An Interview with Robert Scoble
Robert Scoble, geek blogger, was kind enough to answer a few question via email. Author, with Shel Israel, of Naked Conversations, Scoble brings his expertise in communications, blogging and Microsoft to a short email interview.
Net2: Is blogging still an emerging technology or, now that it's been around long enough to show some lessons learned, do you think it should just be considered a best practice?
Robert Scoble: Blogging is no longer just an emerging technology. There are more than 30 million blogs and there’s even a truck driver who blogs. That tells me that it’s crossed the chasm and is going mainstream. We wrote a whole book that interviewed 188 businesses about how they are using blogs at Naked Conversations.
N2: Is Web 2.0 merely hype or do you see something genuinely unique with these tool sets and the ways in which they are coming together? If so, what is the secret sauce? If not, why do you think we’re seeing all this hype?
Scoble: Yes, there’s a bit of hype there, but there’s also a trend that you can’t escape. More and more people are using the Web everyday and for more stuff. We’re now even able to see when our next bus will arrive in Seattle using a Web browser. Is there something unique? Yeah, the bandwidth has gotten better, the browsers with the latest technologies have gotten much more ubiquitous (when Microsoft invented the main concept behind AJAX, for instance, it couldn’t be used for mass appeal Web sites, for instance. Today it can. AJAX lets you display new information in the browser without refreshing the whole page, by the way).
Also, there’s a new business model for Web sites now (text-based advertising that is embeddable on pages) and a new development model (you can mashup various “gadgets” from Microsoft, Google, and many others into a single page).
N2: You’ve written a lot about the benefits to businesses of blogging. However, it seems that much of what you write and talk about is less about the enabling technology and more about the style – open, fresh and accessible – that accompanies blogging? How much of a challenge do you see businesses facing as they try to adopt that style?
Scoble: It’s going to be tough for many businesses to really get into. It’s one thing to use the technology of blogs to simply post news items. It’s a whole other thing to let every employee in your company blog, and blog openly about his/her ideas, opinions, and what he or she is working on.
N2: What’s the most interesting technology that Microsoft is working on?
Scoble: That’s really hard to pick. Is it the Xbox 360 with its high definition video games and ability to play against friends and family even if they are thousands of miles away? Is it the new SmartPhone that I’m carrying around that lets me blog, take pictures, look at traffic info and pictures, and more? Is it Office 12 that has an all-new interface with a lot of great new features? Or is it Windows Vista with new search, faster networking, new look, and lots of new applications? I’d probably take the Xbox 360 as the one that’ll have the biggest “change the world” impact.