H.I. No. 4: Feedback on Feedback
|"Feedback on Feedback"|
|Hello Internet episode|
Episode 4 on the podcast YouTube channel
|Original release date||February 18, 2014|
"H.I. #4: Feedback on Feedback" is the fourth episode of Hello Internet, released on February 18, 2014.
Official Description[edit | edit source]
Grey & Brady talk about the show going live and the nature of feedback.
Show Notes[edit | edit source]
- Henry of MinutePhysics
- CGP Grey subreddit
- Episode #2: Copyright Not Intended
- Brown Paper Discussed
- Brady's Dad's book: Trackers
- World's Greatest Autograph Book
- The Royal Society
- Visiting the Royal Society library
- Derek of Veritasium
- Deathbulge Comic 155
- The Show with ZeFrank
- ZeFrank on comments
Other[edit | edit source]
Brady: I- well I was going to amaze you and say that I have prepared notes,--
Brady: But it's more a case of I started to prepare notes.
Brady: So, since we last spoke,--
Brady: --much has happened.
Brady: Much has happened, and I know we traditionally start with what I always accidently call feedback, but you call follow up--
Brady: --and this is going to be a very exciting follow up,-
Grey: Oh yes?
Brady: -because the podcast is now like, public and people have to listened to it.
Grey: Yes, it is.
Brady: So it's no longer- it's no longer just you correcting yourself and flogging yourself on mistakes you've made,--
Brady: --you can now flog yourself for mistakes other people have found.
Grey: Mm-hmm, yes, that's true I can- I can get feedback from, uh, everybody out there in the world, but yes, it is- it is public, it is out there, uh, which is a big relief to finally have it kind of out in the world instead of just, uh, a little project between the two of us. Um, so what are some of your- what are some of your notes then? Let's start out with your preparations. What have you done?
Brady: Well, I thought we might event- maybe talk about some of the content of the episodes, but first deal with some of the sort of general--
Brady: --feedback and follow up.
Brady: And I guess, I mean I guess a lot of it has just been- has- it's been really positive for a start, it's been amazing.
Brady: I mean it's mainly been um, you know, people saying how wonderful you are, which is fair enough. But uh...
Grey: There are Brady fans! I have seen--
Brady: Yeah, yeah...
Grey: --I have seen in the comments Brady fans.
Brady: Yeah, there are a couple out there, but there isn't- there has been a criticism of me,--
Grey: What is that?
Brady: --and I'd like to- I'd- and I- I think it's something worth addressing,--
Brady: --or discussing at least.
Brady: And this was this feeling that it's basically me asking you a bunch of questions,--
Brady: --and- and you talking a whole lot.
Brady: and I thought we should discuss that.
Grey: Oh yeah? What do you have to discuss about that? I- I'm curious from your perspective.
Brady: Well there's a few points,--
Brady: --the first point is I completely agree,--
Brady: --it is- it is for the most part me just asking you questions, but I think that's kind of the way it should be to a large extent, and I mean you and I discussed this before we even started, the nature of whether or not, you know, I'm asking you questions and,- and how much I rabbit on myself,--
Brady: --and- and for the record, I mean, you've always- you've always said you want to hear a lot from me,--
Brady: --you know, you don't just want me to ask you questions. But, I think it was always going to be that way, this plays to our strengths. This is- this is the way we are isn't it? I mean, you are like a talker, communicator-type-person, I mean you used to be a teacher for goodness sake.
Brady: And I am a question-asker, you know,--
Brady: --and I'm- I'm a journalist by training, so, you put two of us in a room, one guy he has lots of things to say, and knowledge, and likes to communicate it, and another guy who likes to, like, ask questions and find things out from people,--
Brady: --of course it's going to- it's going to happen now isn't it?
Grey: Yeah, I- I think you're- you're partly right, and part of the reason that- that I wanted to work with you on this is I do think that you are the best interviewer person I have ever come across. Uh, and for the- for those of you who have ever seen Brady's YouTube videos, uh, you know, he's always interviewing somebody else and he does the editing, and he often cuts out his own questioning part, but I've- I have seen it happen live a couple of times, uh, and you really work some magic with the interviews, like, that- that is just your skill. Um, but even when we're just hanging out and just talking not recording, you know, if we're just, you know, having a- a drink together or something, you're still the same way, like that- that is fundamentally your personality is to ask questions. Uh, and it's- it's funny to hear you describe me as a talker because I normally think of myself as a very quiet and reserved person because I spend most of my time not talking, but I am also completely aware that I can- I can get on a roll that is just a little too long, and so I can- I can definitely need someone to help--
Grey: --guide me through the parts that are terribly uninteresting, uh...
Brady: I mean, you are- you are a quiet person, and you are, like a reserved guy, that's true, but once you're with your mates and people you're friendly with, I think, you're- you're pretty comfortable talking.
Grey: Yeah, then I blossom.
Brady: I did- I did read one comment in a review though that I did find funny,--
Brady: --where someone sort of said that they felt like I was here to ground you.
Brady: Which is--
Grey: I saw that- I saw that same one,--
Grey: --and I thought "that is exactly right", I think--
Brady: Really? I th- I- I see- I found it funny for another reason 'cause you- you must be one of the most calm, grounded people I know. Whereas I'm, you know, I'm a bit all over the place. So the idea of- the idea of me grounding you actually made me chuckle, whereas your normally sort of the calming influence and the- someone who gives me good advice and things that, so, I like the idea of meeting this calming influence all of a sudden. Anyway- anyway, that- they were the things I had to say about the, uh,--
Brady: --the questioning. What have you thought? What have you- you've been obviously reading through some of the, you know, early comments and the feedback, has anything sort of, uh, caught your eye?
Grey: Um, yeah, I mean, its- it's been interesting. Uh, it's always really nerve racking when you have a new project, and you want to launch it out into the world and see what people think about it. Uh, and I have to say it has been a much more positive experience than I was expecting. Um, like we were doing really well in the download numbers, and uh, we're just getting a lot of positive comments, and we have a- a ton of positive reviews on iTunes, and if you want to discuss any of these episodes in particular or to leave a- a comment on one of the episodes, uh, for now we're having all of the discussion happening on my subreddit, so if you go to Reddit (R-E-D-D-I-T) dot-com, slash-R (the letter R) slash-C-G-P-Grey, there'll be a discussion thread in there for each of the episodes that we can put up. Um, and if you want to leave feedback, for now that is probably one of the best places to do so, um, I do go through that and- and read all the comments and I'm very interested to see what people- uh, what people have to say about, uh, this little project so far.
Brady: You're really interactive there too, I've noticed. I think- I think we might talk about sort of comments and feedback later--
Brady: --if we get time,--
Brady: --but I have noticed on the subreddit, you're very, you're very interactive. It's a, you know, with the, with the people with the community.
Grey: [chuckles] Yes, well, yeah, I do. That's one of the reasons why I'm- I'm very happy to, uh, direct feedback to Reddit, because unlike YouTube, and unlike other places, I find it really manageable to try to have conversations--
Grey: --with a larger number of people.
Grey: Um, we do have it scheduled at some point I want to talk about comments systems in- in general, so I don't want to discuss that too much right here, but--
Grey: --the- the short version is that it's really easy on Reddit to get a sense of what people are saying and to have, uh, feedback and- and interactions with a bunch of people, so, um, I think it's- I think it's the best place to go for now.
Brady: It's a good community, too, the Reddit community. Like it's- like, you know, you'll get- you'll get funny stuff and you'll get love and you'll get hate, but it's always quite smart and quite- I quite like the- they seem like good people, on Reddit, in a lot of ways. They seem like, well, they seem like my kind of people when I read the comments there, as opposed to comments and a lot of other social media.
Grey: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, it's- as- as, uh, as with absolutely everything it always, uh, depends on the section that you're going, but I would agree with you--
Grey: --as a general statement.
Brady: Actually, that's true. My Reddit, uh, my- I'm quite narrow and my Reddit--
Brady: --in the subreddits I go to. So yeah, I should be careful what I say. Let me ask you about something else.
Brady: The Hello Internet logo.
Grey: You mean the- the artwork?
Brady: Yeah, the little- the little- the little H-I. I know- I know you sort of sent me a few ideas beforehand and, you know, then you kind of just went off and did your thing, but--
Grey: [laughs] I- I believe what happened was I sent you them, you didn't like them, and then I used it anyway, is that--
Grey: [laughing] --I think that- that is actually the- the process by which that unfolded.
Brady: I, uh, I don't mind- I quite like- I quite like the H-I one you've gone with,--
Brady: --and I quite- because I sometimes look at it- you know how when you look at something for a long time, you suddenly see it differently?
Brady: And I suddenly see the- the- the sort of the gray lines going up into the white block to make the--
Brady: --the "HI" and stuff like that.
Brady: I'm not too sure about that little border you've got on it though.
Grey: Yeah, the border I might have to change, but,--
Grey: --um, but I- I listen to a lot of podcasts, as I- as I mentioned before, and I'm always aware that the artwork seems to be designed for a really big screen, um, uh- but you actually look at it as like a little one centimeter by one centimeter image on your phone. So, I just,--
Grey: --I was trying to go for something that was very visually immediately recognizable, and sort of would try to catch people's attentions. And I think- I think that kind of works.
Grey: Um, and also, the- the dark gray color was not really used by very many podcasts, so I thought I- I'd go with that, um, for obvious also reasons. But,--
Grey: --I have to say, it did look good, uh, it did look good when we were sort of dominating the iTunes charts for a while and, uh, you could just see, like, all these little "HI" logos all over the place for the number one podcast in various, uh, countries.
Brady: Yeah, yeah.
Grey: And I- I thought that it- it worked very well, like that, I thought it was really eye catching.
Brady: Well, if anyone wants to put any comments about it, I'd be really interested to read it because at the moment, it's just you and I talking, but--
Brady: --I do wonder what people think about it. So, feed- some- some feedback. Sorry, some follow up from, uh, episode three,--
Brady: --which was the work-life balance,--
Brady: --four light bulbs.
Brady: Your f- your four light bulbs, uh, thesis.
Grey: Yeah, um--
Brady: Have you had any reflections on it? Any- anyone said anything to you about it?
Grey: Well, I- I just want to- I want to start off by saying, it was really interesting listening to that when I was editing the podcast for release. Listening to it a second time it was really clear how we each think about work in very different ways. Um,--
Brady: Do you think?
Grey: It- it- it- came across very much to me anyway that- that you are dealing much more with- with kind of work in parallel with other things maybe, than I am, and I- I was thinking of work as- as like, chunks of time, like, very clearly dedicated to one task. Um,--
Grey: --and I just- I think it's interesting, you know, whenever- whenever we or other YouTubes- YouTuber guys get together, it's- um, it is interesting how we are all sort of doing the same thing, but each one of us does it in very different ways, and I think you can hear that a little bit in the- in the previous episode. Um,--
Brady: I don't know- I don't know how much of that might be the extent to which I was being devil's advocate at times, but--
Brady: --I think it's interesting that you say that.
Brady: I, uh, hmm, I don't really know what to make of that.
Grey: Um, the other thing I would just say is that, again, from the Reddit thread, it was- it was interesting to see, there's this issue with analogies and, like, boy, and I- I think I said it a little bit at the beginning, but boy, that analogy, there are definitely a lot of problems with--
Grey: --that analogy, right? Um... [chuckles]
Brady: You might have to revisit it.
Brady: You might have to refine it.
Grey: Yeah, I figure you know, well, you know, to- productivity is probably a thing we're going to come back to at some point, so don't- I don't really want to dwell on it.
Grey: Um, but my--
Brady: Yeah, like in episode ten, it will be doing, like, the eight light bulbs. [chuckles]
Grey: Yes. Yeah, maybe. Um, but I- I just want to say that my- my- my favorite [laughing] piece of feedback came from Henry, he of the MinutePhysics fame, and Henry just sent me a little email and all it said was "I think you forgot that light bulbs can be wired in parallel". Um, which--
Brady: [clicks tongue]
Grey: --is like a- a devastating remark to make to someone who has taught physics.
Grey: Um, it's like, yes, I totally understand that this analogy does not work for, like, a straight up "I actually have a battery and I actually need [laughing] to light up some light bulbs".
Brady: That is a very Henry comment though, isn't it, like? [chuckles]
Grey: Yeah. And- and the very Henry thing is, I'm going to now just to fully embarrass him as well, is, later on, uh, actually it was just today, but it was- it was a couple days later, he wrote me a- a much more in-depth email about how the analogy also fails because I should really be thinking about it in terms of electromotive force and the voltage and the resistance in the individual light bulbs,--
Grey: --um, and so he was- he was really thinking that one through to its absolute conclusion. Uh,--
Brady: Yeah, yeah.
Grey: But- but he- Henry was doing the advanced version of what I saw many people in the- in the, uh, comment thread talking about, which is that, uh, there are lots of problems with that analogy, and I will- I will, uh, I will fully- I will fully, uh, admit to some of those, though I still think my- my core idea of the trade off still holds, but like I said--
Brady: Isn't- isn't the latest MinutePhysics video that just went up in the last day or two about light bulbs?
Grey: Oh, I don't know, to be honest--
Brady: I think it is. I think- I think--
Grey: This is embarrassing, I don't know.
Brady: --I think you may have inspired him. I know you've been in a--
Brady: --you've been in a cave and not looking at- but I think his latest video is about light bulbs. I have to check that I could be wrong.
Grey: All right.
Brady: The, um, my favorite comment in relation to, you know, unpicking the argument or discussing the- the merits of the light bulb analogy was someone who pointed out that if you improve aspects of your life, like your health, for example,--
Grey: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Brady: --that actually increases the power of your motor and lets you do other things with your other light bulbs, which is something we never discussed.
Grey: Yes, yes. And I- I- I saw, um, a couple comments like that. And- and I- I totally agree with that as well.
Brady: Yeah, that was- that was interesting.
Grey: Um, and- and, uh, I think there is also something to just be said that- that people just have kind of intrinsically more or- or less powerful motors than--
Grey: --each other in this analogy, right?
Grey: And, you know, so that's why I always look at you, and you, from my perspective, are just this incredible YouTube work machine, and I think like "boy, I do not have the same kind of wattage output that you seem to have", and, uh,--
Brady: Aw, man--
Grey: --um, but--
Brady: --you've got now idea.
Grey: --but the health one--
Brady:--if you came and watched me work for a day, you would think differently.
Grey: I'm not so sure about that, but, um--
Grey: But I did-- I did agree with those comments, right? That- and I was sort of working towards it at the end of the podcast that, at a certain level, you know, you can invest more into one area and then- and then get more out in total, um, but I do think there are situations in which that's- that's very hard to do. But yeah, obviously, um, if your- if your health is at its peak, you are able to accomplish much more in all of the other areas. Uh, and- and the reverse of course is- is not true as well. Um, so yeah.
Brady: Did Mrs. C.G.P. Grey listen to the podcast?
Grey: Uh, she has at this point, she has listened to the first two, uh, but she has not yet listened to the third one.
Brady: Ah, see that's the one I want her to listen to.
Grey: I know, I know, and so I- I mentioned her in that one, and I tried to prod her a little bit, by I was like, "Oh, you know, I mentioned you in the third one". Um, but she has been, uh, she's been very busy with some other projects at this point. So, um, she will listen to it at some point but has not yet at this stage.
Brady: Well, let me tell you,--
Brady: --Mrs. Periodic Videos or Numberphile or whatever I'm supposed to call my much better half,--
Brady: --did listen to episode three.
Brady: We went for a drive that, by coincidence, coincided with the exact length of the podcast. So I said, "let me play this". So we played it for the drive.
Brady: It was utter silence, throughout. I think the- I think the only time she spoke during it was, at one point, admiring Mrs. Grey's pa-patience,--
Brady: --what a patient she must be.
Grey: She is.
Brady: I think- I think that was during the time when you were talking about how you completely blank her for three days when you're putting a video out.
Brady: And then--
Grey: As just happened.
Brady: Yeah, yes. But, uh, and then-- and then amazingly, it just finished we got to the car park where we were going to which was nice timing, and so we pulled up and I sort of turned to her and said "What do you think? What do you think about that?" The main thing that came across was that she- she would quite like to sit down with you and discuss a few of the items--
Brady: --in a positive way.
Brady: Uh, but you know, because she's into all that stuff you're into, like workflows and sleep patterns and things like that.
Brady: But fundamentally, I think she- she disagreed--
Brady: --with your thesis. And her best argument, which she didn't really make, but she didn't need to make against your argument was her, herself.
Brady: She's- she's just sort of sitting there and- and we're talking here about how you can't do all four things at once,--
Brady: --and then I kind of- I look at her, and, she works really hard in a really demanding job.
Brady: You know, she's like- you know about her, she's got this amazing job, and she gives so much that. She always every day makes time for her friends and rings them and talks to them. She's a brilliant family person and talks to her mum and dad all the time and takes great care of me.
Brady: She's incredibly healthy and goes to the gym all the time and--
Brady: --her personal trainer every week, and she watches what she eats and she always looks amazing. And, she does all these things--
Brady: --like to the maximum,--
Brady: --and then she's just been spending an hour listening to you and I grumble about--
Brady: --how "I can't eat healthy and do my job--
Brady: --at the same time". And I think- I think--
Brady: --I think she embodiment of the argument against us. Uh, but anyway,--
Grey: Right so,--
Brady: --it did amuse me.
Grey: ---so, Mrs. Numberphile is the counter argument.
Grey: I will- I- maybe I will just try to defend myself; I will go back to the "some people's engines are- are more powerful than others". And, uh--
Brady: [laughs] Yeah, you and I just puttering along on these--
Brady: --on these old bomb of a car and she's a Rolls Royce.
Grey: This is- yeah, I think- I think that might be the conclusion that we need to come to, is that--
Grey: --Mrs. Numberphile has a very powerful motor compared to the two of us. [chuckles] Um, so that might- that might very well be the case.
Brady: But I think- I think she does want to sit down and talk through a few points, so we'll- we'll arrange that sometime.
Grey: [laughing] Oh, good. Okay.
Brady: I'll tell you what else bothered me.
Grey: What? What?
Brady: Was it in Episode Three, where you did that- you clarified this whole infringement versus theft thing when it comes to copyright.
Brady: I'm still- that still bothers me a bit too.
Grey: That still bothers you? What bothers- what--
Brady: Yeah, I just think you're being so, like- you're being a bit overly cautious, saying--
Brady: --"ooh, it's not theft it's"--
Grey: --I could--
Brady: --"it's not stealing"--
Grey: --I could not disagree with you more at this point. I- I fully understand that I can be overly pedantic about things like this, but I- I am going to very strongly disagree with you there.
Brady: So if someone comes into my house, takes my TV and- and watches a few programs on it, and then puts it back later that day, have they infringed on my TV? Or have they stolen it?
Grey: [laughing] Wait, wait what? The person breaks into your- well, first of all, they've broken and entered into your house. Um...
Brady: But if they didn't take any money or break anything, have they just infringed into my house?
Grey: [laughing] I don't think that's an appropriate analogy.
Grey: I don't think this lines up at all. I think you're trying to stack the deck in your favor with that one, buddy.
Brady: Well- well, I don't know, you've already- you've already said that you're no good with the analogies, so...
Grey: [chuckling] Um...
Brady: Anyway, I just listened back to it and I think "Aw, go on, they're stealing from you, they're stealing, they're thieves".
Grey: [sigh] I- I just- I- I- I disagree. I think--
Grey: --I think infringement is a word that- that, uh, the internet culture needs to- needs to make happen, as a common understood word, like theft is a common understood word.
Brady: I- but I think infringing is like- using the word infringing is like dressing something bad up to make it sound not as bad. Why can't we give it a more emotive word? Why do we- in- because infringing is just like, it's such like a- a delicate thing, like, you know, you know, Germany didn't infringe on Poland did it? Like, you know, like, you don't- you don't--
Grey: [laughing] No, but that is also not a comparable analogy. When Germany--
Brady: Yeah, but what I'm saying is when I said infringe, it makes a terrible thing sound- sound, you know, somewhere near more acceptable, and I don't think it is acceptable, and I don't think we should be giving them this- this delicate word when they're doing a bad thing to us.
Grey: I was going to say, it's- the word the- the- unfortunately these words aren't perfectly comparable, but you do also have the word "piracy", which is a similar, um, kind of--
Brady: That's a better- see, that's an emotive word.
Brady: I like that.
Grey: But, yeah, it is a more emotive word, but that is- usually piracy is- is talking about, um, individuals making copies for themselves. Uh, you know, and so they are- they're "engaged in piracy", which- it is more emotive, but it- it is almost more motive in a very cool kind of way, right? Like,--
Brady: Yeah, it's true.
Grey: --pirates have a lot of social cachet these days. Um,--
Grey: So, right? I'm not sure it's really dissuading the kids, you know,--
Brady: All right.
Grey: --don't- you know, "don't be an awesome cool pirate". Um, but- uh, yeah, I'm gonna- I'm gonna- we're gonna have to just disagree on this,--
Brady: I want to put-- I want to put the challenge out there, though. I want to- I want a new word to describe what you call infringing,--
Brady: --that is more emotive, but, you know, it doesn't cross swords with stealing and theft,--
Brady: --which you think is, you know,--
Grey: All right!
Brady: --sacred. Anyway, there we go.
Grey: No, yeah- no- we'll, uh, we'll see- we'll see if people in the Reddit thread for this video can come up with a better word. So you want- you want something that just- it just sounds meaner than infringement, but that means--
Brady: Yeah, I want a word to describe the- the practice of other people or organizations taking content and using it for their own purposes.
Grey: I- I- yeah, we'll see if- we'll see if something- um, uh, someone comes up with something.
Brady: [sighs] Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Any more follow up? Any more follow--
Grey: [chuckles] No, but that- that is the point to follow up, Brady, right? There's always going to be something that's sticking in your mind and- and this is the- this is the time to discuss it.
Brady: All right.
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Brady: What's been going on? What's been going on in- in your life, or in my life, or any- it's been cray- life has been crazy.
Grey: Yeah, life has been crazy for both of us for the past week,--
Grey: --and for you crazier, I think, because you just got back from Vietnam, did you not?
Brady: I did, I did.
Grey: And what were you, uh, what were you doing on the other side of the world?
Brady: I don't know how much you know about, um, my- my dad. But, he was a- I'm- I'm Australian.
Brady: As you know, but not many people- not many American people even seem to realize that Australian soldiers fought in the Vietnam War.
Brady: Um, so you know, this was sort of- it was an allied force. A lot of people are always really surprised when I tell them that, and my father fought in the Vietnam War. So I've kind of, uh, grown up, you know, knowing- knowing this and knowing bits and pieces of his stories. So, basically, the purpose of this trip was to go with him to Vietnam and travel around to some of the places where- where all the stuff went down,--
Brady: --which was really interesting. It's- it's especially interesting for me, because there are two things about my dad that are unusual in this respect. One was, um, he did two tours of Viet- the Vietnam War. And the first one was twelve months, which I think was in... 1968, I think,--
Brady: --and then he did another eight month tour towards the end, which I can't remember the year it was, '71 or...--
Brady: --aw, I can't remember the year, which is terrible. But that- on that first tour, he was a dog tracker. Well, he- I mean- he wasn't a dog,--
Brady: --but he was a dog handler of a tracking dog. So his war experience was quite different to a lot of other people, in so far as his role was to- to- to lead this dog around sniffing, uh,--
Grey: And what was the- what was the dog doing?
Brady: The dog was sniffing, uh, enemy forces.
Brady: Uh, Vietcong or North Vietnamese soldiers. So- so a typical scenario would be, there would be a- a- a contact, there would be a battle, and then my dad and his dog, which was called Caesar, would be brought in, to sort of sniff and follow, uh, the retreating troops, and try and, you know, reengage with them. From a combat sense, he had quite an unusual experience, but he also had a personally very interesting experience because, his relationship through the war was- was more with a dog than with other soldiers in many ways. So it was a very- it was a very unusual and special relationship. But also, um, my dad went on to become a journalist and- and a writer, and once he finished his sort of journalistic career, he settled down to writing books and he's written a number of books about the Vietnam War, and his first one and most successful one, which is called "Trackers", is about him and the dog. So, a lot of- I'd heard some of these stories, but not all of them, but then I read this book, which is just crammed with amazing stories that I didn't know. So, that- suddenly I had all this, you know, all these stories and all this stuff but I'd never seen the place or been there,--
Brady: --so that's what last week was about, it was about going to- going to the site of these places. And of course, me being me and dad quite wanting me to, I took my camera along. And he sort of retold a lot of these stories, and my dad's a really good storyteller.
Brady: He retold a lot of these stories in the places where they happened and I rolled the camera over it and hopefully we'll get around to edding- editing them at some point.
Grey: There's- so are we going to see these videos on one of your many channels at some point in the future?
Brady: Yeah, I'll probably just put it on my- like, on my channel called BradyStuff,--
Brady: --which is just a channel where I just dump stuff that hasn't- unbelievably there--
Grey: [laughing] Sorry, I don't mean to laugh, but, like, I've known you for a while, and this is like yet another channel of yours that I have never even heard of existing. Um,--
Brady: Well, this- this is the channel where I put things that haven't got a channel.
Grey: Oh, okay.
Brady: Unbelievably, there are some topics that I haven't got a channel for, so--
Grey: I- I'm almost surprised that you don't have a dedicated Vietnam War channel, for example.
Brady: That's not a bad idea actually. Maybe I'll get- no,--
Brady: --so I'll- I don't know, I'll probably pop them on there or something. Anyway--
Brady: --anyway, it's, you know, by the by, I mean, for me it wasn't so much about making videos,--
Brady: --it was about, you know,-
Grey: Yeah, get- spending some time with your dad and--
Brady: Yeah, time with my dad and--
Grey: --and hearing his experiences.
Brady: --and- and- it's always good to put- you know, to visit places and really un- it gives you a different understanding of stuff, whether it's something intense, like the Vietnam War, or going to the Eiffel Tower,--
Brady: --you know, when you visit to the real place, you kind of can think "oh yeah, now I understand the- the geography and--"
Grey: Yeah, it's always fundamentally different, no matter how much you hear about a place, when you go, it's just a different experience.
Grey: It's a much more human experience to be there, uh, and to- and to stand in the- in the place where something actually happened.
Brady: Yeah, exactly. So,- so anyway, that was- that was kind of crazy, but it was good fun.
Grey: I'm glad- I'm glad you came back alive. Um,-
Brady: Yeah, you were just worried we wouldn't finish the, uh, podcast series if I got some malaria or something, weren't you?
Grey: Yeah, that is exactly true, and I was- I was nervous when you tweeted that menu that had intestines and a bunch of other terrifying foods on it.
Grey: And I thought, "please,--"
Brady: It had a rectum on it, didn't it?
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, that's what it was.
Grey: It was- it was rectum and I was thinking, "please Brady, do not become terribly sick or die on this trip. It would be--"
Brady: [dismissively] No...
Grey: [laughing] "--it would be terribly inconvenient", but I'm--
Grey: --glad you're back safe and sound.
Brady: --I've never eaten so much squid in all my life.
Brady: But, they- they love their squid there.
Grey: Oh yeah?
Brady: The other thing that was really interesting though, was that it was- it was really interesting to go to a place in that kind of, uh, military tourism context. Where... I don't know, for lack of a better term, you're on the losing side?
Brady: You know, I mean- I mean- I mean, the US and Australians and the allies withdrew from Vietnam and the North Vietnamese came down and--
Brady: -and took- took the country, so to speak, and, you know, it's- it's now this- this country that it is, this communist country, and... the war is a great victory for them,--
Grey: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Brady: --and to- and to go there and be doing the sights and be taken around by a tour guide, when- of the force that was not victorious was very interesting and- and is also different, you know, we're used to going to sort of... places where terrible things happened, but ultimately, you know, in a- in a victorious context I guess,--
Brady: --uh, and this was the opposite, which was really interesting.
Grey: Hmm. I wouldn't have thought about that, but that- that- that's a good point, normally- normally when you're doing like the- like the war monuments that, you know, an Australian or an American would tend to go to are- are they're- they are monuments of triumph, um--
Grey: --and- and doing a- a tour where that was not the case is a different experience.
Brady: Yeah, it was also really interesting going to the- the Vietnamese, um, museum about it, but anyway, you know, it's probably a- there's only so much we can talk about--
Brady: --Vietnam for in a- in a podcast that's more about... I don't know what this podcast is about, but it's probably not about war stories, so--
Grey: It's- this podcast is about what we want it to be about, so--
Brady: All right, there you go.
Grey: --so- so Vietnam totally counts, and I was very interested to hear--
Brady: Vietnam, and I did make- and I did make videos there, so it is about- it is about filmmaking. I tell you what, from a filmmaker YouTube perspective, it's really in- hard to make videos of your dad. I tell you that right now.
Grey: Oh yeah? Why?
Brady: Because, well partly because of the way my dad is, but also just because there's a different dynamic, I mean, you know, when I'm interviewing someone or filming something, the video is them but I can take control to an extent and guide them with the questioning and if they've got a certain point they want to make or away they want to tell the story, and I don't think it's going to work, I can either delicately shepherd them with my questions or I can- I can be more frank and slap them around the ears and say "no no, we need to do it like this", but my dad obviously had, you know, stories he wanted to tell and ways he wanted to tell them--
Brady: --and they didn't always fit with what I thought would work in a video,--
Brady: --and all the different techniques I normally use--
Brady: --on- on people to get what I want, just didn't work. It was like--
Grey: He's just- he knows you too well, he's blowing off all your linguistic tricks?
Brady: Well... I don't know, I don't know if it was- but yeah, I felt like- I felt like there was kryptonite in the air, in- in terms of my ability to, um, steer the interviewee the way I sometimes can. It was- and I- it must be because it was my dad because it never happens with anyone else.
Grey: Yeah, I guess you are not in a position of authority when it is your father on the other end of the camera, right? Because--
Brady: I guess that's it, I guess that's it. I mean, I don't feel that he was in authority over me either, though, I mean, I don't have that kind of relationship with my dad, but, yeah, there was just something different. There was- and, I would stop and ask him questions, and he would- he wouldn't answer them or.. but he- but he's like that with everyone, he just ignores questions and cracks on with his stories, but, yeah maybe that's it, maybe- maybe he didn't feel sufficiently intimidated or--
Grey: [exhales in amusement]
Brady: --respectful of me as the- as the filmmaker--
Brady: --whereas everyone else at least has that modicum of respect for me,--
Brady: --whereas I was still just Brady to him,--
Brady: --and he was gonna- he had a story he wanted to tell, and, you know, I had stopped the camera a couple of times and said "Dad, you're not listening to me,--"
Brady: "--you have to answer this question". It was like interviewing a politician,--
Brady: --when they just have- when they have what they want to say.
Brady: But anyway,--
Brady: --he is a really good storyteller, he's like, famous for his ripping yarns, so, he still told the story well, but, it was a really interesting, um, interesting thing as a filmmaker for me.
Grey: Well, how- when are you, uh, when are you going to get those videos out?
Grey: A long time?
Brady: It could be a while because I'm actually jumping on another plane now--
Grey: [exhales in amusement]
Brady: --and I'm going away for a month. And I don't know if I'm gonna be able to edit them on the road, so, it could be a while, but, I'd like to do them soon.
Grey: Well, whenev- whenever you get around to them, mention it again, we'll put them in the description for the podcast.
Brady: Yeah, yeah, cool. That'd be good.
Grey: And, uh, today we'll have a description for your- or we'll have a link to your dad's book if people want to check it out.
Brady: Yeah, yeah, it's- it is- it is actually a, you know, it is a really good book actually, I'm- I'm not being- I mean, his other ones I'm not so much into because they're about other soldiers, but the one about him--
Brady: --I really enjoyed. Anyway,--
Brady: --there we go.
Grey: So we'll put it in. People can check it out if they want.
Brady: Cool. Thank you, thank you. What about you? What's been- any news in your world? You had a video out which is always a big deal.
Grey: Yeah, that- that is really the biggest news ever, um, is always- it always feels like my whole life just narrows down--
Grey: --to the video production in the- in the four or five days before it actually, uh, goes live and just everything- everything gets postponed, and so there's- there is this cycle in my life, uh, where, um, you know, I use this, uh, this program called OmniFocus to track all of my to-dos, and maybe about fourteen days before I'm expecting a video to come out, I start delaying everything in my little program to, like, after when I think it's going to come out, and so, I'm working on the video and stuff comes up in my program and I delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, and then, what I'm experiencing right now, and what I was doing before I was- I was talking to you, is suddenly there's just this monstrous number of things to do after the video, uh, comes out, uh, and so I'm just- I'm sort of overwhelmed with just a- a very large number of things but, um, but yeah, the- the getting the video out is- is the biggest deal, and--
Brady: It was good, mate. Jury nullification, I liked it.
Grey: Yeah, yeah, I think- it's- well, I have to say it's- it has done successfully, um, and, uh, well actually, let me- let me open up right now and--
Brady: It was 1.2 million last time I looked at it.
Grey: Yeah, that's- that's I want to check, so I have--
Brady: That's just nothing for you though, is it? That's just--
Grey: No! Uh, no- well- this- this is what I was gonna say, so I actually- as you might not be surprised, I have a- an objective measure about the success of the videos, um, that I- I used to- to deem whether or not they have been successful.
Grey: Um, and so I take- I take whatever my subscriber number at the time of release is, as the starting point.
Grey: Um, so let's just- let's just make the- the numbers easy, I have about a million subscribers at this point,--
Grey: --um, and if I have a video that gets less than a third of that number, in a week, I would consider that to be just like a- a total abject failure. If it's more than a third to sort of- of equal to the number of subscribers, I consider that to be kind of satisfactory, uh, and anything that gets more than the total number of subscribers, that to me is- is like a very successful video, because that means, like, people are really sharing it, and it- like it's going to more people than have signed up to get my videos.
Grey: So that- that's always, for me, the real crossing point is like: Can the video get more views than subscribers that I have within a week? Uh, and I think, uh, it's- it is- it's been five days and it is just under the number of subscribers that I have now, so, uh, I think this one will, uh, will limp across that, uh, threshold probably before the week, uh, the week goes out.
Brady: I've noticed a couple- with a couple of your videos lately, actually,--
Brady: --the- the titles have been a little bit more... teasy,--
Grey: [exhales in amusement]
Brady: --like a bit more, uh, is this a- is this a coincidence, or is this a deliberate- a deliberate thing we're seeing now? They're a bit more like "Oh, what's this about?", you know, like, "The Law You Won't Be Told" and "This Will Hurt" and--
Grey: Okay so, it's funny that you picked up on that because, it- it- it- the answer is that it's partly just a coincidence. Um, the- the previous video that I did on the nocebo effect, the oppos- opposite of the placebo effect,--
Grey: --I have a demonstration in the beginning that just does not work, if you know what the video is going into it. Um,--
Grey: --so, I have to not say the- the name of the thing in the- in the title, uh--
Grey: --in that case. Um, with this one, yeah, it is a much more teasy title with "The Law You Won't Be Told". Uh, and that is only half a coincidence, but I- I came across- I can't remember exactly where, [clears throat] um, but some study that was talking about, uh, click through rates for titles, and--
Grey: --and they were basically saying that teasy kind of titles have surprisingly large click through rates for what you might expect.
Grey: Um, and so I thought, "Ooh, let me just- let me just try something that's a little bit different", I don't think I will normally do it, I just happened to have two topics, uh, that it worked very well with, and so I didn't mind having that back to back. Um, but I do- I- I am a fan of the straightforward title. Um, also, because that partly does a lot of introduction for you, like I don't necessarily have to set up as much,--
Grey: --if the title just straight up says "Here's what we're going to talk about". So yeah, it is just a bit of a- a bit of a coincidence. Um, although I- I will say just as a personal experience releasing this video, I think in the second episode or- or somewhere I mentioned how I probably will not do a medical topic for a while, um,--
Grey: --because that put me under a lot of stress about sort of being- feeling like I really need to be correct. I am going to add "law" to--
Grey: [laughing] --topics that I will not cover anytime soon again, if I can possibly avoid it.
Grey: Um, and it's- it's for a slightly different reason, but you- so this is a- entirely a problem with me and also- might as well make this a theme, talking about analogies,--
Grey: --I tend to think of the law as a kind of computer code for human society. Right? You know, we- we hear all these rules and we formalize these rules about what should happen under what circumstances, uh, and here- here's all the exceptions for, um, the consequences if the laws- or the- the rules didn't work out in a particular way. But, I know this is not the case when I sit down and think about it, and it- it's partly because my, uh, my father is actually a lawyer in the States, and, I know through him just how much of the law depends on interpretations of what happens in the courtroom. And, it's so much more situational and like, "ooh, it depends", than you think of the law as being, you know, really clear, uh--
Grey: --or at least I think of it as being that way.
Grey: Um, and so I cannot tell you how many rounds this script went through where I had very definitive statements that kept having to be kind of modified and qualified and- and toned down, uh, and- and changed, uh, changed a lot, so, I- I will not do a lot topic again if I can possibly avoid it, um, partly because of that, like it's- it's difficult to make definitive statements. And there's a number of places in the video where I'm talking about, uh, situations that might occur and it is like "yes, that might happen the majority of the time, but that- like, there's- there's always going to be a really long list of exceptions". Never mind the fact that in America, the rules are different in all fifty states, for how things are handled,--
Grey: --so I was- I was trying to talk about them- like the most general possible case. Um, but yes, that was stressful, do not expect a lot topic anytime soon, people. Um,--
Brady: Have a been- have you ever been to a trial?
Grey: I have never been to a- a trial in person, no.
Brady: You got to do it. I- I tell you what, one day we must do an episode, and I'll tell you some good stories about trials I've been to.
Grey: Yeah? Okay.
Brady: Court cases- court cases are good fun.
Grey: That sounds good, that sounds good.
Brady: The- let- let me- let me- do a clever- clever segue here,--
Grey: Oh, okay.
Brady: --which will- which will both follow on from what we're talking about,--
Brady: --promote something,--
Brady: --and lead to something I wanted to discuss.
Grey: Oh it's- it's--
Grey: the hat-trick of follow-up.
Brady: --this is a hat-trick here.
Grey: Yeah, a hat-trick of segues.
Brady: Yeah. Speaking of clickbaity, uh, titles for videos,--
Brady: --the video that I put up today--
Brady: --is called the world's greatest autograph book.
Grey: [muffled] Mm-hmm.
Brady: And, it is about something that you and I went to see,--
Grey: Of course.
Brady: --a couple of weeks ago,--
Brady: --and I want to talk about that day trip.
Brady: So I got all three together there.
Brady: You and I went to the Royal Society,--
Brady: --in London, which is somewhere I've been wanting to take you for ages--
Brady: --and I've been pestering you about it. We finally had the chance to go there. And I didn't want you to do the- the typical tour we went down into the- into the vaults--
Brady: --to see all the treasures and things. I deliberately haven't asked you much about your impression of the visit--
Brady: --because I wanted to ask you here on the podcast.
Brady: What did you think?
Grey: I- I thought it was great. It was- it was great to visit. So, I think, first, why don't you- because you're better at- at summarizing this than me, right? Why don't you give a quick summary for people who don't know, like, "what is the Royal Society?".
Brady: All right, the Royal Society is this organization that's been around since the 1600s. And it was set up by, uh, Charles the second, I think, I think he was the- it was one of these- one of these kings.
Grey: That sounds right.
Brady: Yeah. And basically, it was for sort of the scientists of the time, when science was in its infancy, it was kind of like their club. They've been going ever since. And basically, they- they- uh, elect or decide to make people fellows of this society and join the club. And this has been going on for, you know, 350 years or something like that. And basically, every year a- a new intake of 10 or 20 people joins this club of uber-scientists. It's still going today. And, it's just got all this history. They've- they've also been involved in, you know, publications, they have their own journal, and they have meetings and they have all these other functions, it's not just a place where they go and have a cup of tea and smoke a pipe, but,- I should- yeah, that came out wrong, but anyway- [chuckles]--
Brady: --I meant that in a more English sense.
Brady: But anyway, so- um, so it's this club that's been going for years it's got all this history, you know, any- any scientist who's anyone has been a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Brady: Isaac Newton, uh, you know, all those- all those guys, Hooke and Boyle back then, all the way through to your modern greats, you know, Einstein was a- was a Fellow, uh, Niels Bohr, all the way through to Peter Higgs and people like that today,--
Brady: --Watson and Crick. They're all- they've all been part of this club so it's got this incredible history.
Brady: The thing about the autographed book is, of course, anyone who signs- who becomes a Fellow, they all sign this same book, which has been around since the start. So this- that's why I call it the world's greatest autograph book, because it's got everyone from Isaac Newton through to all your modern day scientists all signing this one book which is incredible.
Brady: And of course any king or queen that comes to the throne is automatically the patron of the Royal Society, so every famous royal has signed it as well. It's this amazing document. But anyway, because of this history, and basically, all the people- scientists involved- uh, their interactions are all kept and all their papers and artifacts are kept there in these vaults, it's this- it's this real treasure trove of- of material as well.
Brady: And I know you love old stuff,--
Brady: --and I know you love source documents, and things like that, you know, you don't- you don't want- you don't want any secondary sources when you're CGP Grey,--
Grey: No, of course not.
Brady: --so- so I thought, I've got to get Grey in there to see all this stuff. Because I know you like hanging out in libraries and stuff as well.
Grey: Yes, yes.
Brady: So we finally went there. And I thought it was going to blow your mind.
Brady: And I don't know if you were just being calm,--
Brady: --or you were lukewarm about it. What did you- what did you think? You just kind of--
Grey: Oh, no, I think- I- I- I really liked it. I thought it was- it was really interesting to see, so, um, yeah- when we- when we went on a tour, um, yeah we got to go downstairs into the vault below, and basically see all of the original documents. And, it's almost hard to describe because there was such a great variety of things down there, um, but if- if you imagine this- this huge vault, and it would just have the original written letters from all of these famous scientists, right, um, to the Royal Society, or from explorers who were writing in about, you know, what they were seeing in- in- in new places, um, and it was almost just very overwhelming in the amount of stuff that is there.
Brady: Yeah. Like, all handwritten too, isn't it?
Grey: Yeah, that- yeah, that was- that- that was the thing is- is--
Brady: Yeah, "oh, it's a letter from Isaac Newton. Oh, what's he got to say from it?"
Grey: Yeah, I mean- oh- I- I- I- I did- I did tell my wife we came back, like, I know it was all in this vault, but it was like shockingly casual, some of the stuff that was just, oh, laying around.
Grey: The archivist who was nice enough to give us a tour, I kept saying to him, like, "it makes me nervous, like, looking at all the stuff". You know, uh, the- the one example, um, you know, was the- the death mask for Isaac Newton, so the, like, clay, I guess it was, I'm not sure what the material was--
Grey: --that they put over his face, uh, after he died, you know, to get a- a- a print of his face. Oh, it's just like, there, on the shelf, you know, um, like, waiting to be knocked over by, you know, some clumsy idiot like me who's- who's wandering around and not paying attention. Um,--
Brady: I'll tell you a- just a quick- quick- quick interjection here,--
Brady: --Rupert, who's the other guy that works in the library,--
Brady: --who, he you spoke to briefly, but--
Brady: --he wasn't the one that came down with us. He normally is the guy that has to handle that mask,--
Brady: --and he's done it a few times for me for videos and things like that.
Brady: And he has a recurring nightmare--
Brady: --all the time, that he drops that mask and it shatters, like, it haunts him.
Brady: And every time I asked him to pick it up, like, he- he goes a little bit white and tells me "you know about my dream, don't you?". So- so, you're not the only one who worries about that.
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, so- that was- that was- that was one of my prevailing feelings there, um, was just like, worry, for all of these objects. Um, and we did- we were talking about how, you know, some of the stuff like- like that mask has been digitized, you know, they've done high resolution 3D scans of that. Um, but there's just so many papers and documents that they- they don't have any other copies, except the ones that are in that vault. Um, and it's- er- you know, it- it- it was very interesting, and, um, you know, one of the examples that was given is- is like, you don't know necessarily how this stuff is going to be valuable in the future, uh, and- and the example that was mentioned was talking about they have, you know, all these records of- of the weather, you know, going back for hundreds of years, which just sounds like the most boring thing in the whole wide world, right? Until, you know, that stuff starts to matter when people are doing, uh, you know, research for the global weather system,--
Grey: --and now you actually want that kind of data to be available. Um,--
Brady: Yeah, yeah, and you've got, like, the sea levels from Australia from, you know, 1800 and things.
Grey: Yeah, all of this stuff that just seems, uh, just so random and so bizarre, like I can't even remember what was- we looked at that book, maybe you can remind me what what the deal was, but it was- it was a book and it had collections of drawings of a volcano, that some member of the Royal Society had paid a monk to take--
Brady: Oh, yeah, it was--
Grey: --to go- to go outside--
Brady: --it was Vesuvius, wasn't it? It was Vesuvius.
Grey: Yes, that's right, it was Vesuvius.
Brady: Yeah, yeah.
Grey: And one of the members had paid this monk, you know, in the days before photography, to go outside every day--
Grey: --and sketch what the, uh, what, uh, Mount Vesuvius looked like, what the volcano look like--
Brady: Yeah, like not the plume of smoke,--
Brady: --how it was changing shape and things, yeah.
Grey: --and- and send it to him. As I said, like, it was- it was like the 1700s version of a webcam.
Grey: Right? Where the webcam takes a picture every 30 minutes,--
Grey: --but you can't have a webcam, you just have a monk--
Grey: --and you pay him some money and he sends you a sketch every day. And- and that was just, you know, collected in- in this book. Um,--
Grey: So it- it was- it was very- it was really interesting to see. Um,--
Brady: It was funny we went with, uh, with our friend Angela from Google,--
Brady: --and I did find it funny when we were down there, because I just love all that old stuff, and--
Brady: --the- the romance of it, but you and Angela who are both much more, kind of, digital people,--
Brady: --and all you could think about was "has this been scanned?" or--
Brady: --"who should scan this?" and--
Brady: --"where could this be preserved electronically?" and- whereas I was like, "oh, let's touch this" or "oh, doesn't this smell wonderful?".
Grey: Yeah, that is true, that is true. You had your hands all over everything, and--
Grey: --and, uh, you know, again, I was- I was surprised to- to know that it's- it is okay to handle these materials, just like with your gross monkey hands, like with all their sweat on them, and- and like- just--
Grey: --and dirt, and they're like, "oh, no, don't worry" you know, "you pick up these- these letters from Robert Hooke. That's totally fine, don't worry. And though they're originals, we don't have any extra copy, but we're going to let you just touch them". Um,--
Brady: And they prefer you to not use gloves, which is the- the secret no one tells you,--
Brady: --because, um, because if you're gloves, you kind of lose that- that dexterity and that touch and you're more likely to--
Brady: --drop something or rip something or--
Grey: Yeah, you end up being more likely to damage it. Which is also- which is surprising. Uh,--
Grey: --and another example of how things in TV and movies are not accurate representations of- of real life. The one thing that was a very almost overwhelming moment, uh, was being able to see the kind of original edition of Isaac Newton's, uh, Principia Mathematica, you know, the book- the book that is basically the- the founding stone of- of much of modern physics. Uh, and that was- that was really amazing to be able to see and to be able to actually hold in my hands, and I made you take a- a picture of that, that was great.
Brady: I know, I- I knew you liked that when you asked for a photo.
Grey: Yeah, and- and honestly, it was only because I saw you going around touching absolutely everything and- and handling stuff and like "whoops, almost dropped it" you know, um,--
Grey: --that I had- I had the- the bravery to ask if I could hold that book, and I could not believe it when they said "yes, you can- you can hold it". Um, because to be- to be clear, this is Isaac- Isaac Newton's seminal work and that copy, it wasn't just a first edition, that was his hand written copy in big sections with notes to the printer,--
Grey: --and so it's like, that- like, you know, he actually slaved over that book for who knows how long.
Grey: And that was the copy that got sent off to the printer, um, you know, to make the first edition, so it's almost like the zeroth edition of that book. Um,--
Brady: It is pretty cool.
Grey: --so that- I have to say that was- that was an, uh, an amazing moment. But no, I--
Brady: But I was got- I- my- I bukop- my hope was that, you know, that you would say, "Oh, I could make a few videos here using all this source material", like, I- I want to see some CGP Grey videos, you know, using- using all these old documents from hundreds of years ago with some new spin on some country or some border or something we'd never realized before.
Grey: Yeah, I've got to say it's- it's been- it's been running in the back of my mind how to take advantage of that. Um, so I- I have- I have some thoughts, um, and I'm- I'm also again, like, I'm really glad to know that that resource is there.
Grey: It's- it's amazing to be able to see the original- original stuff. But- but it's also- often- it's um, you just- you come across strange surprises when you're dealing with original materials, [phone vibrates] um, and so I'm going to mention something slightly- something slightly nerdy here,--
Grey: --um, but- when I was in- in college, I was rereading, uh, the Lord of the Rings series. And I thought, "ooh, let me start the beginning, I'm going to start with The Hobbit". And by the way people, if you haven't read the hobbit yet, spoiler warning coming up here, so you should pause your podcast, now. Um,--
Brady: Should I take my headphones off? Because I haven't read The Hobbit.
Grey: You haven't read The Hobbit? Are you kidding me?
Brady: [guilty sigh] Yeah, I haven't read The Hobbit.
Grey: Are you serious?
Brady: I haven't read Lord of the Rings either.
Grey: [sighs] Well,--
Brady: Do you think less of me?
Grey: I'm just surprised actually,--
Grey: --I don't think- it's not that I- I think less of you, I'm just- I'm honestly surprised that you- you have not read it. Do you know the basic story of The Hobbit?
Brady: Yes, I know the basic story.
Grey: Okay, so I'm not going to ruin anything with the basic story then, so--
Grey: --and, you're just gonna have to listen to this anyway, because--
Grey: [laughs] --because this- this is what we're doing now.
Grey: Um,- [laughs] so I figured "I'll start the beginning, I'll read The Hobbit", and I'm reading The Hobbit, and I had read it once as a- as a kid, and I'm going through the book and everything is totally normal until the- the pivotal scene between Bilbo and Gollum. And the- the pivotal scene in the book where Bilbo, uh, he sort of steals the ring from Gollum and, you know, makes his way out of the- of the, uh, underneath this mountain and escapes.
Brady: I did see that in the film, I have seen the first film.
Grey: Yeah, so there's like a fight, right? There's- there's--
Brady: Yeah. It's a battle of wits in a way, wasn't it?
Grey: Yeah, well, there's a- there's a preceding thing about it, but there's- there is a- like a skirmish over the ring.
Grey: Um, and I'm reading the book, and everything is going along totally fine, and then in the book that I'm reading, I was- I was completely blown away, because Gollum just hands over the ring, right? Like no questions asked, none of this skirmish nonsense, just basically straight up gives it to Bilbo, and Bilbo walks away. And I was so incredibly confused until I realized that my library actually had a first edition of The Hobbit. And it turns out that this is a change in later editions of The Hobbit.
Grey: Um, so in- in- in fiction, this is called a retcon, when the author goes back and changes something in the earlier material,--
Brady: It's like a director's cut.
Grey: Yeah, to make it match later on with- with the following stuff.
Grey: Uh, and so this is- this was a case of the first- the very first edition of The Hobbit, there is not this- this epic struggle, uh, over the ring. And in later editions there is, and Tolkien went back and changed it, uh, because he realized that it just didn't make any sense, given the books that he was writing in the future.
Grey: So, um, so- like, original copies of things can have very interesting information, but some of the- the trouble sometimes is, like, is knowing that this even exists.
Grey: Right? Like, I would never have discovered this if it just- wasn't just for a- a total- just a total accident. And so yeah, source- original materials are- are just- just amazing. But as- as always with libraries, like, knowing where to look is half the battle. Um,-
Brady: Was that a valuable that book if it was some first edition sitting in your local library?
Grey: It's one of those things I've wondered about later on, like, did they not realize that this was the first edition? Because I'm- I'm a member of a library that has a first edition of The Hobbit here,--
Grey: And that- that's like kept under lock and key, you know,--
Grey: --you can't- you can't directly access that.
Brady: You should- you should have borrowed that bad boy and not returned it,--
Brady: --and taken a hit on the fine.
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, I- I should have, if I was looking through. I think I was really just more confused about the inconsistencies in the story,--
Grey: --and that was just derailing my whole brain, "Why doesn't this match up with what I expect it to be?".
Grey: Um, but yeah, so I- I will definitely take advantage of them, when I come across something where I want- I want to be able to see the original- original stuff and like I said, I have a couple things in mind, but I don't want to mention anything in particular.
Brady: No, I know.
Grey: It was an- it was a- I have to say, it was a- it was a great trip, and I'm really glad that, uh, that you were able to, uh, bring me down there and to sort of get access to this,--
Grey: --because you're a cool person.
Brady: I should say, by the way as well, like, you know, by way of thanks to the- the library guys at the Royal Society, anyone can go there. Anyone can go there and look at any materials, I mean, not anyone can go down to the vault, but anything from the vault can be brought up to you.
Brady: So if you go there and- and, you know, join up and go through the process, no money, just like, you know, prove that you're a real person and not some cowboy. And you want to look at some old handwritten document from Isaac Newton, they'll bring it up to you,--
Brady: --they'll show it to you. They're all- they want- they want people to go there and use this resource, you know, they want this stuff out there. So, um, if- if you're ever in London, or you're from London, and you want to go see this stuff, it's not some exclusive club, anyone can go and have a look.
Grey: Yeah, and the library is really worth seeing as well, like it's just- it's a- it's a beautiful room,--
Grey: --where they'll bring you up the materials.
Grey: Uh, so yeah, it is definitely worth seeing.
[Topic change sound]
Brady: Do you know, well- like, we were going to talk about some stuff today, we, like, prepared a topic.
Brady: Are we going to do it? We've been going, like, nearly an hour.
Grey: I think that I'm totally up for doing something that is, like, an actual topic, but it depends entirely on you.
Brady: Let's do it man, let's do it.
Grey: [laughs] You--
Brady: I'm -I mean the first couple of podcasts have been like an hour long, but there's no rules about this is there?
Grey: No, this is the internet,--
Grey: --stuff can be as long or as short as you want it to be, there's absolutely no limits on this.
Brady: And some of the podcasts you've been, um, putting me onto, because I'm- I wasn't as much of a podcast junkie as you, so I've just been listening to once you tell me to listen to,--
Brady: --they typically go for like two hours.
Grey: Yeah, some of them are very long, and my personal favorite, but sadly defunct now, podcast Hypercritical was legendary for going, like, they'd have shows- I'm pretty sure they had shows the topped three hours in length,--
Grey: --uh, because John Siracusa, the star of that show, just had interesting things to say and could say them forever, like he could just keep going--
Brady: I tell you what- I tell you what, we have to, in a future episode, do a podcast about podcasts, because there's a few things I want to discuss with you, especially about the podcasts you've put me onto, because I've been listening to them a lot. And I've got lots of questions and comments, and I want to- I want to do more about it. But that's not for today, is it?
Grey: No, well, that's not- that's not exactly for today. Um,--
Brady: We were- we were going to talk about feedback.
Brady: Because I- I think- I think the- the rough thinking was because we've been getting so much feedback in the last week,--
Brady: --with the podcast, it would be a good chance just to talk about feedback in general.
Grey: Yeah, I think- I- I- I, uh, I suspect this is going to be a relatively short topic, which is why I don't mind doing it now.
Grey: But I was- I was just thinking about it earlier, and I think- there- my note says "feedback on feedback". And I- I think that there's- there's some- some things to be said here. Uh,--
Grey: And so I guess- I mean- I guess just to start it off, what I was thinking about is how- you know, again, because we're in this- we're in this amazing world with the internet, you know, and people can put stuff out there, um, and anybody can comment on it if they want, you know, like, anybody can make a YouTube video tomorrow and upload it, right? And you can get some comments, and I think it's- it's a very weird situation to have feedback from people that you don't know. And, how, as the creator of something to actually interpret that feedback. Um, I- I think there's a- there's a lot of- of weirdness that happens here. Um,--
Grey: I don't know. I mean, 'cause I'm kind of- I don't actually know- I mean, like, do you look at the YouTube comments for your own videos very much? I mean, you're so busy making videos, you probably don't have time to actually read the comments.
Brady: No, I do, esp- especially, um, especially on a new video. So for the first- I'll talk about this a bit more in a minute, when- when I sort of talk to you a bit about some of- some of things I've been doing lately, but- but in general terms, I would say I look at the viewer comments on a YouTube video for the first day--
Brady: --or- or two days, and that--
Brady: --that starts to subside then because- because I do a video almost every day or every two days,--
Brady: --um, a new video kind of usurps it and that becomes sort of the--
Brady: --focus of my attention. And, you know, now I have a couple of thousand videos, I don't go back and read all the feedback on all of them.
Brady: Um, but for the first day or two, and that's when you're getting the most comments anyway.
Brady: I am quite- I am very much across what's being said,--
Brady: --for better or worse.
Grey: Mm-hmm. And I guess,--
Brady: What about you? What about you?
Grey: Yeah well, uh,--
Brady: I know obviously, you- you have comments under your video and then you also run your- your Reddit subreddits,--
Brady: --where- which is where you'd like the feedback to happen.
Grey: Yeah, that's exactly it. At- at this point, um, at- at this stage, I- I don't pay any attention to the comments on YouTube, with some of the changes that they made, I don't really like that format. Um,--
Brady: So what, you won't even look at it at all, like, just- you won't even look.
Grey: Yeah, I mean- I- I, uh, you know, we're- we're talking now in 2014 and a couple months ago, YouTube changed, uh, the- the way their comment system works,--
Brady: Yes, they did.
Grey: --and I- I was never a- a huge fan of the comment system before, uh, and I'm- I wouldn't necessarily say that this- this, uh, this new system is worse, but for me for various reasons, I- I just find it not really workable, um, and so--
Brady: I would say it's worse, but--
Grey: Yeah. Yeah, again, we- uh, we'll- we'll have a fuller conversation about this at some point. Um,--
Grey: But- but for now, I- I really- I don't really look at the YouTube comments at all.
Grey: And I look entirely at the Reddit comments, uh, and that's- that's what I'm interested in. Um, and--
Brady: Why? Why do you look at the comments? What are- what do you- what are you looking for in them?
Grey: Well, what- what's- what's interesting to me- so I have a- again on- on Reddit, I have a section where I can post the videos and people can discuss them. Um--
Grey: But I'm- I'm- I'm very interested also on Reddit when the video gets posted in other sections, so people who don't necessarily subscribe to me on YouTube who- who've never seen one of my videos before, um, they will comment on a video, and that can be interesting to read,--
Grey: --and see, like, someone who's not familiar with my video style,--
Grey: --you know, what- what might they say. Um, but, uh, what I- what I was- one of the reasons why I- I think the- the- the feedback on feedback thing is- is interesting because it- it changes at different scales. When someone's starting out, when they're making things for the first time on the internet, anonymous feedback from strangers is kind of an amazing thing.
Grey: Now, you know, people- people can just be like total jerks on the internet, there's no denying that. Um, but- it is, uh, it's difficult in real life to ever get genuine, honest feedback from people you know in your life. Um, so, you know, you have friends and you have families, and- and because you have social obligations to the people in those groups, it's hard to get 100% honest feedback from- from those people in your life.
Grey: Uh, whereas some random person who's seen whatever you've made on the internet, and who has no connection to you, and isn't even using a real name, there's no reason for them to hold back. You know, they- they have permission to just be really straightforward in their feedback and,--
Grey: --that can be very, very valuable. Um, and I think if- if you're paying attention to that kind of feedback in the right sort of way, especially in the beginning, you can really try to direct whatever it is you're making in a more positive way.
Brady: But how much should you allow yourself to be guided by feedback? I- I mean I- it's the politically correct thing to say, is "I look at the feedback and my audience is really important" and, um, "I want to make what they want and I will shape and tailor what I do to them", and, you know, "I take all their opinions on board because they're- it's really valuable to me".
Brady: And to an extent, that is true, and only a fool will completely ignore feedback on what the audience is saying, because we do this for the audience, you know, it's- it's a relationship with the audience.
Brady: But at the same time, you've got to kind of believe in yourself as well, and- and your vision, otherwise you just become some diluted, you know, um, designed by committee piece of generic rubbish.
Brady: And- and the example I often use in this respect is in, um, the- the Numberphile videos I make, which are these mathematics videos, often we need to write on something. And for various reasons, which I've outlined in a blog in great detail, and it was very much thought out, I have people write on these pieces of brown paper with a marker.
Brady: Now, with the first three or four Numberphile videos went up, they- they had a quite a large audience from the start, because I already had an audience from other channels, so I was getting a lot of feedback right from the start. And overwhelmingly, like you wouldn't believe, all the feedback was negative about the brown paper.
Brady: "You've- you've got to get rid of it", "It's rubbish". Like, and- trust- trust me that was what all the comments were about, and it was very strong. But I really believed in using this brown paper.
Grey: I gotta say, it's such a trademark of yours now,--
Grey: --I cannot imagine the Numberphile videos without it.
Brady: Ex- exactly, and I- I felt really strongly about it for various reasons that it was a good idea and it would work. And there are still people that don't like it, but they're very much in the minority now, and I rarely hear anything about it. But there are lots of people who really, really love it.
Brady: They're really into it. And they- they've really adopted it. And that was an example of something where if I was going to go with the feedback and be shaped by it, I would have ditched that brown paper very quickly.
Brady: But I was like, "No, I- I think- I think I'm right here". And, I think if you are starting out and you get shaped by feedback too easily,--
Brady: --you lose your distinctiveness.
Brady: And, uh, you know, I think- I think you've got to- you can look at it and take what you want from it, but you can't listen to it too much. You got to be your own man or woman.
Grey: Yeah. Um, and- yeah, I wouldn't- I wouldn't be arguing for "follow the feedback entirely". Um,--
Grey: But, I- I agree with you that- that you're kind of foolish to not pay attention to it, particularly in the beginning. But I think that- that brown paper one is a good example because, um, there- there are things that you have to consider as a creator that might not be obvious to the people watching something.
Grey: And, I- I don't know if this was your thought process, but I- I might guess that you wanted something that was distinct for, um, a visual look, or you wanted something that- you're dealing with an abstract channel, so that people were writing on a thing, and you could see them doing it. I mean, was that--
Grey: --some part of the--
Brady: --yeah, that- that- that's, I mean, there are probably six or seven reasons, but that is a strong one.
Brady: I want it to be sort of, yeah, something tactile and physical,--
Grey: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Brady: --in a- on topics that are, yeah,--
Grey: Yeah. So there- there--
Grey: Yeah, there's definitely considerations that you have to have as- as the maker of the thing that are--
Grey: --not obvious to the audience. Um, but I- I think for, uh, you know, for example, um, in some of my earlier videos, there were a lot of comments about how the audio quality was just terrible. Um,--
Grey: And there is no denying that. Like, that- that was entirely true. And it's funny because it was not something I was aware of when I made the first couple videos, um, the- the very first one was done just by talking straight into the- the laptop microphone, which- I just- is unbelievable to me today,--
Grey: --but, the- the- the comments about the audio quality was something that made me realize like "Ooh, I need to put some time and thought into this if I'm going to make more of these". Uh, and so I- like I just bought a cheap USB microphone and already that makes it so much better. Um, you know, and now I have a bit more professional gear. But, I- so I think, like, feedback for rough edges like that can be very useful or,--
Grey: --feedback on- on people's delivery, so, you know, if- if you're doing something like we're doing and you're making a- an explanation video, you want to see how many people seem confused by this in the comments. And, that- that's an indication that maybe this isn't- this isn't going very well. Um, but I- I think on the flip side of it as well, what's really useful when you're starting out is, like, positive comments. Do people actually leave comments who seemed to like the thing that you're doing? Uh, and if- if you're getting just no positive feedback at all, right? That- that's a- that's a kind of feedback as well, like, you need to adjust what you're making for the world, uh, and or do something in a very different way--
Grey: --to try to catch people's attention.
Grey: Um, but, what- what I think is, um, this is a- this is a comment that was made to me by, uh, Derek of Veritasium,--
Grey: -who might be listening right now. Hi Derek, if you are listening.
Brady: Hey, Derek.
Grey: [laughs] Um,--
Brady: I hope you- I hope- what- what T-shirt are you wearing, Derek? Are you wearing those tight jeans, Derek?
Grey: He probably is wearing his tight jeans.
Grey: Uh, for those of- those of you who haven't seen Derek, he's very pretty. Um,--
Grey: He's definitely the prettiest of the educational YouTubers, I think.
Brady: But he always wears, like- and he always wears the T-shirt of your channel when he meets you,--
Brady: --which I, which is a class act, like, I- I met him for like a coffee and--
Brady: --like, he turned up wearing a Periodic Videos--
Grey: That is very impressive.
Brady: --of The Professor, and then, like, I'm sure when he meets you, he'll turn up in his CGP Grey shirt, and--
Brady: --that's- that's- that's attention to detail, you know,--
Grey: It is, it is, that--
Grey: That's why he's a successful guy.
Grey: Um, um,--
Brady: What was he saying to you?
Grey: Yeah, what I was going to say- he- he made a comment, um, when we were talking once about how, um, the value of positive feedback goes to zero as you are more and more successful.
Grey: And, I don't know if you think that's the case, but he said that and it was like, "Man, I could not agree with him more strongly", uh, when he mentioned that to me.
Brady: I mean, it doesn't mean I want no one- you know, everyone to stop leaving positive feedback. But, um, I mean, yeah, I mean, you look at- you're kind of preaching to the choir, aren't you, after a while in terms of, um, you know, people watching or watching because they like what you're doing.
Grey: Yeah. And it- it's- it's, uh, it's very interesting- and just a- just as a little bit of a- a phenomenon that- you have- if you get just like lots and lots and lots of positive comments, it- it sounds- it does sound weird, but after a while, if you- if you have tons of them, they're not necessarily valuable, right? These are- these are- like in aggregate, right? Individually they are, but like, "what can you draw from that?", is very hard to say, like, there's not necessarily anything actionable in that, right? Whereas negative comments may still contain information for something that you can change or that you can improve upon. Um, and also, [laughs] the other thing is that, you know, negative comments are the ones that just really stick with you sometimes, you know, especially if there is a- a- a kernel of truth, uh, a kernel of truth to them. Um,--
Brady: Of course, that's- that's the- that's the thing, isn't it?
Grey: Yeah. And, there- there was a- there was a- I'll see if I can find it for the description, but there was a little web comic that I saw once where it showed, like, a- a guy at work, and he's surrounded by all these little speech bubbles of people saying really nice things about him, there's 20 nice things, and there's one negative thing. And then the second panel is him after work at dinnertime, and the one negative comment is still crystal clear, but all the positive ones have sort of faded away, uh, slightly.
Grey: And then the final panel is him, you know, it's- it's at nighttime and he can't get to sleep, and the only thing that remains is that negative comment, and all the- the positive ones have sort of disappeared.
Grey: Uh, and I think that- that's partly like what is in- what is engaged in a statement like "positive feedback trends to zero", um, that like, the negative stuff really sticks with you especially if it- if it has some kernel of truth, um, and, you know, that can be- that can be very- very hard to deal with, um, sometimes.
Brady: Have you ever had, like, a negative comment that still sticks with you now?
Grey: [sigh] People- yeah, I mean, people can- people can leave comments that really do, kind of, um, stick with you. But I--
Brady: What's your- what- what's your- what would- well, I don't want to ask you too personal a question, and I also don't want to [chuckles]--
Brady: --encourage people to go and give you a hard time, but--
Grey: [laughing] Yeah.
Brady: What- what sort of area of criticism will stick with you more than others? Will it be, you know, "I don't like the sound of your voice" or "your argument is poor" or--
Brady: --"you sound like you must be very ugly"?
Brady: Like, what- what- what are the ones that stick with you?
Grey: I think- I think, um, there's a kind of comment that I do see on- on videos, especially when I'm aware- like if it's on- on a section on Reddit, for example, where people don't know who I am,--
Grey: --um, the- I would say the- the one that I'm okay talking about that I see the most, is people will say that I sound really condescending in the videos. And that- that always gets me because like, boy am I- like, my whole point is to not be condescending, like I'm- I'm- I'm sort of assuming that the- the person watching this video might not know very much about this topic, and I want to- I want to try to be friendly about that, and that is something that I do think about when I'm recording the actual audio for the video is- is to try to get takes where I'm not- I'm not like being an authority talking down to person, um, especially because very often, uh, like, uh, I knew almost nothing about this topic five weeks earlier. And- and so, like, I'm by no means an authority. Um, you know, I've just done a whole bunch of research, but I'm- I'm very sensitive to coming off as condescending to people who might not have watched a whole bunch of my videos. So that's a kind of negative comment that I do see repeatedly that I'm- I'm aware of and kind of sticks with me, um, and- and does affect how, uh, how I- how I work a little bit.
Brady: I mean, you're always going to have that problem though, because if you tell people a lot of inf- clever information that they didn't know before, very very quickly, which is what you do, it makes you appear very intelligent and knowledgeable, and that immediately puts you in a position where you- where people will feel that you're being condescending. You're not, and I know you get around it in all those other ways, but you're always gonna- you're always going to struggle with that.
Grey: Yeah, I am.
Brady: It's like- it's like- like, if someone goes on a quiz show and they happen to know all the answers, like, well, okay, they know all the answers and people gonna think "Oh, aren't they a know-it-all" and feel really negatively towards them. I mean,--
Brady: --"sorry, I just happen to know the answers, and I've said them quickly".
Grey: Yeah. Um, but- but I- yeah, I- but that's- I- I- I totally agree with that, but it is something that I'm just- I'm very--
Brady: Yeah, yeah.
Grey: --towards about,--
Grey: --thinking of ways to minimize--
Grey: --that in the videos, um,--
Brady: Yeah, yeah.
Grey: --in- in various ways.
Grey: Um, but what I- what I was gonna say is just, uh, like, I have a couple other- other little- little thoughts here and, you know, there's- Do you know who's a Ze Frank is?
Brady: Yes, I- I met- I met Ze Frank at- at VidCon, uh, two years ago.
Grey: Oh did you? Ah... um, Ze Frank, for- for those who may not be aware, is sort of the- the father of the modern internet vlog. You know the- if you've seen a video where there's a person's face talking at a camera very quickly and they do jump cuts, like, Ze Frank was the guy who started that, um, back in the day, he's sort of- the--
Brady: Yeah, the- the Green brother- he's a real hero of the green brothers.
Grey: Yeah, yeah, he used to do this amazing thing called "The Show", which, is so old now in internet terms, but was just amazing. Um, and then he disappeared mysteriously for a number of years and has recently come back on YouTube. Um, but he did a- a- a video, which I'll- I'll try to find for the description, where he was talking about comments on videos on YouTube, and he made an excellent point, which I thought was in- was interesting, which is that, of course, the only people who comment are the people who have a strong reaction to the video, or whatever it is you've made, in one way or another, right? People who really liked it, or really hated it. But pretty much by definition, the people who watch a video and were kind of meh, they're probably not going to leave a comment.
Grey: Um, and so I- I had- I had not really thought about that, but it's an interesting point that feedback on anything that you put on the internet is- is going to be intrinsically biased in two completely opposing directions.
Grey: You know, people who love it and people who hate it. And I think this is- you can also see this just in- in any kind of- of website that has, uh, five star rankings, um, where almost all the reviews are either five stars or they're one star, and there's almost no three star reviews.
Grey: Because who is the person leaving the three star review? Um,--
Grey: and I- I- [laughs] right? Like, "Oh, I kind of liked it, eh, I don't know"--
Brady: Yeah, it- it either change your life for the better, or--
Brady: --broke the day you got it and you want to--
Grey: That's exactly it. It's like, "Oh, I kind of liked it. But I think I'll spend 20 minutes writing a review"--
Grey: --"of this thing that's kind of, like, whatever", um, like, nobody does that, right? That's--
Grey: --that's nobody. Um, and so it just- I think that's just interesting to keep in mind whenever you're looking over feedback of anything that you have put out there on the internet.
Brady: I- uh, I mean, that's interesting you bring that up, I mean, I guess there is- there is one respect where I- I have to- and I hadn't thought of this before, actually, but there is a respect in which I have to follow feedback more interestingly,--
Brady: --and you analyze it more than you.
Brady: And that is the respect in which most of my videos have a third party in them, who is often someone... maybe not used to the kind of exposure you get on these YouTube videos.
Brady: And of course, they read the feedback.
Brady: And I- I then have to counsel them in some way.
Brady: So that- that whole, um, thing about, you know, you- the silent majority, is something I'm always forced to bring up with people when they've read two or three of those--
Brady: --comments that are very harsh and will stay in that speech bubble for days,--
Brady: --I have to tell them, you know, "a million people have watched this video", you know, "some of them didn't like it", but--
Brady: "that's- that's like 20 people out of a million, and there's a whole bunch that did like it" so, but in general, that's- that is the biggest problem of comments for me,--
Brady: --is that- is those third parties who are often--
Brady: --who are always, almost, volunteers,--
Brady: --uh, and not the sort of people that put themselves out there for criticism. They're doing me a favor,--
Brady: --um, they're doing the viewers a favor by lending their expertise and- and knowledge. And suddenly they're exposed to this- this harsh world. And, you know, I can accept- I can accept that myself, if someone wants to say that I'm a terrible filmmaker or a bad person or have a big nose or am rubbish,--
Brady: --I- I have to accept that, uh, you know, I've chosen- I've chosen this world, but these other people, I don't think they've chosen it to the same degree, and I feel quite protective of them.
Brady: And it's- it has, just very recently, reached, uh, a tipping point for me, where, I'm no- I'm no longer willing to accept it.
Brady: And, particularly with the new comment system and a few other things that have been going on, like, it's just become... vi- it's become very vicious towards these volunteers, and, you know, so- you know, I can accept if someone says, "I disagree with your argument", or "I think you made a factual mistake" or,--
Brady: --but if they start saying things that are personally offensive, or racist, or, you know, or sexual, against these volunteers, and I can't police it, you know, I can't police it all because there are so many videos,--
Brady: --I've just had enough. And so just recently I've- I'm experimenting with having the comments to approval,--
Brady: --which is a huge rod for my own back. I remember, um, when I met with the guys that do the Sesame Street YouTube videos, they do the same thing. Because obviously, lots of--
Brady: --kids are on those sites. And I'm a- I'm very aware that schools use my videos too,--
Brady: --and I don't want the top comment to be some racist attack against the person who's in the video. So, um, I've been experimenting with approving them, and, it takes me loads of time, and I'm not particularly censorous in terms of, you know, if someone doesn't like the video,--
Brady: --well I don't care, I'll just, you know, "tick, I'll approve that". If they liked the video I'll tick it, if they- but if they are being abusive, you know, I- I can't have that anymore.
Brady: Because, it also- some of these people in the videos, you know, are- are reading it and they've become scared to read the comments,--
Brady: --because of, you know, they'll say "No, I won't even look at the comments now, it's too hurtful". And I don't want that to happen, I want them to go into the comments so they can... enjoy the praise, or they can look at the constructive criticism and--
Brady: --think about it, and, you know, I've always really prided the comments section under my videos as a place where... debate goes on, you know, it can be- it can be vigorous debate, but, you know, a- a healthy place, and I like the people in the videos to go in there too and- and at least read it. Some of them actually engage with it and write comments too, but at least read it and- and be part of it, so those people writing the comments don't feel like they're talking to the void. But it got to a point where that just wasn't feasible anymore. So I've had to- I've- I've gone down this approval route as an experiment for now. And, I've now been able to go to the people in my videos and say "Don't worry, don't worry, don't be scared of going into the comments anymore. If someone writes something that is horrific, I'll try to, you know, I'll try to stop it, because"--
Brady: And I- and if some- and, you know, I know we live in a world where free speech is greatly valued, and I greatly value free speech as well, but, they can go and do their free speech somewhere else free, not on... a video and page that I've created, you know?
Brady: I'm- I'm given the administration rights of that page for various reasons, and, you know, if they want to- if they want to have their free speech and say something vicious and horrible about some poor academic who's volunteered their time, go and do it on your own page.
Brady: Don't- don't- don't ride the audience that have come to see a video that we've created.
Grey: Yeah. I mean, I think- I- I would guess, you know, this is- this is a- a function of audience size.
Grey: Right? And so obviously, like, as- as your videos have gotten more popular, and you have more people subscribed, you can do nothing but expect the average comment quality to go down. It's- it's like--
Grey: --it's like a mathematical function like you're- you're almost guaranteed that- that is going to be the case.
Grey: That as you widen the pool, uh, the discussion quality drops. And, you know, when, like you say, when you bring in some third party who is not necessarily used to that, uh,--
Grey: --it- it can be a very upsetting experience and I- I do think that, you know, at least for- for YouTube, you know, "Don't read the comments" is not- is not, uh, is not bad advice, and it's partly because the- the barrier to commenting is much lower, um, you know,--
Grey: --so it is- it is easier, and, um, yeah, it just- you're- I- I don't know about you approving the comments, because my- my only guess is that- is your- as your channel continues to grow, that fundamental underlying math is not going to be any different.
Grey: Right? And like your- maybe it's just handleable now, but in a year from now,--
Brady: Well it's not. It's not, I mean, I need--
Grey: [laughing] Okay.
Brady: --I- I need to work on some different solutions, and there are--
Brady:--there are filters and things you can put in place, but it'- it's just a temporary experiment while I figure out--
Brady: --how to protect these people I care about.
Grey: Yeah. And- and the thing- the thing that is- is the tricky thing with feedback, uh, which again is advice for anybody who makes stuff on the internet, this is- this advice is like, probably the- the- the best advice that I can give about negative feedback, uh, and- and particularly aggressively negative feedback, but also sometimes the most hard to f- hard to follow through with, and it is just "do not engage", right? You have- you have nothing to gain from engaging with extremely negative commenters. Uh, but it is also just so, so hard not to do.
Grey: Um, and, I- I- I- yeah, I- I- I don't- I don't want to go into any details about- about, well, I just said, like, I ran into, uh, a very negative commenter on Reddit recently who- who doesn't like me for personal reasons, you know, doesn't know me, but like, you know, just hates me.
Grey: And, [laughs] it's like, man, you just want to respond, but I literally had to sit there and think, like, "do not engage, do not engage", right? You have nothing to gain from this except--
Grey: --losing your time, uh, but it is- it is very... frustrating and- and I- I can see sometimes on the internet that, like, little- little conversations unfold where people will wonder like, "Oh, why hasn't this prominent person responded about this particular- this particular"--
Grey: --"attack on them?" And it's like, "because the correct answer is 'do not engage'", like, you just- you can't win--
Grey: --fighting among those people.
Brady: "Never start a land war in Asia".
Grey: [laughing] Yeah! Yeah, that's exactly it.
Brady: That's what I say about it.
Grey: And- and- and like, negative and or crazy comments are like a land war in Asia, right?
Grey: Like, "Oh, you're not- you're not gonna win on this one", right?
Grey: There's- there is- there's no way, uh, there's no way to come out, uh, ahead.
Brady: Yeah, I mean, there are- there are- there are lots of reasons to not engage, like, um, one is, you know, it just validates someone who... you shouldn't really be validating.
Brady: And- but also, like, they're- they're a stranger.
Brady: Like, they- there are lots of people in your life who are important, who should get your time or your light bulbs or whatever you want to give them,--
Brady: But,- and there are people who you shouldn't. And, they're also- they don't know- they don't know you, they don't know anything about you. Um, you've just got to remember they're strangers. That's what I always get told, as well.
Brady: So, whether they're saying- whether they're saying you're great and you make the best videos in the world, or they're saying you're terrible and you're rubbish and they hate your guts, both of those people, they don't know you.
Brady: And you're not that great, you're not- you're not as good as they say,--
Brady: --and you're not bad- as bad as they say, and--
Brady: --you just gotta- just keep doing what you're doing- doing what you enjoy.
Grey: Yeah. Yeah, both of those- both of those, uh, both those comments are definitely true, that you are- you are not as- as awesome or as terrible as- as people say. Um, but, it is- it is so hard not to read- read the comments sometimes, but, you know, I- I- I do- I do value feedback and hearing what people have to say, uh,--
Grey: --you know, sort of, in particular circumstances, and that's why I use Reddit so heavily.
Brady: It- it--
Grey: It's like, for me, that works really well and it's very interesting to see.
Brady: It is a really- it is a really good thing about our job, that--
Brady: We get- we get the level of feedback we do, like, a lot of people do- who do jobs and no one ever tells them anything, about whether they like what they're doing or don't like what they're doing,--
Brady: --and we are lucky and we'll sit here whinging because it comes with a- it comes with a sting in the tail.
Brady: But, overall, overall I quite like it. I will say one other thing about comments though, that just popped into my head,--
Brady: --that drives me crazy,--
Grey: [laughs] Tell me, Brady.
Brady: --and that- that is, inevitably things will come up in a video like, say, a mistake or some- something that kind of needs- something that needs addressing, or something that someone's noticed. And you- there is nothing you can do to stop people commenting on that. If- if you, like, clarify something with an annotation, or you write something in the description,--
Grey: [exhales in amusement]
Brady: --or you write a bunch of comments in the comment section yourself to say, "Look, I realize that this isn't clear", or something, you will still have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people--
Grey: [exhales in amusement]
Brady: --point it out, as if no one else has pointed it out. Like,--
Brady: --they just seen it and written it. And it does make me wonder, "What percentage of people who write comments even glance at the video description, or the other people's comments before they write something?" It might not even be a mistake. It might be "What is the piece of music you used?",--
Brady: --and you wrote a comment about it and everyone else will say "Oh, he's used this piece of music" and you put it the- and you do--
Brady: --everything you can to let people- it could be in the video, burned into the video in big bold letters, and you still have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people writing "What was the music?" or "Do you realize that this is wrong?" or something.
Grey: You're wondering who these people are, but I know that I have done this myself,- [laughs]
Brady: [laughing] Okay.
Grey: [laughing] I have- I have definitely sometimes left a comment on something, only seconds later to see that it was in the description or something or other and just feel like a total idiot. Um,-- [laughs]
Brady: I would never- I would never- oh, I probably do it all the time, but, I would be reluctant to write a comment and put something into writing until I've checked--
Brady: --that it's not available.
Grey: Maybe- maybe- maybe you're not as reactionary as [laughing] I can be--
Grey: --on the internet, right? Just let the keyboard fly, like, "Hey, buddy, what's this thing?" and then like "Oh right, he told me three seconds later".
Grey: Um, I was just--
Grey: --looking as a- as a final thing here, right? I'm looking at our- our feedback on our own podcast, um,--
Grey: --and, our star ratings follow exactly, uh, what I was saying before.
Grey: So we have, at this point, 295 five star ratings.
Brady: Wow, that sounds impressive.
Grey: It does sound impress- I- I- I don't have any sense, really, of how--
Brady: No, I got know idea, that could be--
Grey: --you know, I'm like, I have no idea what that- but let's just- the- that's the number, 295 five-star ratings. And then, we have three one star ratings.
Grey: And even just looking at that, right? It's like, um, and we have no three-star ratings and five four-star ratings, right? So,--
Brady: But do you know what? The only ones I want to read are what the three-star people- the one-star people wrote--
Grey: [laughing] But that- yes! That is exactly- yeah!
Brady: --that's the only one I want to read. I want to know what they said.
Grey: That is exactly it, right? Like, I- I'm looking at this, and like, your mind- you cannot help it but like, my mind is totally drawn--
Grey: --immediately to those three one-star ratings, like, "What did that person have to say?"
Grey: Um, and,--
Brady: It's like when you're booking a holiday, like at some amazing resort in the Maldives, and it has ten thousand 5-star reviews and one one-star review,--
Brady: --and you read the one-star review,--
Brady: --and they say "the service was tele- terrible, and there were rats",--
Brady: --and you're like "Well, I'm not going there",--
Brady: "There's no way I'm going to that resort",--
Brady: --despite the thousands of people who were--
Brady: --said it was the most wonderful place they've ever been.
Grey: Oh, I almost forgot, I almost forgot I- I- I- I just want to- to mention this before we- before we sign off. Um, this is the thing that- the thing that got me started about this whole topic, I- I forget until the absolute very end.
Grey: Um, but going back to what you were saying in the beginning, how you have to trust your own judgment about something,--
Grey: --I was looking at the comments, uh, for this podcast, and this happened to be on YouTube, 'cause I was curious to see what everybody had to say. Uh, and the favorite thing that I came across, uh, was two comments, one that was right after ea- another. Uh, and so it's- this is on, uh, on YouTube, and the first one is from a guy called, uh, "Toxis", and he complains- or his- or I should say his suggestion is that he- he doesn't like the podcast because, um, we don't let the conversation flow naturally, and, you know, we're- we're sticking strictly to our theme, right?
Grey: So this is his feedback, he doesn't like it, because we're stu- too strictly, uh, sticking to the theme.
Brady: Well, he'll love today's episode.
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, yeah, but immediately after, there's a user called "Unpronounceable", and he has the exact reverse feedback, right? He doesn't like it, because we're just talking about whatever,--
Grey: --and you should really have some kind of centralizing theme, right? To focus the discussion.
Brady: There you go.
Grey: [laughing] Um, and this is- this is the kind of thing that can just drive you crazy, uh, on the internet is--
Grey: --is- but I love it- I love it that they're literally one right after the other, uh, feedback going in just completely opposite directions--
Brady: I make little screengrabs when that happens. I collect some comments- oh, I didn't discuss this actually, but I- I collect some comments for various reasons. One of the main reasons is I often, uh, go and give talks to people--
Brady: --about YouTube and, having a- having a nice collection of comments, good and bad is, you know, quite good for PowerPoint presentations. But, um, whenever I see two side by side like that, I like to keep them as little, like, like little twin primes or something, they're nice little- they're little treasures when two people say exact opposite things back to back.
Brady: I find that happens a lot when I do, um, the polarizing videos like, something different, like a song or something like that.
Brady: That's when you get "this is the best video I've ever seen on the internet" followed by "this is the worst piece of trash"--
Grey: [laughs] Yes, yes.
Brady: --"I've ever seen, you should die"
Grey: Yeah, those- those- those pairs are just great, And so we have- we have one of those for this podcast.
Brady: Excellent, excellent.
Grey: It is- it is both too structured and not structured enough, uh,--
Grey: --which is why you have to- you have to make decisions eventually.
Brady: What do we- how do we fix that? What do we do now? I don't know.
Grey: Well- well, here's- here's what I'm going to do right now. So,--
Grey: --and this is also- this is also a cunning plan, I have left this- this to last for a very reason, right? So--
Grey: --we have a bunch of- of, uh, reviews from different countries around the world. Uh, and so here's- here's the list of places where we have gotten reviews.
Grey: It's Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. So what I would like is to get more different countries, right? This is- this to me is like, Pokemon, right? Like, you gotta catch them all. I would love to eventually, at some point, have a review from every one of the countries,--
Grey: --where this podcast can be heard.
Grey: So if you're hearing- if you're hearing the sound of my voice right now, and, if you like this podcast, which if you have listened this long,--
Grey: --you must like this podcast. And if you are listening this long and you don't like this podcast, I'm very worried. Um, but I'm going to assume anybody who has listened this long, by definition has to be enjoying this podcast, and you are from one of the places that I have not mentioned, I would really like you to go leave a review in iTunes.
Brady: Even if it's a one star?
Grey: I'm assuming that people who have listened this long are going to leave... positive reviews.
Brady: I so should have put a review in when I was in Vietnam.
Grey: Uh, you should have, yes, I guess.
Brady: I'm sorry.
Grey: I'm not exactly sure how that works, that's okay.
Brady: Okay, but--
Grey: But yeah,--
Brady: --the message out there, Grey has spoken.
Grey: So I want to see- I want to see if we can collect all of- and I can't- unfortunately, I can't just tally up how many countries there are, and of course, my own video on the number of countries means it's--
Grey: --it's ambiguous anyway, but--
Grey: --but there are a bunch of places, so if you can hear my voice, and you were not- or you are in a place that was not mentioned, I would love it if you left a review, and, uh, maybe next time, I'll follow up and see how many additional places we have gotten since that last time, uh, but I'm gonna say, I think this has been long enough, my friend.
Brady: I think, although I feel like I didn't ask enough questions, and I spoke too much. But,--
Brady: --I'll, I'll do more questions next time.
Grey: [laughing] No, it's good, it- we'll- we'll- we'll be chatting, but you know what? People will complain both ways, we'll get--
Grey: --feedback that people loved it, and feedback that people didn't like it, and, I guess we'll just have to make some judgments about that.
Brady: See you later, mate.
Grey: All right, talk again.
Grey: [laughing] All right, bye.
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