Peloton's been weathering a rough year. The home workout company soared high in the early days of the pandemic, when demand for its stationary bikes and treadmills exploded. Then people started to ease back out into the world, and a number of high-profile accidents on Peloton equipment caused demand for the machines to plummet. But Peloton is still at it, hoping that one of its new products will lure people back to its brand of prestige workout tech. The latest is Peloton's new rowing machine.
This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED's outgoing executive editor of news Brian Barrett joins us one last time to talk about the new Peloton Row, and whether it could prove to be a lifeboat for the sinking company.
Brian recommends that you subscribe to WIRED. Lauren recommends the fifth season of the podcast Fiasco, which is all about the AIDS crisis. Mike recommends Rachel Levin’s story in Bon Appétit called “I Eat Meat. Why Was Killing My Own Food So Hard?”
Brian Barrett can be found on Twitter @brbarrett. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
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Michael Calore: Lauren.
Lauren Goode: Mike.
Michael Calore: Lauren, how often do you hop on your Peloton bike?
Lauren Goode: I'm going to answer like a Peloton employee would right now and say: It's funny you should ask, Mike, I was just on it this morning. Which is true, but then I'm evading the question of how often I actually use it.
Michael Calore: I'm trying to get a sense of whether or not your Peloton usage has dropped over recent months.
Lauren Goode: It absolutely has.
Michael Calore: Well, we’re going to talk about that and other things home workout-related on this week’s show.
Lauren Goode: I can't wait.
[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]
Michael Calore: Hi everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Michael Calore. I'm a senior editor at WIRED.
Lauren Goode: And I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.
Michael Calore: We're also joined by WIRED's former executive editor of news, Brian Barrett.
Lauren Goode: Aww, “former.”
Michael Calore: Hello, Brian.
Brian Barrett: Hi. Oh, not quite yet. I guess by the time this airs, I will be former, but for now, I've still got a few hours on the clock.
Michael Calore: That's right. By the time you are listening to this show, Brian will have officially left us.
Lauren Goode: His Slack account deactivated.
Brian Barrett: No.
Lauren Goode: Oh man.
Michael Calore: It's a sad day for us and it's a sad day for everybody listening, I'm sure. But Brian, we could not let you leave without dragging you on here one more time to talk about Peloton.
Brian Barrett: I appreciate it. I feel like not only do I love every chance I get to be on Gadget Lab. I love that, I feel like the last two or three times now have been about Peloton, which is … I feel like our in-house go-to Peloton guy, which I'm happy to be.
Lauren Goode: Because it's Brian's last day, we carried out a little tradition: We made a WIRED cover, a mockup of a WIRED cover with Brian's face on it, and sent him off this morning with it. And one of the taglines that I came up with for Brian is that for his next act, he is going to become a professional Peloton rower. Is that right, Brian?
Brian Barrett: I wish.
Michael Calore: All right. Let's get on with the show. As you may have heard on this show and elsewhere, Peloton has had a very interesting couple of years. Back at the start of the pandemic, the company saw a huge surge in demand for its bikes and its treadmills. But as people started to ease out of quarantine, they found they had less need for their home workout equipment or the company's streaming workout classes. And through all this, Peloton has had to re-strategize. It’s got a new CEO, changed some parts of its business, closed some offices, and laid off some employees. But the company has continued to put out new products. The latest is a rowing machine. Lauren, we want to start with you because you wrote about the rowing machine this week for WIRED. What should we know about it?
Lauren Goode: I do just have to say once more, it is very suspect that Brian Barrett is leaving WIRED just as the rower is coming out, because we've been talking about this for at least two years. So, I do think he's going to be in a basement somewhere training to become the next professional Peloton rower.
Michael Calore: Right, you mentioned in your story that this is the worst kept secret.
Lauren Goode: Yeah, it is. We've known this is coming for a while, it's been leaked before. I think the important thing to consider with a product like Peloton Row, as it is called, and the product that was launched before, this spring, Peloton Guide, which is this funky little camera system that tracks your strength training workouts, is that these products have been in the works for a couple of years now. That's Peloton's typical product development cycle, according to their chief product officer. And so, when you think about what was going on two years ago and the kinds of ideas that Peloton might have been conceiving of at the time and the market they saw, addressable market for these kinds of products, maybe it looked a little bit different than it does now. In some ways, the new products that are being shipped right now feel a little bit like they’re holdovers from a previous product development era. That's the first thing I'd say about the Peloton Row. The second thing that I would point out is it's price. It is $3,200. Pardon me, $3,195.
Michael Calore: Is that what we were expecting?
Lauren Goode: I wasn't expecting it. Brian, were you expecting that?
Brian Barrett: No. And I tell you, this is what gets me. Lauren, I think to your point of it feeling like a holdover from a previous Peloton era almost, the pricing feels that way too. Because when the bike first came out, I think they had a reasonable case to say, "We are charging more because there's nothing else really like this. We're providing this really distinctive experience." I think that held up largely. But now you're introducing the Peloton Row, when there are competitive products out there that actually do a pretty good job and have a good library of content and have that built in. The Hydrow is sort the chief example of that, that are much less expensive than what you're getting with the Peloton Row. It feels harder to justify that much of a premium over a competitive product that does a lot of the same stuff, as far as I can tell.
And I would say too, I think I am the market for this device. Because I still use my Peloton a lot. I really enjoy it. I'm not really a gym person, I like being able to work out at home. I'm a former rower in high school and some of college. I am that guy who should be all over this, but for $3,195? I just couldn't possibly. And it all depends on your own personal financial circumstances, but it just seems like a lot to ask of people, especially at a time when one of Peloton's big problems is, they've got hardware stacked up in warehouses that they can't move. It feels like, is this just going to be more hardware that's stacking up that they can't move? I don't know. Hard to say. Lauren, did you get a sense of how many they're expecting to sell? I know they don't actually ship until December. Or do you have a sense that they're just kind of …
Lauren Goode: Yeah, no idea. I asked when in December they might be shipping, they didn't really say. I asked why they're preannouncing it so early. Obviously they want to be in people's brains as we head into a holiday season, and people are thinking about the fitness gear or other internet connected devices that you might be spending on. But in terms of how many units they expect to move, absolutely no idea. In the product briefing that I had with Peloton, which by the way happened over Zoom, so I didn't actually get to try the rower, the product managers I spoke to really emphasized how it's a full body workout. They kept throwing up the number 86 percent. You can work out up to 86 percent of your body from a rowing workout, if you're doing it properly. Brian certainly knows a lot more about that than the rest of us here, I'm going to go out on a limb and say.
I know when I've used a rower before at the gym, I've been like, "I feel like I'm not doing anything." Which certainly means I'm doing it wrong. Peloton kept saying, "No, this is a full body workout." And the unspoken comparison there, as opposed to say a bike, where you're just primarily using your legs. That said, I still think rowing is a pretty niche sport, not a lot of people row. I have no idea how many of these things are going to sell, and especially at such a high price.
Michael Calore: It is a remarkably efficient workout. Like you said, it does … They were correct about the fact that it works out most of your body. You can burn as many as a thousand calories an hour during rowing workout. And also we should mention that it has all of the accoutrements of a modern technologically enhanced rower. It has a flywheel that allows you to dial in how much resistance it gives, so you can make it harder to pull or easier to pull. It has—
Lauren Goode: And it's electronic resistance too, so it's quiet. It's not like the wind powered ones. I don't know. I'm not describing it well, but you know what I mean.
Michael Calore: Yeah. There's also water resistance on some, there are some rowers that have a water tank. So when you pull on the cord, you're actually pulling paddles through water, so it feels like actual water resistance. It is very efficient and it's the kind of thing that if somebody wants a workout, but they're not a runner and they're not a cyclist, it's a great option.
Brian Barrett: Well, I want to say, Lauren's point about it being a niche sport. I think that's largely true. It's expanding certainly, but rowing machines in general, I think, have become a lot more popular thanks to CrossFit and CrossFit workouts, where they've become this integral part of a broader workout routine or regimen. But that leads me to another thing, and Lauren, we've been talking about this ever since the Peloton Row first was a rumor, I've been bringing up the fact that there is a standard rowing machine that everybody who is an actual rower or does those CrossFit or anything like that uses. It's the Concept 2, which is a—it's a $990 device. It doesn't have a built-in screen, it's been the same basic thing for the past 20 years or so, with little upgrades along the way. And it's loud, it has the wind resistance, but it is the go-to rowing device.
And they've actually made some steps—it doesn't have the built-in screen, but you can get an iPad holder and stream concept to rowing classes. It gets you close enough, and it is such a standardized piece of equipment for that sport. I think Peloton's going to have a hard time bringing actual rowers into the fold. I think it's going to be more people who are just looking for another piece of home gym equipment, which again, makes it a hard sell. And this gets back to Lauren, I think what I Slack you often is, I hope Peloton's going to be OK because I genuinely do enjoy the product. No, I do. And it has genuinely made a difference in my fitness and all that. But man, it's rough going. And this does not seem to be the way out of those choppy waters.
Lauren Goode: Yeah. I think Peloton is really betting that Peloton fanatics will buy into this because of the Peloton content. This is definitely part of a larger strategy to get more people into Peloton subscription services. You're going to end up paying, of course, $44 per month extra just to stream that content. But it's not Cody Rigsby who's doing the rowing classes. That would be hilarious. The idea is that their instructors are just so dynamic and so enthusiastic. They really have their own fan bases, at this point. They have huge Instagram presences. That would be one of the draws for people to maybe buy into Peloton as opposed to something like a NordicTrack or Hydrow or Concept 2. There actually is some interesting tech in this, because it's, quote unquote, "integrated." So the difference between putting your iPad up on an OG rower and using that and this, is that the display is directly connected to the body of the rower.
This display is also a swivel display. So you could do a rowing workout, hop off, swivel the display, and then do a Peloton boot camp or strength training workout, and stack your classes in that way. There's a sensor that's built into the center rail of the rower, and then another sensor that's built into the main hub of the rower. And those sensors are telling you whether or not your form is correct. And it's measuring your strokes and it's showing your output and your resistance live on screen. All that stuff that's built into some of the other Peloton products that are giving you real time engagement with instructors, live feedback, helping you correct your forms, you're doing it properly … That's all stuff that you're going to get from this machine, supposedly—we haven't tried it yet—that you might not get from one of the other more standard rowers.
Brian Barrett: And I will say the form check, assuming it works—which as you said, we haven't tried yet, we don't know—but that is actually, I think, a pretty big deal and a good differentiator because it is an easy thing to get wrong. And you can do bad things to your back or just not get very much out of the workout, if you don't get the form down well. I'm curious to see how that works basically, I guess, because it is—I think sometimes you'll go and you'll see people on the rowing machine at the gym and you want to say, "Oh no. Oh no, oh, not like that." Anything that looks like it's going to hurt your back. It makes me very uncomfortable to see people doing— because I worry, I'm a worrier. I worry for people.
Lauren Goode: Sounds like a true dad.
Michael Calore: Walking down the sidewalk sometimes makes me think I'm going to hurt my back.
Lauren Goode: Brian, another quick thing that Peloton said: They designed the handle bar. It reminds me a little bit of a coat hanger. It's got this 10 degree angle to it, so it's rounded toward you as opposed to the handle bars being curved away from you. And they said it's better ergonomically. Do you have thoughts on that?
Brian Barrett: I saw that and I don't have thoughts on it. I'd be curious to try it because what I'm used to is just straight handle bars, and you grab it and pull it and go. It feels like an “if it ain't broke” kind of situation to me, but maybe it's a truly revolutionary way to yank on a handle. I don't know.
Michael Calore: Maybe they know better.
Lauren Goode: I think we're just making a greater case for you having to at least come back and review this thing for us.
Brian Barrett: Sold. Let me at it.
Michael Calore: All right. Let's take a quick break and then we'll come back with more.
Michael Calore: In case you missed it, the President of the United States went on TV recently and told all of us Americans that the pandemic is over. Thank god for that. Regardless of whether that is actually true, people are going to the gym more often. They're playing pickup basketball, they're joining running groups and cycling groups. We saw a lot of home workout services get super popular during Covid lockdown—not just Peloton, but Mirror and Echelon, Apple Fitness+, Zoom yoga. Is there still room for all of these home workout choices, even though we may be spending less time at home now?
Lauren Goode: Yes.
Michael Calore: Yes?
Lauren Goode: Yes. I would say the trend I find most interesting is seeing how this has made some fitness boutiques and gym chains consider ways to add on to memberships and subscriptions in ways that they didn't before. Now for example, the yoga studio that I go to happens to offer live Zoom classes at the same exact time they offer an in-person class. And by the way, that's two different instructors. It's not just the in-person class being livestreamed. They have a dedicated Zoom class and it's at a different tier of membership. And I don't see that as something that's going away anytime soon. I think there are a lot of people out there who got used to doing stuff from home or they have responsibilities at home. They're working from home, they're taking care of kids or family members.
And they're like, "I can't get out to the studio or the gym, but I still want to livestream and I'm willing to pay for that because, it's worth it for the other times I may be able to go in-person or be a part of a membership in another way." And so I think in that way, I personally have seen the whole fitness space transformed. What do you think Brian?
Brian Barrett: I used to go to the gym sometimes, but not because I enjoyed it so much—because it was the only option. I feel like given the choice, I think I'd rather just suffer by myself in my little room. I think people who always enjoy the gym are going to make it back to the gym. I think people who didn't necessarily enjoy the gym or, its not that I don't enjoy, but the extra 20 minutes it takes to go to the gym and then back from the gym and then getting changed, all that time is time I could have back by just working out at home. I don't see myself building more commute time into my day when I don't have to. And so I do think for people like myself, I think the home fitness trend is here to stay. I will say though, I think I'm in the minority.
Not just because of, Lauren, what you said, but even when I look at friends who I know had Pelotons and I look at their accounts, people who were working out four times a week are now working out once every couple of weeks. If that—I think pretty universally, everyone I know who has a bike has really tapered off of that. I think part of that too is seasonal, it's summer, so you can … I'll go for a run a few times a week instead of getting on the bike, and so that doesn't necessarily register. But, I don't know, I think it still has a place, but I just don't know if it has enough of a place to be sustainable.
Lauren Goode: I also don't think it's necessarily a direct comparison, or maybe a binary is a good way to put that. I don't think it's necessarily, are you doing in-person gym classes or at home online gym classes. Our lives, as we have entered now, what has officially been termed a post-pandemic era—though it doesn't feel that we're post pandemic, but OK—they're just busier now. There was that famous thing that, I think it was the Netflix CEO said a while ago about his biggest competitor being sleep. Any of the time that potential viewers were sleeping was time that they were not sitting there watching Netflix. And so now one of the biggest competitors to at-home fitness may not just be the in-person gym, it may be that people are commuting back to work, people are back to going to kids' birthday parties, people are back to taking vacations, people are just back to some semblance of a normal life. Though, once again, nothing really feels normal still.
And so, all of those bits of time that may have … Things felt smooth in this unnatural way before, when we all just had to be home because we were encouraged to basically lock it all down. We're out in the world again, that itself just means maybe a little bit less time for hanging out on the Peloton.
Michael Calore: I think Peloton and other streaming home workout services are aware of this obviously. And they're doing some things to entice people back in. This year, we saw Lanebreak, which is like a gamification system for cycling classes. There's the Guide, which you wrote about, Lauren, which is the movement tracking camera that helps you have better form while you're lifting weights, which can also translate into the gym.
Lauren Goode: Yeah. I think they've sold three of those.
Michael Calore: Did you ask them how it's selling?
Lauren Goode: I did. I asked Tom Cortese, their cofounder & chief product officer, how it's selling, and he was just like, "Well, we're going to be doing another marketing push around that for the holidays." And I was like, "That is an excellent non-answer."
Brian Barrett: In terms of things that Peloton's been doing lately to entice people, Lauren, have you seen this? They've got Ashton Kutcher doing a series of tread classes where he brings in some celebrity, Kim Kardashian is on in tread class.
Lauren Goode: I did see that Kim K was there.
Brian Barrett: And it looks like based on the metrics that they show, they show you within an order of magnitude, how many people are taking classes, it looks like one of the most popular tread classes they've done, I think. That's an interesting place for them to grow, is to lean into celebrity tie-ins, maybe. And they've done that previously with music and artist series, but actually having a Kardashian on your product, doing a live class, I can see how that makes it more event viewing or event jogging than otherwise.
Lauren Goode: And I think that really underscores that Peloton is a media company, and now they're emphasizing, more so than ever, their subscription business. That's the kind of thing that would get attention from people who might, I don't know, pay $13 per month for the mobile app and then be incentivized to be like, "How do I upgrade? How do I get to the next level so I can hang out with Kim K or aplusk—that's Ashton Kutcher's handle. It's weird that I know that, but anyway …
Brian Barrett: Not weird at all.
Lauren Goode: Yeah. I could see that. It also, I think says a little bit about how the company is thinking about celebrity in general, because for a while, Brian, we've talked about how their instructors are micro-celebrities. And that seems to have happened very much organically over the past several years. But I wonder if there's a ceiling to that, to the power of the instructor celebrity, where now they're like, "We got to take it to the next level."
Brian Barrett: What word does that also create—another kind of vulnerability when Apple decides to level up their fitness offering and steals away a couple of popular Peloton instructors. It's a tricky thing. The bigger they get, the more fundamental they are to the business and then the bigger the blow if and when they actually leave. That hasn't happened yet though. I think we haven't seen any major defections, probably because of various contractual obligations. But at a certain point, that's going to be a thing to keep an eye on. It seems inevitable that at a certain point, some of those big names, they try to go out on their own or go out with another competitive brand. And seeing how that shuffling happens is going to be really interesting.
Lauren Goode: What would happen if Robin Arzon left Peloton and said, "I'm going to start my own fitness app?” It'd be fascinating. The All for One artist series are very good. I personally am waiting for a Harry Styles one, I think that'd be really fun. Brian's just nodding. Nodding.
Brian Barrett: I was just nodding, which is always good for a podcast. This is why I make a great podcast guest.
Lauren Goode: Nods. Just nods.
Brian Barrett: My facial expressions and my nods have been really on point this whole time.
Lauren Goode: I feel like Brian and I are just having this very jockey conversation right now, and we haven't asked you, Mike, what you think about the in-person versus online fitness revolution?
Michael Calore: I have never been a gym person. I've tried. I've held onto gym memberships for, I think my longest run was five months, and I just never saw the value in it, because I draw greater value from just being on the streets. The streets are my gym, Lauren. The streets are my gym. I hop on my bicycle, I go for a nice bike ride, I go for a run. Those are the things that bring me joy. Standing around in a room, waiting for somebody to finish on the whatever machine, so I can wipe it down and then use it and also stick to it, not my thing.
And also, like Brian was saying, commuting to and from is a big deal because you have to find a gym you like. We live in a city, there are a lot of options, but not all of them are great. I prefer to just huff and puff on the grid. All right, let's take another break. And when we come back, we'll do our recommendations.
Michael Calore: All right, here we are, the last third of the show where we talk about the things that our listeners might enjoy. Brian, this is, I know, your favorite part, and it's our favorite part too. And this is the last time you get to recommend something to our audience for the foreseeable future—not ruling out ever, but for the foreseeable future. Please tell us, what is your recommendation this week?
Brian Barrett: You know what? You all need to subscribe to WIRED.
Michael Calore: What a homer.
Brian Barrett: That's my recommendation. By the time you are listening to this, I'm no longer a WIRED employee. So, you know that's an unbiased recommendation.
Michael Calore: Oh, yeah, totally unbiased.
Brian Barrett: It's incredibly affordable. You get so much value from it and you get to support the work of people like Mike and Lauren and everyone else here. Genuinely subscribe to WIRED. These are the best people and the smartest people and the kindest people that you're going to meet. And they do incredible journalism. That's what I recommend. Gosh darn it.
Michael Calore: If somebody wants to subscribe to WIRED, how would they do that?
Brian Barrett: I don't know, you Google it. WIRED subscription.
Lauren Goode: You go to www.wired.com/subscribe/goode. G-O-O-D-E.
Michael Calore: You forgot the https:/URL. URL read backs are always a joy here on the show.
Lauren Goode: A long time ago, someone made me what they call the vanity URL. And then if you went to that, you would get 50 percent off, which cracks me up because it's a $5 per year subscription.
Michael Calore: Yeah, it is.
Lauren Goode: Thank you, Brian, for that recommendation. I have to say, Brian, I'm really, really going to miss you. It's been such a pleasure working with you these past … I've been here four and a half years, you've been here seven years, seven and a half years at this point?
Brian Barrett: Mm-hmm.
Lauren Goode: And people listening to the podcast won't know this because you don't see the inner workings of our newsroom. But I always like to say that Brian is the human AB tester for headlines. You run a story idea by him or send him a link to the story you've been working on. And he's just like, "This is the headline."
And it just always performs really well. He has a great instinct for what people want to read. He himself is a master storyteller. I don't know how you've done it, Brian. You're just like, "Oh, I'm just going to be the editor of all the news, but then every so often, I'm just going to write a story about license plates or some cybersecurity breach. And it's going to be the most read story on the site, because it's really smart and insightful."
Brian Barrett: It's practice.
Lauren Goode: Yeah. Sometimes when you go into a higher institution of learning and people say to you, "The point of being here is not that people tell you what to think. The point is that people tell you how to think or how to question, so that you can form your own opinions." I feel like that's what it's like working with Brian. Brian, you're not telling people what to write, although sometimes that's part of your job too, you're telling people how to think about what we're covering and what we're writing about, so that we can put out some of the, hopefully what's the smartest journalism out there. Thank you for everything. It's been a real pleasure working with you.
Brian Barrett: Lauren. Thank you. That was incredibly kind. And the good news is, when you work with people who are so talented, it's incredibly easy to be an editor, because everything's just so good to start with. And especially, you and Mike, I've worked really closely with off and on over the past few years and you all are the best.
Michael Calore: Oh.
Lauren Goode: Thank you.
Michael Calore: Well, to balance out that thoughtfulness, I'm going to tell you what to do, Lauren.
Lauren Goode: OK.
Michael Calore: Give us your recommendations.
Lauren Goode: Oh, OK. That's right. Mike is the boss now. I didn't come to the podcast with a recommendation ready this week. I've been racking my brain as we've been taping. What's the thing I'm into right now? And I have to say the thing I've been listening to is a podcast called Fiasco. And in particular, I've been listening to season five, which is about the AIDS crisis. The first three episodes are free through Apple Podcasts. After that, it kicks you out to Audible because it's coproduced between our friends over at Prologue Projects and Audible. You have to pay for an Audible subscription if you want to listen to the rest of it. But it basically goes back to the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, when people didn't really know what this disease was and how it was spreading. And it was incredibly alarming and it was a really, really devastating time for a lot of communities. The podcast is exceptionally well done. I'm on episode five now, and I can't stop listening. I recommend that.
Michael Calore: Nice.
Lauren Goode: Mike, what's your recommendation?
Michael Calore: I'm going to recommend an article that is a feature story that appeared this week on Bon Appétit, written by Rachel Levin, an independent journalist. It is called, "I Eat Meat. Why Was Killing My Own Food So Hard?" And this is a first person account by Rachel Levin about going on a hunt. She went to an organized hunt in New Mexico on private land to hunt elk for sustenance. So, you shoot an animal and then they butcher it for you, and then you fly home with steaks and then you eat the animal over the next months and years.
It's really interesting because hunting, there's not a lot of people who know a lot about hunting. I think one percent of Californians hunt. It's more common in other parts of the country, but there's a lot of people who don't like guns. There's a lot of people who don't like the idea of killing animals. There's a lot of people who don't like the idea of the machismo and right leaning aspects of hunting. It has a bad rap, mostly because people won't engage with it. She decided, "I'm going to go engage with it. I'm going to learn how to hunt and I'm going to kill an animal and eat it." And she does in the story. And it's incredible. The group that she goes hunting with is mostly women, which is also really interesting. So, it takes the machismo argument out of the equation. It's just a really wonderful story.
Lauren Goode: And what does she conclude about it?
Michael Calore: She has this interesting experience. I won't spoil it necessarily, but she has a really interesting experience that she defines as transformative. After she kills an elk, she feels different as a human being than she did before she killed the elk.
Lauren Goode: Oh, that's really interesting.
Brian Barrett: Does the headline give away the spoiler? Because the headline … The name of the story was, "I Eat Meat."
Michael Calore: "I Eat Meat. Why Was Killing My Own Food So Hard?" It's a moral dilemma too, if you've never done it before, to pick up a gun and kill an animal. And my favorite part about it was one of the instructors says to her, "Whether or not you hunt again, now you've done it, so you understand it." Really great story.
Lauren Goode: Wow.
Michael Calore: And in Bon Appétit, which is interesting because there are a lot of good reasons to hunt. It is an effective tool for population control. It's also better for the planet if you hunt meat than buy something from a factory farm. And it's also important for people to understand where their food comes from. Hunting is a big part of understanding that. The fact that it appears in Bon Appétit, which I should mention is a Condé Nast publication.
Lauren Goode: It's our sister mag.
Michael Calore: Yeah. Our sister magazine, has nothing to do with why I'm recommending it. And it's just who bought the story from her and paid for her to go on this trip. It's really quite wonderful.
Lauren Goode: Didn't Mark Zuckerberg go through this?
Michael Calore: He did. Yeah. There's a lot of Silicon Valley influencers and just influencers in general over the past few years, who said, "I'm going to start killing my own meat." And I do think it's important that if people are going to eat meat, that they have a complete, full understanding where it comes from, so sure.
Lauren Goode: We can't get through a single podcast in this room without talking about Meta, Facebook, or Mark Zuckerberg in some way.
Michael Calore: Or veganism apparently.
Lauren Goode: Right. Thank you Mike.
Michael Calore: How pompous do you want me to get here? Do you want me to go six, eight? Or do you want me to go seven, nine?
Lauren Goode: Good thing you didn't go to Harvard because we'd probably hear about that every podcast episode too.
Michael Calore: You're absolutely right. Instead, you get to hear about the University of Vermont, and the vegan from New England. All right. Well that is our show. Brian, thank you for joining us.
Brian Barrett: Thank you so much for having me.
Lauren Goode: It's a sad moment.
Michael Calore: And thank you all for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. Our producer is Boone Ashworth. We will be back, sans Brian Barrett, next week. Until then, goodbye.
[Gadget Lab outro theme music plays]
Michael Calore: Did you get that? Do you need her to say it again?
Lauren Goode: No.
Michael Calore: Do you need her to say again?
Brian Barrett: Can you just leave that in and take out the rest of the surrounding context?