Ep. 248: Decoding Overload
Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 248: Decoding Overload".
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Cal's intro (00:00)
So I figured that'd be a good deep question to dive into today. How does overload actually operate? I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions. The show about living and working deeply in a distracted world. I'm here in my deep work HQ. I joined as always by my producer, Jesse. Jesse, did you notice the change I made? No. The tagline? I missed it. Living and working deeply in a distracted world. Okay, because before it was two sentences. It used to be living and working deeply in an increasingly distracted world. And it's always bothered me because here's part when you're writing, right? When you're writing at the professional level, there's a lot of different components that goes into that. But one of the things that goes into the writing is just the pure sound and rhythm of the words. And, and increasingly, in and increasingly, to me, that's a confusing jumble of in and type sounds, in type sounds. It's sloppy writing, right? It'll catch your attention in your mind's voice. I never quite liked in and increasingly. It's just bad writing. So when did you determine this? I'm like a walk. I've always been, I've not liked it, but I felt like, well, we're stuck with it. And today I said, no, we're not stuck with it. It's my show. I can change. I'm writing. You don't say in an increasingly distracted world. I mean, you could. It's okay written down, but it just doesn't sound right. So I'm testing out. Maybe we'll lose a lot of listeners. I'm like, I don't know, man. If it's not increasing in distraction, what's the problem here? And they're going to stop listing and that's the end of that. But it feels unnatural to me, but a distracted world. Let me get used to that. Or I'll forget all about that change, be back to the normal. Let me tell you what's going on. First in experience in my personal life that made me think again about a topic for the show. So as listeners know, I had a busy period recently I was coming off off of in part just because I had a few very large things that happened to coincide. So I have teaching. You know, this is teaching takes up a lot of time. I was working on finishing the manuscript for my book on slow productivity. I was working on that really large artificial intelligence article for the New York art. So these things were happening at the same time that each had big time demands. And then that period is over now. Classes ended. The manuscript was doing some final tweaks before that's ready to be submitted. And the AR equals done. Right. So these big things were taken off my plate. I recognized earlier this week, however, that I was feeling even busier than I had been before. So I was would get into my inbox and be trying to catch up with things and email. And I would say, okay, let me just come in and clear my inbox and just be done or get back to working on something else. And time would go on and would stretch and stretch the other day I timed it. I spent two full hours just wrangling when trying to get through the inboxes. And then I went into the interview and came back. And one of the inboxes I cleared already had 16 new messages in it. I was feeling busier than I had been before when I don't have any of these really large things sitting on my plate. And that's got me thinking about the topic of overload, which I think is a critical topic when thinking about knowledge work, especially in our increasingly distracted world that we're in overload is a tricky topic. I think my experience is actually exposing the subtle nature of how overload actually emerges and what actually causes it. And I think we need to understand these subtleties if we're going to try to push back against this scourge of the knowledge sector. So I figured that would be a good deep question to dive into today. How does overload actually operate?
Discussions On Overload, Communication And Job Structure
Operations of overload (04:00)
So I want to take a closer look at that and then we'll do some questions about overload and then we'll switch gears at the end to talk about something interesting. All right, so let's talk about overload. When you get a work commitment that you agree to, it's broken into or we can break it into two different parts, execution and overhead. So execution is actually executing the work required by that commitment. So if we take an article that you're writing as an example, the execution is actually writing the article. You're at the word processor, you're putting the words there. The overhead is everything that goes around it. The back and forth communication to set up the interview with someone. I'm trying to arrange a time with my editor to go over these changes. The fact checker and I need to get on the same page. So it's the collaboration and coordination that surrounds the actual execution of the work. Now, when most people think about being overloaded, they think about execution. The total amount of things I actually have to do has piled it up to a point where I don't even think I have enough time to get it done. This is the classic understanding of overload. This is what students suffer from. When they realize tomorrow, I have to get this paper done and I have this test and I have to finish this problem set. And if they look at the actual work to have to execute, the writing, the studying and the solving of the problems, the amount of time required to do that is more than they really have hours between now and when these things are due. So execution, if you have too much total execution to do for the time you have available, can create a sense of overload. In most knowledge work settings, however, we don't get anywhere near the execution demands being too large. The source of overload for a lot of knowledge workers actually comes from the overhead component. The coordination and collaboration activities that surround the work we do can fragment up, can muck up, can make hard to pass your schedule much quicker than the actual execution can. And the reason why this is partially the nature of the work, not the time required by it. Overhead often requires coordination or collaborations with other people. This requires back and forth interaction. I have to send you an email, "Hey, what do you know about this?" And you send back, "I don't really know." You say, "Well, maybe we should talk about it." You say, "Sure, when are you free?" You say, "Well, how about Monday?" And you say, "Well, Monday's not good, but maybe Tuesday or Thursday." Like, "Well, let me give you some time for Tuesday and Thursday." There is a lot of back and forth that happens. And as we talk about commonly on this show, back and forth generates context switching. I have to keep switching my attention back to this conversation every time I need to service or move this conversation forward. Coordinate overhead also creates just other landmines on your schedule, such as meetings. We should probably just get together and discuss this. We should probably hop on a call and just see what's going on about this. And now you have this part of your schedule where in the lead up to it, you have to wind down what you're doing, switch over and talk to someone, and then you have a period after a while to kind of switch your gears after that. You start peppering your schedule with these meetings that overhead creates. That also makes it difficult, makes the environment difficult the past for execution. So you can fill up a schedule, making it so that very little execution can get done. You can fill up a schedule with overhead much quicker than you can fill up a schedule with execution. Most of the things we actually do in knowledge sector jobs, if you add up the minutes or hours required to execute the core work, doesn't really take up much of your schedule. That's not the bottleneck. The bottleneck is we take the overhead for each of these tasks and we pepper it throughout the day. And then we pepper this overhead with that overhead with this overhead. It doesn't take much before you're never far from more emails to answer, more slacks to get back to and more meetings to jump from one after another. So I think the state of overhead saturation is the primary cause of overload. And it's what happened to me. There was different small work commitments that entered my sphere of responsibility throughout the spring. I have these big things I'm working on. I got to get this book manuscript in. I'm working on my courses. Let's deal with this in May once all that's done. And any one of these things in isolation is not that big. Any one of these things, if you add up the time required in executing the task, it adds up to a handful of hours. None of them are outrageous in isolation. Most of them are important, but they all got pushed to this period for after the big things were done. And even though the amount of execution work I put onto my schedule was incredibly manageable, the overhead was not. And that is why I found myself the other day spending two hours straight trying to triage and service these requests and conversations. And then went away for an hour and came back and 16 more messages had shown up in my inbox. It's why I was finding days or is meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting with 30 minutes here, 20 minutes there, not enough time to get anything done. It's why I was saying, why do I feel so busy when I'm not working on anything? I'm not writing any chapters. I'm not going to any drafts of articles done. It's overhead saturation. The overhead will kill you way before the execution gets close. So anyways, I was thinking about this when I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal, which I think emphasizes that my experience with overhead saturation is not unique, that this is actually a widespread problem in the knowledge sector. So I'm going to load this article up on the screen here. It's from May 9th in the Wall Street Journal. You can watch this if you want to watch and see the article as I have it up here on the screen. This is episode 248. So if you go to youtube.com/calnewportmedia or the deeplife.com, just look for the video for episode 248. If you're just listening, I'll annotate what I'm showing on the screen right now. All right. So here's this article. It's by Ray A. Smith from May 9th. The title is, "Workers Now Spend Two Full Days a Week on Emails and in Meetings." Pretty self-explanatory, so I won't dwell on this, but let me just give you the specifics here. This data comes from Microsoft. Microsoft is analyzing the activity of workers who are using their business applications, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, et cetera. Because more and more of this software is hosted in the cloud now, Microsoft can actually watch thousands and thousands of knowledge workers what they're actually doing with their time on their computers. And they can actually put some pretty wide, draw from a pretty wide variety of data points to figure out how are people spending their time. So they focused in on what they call the most active users of their apps. What this means is people who are primarily using Microsoft apps for their business software needs. These are the users you want to focus on for this study. Because if the users are using other software, then that's not going to get picked up in the data. But if I'm a Microsoft shop, Microsoft now can really tell, "How do I spend my time?" So if we look on the people that actually use mainly Microsoft software, what they found, as hinted by the headline, is that these users spent an average of 8.8 hours a week reading and writing emails and 7.5 hours logged into meetings. So that's going to be digital meetings because that's what Microsoft would know about. That's two full days out of five. Two fifths of all of your time during the work week is spent reading emails and being in meetings. Now if you could guarantee that you would consolidate those into two actual days, I'll do that on Monday and Tuesday and to be completely uninterrupted for Wednesday through Friday, maybe I would take that deal. But of course, that is not how that time is distributed throughout your landscape of work. 8.8 hours of reading email is spread throughout the 40 hours of your week in such a way that you always have to come back. And there's you never far from having more emails to read. Same thing with that 7.5 hours of meetings. It's two hours of meetings spread out over four meetings today, five hours of meetings this day. It gets sprinkled and peppered throughout your schedule so you can get to that point of overhead saturation. We have one other data point here. I want to point to. All right, so saying these figures don't include instant messaging, time on the phone, or in prompt two conversations with workers. In all, the average employee spent 77% of the time they were using Microsoft software was spent in meetings, email, and chat. So that's the other data point here is during the time where they were using Microsoft software, the majority of that time was talking about work. Only 43% of their time they spent using that software was for quote unquote "creating" things. All right, there's a bit of analysis here. I want to, this is subjective description, which I think is apt. Both workers and bosses complain that digital overload is hurting innovation and productivity, a sentiment echoed in numerous workplace studies in a separate Microsoft survey of 31,000 people worldwide. A two out of three said that they struggled to find time and energy to do their actual job. So they struggled to find time and energy to do their job. Those people were more than three times as likely as others to say innovation and strategic thinking were a challenge. We have a quote here from the leader of the research team. People feel quite overwhelmed, a sense of feeling like they have two jobs. They were hired to do, but then they have this other job of communicating, coordinating, and collaborating. Folks, this is exactly what I've been talking about on the show for years. This is exactly what I just talked about at the opening of today's deep dive. It is the overhead of coordinating and collaborating work that is causing all of these problems with overload and the subsequent symptoms of burnout that we are realizing have become epidemic in modern knowledge work. It is very important that we recognize it. It's overhead, not the work itself. It's the meeting about the report, not the writing the report. That's really causing problems. Now once we understand this issue, I think it clarifies potential solutions. One of the big discussions right now of course is around artificial intelligence. We've talked about this on the show before. People are thinking, "Well, wait a second. Maybe what we need to help work become more productive is artificial intelligence agents, artificial intelligence powered agents that can help us do our work, that can help gather sources or write the rough draft of the article that we need to write or gather the information I need to put together this spreadsheet. This is going to really boost productivity. My point is, let's say even if that technology can do all of that, and that's a whole separate if, can it really do that? Let's put that aside for now. It is not going to get to the core of the problem that is making people feel overloaded, which is the overhead around these tasks. The needing to go back and forth on these nuanced, subtle, subjective, interpersonal issues about what about this? Do you know about this? When should we meet about this? Let me get your thoughts on this. Let me make sure everyone feels heard. This sense of overload is coming from this overhead, and that's not something we can solve by just making our software tools more efficient. It's not something we can solve by having an artificial intelligence agent gather data from us. It's not something we can solve by making the interface for communication faster, that my email is going to auto guess what words I want to type. All of that might help a little bit at the margins, but if we want to really get rid of overload, we have to start caring about, A, how we collaborate and coordinate work, how do we take that activity of collaboration and coordination that surrounds the work and make its footprint much smaller and consolidated? How do we get rid of the ability of even a relatively small obligation to create 30 or 40 back and forth emails and four meetings? I believe that to be critical. And B, we got a managed workload. We have to say it's not just how many hours is this thing going to take, but also what's the overhead going to be? A lot of overhead is unavoidable, so the secret is do less things at a time. I only have two things on my plate at a time. Now the overhead does not destroy my schedule, so I can actually execute pretty efficiently. And then those things are done and I can do two other things. And the overhead is small, so I can execute that efficiently and I get it done faster. And you know what? Those four things got done much faster than if you put all four things on my plate at the same time. Workload management has to be a critical part of this solution. And that's something that's going to require systems, that's going to require organizational buy-in. So I think this is where our focus should be, not how do we do our work faster. But instead, how do we make coordination, collaboration, and surrounds tasks have less of a spread out footprint on our schedule? And B, how can we have smarter workload management systems that keep less on their plate at the same time? This is not about doing less work. This is not a dichotomy between workers and management where they both have their own interest. And it's in the management's interest for us to have more on our plate and in our interest to have less. No, it's in everyone's interest for us to hold things back and only give people one thing to do at a time or two things to do at a time because it gets done faster. And the total amount of work produced per year is going to be higher. But it just requires a system and that's annoying and that's hard and we don't like change. So I think overload is a real issue. It's caused by overhead. Overhead is where we have to focus our energy when it comes to trying to find solutions. So I think that Wall Street Journal article makes clear this is a widespread problem. It's time to get more serious about thinking about how to get rid of it. Did you talk about overhead saturation in a world without email? That term? No. No. I mean, I definitely talked about overhead being a problem and the back and forth being a problem and a world without email gets into the psychology and neuroscience about why all that context shifting is really bad. But I didn't use that term. In my new book in slow productivity, which is coming out next year, I do talk about this. And actually the terminology I use in that book is the overhead tax. Every obligation brings with it an overhead tax. And when the amount of that taxes get to a certain point, you get the saturation. I sometimes also call an overhead spiral where now suddenly you're spending so much time in the overhead of your work that you can't actually get the work done, which means more work piles up, which means more overhead enters the scene and it spirals out of control. And I think this happened. I talked about this more in the book. So I won't get, I can talk about it now. It'll be a year till that book comes out. But basically a really short summary of the argument I made there is we tend to keep our workloads right at the precipice of that spiral out of control. So we say yes and yes and yes until we're so worried about things spiraling out of control that we finally have covered to say no. And what happened, this was exposed by the coronavirus pandemic because for a lot of the knowledge workers, when they quickly shifted remote, it's not like it doubled their workload. But it added a non trivial amount of new work unexpectedly. And since everyone was right on the edge, it pushed a lot of people right over that border. And that's why we had that phenomenon during that first year, year and a half of the pandemic, where we had knowledge workers at home who were doing zoom meetings eight hours a day, who were emailing until late at night and who who were feeling like they couldn't actually get much work done, it's because we pushed the whole population over that point where you get fully saturated by overhead. It's just really not a good place to be. And managers should really worry about this. I mean, it's a terrible way to actually deploy your resources if you have workers who are saturated with overhead. I think that's important because it's nice to have a dynamic where we can tweet indignantly about bad people. But the solution here is more complicated and the issue is more subtle. It's not just mustache twirlers saying if I could just get more overhead on Jesse's plate, my plan to kidnap the queen's daughter and get a ransom is going to come to fruition. It's not necessarily a mustache twisting manager. It's a haphazard work system in the absence of other ways to keep track of how much work are you doing, to have ways to hold on to work. It's not just on a person's plate, but in a centralized way in the absence of these smarter systems, we're just going to push ourselves till we get worried. And so we're going to push ourselves way past the tipping point of what's the right trade off between overhead and actually getting things done. So we'll see. I think that books take so long to come out. Like, I'm almost done with this book. Next month, it's called Transmittal or Transmission. It's where you pass on the manuscript officially from editorial to the production teams. And then it's a year. And it's a lot of overhead and publishing a book. It really is, guys. But don't worry, you'll hear plenty about that next year. We're working on covers now. That's exciting. All this stuff has to happen so early. Like, you need to cover and advertising copy and marketing strategy really far in advance because it starts so early. Like, if we're going to release next February or March, the meetings, the sale of the books to bookstores that are going to come out in that time happens pretty soon. That'll happen later in the summer, which means right now we have to be getting our ducks in the row so that the sales team can be, have everything they need to sell this book late summer for bookstores thinking about what are we going to place in early 2024. So the book kind of has to be done before then. Postion book sticks a long time. All right. So anyways, what I want to do is I got some questions that are all roughly connected to this issue of overload and how to fight it. First, I want to mention one of the sponsors that makes this show possible. That's our friends at RON, R-H-O-N-E. I've wear RON shirts for a long time. For a long time, including today, I've been a big fan of their athletic workout shirts. It's my standard here in the DC summer. But what I'm excited about is that they have stepped into the world of more casual, not formal wear, but not T-shirts, something you could wear to work, something that you could wear meeting people for drinks. And I'm excited about that move. In particular, we're talking about their commuter collection, the most comfortable, breathable, and flexible set of products known to mankind. So their commuter collection, we're talking pants, dress shirts, fourth zips, and polos. So sort of the workhorse clothing items of all of the overloaded knowledge workers out there. You get the RON commuter collection. What you're getting is their four-way stretch fabric, which is very breathable, very lightweight, and very flexible. You can wear the same shirt, the work that you would wear playing 18 holes of golf, and it's going to look great. They also have wrinkle release technology. Travel with this stuff. The wrinkles just go away, especially as you wear it throughout the day. They also have gold fusion anti-odor technology. I'm big on this for teaching. I'm big on this one. I'm traveling to give pox because I'm on the move. I'm up there in the classroom. I'm moving around. The rooms are often hot to have a lightweight, comfortable, breathable shirt that still looks good. It's not going to be wrinkled. It's a game changer. It's a really good shirt. So the commuter collection can get you through any workday and straight into whatever comes next. Head to roan.com/cal and use a promo code "cal" to save 20% off your entire order. That's 20% off your entire order. When you head to roan.com/cal and use that code "cal", it's time to find your corner office comfort. Let's also talk briefly about our friends at Huell H-U-E-L. As long-time listeners like to know, as long-time listeners know, I like to automate my nutrition pre-dinner. I do not want to think about what I eat or drink between when I wake up and when I'm done with the workday.
Cal talks about Huel and Rhone (24:30)
I want something quick and automatic that I know is healthy. This is why I like Huell Black Edition, a high protein, nutritionally complete meal and a convenient shake. Gives you everything your body needs in two scoops, including 27 essential vitamins and minerals and 40 grams of protein. Each scoop has 200 calories, so if you want a standard 400 calorie meal, you just do two scoops. Put it in their shaker container. Put some water. Shake it up. You've got what you need. It took you three minutes. You're back in action. You can save your money investment, your thinking, your enjoyment of food, all this like I do for dinner when you're done with the workday. You can cook and spend your time. But when I'm in the middle of a busy day, I like Huell. The Black Edition is vegan. It's naturally gluten-free. It's lactose-free. Zero artificial sweeteners naturally flavored. Good flavor. I like their standard flavor. Low GI, Omega-3 and 6 GMO-3, palm oil-free, vegan vitamins D2 and D3. They have nine different flavors if you want to experiment with what you like best. It works out to be about $2.50 for a 400 calorie meal. I do. I Huell when I want to automate. Let's see. Jesse, do we have... Oh, here we go. Huell.com/questions. I was looking for the URL. If you go to Huell.com/questions, that/questions is critical because that's what will allow you to get a free T-shirt and the shaker you use to shake up your shake. Get exactly the right amount of water in there and shake it up easy. You want to get those for free, go to Huell.com/questions when you sign up. All right, Jesse, let's get into some questions. Speaking of/questions, let's get into some questions of our own. Who do we have first? All right, first questions from Rachel, a 34-year-old executive assistant. I would love to know if you have an executive assistant and if so, how do you work together? Let's get a question, Rachel.
Does Cal use an executive assistant? (26:28)
No, I don't have a general purpose executive assistant. I do work with, off and on, special purpose assistants for particular projects or initiatives that are going on. If I'm in the middle of a book publicity tour, I'll work directly with the publicity team at my publisher and we'll have a system for how we coordinate to go back and forth. This summer, for example, so I'm spending the summer on a fellowship up at Dartmouth College where I'll be teaching a course and doing a lot of public events. There is a sort of a dedicated assistant there to help with the schedule because there's a lot of different public events and on-campus events that need some access to my time. There's an assistant there I'll work with and I'm working with her now to figure out what's our procedure going to be for helping to triage these requests and get them fixed on the calendar. I've worked with assistants for specific things in the past, but I don't use a general purpose assistant. I've tried it, but I don't do it anymore. A couple of reasons here, why I found general purpose assistants don't work for me. One is overhead is complicated. As we talked about in the deep dive, a big component of knowledge work is to collaboration and coordination with other people that surrounds the actual work you need to get done. It's hard to outsource. It turns out for many things, this is nuanced, bespoke, building on particular relationships and knowledge that you have. It's not easily handed off to someone. You have to feel out who's the right person to talk to. You have to feel out their availability. It has to be appropriate that you're the one talking to them. You'll actually consider the request. You're working with their calendar and trying to find times that works. You have to be the right amount of deferential where required. That's very subtle. A lot of times overhead or the back and forth of the information you need is bespoke and interpersonal and subtle that it's hard to easily outsource. The second reason I don't use a general assistant is third-party gatekeeping annoys people unless you're in a world in which that is expected. If you're someone like me, you have to say no a lot. It's better that you just bite the bullet and say no personally than try to have some sort of third-party gatekeeper. I think it's just common decency and there's some respect you're showing the other person. I appreciate this. This is an interesting opportunity, but no. When I'm saying no here, I'm talking about no to people that I know who they are. We're talking about opportunities that come across to trans somewhere. I get these all the time. Hey, you need to invest in my thing or come speak at my thing for free or whatever. If it's over the trans some, then you can just have a communication policy. Don't expect a response and you can just ignore it, but you don't ignore people you know or that you've met or that come from communities that you're a part of. They're part of your university community. They work for your company. They're a relative or a friend of a relative. I think their third-party gatekeeping can be impurious and I think it's nice to give that note directly. The third reason I don't use a general purpose assistant is my time is something I manipulate like a chess game. I see this day is kind of getting crowded. I want to leave this day completely open. If I need these two hours here, I just have a just salt sense of sustainable schedules versus not. I like to choose where things fall on my calendar. I have been in situations before where someone else has access to my calendar and can put things on my calendar. I hate it. I do not want people putting things on my calendar without me because they build terrible schedules. I'll tell you this. Here's the way assistants feel if they have charged your calendar. They have been put into some sort of high-tech digital game show where the way the game works is the more stuff you can fit into this calendar, the more rewards you're going to get. It's like how to be a or who wants to become a millionaire, that old ABC show from the early 2000s. If I can fit 10 more things into this day, figure out how to make 10 more things fit in. I'm going to move up to the $250,000 level and Regis is going to get the whole crowd cheering for me. It becomes a game where they win by keeping you as busy as possible. To me, the game is keeping things as sustainable as possible. I want to play my schedule like a chess game. It's why when I do work with schedulers for publicity or for the summer or something like this, I always want a system where they can present to me here are the different things, here are the different general ranges of time these things could work. I'm the one who says in the end, put this here, put that here, put this there. I'm happy for an assistant in that instance that then on my behalf, communicate that information, etc. I want control of my schedule. It's like a director wanting final cut. It's very important to me that I know when things should be putting on my schedule. I don't want people to do that for me. There are places where assistants work well. Executive types, C-suite types, college administrators, you're a president, you're a provost, your whole life is meetings. All you do is meetings. There's no, let me have an easy day and a hard day. You know you're going to fill all day with meetings. You might as well have someone just do all that for you. Make a meeting with this person, make a meeting with that person. You know your whole day is going to fill it anyway, so you might as well just have someone do that for you. It makes sense there. In Hollywood, people like to have assistants to do errands for them. I guess that's nice. Hollywood people, including some podcasters I know who live out there, will often have assistants that go to the store. This is not an East Coast thing. We don't really do this on the East Coast as much, but this, you know, can you take my car, get my car washed, pick up my dry cleaning, you know, can you grab me the burrito I like from the place or wherever and bring it back? And so I don't know. I think some people like that. Again, that's more West Coast and East Coast. But outside of that, I don't know, general-purpose assistants just don't work as well as people think they're going to be. So the right solution here, I believe, is just to do less things. The right solution is if possible, lower the obligations in your life to the point where you wouldn't even need an assistant. That's probably the better way to solve the problem of overload is reduce the load as opposed to trying to introduce another person into helping you manage the load. I mean, that's really, again, it's hard for that to be useful unless they're very dedicated. They really understand you and what you're doing. But for many people, it's just more work than having no assistant at all. So this is another-- I don't want to keep bringing everything back to AI, Jesse. But we talked about, I don't know, last week or the week before, this AI null hypothesis, which was the idea, the claim that artificial intelligence will have a minor impact at best or no impact on most people in the next five years. And my claim was it's possible that that's going to be true. We haven't disproven that yet. We haven't seen yet enough actual major real disruptions, not hypotheticals, to say that null hypothesis is not going to happen. I actually think the issue with assistance, you know, to follow my logic here, becomes an argument in favor of the AI null hypothesis. And here's how I connect those dots. One of the big interesting innovations of the first decade of the 2000s was the internet made it possible for you to have low cost virtual assistance. Right? So now you could have an assistant without having to pay full salary and benefits to someone and have an office space for them. You could outsource it to someone in English speaking Philippines and it's very affordable. And they work for a few different people. It's very efficient. It's all done throughout the internet. In some sense, this is like having a more powerful artificial intelligent agent than anyone's ever been able to build yet an actual human mind that you could explain things to them in natural English and then they can just go do things for you. A real human mind that you can say anything you would type into a chat bot. You could send to your flesh and blood English speaking trained assistant and they could go do these things for you. And you know what happened? That industry did not take off because even though it was affordable, people had the same issues I just summarized here. It's too difficult. The overhead on its nuance. It's subtle. I need to talk to this person myself. I need to control my calendar. It takes me longer to explain this to you than to just kind of do it myself. It's not that hard to book tickets. Just click a couple buttons. I like to select my seat anyways. And so that virtual assistant market never took off. A real assistant who speaks English is way more advanced than any AI large language model that we have right now or we can expect to have in the near future. So if even making that affordable, people who could afford it said this isn't helping my life much. It's an interesting data point. It doesn't mean that these AI models aren't going to have other things they can do that are really, really useful and do it at a scale and it's different and even better than a virtual assistant. But I think it's an interesting data point that when we were given the most advanced intelligence, more advanced than anyone's ever engineered in a computer and made it affordable, it didn't solve our problem of overwork because it's mixed up in this complicated nuance, collaboration and coordination and meetings and back and forth emails. And it wasn't really easy to describe how someone else could take that over for you. In all your research, have you ever come across any information on the growth of the virtual assistant world? I remember when it was big. Ferris pushed it really hard around 2007. A bunch of articles on it. The online community got real big on it. I don't know anyone who might be a handful of people. But my group appears, especially in writing and small business, or perfect target market for this. None of them use them. And they used to before? A lot of people tried them. I tried it. Oh, you did? Yeah. And I had the same, these issues. It's like, this is not helping me. Yeah. So out of them. I think that's a useful data point. It tells us about the nature of overhead. It tells us about what technology can and can't do to help us. I don't know. It's an interesting data point to keep in mind. All right, let's roll on. What do we have next? Next question, Dave from DC. I work at a research center where everybody wears a lot of different hats and projects are usually short term, usually six months. And most of us are on a couple of the time.
How do I write an effective communication policy for my team? (36:50)
We have been given lots of tools to navigate through this. Email, jabber, like instant messenger, matter most, open source slack, zoom, and our newest edition, Slack. My supervisor read your book and then asked if anyone would like to make a communication policy document to lay out the ground rules on what a communication happens, on what platform. So we don't get overloaded. I stepped up to make the first cut. Any suggestions? I thought this was relevant today's topic because communication plays such a big role in the impact of overhead. And I mentioned one of the two ways for us to tame overload is to tame the way that overhead made up of coordination collaboration, how that unfolds. If we could tame how that coordination collaboration occurs so it doesn't spread out so much over so much of your schedule, that would help the overload issue. So writing a communication plan for your company or team could be a good way of reducing the footprint of necessary coordination and collaboration. So Dave, I'm glad you took on this challenge. Here's some random thoughts off the top of my head. All right. So I'm going to write one of these things. I would say number one, email is for the following purposes. Announcing information that does not require a reply. Non-urgent questions that can be answered with a single reply, hey, can you remind me what time this is at? Are you coming to this event next week? I didn't get your RSVP. Can you remind me which folder we were putting these files in? Well, it can also be used for delivering files or other types of content. So you wanted this contract. I attached it to this message. Here you go. Keep email for those things. Anything that requires back and forth interaction, so beyond just answering a single question, this should be done synchronously real time, or we can just talk back and forth to each other in real time. Where should these interactions occur? Then option number one should be office hours. Everyone has office hours most days, maybe multiple times a day, on some days a week. Well, publicized, when your office hours are. This is the default. If I have something I need to talk to you about that would require more than one back and forth, I will come to your next office hours and we can just talk about it. I don't care what medium you used to interact during office hours. It could be in person in the office. It could be on the phone. It could be on Zoom. You could just have a Zoom office with the office hours feature with the waiting room open. It could be on Slack. I think it's completely fine to have an office hours channel on Slack where people could just come and start Slacking. The key is you want real time synchronous during those set hours. If the interaction requires multiple people, so you're about to use that CC button, you should have regularly scheduled docket clearing meetings for your team probably twice a week. There should be a shared document that accompanies these meetings. Throughout the week in between the docket clearing, as something comes up that needs to be discussed as a group, you add it to the shared document. When you get to the next docket clearing meeting, you look at the shared document as a group and you go through it piece by piece and try to tackle each of the items. This could be a big discussion. We need to figure out a new strategy or it could be a scheduling decision. We need to set up a strategy offsite meeting when it's good. Let me type that in our shared document at the next docket clearing meeting. There will be a point where we get to that. We say, "Okay, everyone, open up your calendars. Let's find a time right now." If you would have used a CC message for that has multiple back and forth, wait till the next regularly scheduled docket clearing meeting. If all else fails, then you can go to the custom scheduled meeting. You and I have to just set up a meeting to talk about this. We can't do it in office hours for whatever reason. We can't do it in docket clearing. Only then do you fall back on a normally scheduled meeting. You need some sort of automated process for setting up meetings. Either you can expose calendars with available times or just keep a text file of available meeting times for the next few weeks. You just email that to the person. If they select one, you schedule that and take it off the list. This gives you more control and it prevents the person you're talking to to having to go to a third-party app. I like that method as well. If you're going to schedule a custom meeting, that too can't require more than one message in a reply. We're never doing multiple back and forth over email. We're never doing unscheduled slack. Everything happens during a planned time. The custom scheduled meetings will be rare if you have regular office hours and docket clearing meetings. That will cover 80% of what might have been a meeting otherwise and it leaves the meetings that remain to be quite reasonable. I would also recommend in this shared communication document that shared documents and folders are heavily used to collect information that needs to be accessed or updated by multiple people. Never ever ever use your email as a knowledge management system. Everything goes to a shared document that you can point people to, that people can edit and leave comments. Other people can come and check. That technology should be used a lot as well. Do those things. A day from DC. Put that in your communication policy. You are going to see the footprint of the necessary overhead. This communication, the coordination, collaboration is going to plummet and it's going to make the same amount of execution require a lot less time. Nothing here is a fancy tool. Nothing here is you need some, whatever you said, jabber or matter most. You don't need anything complicated. You can implement these with the simplest Google workspace, whatever tools. That's not the issue. The issue is the processes that surround them. So there you go. That's my rough draft of a communication policy. All right, Jesse, where we got? All right. Next question is from Spiroz. Hey, Cal and Jesse. It's Spiroz from episode 220.
Does overhead compound exponentially? (42:57)
Remember when he's a live caller. Oh, live caller. I have a question about overhead spiral. I took on a bunch of small but new distinct commitments in isolation of them. None of them are a big deal, but combined they have been exploding amounts of overhead. It seems like overhead grows exponentially with each new commitment and responsibility. Am I onto something? Well, Spiroz, you are on something when you're noting that as you get more stuff on your plate, the cost of that seems to grow much faster than the amount of work you're adding. So if you do want to use sort of nerdy terminology and think about plotting the growth of effort required or effort generated on the y-axis and the x-axis being number of tasks, I would say that curve is nonlinear, super linear for sure. Is it exponential? Well, we were getting a little too fine grain there. But super linear, I think, is what's important here. What that means is the amount of effort required increases faster than the amount of work. So doubling the amount of work, the amount of obligations creates more than twice as much effort. And the reason is here is the interaction of overhead. So this all kind of comes back to what we've been talking about this whole episode. As you add more tasks, they bring their own collaboration coordination overhead, the emails, the meetings, the back and forth required to support the task. These overhead requirements begin to interfere with each other. So now you have meetings that have to fit around other meetings. You have emails that are extracting from these emails. And that begins to slow down the rate at which you're able to successfully coordinate. So if I'm only coordinating one thing, if it requires a lot of back and forth and some meetings, if that's all I'm thinking about, I can be locked in there. We can get that done without too much effort. If I'm coordinating three things simultaneously, it's not just the actual literal emails that have to be sent or meetings you have to go to, you're slowed down. You're contact shifting back and forth and you're stepping on each other's toes, which makes the coordination tasks even more complicated. So that's one way that you begin to increase the effort super linearly. The other thing that happens is you pretty soon start taking up so much of your schedule that the execution of the work slows down. I have so many meetings that I have to keep checking emails so often. The time it requires me to actually finish the things slows down. And an interesting property of overhead is that it's persistent so long as the task remains open. So it's not like this work has 45 minutes overhead. And once that's done, it's done. No, no, it's you have roughly this rate of overhead per week for this task until you get it off your plate. So as you get more and more overhead stacked up, the work that you're trying to do stretches out. And so this overhead follows that work and it keeps stretching it out, right? So it just lowers the rate at which you're able to execute. And then more work is going to pile up behind because you're not getting things done fast enough that creates more overhead. So there is this feedback loop effect overhead. It doesn't take much before you have this serious cost on how long it takes to do work. And again, it's such an important point because so often, especially the management types, think about work like a computer processor. Why not just fill up this queue with all of these op codes that are coming up so that we're ready to go as soon as you finish something, there's always something you can work on. But that's not the way it actually operates in the human brain. The idea of like, let's just keep your plate super full so you're never bored. It doesn't work because the stuff on your plate in this metaphor is also putting off noxious fumes that's making you nauseous. It's a pretty good metaphor, right, Jesse? Like you're trying to eat the food. You're trying to eat the food. But the food's putting off fumes that's making you nauseous and it slows down how fast you eat the food. And the waiter keeps bringing more stuff over. And I think that's what's happening here. And we're not taking that into account is that it's not costless to have a lot of work piled up. The support of that work piled up, whether you're executing the moment or not, takes up your time and then you can't execute as much. And so the actual rate at which you accomplish stuff really does go down. Again, it is an ineffective way to deploy cognitive resources. If we're going to be purely economic, to run a knowledge work sector by saying, let's just pile as much work as possible on your plate. And that way you'll always have something to do makes no sense. You're robbing Peter to pay Paul the rate at which actual work gets done goes down. If you had a way to have a central holding tank for obligations and I only gave you one at a time, maybe in the moment you're frustrated. She's like, look, all these things over here, no one's working on. But here's the real question. How long does it take before everything in this holding tank is done? Way less time than if you start by just giving that all to people from the beginning. You want that overhead to be isolated from your workers until they really can put all their attention on executing that. Workload management is the biggest thing we're not thinking about a knowledge work. To become away with one thing from this episode, it should be that message. Workload management is at the core of the burnout crisis. All right, Jesse, what do we got next? Next question is from Chris, a 19 year old student from California. I really enjoyed your deep dive on the different types of stress and have been thinking about how I can factor sit in to creating a career that will allow me to have a deep life.
How rare are high expectation/low overhead jobs? (48:19)
I have a high tolerance for delivering on expectations, a moderate tolerance for uncertainty, and a low tolerance for overload. What type of knowledge work jobs would match these preferences? Well, Chris, your profile is similar to mine. For people who don't remember the episode he's referencing, we did an episode where we talked about different sources of stress and knowledge work. And why it's important to understand which stresses are more poignant for you than others, because that helps in your design of your career. You want to design it to be away from the sources of stress that in particular, push your buttons. So Chris is saying, I have a low tolerance for overload, but a high tolerance for expectations. Hey, you get this done. You get good. I don't care how you do it, but we're definitely going to evaluate what you do and it better be great. But meanwhile, you're on your own. That's the profile he likes. That's the profile I like as well. It's stressful because you got to produce. Here's the money. Write me a book. This book better be good, but we're not going to bother you till you're done. You got to produce, but you'll be left alone until you do it. So Chris, what I'll tell you, you're only 19, it says here. So you got some time. I have to say jobs that are at the extreme ends of that, tend to be creative endeavors. So like book writing, screenwriting, art, computer programming, et cetera, where you go and apply a skill to create something that is then unambiguously assigned to value. Do people buy this book? Does this movie make a lot of money? Is this program something that works really well and solves a problem people want? Those are the endeavors where you can get low overhead high expectation. You can get that particular trade off. These can be tough markets. These are winner take all markets, right? You have to be really good and you can't bluff your way out of not being good. You can't bluff your way out of being not good by busyness, by responding to a lot of email threads, by volunteering vocally, by just sort of being around a lot in the office. These pseudo productive strategies, which are very common in knowledge work, don't work if you're in a high expectation low overhead type of profession. On the other hand, these professions are great if you succeed, especially if that matches your type. If you're rewarding, winner take all market, tends to reward the people towards the top and it gives you that nice balance. So I'm telling you that, that you're going to have to really take some care to orient yourself towards one of those jobs. It is very difficult to take a standard knowledge work job and re-engineer it into a job with low overhead but high expectations for performance. Most jobs are essentially set up in such a way that they will not, they're not able to support that particular balance. You have to be thinking as you come out of college, you have to be putting yourself onto a rarefied career track, probably focused on high skill creative production that makes that trade off possible, which means right now you need to be focused on skill skill skill. Deliberate practice of the skills that matter, learning from mentors about how the industry that you care about actually works, what separates the good from the bad, making sure you're not writing your own rules about how you want that world to work, but figuring out how it actually works. That's what you should be focusing on now because the paths that are going to give you that trade off as I've learned are not very common. All right, let's do one more question, Josie. Sounds good. We got a question from Megan, a 30 year old preacher from Arkansas. What do I do after my deep work session? I have a job with incredibly minimal overhead, so shall work is rare.
My job has few shallow obligations. What should I do with my free time? (51:55)
After my deep work is done, I still have other projects I could work on, but is it effective to go beyond the deep work limit of four hours? So, Chris, that's the job you need. Megan's become a preacher in Arkansas. I put this question in here in part because look what happens when, through whatever happens to answer the job construction, you strip out overhead. There's not a lot of coordination or collaboration you have to do. The amount of time it actually takes to do the key work well, it's not that much. Three, four hours a day, Megan is delivering sounds like everything she needs to. And so I want to, before I even give any useful advice to Megan, I just want to underline this idea that the actual amount of hours to produce a good amount of value is small. And most of what we do, like we saw in that Microsoft data from the top of the show, is servicing work with unnecessary haphazard complexity and schedule impacts. I think that's why so many knowledge workers are frustrated because we know deep down, we could strip away this haphazard, scheduled, destroying nonsense. The actual stuff we do that matters, it's going to take three hours a day. We're going to be like Megan. We're going to be wondering, well, what should I do with the rest of my time? Megan, for you in particular, look, you're getting the stuff you need to get done well. Don't add overhead in there. Don't not shallow work. You can add another endeavor onto your plate. Maybe it's a secondary professional endeavor. Maybe it's a serious personal endeavor, something in the community or in yourself that you want to invest in. But I would say enjoy it and don't feel guilty. You're working probably harder on stuff that matters than most of your really busy friends. You're just avoiding the nonsense stuff. And there's no valor in the nonsense. There's no valor in the two hours I spent in my email inbox. There's no valor in the, let's just hop on a call and check in type zoom where nothing actually gets done. There's no valor in that. There's no craft in that. That is just the side effect of approaching this type of work with very little structure or foresight into what makes sense. That's an accident. It's a car crash that we can't look away from as we drive past. So don't feel bad that you're only working four hours a day. That's more by far than what most people are actually probably getting done. All right, well, I want to talk about something interesting, switch gears. But before we do, let's briefly mention another sponsor that makes this show possible. So friend at Zock Doc, Zock Doc is the only free app that lets you find and book doctors who are patient reviewed, take your insurance are available when you need them and treat almost any condition under the sun. You know, I'm of an age now where people I know have a lot of reasons to see various medical care professionals as you get towards middle age, a lot of stuff goes wrong. I need a dentist. I need a dermatologist. Oh, my primary care doctor just left. That just happened to me by the way. My primary care doctor is leaving the practice. So what's going on? Retiring. He's switching to like a concierge practice somewhere, but not near my house. So I'll be Zock docking soon, right? But this happens, right? How do I find a doctor? And what we typically do is I don't know, ask a friend and see if that person's available or not. They don't think your insurance. The other Zock Doc comes in. It's an app that says we've invented the internet. Don't we think we should use the internet to solve this problem? You're looking for a new primary care physician, Kyle. Do a search for your area with your insurance for doctors who are taking patients. Pick a couple whose location looks good and then read reviews from real patients.
Cal talks about Zocdoc and Blinkist (55:30)
Oh, people really like this practice. Click the button. We got a new doctor to reach out to and you get what you're looking for. It makes so much more sense than just asking if you random people, hey, who do you use and just hoping that they actually have availability. I also like that once you are in the Zock Doc ecosystem, their software makes it easy to deal with that professional. You can do paperwork and check in for your appointments and do stuff online or ahead of time. That makes it really easy as well. So go to zockdoc.com/deep and download the Zock Doc app for free. Then find a book, a top rated doctor today, many available within only 24 hours. This is zocdoc.com/deep. I also want to mention our longtime sponsors at Blinkist. The Blinkist app enables you to understand the most important things from over 5,500 nonfiction books and podcasts in just 15 minutes. So you're interested in a book. If you subscribe to Blinkist, you get a short summary of that book called the Blink. It'll take you 15 minutes. You can read it or listen to it. And now you have all the main ideas interested in a long podcast interview. Hey, should I listen to that? Get the Blink 15 minutes summary of the main points. What I like about this is that it allows you to triage books. It allows you to figure out, hey, should I read this book or not? Let me just go through the Blink. Get the main ideas. I've heard that before. Let me read this one. Oh, that sounds interesting. Let me buy that book. I think of Blinkist as a sidekick in trying to actually cultivate a deep reading life. That's how I use it. It's how Jesse uses it. Jesse, right? You keep your list of books that you're interested in reading. And then when you try to, it's time for you to buy a new book, you will take the things from the top of the list, download or listen to the blinks, and use that to determine which one you actually buy. Yeah, just go to the app and read about and then go from there. Now are you a read the Blink type of guy or listen to the Blink type of guy? Read. You're a read the Blink type of guy. I'm a listen to the Blink type of guy because I have a lot of downtime where I'm, I don't know, folding laundry or commuting. And so it's like, great, I can listen to this Blink on the fly. Yeah, it's a good point. I should factor that end. But I read faster than I listen because you can kind of skim. Yeah. But so you're right. I guess I listen if I'm on my way to the car. Like, why don't I just like load up this Blink? I just heard about this book or I don't know if this is good traffic safety. You hear an author mention like on NPR, you're in the car. And then at the next stoplight for sure people stop light, the cars fully stop. You can be like, let me just get the Blink for that book and listen to it. And just like right there in the car, I don't usually get all the way through the Blink. I usually can tell pretty quickly. It's pretty effective. Yeah. Especially if it's a book I don't want to read, the Blink's do a very good job of making that. Not that they're being negative, but it's just, they're clear. But I know what I like and don't like. And so like pretty quickly with a Blink, I could say, oh, I know what that looks like. Yep. I've read that before. No, no, no, I'm not going to read that. So it's cool technology. They also have this new thing called Blink is Connect that allows you to share your premium account with and get two premium subscribers for the subscriptions for the price of one. So the Blink is Connect, you can share your account with someone you think might like the service. So that's cool. So right now Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to Blinkist.com/deep to start your seven day free trial and get 25% off a Blinkist premium membership as Blinkist spelled BLINK IST Blinkist.com/deep to get 25% off any seven day free trial Blinkist.com/deep. And remember for a limited time you can use Blinkist Connect to share your premium account. You'll get two premium subscriptions for the price of one. All right. Well, at the end of the show, I often like to do a segment that I call something interesting. I just take a cool or interesting thing that someone email to my firstname.lastname@example.org inbox and we talk about it on the show.
Social Media Predictions
The future of social media is less social (59:57)
Today, I want to load up an article. Someone sent me this came from the New York Times, the date of this article is April 19th. I'll pull this up on the screen. If you want to watch, go to youtube.com/calnewportmedia. This is the end of episode 248. This article is called The Future of Social Media is a lot less social. The subtitle reads Facebook, TikTok and Twitter seem to be increasingly connecting users with brands and influencers to restore a sense of community. Some users are trying smaller social networks. Well, Jesse, I've been talking about this for many years. My very first article for The New Yorker in 2019 was titled, "Can indie social media save us?" I've done quite a few podcast segments and articles since then. This is my view of the future of social media on the internet. Many more platforms, many more models for these platforms, subscription based, not all just advertising based. The idea, the appeal of these platforms is going to be more of a focus on particular niche audiences or topics. People are going to have a stronger connection to these platforms because of that. There will actually no people on there. These connections will feel richer. There won't be any particular dominant platform that people feel a social obligation that they have to use it. This article is making that point. As these existing platforms move more towards the distraction, let's just get you information we think you want to see, people will go elsewhere for social connection. I wrote a piece that got out the core of these dynamics with The New Yorker piece from last summer. It was called TikTok in the fall of the social media giants. That was the core dynamic I uncovered in that article is that TikTok, which has no real reliance on social connections or social graphs, it just feeds you content. You don't care where it's from. It just feeds you stuff that thinks you will like and it learns from you to get better and better at speeding you those things. As TikTok got more successful, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they've moved their model towards that, let's feed you the most distracting possible information because you get more engagement in the moment. It's a sugar high attention capture. By doing that, they made their platforms much less about people you know or interesting people curating each other and extracting this sort of hubris cybernetic curation, trying to extract really interesting articles that are floating around Twitter and became much more just look at this, look at that, look at this. Here's a nice look at this person moving in a weird way. This is the sound, doesn't that sound really interesting. By doing so, they got rid of any sort of first mover advantage. They got rid of any sort of hard to compete with social network based model that no one else can come along and replicate. They're all just now purveyors of what they think is the most interesting possible information. That is I argued the precursor of that whole monopoly era of social media starting to crumble in it's that will be many, many more smaller social applications and apps and networks. Meanwhile the big money is going to be in these distraction plays and that's just going to be flavor of the week. Thick talk is popular right now. A year from now it won't be tick-tock, it'll be something else doing some other sort of crazy thing. Eventually, it'll just be some app that you plug a wire into your brain stem and it just like makes you feel good. And then after a while, we realized we already solved this problem in the 60s. It was called heroin. We'll just cut out the middle man and the only Apple need is when we press and someone brings us heroin. Because that's kind of where these algorithmic distraction plays are actually going. The future of social media is a lot more like heroin. It's an interesting article. It's a hot take. Anyways, the New York Times is catching on to what I've been arguing is the unusual situation was the last 10 years. The unusual situation is where we only had three platforms that everyone had to use because it was too hard to replicate their underlying social networks. That stopped no longer the case. We long ago moved our personal communication to text messaging apps and now we're going to move our digital acquaintance community communication to more bespoke apps. I think that's all great. I'm just going to tell you what my favorite bespoke social online social network group is right now. Yeah. It is. It's not going to surprise you. The comment section of tocknats.com. Yeah. I mentioned this before on the show, but I might want to write something about this because it's a, I lurk on these comments, right? It's a game thread for every game. And they all know each other. Like, hey, how was your trip to Florida? Like I'm sorry to hear about whatever. And it's like a group of people and I don't know, I'm assuming they're all upper middle age men, baseball fans with like time on their hands. They follow the games and they just talk back and forth with each other and they know each other and they narrate the games. And here's what's going on in my life. And it's bespoke and it's probably like a hundred people that are regularly involved. And I'm like, this is great. This is the internet at its best. Like I can't gather a bunch of dads to watch baseball every night, but like I could go on here and feel that group. That's like the future because it's also the past of digital social media. It connects you to people you otherwise want to be connected to that share interest. You can together in an emergent fashion create a culture around your online gathering. There's no reason to have to have one platform that a billion people use. Do you ever chime in? I don't have an account. I should. I kind of want to write an article about them like about this topic as an excuse to just sort of, I don't know, hang out. I'm interested in who these people are. It's all part time, you know, the people who run the site. But they'll do a typical game, even a night game. So you know, the, the NAS just had a good road trip in there in San Francisco. And so we're talking like 945 East Coast start times. You'll have 700, 800 comments on the game thread and it's just people, they'll stay up. They'll sell like 100, have like a seven a piece. Yeah. Yeah. They'll update. So I don't know. I think that's, so I see that. I'm like, how this makes me feel good. When I go over to Twitter, I just feel really bad. So if I go to see like discussion on Twitter about the nationals or something, then I just feel bad. There's always like some terrible, I don't know, it all just, it's just, it's too big. It's like me and my friends want to like watch the game, but we're going to watch it like in the middle of carnival and real to share with like 100,000 people around. Like everyone's drunk and like everyone, it doesn't, it's not natural. The Dunbar numbers too large. So anyways, I like this, the future social media is a lot less social. I've been saying that now that other people are saying it, I think maybe it really is coming true. All right. Well, anyway, speaking of things coming true, I should probably wrap up this show. Thank you everyone for listening. We will be back next week with another episode of the podcast. And until then, as always, stay deep.