Please explain Merlin Mann to me

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by SiMBa37, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. SiMBa37 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    Like many of you, I listen to a lot of Mac/Apple-centric podcasts. I keep hearing about this Merlin Mann character, and I've checking him out to see what all the broo-hah is about.

    I have to be honest, I really don't get this guy, and I don't get the people that are so head over heels into him. I've browsed his website, 43Folders, listen to his podcast with Dan Benjamin ("Back to Work"), and I've heard him on other podcasts too like Mac Power Users.

    I can hardly find out much about him, other than he is someone who has made a few websites, that are aligned along mostly motivational speech. His eccentricity seems manufactured in a way that a man named "Merlin Mann, [the] III" was designed to be eccentric. He talks about being productive and creativity, yet his "product" is essentially telling others to be productive, ironically in a long winded and tangential sprawl.

    He's supposedly a productivity guru who is a paid speaker at many events, yet he has no credentials to back that up.

    I've honestly tried to listen to him through the above listed podcasts, but I couldn't bear the pointless pseudo-philosophical eccentricity. The "Back to Work" show is rarely about work, and stands in stark contrast to shows like Marco Arment's "Build and Analyze" which is very engaging, thoughtful, and enlightening.

    Granted, my profession is in Medicine, not in Tech/IT/Web Development, so maybe I'm just out of Merlin Mann's loop.
     
  2. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #2
    I don't think you're missing anything. It sounds like you just don't find Merlin's writing and speaking as inspirational or entertaining as his fans do.

    I don't follow him as much as I used to, but a few years back he was writing a lot about productivity tools like Quicksilver and OmniFocus, and I got a lot out of those posts. His work clearly speaks to a lot of people, as he is fairly "Internet-famous" (e.g. having been invited to speak at Google and elsewhere). If the credentials for a motivational speaker include having motivated a sufficiently large number of people, he seems to have passed that test.
     
  3. SiMBa37 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    You are probably right. I just feel like the person in the room who doesn't get the joke, when everyone else is laughing.

    I suppose he's an acquired taste.

    Re: Productivity, I think David Sparks from MackSparky.com has some great ideas. I bought his book Mac at Work on Kindle and its a pretty good read.
     
  4. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #5
    Wow, no, but I have to believe Merlin would get a chuckle out of that comparison.

    Merlin is best known (as SiMBa37 noted) as a sort of productivity guru; not so much that he's an expert on the topic, but that it's something he's interested in to the point of obsession. So he writes and speaks a lot about that topic. And some people think he does so in a humorous and entertaining way. He is definitely not a "self-help" kind of guy, however, at least not in the sense that Dr. Peale was.

    Yes.

    Thanks! I will check him out.
     
  5. MonksMac, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

    MonksMac macrumors 6502a

    MonksMac

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Location:
    DFW
    #6
    All these posts and not one mentions MacBreak Weekly…
    On many of the old episodes ( from the beginning up to about 1.5 years ago) he was a regular panelist. I think that's a much easier way to understand a little more about what he does (context, if you will) and his personality.

    That said, he is an acquired taste! :p
     
  6. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Yeah, I was just going to mention he used to appear on MBW a lot. Now the only regular panelist other than Leo (obviously, he's the host!) is Andy.
     
  7. VideoFreek, Apr 30, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011

    VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #8
    Perhaps I'm not being totally fair here, but he strikes me as an example of a species of internet parasite who achieves some measure of success and fame on the back of someone else's work. A more famous (or infamous) example is potty-mouthed moron Julie Powell, whose 15 minutes of fame--achieved on the back of Julia Child's classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking--culminated in a major Hollywood movie about her life starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams!

    In this case, Merlin has built a successful blogging, writing and speaking career based largely on David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology for personal organization and productivity. He jumped in early, starting his 43Folders blog in 2004, just two years after Allen published GTD. His focus has been on applying GTD methodology to technology work, and on developing tools to aid in the implementation of GTD. Unlike Julie Powell, whose efforts reportedly earned the disdain of Julia Child, I've seen no signs of animosity between David Allen and Mr. Mann. Perhaps Allen is happy to have the extra evangelization of his approach.
     
  8. codymac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    #9
    You're not the only one.

    Personally, I prefer Dan Aykroyd as Julia Child, but the movie did have Amy Adams in it.
    :D
     
  9. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #10
    And Alex. I have wondered what has happened to the other regulars? I still listen to the show but...
     
  10. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I'm not sure either, I think perhaps Leo wanted some new or different people on the show, I'm not sure. It's still a good show though.
     
  11. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #12
    Alex and Andy have been on as long as I can remember. But yeah, there doesn't seem to be that many people on the show now. I actually like Merlin, he is pretty funny. I also like it when they have the guys from Big Ranch and Mac World Magazine on. Those conversations get interesting very fast.
     
  12. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I haven't been listening/watching long enough to remember that, but I do remember when Merlin was on. Yeah, he was a nice guy, good sense of humour like Andy. Alex and Leo are similar in that they buy everything! :p
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #14
    Tell me about it. Good lord both of those guys buy pretty much everything and anything that has to do with technology and the like.
     
  14. steadysignal macrumors 6502a

    steadysignal

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    #15
    summary:

    you don't like merlin mann.

    (thanks. i don't get it either. i like leo though...)
     
  15. SiMBa37 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    That's very interesting, I never knew the connection to David Allen and GTD. But it makes a lot of sense from what you say.

    Still, I will admit that I just don't like Merlin Mann. In fact, everytime I now hear his name come up on an Apple-centric podcast I get road rage while listening to it. If only my patients can hear me yelling "******* Merlin Mann" in the car, lol. :eek:
     
  16. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #17
    Visit his website and check the FAQ:
    That sums it up. Like many others he's just a human being doing something, writing about it and even advocating it. It is up to the reader what he/she does with it (implement it, disregard it, ignore it completely, question it, etc.). I don't really see the topcstarters fuss about it. It's just like reading the forum posts at MacRumors. If you look at 43folders there is this part that says "how to use 43f" on the top right. Read it and you'll see I just gave you a summary of what is in it ;)
     

Share This Page