I saw Robert Scoble at a Buzz Bruggeman-hosted dinner a few weeks ago and heard the early rumblings about his career direction. He was dealing with his mother's death, he had one of those beards people grow when they are about to make a change, but also mentioned Podtech in passing as a really interesting company. Yes, interesting.... So, now, he's moved on to that Silicon Valley startup.
There is a great deal of discussion of what this means. For Scoble, Microsoft and Podtech.et. Here, a few thoughts:
Doc Searls says "what matters most in the long run is who you are. Not who you work for." That's true, yetThis is business, it's different now because of networks. Scoble was the first to play the instrument like a virtuoso. is is also true that company names open doors, something that has benefitted Robert immensely. In his parting notes, Robert Scoble congratulates Microsoft on accepting the fact that he has a "very public lunch" with the CEO of a leading competitor. What blogging has done is make all interactions between companies and individuals public, so that even lunches by lower-level employee (there's a dying notion of hierarchy) are open to scrutiny. However, companies have always been incredibly permeable. I don't think Microsoft had much to tolerate. This is business, it's different now because of networks. Scoble was the first to play the instrument like a virtuoso.
But, it is important to note that companies are not simply schwag, as Doc suggests. They are an instrument and some are far better instruments than others.
David Churbuck points out that Microsoft has many, many more bloggers. It's not clear that any of them are the Mozart of the blog that Scoble could be, but it's also clear that they have a huge and accomplished corporate blogging orchestra that may get more attention now that Scoble is not at the piano out front. That will be interesting to watch.
Scoble, too, has to be aware (if this photo is any indication, he is) that he's moving from one of the top symphonies in the world to what is, essentially, a very well funded community theater.
Starting a company is hard. Starting a network and filling it with content is even harder (I've been there, done that, and it is all stress all the time), so Robert is facing some very challenging times. Now, that said, his cheerful promotion of talent will be an excellent platform for promoting vloggers, bloggers and podcasters; all that remains is for John Furrier, founder of Podtech.net, to execute on the economics of a rapidly changing medium.
Again, see the look on Robert's face. Also, note that the photo was taken in an Apple store.
The fit between Scoble, the great promoter of good people, and PodTech.net is a good one. But the chemistry is far different than that of Microsoft and Scoble, so now we'll see what a virtuoso blogger can do when he isn't standing on the world's biggest stage.