I think he's using the 49-pin package, not the 64-pin one, so there aren't as many pins available for SPI. I'm not really sold on the idea of using the ESP8266's flash, since it would only be accessible when the ESP8266 is turned off - but the network connectivity is sort of the point of this board.
Honestly, I think sometimes designers go overboard on making the board small, and end up with something that's less useful as a result. One thing that I find constantly irritating on the Pico is that there's only one power and ground. Every project - first thing you do, is wire up a little scrap of circuit board to split ground so you can connect it to more than one device. The original Espruino was nice this way - 4 sets of power+ground pins, so you could set up something simple with dupont line alone, without having to kludge up something to get enough connection points for ground...
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