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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by better for him a new podcast from eighty people. In each episode Francesca Ramsay talks to visionaries in business leaders about mistakes. They ve made how they work their way through them and came out better for it. Listen on sport,
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From give at this reply, I am outcome
a couple months ago, I heard from this guy named John or guard he's a friend of PJ's, and he wanted to talk to me because he become obsessed with this website called Animation Plaza, which was home to this trove of unbelievably weird gifts, and he couldn't for the life of him figure out where the
all these came from or what kind of person would have made them, some of them, as you ll see in a little bit, what sort of fear into this kind
libertarian patriotic zone. There's libertarian looking up up up up up our aid to describe this. It is.
A man shaking his head in terror, holding a sign that says taxes while behind him uncle
SAM literally tightens the screw in his, but yet
I give so these crude three cartoons that sort of look like the
we may be a baby or early
Pixar animation tests and the characters in these gifts. They have this really weird uniformity. You guys
hands kind of wooden movements. So, for example, there
Cave man he's got flintstone pants on he's, gonna shark tooth necklace, he's gotta.
You know brow and he is bringing
dollar bill to his mouth chomping on at a couple times and then taking out his mouth again and this repeats over and over and over again, I sort of fallen in love with the gifts.
My co workers at work. We with our community
being through these gifts, their sort of part of our are our family
In, like we kind of
stories around them and create original pieces of our work with them. And if it's easier to serve think-
somewhere in the depths of the internet,
of these characters are living together as a family. Now I'm sure that when you think again,
you're thinking of a moment slipped out of a movie or a tv show put on repeat with no sound like a scene from adventure time
or the pardon Emily, where she melt from embarrassment or marine.
Harry blowing a kiss her. Whenever it happens, then it happens again and it just keeps going and these
tend to express some very clear emotion, we like them, because they shorthand some feeling like surprise
excitement or discussed, but the
If on animation Plaza, they operate by different rules that I dont understand. They don't seem to express
any standard, obvious emotions and whoever
cited to make these crazy guess. The John found on Animation Plaza, whoever it
I did that the world needed both a female gymnast waving, an austrian flag and Jesus TAT.
A devil at the edge of a cliff. They went totally overboard. They didn't make a hundred of them. This lunatic made tens of thousands of gifts
it's as if somebody sat down and tried to make
and animation of everything that happens in life
They started it in a very ran away, where they just were sort of picking and choosing from play I'll make a farmer struggling to push a tree
after into the back of a truck and I'll make like hillbilly
instead by a b and I'll make a baby.
Dropping cookie jar its. It feels very,
random and haphazard. How someone
when about sort of making everything so of
Course John wanted to know where they came from who made them and after spending
but ours poring over these gifts. I was dying to know to what is the story, the ties that give of the devil to give us an ice skating couple to give up the kid who has crashed his remote control airplane into a fire hydrant. The only clue that I can find was a link
deep in animation, plaza, which read, learn more at animation. Factory dot com turns out animation factory.
Com, is almost exactly the same website is animation Plaza, except here you have to pay a yearly subscription for the Good
whereas on animation Plaza their free and then ok, there's actually one other difference. Animation factory has an email address, so I write to them. I say: hey, I love your gifts. The next day I get this terse formal response.
Quote Animation Plaza was infringing on our copyright by giving away our images for free. So hopefully it will not.
Coming back online.
You downloaded any of our images from that site. We ask that you please to lead them from your computer,
use of our images without a valid subscription is illegal, so it looks like my hunt got.
Plaza the website the John loved shut down one legal
and within a couple days, animation plus
just folded up and blew away which seem weird. These gifts, their apparently worth money too.
One like enough money to send legal threats. I try to get animation.
Try to tell me the story behind these gifts, but they wanted no part of it. I
at another terse email from them. That said, this website changed hands multiple times before we got a hold of it, so I
them to it, and its history is wild first of all
innovation factory, was an honest to God, company an art projects
that massive library of gifts for some reason has been bought in
old and resold a bunch of times by a bunch of companies
People knew something that I wanted to know. They knew why
company existed, and they even believe that it had some value, but none of them would talk to me. None of them would tell me anything. Finally, I found a guy who, while he hadn't, worked at animation factory like not in the factory, he did some back into work.
Them on their website and he had a peak into their world. Animation factory is like it's. It's like a visual assaulted. The senses, because the business model, for it was
Everything we want every picture every conceivable thing back, but you could look at. This is Jeff Bates, he's that co founder,
Tech websites lashed out, I'm sure you,
looked at emerging on phones and then like when the hell would I ever use that symbol like who is going to use the curve
arrow symbol, animation factory, its operating point,
it was not only do we want a curve era. We want nine different versions of the curved error because who could possibly not want at nine different versions of that it had no target market other than people who I mean really was desktop publishing. So many of the the innovations on innovation factory are like. I can't fathom
a time in which they would be useful, the one that really sticks with me is it a man whose-
and and gagged, and there's a spy stop sign behind him and floating above him as a. U S
What in what circumstances, and under what circumstances you ever ever
need that piece of enemies. Well, you know, I guess here's. The thing is: what, if you're selling desktop publishing tools to serve abduction, survival groups see there's a target market? You haven't bought of that valuable abduction. Survivor group. I know it sounds I just
sitting, but he's not really. He says that those inexplicably weird gifts that animation factory produced a lot of them were made for customers, crook,
tested them. How many of those things will come about is ringing?
People on the internet, for all intents and purposes who would come to the site, would say: oh
I really need an animation that expresses this and they would go forth and make it and so gesture.
That's how all of these insane gifts flooded onto the web of the late nineties and
They made a lot more sense back then, because if you dont remain
where the web of the late Ninetys it was like a bunch of kids. Fingerprinting websites were total chaos.
You'd, see pictures everywhere. Text was a million
from colors. This was before blogging platforms before Tumblr and LIVE Journal, help create some order and this crazy,
he ground. It was tailor made for the sheer insanity of animation factor, because any time
these new die website makers had any germ of a ridiculous image to put on their webpage,
like a rotating virgin Mary or a vampire bathing a bathtub full of blood. It was easy thing,
get in touch with animation, factory and put in a request, but after that
I didn't know much about what happened.
Said that he knew there were a handful of animators an eye.
Wanted to know what would it be like if that were your job,
can only assume they must have been high, the entire time they were making the animations, because I cannot imagine any other way that you go about doing that it it's yeah like would see. One of one of my favorites is a pirate ship. I think
the pirate ship and it's going the wrong way down a one way street at at at at at at at at at
Can I ask this in the least diplomatic we possibly? Can
Were you guys just like stoned all now? We certainly work
we really need to point out a lot of fun at work? I don't think we took like too seriously
there. I think it is more about just just having a good time. This is TIM Johnson.
And I was so excited to get to talk to him because he really been there
He was an animated animation factory from two thousand to two thousand five
described working there as one of the happiest times in his life just nonstop fund from day to day, which was totally encouraged by his bosses. You know when you learn from initially our course farming with you. Do you know me, I sat and looked you like my own hard drive
All this stuff that I came across like pictures and videos and there the there's one threats where we got these big monitors and they showed up pact innocent. These blue, a great fun things:
We may like form, stalls hers and more rustling in it and what not and their bosses didn't just
urged them to have fun. They seem like genuinely cool guy,
can't remember when I first started, if you like, you know, if you have,
I'm going on or she arguing that it would create. You have a work at home day whenever you want you just needed in I'll call an email and said: are you gonna be work of the moment,
and I remember you're right- I never even heard of that before
work at home day. Like I told you not to
you, do not like really, I checked out another animator name, Rhine Hagen, and he said that, once they were done with the days customized order like say a dictator on a bicycle, their bosses just said: ok run with it, make what everyone go nuts
It was absolutely awesome, the creative freedom that was good.
Does essentially we're just
stop make what you want just anything anything anything.
All I mean I mean there are certain things that we had to keep him
I had to keep this some family friendly
type of staff. But with that in mind, we could do
anything. We wanted to do basically, the way
to. That Ryan was the guy who designed the characters in this programme, called light wave and then he'd rig them with
means make it to their limbs, could move and then
The other animators would grabbed the character and make as many gifts as they could from. So, if right,
made George Washington. They could make him doing,
cancan can, with the other presidents on Mount Rushmore or fly
p sign and they could crank out me.
We have given our or every two hours, so they
making anywhere from twenty to forty gifts a day to me,
animation factory sounds like this magical company. They got to exist outside of the normal rules of reality, a place where it
just be six people's jobs to invent a buzz
are a little universe. So naturally I wanted to talk to the people who dreamed up the original owners, a couple: a guy's name, art and Jim. I reached out to them
art rode back to me that he was flattered, but it was a sore topic and he didn't want to talk, and that was surprising to me
when I think of animation factory, the first
comes to mind is just pure cockeyed joy like an animated give
the cactus in a sombre aeroplane America's, I don't think of sadness or pain or regret.
But Ryan explain to me that in the early days of the website,
Even though animation factory had clients, it just didn't, have enough art and Jim
when they hired as they were getting paychecks for
I don't know how long
actually. The first thing that comes to mind is just pure cockeyed joy.
And they were not getting paid, so
and says that, in order to stay afloat, art and Jim are forced to make a tough decision.
In ninety ninety nine three years
after founding animation factory, they sold the company there
still making the same wacko gifts, but now art and Jim we're just employees. This company that
found it and then they started getting paychecks. So I mean I can understand why they did it. They always regretted it because if they would,
Waited maybe like another six months which the obviously
would be very hard for them. They would have
swimming in money,
according to Ryan right after Jim,
art sold animation.
Three suddenly found its client base
sale started skyrocketing like amazing.
So the animated. Yes, we're going out the door
We did not have a distribution company, we were, it was
when a new package of cities were to come in and get shipped out, we had ape
Entire day. Were all of us put discs into
see cases and throw grab them and put them in mailing slips and sent them off
it was ridiculous. Here's what Ryan told me Arden Jim sold their website just before the dot com, which brought a huge influx of money and people to the web
in all these people. They wanted new bright obnoxious websites
so hard and Jim, we're still showing up every day to the same offices and the
He was doing well, they just words
benefiting they were PETE best
king ring of STAR find payment forging with the beetle
in two thousand one the dark compost happened.
That new internet money dried up so Ryan,
with animation factory into those for, and he told me that he heard the way the companies
down the following year was pretty brutal.
He says that the company that owned animation factory sent someone to falls supposedly to go over some paperwork. They were expecting some
they come to give them like all. Here's the changes to your or health insurance and forlorn k thing and
they came in just shut the door on him and said we're shutting down today date. There is no notice given to them. I don't believe they were just all that
They were no longer working. I animation factory in that very
Day, they went home and it was gone, but
even after animation factory, the company was shut down animation factor.
Website remained the universe of characters that Jim and ART and Ryan and timid created that universe kept changing hands until eventually it landed with a couple in a small town.
Canada, the full to shut down the pirate site earlier in the story
they own the animation factory universe. Now it looks to me
like they're trying to squeeze the last few dollars out of the first days of the web.
The internet is built on rumours and myths,
Part of what makes it so enchanting things just appear with no explanation and it's my job
to find out what these things mean.
But on the internet more than anywhere else
if you observe something you're, gonna change it
Asking questions it might just disappear.
John came to me with his beautiful weird mysterious thing. Is Loch Ness Monster
and I put a leash on it
did the lake
paraded in around in the daylight and that killed it, and I don't know, that's good
feel excited to tell John that I had answered for him, but also because of my questions,
Massive trove of free gifts,
thing. He loved and used every day was gone, so I killed your website its. Yet. I notice that it's been down
It's been sad, I got into the habit of of going
animation, plaza gifts to make silly point
their work and to troll people on slack or email chains and leg having that disappear. It's it's been so
and frustrating, and I I need to live with that,
I think, as as a group, we need to get decide, go through our computers in and get rid of all of these. These gifts that we now
illegally possess, I mean you ve always illegally possess them. You just now know that there are legal. Exactly are you
saying that, because a recording
actually gonna get rid of these of a monopoly, eminent
Think about it. I am not here to incriminate myself honor.
John? I just wanted to say I'm sorry and you
coming up after the break our yes, you know that might just give us. This episode is broken.
By better for it, a new podcast from eighty hosted by Francesca Ramsay. We all make mistakes better for it,
how mistakes have shaped the lives and careers of visionaries and business leaders and helps them think differently about what their working for you'll hear from an entrepreneur who ventured out on his own, and so I went out. I took seven hundred dollars. I had in the bank, but my own pickup truck, took some flyers business cards and
later I had a business and in aid
our role breaker, whose learned why we all care about work in the first place, you deprive the word the
do you want to be able to tell your friends about it? You want to be able to feel like you're, making a different you'll hear how they work their way through their mistakes and came out better for him.
The non Spotify or wherever you get your pockets.
Well, can once again
just now the segment on our show where our boss Alex Bloomberg, find something obscure or hard departs on the internet, and we parse it for him.
Most of the time at him anyway. Occasionally it is a very funny comedian, very funny, and charming comedian imprisonment, Zog S, because you ve got a funny
I'm users even
where he was very busy disparaging remarks Maoist glamour, he came at me in a very aggressive, wet predicted
I can tell you there's one thing: James Marzipan, I M coming for you.
I was talking to timber there and I was like you would be really funny it's like. I just came out and like we had like like seventeen roast legs of Bob Sky
RO style jerk you about a badges.
Hence it goes right away, but I, but I can't think of any lay about maybe
does work. That way. I know that you are genuinely trying to mispronounced Jason Menzies, his name also mispronounced Bob sag, its name, but what I thought I'd get scared we have observed or
Another Jason answer has a terrible life threatening a allergy that signing
about his weaknesses as like a nemesis. Let s kryptonite goes like you literally just have to put like that.
He has been an egg in his mouth and he dies so really half life. That's that's that's rough
you're. I will use every bazin disparaging me Maoist glamour. He came at me in egg substitutes.
Hiroshima protected from eggs like the W W S, lap,
Are you ready to do this? I am ready to do this
I guess this is from some in him: Sarah Morrison, at their Morrison Sarah.
And then a Congress woman from Massachusetts, internal softened, everything therapist, oh God, had his desk. Is that it does it. Do you know what this treatment no pity about? Do you know what the treatments yes I'll explain, but do you know what this remains? No her there?
Lucy, vs, no, no enlighten us be so we work and is
We share building with TAT company called genius,
There are landlords, correct,
genius used to be a company hot wrapped genius that annotated, rambler suitor look up a rat.
I was really embedded. Yes, yes, as you go. What does that mean you hover over it and you get like a big right hand, side, explanation and I have used them many times really? Oh yeah, I went like fall into line
a bunch of young thug songs and my really how come dreaming article that reference dislike guy,
who did some internet named young, now cameras they meaty, which is
This dance grew any. They goaded by sniff, I'm standing dancing when it's like and they just put em on Youtube.
Somebody made for my youtube they're, just like sort of like people who dancer you to follow, and second yet
so, for example, you turn it. I can see it as well.
It's good cause. It's like goofy dancing than with extremely good dancer exactly.
That's why they re so anyway. So I was reading so
Are they do a bunch of them in and as a bunch of young thug one's eyes like? Who is this and then I said like deepened
thing anyway that I end up unhappiness, but I get up like yeah, really helpful city today of that. But there are people who really well you take this.
Of annex I needed a relic anything you do for the state of the union. You do for like we're Hamilton stuff like whatever and so genius has hired somebody to just do this. For
to annotate, whatever they find on the internet, because they want to show people that this is a thing you can do.
Higher this writer, namely offend again she's, to be to Gawker, now she's, a genius right upstairs red, upstairs
She is going into articles and bypass and using it as a tool for criticism like in the media, criticisms
Lord, so she's agitating articles that people have written, yes, which some people very much dislike, it's more than that, though, it's not just that when you go,
The genius website suddenly you're, looking at this page, that as the article annotated in the way that
Yes, lyrics are indicated its that if you type genius tat I d,
And put it in front of any url, so if you put it in front of us late that calm, url or whatever, suddenly what it does is it over?
lays comments on top of that you from genius, so it's like its added a common section to this website without any asking anybody,
gotta weirdly like this little pointed confusion, is the big fight that this tweet is referring to, because
There is a bunch of annotations this woman's by post, where she was talking about the sort of stigma of having herpes
and, and it wasn't like I dont it was. It was
a strange choice, because I don't think you're, like a super big bargaining with this
referring to a specific blog post, the genius outdated. Yes,
Leah and a bunch of Leah. I think I first got a bunch of other people had sort of jumped in on this by person said link
is a fallacy early, this writing sloppy or whatever they can
of criticism. People would make about our colleague on Twitter, the right or wrong
really didn't like it, because if you ask why you're good
save or worse to be putting comments about, may cite Lake Court in court,
their site- and I were genius as Like- was out on their say- it's like a kind of a copy of their side that we ve made. But it's like this huge fight about
there. This is like criticism or like abuse or whatever authentic Congress pursing outlaws alphabet up click. It was certainly a fight
that to me felt like my corner of like media internet that I like to watch, but most people don't care about
Somehow. This congresswoman got involved. Catherine Clark, demographic Massachusetts and she basically was like I want
What you edginess are doing Samuel from using your thing for abuse. Unlike the am basically sheet,
tomorrow and slay. Those people can use genius phobias within every time. People right
the about genius people from genius
the article and they like to comment on it.
I point out every factual inaccuracies which would bother me but which I find pretty, enjoy its jets,
it does make. It is, of course they do that, but it's also just sort of like here doesn't guy has lies, of course, going to be a transcript. This yes, yes now, which means exactly I could get ended when you're
we get, it will get at it, and it's
hard because everything around that we put up now
They won't imitate anything about them. The allocation is weird. It's like I don't know it was his recent rifles.
Austria, because I think I see every side of it, but I am also
aggravated by every side of it and and
aggravated by the by the act of entertaining well, it does feel my problem is like I feel age
yes, as being a little overly better off their like look, it's not
on your site. What's the big deal and like it feels different, it feels like notes from an
it is pretty hard on you, but in others
I nobody asked for citizens,
we're being like. You have some turn of phrase itself
in an ideal literally mean that that feels
the kind of behaviour that just like palaces. My favorite thing the world, but I also think like you published at people, should be allowed to criticise it so ceremonies in her the sweet, she's writer says origins. Speeches argued that China should be allowed to do what they want to do, and so people piled on her, as I think, which is referring to was being in a big.
You're, not fight and trying to explain it to a therapist and they might feel like ours is a little unfair. Getting your like an expected God, I'm so she's presenting a scene from her actual therapy where she's like going through this whole thing with a therapist and then and then she gets the vote were that Congress was not involved. Regarded me got involved. Medea s got it.
Says Norman. How do you do you feel the same way Puget as about the whole agitating things I dont Arica, I feel like
Anything you put up on the internet. People are going to criticise right red and,
No. This feels the same. It's like you have to know where this unique url is, and you have to go to it and you have the kind of look for it. Feeler. Look
firstly, article there not accidently gonna, stumble upon the genius annotation of that's laid article that happily true, so, in my opinion it sort of like. Yes, there are people out there criticising you in a
that feels like a common section on your website, but it's
functionally the same as someone on a forum somewhere criticising you and you don't
any control over that you never had any control over that. I thought
don't worry about. It is totally leaders like I want to have a way to be like now. No Cancun,
here and say things unless I say it's. Ok,
I get it. I understand why it makes people mad.
Don't agree with yeah, because I'm like trying to be a baby king
be J vote baby king, I feel, like I have to
now issued the disclaimer they ve never met anybody from genius, in spite of the fact of them being our landlords. Casually tell you like some real dirt on genius. Yes,.
So sorry he's a friend of a lot of people here, Emily Condon she came to visit the building.
She wanted to get my answer. She gets an accident like the hallways. In the shared space
and she asked somebody from genius. Do you know where gimlet as guys again
they're, right down that hallway. It's that door right there. You just turn to that door, and she pointed at the door
and she's like you mean that door right there and he said: yeah
since you are down the hallway, she went into the door and it was a broom has it.
And then I was just going to rank on her. How do you know he is putting a brake on her because she was like
He insisted on that door. He insisted and then she, why
as you so embarrassed. I, like I can't walk out of here right now, so suggested the burglars over a little for a while I'm
I take it back. They should be allowed to postpone it over people had a broom closet thing it pretty. It's illegal is actually pretty mean yeah, that's cool, it would be if it would be funny if I had done it to you
exactly but as we know each other. Also, if I did to you, I mean it was even anybody there like is purely he wasn't like me. It was just for his own tax. It wasn't for anybody else. That's socio,
That's the that's! A level associate souci apathy that I can only compare to laying
second layer over a website and commenting
So are you unexplained controversy to me? Yes, ok, so the tweet is at their mercy and Sarah quote then congresswoman from
choose its inter softened everything therapist. Oh God had his desk for now. I understand
Sarah Morrison has been a vocal defender of the of the genius
of the genius verses. Everybody who publishes on the internet, except Alex Exit Alex.
Controversy. What's that you ask
geniuses company to arrange things they start out at any rapid Erics have now moved on after many rounds of easy funding, to editing lots, lots of things including stuff, the people rate on the internet and blogs and websites and other things that people who write the things in the world,
websites get a little harm doff when genius comes in with their smart, depends people and edits their grammar and talk about other eyes very level. Frank!
and and and checks their facts and other stuff into those people are mad at genius ceremony
and has been defending genius on the it's a free country grounds, which is that you're putting out there are people out to talk about it and
had been the happily fighting their battle and then this
congresswoman enters up into this thing. That was probably gonna, get sorted out, one way or another, but people
give up on the internet and this tweet a
regions, the scenario at her in her therapists office when she was talking to her therapist about it, and she got to the part where the congresswoman from Massachusetts came in and then the therapists was like,
oh my god, and put her head on the desk. Nowhere! Yes, yes, yes, and that was a very succinct description, good work now off this like
shut up to my friend, LISA Nagel, from college, who gave me that, for his good innovation
the hosted by PDA, Vote Vogt and me Alex Goeben. Our producers are TIM, Howard Treaty tip in and fear Bennett. Our editor is Peter clowning Protectionist
since from Mervyn De Ganis, we were mixed by requirement
met labourers is an animated gift of a mailman furiously beating a mail box with a baseball bat especial thanks this week
Emily Kennedy Tom Code, damn runner
story and masterful extra special thanks to powerful.
Grace amazing articles about all things. Internet, attract changes that post like dot com and has a podcast called track changes, but you should also check out
The music is by mysterious burgomaster cylinder and are add. Music is by build buildings,
you want to see the animated gifts mentioned in the story. You can find links to them on our website. Reply all that lemme also,
We know the pronunciation of the word give Jeff is controversial so
I created a version of the story where I say Jeff.
It's available on our website.
Reply. All was nominated for best pod cast in the web. Your words and we
with love it if you would vote for us. So if you're interested
linked to the words website on Facebook and twitter and reply all that diamonds. Do you can find
more episodes, Itunes, Dotcom, Slash reply? All thanks for listening will see next week.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-13.