So the big geek news of the weekend was the shock announcement that both Robert Scoble and his wife Maryam have both resigned from Microsoft, and are heading off to a Silicon Valley startup called PodTech.net. The news was significant enough to register a front page listing on BBC News Online for most of the day, somewhat of an indication of the reputation that Robert has built for himself in the industry. As always, the Scoble effect came in to play, and PodTech.net found their site crashing under the weight of interested geeks checking out his new employer!
But is it really all that much of a surprise? True, Robert Scoble is synonymous with Microsoft, but remember that Robert’s blog, isn’t a Microsoft blog at all, it his personal blog which he had before he joined Microsoft. I have to say that when Scoble posted his ‘I’m going to Google‘, the reason it worked is because it was so believable. Whilst reading on through the posting you could tell it was a joke, as a headline, it seemed perfectly possible. The impression you always get from what Robert writes is that he is primarily a technology fan who happens to work for Microsoft – he doesn’t have some sort of evangelical tie to the company.
Amusingly, it wasn’t actually Robert himself who broke the news, it leaked out and was subsequently confirmed by Scoble primarily to deny all the rumours flying around as to why he had left. In reality it seems one of the big drivers has been wanting to spend more time with his son – who lives near Silicon Valley – Scoble mentions that in this posting. The other, is wanting a new challenge. In this posting he recounts how he was hired by Microsoft after standing up in a conference and telling Ballmer that Microsoft needed a more human face. He has largely achieved that. In much the same way he told the guys at PodTech.net that their stuff is too commercial and not interesting enough – indeed he goes as far as saying that he wouldn’t subscribe to it if he weren’t joining the company. After having given them 21 points on how to improve, team Scoble are now both going to work for them.
So how are things going to change. Sure Scoble won’t have the same inside knowledge that got a lot of people interested in his blog, but at the same time he has a lot of contacts, and his name is such that he will probably still be considered one of the major voices in the industry, and of course he is still the same person, with the same interests, so certainly it will be worthwhile keeping an eye out over at PodTech.net for what he and Maryam are doing. Lastly I’d like to wish them both good luck in their new roles. It is always a big step to change jobs, and I’ll look forward to seeing and hearing what they produce. I just hope the PodTech.net expenses budget will extend to flying them both over to the UK once in a while!