five years or are you way out twenty years from now? Working on things that would be happening that timeframe it's more of a mix of the two. It's either it's something that we're trying to develop to get out to be super useful immediately. Or it's something we're trying to develop to be at steppingstone to get to the future of things. So like the project that I'm currently working on were mainly using it as a proof of concept to see if if this will actually work, and then we'll develop a new arm that could be then used in the next five years to work with Tele robotic so the project working on now is what I tell her about x project. There's a student doing his master's on it. And we're adding a robotic arm to a Tele robotic platform is this where you're able to remotely control something like a handicapped child or disabled child in a schoolroom. Yes. So it would be like Skype on wheels. So it'd be like a tablet on stick segway platform, so it can move around in its space being controlled using w AST keys. On a keyboard and someone can easily control its movement in a separate location. And then what we're planning on doing? It's adding a robotic arm, so they can then interact with their world surrounding them. And I think we talked earlier some of your research based on actual human behavior and how humans react to robots you might find out that an arm isn't really worth the effort to do because there'd be simpler ways to suggest someone moving around as a robotic presence. Yes. So it's very easy for human suggest disengage completely with a robot, especially when trying to assume a human persona, it has to be pretty precise in terms of your head. Is here your arms meet where they're supposed to and it needs to be proportional. So the robotic arm and hide the robot needs to match like the in person that it's representing to then give that extra level of fully abilities. So then your brain kind of buys in to the situation that you're really. Talking to a human because in most cases, people would delay talking to a robot as opposed to a regular human who's there because they'll get more connectedness with the person they're talking to as opposed to the robot. So they'll wait to talk to them until they finish talking with all the other humans. If you really picturing a student who can't physically be at school, you wouldn't want his robotic avatar to be kind of shunned or ignored because that said exactly the whole purpose is to add that extra level of being a kid in a regular classroom, so gang learn like the rest of the students and still gain connect with your friends at launch and even go out to recess and just like while you can't go run on an play on the monkey bars and things like that you can still be out there and be with your friends and play and be in that get that extra level of connective knows you're talking about. I was sort of English major type. It sounds like a novel. I can picture a science fiction novel wonderful child protagonists with challenges and somebody comes up with one of these devices and how the children in the school react to it. I mean, do you ever think of it in kind of literary terms sometimes I'm a I'm a book nerd, I love reading and especially science fiction things like this. So in my world, I like to try and create those science fiction topics, but in real life, like my dream job would be Scotty on the enterprise. That's what I would love to do on day. But we're not there yet. So I'm trying to build that future. And so adding this level of connecting with people can be a really big steppingstone, if we can make it a book and make it a more acceptable more actual reality type thing, then it can become more available to other people and just really add an extra level of life to these kids who are stuck in auspice. Now, I've been explorer experimenting with vector head 'cause mo- before these are the ones made by. Honky that came out of Carnegie Mellon. And my my goal Ford has been just see how I relate to this little thing. And I've been surprised that how quickly I part of me accepts that he's real in some way, and can you if you're if you're hoping to become more comfortable in the future? I mean, I'm sixty eight I'm not gonna see as much of the futures. You will but is playing around with a device like vector or other similar robots a good way for people to try to understand how their own personal future might look like in relating to robots and just kind of getting ready for the future very much having a vector or roomba. Or even an Alexa device is just already stepping towards this idea of having virtual presence. That's in either robotic form or virtual assistant can just change. How you move in work and everyday life and law vector is meant to be more of like a pet characteristic as. Posed to like, an assistant Alexa would be it's mainly about creating that connection and that personal connection to the item that you're playing with. So it's really like adding that pet environment to you. So like when vector goes around like moves around your keyboard or gets really upset because he can't do something. Like, you see it. And you react, you smile because like it's really cute. But this robot is getting frustrated at not being able to do things. And it's like that. Nice connection in that smile that extra like hit of dopamine type thing of that affirmation of it's okay. It's just a little robot. Like, he can't do this. And it's kind of funny and cute. But all of that together is leading us to a future where we have robots more in our life and making things more accessible more able for other people who can't necessarily do everything to have that extra connection to the world. And that's really cool. What are your concerns in terms of misuse of this technology? I mean if I have. Robots in my home. They could be hacked. Somebody wanted to do something harmful to me by hacking into the robot just that whole of darker side of the technology. Does it keep you up at night or what where do you put that in terms of your overall optimism about what the head? I think you shouldn't throw out a whole idea just for a few bad people who could misuse it. Just find extra protections. Find ways around it finds ways to protect against that issue or that vulnerability and at the end of the day like this is the future that we're moving towards and this could greatly help number of people to be more successful in everyday life. And why throw that out just in case someone does something like he can't really control other people's actions. But you control can control what you do. And how you help built the future. Well, said thank you. Thank you. At the end of my exploration of the room. I had seen something that led me to ask Sarah one more question my Sarah than Iraq my niece. And this led to quite an interesting ups ration- about the difference between male students and female students in her experience. So as I was walking around the room here. I didn't see any other teams that comprise all women. How did your team end up being all women? Wasn't it wasn't intentional walking into the room on? But we were able to pick our teams at least what I found in my experience. It's not true of all the guys in my major. But in my experience, what I'd work in group projects the women who get stuff done very quickly and on-time in officially and a lot of times guys. They'd be smart, and they get good work done with wait until like two AM the morning, it was due. And so the other. Of your program. Right. Right. And the other girls kind of felt the same way we were all sitting close to each other in the room. So we kinda talked about him. We're like, you know, what we have experienced working with very many women throughout all of undergrad. And so it'd be really cool to have an experience of an all women's team. And just seeing how we do being independent of independent as a group because a lot of times at least in my experience in labs working with. Guys. And being the only woman in the group. I feel like I would just get the like. The lesser tasks like organizing, the paper and proof reading and stuff like that. So I thought it'd be really cool to have an experience of designing an engine doing all the math doing all of the building solely with women. Did you learn anything about the dynamics of working in an all women's group that surprise you that would carry forward into whatever work, you're doing? If you find yourself in an all women's group what what lessons will you take from this into that? Well, what I found again this. It might just be the women that I was with. But what I found was that. There was no really there's no person that took charge in a bossy way. It was more like we were all willing and able to hear each other's opinions. We were all able to delegate tasks in differ tasks to one another because we trusted each other's competency. And unfortunately in some of my experience and under God working with male classmates, not all of them, but a small handful of them it would there there'd be kind of understanding that the guys do the hard work. The guys do the math. And then we'll give you the easier tasks so is kind of nice being in a group with where we all trusted each other's abilities. We trusted each other's competencies. And if you felt like you had the ability to lead on a certain part of the project you had the room to do that. You didn't find that people sort of fell into those male roles since there weren't any males in the group that those were kind of archetypes that there was a need or a pattern to fill in. Right. Well, so for example with our project making a car. We had to do a lot of heavy machinery a lot of machining the metal pieces designing the searing working with Motors. And none of us really had experience working on cars. And I feel like in my lab groups in the past typically, what would have happened as a guy would have taken charge. They would've said like, oh, I had experience with this all just do. All this. You guys do the other tasks, and instead we were able to kind of trust each other trust our education that we've gotten and figure it out together. Pretty cool. Those are known intended consequence of your project. Perhaps the most important one. That's it for this week next week's show will resonate in Cambridge Massachusetts where we will be traveling today actually to help celebrate my mother's ninetieth birthday. That's on Sunday for next week show. I plan to catch up with Austin cleanse presentation at the tattered cover bookstore that I recorded last weekend Denver. This is Len edge early for the kindle chronicles from Saint Louis, Missouri. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day bike.

Slough Saint Louis university Sarah Amazon Saint Louis Nick Knight Missouri professor United States Newman center Omaha baseball Sarah rock Austin Google Elizabeth Warren Catholic church m unpire
TKC 564 Kindle Tips from Tracy Schultz

The Kindle Chronicles

49:18 min | 1 year ago

TKC 564 Kindle Tips from Tracy Schultz

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle, Amazon, and all things books books. That's not the way it works. I would have thought I'd memorized that, but it's the Friday podcast, all about your kindle Amazon. It's the Friday podcast, all about your kindle. Amazon. Wow. You'd think I'd have that memorized by now I think you know what? This podcast is about today is may twenty fourth twenty nineteen and I am in an experimental mode, these days, and what I have in front of me is twenty minutes until we're supposed to have supper with Tom and tissue friends from casper. I've got the interview all done. I had to redo my part of it because of technical difficulties that you'll hear about, and I have a couple of other things that I'm going to talk about. And I'm just going to jump in and get the things that I wanna tell you about down. I don't think we'll have any music. It's kind of a bones experiment to see if I can get the audio done before supper, and then I'll be putting it up on the internet afterward. I up in news. There's an article that I read in the economist dated may eleventh twenty nine thousand nine titled how creepy is your is your smart speaker? The, the economist does not have bylines and this kind of article is called a leader. It's a it's a short pithy opinionated piece on a topic. And as a subscriber to the economists have come to really value, these things. So when I saw this a couple of weeks ago, I saved it and I read a very carefully today, a couple of times as that's preparing the show. The, the topic is basically, how as it says, how afraid should we be of the ability of Alexa, in other smart? Speakers to listen to what we're, we're doing. And it, it starts out with something which I haven't actually tried. And I'm gonna see if we can do it right now to give you an answer. We're going to have her at answer a question here. I'm using Alexa on my iphone. Alexa, are you recording? Everything you hear. I only record and send audio back to the Amazon cloud. When you push the button to talk to me. For more information visit the Alexa privacy section of your Alexa app, and then they did the same thing with Siri. Let's try that Syria. Are you recording? Everything you hear. I respect your privacy, and only listen, when you're talking to me, you can learn about Apple's approach to privacy on apple dot com. And here's what the third major voice assistant has to say about that question. Hey google. Are you recording? Everything you hear. Your device listens for a hot word like, okay Google after it. Here's the hot word it sends a recording of what you say to Google, the economist writers of, in addressing this topic note that in twenty eighteen global sales of smart speakers. Doubled to eighty six point two million. And so it's clearly a phenomenon that is growing really fast and with it, there is the question about how worried we should be that our speakers spying on us. I like the way the counts frames things. Pointing out that with any technology, which is advanced to the point of feeling like it's magical myths, grow up around it. So they engage in a little myth, busting saying, despite their name the devices smart, speakers are simple minded, they record only sound clips after the wake word, and they store in Amazon's case, they've said that they store some of these recorded words in order to improve the ability of Alexa, to understand the questions, and that if we want to weaken delete, everything that is being stored. So there's nothing of our voice in the cloud. That's a little bit cumbersome to do. You can mute the speaker, if you want to. And if you are not saying Alexa, in your conversation than the your speaker, isn't going to be recording. Now there was one incident and it got a lot of publicity where perhaps not using Alexa is the wake, we're to might have been the more common word. Pewter or even Amazon and someone head generated a message to somebody else. Which made it look like this party had been recorded a chances of that are pretty remote. So, so the bottom line in kind of the concerns, you hear about from the economist in, and this is a group of people writing this article is, you know, some of these really scary things that you're hearing about what Alexa can do. They just don't match up with the way, the device works. Now, they also don't totally dismiss fears that people have will okay, fine. If it all works the way it's supposed to great. But what about hackers? What about a government snooping? What about Amazon secretly collecting information so that they can sell us more stuff? I like how they go from there to say, okay, these are reasonable fears. But if you really afraid of these kinds of things you should be terrified of your smartphone, because your smartphone not only could be hacked to record what you're saying. You always have it with you. You it has GPS information to show where you are. It has motion data. So if it's what speed you're going and compared to all of that, Alexis. Just sitting there gathering only the words after the wake word spy agencies have been said to be able to activate microphones on smartphones. So there, there's risk there that made me that made sense to me. And it made me wonder, well, how come we hear more concern kind of conspiracy theories or miss about Alexa, than we do about our smartphones because I think the economists is right that there's a lot more exposure to misuse of it. I think probably one reason is that we are so used to the smartphones after all this time, and that they've become so indispensable that if you have some concerns about what could be done through your smartphone. You have to weigh that against all the things you're doing. You're putting your calendar on your texting your it's become this. Necessary device Ramadhan living and Alexa can tell you what the weather is. Most of us are using Alexa in a much less essential way than we're we're using our smartphones. The economists goes onto look ahead to the future of these devices, saying the tech firms are going to be expanding into finance entertainment. Some of them that aren't in shopping. Amazon clearly is they're going to be expanding into shopping. So there might be incentives, as they get into more of these areas to use the hardware to snoop into misuse data, but a countervailing pressure would be that a competing tech company that's getting into these areas could have a competitive advantage by convincing people that they are the most privacy friendly of companies that if you do have concerns, they're the one to go with the economy says that customers should be able to choose how to balance convenience and privacy and that may. Sense, I, although I think most of us, we can choose to dial it down toward more privacy, but it's generally just not worth the work one idea, I was thinking of is on the tesla I can choose a chill insane or ludicrous mode, which describes the different kinds of acceleration. And I could picture in the future, maybe these devices and I if you were to go into your settings on Alexa, and you had sort of generally described levels of concern if you wanna go all the way to not having this device capture anything you could choose the paranoid setting and even after the wake word. Nothing would be saved in the cloud or on the other end it might say I have nothing to hide setting. So a record me use my recordings to help respond to me, better than each of us would then be able to sort of choose where we're going to be on that spectrum without having to get into all the technical details of. Of what we want in those settings. In my case, I think I would be pretty close to the I have nothing to hide as an example. It's come out that went after we ask you a question after the wake word Amazon is saving those week word questions, as a way to improve the responsiveness of Alexa, and I think that's great. I think that I want Alexa to be more responsive. And I think that probably if Alexa by doing if you are going over responses to questions and then improving the technology's ability to understand. And so over time, people just experience, if they tried different platforms. You know, when I talked to Alexa, she ninety nine percent of the time understands what I'm saying when I asked Siri to play music on my home Potter. I ask a Google home. They just it just seems dumber just doesn't seem to respond, and that's the kind of improvement in the platform that might flow from using some of the. This store data in a way that you'd have to trust that it's not being misused. But in my mind, I think it's, it's something that would benefit for me. The economists ends this leader by saying the tech giants need to do more to convince users that Alexa and her friends can't be trusted. And I think that's true. It's, you know, whenever Amazon has talked about this, they try to make it clear what the risks are to, to bust. Some of those myths, I think the other thing that's liable to keep people comfortable with them is if the platform becomes, as indispensable as the smartphone, we're going to make that trade off about privacy in the possible misuse of it, generally, we're gonna say, yeah, I understand there's risk to this and other modern conveniences that I'm using like the smartphone like my car, but these things make my life so much easier. And in some cases, more fun that I'm willing to live with, especially if I can set the dial to whatever level of privacy makes sense. To me, the second news story. I wanna talk to you about is Alexa guard. This was I think it was announced about a week ago. There's an article about it in fortune by Emily price. And this is a new capability of Alexa devices which you can set up from settings on the app on your smartphone. And you'll see something that's called Alexa guard. And the, the idea is that if you change your Lexa to this setting, you can when you leave the house, you can say Alexa, I'm, I'm leaving. And then at that point, they'll be a white ring that goes around your regular echo device, and I'm not sure what the designation of it is going to be on the echo show. And while while you're away, you have various levels of Alexa, guard that you can set one will detect the sound of breaking glass that if somebody is breaking into your home, and they choose a window that Alexa. Vice in addition to listening for the wake word will now, listen for the sound of breaking glass, and if it detects it will send a message to your smartphone. I'm not sure what that message would look like this is the kind of thing to be a little hard to test if you you'd have to go through breaking some glass, to find out what kind of a message it's going to send to your phone, but the idea is that it would be able to send something to your phone, and you'd immediately know that something was going wrong at that point, if you have dropped in setup on, on your devices, you could drop in and your Alexa, would be listening to everything that's happening. You could say, hey, who's in there? What are you doing? You could try to scare somebody away, even if you were two thousand miles away in Denver, and this was happening at your, your home in Cambridge the other setting that you can do is we'll connect with security systems like ring and ADT. I think the idea there is if the alarm goes off the Alexa will notify you via the app that there's some kind of an incident going on. And then there's also. Setting that will detect alarm sounds for smoking carbon monoxide detectors. There's another one that is called away lighting, and that uses machine learning to duplicate, how your lights might be turning on and off, and it's key to zip code. So, in other words, it knows what time zone you're in, and if, if you have a light, that's on the system as it gets to be dark, the light turn on. And then as it comes on the morning it would turn off. So that you would be sort of simulated lighting, pattern to, if someone was in the house, as opposed to away from the house. I think this is a nice addition to the value of Alexa, as I've talked about before most of us are using Alexa for very rudimentary things or become part of the life, finding out about the weather. This is one that I can imagine actually being useful, if we get used to it, and the command is so simple that as you leave the house. If you just say Alexa, I'm leaving. And then you'd have sort of this imagined sense of security, well could all Alexa, she's going to be listening for breaking glass and, and alarms going off. And, you know, my house isn't gonna be completely alone because Alexis going to be looking out for me. And then when you come in, you say Alexa, I'm home. I was trying this lunch with Tom and Tisch today, and I set the Alexa, guard settings on my phone at the restaurant here in Denver. And when I came home, the two devices the echo and the echo dot had a white ring that was going around, and, you know, if it's a, another color ring, it means that there's a package. And but I tried saying what am I notify -cations and nothing worked? So I had to Google to find out that, that was the indication that the system had been put into away mode as opposed to home mode. So Alexa guard that's something new that Alexa can do that might actually be kind of useful. For the tech dip. I'm a little out of sequence because you'll hear that in the interview Tracy talks about something called reading insights, which is on kindle for IOS and I say that I'm going to talk about that on the tip. So hearing about it. I hear and then it'll be talked about, again, in the interview what does is is that if you have the kindle app on your iphone, or your ipad anything in the IRS family, if you go to the you tap on the kindle app, and then you tap on down at the bottom? It says library community, the book that you read last discover, and then there's more, if you tap on more than you'll see several things sink. Listen with audible and one of them is reading insights. And if you tap on that some pretty interesting information becomes available. It starts out with a streaks activity tracker. And this is it's looking at how many days in a row. Have I been reading, and in my case not surprising? It's forty three weeks in a row and unbroken streak. And my longest days in a row is eleven beyond that it shows a calendar which shows days that I have been reading, and I can go showing me may nineteenth. I've been reading pretty steadily. Most of may, I can also go back to April nineteenth March, nineteenth, and actually see when I was reading on my kindles for any particular day. It goes back to August. First twenty eighteen then there are record streaks the longest streak since two thousand eighteen. Mine is currently in it forty three weeks in a row. Then there's did you know you can access this. Oh, okay. It's just reminding you that if you wanna see this information you get to it from the kindle app. There are some more information. Days read per month twenty seven days read in April so far twenty two in may same as last month. There is a further. I'm scrolling down now in the app beyond the streak. And this is I think they changed us fairly regularly. This is a different one that I saw the other day. Oh, that's my I'm a little over my target here. I, I hope I'm not delaying supper. Six o'clock, so beyond the streak, it says reading as a simple way to improve Okabe Larry based on a study done by scholastic quote children, who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply express themselves. Better in learn new things more quickly and the same holds true for adults a substantial vocabulary can encourage outside the box thinking, and improves adults ability to process information leading to both professional and personal success. So this is kind of cheerleading for reading and books. The ones I've seen so far are pretty good. There's an area here where you can give feedback on this reading insights feature. And then if you don't like the idea of Amazon, or anyone else, tracking you're reading this kind of goes on, with what we've talked about before the privacy, it says don't want reading insights, and there's a button that says removed dashboard, and this feature will just disappear from, from your device. This is only available now on the IRS kindle app, and I suspect that they're experimenting with it. They probably really are seeing what people send feedback on it. And if they think that it's something that customers are going to respond to positively. I wouldn't be surprised to see it expanded at least the kindle fire where maybe there's a more of an ability to track then on the e ink devices or if it's something that people just love it'll probably show up on, on Oliver devices, another incremental improvement in the in the kindle platform. Tracy Scholtz is a two thousand three graduate of Brown University with a dual degree a bachelor of science and computer sciences, and a bachelor of arts in visual art with a focus in photography. She worked at Microsoft for seven years and joined Amazon. In November twenty ten as senior product manager for the fire tablet, since March of two thousand fifteen she has been head of product for kindle reading I connect with Tracy on Tuesday may twenty-first by Skype to her office in Seattle. Although this was the five hundred sixty fourth interview I've done for the podcast. I made a rookie error in setting up my audio equipment for it. What happened was I had my yeti microphone here in front of me. That's the beautiful microphone, it does really nice audio on my end of interviews. But I had not switched the Skype input so that I was actually recording with a microphone built into my macbook pro. The result was not only. Audio, but there was some kind of really irritating home throughout my side of the conversation. I thought maybe I could get by with it. So in the editing of it yesterday, I, I didn't fix it. Other than to just try to tweak it with the controls and logic pros best, I could I woke up this morning, knowing that's not going to work. So we have a new experiment here, which I think, is, perhaps, going to be a little instructive always learning about interviews. I am going to rerecord my questions and they're going to be the same questions. There's not going to be any changes of the setup leading into Tracy's answers. But one thing I've noticed and just listening to the bad, audio is, these questions are too long. I I was so excited to talk about Tracy. And you'll you'll you'll see why as we get into this conversation and also there was some personal connections. She graduated from Brown, my daughter, graduated from Brown, and I just lost my discipline of asking really precise questions having my guest, be the one who's mainly speaking. That's, that's the. Normal setup for my interviews and because of the audio problem can have chance to go in and ask the questions as they should've been answered asked the first time. But I don't know if you'd be able to tell that there's any difference in the timing of when the questions were asked and the answers but full disclosure. That's what you hear also I think use this opportunity to interject a couple of responses or feedback to specific answers of questions. So with that the first question, which I asked her was simply what our responsibilities currently at Amazon, head of product for kindle, reading, which means my team, and I are responsible for the kindle reading it stereotypes on our either devices as well as fire tablets the kindle app for Android, MAC, PC windows and Alexa. And so a big part of the job is sort of figuring out what we're going to build next and we do that, in large part by listening to our readers. And then working with design and engineering to take those ideas. Conception all the way to launch in the original recording. I commented to Tracy that I thought it was wonderful to hear that someone has her job. And the reason is that on a couple of occasions. At least when I've been at briefings for new products by Amazon executives. I have pointed out the differences in the interface, for example, between an e reader like an oasis and a fire, tablet, or an IOS device. And I've always just assumed that those were errors, or mistakes, or things that Amazon should fix and that they related to the fact that they're kind of silos across the, the different devices there, maybe kindle team. And then there's a fire team, and they don't talk to each other, so they do highlighting differently, and they, they have some of these different differences in the interface. So when she talked about her job, it Amelie came clear to me that there really is a logical reason to have differences among devices as she. Says reading on a fire is different than reading on a kindle. And so they are making an effort represented by the job that she has to be responsible for the reading interface across devices to balance the obvious need for uniformity. They, they realized that for somebody who's reading kindle book, the best thing is if they don't have to say. Oh, it it's different on this device, but also to use to the fullest advantage each of these devices, so that may have been where the interview get off track because I didn't know that, that was her job from the title in preparing for it. So all of a sudden, I was confronted with an answer to a question that's been kinda bugging me for years about the differences between the devices after explained that background to her. It gave her a chance to agree that it is an important role that she has. And, and she talked a little bit further about it. Absolutely. It's something, you know, we think about constantly and. And so the guiding principle is always to make sure that it feels consistent for customers that read onto more devices, but then that the experience also feels native to whatever device, they're using and so has patterns Android has patterns reader has patterns. And we think about all of those unbalanced them the next question I ask Tracy was about her undergraduate degree at Brown, and I wondered which of the degrees was most useful to her, and her current work at Amazon, the in computer science, or the in visual arts. I love this question, and I think it's more obvious to people, why degree in computer sciences useful when a in a role that's focused on building absence software. But what I'm really passionate about is building software building experiences that are easy for people to use and delightful in their simplicity. And that's all about great design. And so I actually think the to complement each other really, well, I can't pick one and then, as I mentioned earlier, we work really closely with both our engineering, enter design teams, and so it's, it's helpful to speak both. Languages comment here that when Tracy said, I love that question. I bathed somewhat of a game of interviewing over the years and there's lots of metrics that I used to grade myself on how well I'm doing. But whenever a guest says, oh, good question. Or in this case, I love that question. I it just makes me happy because my goal and preparing for an interview interviews, always to find things that make guess, thank make guest just enjoy the process of coming up with an answer. And this is particularly the case when people when I interview people who have done lots of interviews. So this one has already rung that bell. And I was well into join the conversation with her even if she hadn't said she loved the question I just was so eager to hear what kinds of things she could tell us about the kindle from such a unique perspective being responsible for the interface across devices. By the way, this'll be an aside for Jessica who helped set up the interview from the. Public relations department one thing that really doesn't work is. Sometimes I know a guest has been trained to say good question land, good question land. And I think that the limit for that should be about one time per interview, and it, it really needs to be enough Fenick reaction because I can tell when somebody's just saying that I don't know, ingratiate themselves or be too kind to the to the interviewer when it just comes naturally from the quality of the question that's the right time to say. So the next question that I asked, Tracy was which aspects of the kindle, interface are most popular with customers. Now, I'll say here that this interview was unusual in another respect in that I wanted to have kind of a working session about what the kindle does. And I worked with Jessica Tracy to actually plan how we were going to talk about it, and they were very helpful and came back with a better way of organizing it than the first one that I submitted to them. And so with these categories that. We're going to be moving through now come from that collaborative approach that we did to, to planning how we're going to talk about it. So here's Tracy telling us what are the most popular features of the kindle, kindle offers an incredible digital reading it's variance. And I think that's the combination of great selection having the books that people wanna read having the best digit, dedicated digital reading devices, and then also through the free kindle apps that let you read on any device. But when I think about features I probably point two four things. And so the first one would be the ability to read anytime anywhere. And so, you know, when you're using using kindle when you're reading, or listening kindle is going to save your place. And then think that to all your devices so you can start off your morning listening to an audible book under Alexa, and then get on the bus, and pull out your phone and keep reading on your phone, and they get home in the evening continue the story on your emitter device and on all of those devices you have access to. Your full kindle library. So that's, that's great portability. The second thing I'd point to is the ability to customize your reading experience and, you know, as many readers as there are, there are preferences for how they want their book to look, and that's why we let kindle readers customized. They're fun size. Selector fonts boldness level margin. Spacing alignment. And now with the reading themes on our kindle e-readers, you can save all those preferences into a custom theme. And then easily switch between them the third thing I'd mention is the features that let you get more out of a book. And so that's things like dictionary and x Ray where you can press, and hold on any word to see the full dictionary definition. And that's a feature. You know what I'm reading in the browser, and it's not the kindle app. I frequently I'm like, where's the dictionary? And then x Ray is great for characters and places in books. And so, you know, maybe there's a character that hasn't been around for a couple of chapters and you've kind of forgotten what they're who they are. I couldn't have gotten through game of thrones without it, and then the last one, I think, again, goes back to selection, but I think it's about being able to get the book you want anytime, anywhere. And so one of my favorite kindle stories in this, like predates, my time, working on kindle is being an attempt and Kansan in Tanzania and I finished book two of the hunger games. And I just had to know what happened next. And so, you know, I got the three g going I bought the third book and I just kept reading. And then there's also kindle and limited where, you know, subscribers have access to millions of titles and thousands of audio books for unlimited access. So I think all of those are the things that customers love most about kindle mournful to the question was to ask Tracey for an example of how someone might use different reading themes on their kindle device. Yes, I'll use my own personal example, which is, you know, I like to read with pretty compact rating, it's variance. I like to get as many words on the pages I can. And so I take the fun size down. I reduce the margins. And then when I'm at the gym, and I'm on an exercise bike or treadmill. I, I need a little larger font to be able to keep my place. Same thing you know, later at night, my eyes start to get tired. And so at the moment, I have Tracy's theme and I have treats these large theme and I switched back and forth between them soda daily reading things available on all can reading devices. Reading teams are currently only available on EBay said they'd be on the oasis and the paperweight in the kindle, but their local to the device, so you do have to set them up on each device next category is lesser known capabilities of what your kindle can do sort of what a power user might be doing that. You're not doing it things to try. I'll talk about five things four, which were actually released in the last year. And so the first one is, is sort of our most recent launch which is the Marcus read feature. And this just came out last month, and it was the most requested feature by kindle readers. And so what it does. Is it let you filter your kindle library to see just the books? You've read or the books, you haven't unread books and I personally now live with the unread filter on. You know, when I go into the library, I want to see the books I'm reading the books. I wanna read things that people have recommended to me, and it's just it's a great focusing filter and you don't have to do anything to set it up when you finish a book, it's automatically marked as read. But if you want to change the status manual, you can also tap and hold on a book in the library. And then market is redder market is on the second one, I was going to talk about, you know, his reading things, which I think we've touched on a bit already. But again, I think that's a great time savings field to change a bunch of settings with two taps. And then the next one, which is also Irina specific is invert black and white, and essentially, an accessible option. But I think it's broadly applicable, and so what it lets you do is read with a black background and white taxed, which is really great and low light scenarios. If it's it's night time you've got the lights out of your trying not to wake up the person next to you. You're going to turn on invert. Black and white by going to settings tests ability options, and then you'll get the black experience with the white taxed, and then the next one, I really like is reading insights, which is currently only available in kindle for app. But it lets you know, a lot more about your reading habits so you, you will get to it by going to the more tab, and then reading insights, and what you'll see there is how many days in a row, you Fred the longest streak of reading you've had how many days you read last month books you completed last year and it just gonna get better over time. I'm gonna talk more about reading insights on the kindle for IOS app under the tech tip. I had seen it, I think, but I hadn't really played around with it, and it's remarkable. I think you'll enjoy hearing about the types of things you can learn about your reading. If you are on an app with an iphone ipad, and we'll talk about that a protected I was thinking about my wife Darlene for this next question. Because sometimes she'll be reading on her. Oasis. She uses the first generation Acis she loses her place, she'll hit a button, Ron and all of a sudden, she somewhere in the book that she didn't know how to get to or from and I asked Tracy water. Some tools on the kindle platform that helps you if you lose your place galas to two features that are the really great for being able to flip around in a book. And so the first one is page flip, which was designed based on the way, we know customers read print books where, you know, you stick a finger in here and his stick a finger in there and you flip between them. And so page, flip makes it really easy to flip back to a photo and a memoir or a map in a fantasy novel. And you know that the page pin it will always save your place and make it really easy to get back to the place that you left off. And then the second one is called bird's eye view, which gives you a zoomed out view of the book and pixel accurate thumbnails of all the different pages. And so using bird's eye view. It's easy to pick out notable pages. Whether it's you know the. Start of a chapter or a large table or an inset poed and to jump to those and, again, you can count on it to save your place and make it easy to get back to where you were the Knicks worships would kinds of misconceptions. Do you think people have who are not using Kinley at who are thinking about it, and feeling some resistance to making the change? I think the biggest misconception is probably that it's all or nothing one of the things that we know from our readers. Is that lots of people read in multiple formats, some people really love audible books for when they're commuting or for when they want to be hands free? And maybe they're doing things around the house. They prefer kindle for sort of moments of sanctuary where they're really focused on reading, and then also the people that have sort of preferences based on John Lott. There's some books they absolutely want to have on kindle, and there are some books, they absolutely want to have on print, and so the thing I would say to someone who's thinking about it is, I would say, you know, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can you can have some things in audible some things in kindle, and some things in print and you should, you know, figure out. How it all works for you, though, answer by Tracy generated on a ha moment for me that helped me to understand the should trajectory of how I've talked about the kindle over the past ten years ever since starting the podcast. And I realized that as we started this the level of enthusiasm for the book in the sense that this was a whole new technology that was going to revel revolutionize reading I think it, I see in retrospect, that I was taking kind of a maximalist view of the kindle, and that I was seeing it as either or that I kind of proudly shifted from reading one hundred percent on kindle, and I can remember friend of mine kiss. Woodward in Alaska, had challenged me by sending me or recommending a book to read on paper just to see what my experience of doing. It would be. And I said, okay, I'll do it. And I think I determined that. Okay. I've done it now, proven to myself that I really do prefer reading on books. So there's the sort of purist attitude l it was a flowed from my genuine enthusiasm Ford. I'm not sort of beating myself over. But as soon as I heard, you know, one of Amazon's key, kindle, employee's, saying, it's not all or nothing, you know try this. If you might find that some of your reading goes better this way. And if you have other reading that you do on books at, it's, it's totally all right, this matches the reality of how I often hear people talk when you'll notice that sometimes when I'm talking to someone. I'll just say, hey, how are you reading reading on paper and kindle, and, and different people will say, you know, when I travel, I love the kindle the convenience, but I really prefer paper books and this to my credit. This is not irritating me anymore. I'm just saying, you know, I think that's right. We just have a mix but to have this shift toward record. Sizing that the kindle is now just one option. In reading, it's not for every person. And for readers who loved to read it's not the way they do one hundred percent of their reading at I probably still close to ninety nine percent of my reading, the only book that I'm reading lately, on paper is Austin cleanse, keep going. And that's just because when I pick it up. I'm ready to be inspired. I'm reading a few pages. I have it on kindle, but I don't get quite the impact of it. When I read it on my kindle versus reading on paper. So this question answered with Tracy, I, I think I was tending toward this understanding, but she really helped me to see it in it. It's now going to inform my feelings about whether or not kindle is all or nothing. I you know what I think sometimes when I find myself saying, well, how are you reading are you reading on a kindle? I can imagine a time when my conversations with people about reading and technology and all the things that have flowed from my initial. Interest in kindle just might not be so much part of what we talk about here. It's, it's sort of like asking somebody. Well, you know what toothpaste using or what, what's something about your ordinary life, that, you can tell us about as it comes mainstream into just the way people read, or as one option for the way people read, it's maybe not such an interesting topic anymore. So I know I don't want to go too far in the other direction hair because a little bit of evangelism, is always going to be part of show named the kindle chronicles. But that that was a very helpful answer the Tracy head to that question. Next thing I wanted to ask her about was the change in highlighting, which I've noticed on the kindle, e reader. And I had a question why did they do this? Why did they make it so that when you're starting at a highlight on your way, SIS or your other kindle device instead of the highlight being formed, as your finger moves across the page? It's it's a simple underline, and then when you're finished and you tap on the page, the highlight appears. Well, Tracy had a very interesting answer to that question. So it only changed on evader. It still works exactly the same. So you still press and hold and drag to select the text you wanna highlight the two differences, as you mentioned, the underline, and then the highlight appears when you pick your finger up. But then the other thing you should notice is that it's, it's smoother faster and more accurate. And that's really the reason for the change that, you know, on a technical level. Drawing the underlying instead of refreshing the text to show the highlight with the inverted text allowed us to make it easier to selected xactly what you wanna select. I wanna point out something I think is significant about this particular improvement in the kennel interface. Here we are more than ten years after the introduction of kindle as I've said, it's kind of a mainstream device, and for Amazon to invest, what I'm sure it took an engineering, and software development, all of the different aspects of it to come up with a way for a highlight on an ear to be noticeably. But, you know, not dramatically faster and smoother than the way of doing it before it, it affirms, the sense that there is never going to be a point when they aren't trying to improve this device, and this kind of improvement happens as Amazon is making big innovations like the Alexa, and we're going to hear next week from someone who is helping people. Understand. How do you have an innovation culture that enables, these huge advances in the midst of many failures Amazon is clearly doing that? That's something Jeff Bezos talks about. But meanwhile down in the trenches and the kindle team. There's people saying, you know, this highlighting thing I wonder if we can make it a little faster, little smoother, a little more accurate, so they did. I think this is one answer to a question. Sometimes I've had if five years ago, or whenever it was I can remember when Barnes and noble brought out the nook and there was some pretty nifty things about the nook that can you remember I thought, boy, the nook is coming out here. I've got this podcast called the kennel chronicles. And that's when I created another podcast, go the reading, edge, just in case the nook was the was the Victor in the battle of the readers. Well, the Nukus just barely alive and probably heading off the stage here. The Kobo is a little quite a bit more successful internationally. But it doesn't have anywhere near the market share of the kindle, you might say. That's because Amazon's big all these resources. But I think it's the result of this kind of granular improvement in platform. This is just one small example, and people who have used the product and see the the benefits of it. We may not be aware of all of these little changes, but in the overall experience of it, they definitely pay off in having. It just always seem like a really terrific way to read the next question I had was about firmware updates, of course. That's where these changes come about. And I told Tracy I have a friend in casper, Jack who's ninety two and he's, he's a big kindle reader. I got him a paperweight recently and he's always been a bit mystified as to this process of updating the firmware, and he thought that he should not turn his paper, white WI fi on unless he was waiting for firmware to show up. And I said, you know, Jack, you can leave it on all the time. It's not costing anything to. Have your home wifi network connected to your kindle. And that's how the devices will receive any updates that come along. So I ask Tracy just to give us a little more information about that firmware update process. So the reason you want to have the latest firmware is, obviously, to have the latest features you shouldn't have to worry about it. So kindle firmware updates are pushed automatically devices over the air. They do rollout. So you are correct that not everyone gets them at the same moment, and your advice, your friend is, is absolutely accurate. That the thing you need to do to make sure you're getting the latest update is connected device to WI fi. Make sure it's charged or put it on the charger, and then it'll update itself at a time when it's idle. So if you put it on the charger, get it connected and leave it overnight it should update. And so if you ever want to check your firmware version, you can always do that by going to settings device options. And then selecting device info, you get a dialogue, there that has your firmware version. And so at the moment, the latest firmware. Is five dot eleven dot one or five eleven that one that one depending on your kindle model and then the other thing, great thing. And that dialogue is there's a link. This is what's new, and you can tap on that, and you'll get a text description of the features that were included in the latest updates if someone doesn't have WI fi available Willie firmware update come over three g now firmware does not update over three g so it does need a wifi connection work. You tells about dictionaries on the kindle kindle, includes forty seven free dictionaries in sixteen languages. And so as we talked about before, you know, to use dictionary, you long press on any word, and then the info card will come up, which will show you the dictionary definition, from that info card. It's various. You can also switch the dictionary and depending on tending on what the vice you're reading on, you'll either see the name of the dictionary, or the language, and you tap on that, and then select the dictionary, you want to use it. It's really personal preference. But the most popular English dictionary is new Oxford. American dictionary, which is the default. But then also, you know, we know some people really are passionate about their favorite dictionary. So kindle also includes a feature called bring your own dictionary where you can buy any compatible dictionary, from the kindle store, and then make that your default. And how about translation kindle supports translation into twenty three languages, using Microsoft translator. And the workflow is very similar to the dictionary, workflow. So you select the texts you want to translate. You can select anywhere from a word up to about a page, and then Preston hall bring up the info card display and the translation, it's you'll have to swipe over to find it. Basically, the kindle will to auto detect the language of the Texas, you selected. So all you have to do is select your target language, and then once you've done that it saves that for the next time she really usually only have to do that once or once for book. And so, you know, I like to use it for, you know, books that I read that maybe have short, passages in Spanish or French. Where my, you know, my Spanish is not, not a distant but definitely rusty. And so, I like to check in, I am I reading this correctly and also to make sure that I'm willing to understanding what the author said in your own reading do use of stylus, or your finger, when you're tapping on words or highlighting, I always use my finger with the latest eaters, you can use a passive stylus, but I've always found the finger just find anything else. If I had one tip for your readers. It would probably be, you know, if you love reading on your kindle e-readers, go install the app on your phone that the experience of having kindle on multiple devices and being able to pick up your book in line or at the doctor's office, or just moments of downtime, as one of my favorite things that I would love everyone to try will glad that I went through the time to rerecord my side of the interview, because it certainly is a lot easier to listen to than if I had gone with the original track. It also gave me a chance to do kind of an extended annotated interview I have been tempted in the past to drop in comments as do the voice over for the show, and this is. Much more of an annotation or commenting on the interview as it plays out. I thought that this would be interesting. And in some cases, it gives me a good platform to have a back and forth. Or think about the interview after I've had it. I'm not sure that's fair to the guests because I think anybody that agrees to do an interview with certainly expect. The interview to be recorded and played back pretty closely to the, the way it was done. I sometimes snip out and odds, and tighten things up a little, but I hope in this case that tracing, Jessica happy without turned out on that. You've found it useful as well. If you've got ideas or thoughts on the annotated interview, or any other ways to experiment with what we're doing here. I I'm in quite an experimental mood. These days, I had a great conversation with Mark Cerro. We're sort of talking shop about our podcasts, and he was encouraging me to continue experimenting as I did to him for his highlighter newsletter. And. Cast, which is really excellent. If you have feedback, please Email me at pod chronicles at gmaiLcom to give you a taste of how much of a different experience. It would have been to have my side as a regionally recorded. I'll have the out tro part of the interview of from that original, I haven't speaking with facing Schultz and headed convict. Thanks very much Tracy. Thanks. That's it for this week. Just a little bit over time. We got everything down and suppers coming. I think they're Leinen Tisch bought a chicken at whole foods and tasty meal ahead next week's guest is going to be John Rosman, and he has written a book think like Amazon fifty and a half ideas to become a digital reader, almost halfway through this book, and I'm, I'm pretty impressed with it. He was an executive at Amazon for a number of years and quite a while ago. But I think his sense of the philosophy of Jeff Bezos seems pretty current. And he applies it, obviously working with other companies and he's made it very accessible here in this book. So I'll be talking to him next week week after that. I will be going to Las Vegas for the R E colon Mars conference about machine learning automation, robots and space presided over by Jeff Bezos and very excited about. That. And that's it for this week. I talking with Mark Aceros saying, you know, for people who listen to our shows, we always open them up the same way we end the same way and some podcast. I listen to the same exact opening goes on for a minute or two and I can recite them by heart, although I can't recite my own intro heart. But I thought, what if what if these things change every time you know, instead of saying, have a great day. Bye say, I hope your life is going, well, our hope you're reading books, so I'll be trying out different ways to say goodbye. But in any event, this episode is over. I hope you've enjoyed this is Leonard Jolene Denver.

kindle Alexa Amazon Jessica Tracy Tracy Scholtz google kindle store Alexa Jeff Bezos Apple Microsoft Tom Alexis IRS casper Syria
TKC 558 Future Coach James McQuivey

The Kindle Chronicles

53:35 min | 2 years ago

TKC 558 Future Coach James McQuivey

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Linda Julie today is April twelfth twenty nineteen. Readings to from downtown Denver. I have an unusual opportunity for you. In today's episode. It's a first look at an ambitious new project designed to help any of us become more fit for the future. The the creator of this initiative is a frequent guest on the show James mcwethy of forced to research in Cambridge Massachusetts. These twenty five years of research that I've done have shown me that there are some people who see technology as a means to valuable and that they are in charge of. In news. I wanna talk about the all new kindle which began shipping this week. And I received a review copy a few days earlier in the week. So I've had some time to use it. And to think about it in terms of the overall kindle lineup which now's begins with the basic, kindle ninety dollars the paperweight one hundred and thirty dollars and the oasis two hundred fifty dollars. Those are the prices with wifi only, and I have to say, I'm very impressed with this new basic, kindle, I haven't used one of these in the previous iteration of it. It was eighty dollars that had no front light. And that really did make it less usable than the other kindles in the line. And I understand why Amazon would have redesigned the basic kindle. So the did have a front light in the process. They raise the price from eighty dollars to ninety dollars. But having having tried this eye. Was a good a good trade off to to have the price. Go up slightly. But to have this be essentially, a very similar reading experience to the other two kindles. Now, they all have the front light in there are various differences, which which justify the difference in price. What I like most about the all new basic analyst just the way feels this is not something you can evaluate from specifications and reading a press release. But when I've had a chance to actually read on this review copy, it's it's noticeably lighter than the paper white weighs six point one ounce as compared with six point eight ounces, and then the away says is six point nine ounce of. So when you have these three in your hand, the new basic kindle is is the lightest if there's a little bit heavier than the previous basic kennel, but not not noticeably. So and it's also a slightly smaller in its dimensions than the paper. White. It's on the kind of the tall -ness of it from top to bottom. The new basic kindle is six point three inches tall. Well in the paper, white is six point six. The always is also six point three tall. There's a real smoothness to the corners of the basic kindle, and I it doesn't when I look at it the paper it looks like it's also rounded corners as well. I if I'm just reading my hands as opposed to thinking about dimensions and everything I prefer the feel of the of the new basic kindle to the paper white now, the the things which start justifying a higher price, depending on your preference in your your use. Are the fact that the paperweight has a flat screen so that there's no Bethel that drops the screen down below the case. And I I think that does give a smoother action if you're advancing the pages on the paper, white, you're you're just touching the same surface. Whether it's the screen or the or the case, whereas on the basic, kindle your serve dropping down into this. Well to touch it. Also, the basic intels, not waterproof. Whereas the paper way and the aces are both waterproof, the pixels per inch, which is a measure of resolution and kind of how the screen looks the basic kindle is one sixty seven PPI and the other two or three hundred. So that speck makes you think that will I think that the other two look a lot better. If I looked really hard at the paperweight screen versus the basic screen. I can see a kind of a finer look to the fonts and the the reading. But if I'm just looking at the basic, kindle itself, I don't have any sense that. Well, it's too blurry or this. Or that? I wish it was sharper. You can only detect the difference when you compare with the ones which have the higher PPI ratings the other differences among the models include storage on the basic kindle comes with only one configuration. That's four gigabytes of storage if you're reading. Eating audible books, you know, that might limit the number of audible books, you could have on it and the number of books, but for gigabytes is gonna put a lot of material on that basic, kindle, the paper comes with AK gigabytes, and you can also get a thirty two gigabytes model same with the oasis. There is a difference in the number of LED lights on these devices. And I can't tell the difference in looking at the paper versus the basic kennel, but the basic has four lights that can obey the screen with light. So that you can read in the dark, and it'll just just to a nice readable level because of those four lights they're five lights along the the paper white, so presumably a a better display of light. Although it it's pretty hard to to detect with the naked eye in my experience. And then the oasis has twelve and I think you really can't see that it's a smoother amount of light that's going across that screen on the basis. It also has auto adjusting late, and I've. Really been able to figure out what advantage that is. The other big difference on the aces, physical turn buttons. And I like those. It goes with the larger size the seven inch screen on the oasis. And so by the time, you're paying two hundred fifty dollars for the Acis with WI fi special offers, you're getting seven inch diagonal screen, which I really like. And you're getting this one sided one with of it is wider than the other. So it's kind of a one handed feel in. It'll just flip over if you go in the other side to your other hand, and you've got nice nice action next and previous page buttons. And then the the kindle in the paperweight, you tap, the screen to advance the basic kindle does not come with a three g option. So you you have to use it with wifi, and I kind of splurged on the paper that I bought I got the three g because when I'm in an airport. Sometimes it's just a pain in the neck to try to get on the airports wifi and download a book. And so if there's three g that's that's quite an advantage. When I thought about kind of this lineup, and I'm going to try to. Video tonight, the sort of shows now, we have three choices kindles, and which one might be best for you the case for the the basic kennel largely is price. It's forty dollars cheaper than the next one up it's noticeably lighter. It's smaller. It's almost as crisp to read as the paper white. And really if you're worried about dropping, the bathtub or in the ocean that would be something, which might worry you. But in terms of basic reading experience, it it has this kind of minimalist feel it's the cheapest, and it it's a really good read the case of the paperweight would be slightly crisper reading experience because of the higher DPI that feel of the flat screen, I think that another advantage of that flat screen is it's easy to just wipe it, and it's all the same level. So dust can't get kind of in the cracks or the corners of the basic kindle, which has at recess street. Screen. So that that's an advantage. You can't get a three g option, and you can get thirty two gigabytes with paperweight and the case of the paper way compared with the OS is it's one hundred twenty dollars cheaper than the aces. The case for the oasis. It's kind of you know, if you're a real book lover, and you're reading way more than six books year, which only twenty percent of Americans read six books year. But if you're someone like me who reading is is a big deal big part of my life. And so to spend two hundred fifty dollars or more. If you get three g and the other options, doesn't may not seem ridiculous if you can afford it, and you really want kind of the the best reading experience on this eating screen. The oasis gives you a larger screen that works out to be thirty percent. More text on a page, you get the page buttons. And you get the off center feel and you get the the brighter lights. I'm not sure how this is all going to translate into my own reading arsenal. Because I prefer the feel of the new basic kindle to the paperweight mainly because of the weight, but if I am going to replace the paper white with the kindle for when we go on trips, and I'm going through an airport gonna spend the day travelling from here to Boston, or whatever I really would like to have that three g so that I can just pop down a book from the cloud if I needed and not have to mess with wifi. I don't really know how that's gonna work out. I'm going to have to return this review copy to Amazon, and I will have to decide whether I'm going to buy my own basic kindle, and maybe find a home for this paperweight. So that I would have the oasis. And then I would have the new minimalist kindle as my other kindle one thing. I the one that they semi has got a white case on the basic inland. Paperweights the black case. And I think the white case looks a lot better. So that may be part of why I'm I'm. Drawn to it. I still do a lot of reading on the kindle fire HD eight to during the day. I kinda like seeing Colorado page, and I it's not it's more distracting. And sometimes I like to sit somewhere where I can check Twitter the news, well and reading a book and in more the active part of the day that fire HD eight which costs one hundred ten dollars is good for reading. I use the fire HD ten for the script for the show, and the other tablet device is not made by Amazon that I really am getting quite fond of is the remarkable tabs that I bought for four hundred ninety nine dollars. It's really for thinking and planning, and when I'm sketching out a an episode, and I use the stylus that it's just really enjoying it. I it seems way too expensive for just that single purpose. But if I've got a tool that helps me think things out and not just on the podcast. But other projects they did the same thing when I was trying to conceptualize what I do. My taxes. You're just kind of making this fun writing on the tablet, and then it popped up on my computer screen with a nice synchronizing process. And and that was pretty good. It kind of makes me wonder if there might be a kindle out there. Sometime the future, you could call it, the Kato K, tablet, or K tab or something. An e ink device that would enable you to write the way I can write on this remarkable tablet, which uses e ink, and I could read books on maybe that would be mixing up too many things, you know, you wouldn't have that purpose built feeling you'd say, well, I'm going to be drawing in this room. I gonna be reading the kindle, but the other use case that I've enjoyed is that with remarkable tablet. I can drop a PDF on it. And then I can underline the PDF which I did with Jeff Bezos letter shareholders, which will have linked to in the show notes. Nice new addition to the lineup if you've got one of these basic kindles, and you've got some thoughts. Please send them along to me at pod chronicles gmaiLcom. At the end of my conversation with James mcwethy in November of last year. He mentioned that he was pondering whether or not we have the personality traits that will enable us to participate in the future. I could tell from the passionate voice that this was the topic. He is deeply engaged in. So I made a note on my calendar circle back this spring to see if he would be ready to talk about this further the time he turned out to be just right and Ebeling us to take a deep dive into the forest or future fit project. I spoke with James by Skype between here in Denver in his home west of Boston on Tuesday, April ninth before we talked. I had done some reading about the project, and I took the diagnostic survey that tells you whether you you have high future, fitness medium or low I was a fun test or survey to take and it left me with quite an appetite for how this project is going to be filled in so that's more precise measures of nine different characteristics. That he's. Found really do project. How someone is going to be able to handle and be effective in the future. So I began by asking him how he got into this in the first place. I have spent mile career really twenty five years between forester and being enacted Emmett trying to figure out what makes someone likely to adopt new technology, and that's really what I started doing this work in. And what's happened is over the years? I've come to realize there's question of adopting new technology. But then there's also how will someone who's to use the technology once they do have once they have adopted it, and what are the characteristics of someone who sees that technology as a way to step forward in their lives as opposed to maybe just a new trend that they're interested in or something that everyone else is doing. So they're going to try not that any of those is better. Than the other. But these twenty five years of research that I've done have shown me that there are some people who see technology as a means to evaluate and that they are in charge of. And so when we do our researcher at Forrester, we we many years ago identified a characteristic that we call consumer empowerment and will use this as a way to talk about no companies, you need to serve these empowered customers because they are more aware of their options. They can choose to stay with you as a brand or not those kinds of things. So that that's an imperative for the company to understand. But at the same time for my perspective getting at the core motivation of the human behind the decision. I was really interested in what what is in power -ment. How does it affect the way? People approach a lot. No, the the way they eat the exercise that they're willing to do or not the attitudes that they have toured changes in politics -ociety. And so on. And as I conducted this research over many years and went back to some over older research to reexamine it in this light. I I came up with this idea that I could create a single tool that would measure the basket of attributes that seem to co occur in those people. So just to be clear to distinguish it from what I would've told you twenty years ago when I was at forest or writing about something we call technology optimism back, then we were just measuring whether you are likely to try the new thing or not now, I'm measuring your added towards to your attitude towards the use of that new thing, I'm gonna get value out of this. I'm going to be able to use it to change my life. I'm going to be able to have a better outcome of. And then there's some really interesting background to that to that knowledge that that, you know, if we had more time I'd explain like, for example, without going the detail when we first started measuring the Latino, Hispanic. Audience in the United States. Now fifteen years ago, we do dedicated surveys just of of Latinos, and so we'd have to measure them second-generation first generation documented versus undocumented, a lot of groups and people's attitudes towards technology adoption in these groups was incredibly high. And there was there was actually at the time an attitude towards well these immigrants they're not gonna have a lot of money. So they're not going to be interested in new technology. They're just scraping by was an attitude that a lot of our major clients partners had a movie did the research, and we applied our understanding of how we measure people's interest in use of technology. They were off the charts. We didn't even know how to compare them because we'd been measuring into multiple countries by this time in some countries were slightly better slightly lower. And that's fine. But the immigrant population was the highest we'd ever measured. And that's when we started to realize it's because they're not just seeing technology as wanna have that phone that everyone has a low back, then we didn't have smartphones. So that's a bad example was ipods at the time. I, but it was that they were recognizing that. There was a tool available that could improve their lives and they wanted that tool. And if you think about that, that's exactly someone who's going to immigrate to the United States from Central America. Erica, which a lot of our subject population came from that was who is coming. Here was people who are saying. What's the tool that I need next in my life? Oh, it's it's the United States. And so they would immigrate here. And the same attitude applied why Why's everyone carrying around that? Gadget. Oh, it's because it can improve their life. I'm going to do that. So anyway, it's nice because this breaks down some traditional attitudes that people have towards technology. Oh, you have to be rich to use technology. You have to be male. I mean twenty years ago every time we tried to say women, we're gonna shop online because it was valuable and useful to them. People with women aren't gonna use technology shot. That's just not going to happen. You know, put aside your prior biases about immigrants about women about populations understand that technology is a way to move forward in your life for some of us for other people is just a passing fad? That's fine that you can approach it that way too. But for some of us, we use it as a way to explore express move forward advance in our lives accomplish, our goals figure out what our goals are in the first place. So anyway. More background than you needed. But future point that's a way to sort of understanding, do you think that if you had studied that Latino or immigrant population? They would have also scored high on the other nine attributes that you have in in in this tool because they had already sort of self selected toward the future by making such a dramatic move to another country. You know, I wish I had the data to say for sure. But I would assume that would I would assume that they would because what we were measuring back then but didn't understand it is what we are now measuring and future, fitness, but we have more clarity into what we're measuring. So I'll explain what it is. We're measuring. And and I think I sent over to you a a blog post that if you wanna post it along with the podcast so that people can help. Get mind. This is my results. So I can all excellent. I if I hadn't come out high wouldn't have even dared to talk to you today. Hi group. Explain a little bit about what that means and everything, but. Yeah. So essentially what we wanted to do is figure out. What are all the things that come in this basket of actre- beauts that tend to predict how you're going to approach technology. Are you going to see it as something that is a maximize her an augmented that you want or is it fulfilling any other role in your life, which is fine. And the the reason why I was interested in that is not only that we had all these data to to explain over the past several decades. But also because I am looking at the next things that are going to come from automation self-driving cars, all of the robotics that are coming into people's lives. And there's a lot of angst about it, especially if you read the mass media, the major media seem to only see this in terms of major risks. And I know from my own survey work that, you know, more than well nearly half the population doesn't see it as risky or when they do. Also, see it as beneficial. I mean, that's that's something that that we've measured over and over and over again, we'll see something like when Google glass came out steak, an easy example on all the meet the media covered Google asses. If it was either evil or stupid, there was never any way to talk about it other than those two things. And yeah, Google Google glass didn't work it didn't work because it wasn't very useful though. Not because the media correctly characterized it as as evil or stupid, and in our surveys, we surveyed people, and we found out the sure enough about fifty percent of people were concerned about Google glass. It's privacy security and all that. And if you ask a separate question in the same survey, you find about fifty percent of people wanna try one. And so you naturally would come to the conclusion that oh half. The population is nervous and half. The population is excited. No, actually the correlation between those two things was almost zero. Meaning that there was a fourth of the population. That was both nervous about it and wanted to try it a fourth of the population that just wanted to try and isn't nervous about it. A fourth of the population that wants to that is nervous about it. And doesn't want to try it. So you end up realizing that you can be both nervous about technology and willing to see what it can do for you. What what we've been trying to figure out is how do we turn that into a single measure where we could without serving you about your whole life and having spent half an hour taking a personality assessment of a Myers, Briggs type or something like that. Could we identify by using questions that predict these other things in your life? Could we identify whether you are high medium or low in this concept that we're calling future fitness? And we used future fitness to describe this concept because we wanna make it clear that it is not measuring. Being a fixed attribute, this is not a personality trait. In fact, we avoid the word trait deliberately because although there are traits of the related here. Almost everything that we're measuring is something that you can change if you want to now you may not want to and that's again fine. It's your choice. But if you wanted to become more future fit you can. And we feel the same way about physical fitness. You know, everyone can be more physically fit than they currently. Are they want to doesn't mean everyone could run the Boston marathon next Monday, which I'll be running, but very slowly, you know, I can't it doesn't matter. What I do. I've never gonna run up three twenty marathon that I'd have to run in order to qualify for the marathon. So I'm going to run it as a charity runner. I'm very proud of of the charity, I'm running for. But the fact is we could all be fitter more physically fit than we than we are in the same is true of being future of being willing to look at new stuff. Not just gadgets like Google glass. Was but new things like self driving cars, even an algorithm mic lifestyle that many of us are starting to encounter targeted advertisements as Scillies that sounds as annoying as it sounds to some people and some people feel like it's incredible. When advertisements are targeted at them. Twenty percent of the people in the population actually think it's good for them that advertisements are targeted. I'm one of those people if I'm gonna have to see ads I'd rather see ones that are more relevant to me. But then there's another class of persons like, well, that means they know things about me that means that a computer somewhere is processing information about me. And I'm afraid of that. That's fine. We can feel differently about that. But the fact is more algorithms are going to be encroaching upon lives. And some of us will see that more positively than others, and maybe with some some diagnostics and some encouragement we could help the people who are unnecessarily afraid. I'm not saying that there aren't reasons to be concerned about privacy. Of course, there are. I have a colleague who writes who's really the leading expert on privacy concerns in the world, fighting Mocatta blue, she's Sommese. But she, you know, she's the I tell you that you use privacy as a way to make sure you can go get all the amazing benefits that you want from technology. Not so that you can run from technology. Anyway, you know, it's early in the morning that we're having this conversation. So I'm probably more fluid more, Phil. Our conversation. I'm not getting right to the point. All we're circling it. But the point is this I have created a tool, I I need to ask you ten or twelve questions and actually it's less than that. But I buried them in ten or twelve so that you can't try to gain the system and figure out which questions matter, you go to this this survey, which you can access it f o r dot com slash future fit. And if you go there, there's a little introduction, and you go through the introduction, and you'll take these ten or twelve questions, and then when you're done it's gonna give you a score now behind the scenes, it's actually giving you a zero to one hundred score. And what we've done for simplicity of reporting is that it really doesn't matter. Whether you're sixty seven or seventy four it. It's more important that you understand where you generally fit. And so what we've done is. We've broken your score down into one of three possibilities. You come in high eighty two hundred you come in medium, which is fifty to eighty or you come in low which is zero to fifty and it's a it's a pure bell curve distribution fifty percent of the population is under fifty thirty percent of the population is in medium twenty percents in high and we chose those break points for a couple of reasons one is that they're incredibly predictive. And as you saw and you were just holding up the sheet minute ago, and this is the same sheet that everyone takes this s -ment can get for themselves. It'll say whether you're high medium or low, and then it will describe. How you are likely to come out if we were to give you the twenty five minute version of the survey measure all nine of these attributes future, fitness that we find are part of that basket of of huger fitness characteristics. And we're using the word attributes instead of traits because as we said, we want these to be things that you feel like you can improve and work on then I can give you more detail on some of these things if to the degree that you're interested because each one of these things we've we've measured very very deeply. And then we've come back and said, all right. What do we communicate to you in the short run? So that you can use this information to say, I'm probably here on these three attributes, and I could improve those things and what we're going to be doing over the long run is developing content to help you work on each of those nine attributes and think of those as nine muscles that we want you to work out to be. More fit while what did take it. And this is a free test, by the way. So and it's you're right. It was very easy to take kind of interesting the numbers on. So it says that I scored high, and if I'm understanding it, right? Does that mean that everybody that scored high, for example on the physical attribute would have an eighty seven percent score? If they took the full test for health, and then they would have an eighty four percent on emotional that the these numbers here aren't really my numbers. They're nice with everybody in the high group right there. The average score for people in your group the average score. So it's possible that you would score in the high group and then on on these nine attributes you could score medium on several of the or you could even score low on one maybe two as long as your other scores were high enough to compensate for that. So it doesn't automatic guarantee that. Your high on online of things, but it just says you likelihood of being high on all nine of these things is pretty strong. And you know, I miss the ticks guy in. So a built this behind the scenes to be very very robust that I'm very berry actually pleased with how robust these are. I've gone through hundreds of lines of responses from participants in the survey to see whether it's, you know, not only making sense to typically, but whether it also meets the face validity of let's see this person is low on these three things, but they're higher on everything else. What does that mean is that possible? What would it be like to be that person? So I'm really pleased with how robust it is. But I'm more excited down the road. And we're going to actually share the long version, and unless someone actually measure themself on all nine of these things so that they can say which of these things I need to improve on right now, you take this survey. And let's say it comes out and says your medium minnows with the group of clients recently where we did this. Did it privately shared with them their scores privately and they each individ-. Opened their results and looked at them and several of them were medium and the questions they had were was how do I know how I improve my fitness now. First of all, the very fact that you want to improve your fitness is a good indicator of fitness because it's a psychological emotional disposition to improvement that that is good. So I'd say to them. Well, look, these are the nine things that might be holding back. Let's look at them. And it doesn't take long the look through them, physical health, emotional, health, psychological, health and emotional health measure is actually a very complicated measure that we that we've used its, but you can you can ask yourself some basic emotional quotient, if you've ever done any research on on E Q, the the the basics of your emotional quotient, we didn't measure emotional quotient in our survey. But we use another method. That's that's similar provides somewhere result. Which is your e q is a function of are you aware of your own emotional states? And are you aware of other people's likely emotional states, and then third are you aware of your ability to influence other people's emotional states? So that you can temper what you do that either causes or influences people notion state. So those three things you ask yourself that it might good understanding my own emotions and my good at at. I dent defying other people's emotions and my aware of the impact that I have on those those emotion those that you know, you can go through that stuff diagnostic without needing to dig a thirty minute survey from us, but those those are the kinds of things that people are saying, well, how do I improve this? And I usually say start at those health level attributes because those are found asional if you're someone who is psychologically healthy, and in this in this particular tool, we're talking about a disposition towards growth, a disposition towards open ended nece grow growth mindset is one way to describe it. Although we're not measuring the traditional tools that measure growth mindset. That's that's what we're calling psychological health. So if you're physically healthy, and you're emotionally healthy, and you possess, psychological will your ability to do all the other six things on the list is also going to be better. And honestly something physical health because this is a tricky one because you know, half the population is less healthy than average. It's so it can be discouraging and people will say, well, you know, I know any right, and I need to exercise we actually measured health in two different ways. In the in the research that we did to create this tool we measured actual health to the best ability that we could. So that's you know, presence of certain disease states blood pressure. All of these all of these things that we thought, okay? These are going to be accurate measures of help and it was correlated somewhat with utera, fitness, but not nearly as correlated as behavioral health. So you could actually have high blood pressure, but be someone who is trying to eat right and get a little bit of physical exercise and trying to sleep. Well, and you'll be more future fit than someone who doesn't eat. Right. Doesn't sleep. Well, and yet who has no abs- absolutely no negative health markers. Can sort of get that idea. So it's not actually your actual physical health relative to average that matters. It's your health behaviors that matter that was more predictive of utera, fitness. And that was another thing is really reassuring to me because I don't want someone to come to say. Well, look, you know, I'm diabetic insulin-dependent. You're telling me that I'm never going to be future fit because my health is going to be a barrier to me in an actually have some diabetics in our survey sample and sure enough they can be future fit to as long as they're engaging in behaviors to moderate their health impacts. And so on. Will. That's fascinating. I could see the connection because if you have a sense of agency over your own health that I can see how that would fit with agency over the future. What about agility that's one of the three mental attributes what kinds of things went into your ability to to measure that for future, fitness. Yeah. So in that middle row. So when folks look at their results sheet. They'll see the top row is health. The middle row, we call mental attributes and and they're they're obviously going to be related to psychological health, but their their specific characteristics of. And one of them is just an openness to novelty that's characterized by curiosity. Another one is a the one you just mentioned, which I'm just blanking on because I got stuck on the curiosity. One. Julie. Jill one of them is Jilin and the agility measure. So we went in with a hypothesis on this one because of course, everyone who's in the world of software and business. Innovation knows that the term agile is being used all the time. We also use the word adaptive when we talk about organizations because agile refers to a specific method of doing software development and business process innovation, but agility is a really good word to describe the mental predisposition to feeling that you can change your approach to something when the old approach isn't working in more. And that's actually what we set out to measure. We said is this is this actually an independent variable? Meaning it's something that you have in you already and you show up at work, and they say, hey, we're going to have an agile work environment. And your brain says, oh, I get that intuitively. Or are you someone who shows up at work, and they say we're going to have an agile tests and fail mentality. And your brain says way, we wait I need to know the rule book, I need to see what's supposed to happen. Know how going to be measured for the next six years. Not just the next three weeks and people have varying dispositions in that tendency to embrace agility. So we tried to measure it turns out. There was a good couple of good ways to measure it. A a lot of the best ways to measure it have to do with your approach to your work your work life. How you handle challenges at work and so on not everyone's fulltime employed. However, and so we use that to confirm how we were measuring agility, we measure agility in the more in a more traditional battery of psychological traits, and I'm being begged because obviously we have secret sauce behind the scenes, but but think about it as just attitude statements to effect of do you feel like you're someone who can can approach a problem in new way, you feel like someone to when you get stuck you can find a way to get unstuck. Those aren't the exact questions, but those are the types of questions you ask enough of them. You see how they? Artistically group together. And then you see how predictive the grouping is of future fitness overall on it turns out that agility is is really crucial. And so that that's that's good. And it's bad. It's good because it means that it is something that you might possess that you can apply wherever you go. But it's bad. If you're an employer because it means that someone walking in the door, and you're saying we're going to be this innovative fast driving company, like an Amazon, you know, you, and I talked about all the time the articles after all that's an environment that they foster that kind of Gylfi. We'll if you walk in not having an agile mindset yourself, you're going to spend a lot of your time saying this is out of control. Why are we doing this? Crazy. Why don't we just set down the rules and just really route ourselves in the past? And you might actually leave that job. Never having really understood that it just wasn't a personality fit. So any what we're telling employers because employers are asking us already. It's like how do we use future fitness to scream employees, say, well, careful careful, we're not using it. We're not giving you a filter that says who to reject rejected who to accept we're giving you a tool to understand how to coach people, and if someone comes in, and they don't have this attribute of agility fully developed in them, but they are high on curiosity, and they have high emotional health will good that someone you can go to and say, hey, you know, there's an opportunity for you to stretch this muscle that maybe just hasn't had a chance to be developed, and you can help them develop this characteristic because that characteristic is going to be very useful to them and as an employer. It's going to be very useful to you. If you help them develop it. I think in one of the articles of the blog posts, he wrote this. You're the first client for the for this tool. And I I don't know if this is too personal. But did you find out what you're limiting attribute is? And and how are you doing improving on it? Yeah. Yeah. That's very interesting. So the as I said in the beginning of in doing this kind of research for so many years trying to understand who's going to do the new thing, I have a huge bias towards doing the new thing of a very high or intake towards novelty, which is a that is a trait characteristic in me, it's not just an attribute that I've developed, but what's interesting for me is I thought that that would automatically mean that I would do all the cool new stuff for all the right reasons. And so when I was going through this research, I came out with my own hypotheses based on my own experience and turns out that some of the characteristics that I thought that motivated people to be. He like me aren't actually future fit the things that were ver- example, there are some personality related characteristics that we tested for and I thought for sure like, for example, being introverted extroverted. I thought we'll extroverts are going to be more. They're going to have more. What what you call trait openness in personality psychology? And they tend they tend to and I thought well trade openness is going to also correlate with you know, agility and interest in novelty, and it does correlate slightly but not enough to make it to our list. So you can be a solid introvert and be very fit for the future. And and that's actually a relief for me because I'm actually one of those people who's borderline introvert extrovert, depending depending on the circumstance. But so as I go through all these things I'm testing, my own hypotheses about what I thought I have learned over these years. And it turns out that some of them are true. And some of them are not in my particular case. I'll just share that. I think the thing that I was most surprised by. Is how much you're one of the characteristics on the bottom row of the attributes is a collaboration bias or bias for cooperation collaboration. And in in our report that's for clients. We explain this in more detail. But this one's prize me, and I was very happy. Because I thought I had this idea I'm a little bit like this that the person out there on the fringe using the technology being innovative is a little bit of a loner. And and I do this. Sometimes I've gotten in trouble so many times at work because I brought in a wireless wifi router to work, and I plugged into the eastern at Jack. And I made my own wireless network at work about a year before the company officially approved having WI fi at work. We'll of course, I got in trouble for that. And I I've always had that that tendency. And so I just thought that that would be a strong predictor of future, fitness. And it turns out it's it's not it's not a it's not necessarily a detractors. But it's not on the list because a stronger predictor future fitness is a desire to collaborate and a bias for cooperation. So, you know, you know, maybe the person like Elon Musk is that guy on the fringe who goes in invent stuff, but for the rest of us to use it in a productive way. We have to have a little bit of a desire to collaborate and share otherwise, we're not gonna ever make it productive. We're just gonna go out and make our rockets stuff like Elon Musk does. And I thought that was really good. I felt actually I don't really good about that. Because I I went through this whole process thinking that I was describing some kind of elite cadre of people who were going to create the future, you know, they had the right stuff in a mind of nineteen sixties era. Apollo spaceflight kind of way. And and what I found out was no actually, the people most likely to be future fit or the most likely, and we measured this we validated. This and some interesting ways, they're most likely to give of their time to charity. They donate a higher percentage of their income to charitable and social causes. It's it's remarkable. These are good people so being fit for the future, basically means bidding fit for being a useful part of your community, a contributing member of your family. I mean, these are the kind of people you want to be out there. Developing robots and building a is and working at Amazon because these are the kind of people that you are gonna find are going to want to do the right thing. And I you know, I can't hold a better example of this than all these people out there who are using their three D printers to make prosthetic limbs for kids at pennies on the dollar compared to what it used to cost to have to go to a lab and have them fit. And of course, the ones made in the labs are better. But in the meantime. Time. I've got this plastic, you know, self printed hand that has basic fluctuation capability, and that's that's amazing. And that was made by do-gooder who was fit for the future. So, you know, I I was really pleased that that turned out to be the result because it wasn't it wasn't a guarantee in my hypothesis. I thought maybe the lonesome technology rogue was going to be a bigger predictor of future, fitness strikes. Future, fitness the way, you're describing it in such nuance in these new dimensions would also describe somebody who's really handling the present very well that it's almost I can map it to efforts to just make your life better now and. Is that the case sees what's the difference between being present fit in being future fit? Actually, you earlier used the word that I found coming back to mind over and over and that was agency. When we were first developing the empowered customer research couple years back. We we really those of us who are more grounded in the psychological research. We were saying it's not even in power -ment. It's just agency. I have a sense of an inside collagen you off call it, personal advocacy. You have a sense of is an individual have the ability to shape the world around me influence people around me and not only capable of this. But aware of the responsibility that that brings that is the psychological approach to the world that is incredibly healthy. But also very productive. And and so yes, you're fit for the future. If you are fit for the present. And it's why go back to the way we were measuring health actual health versus behavioral health. Behavioral health patterns are an indication that you're someone who is willing in the present to make changes into engage in patterns that are going to preserve you for the future as opposed to just having the lucky draw. Good genes that make you healthy in that. Before you can eat all the Snickers and cookies that you want which was what I was when I was twenty and I live for that. But. The the, but you're right. We are really we're describing the way we really want. Everyone to be you want your employees to be this way. You want your customers to be this way? You want yourself as a manager to be this? That's who were typically writing for a forced or so in this report, we summarize future, fitness, and what it means. And how useful it is going to be. And then we say look as a as a manager or executive you've got to figure out whether you're one of these people are not there's no guarantee just because you're successful in business that you got here because you were fit for the future, you might have gotten here because you're a really diligent hard worker, very capable in a certain area. And that's all good, which you might not actually be emotionally healthy. And I think many of us know executives who aren't emotionally healthy. And you know, some of them have been my clients over the years. So I I I did this research knowing that I'm telling people be a better you, but I'm telling them to be a better them in a way. That's I guess not encumbered by particular, politics, particular moral view of the world. It's it's pragmatic because I'm saying if you're going to have a better outcome in life, if you do this, but at the same time, it's very moral in its effect because it says you're going to be respectful of your peers near going to be a contributor to your culture, and your society. And I don't know it is feels really great to be to this point where we have the twenty years of empirical evidence that being a good person actually makes you better equipped to live life in the present as you say, and then obviously more adaptable for the future look through the ship with some of the specifics of how people can in this is kind of unusual for force or because you're you're outward facing sort of a consumer interaction going on here. You said how people can take this test. And then there was a place where I could put in my Email address for future updates what what kinds of updates will people be able to expect and win. And at some point. I'm sure there's a transition into paying for some of these services, but can you describe the map forward? If someone listening to the show says boy, I'd like to I'd like to see where this goes. Yes. So as semaphore go to f o r dot com slash future fete Lindell introduction little video from me saying here's what this is about. You will take the short version of the assessment and what we're doing. We're not actually measuring these nine attributes about you. We're using proxy variables that you are telling us about yourself where using an algorithm that computes whether you are high medium or low on future fitness on the scale of zero to one hundred we were talking about before. So you'll get. Result that will show you as high medium or low, and then it will show you the nine actress, and how people in your group on average score on those nine attributes and as you can attest, some of the differences are stark. No, if you're high year euro, credibly well-equipped for life in general, and that's that's what we want everyone to be. So we'd love to see all these numbers. Go up. But in the short run what you're going to have to do is just sort of keep your eye on my blogging because I'm going to be blogging every every couple of weeks with some more thoughts about what it means to be fit. I'll start teasing out each of the nine attributes in these blog posts and say, you know, what I just shared with you about health, for example, but we measured health in two ways. And behavioral health turns out to be the one that's on predictive of fitness. I'll be providing some of that detail in the way that you can consume it more broadly. But at this point itself, diagnostic and self treatment. If you do enter your Email in the at any point at the end of the survey or later on you, can there's another chance to do it. There's not a place to do it. And that's F O R dot com slash future fit next steps. If you've ever decide to sign up tell someone else to sign up what you're signing up for is that when we do have the long version. Of the survey. And we've already built that survey. But what we'll do is. We'll we'll let you take it. And it will measure your nine attributes specifically. So it will come back and give you a score of where you are compared to your group in those nine things and you'll say, oh, okay. I'm really low over here, and I'm really high over here. And then we're our job at that point. Is we didn't want to then give people those specific scores without specific next steps in each nine of the nine attributes and so what we're trying to build that content plan wait now. And as you said, this is very far afield for us. We don't generally develop content for consumer audience. We never have. And so we're we're having to find the resources to do this. We're very excited about it. We're trying to decide how many of these things we create versus partnering with because there are plenty of good experts out there who work on issues like emotional health, and insect logical health and wouldn't work. I'm not a psychiatrist of. So I'm not. To try to pretend to be that person. So we're we're we're developing content strategy, and and the idea would be given that we're forced or there's two ways. This could go one way. This could go is that employers will come to us as part of our employees experience research effort, which is also ongoing, and we'll say, okay, we'd like to give this tool to our employees. And so we will pay you for Stor to give this tool to our employees and give them away to then improve. Now that we have to be done, very carefully. We we need to make sure that the employee feels like they're not being screened or prepared to be kicked out of the company because they scored low on three things we're in negotiating with a couple of companies about that kind of thing right now because we need to make sure that we approaches in a way that's good for we want increase, everyone's fitness not create fits versus not fits. And so that's that's I think are are most likely path for or and then what we? We do for consumer audience. Do we then just say, hey, as an individual consumer, you can do this too? And maybe there's a light version that anyone can do for free. That's sort of where I'm leaning right now. There's also the possibility that hey, it's a four ninety nine app that you buy with inept purchases to get access to later down. Modules? Those are the kinds of things that are available to right now. But because of who we are we're more likely to pursue the employer strategy. I then see what of that. We are also able to share with the public. Our goal though is to share this with as many people as possible. And so that means some of it's going to have to be free. And that's good. We like that the more really the more everyone is fit for the future. The more. Our work is going to take off because we're going to have more companies coming to us and saying right, we're fit and ready to go. How do we innovate? How do we make the next thing? How do we compete with Amazon? How do we do all of these things? So really exciting new era for us and one that my own personal researches has built towards that. I I'm very pleased to be where. We are. Well, it seems like you were made for this. Yeah. You might say that. I have been speaking with James mcwethy, a vice president and principal analyst at force to research. Thanks very much James and good luck in the marathon. Thank you. Lincoln the show notes. If you want to help James mcwethy support the organization that's sponsoring him in the marathon. It's court appointed special advocates for children looks like a good organization. He'll be running in the marathon with lots of other people on April fifteenth. That's it for this week. We had an action packed visit from my daughter Roo or husband, Mike and Jake five and Ryan three this week there. Stay began with temperatures in the sixties perfect for a trip to the zoo and ended with a blizzard that day that we hung out at the Denver aquarium. I love the chance to catch glimpses of the world through the eyes of Jake and Ryan at five and three it's pretty amazing places. It turns out next week's guest will be a member of the kindle team at Amazon. I don't know exactly. Who yet? But I've been assured that there will be somebody that will join us to talk about the development of the all new basic, kindle, Darlene going to fly to south bend Indiana tomorrow for an event Sunday that I will be talking about on my new show named edge cast, you can check it out at anchor dot com slash Len hyphen Egeli this early for the kindle chronicles from downtown Denver, Colorado. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day. Bye.

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TKC 548 Seth Godin

The Kindle Chronicles

46:22 min | 2 years ago

TKC 548 Seth Godin

"Welcome to the kennel chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm Linda Edgeley today is February I twenty nineteen. Welcome to February and this five hundred and forty eight episodes of the kindle chronicles coming to you today from downtown Denver. My guest is the one and only Seth Godin blogger bestselling book, author and charismatic teacher. We talked of many things including a few that Seth doesn't think Amazon has gotten quite right yet. They've had one hundred oportunities make kindle social platform, and they have dropped it. And they should also in this episode. You will hear about Amazon's earnings report what Alexa will be up to during the Super Bowl. And a new thriller out today by berry is lower. Let's go. I realized for someone who has an MBA from the West Point of capitalism and worked as a business report. I really don't like numbers. I, you know, poetry's more my thing reading and whenever I'm working with numbers. It's a challenge. So I figured I would do something different with the earnings release in the coverage of it today. I was just I picked out one two three four five six seven numbers that I thought had the best story to tell about them. And I'm just going to talk about them. I is thirty one percent next is minus five point three eight percent. Then there is ten point one billion dollars and two hundred three two point nine billion dollars eighty thousand. That's another important number and over one million and the last is a pair of numbers one thousand and one hundred thousand dollars. So let's take those in order. The first number is up. Thirty one percent. That's what net sales did for Amazon during twenty eighteen a third for the whole year. We know that the overall number is a big number fact, that's one of the other numbers two hundred thirty two point nine billion dollars. That's the total sales that Hamsun had during twenty eighteen the net. Income number was ten point one billion dollars. And the quarterly earnings numbers were it's the third quarter row that it was at a new high. But that wasn't enough to keep the stock price moving up. It went down five point three eight percent. That's because when they talked about what's coming ahead of next year. Little slowdown in the rate of sales growth and Wall Street penalize them for for some of that lowered expectations although the sales and the income numbers were higher than what analysts expected that such a weird game that the stock price moves not by what they report, but how what they report compares with. What was expected? The press release that has put out his really long pages and pages, they use it as a chance just to highlight all different parts of the company one number which jumped out at me as eighty thousand and that is the number of Alexa, skills. Now. I see I can remember was it a year ago? It was forty thousand or twenty thousand eighty thousand they are really adding skills quickly. I've mentioned before who who knows more than ten Alexa, skills other than sort of built in things about asking for the weather setting timers and things like that. What are these eighty thousand skills? What are they good for us? My Starbucks skill. I tried to use the Uber skill the other day, and it was kind of clunky. Because it didn't seem to have a way for me to say to call a car for a specific destination. And in fact, when I said, Alexa, call Uber. There was some kind of an error said sorry can't do it. So that one would be a potential one value to me, but it doesn't seem to be very robust and the one I try to couple days ago just didn't work, but eight thousand skills, there are a lot of people developing Alexa, skills out there. And at some point there's going to be people gradually learning which wants to use and are useful. And I'll just keep pecking away at it. Over one million. That is the number of people who requested echo auto invites. I'm one of them. This is the little device pretty cheap. And you're gonna put it in your car and using your phone. You're going to be able to have Alexa commands in the car. A million people have signed up for that. That's pretty impressive. And the last is a pair of number one thousand that's the number of authors. And the second is who made more than one hundred thousand dollars in kindle direct publishing in twenty eighteen that I sometimes to make number make sense to me. I think of a hall that has a thousand people in it. And that would be a big hall. I think that's bigger than Sanders theater in at Harvard and the picture that number of people since Katie was started in two thousand seven with kindle and every one of them has earned one hundred thousand dollars of. Of money via Katie p. And I think a lot of this is the kennel select where you get money. If your kindle limited that's enough to go full time with your writing. And you know, we've had some people in the show that have gone fulltime with writing. It's always a pretty exciting story. And there are a thousand of them, and there's a a bigger number that has earned over fifty thousand. So that's the earnings and old Malik. I listen to podcast at home had he's really smart guy. And he dug into the earnings report any noticed that Alexa, was mentioned twenty five times. And he that was enough to make him opine quote. That's a lot twenty five times. But it's not just that. It's how they talk about it. They are telling us again. And again, this is their next big thing. It is going to be perhaps as big as the original Amazon itself. It is going to be there. Real and meaningful barrier to entry for rivals. Little further down this blog posts, he says, a recent survey by voice bought dot shows that Amazon has about a sixty five percent of the smart speaker market in the US ghouls up there in number two and apple is behind Kenny who's the fourth one somebody else's? In their Microsoft Cortana, not really much of a factor anymore. I think homes, right? You know, you hear about the ten thousand people that Amazon has working on Alexa, and one of the other things which Jeff Bezos all of his quotes were about Alexa, and talking about how it has improved one thing. I've noticed is that Darlene when she wants to set an alarm, she has a an alarm because she gives Clare Yorkie some medicine, and she will say Alexa, set a timer for tomorrow at seven thirty AM. And you know, I I wanna say no, no, you wanna say set an alarm, not set a timer. No need for me to interfere because Alexa, has figured it out that if she's asking for something at a certain time tomorrow with time that she means an alarm, even if she said timer, and I think this is a kind of tiptoeing toward the kind of natural language that Ajay's quickly talks. About that. We really need to see more of in the Alexa, interface, and in that one example, I think I've seen what some of the power of that is, and it's helpful because we don't daily doesn't have to correct. Her the way she's giving that command, and it makes her more likely to use it if it's not correcting her the way of sort of backseat driver husband would win. He's over overhearing. Her communications with Alexa, as I'm recording this Friday night. The Super Bowl is coming on Sunday. I'm not the world's biggest sports fan. But my daughter Roo, Mike and the boys are totally into the patriots. So I will gladly probably watch the game. And in the tech tip. I'm going to tell you how you can watch the game on a fire TV. But the thing I will probably be most interested in is the Amazon ads they've been teasing them quite effectively, and there's Harrison Ford and some other people. I don't wreck. Nies are all going to be in. I don't know if it's just one ad that will show in the game or it'll be sort of peace out at different things. But the thing they're talking about is the Amazon beta testing program and the idea is for all of the great Alexa skills. There are lots of them didn't work out. And so again, sort of a spoof on Alexa, showing great ideas that just didn't work out at all the one. That was my favorite is Harrison Ford has a dog that has got an Alexa, dog collar and the dog is able to order dog food and Harrison Ford's being sort of really grumpy about this. And then that final scene. A truck pulls up in front of his house with a whole palette full of dog food that the dog ordered with Alexa, blue rotating, light collar and Harrison Ford growls, Adam I'm not talking to you. So it's pretty fun. The thing. That's I think the the tease element, which is active is when they talk about the Amazon beta testing program, you wonder, well is gonna be an Alexa beta testing, can I get into it. If they're going to be doing really cool things. And I I don't think I'm the only one that would say, yeah. If there was something like that. I'd like to try it. I think the whole thing is a spoof. I don't think there is going to be any kind of Amazon beta testing program nnounced in this ad, but the they've got the teas going so that you can actually ask. Lady here for two to learn about. Let's try this. I call her computer on this, computer. What is the Amazon beta testing program. I'm not supposed to talk about the confidential Amazon beta testing program until the big game on February third. However, I think you can keep a secret just say this access code blue one twenty six again, that's blue one twenty six. One twenty six. Access granted the Amazon beta testing program works with celebrities like forest Whittaker to test out new technologies such as the effects of artificial intelligence on dental hygiene. It's so crazy it just might work to see official test footage. Tune into the big game on Sunday, February third. So that's something to watch for the game. But was real has some ads and everybody puts out these ads advance. So it's kind of interesting. And then when you see the ad you you already know what it's about. And it's probably get a little extra impact of it by teasing them in advance. Go patriots. Have a couple of tech tips for you one is I received a link from John AGA to a mash tips dot com post, which tells you how to low the Google play store onto your fire tablet. I've done this in the past number of times. And I thought I'm going to time this and see how long it takes me to do it. It took me eighteen minutes to go through these steps you have to download four different files. And you have to do it in order when I get to the end of it. I had a problem and Google was asking me for information. I'd already entered my Google password and username, but I couldn't seem to get to. I was trying to download the watt pad app onto my fire. This is you know, it's not built in. You can't just get the Google play store on your fire. You never could. And I think it's easier than it used to be. You don't have to root the device, but this is pretty much advanced work. If you're interested in trying this on your fire. You'll find a link to this in the show notes. There's one glitch that John ran into. And if you have any trouble with us, I think he'd probably be glad to help you out and just send me an Email at pod chronicles at gmaiLcom. And I'll pass along your question to John the other tech tip. I've come across how to watch the Super Bowl Sunday at six thirty PM eastern time for thirty here in Denver with Darley night. Subscribe to the CBS all access channel and Hulu. And apparently, we can see it either way this year as well. As was the case last year, there is going to be an acoustic fingerprint on the Alexa ad. So that when Alexa gets mentioned on the TV all of your devices won't be going off. Time now for the interview in an age when blogging sometimes seems almost out of fashion compared with social platforms like medium, Facebook, Instagram Twitter. Not to mention the red hot platform of podcasting. Seth Godin continues to create a new post every day at Seth Godin dot com. He's been doing this for more than a decade. He is a clear original powerful writer, in my opinion. And apparently, I'm not alone. If you Google the four letters of his first name, Seth S, E T H. The first result that Google gives. You will be sets blog, which has the URL sess dot blog as he TA chest up lug these posts cover, a wide range of topics. It it Seth Godin thinking about his life. And what he sees what he's observes some marketing stuff, but but some it's just life hacks, interesting observations, and they. Vary in length. I sometimes like the shorter ones. But the long ones are also good, and they're the as I say the writing is really clear you can sign up to receive his post in your inbox by navigating to assess SAT h s dot blog slash SUB s I connected with south by Skype on Monday, January twenty eighth and New York. You'll hear him talk about a critique he has a Amazon about taking away by buttons from books, and I'm going to reach out to Amazon, I get some reaction to that. Which I'll share at the end of the interview. So be ready to hear more on that. When you hear him talk about it sets latest book has been a couple of months now, the title is this is marketing, you can't be seen until you. Learn to see I began by asking him who is this book for that's a great start. It very specifically for people who want to make change happen. And that is not most people. But if you want to make. Happen with Uman beings. Now with engineering you have to figure out who those people are and communicate with them in a way that opens the door for them to make the chain. And. That's what marketing is marketing, the act of helping Uman's change in ways that they want to and too many marketers think that's not their job. So I'm trying to lay out for people. This is about making change. That's what we do. The people who want to change. What do they believe as they start reading your book? Well, it's scary for a lot of people because if you make change then you are responsible and zig Ziglar used to tell the story of guy who spends half an hour at him talking. Sixers are you trying to sell me something goes? No, no. And then why are you here? Right. And so if you're gonna take my time, if you use the world resources, if you're going to invest, your organization's money, you better have a change in mind, and that should make you uncomfortable because it's a really big responsibility. But my argument is worth it. Because there's no better way to change the culture than by market. What do they want? You be what change do they want picture reader having gone through the feeling more confident and making the change they want or okay. Well, I don't have to picture because I also read the marketing seminar, which is what the book is based on so ten thousand people have taken it so far. And I watched them take it. And I'm in it in to the extent that there are fifty videos of me. But most of the time is spent with people working on their own stuff. So I see people who triple their income. But I also see people who finally understand how to engage. Dj their spouse. And I see people who get clarity about the fact that the organization they work for isn't one where they want to be because they're not proud of the change in there the point of the spear. So I'm watching all of this happen in real time over the last year and a half. That's why I needed to turn into a book because there's a whole bunch of people that don't want to spend that time or money, but I figure maybe I can jump start that same feeling in them. So the Marquis seminar. The let's talk a little bit about how the Mercante seminar works. How can somebody sign up for was a cost of a take? What are they get? So we only a few times year our goal is not to have everyone. Our goal is to get the right people. So it costs lists for about seven hundred bucks. It lasts two hundred days for the first hundred days of video every other day. But to give you insight into the pace every minute twenty four hours a day for the last week and a half. If someone has posted a new thing every minute while. So it's this constant thing where you're doing ten twelve fifteen post today in a safe environment, and one of the things, and the people who are listening to this all know this because you know, they're they're touching computers. The internet doesn't have very many safe environments, it's filled with trolls. And I think that it takes people a day or two realize we kicked all the trolls out, and they're very few people who pay money to troll anyway. And so to be in that place where you can share your vision of what you're trying to do and have people support you that's magnificent. When people go through the course into they become a community that continues to post the alumni of current course are as active as the ones taking the course, we ended after six or seven months because if you don't it just does that horrible grinding slow ending, and we don't like that feeling. So it's like last call for alcohol. This is. Is it day one ninety nine and a whole bunch of people's way, my weight, and we're like great go start your own mastermind group. And we encourage them to do that. 'cause we want people to fly. The coop spent time, and I can see where this comes from in the seminar, you're trying to learn how people dream decide act, you you're you're watching you're noticing this kind of your life's work. Do you have a harder time seeing how your family dreams accident in decides compared to strangers or people that you meet in the seminar kind of filter that makes them a tougher nut to crack. Oh, I used to for sure. For sure it's it's ways to outside. I still have trouble doing it to myself though, I'm getting better at that. Being able to acknowledge why don't I read my Amazon reviews, and I haven't read Nambisan review in six years. And the reason I don't is. It was killing me and my work because I'm never going to write that book again. So feedback doesn't help me. And if someone gives me a one star review, it's not because my book is bad. It's because the book wasn't for them. They're telling me something about themselves not about my book. And that's fine. I wish they wouldn't. But it's fine. But I don't need to participate and to be clear with myself about that narrative, which is shameful feel filled with shame like, oh my goodness. I'm not strong enough to go read my reviews, and then being clear about what I dream of not that I want to seduce myself into thinking that everyone loves my work, but simply to be able to do my work tomorrow without worrying about that person's voice in my head. So we see that was important. But you know, I used to summer camp in Canada. I spend a lot of time. It's forty two summers. I've been going up there and learning to understand socially acceptable, mental illness of sixteen year old 'cause all sixteen year olds are grappling. Like you. Can't ask a sixteen year old to see it from your point of view. They never will. But if you're good at this, you can learn to see it from their point of view, and once you can do that then you can live with sixteen year old. It's that kind of thing. Being that I'm trying to help people share practical empathy is really powerful another bit of data this available on the kindle platform are the number passed that are highlighted, and so far this is marketing has had sixteen hundred twenty four passages highlighted by a total of one hundred ninety two thousand times is is that information if you scan through I mean, they just there's one that has I think almost thousand highlights of just kind of a nice nut of your whole thing. And people are highlighting. Yeah. Love is. That something that's useful to you as an author to to go back and see some of that stuff. Well, I think that it's useful. If you're writing certain kind of book, and I am, but I hope that the author of the next to kill a Mockingbird doesn't do that. 'cause we didn't want Harper Lee wondering how to reverse engineer highlights. But I'm writing highlights reel. That's my work. 'cause I'm writing for busy people who are looking for takeaways that the thing is that if you look at a media like Twitter is nothing but highlights if you've got highlights without context, they're worthless. You need the annihilated part to set people up for the highlight. And you know, when I was when I was doing domino. I had a lot of inside access at Amazon we were the first publishing partner they had pretty much. And so we learned a lot about which books people finish. And we learned a lot about how people highlighted cetera. And again, we've got us begin with who's it for some people are highlights. Some people aren't who. Are you writing for my same book is on audio and my audio book sales are bigger than my kindle sales or my principles, and so am I writing and reading for those people because those people better not be highlighting because there's? And so, you know, you got multiple constituencies here. One thing that I have a bunch of regrets about how Amazon is steering the boat these days, but one of the things I think they dropped the ball on is they've had one hundred upper -tunities to make kindle social platform, and they have dropped it. And they should because that is a really useful transformation to be able to say where are the other thousand people who highlighted this? How can I have a discussion with them? Right. That's magic. And you can't do it to do some things with good. Res highlight your books where I get done. They say would you like to share the highlights with the people? That's a help. But it's still not area would else would have been proved to make it really the kind of social platform. You you dream of. So for example, one of the things I did with marketers are liars is I went through the book and commented throughout the book for years after I wrote it so anyone who wants to read my comments on my book can do. So where do they see those? Exactly, right. You need to know. Exactly. What to do? And it's not easy now they started this program, but because it wasn't revenue generating fell down the gender to Amazon. I don't even know how. The first people do ask them to rap genius had me highlight in purple cow, and I commented on my own work. I thought this is clever because I actually have something to say two or four years later. And I haven't read it in four years. So well, I can comment on myself. So I think that they're they're missing that opportunity. The other thing that's completely unrelated. But interesting, I think to your listeners lately Amazon has realized that they lose money on every hardcover book, and they make money on every kindle book. So they've taken the buy it. Now button off of lots of books, which means that you're looking at book if you want it now, well, you can put in your car go to your cart by it'll come or you can just by the kindle, and I don't think that's legit. I have a problem with that. That's not in favor of the user, let the user used the tools the way you built them. Don't start hiding tool so that you can make more money. I don't think that's fair. Sure that that's across the board on I know that it is not all books, and I know it is not all users. But I discovered it because they did it to my book and Michelle's book on my browser and on ten other people's browsers. And just today I saw on a book also not a bestseller. So they're testing it. They're putting it in lots of corners. And I'm speaking up and saying I really wish you wouldn't do that. Some people I could ask about that. Let's talk more about Amazon reading this book, and the whole idea of the marketer and really kind of high calling of the market or in your view. I don't really think of Jeff Bezos market or I think of Moore's an innovator. And but would you think of him as a market, but he's just smart enough to say, I'm not I'm just thinking about the customer being innovating behalf marketing is so he's actually a perfect example of good marketer. Right. Well, so let's make a list of all the products that Jeff Bezos has invented none. Right. And I know Jeff for really long time. That's not what he did what he said was in the internet age marketing is what we do in. How we do it. Not the ad we run, right. How do you make? I'm on remarkable. Well at the beginning, you create an affiliate program in to the biggest affiliate program in the world. So now, people are incented to talk about Amazon. Right. That's marketing. How do you make it? So that what you're selling which you didn't even make is remarkable. I no one click shopping. So now, I can say to people. Oh, yeah. The doorbell ringing the six boxes that ups. I ordered these yesterday they came for free. That's remarkable. So he gave people something to talk about. If you look at the core marketing choice he made right at the beginning was every book at the lowest price that's really expensive. And that's why they're taking. I think the one click thing because they don't wanna lose money forever at that. So he took an industry and completely turn it upside down on behalf of just five percent of the population to five percent of the population who cared about getting books. It turns out those. People talk a lot work in the media, right and spend money. So he didn't build something on behalf of seven year olds who live off the grid. He builds on behalf of the people who would begin to spread the word and bring the next year people along so the all of these choices are marketing choice in their own spreading the vision to. All the way to whole foods. I mean, it's the same. It's growing grew and earn an earn permission. I don't want Amazon to forget who I am. I want them to organize the store. So this whole idea privacy doesn't apply to Amazon in the sense of the store because people want the store to remember them. Right. That when whole foods learns that you and your family are facing some health issue. Well, there are things that Amazon's pill division, Amazon's device division will be able to do to help you you will take stop spying me. They'll say, why didn't you tell me they were support socks that would help my guy, Beatty's, whatever. Your Domino's project was back in twenty eleven and it was head of nice disruptive feel that you're you're gonna be working Amazon or cutting out the middleman and really spread things. And it went for a while you had some some very hot properties. I recall looking back. What did you learn about publishing from that experimented and this book is published by penguin? So power those two worlds working in your experience, and is publishing still need to prove a lot. Also, it's called a domino project because I knew it was a project we make ten bestsellers in a row, which is a pretty good batting average. And I realized that. First and foremost, Amazon is a company that sells everything they are not good at selling anything. They're good at selling everything, that's really different. And what that means is if you're an author, and you may a book you don't care about everybody else. You want your anything to be at the phone list? And so when Amazon race to do was democratize their everything to anybody, which takes our exclusive advantage and makes it much smaller. So there wasn't a lot of I didn't give up my book because I give stuff all the time. But I didn't wanna go to authors and say I have this ability to do magic for you inside the world of opening that up to everyone. So at that point it made sense to say, all right? This project was a project. What should I do as I involved this? So you funny self published book, I did what to do at your turn. And we sold a quarter of a million or so two hundred thousand copies. Of that, none of them directly on Amazon none because I didn't want to deal with the by box and all that other stuff. I just said to people who bought multi packs if you wanna sell your extra Amazon, go ahead, so lots of the copies sold. Amazon thing gets by me also find and I didn't wanna make a kindle edition because as you can see it cholera nila straight. Futile graphics, my favorite things. Here's for cock. You must've had a ball putting designed it myself. It was fun. And so then a book like this comes along. And I say, well, I know how to publish it myself. I know how to just make it a kindle book. What do I want to do? And I've known agent forever. And we bring out the best in each other. And I said. Or publisher? He runs portfolio and Adrian is the guy who got us Jim Collins, and Scott Adams and lots and lots of other really great authors. So I said, you publish it. All leave you alone. I will not try to change publishing this done. And I didn't. And it was actually quite pleasant. I let them do their job. And I did my job. If I was running publishing Amazon's actual publishing houses. Finishing? I would have been trying to get you to publish your next book with them as that happened. We'll see what happens it's not easy to work with because I'm very focused on the mechanics of it. People don't usually show up and say don't ask any questions. Here's some money because they know that that's just not gonna work with what I've noticed writers are been published by Thomson Mercer. They're amazed. If they've had some traditional publishing experience to go from the big window, the big hit the book comes out, you're going to be on a book twirl that too much book tour all this. And I was they just cheap selling my book. I mean, it shows up on everybody's kindle is a as a deal. And there's that one about the guy Sullivan wrote the story about the. Kind of a spine Italy in the top of the end this relate tree years now on poaching book is that something which the traditional publishers can learn from Amazon publishing the sort of never ending marketing as opposed to this this shot of marketing books life. Okay. So. Here's how it works for five hundred years. What mattered was the retailer shelf space is defined resource and hallways has been. So the book publisher things their customer is the bookstore. That's why there's no eight hundred number on the back of a book from Random House. That's why you got the dictionary over over your shoulder. You've never heard from Houghton Mifflin about that dictionary. Because they don't know who you are. Right. They care about the bookstore. So when you remove the bookstore, everything in publishing changes and the people in the book industry don't know what to do about that yet. That is their biggest problem there giant, existential problem. Okay. But then the second thing is this the first ten thousand copies are up to the publisher, it it takes the publisher to make a hoopla to put it on the radar to get people to know it's out there after that the book cells because the book did a good job. Because people read the book told the others. So what Amazon is doing is they're skipping the public launch. They don't need to their direct marketers not brand marketers, and they are only succeeding with John. Rowe work. John rework means. I read a mystery every week you got a mystery. The work. Where'd you? Go Bernadette is not a John rebook. And therefore, it doesn't work in that format because no one's going looking for it. So if you right John Russia, and there's I love John, then you're method makes a hundred times more sense. There's always a new person waiting for a new winner in the John category. But if you want to change, the culture, you undo something original, then you need the people who read the book to seek out their friends and say, I know you don't read books like this. But you need to read this one that is at the heart of magic publicy that is what you want to do if you're gonna buy an important book and just because both books look the same. They're not the same one is Jonah fixer nonfiction, and one is this is a culture changer. More ideas. You talk about a teenager and the opportunities to express him herself online grandson who's going to become a teenager and twenty four days thirteen in Cambridge Massachusetts. And is mother my daughter is a teacher in Cambridge schools and very mindful of the risks of been going online. He finally gave him an iphone. But with a lot of restrictions, but you seem to have a little bit more expansive view of okay launched this young man into this world, what kind of guidance would you give him and his mother was very concerned by incredibly creative credits worlds of his toys from when he was three years old. And now they're short stories. I mean, he has got stuffed put out there. But how how would you sort of shake his his early relationship with with this really gonna opportunity? Yeah. Great question. So I think there's two halves they both revolve around free range kids and one half is we don't teach our kids to fail and recover independently. When will they learn and this is the single we will never out work the countries that pride themselves on working hard. And we will never out study the countries that pride themselves on studying heart. The only chance we have is doubt resilience everybody else. Because that's at the heart of what it is to be one of us. But if we protect them, you know, our kids are in their twenties. But when they were twenty we had friends who were calling the college. I'm behalf of their kid to argue about a great. Really, really? But then the second half of it is you can't be resilient and brave if you're broken, and so we have to protect them enough as they go through this decade or half a decade that they don't break. And there are people online whose hobby is breaking other people. And that is why social media is pox and a problem because it could last a really long time if you're exposed at the wrong stuff at the wrong age. And so for me, the restrictions are fine if they work, but what really works is teamwork in understanding and processing the inputs. So that you don't become the author who reads every review where the restaurant owner who memorize every yelp slight. But instead you get to be like the soccer. Player who's happy after their team lost the game. 'cause the purpose of playing soccer is into an trophy for playing soccers to play soccer. So if you can train a thirteen year old or fourteen year old to put their work in the world. And when someone doesn't like it say that's interesting and the put something else in the world. Now, you've talked to be a free range kid. Well, you put a lot of blog posts in the world. I think it's over five thousand this point seven five hundred seventy five hundred at their head. Friend, Brian personnel. What what would you ask that? Then he's blogging for so long. How is blogging today different than it was when you started. I mean, they they look similar similar length. And all, but is there been any kind of fundamental shift in Deir been a budget shifts? I mean, I've been doing it. The first ones were ninety. Four by Email. So for the first few years. It was really scary. Because all people had to do is hit reply, and I would read them. And so there was a lot of self. Oh, my good-. Do I even is this even worth sending seven people are going to write me, a nasty. And then once I got on a platform. There was no limits. So there was two year period. Where I was blogging three times a day sometimes five, and I discovered people didn't like falling behind and it was a weird insight for me. So people said would you please blog less? So good. I can read them all we'll just you can still read as many as you wanna read. Why do you want to keep other people from reading? Nope. I need to know all of them fine. That gave me it was huge gift to me. Now, I get to say I get to write one post tomorrow, which one is good enough to write. And that created scarcity for me, and that was the big change after that day minding my blogging consistently better because there's a cost to me what today's blog posts about. There's an opportunity cost. I wrote this post that meant I didn't get to write that post. So that post this one better have been better than that one. Whereas in the old days. Oh, I got an idea and not the way people use Twitter. It's like there's no cost to tweeting. So they do Joel and the day before. I don't I don't talk about the method because I don't think the method matters. I the only thing I I write every word myself, and I don't have a copy editor netted her. But my vice to people is. This is the single best thing you can do in terms of building a platform getting to know yourself sharing being generous. It really pays log once a day. Even if you wanna do it under assume name doesn't matter just do it. And I get more. Thank you notes about that single piece of advice than almost anything else. I've said Willison shook. Important new books. You're reading books you've read recently that really helped you to adjust your way, you're poaching everything. So what I'm looking for in nonfiction and incients fiction is I want to be blown away in the sense of a new way to think about the world and that. Thirteen in the Clearfield public library in Buffalo, New York. I read every science fiction book from Asimov Zelezny, and I grew up to be lucky enough to work with as of ends lasy, Arthur C Clarke and Ray Bradbury, and they all change my life. It's harder and harder to find that. Because the easy big ideas have been taken so with that said, the beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, I own it on kindle, I own two copies in print, and I own the audiobook, and I just keep switching from one to the other because it's so difficult at so astonishing that I just I need that to keep me going, right? And then the other one I would say is the neutral g by Elliott pepper P E R bandwith. I think is the first of the three bucks and what he's writing about. And it's that my favorite kind of trashy plot driven science fiction that can get under your skin. He's really good and. In it. He describes a world where Google glass work. And so everyone is really jacked into the network. And it's about the power that the Commonwealth develops as it knows everything about everything all the time. And it's about one bar in San Francisco that somehow figured out how to block the device, and so when you walk in there, some people just have a breakdown because you're not getting it. And it's it's great. And he sent me the galley in the third one yesterday, and I'm already halfway done. So that would also help me think deeply about what's the purpose of even being a Uman. And what are we looking for in those quiet moments? When we choose not to pick up the phone. You haven't mentioned you make sure he gets onto the show your great. And you know, the people listen to this don't realize how much work you put into it. And that you've been showing up showing up and showing up so on their behalf. I will say thank you speaking with Seth Godin, author of this is marketing, you can't be seen until you learn to see thanks very much. It's up leisure. We'll see around. When I reach out to Amazon to follow up on Seth substations about the missing by buttons on the books. I got a pretty thorough response from Jack Kevin senior public relations manager Amazon he said that the by now button should appear for all of sets hardcover titles that we have in stock. So it would not appear for three of his books, which they don't have in stock Meatball Sunday presenting digital cash in the Spanish edition of survival is not enough also buy now button only displays on the product page and win the customers loved in. Not sure if that was a factor said that sent me an example of a book Michelle Obama's becoming which didn't have the buy button. And Jack said not clear why it's not showing on that example. And we're looking into it. Here's a quote that. I thought was probably the case. But he Jack states to be clear though, this isn't part of an effort to. Live customers away from the hardcover. Our intent is always to ensure customers can by title in whatever format they want to purchase. Seth did. Find some titles didn't have the buy button. So I'm glad we're able to get a little more information from Amazon about it the content book that I wanted to mention is the killer collective by berry is lower published today by Thomas and Mercer. That's Amazon publishing. Mysteries imprint. It's a thriller. I've met berry at a conference in one of these days. I'd like to catch up with him for an interview. But his books have got a large following the economist, for example, writes written with a delightfully soft touch in a powerful blend of excitement exotica, and whatever since John look Carre readers have known to call trade craft. I'm not sure whom I guess would be next week. I have an invitation out to the former governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper since leaving office a couple of weeks ago. He's got lots of time in his hands. He's seems to be spending a lot of it in Iowa. So hit his announcement. I think might becoming. A month or so based on some things he said interesting guy, I think he'll be interesting to talk about what he's reading. And if he met Jeff Bezos during the H Q to bid Denver put a bit in that wasn't successful. And if I can get on his schedule, I hope you'll enjoy hearing him this is Leonard early for the kindle chronicles from downtown Denver. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day. Bye.

Amazon kindle Alexa Seth Godin Jeff Bezos Denver John Google patriots Seth Twitter Starbucks berry Alexa Domino Linda Edgeley publisher Hamsun Microsoft
TKC 523 Devin Nadar on KidsMD for Alexa

The Kindle Chronicles

44:58 min | 2 years ago

TKC 523 Devin Nadar on KidsMD for Alexa

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles the Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things. Amazon. I'm linearly today is August tenth twenty eighteen. Readings from ocean park Maine, where reading are kindles and cooling off in the ocean have been top priorities this week. I also drove to Boston and back to attend the voice of health care summit and Alexa savvy conclave convened at the Harvard Medical School by Bradley met rock. I have been in touch with Bradley in preparation for his reinvention of digital book world, October second through fourth in Nashville, and this is my first chance to attend one of his events. I thought it was very impressive. And on this episode, you will hear conversations with two of the speakers, Devon Nadar of Boston, children's hospital nature, lower president of a Boston based voice in healthcare startup named orbital. We'll also take a look at the news and your comments along with the official launch of a tenth anniversary giveaway of a brand new kindle paper, white details on that at the end of the show. I up in news, I will have a link in the show notes to a story about an artificial intelligence project based on the works of William Shakespeare. It's called deep spear and when it tried to generate four line poems, the rhyme and meter were pretty good. But the project authors honestly concluded quote, despite excellent form, the output of our model can easily be distinguished from human written poetry due to its lower emotional impact and readability, good news for MFA poetry graduates like yours. Truly also a news top. Alexa executive named Tony re did an on camera interview with NBC news at the Seattle headquarters. She said, Amazon's ultimate goal for Alexa is to have it become more humanlike. Part of that is designing answers to questions like this. This is my own demo based on the interview, but I'm going to give you a chance to see what you think about. Which of the three devices that you can try to get an empathetic response from would do the most to improve your mood computer? I'm depressed. Sorry to hear that talking to a friend listening to music or taking a walk may help. I hope you feel better soon. Hey, Google. I'm depressed. Ono it may not be much, but let me know if there is anything I can do for you get iphone. I have my apple home pod is house chambers, but we can get Syria vote here. Hey, Siri, I'm depressed. I'm sorry to hear that. What do you think that one thing I've noticed is that the Google device gives different answers the first time I talked about being depressed to just talk to someone. The answer that we just heard. I think it was a little more empathetic, but I still think that the Alexa voice sounded more empathetic, and it's, it's answer head a little bit closer to the human qualities that the Tony read was talking about in the interview. Also in news, a Bloomberg contributor named sheera Ovid this week wrote a thoughtful consideration of data related to the question of whether or not Amazon is a monopoly that should be regulated. It depends on what number you look at as you can imagine. Amazon has about five percent of Rita. Tale spending in the US, but about forty, nine percent of online spending. In interesting fact in the column, is that less than ten percent of retail spending in the US online versus twenty three percent China and sixteen percent and South Korea. You will also find links and the show notes at kennel. O'connell's dot com to a story about Amazon's setting up an experimental health clinic for employees at Seattle's headquarters. That was referred to me by listener Carol Cox and to a Seattle times consideration of the ten million dollars. Amazon has quietly donated to literary nonprofits in the past ten years. Turn out to Tex listener. Tom simple shared linked to a recent report showing overall tablet. Sales are down thirteen point, five percent and that Amazon's sheriff tablets worldwide has fallen three, three point, five percent putting it fifth behind Lenovo. Apple's share grew from five percent of thirty four point, nine percent. That was a little context for Tom's own thoughts on an ipad pro. Twelve point, nine inch that he has purchased. It's available at Ford, nine hundred forty, nine dollars. He writes that it has lived up to his expectations as a great way to carry sheet music around his favorite app. For this is four score f o r s c o r e that's available at the I tunes app store for nine dollars ninety nine cents. Tom writes, I am just scratching the surface of music production possibilities. He also mentions. I think he means knee bow any b. o. it came through. The Email as Nivo any veto. But anyway, I found this is a note taking AP for seven dollars ninety nine cents from my script. And if this is the one that Tom's talking about, he says it has very good handwriting. Recognition with apple pencil and support, split screen. But I think it is not quite the killer note taking AP. One might wish for Tom added that a recent kindle six generation later update, two, five dot nine dot seven added the ability to return library and kindle unlimited books directly from the home screen. That's pretty handy. He also had more information about a feature that I spotted recently, which he said is called book, mentions. It creates a link to kindle store for books that are mentioned within the text of the book. There's a tiny book icon next to the underlined item. You can turn it off in settings. Reading options highlights and about this book. Tom says the green theme for the kindle IRS update which I mentioned replicates the fires kindle app, which has. I've been there for quite a while and also back in the seventies there was at least one publisher that printed mass market paperbacks on green papers, supposedly it was easier on the eyes and bleached paper. Perhaps that inspired the green theme. He, he wrote, there are several third party reading ABSA give full customization to text and background color. I don't have any need or desire for that level of customer customization myself. I normally use the black theme on my iphone and tablets and find it more comfortable most of the time in particularly in low light conditions, Email back to Tom. I wondered if that book mentions, which I think is pretty handy. Little icon of booking, go straight to seat on the store. I wondered if publishers have to prepare that to have an active on their kindle titles. He replied as follows. My guess about book mentions is that they are generated by Amazon somehow they don't necessarily point two books by the same publisher about this book has shown mentioned in this book links for a while. You have to scroll down to the bottom to see it. But I don't remember seeing them tag in line in the text until recently, or as one of the reading options could be, I was not paying attention. In fact, I never noticed the tiny settings link to reading options at the very bottom of the about this book page always something to learn indeed. And I'm always grateful for the detailed tips that Tom has shared with us for years as a listener and a participant in the show. Let's turn out to the voice of health care summit. My first interview there was with Devon Nadar who has complicated title at Boston children's hospital. She is partnerships manager for the innovation and digital health accelerator at the hospital. Now that hospital happens to be an important institutions. The life of me and my sister Stephanie. We both had knee operations one summer at children's. That would have been fifty years ago that was way before anyone thought of digital tools that Devon and her teammates are deploying in this world renowned medical center for children. It's really quite a place. I sat down with Devon in what began as an empty breakout room at the Harvard Medical School campus, as you will hear at the end of our chat, our use of the room came to an abrupt stop a little before I had planned on finishing. You'll also hear references in this conversation to a term which everyone at the summit clearly knew more about than I did. It's hip. HIPAA which stands for the US health insurance portability and accountability act of nineteen ninety six. The actor choirs, the secretary of health and human services to publicize standards for the electronic exchange privacy and security of health information. I began by asking Devon to explain how Boston children's hospital more than two years ago created the kids MD skill for Alexa, the first consumer facing medical information skill on the Alexa platform as a research projects that we have. So we have kind of set of conditions and treatments and common illnesses of what what parents wanted to know about their child's health. And we said voices are really new neat technology, and we want to try a new medium. So we had an internal innovator who he's really interested in voice technology. And he said, I think this is a great use case. So we honestly just wanted. To get something out there and get in the market. And there was a great opportunity around being the trusted source of pediatric educational information. So at the time, Amazon was the only developer platform that you could go in and publish your own skills, and that really lead charge decision to kind of bring our first pediatric use case to voice. I tried it and it's drifted simple now because all I have to do is say Alexa enabled the kids, MD skill. I don't have to do it on my phone the way used to. And then what happens next? What's what's a situation that a parent or someone else her grandparent might find this really useful in in a certain setting? Good example is the fact that we've integrated with rang which is smart thermometer. So out there, you can actually buy these Mellon expensive, but a smart thermometer that will digitally take your child's temperature. If you take. Your child's temperature with the rank thermometer. It will input that information into the kids. I'm d skill and say, for example, your child has a fever of one hundred. One point two, the skill then ask you how old your child is. Given that information, it will say, okay, this is an instance where you might want to schedule an appointment with your PCP. You know, there's a lot of disclaimers in the skill as you might have noticed if you use it, but it will also tell you if for example, you should use a certain dose of children's Tylenol. So that's a great example of something that you might have had to Google or search or look on the back of your the bottle for it's quick information that no one wants to memorize, but it's just the idea that I think that you know if my child is between this and this age, I should use this dose, but it's going to be verified by Boston children's hospital. So that's really idea behind it is just kind of providing that sense of trust in the information. Confidence. So when you hook up the smart thermometer, is there a rang apple and the iphone that you have to get to talk to is how does it get from the Tamada information to your skill. About various, oh, you know, this is kind of the high level version, but basically there's it's set up within the kids. I'm d- skill ready. So there's a little bit of configuration at the beginning when you sign up, turn on the thermometer. But after that, the information flows directly like into the Amazon Alexa app. So you don't actually have to do a separate app for rang. And so if if I've got it all set up and I, I give my take the temperature. There's Alexa immediately start talking to me. I haven't. So when I used to, I think that you have to invoke with kids. I'm d- scale. I. Yeah. So it's kind of like the Bennett, and then you turn on your thermometer input it and the information flows. Says. The other thing I tried out is the echo show version of it, which was nice because I said, okay, thinking my grandson, he's got a fever, four, I didn't know how much ways. So I just guessed. And and it came up and I was seeing the script on the screen, but it didn't scroll. And when I tap the screen, the audio stop. So it looks like there's, I mean, it's early stages on what it looks like on the show, I guess. So because we released two years ago, it's on our road map to v to their version that would be more compatible also more engaging with the show because it has that interface in the video as well. We're going to enhance it a little bit, so it's not just the taxed. There's actually the option to scroll. There's more information. It's going to be a much better user experience. So that is our roadmap and the plans for I believe the next six months that we would have v. too much. Visual experience with the show, but it would still work just as well with the echo or with the dot. So it would actually be customized experience to the device the have until which device your musings. The other thing you mentioned in the conversation with Bradley. Was that it's getting easier for people to find and enable skills. You used to have to go into your phone and search for it and tap on an able, but is it it seemed like I still have to say, ask kids, MD. I tried going, ask kids MD about fever and Amelie brought me in kids MD at sort of the fever symptom place. Could you also just say Alexa, which I do about my child's fever and it would it would go straight to kids MD waiting a little bit on the Amazon side because their neighboring something called skill discovery, which I think I mentioned on that as well. But the idea being that you would almost have this kind of library that would already be installed on your device. And then when you ask a question, you wouldn't have to invoke the kids day scale, kind of all ready know that you had sale library that included kids MD 'cause you'd installed at once and then it would direct your. Question to a specific skill based on the content and the other piece of it that's also appealing is the ability to suggest skills. So right now, you kind of have to know that the kids MD skill exists and invoke it in some way like you were mentioning, but we're hoping and Amazon hasn't released this yet. So we don't all the specific details. But the idea would be that if you were to ask a question about fever, Alexa would say, hey, I can ask kids MD that question, and it would almost prompts you to use a particular skill. And that's really what we're hoping for because one of the kind of barriers with voice in general is you don't know what's out there. You don't really know like you do with the phone, what app options you have. So it's a little bit harder for people to find new things. So Amazon in general is pretty concerned about that because they don't just want people to use it for their kind of three basic cases being an alarm. And you know, maybe reordering something and the weather. Exactly. So they're trying to expand the use because they want it to be stickier and that will inevitably benefit us as well. Because if we're kind of linked to, you know, kids, fever, for example, then we would be the kind of Goto skill not in that situation, you position yourself. So the user new enough that you existed to put the kids MD data into their Alexa profile somehow. But once the once you've done that, you're going to be the the go-to skill. If the word fever gets mentioned right, diarrhea or something. Yeah, that's our hope. And you know if obviously as everyone has been talking to Amazon and trying to get them excited about what we're doing and just, you know, say that we'd had such great success with this skill. And we think that there's a ton of parents and a lot and grandparents who are using it and you know that we can do even more if we have more. Users. If we can expand the content, you know if we can again, have better versions of doing. Oh, and give us tell the story with numbers so far, what what kind of impact have you seen with kids? MD? So in two years we've had over one hundred thousand user interactions and the statistic that I like even more as two hundred unique users per week. Yes. So basically right now, even though it's two years old and we haven't done a robust to beach, we still have more and more people finding it and using it. So that's really appealing to us because it means that the questions that were able to answer are valid and people are asking those questions and finding their kids MD because you know, they heard about it or they just have these questions directed there. So really for us, the fact that there's not that many great healthcare skills out there, images around a recent article, kind of talking about how bad the healthcare skills on Amazon Alexa are. And we think that we have the opportunity to be a good one. And so there's the fact that we just continue getting more and more users, two hundred new users, unique users. So how many total have used it or what's the the user count that you can see over the full two years? I. So I think that we lost. Some of the data the last time that I checked with her head developer. So that's why I don't have this voice for you. Now, the other thing that you've talked about is Alexa being of us to clinicians, the doctors, the providers, and the challenge of the language that they use terms which aren't kind of normal speech is at another place where you would hope to sort of download a data set to a device that's in a. Emergency something that would already know what some of those terms were in and get the information faster to the provider. So we've been doing a number of internal pilots at Boston children's hospital and using a lot more clinical terms. Obviously those and our hope is that as Amazon has that data, and as we continue to talk to them and encourage them to think more about the healthcare space that they would actually almost adopt that vocabulary into their general. Oh, I see there wouldn't really have to be. I mean, yeah, I'm sure the the power of data that Alexa congr- on. You don't really need to just have a separate subset for emergency room. People think that it would be much more powerful if just generally speaking, Alexa new more had exposure to more of this vocabulary, very highly specialized, and then a specific skill may take more advantage in that, you know if you're thinking about a I, if it was a healthcare specific skill, the assumption would be the term would be clinical as opposed to the assumption being that the you know term is something that everyday user would use. I think it's that differentiator in the skill itself that would actually make it more powerful. So just the idea that there'd be some sort of a a base vocabulary that might be different for that skill. But overall, Amazon should have, you know, kind of everything and vocabulary. Alexis going to have to learn some Latin to me. Oh, this must be a doctor dog too. You know, I've been fascinated at how fast Amazon has responded to the opportunity that they kind of created. I mean, just as those has said, I think to shareholders, shareholders letter last year, this has had an amazing growth and therefore we're just throwing all the resources at that we can think of. And you know, I think they're hiring thousands of people and I've wondered what those thousands of people do. I mean, and and my sense and hearing what you're saying is, well, you're probably dealing with some Alexa team people for the medical stuff. And maybe there's another group that's working with the car industry and all the different things that this technology could help. Is that your sense of how what it means when they throw resources at their Alexa platform, what kinds of things are they doing that benefit someone like you. I would imagine that they're tackling it from a lot of different areas. I think I think they're probably thinking about acquiring companies and you know the acquisition of pill pack is a perfect example. They're thinking about strategically, where do they want to go in the market? I'm sure they're throwing a lot of resources that have a compliance piece, so from the hardware software perspective of that, so how to the just sort of get that approved recently a heard, I think cloud is no hypocr compliance. Basically, the concern is that the smart speakers themselves aren't hip accomplishment. So that's what they need to work on. At least from the healthcare perspective before you can reasonably in most institutions will even think about having smart speakers that could record patient identifying information. The other question I had is listening to you is your you've drill down pretty deeply into Alexa use of children's hospital. Do you use exit home for those same four. Things or did you any sort of creative things with Alexa? Just in your own life? We have a number of devices in our home. I use it for the things that I mentioned. So alarms and music, all of our lights are also controlled. Our air conditioners controlled who is. So we have a pretty connected smart home, but we ask a lot of questions figure out what's new and you can also do the daily briefing or listen to podcasts. So I wish I could say that I was super creative and had all of my own skills and my own developer count. But I'm not there. When you have your light setup, do you have them say, turn on the lights in the living room or what? What is your light system with like, say you can actually turn them on by specific rooms and then you can also link the different lights together. So if you are house, you can say reading time and it turns on the softer laid in certain rooms and then turns off the overhead lights. So we've actually got the kind of sets of lights that are controlled. And at Christmas, all of our holiday lights are controlled can say Christmas time, so you can can be creative. And I think it scared my parents the first time they came to my house, but they, they don't hang up pretty quickly. I, I've experimented with that too. I've found that some of these devices like by plug from some third party, I'll plug it in. I've gotta get their app, download it. I've gotta get it connected to Alexa it. It's it's not sort of really plugging played it to get that stuff working, not yet. And it's funny because we have some smart light bulbs and then we have some Sartre plugs like you were mentioning and even in the time between purchasing the smart light bulbs in the smart plugs, the plugs are ways to set up work with. I going to invite us points to the fact that this technology is really rapidly evolving and a lot of companies, a lot of people are throwing money and resources. So the the kind of speed at which it's getting much better is impressive. And I think a little bit unprecedented in this in this space as well. I was a patient that in those days, it was called children's hospital medical h. MC and I had neoprene when I was about thirteen one each leg and I was in the hospital for a week or so and had a big lake cast. And I'm trying to think back, you know, they're maybe we're few TV's, but nothing of the digital age and the patient experience of, well, there's nurses doctors, it's all sort of on the human scale. And now even the the current situation, I'm sure is radically different in the hospital and you're sort of working on the future of it. How digital devices are going to help provide the care. Do you have any sense of. Obviously, things have been gained what's lost in having a hospital. So plugged in now versus what it was like ten twenty thirty years ago actually think we've been incredibly thoughtful and the way that engage patients from the patient experience perspective with technology. And there isn't that. I say that is we've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of different groups at the hospital about their interest in voice and where we could be helpful. And I think those conversations as well as just working in the hospital in general, have given me an appreciation for how much we think about our patients and really do put our patients first. And just to give you a little bit of an example, we have child life specialists who are incredible group of individuals who their main goal is just make sure that the patient and the family has a good experience at Boston children's hospital, and they're thinking about what games they. Can be playing with the kids. They're thinking about, you know, if there are certain. I don't know if there's like information about services Apostol or groups of people, or if like, you know, what's the best local takeout for particular type of cuisine. It's basically their job to make children comfortable and prepared also for the experience that they're going to have at Boston children's hospital. So they'll walk families through what the process will look like. They'll help you get from place to place. They're really just thinking about, you know, again, how tough it is to be a patient at children's, how tough it is for the child and for the family. And they think about technology. And for example, they carry around ipad so that they can pull a video so that they can ask a child what their favorite TV show is an automatic Lee know what the main characters are. It's really getting to know the child in the family, and they've kind of said that they think voice is a great opportunity to do that even butter. So we're all being really thoughtful about where voice makes sense and where it watch, take away from that. Interaction and that human connection. And we don't wanna create use cases where we're taking away from that. Are there any Alexa devices in use in the hospital now for patients? Not yet. So that's one of these cases where exploring and we've thought about kind of just an assistant that would know where things are in the hospital that you could just again that a parent come over and ask, you know, I'm looking for the closest coffee shop. What would you recommend those EZ's cases? But we haven't focused most land clinical use cases up to now, but that's an area the we know we want to move into. A few more questions for Devon, but at that moment of woman with a note, ped- entered the room and there was a lot of bustling out in the hallway, and she made it clear that the time for our use of the room, which pet I had booked it, we just wanted in there that looked like it was free was over. Oh. I think everyone at the voice of healthcare summit would agree that voice is going to be embedded in everything that we're seeing that revolution underway right now. And if you are interested in this development and technology Bradley met rock has a network of podcasts you might wanna check out in addition to voice in healthcare, a podcast that featured an excellent interview with Devon Nadar separate from my own voice first FM that's the name of the network includes this week in voice. That's a show that's on my personal must-listen list the Alexa podcast. Alexa in Canada, the voice first round table and several others. They're all about voice technology. The next person you'll hear Nathan tra- lower, put up a slide that blew my mind so to speak because it showed a kind of mesh head wrap around someone's head to indicate the next mode of communicating with computers via brainwaves. The pace at which new technology arrives is excel. Lawyering. So I think you can be pretty sure that Alexa in your mind is likely to be here sooner than you think I'm naturel art president and cofounder orbit or software company here in Boston. We help healthcare organizations across the industry tap into the power next generation voice assistive technologies exemplify Amazon, Alexa, Google system mothers, and you have a personal reason why you got into this work do? Yeah. About three years ago. Now, my mom is in her mid eighties broker leg. Tripping on her cat, and she's already, but mobility challenged and the experience of being a care giver for my mom and seeing how that whole process unfolded from. Emergency room to. The recovery center nursing facility, and then ultimately back home where you know she had particular needs and. We couldn't either whether hundred percent of the time. The recruitment reaction was got to be something and with the promise of technologies like Amazon, Alexa, which is just sort of coming out at the time. We try to things and Saul some impact, and it was sort of that very abstract sort of odd survey shin compelled me to look a little bit more fully voice general as an assistive technology digital so fast forward, what kinds of technology are you employing to help your mom's situation out? Well, she's unfortunately, she's now in a long term care centers, so solely so much we can do in terms of setting her up in that facility, and also she she's lost billions speak so voice and sort of out of the out of the realm. But up until you know, her stroke in April shoes, able to use voice assistive technology and was. You know it was useful tool, but you know, as we look at what are the other options for my mom at this stage to look a little beyond voice. Yeah, you made a comment in your talk about how. Alexa doesn't mind if you ask a question over and over and that that can actually be kind of comforting thing for people who are. Some phase of memory loss more than that. Actually, it's not even just a comfort. If you're somebody who is in, let's say, early middle stages of Alzheimer's. You have enough cognitive capability and know that you're losing your memory or something's not right to be reminded of that by your own spouse is difficult thing. And if your spouse gets frustrated by the fact that you've asked them five times in the last twenty minutes one day today or what's on my schedule, where where are we are where we're going that Sang's -iety producing an anxiety can result in worsening. No other conditions that some physical problem. So advantage of Alexa being without ego is that you can ask those questions without shame or fear or anything. And so it is it's more than just comforted. Sexual can be actually physically. Better situation. Have you had any projects involving the echo show for healthcare situation? Have we have mostly oriented around use cases where there's a visual element that needs to be part of the experience where whether it's presenting instructions in textual way or showing video for like a therapy coach, here's how you should hold the device or here's how you should be moving your joint very useful in those situations. You you had a slide that showed the modalities of communication with computers keyboard mouse and now voices there, but the one that you had at the far right kind of blew my mind as to what's coming direct brain computer interface, what might that look like? And how soon is it coming? Well, I'll caveat that I not an expert on this. I know about it. I've read a little bit about it, but it's it's one of those areas of technology that's advancing faster than I think a lot of people appreciate there. There's money going into it, the level of accuracy, and being able to process the signals coming the week signals coming out of the him and brain to interpret some meaning apply it gotten better and better. Kind of similar to voice processing. It's based on the ability to learn from huge volumes of data. More data that's collected on how a brain signals operates. The more precise we can be in interpreting symbols. And so what I know is happening that's giving a lot better. There's still some challenges like physically capture those signals. You have to wear a helmet and things like that, and I don't know exactly how that's progress, but do believe that we'll start to see some of that become a bit more mainstream, whether they'll be an Amazon echo type of release that comes from one of the big guys or not in the next five to ten years. I like I don't know anything coming down the fight like, but I wouldn't be surprised the aspect of Alexa feeling like a person that that has been referenced here. I think you mentioned the idea programming and empathy interface. That seems right and helpful and also kinda creepy that that you are you're creating an illusion of a human interface, but is it both things at once it's it's comforting and creepy? Or how do you that part of it? Well. Well, at the risk of switching into philosophical discussion, right? You know, what is an allusion? What's what's real, right? And in the case of people we've dealt with, they know that's not real, but it doesn't matter they wanted. They want to believe that there's some empathy and they wanna know that Alexa has favorite color favorite kind of dog. I was on a panel with one of individual shoes from l. a. q.. And she said that one of the biggest criticisms that they got in there I I might they rolled out is that they hadn't built into the voice assistant her favorite dog or favorite color or what she likes to do in her spare time. That was the biggest one of the bigger complaints is that the elderly that they didn't build in that empty, even though the cognitively no ashes to machine, they wanted an experience. It was more human. I'm going to check for myself that Alexa is being customized this way. I have a Google home here, so I can try that as well. I've changed the wake word on my echo show to computer because that way it doesn't. I can ask it questions on my parents network, and then I can ask Alexa questions on my own network computer. What's your favorite dog. That would be labradors. Hey, Google. What's your favorite dog. Every type of dog is special, but I have a soft spot for miniature schnauzers. They're loyal intelligent in have the best beer. When I tried the other question that Nate mentioned, it looked like the Google assistant was lately ahead computer what you like to do in your spare time. I don't have an opinion on that. Hey, Google. What do you like to do in your spare time? I've been practicing the fine art of beat boxing. Here's the rest of my conversation with Nate. It's strikes me that there's a parallel with literature that novel creates a story. It's fictional. And yet if it's powerfully in done. You relate to the characters in a way that stirs your own emotions, changes your life. It's doesn't seem like that big a stretch to say that the people designing these interfaces are doing that level of creative work that can have that kind of impact and people's lives. Only. It's more immediate. It's more contextual, but but there's some kind of a common creative process there. Isn't there? Yeah, except your books don't talk back or asking questions. Yeah, yeah. Maybe loose b-actor literature. You could have books that talk book and somehow the characters concert talking to you, right. Well, there are, you know, MRs been around for years books that allow you to influence which direction. And there's actually a few companies at least one that I know of that does it on Alexa. Great, right. It's also a skill out there. It's a company. Sound line called memory lane, which allows you to ask a question, you know what was happening on this date in nineteen sixty one come back and say, here's what's happening. And so the next step on that is what was happening in my life. Yeah, in my life. So have been a record experiences that you had nights and sixty one. You got married. And for people who are elderly dementia, those sorts of experiences can be very therapeutic, and there would be a way of loading that information in somehow. Yeah, the children might do. It might be part of the experience itself. Tell me how what you were done in nineteen sixty one. You remember remember when you got married. I have a recording that my sister made in my grandfather. My sister was thirteen junior high school sys- longtime ago, talking about experiences from World War Two and is gold. It's family goal that the whole recording. And so there's a possibility with these technologies to kinda capture memories. Yeah, more than just Google Drive. Yeah, yeah, less question. I've heard a lot of discussion of whether Alexes hypocr clients, and I thought I had heard the end on cloud last week became hip compliant, but the devices are not compliant. What's going on Amazon web services, which is their cloud environment on have been hip compliant for awhile. Okay. They offered a hypocrite pie version. I think up until maybe six months ago it was a special offering now it's all compliant. So they're using web services, sits pick believe that's the most recent announcement, Alexa, which is, you know, sort of its own separate service cloud based speech processing, voice insistent technology stack that is not hip applied. Yeah. So what what does that mean? Hip commitment of one well means that they're willing to sign what's call the business associates agreement, which means that they will respect requirements, regulations hip and pass that up to the organization that require that what's called a covered entity hospital on the hospital, Clermont to work with technology vendors, providers that. Will be willing to sign a disassociates, bring an Amazon do that right now. So they're sort of policy procedure problem from the technical point of view. They, you know, the contract, most of the boxes on the technology. So they do full encryption. There's an open question of believe about what they're storing. They do store the transcription and they store the audio of what the person is sent to Alexa and the week after week or so that's stored, and you can image of going into lead it, but it's actually being stored in the Amazon cloud. So there's some new something in order to retrieve that the source of their resistance to becoming hip accommodate. I, I wouldn't claim to have insight into what they're particularly concerned about, but you know, being appropriately cautious before the jump into this. It's not a small move right in some very large data breaches. In the healthcare industry. Amazon's name associated with. Yeah, yeah. Great. Thanks very much. I want to share a comment came in from listener David mcquade who had asked if I would recommend his buying a kindle oasis. I said, yes, without reservations and he replied Highland. Thanks for the response and feedback. I ended up trading in my paper white and buying the oasis. I agree with you. It is a flat out joy to use the screen looks tastic. I really liked the larger size, which is something I've been wishing Amazon with kindle for a long time while I can understand some reviews, say the aluminum back is slippery. I like the feel of it when I'm settled in my reading position. For some reason, I was never very happy with my kindle paper white and actually preferred to read on my basic kindle. The form factor was the same, but the basic kindle is lighter and I'm not much of a bed reader so I could use an outside light source, but the new form factor of the aces and the largest green make for a much more pleasurable reading experience for me. And it's so nice to have buttons back on the kindle. Congrats on ten years. I've been. Listener since two thousand twelve. When I bought my first kindle, I've always admired your dedication of the podcast and the way you've structured and organized at through all of these years best. David. Thanks, David. I'm glad you're enjoying your new OAC's. Next week's guest will be Seattle. Author. Robert do Goni who has sold more than three million copies of his novels published by Amazon's Thomas and Mercer imprint. Darlene seldom loves a book so much that she tells me you must have this author on your show, but that's exactly what happened when she finished to gone close to home. That's book five in the author's Tracy Crosswhite series scheduled to talk to Monday. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to give away a brand new kindle paper white on August. Thirtieth at noon. That's my birthday of to the drawing around noon eastern time. If you are already subscribed to the free kindle chronicles newsletter, you are already eligible. I'll just views all those names in the list that I draw from. If you'd like to join the newsletter, you can become eligible. If you're on that newsletter list by August thirtieth. And if you just wanted to enter it to get into the contest and then unsubscribe, that's fine with me. No, no worries. Senate out every week when the show is up and it usually has some information about what's on the show, say there's a decent odds of winning the paper, right? Because we have four hundred sixty four people subscribe to the newsletter. Now it might get a few more entering to be eligible for the drawing. Good luck to everyone who enters this is Len edge early for the kindle chronicles from ocean park, Maine. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have great day. Bye.

Alexa Amazon Google Devon Nadar kindle Boston children Apple Boston Bradley Tom US Seattle fever Alexa congr MD Carol Cox developer
TKC 553 Extinctions Expert A G Riddle

The Kindle Chronicles

47:36 min | 2 years ago

TKC 553 Extinctions Expert A G Riddle

"Welcome to the kindle chronicles. The Friday podcast about your kindle books and all things Amazon. I'm linearly today is the show for March eighth twenty nine thousand nine. Greetings to you from downtown Denver. You know, there are a lot of people running for president these days and one of them happens to be from Denver is going to have a rally this evening, John Hickenlooper, the former governor, and I'm gonna go see see what he has to say as he kicks off. Why would anybody run for president? It's just sort of amazing to me. But I've known John sixteen years. Good guy Bennett. Good mayor, Ben good governor. And I think he's got a good story to tell. So I think you'll add something to the campaign, and I won't be talking about in that much, of course, here on the show, but it is kind of exciting to have the the national scene show up rate just less than a mile away right here in Denver to Morrow. I am going to be flying to Austin Texas for south by south west interactive. And because I'm putting the show together early. So I can put it up on the nets in the morning just before head off to the airport. I will. Staying with my cousin Peter tie. Who is a great cook. So we're going to be eating some of his fine food. And then sampling some of the barbecue joints in Austin area. My guest this week, the author AG riddle, I'm sure what enjoy attending south by southwest time. He's has a deep curiosity and appetite for pondering the future of mankind. That's one of the themes that is pretty common down at that huge conference. His latest novel winter world imagines a near future ice age and attack from space. They my books. Almost always deal with an extinction level of van or you know, the pushing of of humanity to the brink at times, I am going to switch the order of things around for this episode to make sure that I get all of your comments that I've received in recent weeks, so we'll start there will go to tech tip. And then the interview with Jerry riddle got some new stories of and following. But I'll have links to them in the show notes. We have some time. I'll give you some thoughts on some of the Amazon stories that are in the news. So let's get right to the comments. Hi heard from a couple of you about last week's show. Peggy wrote Highland. I really enjoyed your visit at your Amada, I like all of Europe's oats. But some jump out at me. And this was one of them. He was interesting to hear about your career. And how you came to podcasting as a person who is sixty six this year. It's good to hear it said out loud. Don't give up on your dreams and passions. I also wanna mention how much enjoyed your interview Jasper Ford, I have listened to all the Thursday next books on audio and they are delightful now, I'm reading early riser, and it's hot and wonderful. Thanks for all your hard work and Shimon shot wrote from Krakow Highland. Thanks. Great episode. Your talk with the high school students felt like a meta episode a show about a show, very informative. You may have a niche audience, but I feel like I'm at its core as I enjoy listening to t Casey each Saturday morning. Thanks, also for the podcast recommendations listening to tectonic. That and the journalists is indeed an excellent interviewer. That's a tip that I mentioned Belmont hill last last week show, the financial times podcast called tectonic and really really great show. So thanks for the comments Peggy Shimon. I glad that enjoy my trip to Belmont hill. I heard back from the teacher who hosted me there duchene tift. And she said she was pleased with how it turned out. I'm hoping maybe I'll get invited back next year. I also had a sense. She's a very proactive creative teacher. And I make a pitch for why podcasting is got a lot of potential for people who are involved in creative writing as that class was so I-, it'd be cool. If there was a a new podcast that she was able to get her students to put together, stay tuned. I mentioned last week that the fire tablets donated by Wendell web all found homes. Here's the rest of the story in an E mail from Wendell, Len I just wanted to follow up with you and let you know that the tablets were all claim. Very quickly. And I'm heading out right now to ship them off when I was down to my last two on Friday night. I got an Email from Mark Cerro. Who runs the kindle classroom project in Oakland? I believe you interviewed him. Yes. That's right inquiry about them. I promised him the last two and also donated a new one that I bought from his wishlist on the site his project looks like a good cause. Anyway, thank you again for your help Wendell Wendell. Thank you. That was a great opportunity you provided for Casey listeners getting all those use tablets away. And I'm glad that you're some of them found homes in that kindle classroom project that Mark has put together it provides kindles and e books to high school students at San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward, California, you can read about it at kindle classroom project org. He says that this arose as an independent reading program that marked launched as part of his curriculum. He was influence. By research by Stephen crash and books by Nancy at will Donald Miller and Kelly Gallagher key built a classroom library of more than five hundred titles. These are, you know, books not e books and encouraged students to read the books they liked he continues the story this way for the most part the experience worked reading went up, and my students started to say they like to read, but not all students felt the same way to them. No matter what I tried reading was boring. Many said they couldn't remember the last book they finished I needed to reach these students to one day likely out of exasperation. I lent a student. My kindle keyboard told him how to change the font size and setup text speech and let him go. He read he couldn't contain himself. This is so much better. He exclaimed at the end of the class he asked whether he could take my kindle home for the weekend. I said yes, the next Monday he'd finished monster his first book of the year. So in twenty Levin, Mark founded the kindle classroom project. Through which supporters have donated more than two thousand kindle, so far and one thousand seven hundred e books at the website, you'll find ways to support the project. You can donate money. You can donate e books. You can donate devices. And you can also give us kindle or become a sustaining donor through Amazon allowance or pay pow Marcus heroism a talented purposeful teacher taking advantage of reading technology. So I'm very glad Wendell's tablet. Donations ended up giving me a chance to talk about his work. Also heard directly from Mark who wrote I emailed Wendell web, and he'll be donating his last tablets to the kindle classroom. Project was worried I was a bit too late. Plus he said he liked the program so much he's donating a new kindle fire seven to what a generous guy. Thank you again lend for TK. See nice Bravo to all listener John's Elvan last month emailed me. An interesting message that he received from kindle direct publishing. I hadn't seen this myself. The first time I'd heard about it. The message the. John said Hello as a valued K D P publisher were including you in an invite only release of our new e book quality issues. Dashboards starting today. The stash board is the way. We'll communicate alerts about your e books quality issues. What's new, and then they list if you have quality issues to review, you'll see a yellow bar with the link to the dashboard of the top of your K, D P bookshelf on your dashboard, you can see all issues for all your titles and fix them for any new suppression or quality warnings will send you an alert Email soon as possible you'll receive a weekly notification Email for any open quality issues and will no longer have to manage individual emails for each book. What's not changing for you? The information we provide to understand and locate quality issues the options to resolve each issue, and you can still contact key DP customer support for any questions to follow up on an open issue. Best kindle, direct publishing. I'll have. Lincoln the show notes to page Amazon that describes the book called dashboard, I've always wondered if authors ever used the information that we can send to them via kindle or tablet as a reading a book. If you find an area, you can do a note that ends up flagging Typos or other problems. It might be that this new interface will make more likely that the information will actually help improve the quality of e books on the Amazon site. I've asked a couple of authors. I think in the past if they're even aware that readers can do this, and none of them had ever received any information that went into improving their books sometimes when I receive question from you pass along to my contacts at Amazon, this doesn't always result in definitive answers. But it's always worth a try. I received another message from John Sullivan a couple of months ago, he wrote the following my daughter's gave me an echo dot for Christmas. And I started using it right away for the news weather. And playing background music while working I investigated musical apps and found pitch pipe to be useful. I play sex is there an app out there. That will duplicate what my phone app. The amazing slowdown or a ST will do AST allows import of songs I own and can change the tempo and the pitch. The key. The song is in I play with a number of rock and roll folks and need to transpose to learn the solos. So I can play them in the Qatar key on my Alto. Sax. I Email the developer Rana music dot com and learned they have no plans to link to Alexa, and we're not sure it was possible. I do play my sax along with the echo dot. And I really liked using my voice to backup a song thirty seconds or so, but if anyone developed an apt to change, the tempo and key verbally using Alexa. That would be a killer app. I would even settle for an Alexa skill that would Lupu section of a song. Well, it pass us along. And then a month later, I received this reply. I from someone named Tyler Ye on the Alexa public relations team Highland. I don't think we've worked together. But I've dug into your Email about a skill that could help one of your listeners practice music apologies for the delay here. Unfortunately, we don't have anything similar to the amazing slowdown or I actually use that personally. And it's such a great tool how hopefully the developer changes their mind about a future port that all said, we do have a few music skills like tuners for string instruments as well. As a popular game that helps you learn and understand different elements of music theory. Bamboo music, hide incurred your listener to search the Alexa skills store here. And there to see if a developer releases something in the future that might be of use. Thanks tyler. I appreciate that. Tyler thanks passing that along and clear, you considered the Email that I sent from John, and it's nice to hear back in a specific way so much pre shaded I play guitar. I I've tried the tuning skills that you can find on Alexa from time to time. I don't find them as helpful as the one that I have on my iphone called guitar tuna T U N A Q name. But that's how tune up my guitar when I'm practicing one thing I have noticed is that if I'm working on a song asong that my teacher in Cambridge's has me learning now while I'm in Denver is those were the days, my friend, Kevin classic from the sixties. And it's so easy to have Alexa pool up the song and frequently the the lyrics of air. So I can be learning the lyrics as I'm doing it. There's no barriers to doing that. If I've been playing the song over and over, and I wanna actually hear how it was performed the first time that that's a really handy way to do it. But the app that John was talking about where you could slow songs down or transpose transposing that would be even better because sometimes I like to practice the cords, but the cords that Steve nets my teachers giving me her in a different key. Because he. Gives me cords that match my voice. And so that's that would be pretty cool on a related note because advise music, so you may have seen that video that I put up where I put photos of ocean park with the song that I wrote, and I get it all done in time for my dad's ninety second birthday. He loved it. He's got it on the iphone. And he he tends to listen to it on his iphone once a day. Just kind of daily dose of my singing that song. Well this past week. I put it up on a group Facebook called friends friends of ocean park, which has like three or four thousand members of people share photos of this town in Maine that we've gone to. And I think it's up over fifty comments came in as a response to putting the video up. And and what was touching is that these people knew me, they didn't really know anything about us. But they the steams of how the passage of time at a place like ocean park where generations going back to the same place. All. Of these other families were were clearly resonating with a message of that song and leaving very endearing comments pass them along to dad today. And he was was really thrilled. Just to see all that response to a son that he's carrying around his pocket and listening to every day on as I phone one of my better creative projects and in recent memory. Got a couple of tech tips to pass along to the first one is a friend of mine. Casper who is ninety two years old can be ninety three in June. And I got him a new paperweight the recently, I guess within the last month and he had a kindle voyage before that he turned into a great kindle lover. He doesn't have a smartphone. He's kind of prize himself on being a not an early adopter in any sense. But he does love his kindle. Well, it's fun. When somebody like that can teach me something about the technology of the kindle because Jack just mentioning casually Skype conversation. We had the other day said, you know, the type was too small in the paper white. So I just spread my fingers on the screen, and the type get bigger, you know, I might have known you could do that at some point. But I had forgotten it. This was like new information that he was passing along to me. And I assume it works the same on the other, Ian kindles, but if. If you're in the book, and you want the font to be a little bigger, you can tap on the top and pull up the menu and tap, the the AA, and you do the usual steps or you can simply put his fingers close to each other spread them, and that will make the type get bigger, and it will bring up the bar that lets you set the font size precisely you know, you hit plus and it goes over little bigger little smaller. I was curious if this would also work on my fire, tablet, or my kindle, Abba, my iphone and didn't so in spreading on the screen reading a book on those two devices. You don't get that same handy benefit of being able to do at the doing the kindle, I brought to Amazon's attention from time to time that I wish there was a little bit more uniformity among the various kindle reading devices because when reading kindle book, it just seems like it ought to act the same as much as possible on any of the devices. This would be one of those cases. Where something if you're used to spreading your fingers to get the font larger and your kindle and you switch to an iphone or a fire. It's not gonna work that I think is a bit of a flaw not a huge flop but a bit of a flaw. There was a problem. I heard about from John Dewey listener, John Dewey wrote. Hi there land, I checked out one of your kindle reviews from some time ago that was probably on YouTube by done some reviews of the new devices when they come out John said that he's having a terrible problem. Retaining his highlights. And exporting them, he says the system doesn't seem to work well or consistently, and I think from reading his account here that when he exports from his kindle, you go to notebook and you export your notes. He's getting a different list of notes and annotations than the ones that automatically appear at redone, Amazon dot com slash notebook. And that would be a problem. I tried to replicate it on a book that I'm reading and I had it on the paper white. And I just exported the notes that resulted in a list of the annotations for that book that showed up as an Email, and I compared that list with what I saw for that book. At redone on dot com slash notebook. And they were identical. There was you know, same number of notes and highlights. So I couldn't duplicate the problem that John says that he had I may not be understanding xactly what he said. But if you've had any experience like that where you're getting a different set of annotations sent out by exporting versus what automats shows up at that webpage. What you give me an Email at pod chronicles gmaiLcom? Maybe we can help John solve his problem. My guests for the interview this week AG riddle came down with a bad flu bug, just as his latest novel winter world was released last week that may we had to postpone our conversation a week, and he sounded much better during our Skype conversation on Wednesday March six that was eight days after he published winter world, it's the first of new series involving global ice age in the near future and an attack from space. We last spoke with Jerry riddle in August of last year about his two previous series origin mystery and the extinction files, which he self published in Seoul, two million copies worldwide as you will hear winter world is the first of new series, titled the long winter. Oh, and by the way, since we talked to Jerry, it looks as if he sold a million more books than he had sold back in August. I began by asking him to share what it's like the first eight days after the publication of one of his major new books. It's a little hectic. I mean after the book comes to the book was on free order and the book has been done about a year and the the audio had to be recorded, and they had the lineup promo for all that. And after the book launch, you know, I'm always curious to see what the reviews are lying, and I'm I'm always very cognizant of any technical issues. So I'm looking for emails from people to said pages were missing the KENDALL addition. And so for this launch, you know, we print the books in Balkh and ship them to Amazon on pallets. And so the printer has just been behind, and it's been a just a real bear to get them. They're printing hardcovers and paperbacks. And so that is just been sort of a thorn in our Sabah. It's a lot of just making sure customers are getting what they need that the book set up right on Amazon and it set up right on audible and everywhere and a lot of sort of fire drills. I guess you could say. Well, the the reviews are strong. It's four point nine out of five stars it looked and it's the fifty eighth bestselling book in the kindle scored store today out of the millions. That are available in the kindle store results. Like that must be gratifying. Yeah. I mean, I've. I've never really know what to expect. Because my my books come out about a year. This one's sixteen months after the last book. And so you never know what the market's like, you know, I think people who released a book every two months or three months have a sense of what their sales momentum is like and where their audience is. But but to some extent every time I'm starting over. And I'm always curious to see, you know, is Molly there, they, you know, hungry for my next book, and I've been really, you know, courage to fifty eight in the current environment is phenomenal. We haven't spent a single dollar to promote the book yet so been really pleased with that. Well, let's talk about the book winter world. I know from talking to you last time a lot of your books have started out with a scientific question that you wanted to explore in dig into and and the book is almost a byproduct of your research or your curiosity, it seems and if that's the case winner world, what was the scientific question that was sort of the grain of sand that created the Pearl of this book. You're right. That is how I started book. And when I look at the ideas that I wanna right. I kind of veer towards the question that is the most intriguing to me, and then, you know, build a plot around from there, but you know, winter world for me was his question of what if another global ice age game. You know, we haven't seen one for ten thousand years and the world look very different than, but you know, what would a modern day is age. Look like across one that that really gripped the planet and then pushed us to the edge of extinction. And then from there the book is really about what's causing. The ice age. You know, certainly, I think climate science is pretty hot subject. But I think everyone would agree that the planet is trending towards becoming warmer with you know, what you put the calls a sad. And so it was kind of fun for me to do something that that I thought readers might not expect, you know, an ice age. So and then once you the there's aliens involved. Did you know that that was going to be the case when you started imagining an ice age. I didn't you know, I sort of had this idea for an ice age book, and I had this idea for alien invasion book that was a little different. When winter world is sort of this fusion of these two ideas, a lot of the books kind of come about like that, you know, I'll take this idea that I don't think is is really strong enough to be remarkable very different on its own this one that I don't think is remarkable enough to be different on its own. So winter world, you know, what they learn is. I think what's so remarkable about the book is what's causing the ice age. And and it, you know, getting into some spoilers in the book, but the book is really about for me like this deep speculation on the state of the universe. And what what is the what is the economy of the universe? And you have to think, you know, we know that matter and energy are these fundamental construct? And I mean, you know, Einstein in his brilliance, you know? Deducted that was MC squared these these forces are sort of opposed. And so I, you know in winter world will we see as an alien race that basically has no interest in the human race when they basically see us as almost like an insect on a, you know, an ant hill that is his beside what they really want, which is our son. Yeah. You'd probably we're doing research into sort of space travel as well as climate. You know, how does the climate work to Dego universities or what what's your process of gathering enough information about the subject? So that you're ready to write the story with a great thing about this subject is there's just a ton of stuff on the internet because they're so much. It's such a hot topic that there's a lot of speculation into the speculation mostly about what the world will look like when it gets a lot warmer. What the sea levels will be like, but we also have a lot of scientists been done about the last ice age. They've done a lot of ice cores samples, and they've looked at what the world looked like where was the ice. And so the great thing is that you have a bit of a model of what an ice age would look like, you know, because ten thousand years ago from. The the planet's about roughly five billion years old. So this was like from geological timescale not very long ago that we had an ice age. So it's a lot of it was was online for this. I think I recall last time, you share the you get excited about the science, and you write a lot of it into book, and and your first reader, your wife, and your your editor sometimes have to back you off from that that happen to this book as well. Yeah. I mean, there was some some parts that got left on the cutting room floor. But I don't know I sort of I think that was my work out. Maybe a light to I'm getting less geeky. But I think with this when I had a little more focus on characters, and and tried to I think I'm learning maybe a little more about where the balances so whereas my early novels I had a ton that I had to cut out with this. When it was just, you know, not as much, well, let's talk a little bit about your main characters Dr. James Sinclair in ama- Matthews. How do you think of their romantic relationship? It's pretty obvious, right? From the start that these two are going to be connected romantically, but what's your sense of the kind of romance? They have in this book. Well, the thing I love about the Stalin romances, it's very serendipitous to literally crash into each other in the course of the story, and they're put in this really extreme high stress live or die situation. I think you for better worse really get to know people in those situations. I've found that you go through something really intense and stressful and with someone you really see their true colors, and you see what they're really about. And I think strong bonds are formed during those times. And so I think for me James r. I think this see their relationship as being his certain sits Ford's fire. You know, they they've seen the best and the worst of each other. And they literally escape this, you know, life or death encounter with this Elian race, and they come back to earth both sort of broken and beaten, and they you know, they kind of lean on each other and they come together. And that's the thing that was so interesting to me is seeing their relationship Vall, I as to survivors that are together. And then once they sort of get out of danger, you sort of see the the romance then start to come in as we finally have time to to step back and see see what's here in. Now, you describe the relationship without any sizzling romantic scenes, do you have younger readers in in mind as you make those kinds of decisions, I guess from persective want the book to excessive with everyone, and there's some people for whom. Those kind of situations are comfortable for them. Or they have a lot of parents asked me is x y z book appropriate for my child. Always till parents who I recommend that you read the book to see. But I also feel like, you know, there are so many books that are heavy with sexual content. As people are looking for that, you know, they can sort of go get and so for my books feel like they're looking for more of the intellectual excitement, and so I sort of veer towards that. And try to specialize suppose, you could say, yeah, I noticed electronic ink technology makes an appearance in the story. The subscribed as electron technology similar to what the old e book readers employed. Obviously, the kindle, and I did find a year dating when the story takes place. But when you talk about the old e book readers does that put it like twenty years out. What can you say about including Ian, Carr's part of the plot here? Yeah. Well, that was sort of fun from the the book takes place in the near future in my mind. I had about thirty years or so in the future, the the big, and there are these hints that's in the future. The the ships that go to Saracen to intercept the data artifact are clearly powered, by engines that don't exist currently. And so you have had this situation. I wanted to write a book that was timeless and to do it had sort of leave clues for the reader. This is taking place in the future sore struggle with whether to explicitly say that or not, but the old e ink was was certainly one clue that was fun. There's an aspect of the book which is gripping because Dr James Sinclair's plucked out of. The lowest part of his life to help save the planet because he's perceived as a genius on topics that matter, and it made me wonder if you could imagine a similar existential crisis for humanity now, and you were on a committee of people that was going to, you know, find the genius. That would save us. Jeff Bezos, Alon musk there, any others that would come to mind. We. Yeah. I mean, that's some of the thought was that appeal to me about the plot. And what I try to do is very early on. I think. I like to reveal sort of the fundamental pillars of character. So that the reader sort of knows what they're getting themselves into and it sort of for me setting up these sort of you know, what is true north for this character. What what is deep down inside his core James Clair's, this guy that's been sent to prison for what he considers not a crime at all. And the world is locked him away. And and now in the world is facing extinction. They call him up and say, we need you to come work for us. And and I think the fact that he says, okay, sure, outgo, really reveals his character. And I you know, I think that. You know, the most brilliant minds on the planet now sometimes controversial characters that get themselves into a little trouble and intend to be head of their time. These about Kallio in these scientists that were ostracized, and sometimes you dealt with very harshly and their time for for in a sense, pushing the envelope, and I mean, so James's crime is something that was something society. We're not ready for you know, he invented something that really would have changed life as we know it. And so I think there are a lot of these things that are happening today. I mean, you look at Uber, and it's changing the taxi industry, and the way we travel, and and certainly e commerce is disrupting the brick and mortar space, but now ecommerce companies are coming in opening stores. So I think certainly a lot of James Sinclair type characters in the world. I. We're going to see a lot more of that in which the world has to say is this technology, really good for society minutes. It could be a technology that makes money, or as you know, certainly leap forward technologically. But, but is it is it a good for for society large? This philosophical theme that runs through the book at one point Jamison cleared mix, quote, he that he has not figured out this human nature thing. And I think another other times that his his being perplexed by you know, are humans intelligent peaceful or they unreliable prone to violence, and as you were putting him in the face of that philosophical question did your view of the nature of humanity change or were you are ticketing view of humanity. That was important for you to to kind of build into the book. Well, it certainly, you know, an exercise that almost through with every book they my books. Almost always deal with an extinction level of that. Or you know, the pushing of of humanity to the rink at times. And I think what was so what I found so appealing about James as a character is that he someone who's had a little time on his hands to reflect on his life. And to say, how did I get here? You know? I'm obviously brilliant. I've, you know, from his perspective he did his job to the fullest and succeeded in a sense. But what was his what was his shortcomings me? He determined that not understanding human nature, not understanding that the world would be terrified he created in. And so I think the the long arc of the story is about James defending humanity from this extra threat. But I think his personal journey is is one to discovery of whether he can learn human nature. Learn enough about people to to not make the same mistakes. And so the file in the climax. Battle in the third act when you see that he faces essentially the same decision, I think hopefully readers will think that he did redeem himself, but you know, I think the book is sort of an examination and speculation. What what Manitoba would be like if if we were pushed to the brink because you know, ten thousand years ago when we had an ice age. We were just too scattered band of tribes around the planet, and and now things are very different. And I think hard hard decisions would have to be made. And I think those are the times that certainly would human nature is revealed and for better or worse. And and that's the other thing that I do like about the novel is that it lays that bear. Are you optimize about the future of our species? I am I mean, I think that we're here to stay. You know, certainly, you know, what motivates me to write the books is probably more than anything fears about the future. And and you know. Theme of my work is that technology is not always the panacea that we might hope that you know, certainly a lot of danger, and there's a lot of promise. And I do think, you know, the things that worry me the most are, you know, obviously, the pending potential biological threat. But, but also, you know, the threat and went world, which is that we are very much defenseless owner. I mean, we have progressed incredibly far as species, but in terms of making ourselves. Defending our planet. We're basically nowhere in a and if and if someone if a ratio up and said, you know, we want to harvest from your son, we would essentially have no response to that. And I'm not saying that we should turn around and do something tomorrow. But, but I do think on the horizon, I think that on robotics are gonna limit a lot of jobs, and we're gonna need some for lack of a better term, you know, major public works projects in this could be one, you know, sort of fortifying the planet and defending couldn't hurt. In the author's note, you revealed that you wrote this book during a time when you and your family were going through a deep loss, and it seems that that tragedy certainly affected the time you had to write the book. But did it also can you see it and sort of the fabric of the book and of the story when you look back and recall that that very difficult time. Yeah. Definitely. I mean, I had written maybe half of the book. Mom, got sick and shit, a very rare lung disease in she got a double on transplant at two can in you walk two days after the transplant, and then you know, about five weeks later passed away. And it was just this. You know, a really like the characters in winter, we're on felt a little helpless this external enemy that is threatening. The people you love you feel like you don't. Have anything that you can do? But I think that. And you don't wanna read the author snowed. I thought you know, I think readers deserve. Something of an explanation about. Where some of the came from. And I thought it would be interesting for raiders because you know, the books had for me, I write the books for a place of passion, you know, in scientific interest. But you know, certainly your mental state comes into play is author. It's hard to keep it out of the narrative. But I think the ark of winter world is about people in fighting against impossible odds, and I think for me right in the book with somewhat therapeutic because you know, my real life. Experience. You know, the odds were against us and the outcome was very negative. But in winter world, you know, they succeed in the sun rises again. And I think that's for me. That's a little bit of web. Great books are really about. You know, we wanna see characters who are similar to us. But you see the characters and sort of a safe way and you see them face challenges. And you see them over come towns, isn't it kinda Mars you to do the same in your own life and. And so yeah, I mean, I wrote the sort of second half of the book after. After sorta died down. And I have to say, I think it helped me a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I was glad you included that note because. When I read it, I could sort instantly feel the weight of that event in the book itself. And and it was nice to have it at the end. So it's a sort of castaway back onto it. I know at least one or two of your books are kind of in that long, and and unpredictable process of becoming movies. Is there anything happening closer to a movie actually coming than it was the case eight months ago? I don't have anything I can share publicly that will say the. There's been a lot of starts and stops in the movie front, and just, you know, I'm hopeful until I feel the I'm hopeful that, you know, we'll see see the movie before a pass away and. Still relatively young. So we'll thirty nine so hopefully, the next fifty years or or maybe I'll have to they'll have to convert me into a robot or something, you know. So you can one hundred years. Thing to think of winner world there. There's a sequel already available for purchase. It says it's going to the solar war is going to be released June twenty fifth of this year. What can you say about that? Yes. The solar wars written finish it up last year as well. And so the solar war will you know, what I loved about winter world was that it was I'd Ridgely conceived it to be a standalone novel and. And so my Hollywood agent asked me to write that was asked to write a sort of synopsis for out three book or three movie trilogy and then for a season TV series. And so in doing that was really kind of excited about the ideas that I came up with. And so I started writing a sequel enough thought this is this is pretty strong. I would turn the. Term world into a series, but the solar war. What's really interesting about the seller war is that we start winter world. The the human race is in decline, and they're already on the ropes and the the ice ages in full swing at the at the opening of the solar war the world is sort of falling out and they've survived this huge threat. And and now you see a world that is sort of trying to figure out what normal is again. They're thinking about going back to the homelands they left in Europe and America, and they're rebuilding cities. And it's sort of like the frontier days, I mean, the there's no more credit card debt. There's no more mortgages, and everyone is sort of in the same boat starting over and and and the back of everyone's minds is win win might this threat return. Are we truly safe? And I think that you know, is a little the way people feel after the great recession since of we had. This great huge catastrophe, and everyone is sort of back to normal. But everyone in the back of their mind has this could this happen again? And are we still in danger? And and so the solar war is about the grid returning. And as the grid says the end of winter were we're gonna come back, and we're gonna come back to finish you. And so. It's a it's a battle a much bigger scale. And do you see third book as a result of having worked on those treatments as well? Possibly. Really happy with the ending at the end of the Sola war. But I may try to write a third book. And if I think it's I think it's good enough. Go to three books if not just kind of leave it to. The timing. So the June. It's like five months did did you choose that interval between the first and the second book of this series with serve the market involved. Or was it just that's as soon as you could get it ready based on your writing, and editing and publishing process will a bit of both man, I do feel like I feel like the market is looking for more rapid releases these days, and I think the attention spans from self, and I think all readers are shrinking. And and I think there are ton of readers say look, I don't wanna start a book if it's part of a series until the series is done which is fair statement. And and so the for the people who read winter world of definitely one of that sequel to come out as soon as possible the rate limiting factor is recording the audio two point. So we're finishing a little bit of final edits and post production and trying to get that book to the narrators. I have been speaking with AG riddle. Author of winter world, which he published eight days ago in February twenty sixth. Thanks, very much, Jerry. Thank you for having me. Well, we're getting near the end of our time. So I'm gonna give you the executive summary of the new stories that I've been following an out have links to them in the show notes Amazon stopped selling those dash buttons. They came out several years ago to lots of mocking people wondered if it was an April Fools joke to have something that you could have in your closet and press something in and the item would would magically appear. Of course, I tried it from Akron cheese with one of my favorite foods. I thought they were kinda fun. But apparently now they've there other easier ways to order things than covering your closet with one button per product. So that's been discontinued seems to be some kind of a last ditch effort to save New York City's Amazon deal of kind of a business group. Put a big ads in the New York Times, basically pleading with bazo to reconsider. I don't really expect much to happen from that. But another amazing twist in the story of those twenty five thousand. Actually coming to New York. After all wired has a good story about echo auto. That's the Alexa device that's going to be available for cars. It's actually some people are getting them. It was by invitation only I haven't had one I really want to try it. But it gave great insight into the work that it's taken to get a device that can handle all of the road, noise and other things that happened in a car. So that when you talk to this device on the dashboard of your car, and you ask all the things that you can ask Alexa. You can actually hear you. They had a a mock car set up in their lab at that replicated, all kinds of noise rain, and quite quite an intriguing look into how they were developing this product, hopefully it's going to be available for widespread release sometime soon and other good wired piece is about Amazon distortion bookstore. And this has to do with people are using gaming the algorithms to have books that are anti vaccine show up very high on the. The rankings and the overall problem not just Amazon, but for Google and others folks that have very passionate take on something that's a little bit fringy. They can there's ways to have that result in a lot more exposure for certain kinds of content than is warranted. At least that would be in my opinion to Amazon's closing the pop up stores. No, he can't walk in and buy a fire tablet at whole foods anymore. Once this goes into effect, and they're shifting more to the four-star stores as well. The health venture has a name haven. That's the Togo unday initiative berkshire-hathaway chase and Amazon kind of an innocuous name haven and looks like it's moving forward. At least it has a name at this point. And we'll see what comes of it. That's it for this week next week show will come to you from Austin be covering south by southwest. Inter. Active. I'm gonna try an innovation. I'd like to upload brief audio updates from the conference. No more than five minutes each. And part of the reason is it's a pod casting method or tool that I've recommended to Hickenlooper campaign so far haven't heard back from anyone in response. But to me, it seems like it'd be a natural for any candidate. You're out there on the campaign trail, and if you had an iphone you could just talk into it for five minutes kind of an audio journal. You know, something fascinated just happened in Oskaloosa, Iowa or Goss town, New Hampshire and you recorded into your iphone you fire off the audio file by Email to staffer and within minutes. There could be a new episode of your show and these things are free. You know, you could have a million followers by by this. I just think it's pretty smart way for a candidate to get their story out Hickenlooper anybody else, but so far I haven't had any takers. But I thought I would at least try it out because I'm saying, oh, this is so easy. But if I'm down walking the streets of Austin trying to get you five minute updates on things. I find out it's more difficult. I may have to revise my recommendation that that others try it the week after next there will be that's episode t Casey Fifi five nice number and my guest will be fantasy author Michael j Sullivan heard about him from Shimon shot. And I've haven't started reading his work yet. But I'll be spending some time in the world that he has created. Well, I'm traveling to and from Austin. And while I'm there, this is linearly for the kindle chronicles from downtown Denver. I really appreciate your taking the time to listen to my show have rate day by.

Amazon John Alexa Denver kindle Jerry riddle Austin Texas Peggy Shimon Dr. James Sinclair John Hickenlooper Jasper Ford ocean park Wendell Wendell president Ian Bennett Peter tie Belmont hill