RW174 - So Many Milks

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to the office of Patreon having a lot of different milks in their kitchen.

John is back from SketchFest in the saddle again. Since they spoke last it has been a couple weeks and their Patreon supporters are antsy, jonesing for their next episode.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Selling Road Work T-shirts (RW174)

There are two T-shirts currently available that will only be available for a little bit longer because this is a limited engagement. The link will be in the show notes at The first shirt is a an illustration of John and his truck and the second one is the Going Places Gang T-shirt. Dan encourages everyone to get one because it helps them directly. John has seen these shirts in the wild now and on the Internet because people have posted pictures of themselves and they are just as amazing as John had hoped. People came to SketchFest wearing these shirts and both shirts in their own way pop. A lot of times people will put two shirts up at the same time that are variations on the same theme and people wonder which one to get, but these two shirts are so different from one another and both so good. John is very proud of them and Dan did a wonderful job.

John visiting Patreon headquarters (RW174)

John went to Patreon in San Francisco because they invited him to visit them. That guy Jack (Conte) is in a band called Pomplamoose. He came on the JoCo Cruise and he and John played shows together, he is just a band guy who has a lot of like a indefatigable energy, buy now he is CEO of a company that has a whole big office with a room where you can bring your dog to work and 75 kinds of cereal. He was out on tour, he is untouchable now, he has moved into that space where you can't access him directly even if you are friends. He is younger than John, and he wanted to go in and give him a noogie, but he was on his helicopter.

John sat in one of those little rooms that you see in offices where people are talking and it has a little table and it is in a little room, like a conference room, but there is no air circulation in there and you get hot really fast. It is a closet with a window. The woman hoped no one would be in their meeting room because she scheduled it, but there were two bearded guys in there and she had to walk over and tap on the door. It is a big open plan office, so you need these little spaces to have confidential conversations and if you need a place where there is no oxygen. There is a window, so if you are mad at somebody everybody can tell and they are not soundproof either.

John has seen these on Twitter. Companies that don't have closets to build out will buy cubes like little glass phone booths that you would put in the center of the office somewhere that people would go in to have these confidential conversations. They walked around, John met all the team, engineers and customer facing, UI, the developers, and other names of jobs. She was very interested in talking to John about, it seems like Patreon is trying to create an experience for their creators and they are interested in how they can help and facilitate. John was there on a fact finding mission, he was there to listen. She seemed happy to see him, it was a meeting, that is what they call those.

John doesn't go to a lot of meetings, he only hears about them. At the end she asked if he would you like some cereal on the way out, there was a stage where you could get up and play, or people come and play. There was someone sitting at the piano, noodling along the piano. She pointed to him and she said that was their CTO and was not bad at the piano, but he was noodling. People were walking around. If John worked in a place like that, how do they know you are working? How do they gauge that you are earning your pay? You are wandering around, bouncing a basketball with one hand and solving a Rubik's cube with another. It is very confusing.

John walked out of there not being sure what all had happened. Dan says that is just called a successful meeting in San Francisco. John doesn't feel like he came out of there better or worse, it is not either of them had a real… At the end she showed John the kitchen, the array of what looked like parting gifts, like: ”Take whatever you want!”, but it was not like there was a box of Hershey bars. John didn't want any granola or anything, but there were was some packs of gum and she reached in and got him a pack of gum.

There were 70 refrigerators against one wall that have every kind of everything. There was oat milk, soy, rice, almond, so many milks. There were so many nuts and seeds that had been milked and put into cartons. She stood in between John and the gum and gave him one pack each and when she gave him the second pack he felt like he had already pushed his luck a little bit, so it did feel a little bit at the end like you would give a pack of gum to a kid on your way out so that your trip here wasn't for nothing. Why don't you take a Gatorade or a pencil?

It wasn't bad, though. John is still working his way through one of those packs of gum. Although he learned he can't chew gum on the show because it is too much lip smacking. John doesn't think that their show is in the top 0.1% of their of Patreons, there are a lot of people that are making $1 million an hour. It was nice that they invited him there although he doesn’t know why his name came up on their list of people to invite. It was a great experience and every time he goes to San Francisco he wants to have at least one illuminating tech company experience where he gets inside the beast a little bit, walks around, and gets a pack of gum.

John asked if there was Patreon schwag, like a sweatshirt or something, a tote bag or a hat, but she said they just had a run on the schwag because it is the end of the year and they were re-upping all that stuff and they will send it to John, but he believes that when he sees it. So this is John’s anecdote from San Francisco, it is not a story. Dan Kennedy has been explaining on his Twitter feed recently that anecdotes aren't stories and it is a great lesson for writers and storytellers to remember that just because you have an anecdote it is not all the way to a story. John’s anecdote doesn't really have an ending, it doesn't sound like anything actually happened, it was just time spent. Those meetings are scheduled for an hour and if they last 45 minutes…

It is unknowable to John whether the woman that he met with had ever heard of him and he is sure she has never listened to any of the podcasts. He is not sure what she was assigned to him. She is not the person that was e-mailing him. It was very confusing.

Open offices (RW174)

There are no cubes, they just sit at big wide open tables. Every once in a while a tumbleweed blows through and then someone on a unicycle throws a basketball at it. Dan hates those open offices. He spent so much time in his corporate stooge years in an open office and to this day he still doesn't understand. Cubes are bad because they are confining and they make you feel like you are not a human being, but at least you get to the semblance, the pretense of privacy because you got three walls and you are not completely exposed to the whole world, just your back and everything on your screen is exposed to the world.

You as a human feel like you can cower in some sense of peace inside the cube, unlike an open office where you are just sitting there exposed everything, you hear every conversation, you hear every sound everyone makes, you hear the sound bleeding out of people's headphones. Everybody that walks by, you see them, they see you, it is a distraction. Anything that happens where there is slight movement catches your eye. You hear somebody’s dumb conversation bleeding out of the conference room a million miles away. Open offices are no good!

If you are in a bigger company they are usually going to seat you with the group that you are working with, your team. If there is a team of 5, 10, 20 people, in some cases you might have a whole floor that is the group that you are in. If you are doing support, you are going to sit with the support group, developers are over here, designers go over here, salespeople, you want them as far away as possible. You don't group people by height or by interest in music or something. To John it seems like if there were a bunch of people in the company that like Classic Rock you could put them all together and then there would just be one radio playing at a low volume.

In general they don't even let you pick where you want to be. The more senior people who are there longer, the only reason they have better cube areas is because they are there and got dibs on better cubes. Dan has seen people literally standing outside of the cube with their computer under their arm and their monitor on the floor next to them, so that when the person that is leaving is leaving, they are setting their crap up inside of the cube just so no-one else can get there. Dan has seen that more than once. Lord of the Flies!

All the people that like to eat stinky stuff at lunch at their desks should be together, but that is everyone! There should be different airplanes for those people. Dan always kept his cube completely devoid of anything. Half the reason was that he could quit at any moment. He always was ready to quit at any given moment, any day of the week, any hour of the day if something felt wrong. The dead giveaway of when somebody was on the way out is that their cubes started… ”Didn't you used to have a picture of your kids?” - ”No, I never had a picture!” - ”Didn't you have a plant?” - ”No, I don't keep a plant in here!” A day later they have a five hour dentist appointment on and then they give their notice.

Dan learned that you don't want to give any cues to people, you don't want to give away your tricks or your secrets. When there is somebody slow driving in front of you, you don't want to telegraph to them that you are about to turn left because they will turn left, so you don't put your turn signal on until the last possible second, ideally after they have already started accelerating away. That way you are not letting them know how to continue to assault you by driving too slow in front of you. It is the same thing in the office. You keep nothing on your desk.

John likes that Dan has a nascent espionage thing going on in him all the time. It is a goal for Dan. He doesn’t want anybody knowing about him or knowing what he is up to or knowing his motivations or anything unless he decides to share it. Open plan offices are terrible, it is horrible. Every little thing, every little noise, every little movement, they are looking at you, they are watching you, and you are watching them. This was never Dan, but if you get finally into a position where you are a manager or at director level. Dan was only management or director or C-level at very small companies, so this was never a thing, but those people get an office.

This means you are in cubes that are surrounded along the walls and the windows by offices. This has two effects. One: It prevents you from having to ever even accidentally look out a window, that will never happen because the offices block that. The other thing is: The directors or managers who are is in the offices can stick their head out and look around and surveil what you are doing from a position of secrecy and power in their office.

John’s daughter's mother is a vice president at a pretty large tech company. She and her immediate team just sit at a big table. The only way that you can tell that she is the vice president is that she has the seat closest to the window, but they are all standing desks. There are people standing and it is a big table that ends at the window and she is closest to the window and that's it. She doesn’t seem to want to get an office with a door, which seems like the number one reason you would even try to get promoted at a job, to somehow one day get behind a door. She says that way it is much easier to work with her team. She has been drinking the Kool-Aid for too long!

John is behind a door right now, he is basically behind 32 proxies here and as many proxies as he can get behind he will get behind.

People unwilling to talk about how money works (RW174)

John just got a text from someone at The Wall Street Journal. She is really, really nagging him. They interviewed him and they want to talk to John about how a podcaster earns a living. The conversation is one that a lot of people in their line of work would be very shy about having with a journalist because they are all a little shy, just as people in music always were. It may be a thing about freelancers or it may be a quality of the Western world where we are super-shy about other people knowing how the money works. In our culture at least you don't want to be perceived as bragging about money at any place or time, you never want to say how much you earn, no matter where you work.

In some businesses, to say what you earn creates a disturbance in the force, but in freelance work and podcasting especially and music too, there is so much information that is hidden. If you want to know how many records The New Pornographers have sold, that information is not available to you unless you pay for a very expensive service called SoundScan. Record labels, other places, there are a lot of places that pay for SoundScan and if you know someone that works at a record label, you can write them and ask how many records The New Pornographers have sold and they just type it in and there it is. But that information is not available to the average person.

John can see arguments for why, but at the same time, if everyone in the world could just go on their computer and find the answer, why would that be a problem? It wouldn't create a problem, it would just be interesting, it would be illuminating. SoundScan discovered that they have information that people will pay for and so they charge for it. It is not necessary that the number of records sold be a secret, but somebody found out that they can make people pay for that.

But how much money bands make? If people knew how much money The New Pornographers made last year, it would be really interesting. What did Patton Oswalt make last year? If you knew, some people would be surprised that it was so little and other people would be surprised it was so much. Without knowing it, we all look at Patton and we go: ”He must be rich! He is a big star!” We don't know and honestly we don't know where he made the lion's share of his money last year. It is probably not on his Twitter account. He has done some TV shows. Maybe the money from the King of Queens in reruns is still the biggest earner for him.

Every single person in John’s line of work, if we knew where they made their money and how much it would be better, not worse for the culture at large, for peace in the valley, but that information is so jealously guarded. One of the things that endeared John to Sean Nelson when he first started working with him was that when he offered John the job in Harvey Danger in that conversation, he didn't reserve it for a second conversation. He said: ”I would like you to be in Harvey Danger. It pays $500 a week plus $20 a day per diem and we are going to pay all of your expenses and this is what the money is going to look like.” At that time it was the most candid conversation John had about money in his life. No-one had ever said: ”Here is the amount of money. This is the job!”

John would get a job and the person would say it pays $6 an hour, but even then there was some trick later on that you had to punch out for lunch, you could be here 45 minutes before your job started and be working already, but you couldn't punch in until 5:00, just tricks. Everybody's got a trick! That experience of of Sean made John realize that there is this protestant reticence about money in our culture that is caustic, that spreads trouble.

John understands why people don't want other people to know how much they earn, but it is more of a divide and conquer problem. If everybody in a company knew what everybody else made it could be a real problem, but it also might inspire the company to stop being sneaky. Why do two people that have the same job get paid differently? If you can't explain it clearly so that everyone understands, then something is up, something has gone wrong or there is something tricky happening. If you posted everybody's salary on the wall, it could create real problems at a company, but John is not sure what that is an indictment of.

John tries to be candid with people when he talks to them. When they say: ”Wait a minute, you make a living as a podcaster? How?” There is a major impulse in people in show business or freelancers to wave their hands and say: ”Oh, it is a mystery!”, or: ”Oh, we sell ads!” because of some kind of fear that people are going to not have sympathy for you, or that they are going to develop some contempt for you in some way. In particular, now that we have crowdfunding supporters there is that additional fear that somebody that is giving us $1 a month or $5 a month or $20 a month is going to discover that we are actually earning money and then they are going to resent them. ”Why am I giving them $5 if they are earning money?” This kind of logic.

Ken Jennings leaving his trophy at John’s house (RW174)

When Ken Jennings won his jeopardy a couple of weeks ago, which incidentally, yesterday he came over here and he brought his fucking. Greatest Of All Time trophy that is two and a half feet tall. He didn't have an explanation. They had already taken pictures with it when they were down at the show. He set the greatest of all time trophy on the desk here where they do their show, it sat there the whole time, but then he left and left it here and John didn’t notice when they left their room, but at 9:00pm he was wondering if that trophy was still down there. Sure enough, there it was. John took it up and was walking around the house, carrying this greatest of all time trophy, taking hilarious selfies with it. At about 11:30pm, he texted John and asked: ”Did I leave my trophy there?”

Now John has the greatest of all time Jeopardy trophy here and is thinking about going to drive down to Burien Town and see if people pay him $5 to get a picture with it. There is only one of them. If he went to the supermarket, standing outside with the Girl Scouts: ”You want to buy some thin mints? Want to get your picture taken with Ken Jennings’ greatest of all time trophy?” Which one is going to serve you longer?

When Ken won $1 million on television, one of the first things he said to John there at the studio was: ”I hope that me winning a $1 million doesn't mean that people stop giving to our Patreon!” Their Patreon has been such a big part of that show, a big part of what allowed them to leave iHeart media and go on their own. That company, as much as John mocks it, has given him liberty this year and has rescued him from a doldrum. Last year at this time he was $40.000 in debt and in a state of panic, and it was Patreon, a company that is hilarious that is run by a guy who is probably right now on a hoverboard somewhere, bouncing a basketball, solving a Rubik's Cube.

Ken says: ”What if people see me will win this million dollars and they say: Wait a minute! He doesn't need my $1 a month!” In fact, what happened was, of course, that the money that people pledged just went up. Nobody stopped giving, only more people started. It validates the idea that the amount that they are earning is visible to people and people are giving to the show because they like it, they are not greedy in the way that you expect them to be, like: ”Well, they don't need my money!” Some people think that way, of course.

John getting interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about how much money he makes (RW174)

The Wall Street Journal said they wanted to know how people make a living at podcasting. They want to write an article about it. and they ask John if he was willing to be candid about it? John thought about it a lot. He has the same embarrassment or shame or fear that everybody does about saying: ”Here are my debts, here are my bills, here is the money I earn, here is how I earn it from different sources, and at the end of the day, this is how much money I make!” The journal writer sent John some clips of other people that she had written articles about and it was hilarious because it is The Wall Street Journal.

There was an article where the artist was like: ”I quit my job as an investment banker because all I ever really wanted to do was be a potter. I don't really have that many assets except for a $4 million brownstone in Park Slope and I have $10 million in the bank, but I am wondering: Can I survive as a potter? Here is the money I have coming in from pottery and here is my mortgage payment. I bought my brownstone for $150.000 in 1987.” This is hilarious, this is a rich person who is doing pottery and this is what The Wall Street Journal considers to be a struggling artist. There was another couple that were like: ”We are 35 and we own six bars in New Orleans. Can we retire at 50?” The journal hires financial advisors who read all your numbers and then they offer you financial advice. The point of the article is that it lays out your thing and then at the end there is: ”Here is what you should do! You should take 5% and put it in a mutual fund that is keyed to the environmental index!”

John actually could use some financial advice right now. His only idea is that he should have bought Bitcoin 12 years ago, which is not a great investment strategy to desire to have bought Bitcoin at a time in the past. She is now pressuring John because she is a writer and she got a deadline, like: ”You were going to send me over your electric bill so that I could add in your electric bill to your bills!”, but John thinks he is going to go through with this, he is just going to lay it out there because he feels like, first of all, that him making a living at podcasting is kind of a miracle, it still is amazing to him, it is super life-validating, but there are a lot of people who want to get into podcasting and John wants to express to everybody that it is both possible and also hard and unlikely, just like music. It is possible, it is also hard and unlikely. You need luck, friends, access, you need a lot of things.

People don’t like to talk about money (cont)

John doesn’t mean to describe his own story as a heartwarming story, but it certainly has warmed his heart. He came to a place with the Rock music thing where when people would ask him about the about the money, he would say: In the end, after a decade of laying the groundwork and basically working for free, his music career arrived at a place where he was employing between four and seven people at any given moment, and by employing they were all working as contractors, basically. They weren't full time employees with benefits. John was paying five to seven people as contractors, he had relationships with half a dozen businesses that were collecting money on his behalf and performing services for him. Ultimately John was a small dental practice.

John had worked for 20 years basically to create a business that was on the scale of a small business of any kind. If you had a store front, if you were manufacturing something, at the point at which you are paying five different people and getting money from five to seven different sources, you are running a small business and that is what it is, ultimately. You are lucky if what you are making is something that you designed yourself or that you feel proud of. In that sense, a band and songs, at least financially, are the same as if you were making really nice tables or cutting boards or 3D printing little doll houses that you built. If you can get to a place where that is sustainable and you are paying people and you are helping them and you hope that you are creating a good work environment. That is what happened with the band.

Podcasting is super different, especially since John has 4 shows and if you include his music stuff he has business relationships with a dozen companies now, maybe 20. Because John is in business with Dan and all these different people, if he is super-transparent with The Wall Street Journal, then it is a kind of transparency that involves other people and he doesn’t know how much to mask who his partners are. These are rough amounts, she doesn't need to know to the decimal place what is in his checking account. How does Dan feel about that kind of transparency?

It generally speaking doesn't bother Dan. They are making an honest living, there is nothing sneaky about it. They show up, they do shows, and they get paid for those. The other side of it for Dan is he runs Fireside and people pay to use that, he pays a lot of money in bandwidth and hosting and for other people who help him with it. Anytime he hears a number that somebody makes or supposedly makes, it is almost universally wrong. Either the people will say: ”I wish I made!” You look on one of those stupid web sites, like Brad Pitt's net worth is $500 billion and it is like: ”I wish it was that much money!” It is almost impossible to guesstimate how much somebody has or earns or what that really looks like at the end of the day when you are talking about expenditures.

Both of Dan’s kids are in private schools now. They have been in public school up until this year both of them and they will be in private school for a few years and then they we will be back in public school again. That is expensive. Dan is making up numbers, you hear: ”This guy make six figures!” and you figure: Well six figures, he is doing all right! But wait a minute, he is paying off his student loans and his kids go to a school and you don't know what they are actually taking home or are able to save or not. A friend of Dan 15 years ago probably made 120 K, which living in Central Florida 15 years ago was a good salary and still is a good salary almost anywhere.

He had to borrow money from Dan occasionally because there were debts and other issues and things and he was helping support family members and his kid had a medical issue. You don't know what is going on behind the scenes! You think he is rich and lives in this great big house and they did live in a decent house, but you just never know. The other thing that you have to take into consideration is state taxes, that makes a difference. The property taxes here in Austin and Travis County are ridiculous. You don't know something like that.

Years and years ago when Dan was first entering the workforce, one of the ways he learned a lot about system administration and running Unix servers, which was a big part of his job in the early days and still is, was on IRC, Internet relay chat, where you would go in and talk to other nerds because only nerds used this at the time. One guy on there was talking about moving to California and he was talking about how good his salary was going to be. It was double Dan’s salary and Dan thought he was going to be fricking rich, but he was downsizing everything to move there. His apartment is going to cost four times what his home payment cost where he was living. There are all of those different things you have to take into consideration. If you just throw out a number, this person earned this much in a year, that doesn't really mean anything until you really know what's going on in their life. Of course everything is relative!

Dan is not a fan of those new Corvettes, but as he was driving around he saw this Corvette Stingray and was thinking to himself: ”That is kind of cool! It is a convertible, it is a nice day. I wouldn’t mind to be in a convertible!”, give me a 1969 Stingray in a heartbeat! It is all relative to the person that is driving around that Corvette that they obviously like it. We can't assume to know anything. Maybe they are borrowing it and it is not even theirs or it is their dad's car, whatever!

The numbers are never going to be right. What if people think John is rich? So what? Were they going to take money away from the donations? Maybe they will. John doesn't think they will. But even so. The part about the Sean Nelson story that really stuck with John, was: Harvey Danger had gotten a million dollars from the record label and a lot of people think that getting $1 million as a band, all of a sudden you are catapulted into this realm, like: ”Why are you even still in Seattle? Why do you still go to bars? You made $1 million at your band!” John remembers feeling that way because the rest of them, all of the other bands in town, were still getting $250 to play on a Friday night at the Crocodile and they were in the rare group of bands that were making anything because most bands can't even get a show at the Crocodile, even good bands, let alone get one and get paid.

Sean said: "Let me break it down for you. Here is $1 million. Now you take $350.000 away because that is taxes. Now you have $650.000 left. Your lawyer gets 10% and your manager gets 10%, so now you are talking about $500.000 you have left. There are five guys in the band and so everybody gets $100.000. Of course there are a lot of expenses. You have to pay for your van that you bought in order to make the tours happen and the van cost $30.000 and the band has incurred the following debts…” He broke it down and what it came to was that every guy in the band got $80.000, which was insane to hear it described.

Although $80.000 was a lot of money, what they both understood looking at each other was that $80.000 was in return for six years of work, six years of going out carrying your amps out in the rain to some little dive bar where there isn't a stage, where there is just a cement floor, and you set up and you sit there all night long and you go on at 1am, a bunch of hostile people blowing smoke in your face, and you play your songs until your ears are bleeding and then you get home at 3:30am and you get paid $20 split five-ways.

That $80.000 was just a bucket of cold water. Harvey Danger got paid $1 million, but Sean Nelson made $80.000 Also, that $1 million is a recoupable amount, which means that every record they sell, they are not going to see any money from it until they pay that $1 million back to the label. Because of funky Hollywood accounting, that is never going to happen. They are never going to successfully pay that money back unless they sell 5 million copies, so that $1 million is the only money they are ever going to see from the label. This is how record labels keep control over records for the rest of their life because they own the record and they will keep owning the record forever because you owe them this money, this fantasy money that they gave you.

Basically the band was back to scrounging a living by selling T-shirts and trying to earn money at shows, they are back to basically being a regular band who is going out on tour and the money they make on tour really matters to them and the number of T-shirts they sell every night really matters and they are not even able to sell records anymore because the record is being sold by the record label. They are not making money on tour by selling CDs, or they get a small fraction of what gets sold. It was extremely illuminating and John thinks about it all the time.

John is 51 now and he still thinks about earning money in the same terms that he did when he was 26/27 years old. Every dollar that somebody gives him, every time he opens an envelope and it has a check in it for for some amount of money, he is: ”Wow, gee, thanks!” and that is not how most 50 year olds think about the money they earn anymore. When you are 22, you're like: ”Wow, I got a check in the mail!”, but about the time you are 50 you assume that you are going to be earning money, hopefully, unless you get fired or unless your job is really unstable or unless you are a freelancer. If you are making dollhouses, every time you sell one you do say: ”Gee, I sold one!”, and that is how John feels always. ”Wow, I can't believe it!” The downside of that of course is that sometimes he looks at his bank account and goes: ”Whoopsy Daisy! Oh, oh, tinky winky!”

John is going to talk to The Wall Street Journal. We will see! This has been a good year. It has been personally validating, but it has also really validated his feelings about people that listen to consume the things that he makes. For 10 years there in the middle of his career he was living in a world where the cultural consensus seemed to be that music, the thing that John made, the thing that he worked for years and years to make, was a commodity that shouldn't cost money.

People who loved his band were looking him in the eye with a straight face and said: ”Music should be free!”, and if you countered that with some argument like: ”Why should it be free? You pay for books and movies and you pay for every other thing that you consume. Why should music be free? It costs me money to make. If you take it for free, I make no money from it and I can't afford to keep making it and no-one could!” People would just look at you straight faced, uncomprehending and say: ”Music should be free!” as though it was some kind of justice issue for them. It was so confusing and so disheartening and it was financially ruinous. It took a lot of good musicians and they were no longer able to be musicians and so they stopped making music and the music that they would have made is gone from the world because music should be free apparently according to the people 10 years ago.

The arguments that they were making is the same arguments that you hear in Seattle where people say: ”Big developers are ruining Seattle!” - ”I don't know, man! Somebody has got to build the houses and we have been fighting big developers and the houses that we should have built 10 years ago aren't built and now there is a massive housing shortage. I get what you are saying about big developers, but at the same time this kind of anti-development activism is actually a form of NIMBYism and it plays a major role in ruining the town!”, but the people that are against big developers feel like they have justice on their side and they don't take responsibility for having ruined the town, but they double down on hating development.

There are 200.000 more people in Seattle, somebody has got to build a house for them, or they are going to buy grandma's house and either tear it down or make grandma’s neighborhood unaffordable for grandmas and you are going to hate that, too. You have to think it all the way through! Just hatred of rich people, or hatred of development is not a philosophy. It is just a reactionary stance that in the end indicates that you don't understand how systems work.

The attitude of people towards paying for John’s work has changed (RW174)

To have lived through that period where people were telling John that the thing that he made had a lot of value to them, they wanted it, but they weren't prepared to pay for it. Now we are living in a world 10 years later where it is a lot of the same people who are a little bit older, who are willing to say: ”I am voluntarily going to pay some small amount to listen to this show that I like because I recognize it is my responsibility, or recognize that it is part of how money works now!” People are setting up all these things where it auto-pays to their Hulu or their Nest, and it auto-pays to everything, and it is not alien to also set up a thing that auto pays to the people that make the things that they like.” John never would have believed it.

During the music-is-free years he thought everything he does from now on is just going to be stolen from him and he is going to be told by some kid that he should make a living selling T-shirts, which he heard over and over. ”Fuck you! Have you ever sold a T-shirt? Do you know what the returns are on a T-shirt?” Basically people were telling him that his job was to schlep cardboard boxes full of shirts around the country and play for two hours in the hopes that someone would pay him $15 for a shirt of which when all was said and done he got $5. That was his job. They weren't going to buy his albums anymore.

John is so happy that the last year has turned out the way it has. He wants to celebrate it somehow in a way that doesn't… All this money talk, people listening to the show are like: ”Ugh, money! Don't talk about money!” because it makes us uncomfortable, which is some kind of Presbyterianism. John has no idea what other cultures do, whether in China or India people talk about money differently, more freely, more candidly, or whether it is even more guarded, and whether that is natural to human society, keeping wealth or lack thereof secret from one another, whether that is actually something necessary for the smooth functioning of human interaction.

If John knew how much Dan made a year he wouldn’t be mad, he would feel sorry for him. John would feel sorry for Patton Oswald. He knows how hard he works and he has a sense of where the money comes from. The only thing he doesn't know is what his checks from King of Queens are like. John knows that Duff McKagan makes money by the bail, but Duff McKagan is in Guns ’N Roses, thank God he makes money by the bail!

If you won the Super Bowl ball lottery you would have as much money as Mick Jagger and that is crazy. There are people with some kind of investment banking job where they stand in between large transactions. Their only job is to stand in between a telecommunications company and a bank, and because the transactions are very large and because of the way investment banking figured out they could charge a percentage of everything that happened, a very small percentage, or even a not very small percentage of this transaction between the telecommunications company and a bank, results in a person whose name we will never know, who lives in Connecticut somewhere, having as much money as Mick Jagger, a person who John thinks has contributed immeasurably to the cultural patrimony of the last 60 years.

For 60 years Mick Jagger has been adding a tremendous wealth to the world. You can point to what he has done and say: Without the Rolling Stones, without the cultural contribution of Mick Jagger, we would be living in a more impoverished world. For him to have $300 million feels right. For some guy in Connecticut who works in a bank who went to the University of Pennsylvania to have $300 million because he works in a business that figured out it could just situate itself in between things and just take a little piece of everything that goes by, and if people make money they take a little piece, if people lose money, they take a little piece, they are always taking a little piece, and that was just a trick that somebody saw.

The telecommunications company doesn't miss that $300 million because it is a $900 billion company, and that is the injustice, that is the thing where you say: For Mick Jagger to have $300 million is a thing where he should be rewarded because we treasure his contribution and probably so does the investment banker. He is probably sitting right now, high on cocaine at his desk, dancing around a jumping jack flash. That is pretty specific of an image, but it took you there, didn't it? Yes, absolutely!


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