State of the Union Address for 2012

Hello, I'm Dan Benjamin, founder of 5by5. Each year, we try to do something special for you, the listeners. One of the things I wanted to do this year was give you an update about 5by5 for 2012: where we've been and what's coming up next. Kind of like an informal state of the union address.

So here goes.

The first thing I'd like to say is thank you ... from me, and everybody at 5by5. I mean thank YOU, personally, you, the one listening to my voice right now. Without you, there would be no 5by5. It's that simple. I wake up every morning feeling grateful to have you listening to our shows, supporting us by checking out our sponsors and making the donations that pay our bills and my mortgage. I wake up every morning feeling motivated to record the best shows I've ever done. And I hope you stick around to listen to them. You guys are 5by5.

Speaking of shows, it's been an amazing year here. We launched eight new shows in 2012, like Amplified with Jim Dalrymple where we talk about Apple, Macs, and iOS. The Frequency, a daily tech news show with me and Haddie Cooke. Giant Size, where Moises Chiullan talks to comics creators. In Beta, a talk show about tech culture with Gina Trapani and Kevin Purdy. And a bunch more. If you haven't checked out what we've been working on in a while, you can see all of our shows by visiting

2012 also saw the end of The Talk Show on 5by5. I'll always remember how much fun I had and what a great opportunity it was to record every one of those 120 episodes with John Gruber. And I hope you feel the same way too.

This year, I moved out of the spare bedroom of my house where I'd worked and recorded for years, into actual office space. I also hired 5by5's first full-time employee, Producer and Account Manager Haddie Cooke, who's also my co-host on The Frequency. Haddie makes everything happen behind the scenes at 5by5, and there's no way I could ever thank her enough for her commitment, dedication, and contribution. How I did this without her help, I'll never know.

I'd also like to thank all of the hosts at 5by5. Each of them works so hard every week to make their shows awesome, usually on top of managing their work and home life. It's amazing.

Earlier this year, we released a new iOS app called 5by5 Radio, which notifies you and lets you listen to the shows live as we record them, wherever you are. Thanks to my amazing developer Tim Arnold for making that happen. We also acquired and updated the 5by5 Radio application for Mac OS X from the talented David Smith. Both of these are available for free in the iTunes and Mac App Stores. Every episode is edited by one of my hard working engineers: Brooks Guthrie, Jim Metzendorf, Mark Miles, and Ed Loveall. And no podcast on 5by5 would be complete without the amazing artwork created by Jory Raphael.

Lots of people have asked what's up next for 5by5 in 2013. I can't spoil too many surprises, but I can tell you about a few things that are happening over the next couple of months. There's a site redesign in the works, updates to the iOS and Mac apps, a daily newsletter, and by request, we're going to do another run of T-Shirts. For the first time, we'll also be making coffee mugs and stickers, and I really hope you like them. We're also having a 5by5 new years eve party here in Austin, as well as a bunch of meetups in some of the cities we'll be visiting in 2013. So stay tuned for details, because we'll really need your help to make them happen.

And of course there will be new shows! A whole bunch of them ... and one of them is starting right away. Due to the popularity of the 5by5 Specials show, especially the Kindacritical episodes, I'm excited to announce a brand new show called The Crossover. I've long had the idea for a weekly 5by5 show that would create a place for the hosts of different shows to come together and have a discussion, with no limit on topic or fixed agenda, just the freeform flow of ideas leading to a great conversation. The Crossover premiers this week, and we've got a great show planned. My first guests are Merlin Mann and Marco Arment, and I hope you'll tune in and check it out.

I'm also working hard on a new season of Pipeline interviews with some really great guests  think you'll love listening to. And remember Big Week, the news-focused panel discussion show I pre-announced in mid-2012? Well it's taken a bit more work and planning than I expected, but it's going to happen starting in 2013, and it's going to be great.

And as the year comes to a close, a bit of sad news: two of my good friends, John Siracusa and Marco Arment, are retiring their shows, which are coming to an end in December of 2012. Both of these shows, Hypercritical and Build and Analyze, started at about the same time, in early 2011 and late in 2010 respectively. Both Marco and John told me independently at the outset that they had no idea how long they might want to do a show for. But I didn't care: I'm always happy to team up with guys as awesome as they are for a couple of hours each week and help create something as awesome as their shows have been. At their conclusion, each of these shows will have recorded over 100 amazing episodes, many of them over two hours long.

So after recording over 100 episodes a piece, it wasn't a huge surprise to me when they each independently told me they were thinking about retiring. Being the host of a show like this, where you're responsible for thinking of topics, doing research, preparing notes, making special arrangements when they travel or take time off, accommodating an ever-changing schedule, and then then actually recording the show ... this is an incredibly time consuming proposition. Both John and Marco have full-time jobs and growing families, as well as a myriad of other responsibilities. And so, as much as we'll all miss their shows, the fact that they've been able to show up each week, every week, for two years, while wrangling all of these details ... it's nothing short of miraculous.

And although they might not be doing weekly podcasts, you'll still be able to hear both John and Marco on 5by5 shows like The Incomparable and The Crossover as their schedules allow. Even so, I'll miss recording these shows with my good friends every week as much as I know you'll miss listening to them. And if they ever want to start their shows back up again or create brand new ones, we'll be right here ... Just don't email them about it.

So that's it. On behalf of me and everybody who's a part of 5by5, thank you again for making this our best year ever. I can't wait for you to hear what's coming up next in 2013.

I love getting your thoughts and comments, so please get in touch. I'm @danbenjamin on Twitter, or you can email me at

Thanks for listening. We couldn’t to this without you.

Posted on November 18, 2012 .