Robert Scoble is an extraordinary man who is flipping the business world on its head.
And now he is here: Podtech which describes itself as: PodTech is a media company dedicated to podcasting. It is a producer, aggregator, and distributor of professional podcast content for audiences worldwide. Its media channels include PodTech News, PodTech InfoTalk™ Network, and PodTech Sponsorship Network. PodTech has more than 15 corporate clients including Intel, Juniper, Yahoo, Symantec, and nVidia. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Menlo Park, California
(That guy with the wild head of curly hair is my 20-year old, Josh, doing his flips on the backyard trampoline. He's a mechnical engineer entering his last year at the University of Maryland. He's bright, humble, athletic, and gifted in math and science. He just taught himself mandalin and guitar, recently recording a CD at a studio outside Pittsburgh. He's going to make a great employee and an even greater husband for some fortunate girl. He's a very, very good person.)
Menlo Park and Robert Scoble is going there...pay attention! Here are Podtech's corporate channels.
Not because he (is) was the Chief Technology Evangalist and created Channel 9 at Microsoft and put a human face on the a company that was once seen as the Evil Empire. Not because he wrote Naked Conversations....and not because he introduced people like me to the world of blogs and the blogosphere.
No...he has what the Irish call "The Magics," an extraordinary ability in some endeavor. In Robert's case, it is introducing others to the wonders of technology and blogging and the fact that trust between people is what takes technology from a dead bit to a better life.
I stumbled upon Robert's magic when I read his book Naked Conversations that he co-authored with Shel Israel. Having studied and written poetry, fiction, and technical writing for many years, I can usually tell a good deal about someone from their writing. What struck me most about this tome was the genuine spirit in which it was written, the ease with technology and the good that it could bring to humanity if done correctly, the evident humility and lack of pretentiousness in the writing, the insights that talking...not technology...drive the blogosphere, and the impressive marshalling of facts to support the premise that we are in for a revolutionary change due to blogs as great as when Jonathan Edwards preached the Great Awakening up and down the 13 colonies in the 1740's.
Now...some was Shel and some was Robert...but even the fact that they co-authored this work and collaborated proved their point...blogs are the modern incarnation of Hegel's famous thesis ---> antithesis ---> synthesis idea. You talk...I react...you react to my reaction...we talk some more, hash it over and reach consensus...then we act. This has driven mankind from the hunters to the warriors to the businessman to the product team in any corporation.
Inspired by Robert's (and Shel's) book Naked Conversations, I went to the Microsoft website....which was not easy for me. Having suffered through years of viruses, trojans, malware, adware and other horrors on my various computers, and having just gone through a system rebuild after my son who is a mechanical engineering student at the University of Maryland and who went to a music website that destroyed my hard drive...all of which I blamed on Microsoft's unstable and vulnerable software...it was not easy to go to the Microsoft corporate website. But I figured this guy Scoble was interesting and I wanted to see what he did during his day job.
I visited Scobalizer. I visited Channel 9. I think it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said America is the land of second chances. Well, after getting a graduate school education on blogs and the blogosphere on his blog and Channel 9, I decided to give Microsoft a second chance. Not because I have any illusions about how Microsoft has released software for years that did not go through basic security and usability testing because it had such a huge market share it believed that it did not have to and could still maintain a large profit margin...
...no...but because ...if someone at Microsoft was smart enough to see the potential of a Robert Scoble, and wise enough to hire him, then that is a company worth giving a second chance. I never thought I would say that, but I've lived long enough to know my own actions need to change when I see enough evidence that some of my old biases are wrong.
Oh...and the Rocketboom reference in the title...I never would have know this little gem vblog Rocketboom was even out there except that Robert took off his shirt at his first book signing and said, "I would only do this for you, Amanda, and this is for Rocketboom!" I did not know what Rocketboom was, but I've since discovered it as a funnybone itching v(ideo)blog that jokes about the Web 2.0 and other worlds. All through Robert. My thanks, Robert.
Where Robert really has the magic's is his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve. Recently, he lost his mother. He blogged about it in a very honest way. He said how boring it was to watch his mother die. I lost my mother two years ago and I have to agree. As Christ said, "Let the dead bury the dead."
For what it's worth, Robert, if you ever read it, here are a few poems I wrote after my mother passed away that I hope helps you deal with the grief. Poetry lets the mind and soul scream in the silence...and laugh as well.
Dreaming of Maytag
"Regan Maud Good was a Maytag Fellow
at the Writers' Workshop in Iowa."
Contributors BioThe Antioch Review
P. 126, Vol. 53 No.1 1995
my mother's dream
for whom Sears Kenmore
was all she and my father
could afford to clean
1950's and 60's whites,diapers,
and clothes of eight children's sweat,
blood, dirt and life.
she would repeat
like a Buddhist chant to no one
in particular as she loaded
another two dozen diapers
into the Sears Kenmore.
Maytag to me ever since
has represented everything good
and right about America:
an extremely durable, practical,
and useful product that serves
the family needs for decades
and all at a fair price.
I can still hear my mother say
looking at the Appalachian mountain
of soiled laundry
on the concrete floor before her:
six mountains of socks,
five mountains of underwear,
four mountains of shirts,
three mountains of pants,
two mountains of diapers,
one mountains of separates.
my mother would repeat
with each and every load.
Here, thirty-five years later
in the contributors notes
when trying to discern
the kinds of poetry and poets
the Antioch Review accepts,
I find Maytag offers a "Maytag Fellow."
Free money and two free years of writing time.
I look over at my Appalachian mountains:
six mountains of credit card statements,
five mountains of IRS bills,
four mountains of mortgage,
three mountains of car bills,
two mountains of utility bills,
one mountain of children's bills.
I chant like my mother now.
"MAYTAG!!! MAYTAG!!! MAYTAG!!!"
That laugh would start
like an ocean wave
and build in volume, depth, and pitch
until it became a tidal wave
and washed over
my brothers and sisters and I,
to our delight as children and adults,
to our embarrassment when teenagers
out in public, over everyone
within a half mile round
and continue in undulating wave
after wave until you wondered
how she got oxygen fast enough
to supply those great waves
of laughter that seemed to plumb
the very depths of a joyful heart.
It wasn't all laughter, of course.
There were Harry's diseases…
but even during the worst days
the laughter continued
in great bursts and passion.
And among her many sayings:
"God doesn't close one door
that he doesn't open another!"
"The lint on your clothes
means your going to come into money!"
she expressed the desire:
"I pray to God every night for each
one of you and that I go first.
It must be the hardest thing on earth
to lose one of your children first."
Now your prayer has been answered.
If we are allowed to carry
one talent from earth into heaven
when my time comes, and if
God decides to take me in,
I expect I will hear that laugh rising,
as it did on earth, louder and higher
than all the others to say, as she had
so many times when she was alive
and knew that it was only half true,
"You did it all on your own, kid,
and I'm very, very proud of you!"