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Daniel Bernstein: “Is Scoble’s departure the beginning of the end for honest corporate blogging?”
Okay, I bet Bill G was a little bummed when he heard Scoble was leaving, but this is too much. Did he really have to fight back the tears? Talk about tugging at the heart strings.
Scoble’s move has garnered lots of press outside the blogosphere, but most of it will evaporate soon, behind for-pay firewalls. The BBC has a great open and permanent archive and their piece is fairly typical of the kind of respect he’s getting, which is nice to see. It’s good that it will (probably) be visible for many years to come, Murphy-willing of course.
Talking with Doc Searls this morning on the phone, I drew an analogy to a mountain in the middle of the ocean. Until the water goes away you don’t really get a sense of how big the mountain is. In Scoble’s case, the mountain is pretty big.
At lunch yesterday, in Berkeley, my companion asked what’s the big deal about Scoble. I had to think for a minute, back to when I first met him, about six years ago. I had been retained to keynote a Fawcette conference, and Scoble was the editor of the conference. I was struck by a couple of things. First, he actually called me to talk about my role at the conference, a practice I had never seen before (and one which I have adopted for BloggerCon). And then, over the months leading up to the show, he’d send emails to all the speakers, sometimes just with a link to an article he thought we’d find interesting. I thought to myself, this guy is already blogging and he doesn’t even know what blogging is.
Another different thing about Scoble is that he’s unimpressed with celebrity. He seeks out interesting people, and then spends time with them, if they’ll let him. When he worked for me at UserLand, he would open doors for me, find me interesting people to talk with, and then he’d often just kick back, and listen. This is smart, it’s how you absorb information, how you get people to teach you stuff. (The one exception to Scoble’s celebrity coolness was Bill Gates. When he interviewed Gates for Channel 9 he was nervous, no question about that.)
He also is generous with credit. I can’t tell you how many times he’s reminded me of the things I’ve given him. That’s very unusual. As time goes by people tend to forget, myself included, who created the opportunities that made their achievements possible.
I also think that Scoble is the prototypical evangelist, in league with the other great evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, but in a very different way. He understands the role of developers, but more important, he learned how to be a sales person early in his career, and he never forgot the basics. You sell yourself first, that’s how you get in the door. Once the prospect is sold on you, you can close the deal anytime you want. And like all great sales people, Scoble wears his heart on his sleeve. Whether or not you buy is a personal thing to Scoble, but he always smiles, no matter what, because I don’t think he ever gives up on closing the deal.
So, in retrospect, Mount Scoble was a lot higher than I thought. He’s sold a lot of people. Did Furrier get a good deal? Well, let’s see if he can contain Scoble. The man was big, even in relation to a huge multi-national company. Will his persona swamp a small startup that virtually no one has heard of? Should they change the name now, after all, who’s heard of Podtech, versus who’s heard of Scoble? Kind of a no brainer, don’t you think?
With VloggerCon officially behind us, BloggerCon IV is now next-up on the summer of love West Coast blogging conference circuit, followed of course by Gnomedex and BlogHer.
Over the weekend the BloggerCon IV sign-up list crossed the 150 mark, so it’s now “officially” sold out. I put that in quotes because a free conference with open sign-up usually has at least a few no-shows. So if you missed the call, today might be the last day to sign up where you could actually hope to get in.
Next thing on my agenda is to work on the Friday night dinners, and then of course announce the schedule.
Less than two weeks to go! 🙂