Scoble should be fired, author tells Microsoft

Heh, I’m getting emails from across Microsoft. Seems that Brian Fugere just told Microsoft, in a presentation on the Redmond Campus (we invite people to speak to our employees nearly every day — those speeches are recorded and streamed to every employee on our intranet), to fire me. I haven’t heard his presentation, but figured I’d put that out there and see what he says.

Who is he? He’s one of the authors of Why business people speak like idiots.

His quote, as passed to me by other Microsoft employees: “You PAY that guy to criticize you??? Maybe I missed some irony?”

I’m not sure if that’s the exact quote. Tomorrow when I get back on campus I’ll check the video out and get the exact quote and context behind what he said. Here’s another interpretation of what he said: “I think it’s crap that you guys pay Scoble to work here and say the things he does. Paying some one to criticize your company? Not at my company.”

So, thought I’d take that calling out into public and see what you think. Maybe I should start a Web site: Fire Scoble or not.

How do I feel about this? It comes with the job. If you write in public you better be ready for broadsides to come from all angles. I won’t argue with his points until I know the full story. It is a good way to get some traffic to his book site, though. I bet that video will be highly viewed one inside Microsoft.

Update: Here’s the quote, thanks to Steven: “I’m shocked that you guys tolerate Scoble. I mean, it’s like give me a break. Here’s a guy that you pay to criticize you. And you can say, I know the other side of the argument, I’m well aware of it, it’s like listen celebrate, you know, celebrate the openness and all that kind of stuff. To me that’s crap. I think it’s crap. You pay him to say the kinds of things he says? Not in my company man, no way. But I like the other things, the fact that you’re opening up and blogging and working with your customers.”

Also, two employees who attended the talk wrote about it on their blogs. I hear the talk overall was great. Here’s Liz Lawley’s blog and Adam Barr’s blogs about the event.

Vint Cerf says he’s a weird old fart

Vint Cerf just said hi. He was telling me about his first day at work at Google. He wore what he called the “evangelism robes.” They are eccentric Spanish robes. He said the younger crowd at Google didn’t know how to react (they didn’t understand that he was making fun of his new role as an evangelist).

“They think I’m an old fart,” he told me, “but I want them to know I’m a weird old fart.”

Yes, he gave me permission to blog this. He’s a really enjoyable person to meet. What an honor to meet the guy who invented the Internet. You gotta love a guy who has some humor about himself.

Anil wants Flickr to pay

Interesting little debate going on the blogs this morning. Anil Dash wants Flickr to pay its users, particularly the ones who put the most popular content onto the service. Caterina, co-founder of Flickr, answers back, says more to life than money.

That sounds cool, but there certainly is a belief among mainstream big company publishers I’m listening to that “user generated content” (I HATE that term) is how they are going to build profitable businesses. Basically, they are looking at bloggers and photographers and others as cheap labor. Get the stuff for free, stick ads next to it, and make a ton of money. That basically explains a large percentage of the Silicon Valley startup’s business plans lately too.

I feel the same about these folks as I felt about the folks who talked about “making sites sticky” in the late 1990s. They created business opportunity by being selfish and greedy. Which is sorta funny, when you think about it, isn’t it?

The real way to create a sticky site turned out to be to send people away from your site more often than anyone else.

It’ll be interesting to see if the best way to build a really great Internet business and a great Web-based community just might be to pay people to write, take photos, record podcasts, and give their knowledge into the system. Hmmm, what are the two of the hottest companies? eBay and Google. They pay their users, particularly ones who are popular (I have friends making $10,000+ a month off of Google ads, for instance).

Ben and Mena Trott say they are sorry

If you aren’t a geek who has to keep a data center running you might not appreciate the post that Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, made yesterday. The business challenges facing all of us are deep and extreme as we deal with a world that doubles in size every few months (and for some services is on a far far steeper growth curve).

When you hear about employees leaving big and established companies for smaller startups, you don’t often hear about the long nights, the very real risk of failure. Silicon Valley is paved with the failures of entrepreneurs.

One thing, though, is that I really appreciate management that gives me the straight up unvarnished facts. That’s the kind of people I want to work for (and with). It’s the kind of people I want to bet my own business on.

Hey, Mena, remember eBay? They had similarly horrible days and went on to build a great business. Please do keep bringing us inside your company and letting us know how things are going.