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The year to come: On this week’s episode of Track Changes, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss the top trends to look for in 2020. From codeless platforms to Product Led Growth we chat about some of the biggest trends in tech right now. We share our thoughts on new products and discuss whether some of these trends should actually be trends. We also talk about the craziness that could be 2020. 


Paul Ford Eat a Snickers, you’re like, “Wow, I really screwed up my entire day.” 

Rich Ziade I shower after I eat a Snickers. 

PF Yeah. Sometimes I use it instead of soap [music plays for 14 seconds, ramps down]. 

RZ Happy New Year, Paul. 

PF Happy New Year! Happy—

RZ It’s good to see. Happy New Year to our 56,000 subscribers. We can’t believe we reached that number. 

PF God! You guys are amazing. 

RZ You gotta believe

PF Yeah, you really do. 

RZ Is the thing. 

PF Turns out you just—you just podcast and 56,000 people listen [music fades out]. 

RZ It’s just amazing and it’s a testament to who we are [laughs]. 

PF We do have to close the company cuz we spent all the money on marketing the podcast. So, this will be the last Track Changes ever. 

RZ We hope you’ve enjoyed it!!

PF It was worth it. Granted, we built an excellent services firm that was profitable and worked really well for a lot of people but in the end just getting that audience and doing the marketing was more important. 

RZ [Laughs wheezily] The ego. 

PF That’s all. I feel good. 

RZ So—and we’re gonna share a little insight. It turns out that when we prep for this podcast we spend about four minutes. I say a few words; Paul says a few words back; and then we say, “Ok, hit record.” 


PF “Here we go. Let’s go.” 

RZ [Chuckles] Alright, this time we have a gift in our hands, Paul. 

PF Oh my goodness. 

RZ Gina Trapani, Managing Partner at Postlight, former founder of Lifehacker. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ Wonderful part of the Postlight soul. 

PF In general, just an organized, kindly person. 

RZ Who are slowly chipping away at—

PF I know, it’s sad to grind her. [Rich chuckling] I’ve known Gina for a long time and it’s sad that we’re grinding away at her but—

RZ Oh! It’s a powerhouse executive is coming out the other end—

PF I know, it’s true. It’s fun to see the beast [Rich laughs]. 

RZ Anyway, she left us a gift! 

PF Oh! 

RZ We were like, “What are we gonna talk about at the beginning of 2020?!?” She’s like, “I was on the bus and I wrote 20 things to look out for in 2020.” 

PF See, I taught her about the express bus and it comes back to me. This is why you share knowledge. 

RZ And so what we’re gonna do in a two podcast series—

PF Oh my God, this is amazing. We’re [chuckles] branching out—

RZ For 20—

PF Yeah, this is Postlight Public Radio.

RZ We’re gonna cover ten. Some of these—


PF 20 for 20 meaning like 20 concepts or ideas? 

RZ 20 things to look out for in tech [jinx with Paul] in 2020. 

PF Oh my God! This is content! This is content with ‘K’, man. This is where it’s at. 

RZ Yeah, I don’t even wanna talk about the first one we’re gonna cover. I’m gonna—I’m gonna say it: I don’t know what it is. So—which makes for good podcasting. 

PF I’ll talk about it, that’s my job. 

RZ Ok. It’s called Jobs to be Done. 

PF Ooooh! [Wailing like a siren]

RZ Now this isn’t new. 

PF No, Jobs to be Done has been around for a while. 

RZ Yeah, but the Jobs to be Done tipping point might be coming in 2020 [laughs]. 

PF Well, I’ll tell you what: you remember our friend John Lax? 

RZ I do. 

PF Yeah, John Lax is a good—

RZ A good friend of ours. Yes. 

PF And really a hell of a designer and a design manager. 

RZ A design leader. 

PF He told me—He was the first to ever tell me. He was like—and it was almost like medicinal. He’s like, “You need to know about the [whispering] Jobs to be Done framework.” 

RZ One sentence: what is it? 

PF The idea is that—Like, see that mouse you’ve got in your hand, Rich. 

RZ I do. 


PF Or actually, no wait, what do you got here? You got a NuGo Dark, real dark chocolate, real delicious mint chocolate chip. Let’s say you were hiring for a chocolate chip bar. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF You wanted to hire one so that they could come work at Postlight. So it comes on in . . . and what questions do you ask it? 

RZ What comes on in? 

PF The chocolate bar. 

RZ “Hey! Are you delicious?” 

PF “I am incredibly delicious but I also have other qualities that you’ll really like, like I’m really kinda weirdly crispy cuz I’m mostly synthetic and I only have about 175 calories.” 

RZ So, this is sort of a mental exercise that happens—

PF That’s the meta aspect of it, right? But the idea is to like get the hell out of what do I want and get into like what are the jobs that people have in their lives . . . that they [ok] need to get done. Your sweater, you bought it not just cuz it covers your body and keeps you warm. But because it’s a shade of blue that looks good on ya, and all kinds of things, and you need to wear it—you have certain meetings where that sweater is a good sweater. 

RZ So wait, Jobs to be Done is focus on what? 

PF It’s a framework for thinking about design that—

RZ Let me read it. “Jobs to be Done is a theory of consumer action. It describes the mechanisms that cause a consumer to adopt an innovation. So what are those mechanisms? The theory states that markets grow, evolve, and renew whenever customers have a job to be done, and then buy a product to complete that job.” 

PF That’s right, so you want a chocolate bar that isn’t filled with calories—

RZ But is satisfying. 


PF But is satisfying. And because you are worried about your figure, you wanna feel good about eating a chocolate bar instead of bad about eating a chocolate bar. 

RZ Ok. Next thing to look out for in 2020. 

PF I’m ready! 

RZ Hasura paren GraphQL—

PF Oh! Ok! So this one—

RZ Closed paren. 

PF This actually—

RZ Let’s give this one one minute, Paul. We are masters of this stuff. 

PF We’re doooown the rabbit hole. There’s another technology called Post Graphile, which is similar to this too, so bundle them all together. Ok, Rich, what’s an SQL database? 

RZ It’s a series of tables that have links that relate certain columns in those tables to one another. 

PF Yes. I mean people who are focused on the relational algebra, their heads just exploded, but basically that, right? 

RZ Yes. 

PF And so there are famous ones. There is MySQL which is the one that comes with WordPress [mm hmm] or that people use with WordPress, that’s actually owned by Oracle now, and then there’s forks of it and so on. There’s this one called Postgres that is just a lovely piece of technology, and it’s just an old, open source database that kinda does all the stuff you need it to do. 

RZ Ok. 

PF In ye olden times of, I don’t know, five to seven years ago, you needed to build an API, you might write it in Javascript then have it talk to a database. Even a little bit more ye old, you might’ve done it in Rails or Ruby. You know? [Mm] You do it in Django; you do it in Rails on Ruby and you’d write this code that would talk to the database, pull this stuff out, make a webpage, then API showed up and everyone was like, “Oh, wait, instead of making web pages, let’s make JSON Javascript that people can download and—” 


RZ So you’re getting further and further away from having to talk to the database directly. 

PF Well that’s the thing, everybody kept building layers to make APIs on top of these publishing frameworks [mm hmm] and then—

RZ Not just publishing, anything. 

PF Yeah, well—publishing I mean in like publishing pages—

RZ Pushing stuff, yeah. 

PF—to the internet. The thing that’s happened is people have gone, “Why the hell do we need all this stuff in the middle? Why don’t I write one little program that turns the database into a REST API? Cuz that—we’ll do it better if we do it exactly once by the rules, and then you define your SQL schema. You say what your data needs to look like, we’ll give you the interface, and then you can build from there.” The thing about it is you set it up right, you get good at it, you do a little data—

RZ Incredibly productive. 

PF—model. You have a working API that’s pretty adaptable in, like, a minute. Like, really there on your desktop, good to go. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And there are—

RZ And this is GraphQL. 

PF That’s the thing, it can be REST, it can be GraphQL, but you can use all the tooling and all the frameworks in the world that are designed to talk to APIs [mm hmm] on this little data schema that you’re building, and like [ok] there have been a lot of commercial products that promise this but this is a hell of a way to get stuff done. 

RZ And Hasura is?

PF Hasura is a framework for doing that. There’s another one called PostGraphile. 

RZ Ok. 


PF So, I gotta say: learning curves are a lot cuz you gotta know a lot of stuff—

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

PF You know? But if you’ve been in this—

RZ When you turn the corner on GraphQL though, it’s a lovely moment. 

PF This is one of those things that IT is gonna hate for no good reason and that engineers are gonna insist on using, and in about seven or eight years from now they’ll be like, “Well, yeah, no, we just used—” 

RZ Great, Paul. 20 things to look out for in 2020: seven or eight years from now this should really tip. 

PF No! No, I’m talking about enterprise. 

RZ Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

PF You know what I mean? Like, like right now there’s an IT department going, [nasally] “We do APIs using Oracle API server.” 

RZ Yup. The next one is Elixir. 

PF A delicious bubbly drink that gives you magical powers? 

RZ [Reading] “Elixir is a functional, concurrent, general purpose programming language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine. Elixir builds on top of Erlang and shares the same abstractions for building distributed, fault tolerant applications. Elixir also provides productive tooling in an extensible design.” Now, I gotta be honest, Paul, I’m pretty versed in technology. That didn’t tell me a whole lot. 

PF No, ok—

RZ Help me out! 

PF Ok. Erlang is—you know Ericsson, the phone company? 

RZ Sure. 


PF There’s a language called Erlang which was to service them. 

RZ Ok. 

PF It came around, I think, in the eighties. 

RZ Ok. 

PF It’s an open source. And it is—you can have a zillion processes running at once, which is great if you’re a phone company or a chat network or anything like that. But the syntax for Erlang was based on Prolog which is a not widely used logic programming language that from the either late seventies or early eighties. 

RZ Ok! You better get to the good stuff here! 

PF Open source, very cool, a lot of people used it. But like Java or many other things, it runs on a virtual machine, and somebody said, “You know what? We could be targeting the BEAM virtual machine instead of, like, writing all this Prolog-looking code.” And so they made a language called Elixir that looks like Ruby which is a nice looking, object oriented language that people—

RZ Very simple. 

PF But also just like people are fond of it. And you can compile your Elixir programs which allow you to open up zillions of let’s say chat channels, at once, and run them in memory on a regular machine, and you can compile that to the Erlang virtual machine and you can deploy that. So, instead of all this complicated, slightly legacy feeling infrastructure, you’ve got this really, like, web-optimi—Like the web of 2020 with lots of sockets and lots of things talking back and forth [mm] optimized platform. And it’s just kind of a hell of a thing, right? Like it’s just—

RZ Anything cool getting built on it right now? 

PF I’ll tell you about one thing that was cool: 

RZ What is that, Paul?!

PF Well, as a Postlight product, if you go check that out, it is a way for a bunch of people to talk while they’re watching a video—or just talk. 

RZ Yes. 


PF But like you can load up a YouTube video or a livestream and—

RZ You can talk about it together. 

PF You can talk—you can chat about it together and—

RZ Without logs. 

PF Only the last message remains and it actually only stays in memory—it uses that virtual machine and never hits the disk. 

RZ Ok. Fun.

PF So like—it’s pretty anonymous and pretty silly. And it’s really—We tweeted about it and people get confused cuz they’re like, [nasally] “Well how do I get likes and favs?” But it’s like—

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF This is for—

RZ It’s very ephemeral and—

PF This is for you and me to talk trash about the VMAs with our spouses. 

RZ Right. 

PF Right? 

RZ There’s a good—there’s a good Track Changes post about this and you can go play it: 

PF Cuz nobody needs a record of all of that. 

RZ Nobody needs that. Nobody needs that. 

PF What’s the next? 

RZ I’m excited about this one! Firefox. 

PF Ooh! 


RZ Firefox is . . . it had its moment. I think I’m gonna say about ten years ago, 12 years ago it was the browser. It was really good. The Netscape people or something went off and did a Mozilla and then Firefox comes out—

PF Mozilla is the open source Netscape spun out after it was acquired by AOL. 

RZ Right. And so, Google decides to go and do it. And they—

PF Well Google is like, “We need to control the web platform. We can’t let some other browser control our entire business.” 

RZ That’s right and they brought enormous resources to bear and Chrome is a quality browser. And then, you know, it faded into the background. 

PF Well Chrome also ate IE [Microsoft IE]. So Google—

RZ Chrome also ate IE. 

PF Google funds, you know, Firefox. They give it a lot of money for advertising. 

RZ They do. 

PF But Microsoft was like, “We’re gonna have our browser,” and Google’s like, “We’re delivering Microsoft competitive products via the browser, we better figure something out.” 

RZ Yeah, by the way, Google’s doing good things because there is the Chromium Project which sits underneath Chrome that—

PF Oh yeah, they’re just angels, really. 

RZ You could just pick it up and use it. 

PF Google, they’re great. There’s no ambiguity there. 

RZ But about three months ago, Firefox came out with a major new version that was—that it had two things going for it—

PF Let’s be clear too, they release a new version every week. They are crankin’. 

RZ But this was a big one. This was like a big release and there were two aspects to it. One: it was blazingly fast. It was doing a lot of trickery around, like, sort of the view area and all that stuff and it was really, really fast. 


PF You gotta give it to ‘em too because it is hard—People have optimized the living crap out of their web browsers at this point. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Like to get a noticeable difference in speed. 

RZ Yeah, yeah, it’s really fast, it’s really fast. The other thing is that it is very strongly opinionated about your privacy. And its starting position on your settings is pretty aggressively—Let me put it differently: you don’t need ad blockers with Firefox. A lot of the tracking and a lot of the stuff—

PF It’s like halfway there! It’s not 100%. 

RZ It’s not! It’s trying to find a middle ground here so that it’s not absolutely cutting, you know, slitting the throat of ads. 

PF There’s Chrome which is like, “We’re gonna show it to you cuz that’s how we make money.” And then there’s incognito and in between there’s, like, half cognito mode. 

RZ [Guffaws] Something like that! 

PF But that’s kind of where Firefox—it drops you in and it’s like, “Hey, maybe you don’t want every part of your body shown.” 

RZ I have to tell you: I have—we’ve talked about Pi-hole in the past. I use Pi-hole at home with Firefox as my browser. It is blazing fast. That combination of the two. So, it’s free. Go get Firefox. I think it’s—it is actually making a comeback. The numbers are startin’ to creep up again. I think people are also exhausted with just these blobs of data coming in along with the basic article. We’re back to square one all over again. 

PF Never underestimate the power of a great aunt reading something in Time Magazine and then the kid goes home for the holidays and is like, “Can you get that off my machine?!?” 

RZ Yeah. Yeah, yeah. “Look how slow it is!” 

PF Yeah. “I heard that they’re looking at everything!” “Well, they are, great aunt.” 


RZ [Chuckles] Yeah, “Here’s something different.” Yeah, exactly. Alright, next one: Gatsby. Paul, what’s Gatsby? 

PF Oh God. I played with Gatsby over the holiday. The more I played with it, the less I have an answer. Let me give you an answer though that I think serves which is that you know how Javascript is made out of zillions of little pieces now and they all kinda glue together and make a new Javascript program? Like this is what people do all day. Gatsby’s that but a content management system. So, you’ve got React components on the front-end, markdown files for writing your blog or website content, a lot of CSS and CSS expanders sort of built in the middle. 

RZ Mm hmm. 

PF And then you kinda compile a static website out of Gatsby. 

RZ Ok, so this is the big thing: there’s no database. 

PF There doesn’t have to be but you can call and talk to databases. 

RZ Yeah, but really it’s all about gettin’ up there quickly and separating out the content from the design—

PF Well, you know—

RZ—so you can mess with it. 

PF There’s a thing going on because it’s hard to deploy it all. AWS is big, right? Like you go to AWS and there’s eight million different services. Gatsby—the idea—there’s these things like ZEIT and Netlify where you’re kinda one command away from deploying. 

RZ Yup. 

PF So you change the markup file and you type, “deploy,” you know? Or whatever the Git command is that is relevant to your environment and now you have a Gatsby website that looks like a great normal website that can be designed however up online. And so it’s sort of like—it’s a CMS for that whole world except that increasingly there are visual ways to edit the content that goes into it on the browser. So it’s catching up with other content management systems. So it’s kind of a space to watch. 

RZ Ok. 

PF What else you got? 


RZ Codeless platforms: Notion, Airtable. 

PF So these are things—You know, like, Airtable is a great database that runs in the cloud and lets you do lots of database-y things and it has an APT that comes for free and on and on. I’m watching them, I don’t think any of them scale. Everybody’s been excited about these things for a while but I don’t think any of them gated it out of that small business mode. And I think maybe that’s great, right? There’s eight trillion small businesses. 

RZ I feel like this is just FileMaker. Like, this is just—You wanted to get a thing done—

PF Look, maybe you and I are—

RZ I don’t wanna talk to tech people. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ And I can get it done. 

PF Well what happens is the company gives you Airtable cuz they say, “Go, solve it.” 

RZ And you know, I gotta tell ya, the people who are willing to invest in it, it’s very empowering to the nonprogrammer—

PF Yeah. 

RZ—to be able to do this stuff. It feels really good; you feel like you have true control over the thing that you just built cuz you actually built a thing there. People have been trying to do drag and drop sort of like, “Lemme give you the tool that’s gonna allow you to practically program.” And it’s never worked. 

PF Or—the one I love is, “You’re gonna be able to describe your program in plain English [chuckles] and the computer [yeah] will put it together for you.” 

RZ Yeah well also, you know, the way they’re teaching kids to code now is you have to make the turtle have sex with the frog. 

PF Yeah, and that is inappropriate and terrible. 

RZ I’m not a fan of it! I’m old. And I’m sounding really old right now. 


PF No, but the way I learned to program was you put a turtle on top of another turtle. And you just waited for as many weeks as it took. And that was batch mode. 

RZ [Laughs boisterously] Thanks everyone! That’s this week’s podcast! 

PF [Laughing] We’ll call it there! No, I think this is a very meta thing, but like programming is a culture around the big SDKs and the tools that people expect and understand. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And Airtable and Notion and things like that are little worlds unto themselves.

RZ Yeah, they’re trying to give people power—

PF But here’s what you don’t get with Airtable—and this is not a criticism of Airtable, if anything it might even be praise. You can’t experiment with machine learning, that’s not what it’s for, but a large portion of what people need—Like a Python program—

RZ A huge portion of what people need is just to organize some things! 

PF That’s right but then the stuff that’s moving everything forward or that everybody wants to pay for or talk about or do might be like, “We’re gonna hook up this data science platform to this to—”

RZ Mm hmm. 

PF And it’s just trying to do that with those tools—Cuz when I was learning to program, those were the tools—kinda things that were at hand even though they were older ideas or older versions of the same idea. It’s impossible. 

RZ Yup. 

PF Don’t try to glue things together that aren’t designed to be glued. So cool, wonderful, use ‘em, it’s great, bring us your prototypes and we’ll help you make ‘em real but I’m just keepin’ an eye. Like let’s see where they go. That’s 2020 for me for those. 

RZ Alright, we need to disclaim the next one [mm] cuz it’s a client [mm]: Glitch. 

PF Oh Glitch is a client. I think 2020 is gonna be a good year for Glitch. 

RZ What is Glitch, Paul? 


PF Glitch is a full programming environment that is in your browser, go to and you are in there, and not only that. You know what’s crazy? You can get to the unix console in the browser. 

RZ Oh that’s fun. 

PF Yeah, like they give you a little machine to do stuff for and for free. 

RZ Speaking of empowering—

PF Yeah! That’s that whole damn thing. 

RZ That’s great. 

PF You can drop a SQLite database into Glitch, put a little code in front of it, and have an API running in like a minute. 

RZ Fun. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ That’s pretty cool. Product-Led Growth. 

PF Hey Rich, what about Product-Led Growth? 

RZ I’d like to refer you to podcast number 661 or whatever it is. 

PF [Laughs] Alright, it’s 2020, Product-Led Growth has had a couple of years to talk about itself. 

RZ Yes. 

PF Is this it? Everyone’s like, “Well, this is what you do. You do it like Slack.” 

RZ Well, what is Product-Led Growth? Product-Led Growth is that rather than going in and pitching the buyer and forcing an application down onto a population of users, you just give those users access to some tool, allow that tool to empower them and create evangelism, and have that population of users essentially be your sales team. 

PF That’s right and then you tell them how much it costs. 


RZ And then after the fact—you create their trust and you create their loyalty and you get their feedback first, and then after the fact you talk about pricing, you talk about [that’s right] how things—

PF Well, it’s like with Slack, there’s a free tier kind of forever. First of all, it’s Product-Led Growth kind of in opposition to Sales-Led Growth, right? Like that’s what we’re talking about but the other thing is: how will we know when this actually matters? 

RZ Product-Led Growth? 

PF Yeah. 

RZ I think—

PF Like can you go buy a Product-Led Growth toolkit? Is there a Product-Led Growth programming framework? 

RZ No, here’s what I like about Product-Led Growth: I love the idea of thinking that way even when you’re not selling products. When you are trying to essentially [it’s true] get a piece of software that you’ve built that you want your users within your company to use, you built an internal tool for like invoicing, or some custom tool. How do you get them to fall in love with it? Don’t just talk to the managers and ask them. Get it out there to the people. 

PF It’s also the fantasy, the agency, right? Because when we sell it takes three to four thousand hours. 

RZ Yes. 

PF Where we talk through every single thing that’s gonna happen. 

RZ Correct, correct. 

PF And that’s why we do the Labs projects and it’s why we do efforts because we want people to see the work and go, “Oh, they can do it.” 

RZ Yes. 

PF But the true Product-Led Growth of course is not that I’m gonna sell the services of the agency but that the product will sell itself. 

RZ Will sell itself. And so how do you make some—and really, I think, Product-Led Growth is just design in a trojan horse. If you design it great and make it—


PF God! That’s real. Everybody undervalues this, like not in the typical like, “Ah! Design! What’s it really count?” I think everybody knows that design matters but the sense of enormous physical relief after you’ve been looking at a lot of software as a service and you finally see the one that doesn’t look like it crawled out of a dog’s butt, and it’s just sort of like, “Oh my God! Adults were here!” 

RZ People commit to it; they talk about it. 

PF They know me! 

RZ They share it with others. Absolutely. 

PF It’s like meeting a friend in a crowd! And you’re like, “Oh my God! Look at that! They [stammers] didn’t put drop shadows!” 

RZ Yeah, you know, and we’ve implemented Salesforce and we understand its value but my God! 

PF It’s a four trillion dollar company. 

RZ Four trillion dollar company. Let me tell you why it’s garbage. 

PF Ok. 

RZ Ok, if you pull up Salesforce and just open that interface [Paul sighs] for the first time and there’s none of your data’s in there yet, right? And there’s just dropdowns inside of dropdowns that have dropdowns within them and what you see is the antithesis of Product-Led Growth. To me, what Salesforce is is Data-Led Growth, right? They are about, “Give me the thing and I will put it in the box for you. Don’t sweat it. Once it’s in there, it’s never coming out.” 

PF It’s going to be dictated to the vast number of users. 

RZ It is. And look, there’s probably great tools in software that’s been built—We’ve built beautiful, elegant software that hides away all the ugliness. 

PF [Crosstalk] I’ve seen great stuff on top of Salesforce but boy does it—it punches you right in the face. 

RZ What I said is incredibly unfair because Salesforce’s infrastructure at this point is not actually—


PF You basically just said like, “Microsoft can’t ship software.” Like it is bigger than that but at the same time—

RZ I just said the LTE network is a terrible Product-Led Growth technology. 

PF [Chuckles] The core reality though is that the experience of Salesforce onboarding is like a high pitched dental drill. 

RZ It’s unbelievable! 

PF Yeah—

RZ It’s almost deterrent. 

PF Well, they don’t care. That’s not what it’s for. And most people don’t get that experience. What they do is they get corporate login and they go in and they see their cards and they say, “Oh my God, I need to make 48 calls today.” 

RZ That’s right. 

PF You know where are the Glengarry leads? And you don’t have access to the Glengarry leads because you don’t have the right permissions. 

RZ Right. 

PF And only IT can give ‘em to you. [Rich laughs] Basically, you could do redo Glengarry Glen Ross just as a screencast. 

RZ Oh God! 

PF It’d be amazing! [Laughing] Can you imagine? 

RZ No, no, no. 

PF And it’s just like, “Now, if you wanna get to the Glengarry leads, here’s where you gotta go [Rich laughs]: go up to the leads category—” You know, ok, anyway, what else do we have? What else are we watching to see what happens in 2020? 


RZ Paul, I’ve lost count but we’re gonna do one more. Ok. And we have to say this because apparently it’s coming. It’s already kinda out there but it’s really not in your face yet: 5G. 

PF Oh. 

RZ Is that meaningful in 2020? 

PF Ehhh. So last year a very large organization—or maybe the year before—asked me to talk about how 5G was gonna change the media. And it was cool. I went into a conference room and told everybody about my big thoughts and so I did a bunch of research. First of all, the tech rollout isn’t going that great. Like, nobody’s lining up to buy 5G phones. 

RZ I mean, dude, what’s—90% breakout—do a pie chart of what people are using their phones for. 

PF That’s the thing I’m watching Netflix no problem on my phone on the bus home. 

RZ No problem. No problem. 

PF Like if you’re an urban area—

RZ Like, you know, do I need 8K video on my two by three inch phone? 

PF That’s the thing and it’s not only—it’ll be cool when you can get it on your iPad but it’s not like they can kinda jam an antenna in other—it’s like all sorts of reflecto gizmo insanity to make you get your 5G signal and, you know, I think, it roasts baby skin. I don’t think it’s actually good for the world. 

RZ If you told me we can finally watch Netflix on our phones now that 5G is here, then I think you’ve got a game changer on your hands. But it turns out we can watch Netflix on our phones. 

PF You know what would change things up is like the Google Stadia product which just lets you play video games right in your browser or in whatever client it is and you’re like streaming the games live essentially. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF If that’s the behavior that people have; if they wanna enter rich, immersive worlds with very high bandwidth from giant platform providers which [yeah] let’s be clear: if you’re a 5G provider [whispers] that’s your damn fantasy. But if—for your email [stammers]—I’d like to get my email much, much less quickly [Rich laughs]. I’d like to get to like—

RZ 2G’s coming back! 


PF I want like 4G Netflix, 1G email is where I’m at. 

RZ You know I wanna close this with a commentary, Paul. 

PF Oh, my God, as opposed to the rest of the show. 

RZ I think I wanna make a commitment to our listeners that we will pull this podcast back up at the end of the year. 

PF Oh, don’t do that because everybody always forgets this. But if anybody—

RZ No, no, no, no! I guess what I’m trying to say is we don’t know what that big thing is . . . that’s coming in 2020. 

PF Hey, let’s be clear from the last ten years: nobody does. People told me for seven years it was Bitcoin. Like it doesn’t—or blockchain or just whatever. 

RZ It’s not just that. We have not seen—what is the last big technology moment . . . in your lifetime? A big one, like, “Woah!” There was ten minutes and there if from now onward. 

PF No, no, no. 

RZ To me, I know what it is in my mind but you tell me what you think it is. 

PF I would say like probably the web two point oh like blast. 

RZ Ok. For me it was the iPhone in oh six. 

PF Yeah that one too. I mean—now I will say—

RZ Everyone scrambled after that. What have we seen since then? 

PF It’s a little more subtle but I will say web pages becoming apps has been transformative in our culture. 

RZ Absolutely but that’s 15 years ago. 

PF Not like now with React. I mean like people build software in the browser all day long and everybody does it. 


RZ But for common people they already know that’s there, right? I mean—

PF It’s like web two point oh, iPhone—

RZ I guess what I’m trying to say is like, “Ok, fine, cram another damn camera into my phone.” Like is that 20—are we looking at the era of six cameras on the back of my phone? Is that it? Everybody takes a shit on Tim Cook for like, you know, [nasally] “He’s just an operator. He doesn’t know how to innovate—”

PF First of all, I’m increasingly—

RZ “Since Steve Jobs we haven’t seen anything.” 

PF Increasingly I’m a fan of operators [Rich laughs]—give me—

RZ It’s just the Executive in you talking. 

PF No, just give me an operator, man. Especially on the other side of the table when you’re—

RZ No, fair enough. 

PF You know what? Actually—I’ve been thinking about this, when you really look at what’s coming, 2020 is gonna be a shhhhhhhitshow. 

RZ What do you mean? 

PF Ah! I mean, you got—

RZ Ok. You know what? Everyone, listen up for next week’s podcast [music fades in]: the shitshow of 2020! I dunno if that’s the title of the podcast but that’s what we’re gonna talk about. So hold these thoughts, this collection of thoughts, Paul, and we’ll talk about it next week. 

PF I can’t wait ‘til our new marketing person starts [Rich laughs]. She has to deal with all of this. 

RZ Delete! 

PF Ok. 

RZ Alright, Paul, you know what? We’ve got a great topic for next week, we’re gonna talk about the shitshow which is always strong. But I think we covered eight things which we’ll just call it the 20 things to look out for in 2020. 

PF I don’t think people need like an hour and a half of us talking about serverless technology. 

RZ [Laughs] Containerization. 

PF Yeah, that’s a lot to ask of an audience. 

RZ We will spare you! It is good to be back, Paul. 2020 is going to be an interesting year for Postlight. 

PF Yeah, I gotta say: we love to hear from everyone but we would love to hear from product managers, designers, and engineers right now. Boy, we are growing rapidly and we could just love to talk to people about the work—

RZ Yes, come talk to us if you are looking for help in technology from apps to platforms, really design, engineering, product leadership, product thinking. Give us a buzz [yeah]. We’re Postlight, 101 5th Avenue, we’re in New York City,

PF We’ll talk to you soon. 

RZ Bye [music ramps up, plays alone for four seconds, fades out to end].