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Excelsior: In this episode of Track Changes, Paul and Rich discuss the new Apple-Google contact tracing app aimed at tracking the spread of COVID. We explain what contact tracing is and how the app works. We chat about the potential difficulties of onboarding these types of apps and whether the app will be able to help the most vulnerable. We also discuss how we can best combine technology with good old-fashioned testing. 


Paul Ford [Yelling] “Karl! Can you get the vacuum cleaner [Rich laughs]? Karl?!” “No! The Dys—The Dyson is fine! It’s fine.” [Rich laughs. Music plays for 18 seconds, ramps down.] Ah, Richard! 

Rich Ziade Are we gonna talk about the new normal, Paul? 

PF Ah, I love it. See, what I’m happy about—One of the great things about working with you: we’ve now hit a point—cuz I think, like, everybody and like me, you know? [Mm hmm] I’m very touchy feely. We know this about me [music fades out]. I’m like, “Oh my God, how are the emotions today?” That’s my number one. 

RZ Yeah. Yeah. 

PF And you did that! You did. It actually isn’t your natural mode. You were like, “You know what? We gotta give people time to get adjusted and to get—feel safe and in control.” Like absolutely. 100%.

RZ Yeah. 

PF But now you’re like, “What the hell? Why isn’t there better communication from global leadership? What are people doin’? This is all nonsense.” And it’s very comforting to hear you say it because there is like—we’re all sitting here watching Cuomo goin’ like, “Ok. Ok. It’s gonna—ok.” And it is important to have that voice in the background going, “What is this bullshit?!?” 

RZ Yeah, well, first off that’s not—my empathetic side is still there [Paul laughs], it just has a gag ball in its mouth and is tied up in the corner of the dining room. 

PF Look, I mean, business still has to get done. 

RZ Business still has to get done. By the way, I’m a Cuomo fan these days. He is speaking clearly but boy, he is a professional politician. I saw a photo op where he was helping remove ventilators off a truck before [chuckling] his press conference. 

PF I mean in The Times they refer to him as Governor Windbreaker. He is a real—he loves action, right? 

RZ Yeah it’s just—it was very patronizing and also each ventilator—cuz of modern technology weighs about 11 pounds. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ [Laughing] So they were doing fine getting them off the truck. There’s a part of him that understands how it all works from a communications—but you know what? 

PF Ah I’m gonna take—I’m takin’ —  


RZ He’s a breath of fresh air. He’s a breath of fresh air, I will say that. 

PF We need a good administrator right now. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF And, you know, regardless of what the politics are: a good administrator trumps all. 

RZ And a clear communicator and someone that is trying to lay it all out, and there’s just no way to sugarcoat it and is not thinking about themselves as much. Even though he is. He is a political animal by nature but he’s giving us the right thing. This is what we want right now and he’s giving it to us, right? So. 

PF Look: we all have complicated motivations! You and I want everyone at Postlight to be really healthy and connected with their families and optimizing for safety and we also need them focused on work and helping us continue—

RZ Yeah, it’s complicated. 

PF—to grow as a business. So we’re all living in this world where no one is exactly the one thing that they seem to be before this situation. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF Like, we’ve got Apple and Google are now getting along, making, you know, OS updates. So that [yeah] you’ll be able to track each other with Bluetooth. That’s an uncomfortable marriage! That wasn’t—they don’t get along. 

RZ No, no, no. You be Apple for a second, and I’ll be Google, right? And the doorbell rings, open the door for me. 

PF I’m Apple? 

RZ You’re Apple. 

PF Ok. “Oh! [Surprised] Hello!” 

RZ “Hey, what’s up?”

PF “Welcome.” 


RZ “This is a really nice place you’ve got here.” 

PF “Could you please—could you just take off your shoes? Just take off your shoes.” 

RZ “We were just hiking.” 

PF “No, no, no, no, no. Just take off your shoes and then I’d like to—We’re gonna stay here in the living room.” 

RZ “Where do I put my—my dirtbike? Just curious.” 

PF [Blows raspberry] “Ah, my goodness. Oh my goodness. Oh! My goodness. [Rich laughing] Would you like—I have 400 kinds of herbal tea or—”

RZ “No, I have a—I have a Papa John’s coupon code. I was hoping maybe we’d order pizza and they got that garlic dip.” 

PF So yeah. This—This happens. Apple and Google come and sit—and are together for the first time since Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt hung out at a Panera. 

RZ “Do you have Arizona Iced Tea?” [Laughs

PF Yeah, exactly! “No, I have a custom iced tea filter that is made in Japan. And [Rich laughs] uh each ice cube is actually artisanally cut with a laser.” 

RZ Oh good God. 

PF So, yeah, I mean, that’s what we’re up against here. So—

RZ Listen, if Zoom comes by, just don’t [oh oh] open the door [laughs]. Just—

PF Yeah, I know, and then it’s like you got Amazon and Facebook like just kinda, “Hmm?” “Hmm.” 

RZ Yeah, yeah. Alright! So they got together. Explain what has come together? This joining of forces, Paul. Walk through it. 

PF Well, ok, we know what contact tracing is, it means like, “Hey, somebody came in contact with somebody who is sick and that means that they are more vulnerable to the virus and maybe ill. And so we’re gonna find out who was there—you know, with the sick person. And then we’re gonna find them and then we’re gonna find all the people who are connected to them and we’re going to let them know that they’ve been exposed and encourage them to self-quarantine. And—or in some countries, force them to self-quarantine. Send them, essentially, to a dorm for 14 days to get things locked out—” So that’s contact tracing. What Google and Apple are doing is enabling an automated form of contact tracing in your mobile device. So—


RZ Right. 

PF In your phone. So it’s gonna start with an app. But then if you look at the standards, there’s two things that are really worth knowing here: one is like, kind of everywhere you go, it will keep track of everyone else, and your phone will talk to all the other phones. Via Bluetooth which finally, something on Blue—like that alone [yeah, yeah] alright, good! I’m glad we’re gonna put the future of our health system on Bluetooth. That feels great. 

RZ It’s interesting that it’s Bluetooth though instead of—

PF Well no cuz it’s pat—Like Bluetooth is kind of always out there talkin’. Just like—

RZ Yeah. 

PF So what happens is every day it gives you a special key that is just yours. Stores it on your phone [mm hmm]. And as you walk around it broadcasts a hashed version of that as part of like, the Bluetooth handshake protocol. That’s the way I’ve been able to understand it. And your phone stores all the other little messages and they store your messages, all the phones you come in contact with. So, if you get sick, you hit the big red button and the diagnosis server in the cloud then says, “Oh, hey, got a sick one here,” and sends all the new sick people out to all the phones and then they replay all that stuff doing the hashing and look for matches and if you find a match, it means that you have been exposed. 

RZ Potentially. You’ve potentially been exposed. 

PF Exposed. You may not be ill. Someone who was sick and is sick was in the same vicinity as you and your devices exchanged some information. The way this works is it’s basically always—the only thing that isn’t on your phone is when you say, “I got it.” And you send the cloud server your like diagnosis token, right? Like that’s the only time. Everything else is purely on the phone. And there’s all sorts of issues here, like it could get trolled, and so on, so forth. But I like that part of it. And all the things we’ve been saying about giant platforms and privacy and working together and all—they went ahead and did it which kind of is annoying after, you know, many years of saying, “Oh well, this is how it has to be.” They went ahead and created something truly private that allows for the computer to kind of monitor a situation and only shares information when it’s necessary. Which is wow! Hey! Didn’t even know that was possible. And theoretically, it could work or be additive. It’s not gonna replace people making decisions but it is a meaningful source of data and it does—It could theoretically indicate proximity in a way that nothing else could. And let people know if they’ve been exposed or not. 


RZ Yeah, no, and China’s doing this . . . in their own heavy handed way which is worth talking about. 

PF Well that’s not—this would be opt-in. That’s not opt-in. 

RZ Ok so ‘opt-in’ to me is the equivalent of some people staying home.

PF I think that’s right. Look I think that you’re never gonna get that 100% or you could kind of lock this down now, right?

RZ Well, here’s the thing. First of all the on-borrding process is the deal breaker. Like this has to just slip into your phone and be a dialogue box and that’s not gonna happen. Instead it’s gonna be called—oh man we can go through this exercise now. Google will call it Google Safe Home. Or something awkward. 

PF Google—

RZ Google—Google Infest. 

PF The problem with Google is they have this very limited name space for their product so to be like, “Google meet Covid.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF They’re gonna be like, “Google Hangouts Risk something.” Like it’s just—Apple will just call it like Covid-19. [Both laugh] Apple Covid. Right? 

RZ Yeah. iTrace or something. 

PF iTrace. That’s what—it’s gonna be called iTrace. 

RZ Yeah so here’s problem one, right? It’s an app. My mom is home now. She is with no one. We talk to her a lot just to keep her sane. This thing comes out and I’m like, “Mom! Ok, here’s what you’re gonna do: you’re gonna go open your phone, go to the Google Play Store and do this and that and then—” It wouldn’t happen. I have to get a hold of her phone, essentially, to do it. Ok. Which can happen. I can do that. The problem here is the prerequisite to getting this up and running—


PF Apps are hard. Right? Like we spend a lot of time trying to get people to install apps. Even if it’s Google and Apple, I mean I guess they could actually install the app on literally everyone’s phone. I mean Apple could do that with—

RZ It could be an update, right? 

PF Listen, they could do it with a US album, they can do it with this stupid app. There is that. They can install the app but then everybody has to open the app and so on. 

RZ Well, no, I mean it’s an OS update. It’s just another update. 

PF That’s phase two. Phase two is like—Cuz I think Apple has to change the way—cuz it’s been going in the other direction. It didn’t want your Bluetooth to do stuff like this. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And now they gotta—They have to roll it back at the OS level. I doubt Google has the same problem. I think they’re way more comfortable with Bluetooth advertising everything about you at all times. 

RZ Yeah. Yeah. Look, this is the problem, right? This is going to maybe help a little. I mean that’s the reali—Unless there’s a massive, massive campaign. Frankly, do you know who needs to be doing this is Facebook. It’s there. And it’s already crawled up my ass. 20 different ways. 

PF No, you’re right like build it into the app. 

RZ Yeah. Every Monday I get an update from Facebook saying, “Feature improvements and stability improvements or something. Performance improvement!” Whatever. It’s the same sentence every week of the app getting updated, meanwhile what they actually added in there was a beacon so that various organizations can take a look at what I’m doing with my life. So, just go do it! Here’s the thing: We buy Alexa; we buy Nest cameras; we buy all this stuff and when we sign up cuz we bought this shiny thing, we check the box right away. We give you—we just check, “Yes! Of course you can watch my little children sleep at night, why not?” And then off we go. Now, all of a sudden, it’s been turned on its head. The truth is people don’t care. They’ve already opened the box. 

PF So this is like the world’s worst terms of service update. 


RZ It’s the world’s worst—!! We’re doing it for nonsense. We’re doing it—My Wimo light switch messaged me two days ago, telling me, “I’ve improved, please update my firmware.” My light switch messaged me. Which means my light switch has probably been taking data of when I turn my lights on or off. The reality is we’ve already ceded everything. Now, all of a sudden, we’re gonna be delicate?! This is a disaster! This is gonna take months to put in place; we’re gonna get 20% of people to do it. It’s great. Everyone who’s tech savvy and who loves getting software updates will not get infected. I’m excited about that. The people who don’t know how to update anything—My mom doesn’t want me touching her Internet Explorer 8—are never gonna know what to do here and who are the most vulnerable in this picture, right? And I think that’s what’s tricky about this. The truth is you need a fascist leadership that can just jam this down everyone’s throat. 

PF Wow! Ok! [Laughs] Ok, that took a turn. Let’s roll back just a little bit on the fascist takeover of a democracy and [Rich laughing] focus on the fact that um that maybe—The one thing that is blowin’ my mind is like you can’t update Android software to save your life. 

RZ It’s not just that. Like, look—

PF I got [stammers] I got a Pixel! I’m gonna be monitored just fine, right? Cuz like I’ll get that firmware update straight from Google and it’ll be cool and it’ll run fast. And then there’s like that Samsung user from six years ago. 

RZ No, no, the Motorola user from two weeks ago. 

PF Yeah I mean have you seen the phones that the people who are actually delivering food, working at the pharmacy—

RZ Yeah, they’re cheap Androids! Yeah, of course. 

PF No, I know, and all of those are on Kit Kat 3 from 1997 and—

RZ This is the challenge you’ve got, right? Look, let me be optimistic for a moment. People are extremely motivated right now. They’re scared. They’re looking for any sort of way to get things going. Companies who wanna get back on their feet, I think will tell their employees to go do it. So I think there’s tons and tons of incentive. 

PF It makes sense, right? Everybody at Postlight will do it. And then if somebody’s exposed, they’ll stay home. 

RZ On boarding is the challenge here and so I think it will be an app. And I think it will be heavily evangelized. I know for sure, you know, governors around the country will do 30 second ads where they’re standing in their yard and will tell you about how you can protect yourself and others and please download it. 


PF Go to Google Play. Go to the Department of Health website. 

RZ No, it’ll be a URL. It’ll be like or some shit. And it’ll just be—it’ll be as simple as we can possibly make it. 

PF You know you’re right it’ll be

RZ Yeah something like that and then—They, you know, we’ll blanket—Like I think a lot of the ads spent right now is being—like CNN, as far as I can tell, is giving a lot of slots away to governments to stay at home messages. So I think you would get adoption. 

PF How many times when you hear that like McDonald’s cares. 

RZ Yeah, exactly, exactly. So I think, you know, I think maybe you will get a fair amount of—but the truth is you’ll get 60% penetration on a good launch. I don’t know. It’s gonna be hard. It’s just real hard. 

PF I mean that’s the thing—I mean look—

RZ But maybe that’s enough. Maybe—you know—

PF Well, I mean, 60% is probably great. 60% of people informed about exposure, staying at home voluntarily and monitoring their own health is fantastic. The problem is like, you know, I’m trying to imagine it in New York City and how you’re gonna turn the dials where one person on the train, seven days later hits the button. 

RZ I think this is the challenge. I think, well, you know, this thing is messy, and there’s this lag for some people, it’s ten days lat—I mean, you know, when it runs that query for the last ten days of your behavior and you’ve been on a bicycle delivering or whatever you’ve been doing. I mean that thing is just gonna—it’s like a brush fire pinging a bunch of people. You know this is New York City, right? I mean two cars pull up next to each other, is that proximity? Both windows are rolled up. 

PF Or, you know, I’m on the express bus in my mask and I’m sitting six feet away but I walked by someone. 

RZ [Laughing] And three feet higher! [Laughs


PF Yeah! No, exactly, right? 

RZ Yeah! 

PF I’m in all of this. Like, I read the white papers about this stuff—or the specs that Apple’s published—

RZ When does it come out? Lemme ask you that. 

PF The app is gonna come out in May and then the lower level operating system level stuff will come out some unspecified time afterwards. Which, look, I mean, we’ve got 18 months of this thing to go, so ok. It’s not the answer. What scares me a little bit is Trump going like, “Don’t worry! It’s all of our phones. It’s fine. We’re done.” 

RZ Yeah. That’s what he’s been saying about everything. 

PF I know, right? Like—

RZ “Lemon juice and salt. Don’t worry. Just gargle the lemon juice.” 

PF [Chuckles] Apple’s—

RZ [Chuckling] You give ‘im anything right now, he’ll take it. 

PF The idea that Apple can solve tremendous cultural problems is very dangerous right now. Like, this is not gonna be fixed by a better engineered pair of headphones. 

RZ No, it’s not. And adoption is a huge challenge. There was this great article many years ago that Clay Shirky wrote and I—you know, Clay Shirky is a really smart guy and his writing’s very dense. I don’t think I’ve ever finished any of his articles but he had this amazing point he made that paper has no prerequisites versus digital content and digital—like, you know, you flash forward 500 years from now, somebody hands you a hard drive like what am I supposed to do with that? 

PF Remember like you’d go to Gamestop and you’d have to buy some frickin’ game and you’d read the requirements on the side of the box. Like, we’re still there. 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, system requirements. Right. 

PF It’s still there. That’s [exactly] actually—the web is the closest thing to paper that we’ve come up with digitally and God knows everybody has tried to wreck that from the minute it showed up. 

RZ Exactly. They tried to appropriate effectively. It’s so—


PF Yeah, no, cuz browsers there’s no prerequisites except there’s polyfills five different browsers [Rich laughs]—Like there’s now eight million prerequisites to look at a frickin’ webpage. 

RZ Yeah. But, I mean, so the point here is this tool, this tracing tool, has a host of prerequisites. I mean a bunch of ‘em, right? And you’ve got a lot of different phones out there. You’ve got a lot of different permissions you’ve gotta open up. And it’s hard. Versus, I mean, I hate to cop out but, you know, if it’s a cotton—you know, a Q-tip test, then we’re on our way but that has its own challenges and production, et cetera, et cetera.

PF Look, I think we gotta be real here which is like how many trillions of dollars are we dropping in now? If it’s gonna take another 20 billion to give everybody a bunch of tests that they can stick up their own noses or whatever [yeah], we’re gonna end up doing that. 

RZ Oh no. It’s coming. 

PF We’re gonna blow so much money. And I think there’s a fantasy that like, “No, no, well just phones—phones will fix this.” Like that’s always there. Right? Like, “We built this new platform.” 

RZ And what people gotta keep in mind is in China, you know, the platforms that exist in China are monitoring you anyway. Like it wasn’t hard to add that update. Whereas the ground rules are very, very different here. Especially with Apple. 

PF I’m a little more optimistic than you. I do think that this will be genuinely helpful relatively quickly, like within three months this will be—they’ll figure out how to tweak it because they figured out how to tweak everything. They’ll set up war rooms and they’ll monitor the traffic and they’ll—

RZ Yeah. Well here’s what’s gonna happen, Paul. You live in New York City, I live in New York City, and your ass is gonna get sent home for two weeks for no good reason. That’s gonna happen. 

PF Yeah, I know. 

RZ Buy maybe that’s what it is. Maybe that’s the price. 


PF We’ve been home for—I’m not sick now, I’ve been home for, you know, a month. Like it’s gonna be more of the same. What would be good though is just a little more fluidity. Like, you know, that ability to go to the grocery store if you’re doing well and then, “Hey, you should stay home for two weeks, you’ve been exposed.” That’s gonna be a lot easier. I’m just gonna turn on my home environment and be like, “Hey, everybody, I got the notice. See you in two weeks.” And everybody will be like, “Ah, it’s fine. Paul’s on Google Meet.” Like it won’t be as much of a freak show, it’s just everybody having to be home. 

RZ It’s the Q-tip though. If you got that alert and you can go buy the Q-tip from CVS. 

PF That’s the key! I gotta be able to walk into Walgreens and get tested within—

RZ And double check. 

PF Get my results in a day. If I have those two things: if I can get quickly tested and I got it on my phone saying, “Hey, you’re in trouble. You should get tested.” 

RZ You can attack this. You can attack this real fast. 

PF Then I’m home for two days. 

RZ Yeah. That’s the difference, right? That’s the difference. 

PF Then it’s like I’m getting a cold every six weeks and I gotta just deal with it, right? And then, God help me, I hope I don’t get sick, right? But if I do then I have a medical condition, hopefully we’ve depressed the number of people who need to go to the hospital and get serious intervention. I can go see my doctor or telemedicine. Like, we’ll be able to plan. But you’re right, it’s those two things. Like it should be literally like, I hit a button and the government sends me my test. There won’t be a postal service but somehow it gets there. Amazon drone. You know. It’ll be fine. 

RZ You know what’s funny, dude? We’re gonna look back on this podcast when Walgreens is selling like a generic hundred pack of Q-tip tests [laughs]. 

PF Yeah, yeah! 

RZ [Laughing] It’s gonna be like eight dollars and they’re just gonna be so shitty cuz there’s gonna be a fancy brand that others will buy but [oh yeah] then there’s Walgreens pumpin’ out millions of them and people—

PF It’ll be that generic Walgreens brand like plastic bag, that hard plastic. 


RZ There’ll be one for kids with like Disney characters on it [laughs]. 

PF No, you get your cough drops. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF I feel realistically probably now you’re looking at—like people are gonna be able to do stuff in six to eight weeks but like that really moving probably is three months. Like we’re seeing how long it takes things to get moving, especially—Sorry, I’m gonna introduce politics but just like the absolutely disastrous level of federal organization means that this’ll happen because a New York State response will emerge, you know? 

RZ Yeah, and then it’ll get copied and the truth is New York State has just a different—like the bar is way higher. It just has to be. We’re New York City. And the thing is you can’t dial it up elsewhere. This is the engine. New York City is an engine for a lot of the American economy, a lot of the world economy actually. So, everyone should pay attention. Right now we’re thinking in cities, states, and nations. When you really—if you turn it on its head and you reorder it, it’s really New York, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, like that’s how you should be thinking because those are the engines that power everything else. 

PF Well, and even that aside, right? Like, that’s where all the people are. The world’s urbanized which is why we’re having pandemics. So this is the—we chose this because we like that centralization; and we like the connectivity of it. 

RZ I want it to work. Don’t get me wrong. I feel bad that I was taking a big shit on it before. I think it’s tricky. I think you need the test. You need the test with this and then you’re in business. Otherwise I think a lot of people, you know what they’re gonna do? They’re gonna be like, “Ahh, I’m not gonna let anyone know about this. Gimme a break. I didn’t go anywhere. I got this yellow light now. I didn’t go anywhere!” 

PF “Yeah, I drove and got McDonald’s. How did this happen?” 

RZ Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. 

PF And that is the side effect of the anonymous stuff cuz it can’t like, show you on a map and be like, “Hey, remember when you like, talked to that woman at the store?” You won’t know who is the person who did this and you know you might think, “Ah, I’m just gettin’ trolled anyway,” cuz you’re gonna read about how somebody faked their Covid. 


RZ There’ll be stuff like that for sure. 

PF No, I have to say, it’s very comforting—like, we talk a lot about the new normal. You taking a hot, giant dump all over the very best intentions of Apple and Google in a time of pandemic. That is incredibly soothing to me as your co-founder. I’m like, “Ah, now, see now we can work together. Now we—” [Rich laughing] This is why—cuz you and I, people don’t know—like you and I have been having a lot of video calls and—

RZ Yeah. 

PF And a lot of empathy and so on but, you know, God dammit, we can still be miserable sons of bitches. 

RZ Oh, no, it’s absolutely necessary. 

PF It really is. I’m worried about our friends; I’m worried about our people; I’m worried—we have a good friend, Jeffrey Zeldman, who is recovering from Covid and all that is in my mind as well as the Cuomo [yes] daily conferences and the—the terrible death count. All of it. But God dammit! It’s just so much bullshit out there. It’s so exhausting. 

RZ [Chuckles] It’s—you need that, right? Like you need—cuz you feel like you’re in control. When you get to call bullshit, you feel like you’re taking some control back. 

PF Oh it’s like Trump tweeting that he’s gonna fire Fauci and you’re just like, “Really?!” 

RZ He didn’t—no he didn’t—did he tweet that?! 

PF No he retweeted somebody saying like, “It’s time to fire Fauci.” 

RZ Oh for Christ’s sake. 

PF And then of course the media has to discuss this as if it’s a real thing. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF It’s why you throw your hands up and you—[stammers] Historians will be like, “I never have looked at a society that just wanted to die so badly. [Rich laughs] You know even the ancient Romans! The Byzantines! Even this death cult in India where everyone was, you know, trained to commit suicide from age 14! Nothing! Nothing compared to The United States in 2020!” 

RZ Oh man. Look, let me soften my message: I hope this works. I hope it’s helpful. I think it’s one of numerous remedies here. 


PF There are no solutions! 

RZ No. 

PF Right? There’s no—

RZ Facebook and WhatsApp, that’s where it’s at, dude. Facebook plus Messenger plus Instagram plus WhatsApp. I have gotten colonoscopy results from Facebook. 

PF Alright—

RZ So you might as well just flip the switches, Facebook, and do this for us. 

PF Lemme tell you something, though, I haven’t been looking at Facebook very much—

RZ I deleted Facebook a while ago but still—yeah, but go ahead. 

PF I went on cuz I’m like, “Oh, you know what? It’s probably—if somebody’s got this thing, it’ll be good to know and let’s see what’s goin’ on.” And I made [chuckles] it like five minutes. I was just like, “This is a nightmare.” [Rich laughing] Cuz it’s either people kind of like—if you’re not in the conversation, and you walk in to everybody, it’s literally just, you know, “My parents are dead.” And everyone’s giving them virtual hugs and—when you see all those little sad crying faces. 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

PF [Laughs] You’re like, “I don’t wanna live in this world. I gotta get the hell outta here.” 

RZ Yeah, I mean I’m ok—I mean, look, for many others, they find comfort in being together on Facebook but—

PF No, no, everyone should do whatever the hell they need to do. Alright, so you know what we should do to take this out is, you know, say goodbye as friends as Apple and Google. 

RZ Yeah, let’s do that. 

PF Alright, so I’ll be Apple again. “Hey, you know what? I’ll admit I was uncomfortable with your clothes and your facial hair and your general approach to privacy and what I feel is agreed that denies the importance of good design. But I’m glad you came over.” 


RZ “No, it was—I’ve never been to this part of town—” 

PF “Woah, woah! Careful! That lamp costs 180,000 dollars. [Rich laughs] And actually the good thing that’s coming out of this is that our devices are gonna be able to interact but purely anonymously and no one ever needs to know that it happened. So I think we’ve come to a good solution.” 

RZ “Yeah, no, I agree and I think we can make the world a better—Lemme ask you something, are those slippers over there, is that art or is that—or are those actually your slippers?” 

PF “I’m gonna be frank with you, Google. That’s not a distinction that we draw.”

RZ [Laughs] “Alright, man, well listen, you take care of yourself. I’ll talk to you—I’ll message you later. Maybe I’ll message you [laughing] later. I’ll message you later a few more times.” 

PF [Crosstalking] “Yeah, well, again—Yeah, I think we have a really good setup here where we’re just anonymously communicating without knowing who anyone else is. Be careful because you’re gonna through the inner door, then the outer door, then the inner outer door, then the outer door. [Rich chuckling] So each one of those does require you to look into the scanner. So just be cautious, it can actually fill with a gas that can kill you. So if you have any problems—well, just move quickly.” 

RZ “Alright, man.” 

PF “Hopefully, I would love—Next pandemic, let’s do this again.” 

RZ “Alright, that sounds great. That’s really—I’ll talk to you soon.” 

PF “No, it’s good, I’m glad we’ve been able to build a little bit of fellow feeling. Your work is trash but nonetheless, I’m glad we can collaborate.” 

RZ “No, you should come over sometime. It’s really cool. I’ve got bocce ball, I got—I’ve got like, kind of a man cave kind of a situation. It’s pretty cool. I’ve got a [sic] upright classic arcade machine. Just a lot of nice like stuff to—to kinda screw around with. We could watch a movie. Maybe we’ll watch like Lethal Weapon or somethin’.” 

PF “That’s never going to happen [Rich laughs] but I do appreciate it and I hope you guys can fix the way that display works on Android. Ok, see you later!” 


RZ “Bye!” 

PF Alright, well, if anyone needs anything at all in any way, I’m seeing lots of organizations kinda [music fades in] throw their hat into the ring and say, “You know, how can we be helpful from looking at resumes to answering emails to giving general advice.” And—

RZ We’re here to help. This is a lot of change. 

PF Yeah, we’ve always been here to help and we are still here to help. Send us emails: Don’t worry, we’re not expecting you to pony up a lot of money to pay us for services in this exact moment. Although I will say, Richard, people are getting in touch and we’re building new things. It is—it’s a strange situation but things continue to move forward in our weird ass economy. 

RZ Yes, they do. And they will. And they will move forward and they will accelerate again. It’ll happen. It’s just gonna take a bit. 

PF You know, as Andrew Cuomo likes to say: excelsior! 

RZ Does he say that?

PF Oh, he does. It’s his favorite thing and it’s on every, like, state park, it means, you know, onward, upward, excelsior! 

RZ Oh boy. Oh God. 

PF Shirley Chisholm State Park? Excelsior. 

RZ Alright, fine. Fine. Excelsior. 

PF Excelsior! 

RZ Take care—


RZ Take care of yourselves, everyone. Excelsior. Be good. Be healthy. And we’ll talk to you soon. 

PF Excelsior. [Rich laughs] Bye! 
RZ Bye [music ramps up, plays alone for three seconds, fades out to end].