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Robert Scoble

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Robert Scoble (born January 18, 1965) is an American blogger, technical evangelist, and author. Scoble is best known for his blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft. He is married to Maryam Ghaemmaghami Scoble. He has three children; one from a previous marriage and two with Maryam. He currently works for Rackspace and the Rackspace sponsored community site Building 43. He previously worked for Fast Company as a video blogger. He is also the co-author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers with Shel Israel.

Early life and education

Scoble was born in New Jersey in 1965, and grew up about a kilometre from Apple Computer's headquarters in Silicon Valley.[1] Some of his favorite childhood memories are working in his own garage with electronic devices that his dad (William Scoble, PhD from Rutgers University in Materials Engineering) brought home from his jobs at Ampex and Lockheed Martin.[2]

His mother worked for Apple Computer as a member of a group of women led by Hildy Licht who built Apple IIs at home. Robert learned how to solder a motherboard together when he was 11 and helped his mother build several hundred Apple IIs. He also had a summer job with Hewlett Packard, working on one of their production lines. Robert attended Hyde Junior High School in Cupertino, California.[3]

In 1989 while studying in West Valley Community College he met Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, and persuaded him to donate $40,000 worth of Macintoshes to the college journalism department.[4] His teacher made him set them up and learn all about how they worked.[5] After the Loma Prieta earthquake hit he realized that he liked journalism a lot more than computer science.[6]

In 1993 he dropped out without finishing his degree in Journalism from San Jose State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications (he still has one class to complete).[5][7]

Steve Sloan (Information Technology Consultant at SJSU help desk) recalls that during his time at the university "he was a Mac Evangelist and he was not afraid to install all kinds of buggy beta software and weird hacks on the old Apple computers other people used to get real work done".[8]

Career

Scoble began his career in the 1980s helping run a discount camera store in San Jose (LZ Premiums). He sold cheap cameras with small or no profits, but made money from accessories.

After college he was working for Fawcette Technical Publications (as anything man - design, editing, helping plan the conferences like VBITS and VSLive!). His current wife Maryam was also working for Fawcette.

During the mid-90's Robert helped co-chair the Visual Basic SIG for SDForum, and was a frequent attendee and organizer for numerous local tech user groups.

In the late 90's Robert worked for Winnov (manufacturer of webcams) supporting webcam users and was very active in Microsoft's NetMeeting support newsgroups. He was named a Microsoft MVP for this activity and maintaining a busy NetMeeting information website. He retained his MVP status up to the time he became a Microsoft employee.

Dave Winer had told him "that blogging was hot," so he left Fawcette and joined Winer's UserLand Software, which was a content management and blogging software startup. He worked for John Robb as Director of Marketing. After the startup ran out of money and was unable to pay his salary, Robert worked for free for a month and eventually had to switch jobs.

He found a job at NEC Mobile Solutions from a Craigslist posting as Sales Support Manager for TabletPC. His job responsibility was to answer all the phones and all the emails with support/sales requests. He had started using blogs (a skill learned in UserLand) to provide tech support and listen to feedback from NEC customers.

His blog was noticed by Vic Gundotra (then General Manager of Platform Evangelism at Microsoft), and Robert accepted his offer to work at Microsoft.

Scoble has long been a prominent advocate of both RSS technology and the Tablet PC.[6][9]

Microsoft

File:Scoble by feldstein.jpg

Robert Scoble joined Microsoft in May 2003. Scoble was part of the Channel 9 MSDN Video team, where he produced videos that showcased Microsoft employees and products.

Although Scoble often promoted Microsoft products like Tablet PCs and Windows Vista, he also frequently criticized his own employer and praised its competitors (such as Apple Computer and Google). He was unusual in the level of access he offered to his users, which included publishing his cell phone number on his blog and urging people to contact him directly with issues, as well as accepting comments on his blog. His support for Microsoft in his blog, however, drew controversy and in February 2005, he became the first person to earn the newly coined moniker of "spokesblogger."

The Economist described Robert Scoble's influence in its February 15, 2005 edition:[10]

He has become a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience

On June 10, 2006 Scoble announced[11] he was leaving Microsoft to join Podtech.net as vice president of media development with a higher salary accompanied by "a quite aggressive stock option"[12] offer that could make him wealthy if his new company succeeded.[13][14] According to Alexa Internet that day had the biggest traffic to his blog and PodTech over their lifetime.[15] June 28, 2006 was his last day at Microsoft.

PodTech

In 2006 Robert joined PodTech with the title Vice President Media Development. On Monday, September 25 Robert released his first episode of the "Scoble Show" at http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/

Fast Company

On December 11, 2007, while taking part in a panel discussion at the LeWeb3 Conference, Scoble inadvertently leaked news (by loading up a post on TechCrunch) that he would be leaving PodTech on January 14, 2008, and was likely to join Fast Company. Scoble acknowledged the news on his blog on December 12 but stated that he had not yet signed on with Fast Company. He did a video interview about his plans here and leased studio space from Revision3.

On January 31, 2008, Scoble dedicated all his photos to the public domain.[16]

On March 3, 2008, Scoble launched FastCompany.tv with two shows: FastCompany Live and ScobleizerTV. He characterizes the first as "a show done totally on cell phones." The second is similar to his previous show on PodTech, only with better equipment and a camera operator. The show is recorded with two cameras in 720p HD.[17]

Though he no longer produces videos for FastCompany, he continues to write articles for their magazine.

Rackspace and Building 43

On March 14, 2009, Scoble announced via his blog and on the Gillmor Gang that he was joining Rackspace. As part of his work there, Scoble will team up with the company to develop Building 43, a new content and social networking website.

Appearances

On April 1, 2008, The Register ran an April fool's spoof claiming Robert Scoble was actually an IBM bot.[18]

On November 14, 2007, he was a contestant on a game show at NewTeeVee Live[19] featuring other internet celebrities such as Veronica Belmont, Casey McKinnon, Cali Lewis, Kevin Rose, Justin Kan, and others.[20]

On November 6, 2006, Scoble appeared as a panelist on a CSPA[21] event called "The New Age of Influence: The Impact of Social Computing on Media and Marketing".[22]

Robert is the subject of the song 'The Ballad of Robert Scoble' by singer/songwriter (and cycling podcaster and blogger at The Velocast) Scott O'Raw which Scott describes as 'a song about Robert Scoble and the pressures of spending your life online'.

Unit of Measurement

In September 2008 followcost.com, a website which calculates how annoying it will be to follow anyone on Twitter, invented the milliscoble unit of measurement defined as: "1/1000th of the average daily Twitter status updates by Robert Scoble as of 10:09 CST September 25, 2008." At that time, Scoble was averaging 21.21 tweets per day, so a milliscoble is 0.02121 tweets per day. A person with a milliscoble rating of 1000 will be as annoying to follow as Scoble.[23]

Egoblogger

Across the various blogs, especially Gawker (formerly Valleywag)[1], Scoble has gained notoriety as an 'egoblogger'. This has become a meme that has spread across various blogs [2][3][4][5]. Urbandictionary's definition of egoblogger states [6]:

A blogger whose writing tends to have a self-aggrandizing or narcissistic tone. Egobloggers spend as much time promoting themselves and trying to get famous as they do writing their blogs.

One of the most famous egobloggers is Robert Scoble, of the technical blog Scobleizer. Nearly every biographical article about Mr. Scoble refers to him as an egoblogger.

Bibliography

  • Scoble, Robert; Shel Israel (January 2006). Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. Wiley. ISBN 978-0471747192. "We live in a time when most people don't trust big companies." 

References

  1. Rubel, Steve (2004-04-29). "Q&A with Robert Scoble on Blogging, Media and PR". http://steverubel.typepad.com/micropersuasion/2004/04/qa_with_robert_.html. Retrieved 2006-08-26. 
  2. Scoble, Robert (2003-12-31). "How Silicon Valley Won the Cold War". The Scobleizer Weblog. http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2003/12/31.html#a5993. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  3. Scoble, Robert (2003-06-01). "Postings for June 1, 2003". The Scobleizer Weblog. http://scoble.weblogs.com/2003/06/01.html#a3172. Retrieved 2006-08-26. 
  4. Scoble, Robert (2005-10-23). "Woz’s math puzzle". The Scobleizer Weblog. http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2005/10/23/wozs-math-puzzle/. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Microsoft MainFunction (2005-11-18). "Meet Robert Scoble!". MSDN Academic Alliance Community Center. http://www.mainfunction.com/DotNetInAction/Technologies/display.aspx?ID=2862&TypeID=11. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Scoble, Robert (2004-08-14). "A Good About Page". D. Keith Robinson blog. http://www.7nights.com/asterisk/archive/2004/08/a-good-about-page#comment11. Retrieved 2006-08-28.  Comment from Robert with his early life biography
  7. Scoble, Robert (2006-11-16). "Robert Scoble still need 3 credits to graduate". http://scobleizer.com/2006/11/16/playstation-3-mania-in-san-francisco/#comment-171470. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  8. Sloan, Steve (2005-02-15). "Robert Scoble's Visit". http://radio.weblogs.com/0121633/2005/02/13.html. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  9. Scoble, Robert (2004-04-16). "I'm the video guy". MSDN Channel9. http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=3512#3512. Retrieved 2006-08-28.  Robert posting about his education and work experience
  10. "Chief humanising officer". The Economist. 2005-02-10. http://www.economist.com/people/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3644293. Retrieved 2006-08-26.  An article that describes Scoble's role at Microsoft
  11. Scoble, Robert (2006-06-10). "Correcting the Record about Microsoft". The Scobleizer Weblog. http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/06/10/correcting-the-record-about-microsoft/. Retrieved 2006-08-28.  Robert posting about why he left Microsoft
  12. "Blogger Scoble Quits Microsoft". Australian IT. 2006-06-12. http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,19443297-15306,00.html. 
  13. "Top Microsoft Blogger to Resign". BBC News. 2006-06-12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5070940.stm. 
  14. Olson, Parmy (2006-06-12). "Ballmer's Microsoft Loses Admired Tech Evangelist". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/12/gates-microsoft-scoble-cx_po_0612autofacescan01.html. 
  15. "Traffic report for Scobleizer blog and PodTech.net". Alexa.com. http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?compare_sites=podtech.net&range=2y&size=medium&y=r&url=http%3A%2F%2Fscobleizer.wordpress.com%2F. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  16. Putting photos into public domain
  17. Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive FastCompany.TV launches «
  18. IBM unveils nano-projector based VirtuaHuman with 1TB of memory | The Register
  19. Web Video Celebrity Game Show — NewTeeVee Live
  20. http://www.forbes.com/businesswire/feeds/businesswire/2007/10/31/businesswire20071031005523r1.html
  21. Chinese Software Professionals Association
  22. The New Age of Influence: The Impact of Social Computing on Media and Marketing
  23. "What's a milliscoble?". 2008-09-25. http://followcost.com/about/milliscoble. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 

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