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.

Comments

  1. Well, somebody needs to be fired after the quarterly results MSFT just put out…

    Quote Bloomberg: “Revenue in Microsoft’s MSN unit, which competes with Google, gained 0.9 percent to $564 million. Operating income gained 3.8 percent to $83 million. Google last week said its third-quarter revenue doubled to $1.05 billion.”

    0.9% gain versus DOUBLING. Wow.

  2. Well, somebody needs to be fired after the quarterly results MSFT just put out…

    Quote Bloomberg: “Revenue in Microsoft’s MSN unit, which competes with Google, gained 0.9 percent to $564 million. Operating income gained 3.8 percent to $83 million. Google last week said its third-quarter revenue doubled to $1.05 billion.”

    0.9% gain versus DOUBLING. Wow.

  3. I notice you’re conveniently glossing over the fact that the *increase* in revenue is twice the *whole* revenue made by Google last quarter…

    But hey, why be bothered by facts?

  4. I notice you’re conveniently glossing over the fact that the *increase* in revenue is twice the *whole* revenue made by Google last quarter…

    But hey, why be bothered by facts?

  5. Gee, tough for some people to handle putting a truly human touch on the otherwise flinty corporate facades, yeah? Takes a lot of confidence to let your employees speak their mind publicly. Some got; some don’t!

  6. Gee, tough for some people to handle putting a truly human touch on the otherwise flinty corporate facades, yeah? Takes a lot of confidence to let your employees speak their mind publicly. Some got; some don’t!

  7. Interesting…when we start firing employees for being contrary, we stop growing. Is this guy calling himself a business guru? For what? The stone age?

    Seriously, Robert you do your company a great service by blogging. You act as PR at the same time. They should actually be paying you twice the salary!

    Tara

  8. Interesting…when we start firing employees for being contrary, we stop growing. Is this guy calling himself a business guru? For what? The stone age?

    Seriously, Robert you do your company a great service by blogging. You act as PR at the same time. They should actually be paying you twice the salary!

    Tara

  9. Not sure if Brian Fugere works at or owns a company but no way I’m going to work there or for him. What he missed is that few companies take to trouble to have a mirror to look at themselves. If you live in a glass house, like Microsoft, you’d better have someone trhrowing stones. You actually upped my image of Microsoft big time, especially through Channel9 and your blog.
    If Brian thinks that’s it’s simply about you being payed the critize and that it’s wrong when employees are critical of their company, he is either a very shallow or scary thinker.
    If he has a company, his employees will have to shut up or leave…… sounds like a healthy environment.

  10. Not sure if Brian Fugere works at or owns a company but no way I’m going to work there or for him. What he missed is that few companies take to trouble to have a mirror to look at themselves. If you live in a glass house, like Microsoft, you’d better have someone trhrowing stones. You actually upped my image of Microsoft big time, especially through Channel9 and your blog.
    If Brian thinks that’s it’s simply about you being payed the critize and that it’s wrong when employees are critical of their company, he is either a very shallow or scary thinker.
    If he has a company, his employees will have to shut up or leave…… sounds like a healthy environment.

  11. I think you should start a “Fire Scoble” fund, where if people raise $500,000 (or whatever number you think is appropriate), then you’ll be okay if (when?) they fire you.

    I can see it now. Just like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, kids walking up and down the halls, saying, “Save Scoble”.

  12. I think you should start a “Fire Scoble” fund, where if people raise $500,000 (or whatever number you think is appropriate), then you’ll be okay if (when?) they fire you.

    I can see it now. Just like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, kids walking up and down the halls, saying, “Save Scoble”.

  13. Hey Paolo – Did you notice how even though MSFT’s overall revenue increased by 6%, accounts receivable dropped by 1.4 billion in the balance sheet? That means MSFT robbed from its deferred revenue to pump up this quarter’s earnings.

    Check for yourself: http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY06/earn_rel_q1_06.mspx

    Microsoft is robbing from the AR line to pump up revenue. It’s growing slowly. And it’s getting creamed in areas where it directly competes with Google. The stock prices of each company reflect these different growth patterns.

    Get mad at me if you want, the market speaks louder.

  14. Hey Paolo – Did you notice how even though MSFT’s overall revenue increased by 6%, accounts receivable dropped by 1.4 billion in the balance sheet? That means MSFT robbed from its deferred revenue to pump up this quarter’s earnings.

    Check for yourself: http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY06/earn_rel_q1_06.mspx

    Microsoft is robbing from the AR line to pump up revenue. It’s growing slowly. And it’s getting creamed in areas where it directly competes with Google. The stock prices of each company reflect these different growth patterns.

    Get mad at me if you want, the market speaks louder.

  15. If that quote is accurate (I’ll check out the vid too) then he’s clearly uninformed.

    I haven’t seen your job description, but I don’t beleive you are paid to criticize MS; but rather to connect customers with those “behind teh curtain” in real time.

    A (non-microsoft) friend of mine said it well “Scoble has done more to put a human face on microsoft than any other individual in the company’s history”. So there’s one check mark in the “do not fire” column! And add another one from me.

    Kim

    P.S. You didn’t meantion that MANY of those external speaker vids are made available OUTSIDE MS as well. e.g. MS Research hosts some that are publicly viewable.

  16. If that quote is accurate (I’ll check out the vid too) then he’s clearly uninformed.

    I haven’t seen your job description, but I don’t beleive you are paid to criticize MS; but rather to connect customers with those “behind teh curtain” in real time.

    A (non-microsoft) friend of mine said it well “Scoble has done more to put a human face on microsoft than any other individual in the company’s history”. So there’s one check mark in the “do not fire” column! And add another one from me.

    Kim

    P.S. You didn’t meantion that MANY of those external speaker vids are made available OUTSIDE MS as well. e.g. MS Research hosts some that are publicly viewable.

  17. Ha, this guy is such a sensational idiot. Since when was constructive critisism a bad thing? This guy should get banned from all of Microsoft’s campus. At least make some sense when you make claims, you actually connect with users by displaying common sense. Something that’s increasingly rare in corporations today.

  18. Ha, this guy is such a sensational idiot. Since when was constructive critisism a bad thing? This guy should get banned from all of Microsoft’s campus. At least make some sense when you make claims, you actually connect with users by displaying common sense. Something that’s increasingly rare in corporations today.

  19. Hey, if I had the money (and a company) I’d definitively pay someone to critizise it… If you are afraid of somebody from the inside critizising your own company, it’s obviously because you know you’re doing really badly.
    Besides, we all know Scoble is not paid to critizise Microsoft, he simply shows us things as they are, and that’s why we enjoy reading what he posts and watching his videos in the first place ;)
    Keep up the good work!

  20. Hey, if I had the money (and a company) I’d definitively pay someone to critizise it… If you are afraid of somebody from the inside critizising your own company, it’s obviously because you know you’re doing really badly.
    Besides, we all know Scoble is not paid to critizise Microsoft, he simply shows us things as they are, and that’s why we enjoy reading what he posts and watching his videos in the first place ;)
    Keep up the good work!

  21. Here’s the full quote, as best I could transcribe it:

    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.

  22. A company that can’t take constructive criticism from its employees (as well as its customers) isn’t going to last for very long. I’m actually glad Microsoft lets its employees say what’s on their minds.

    I personally think you’ve done some fantastic things for Microsoft, especially with Channel 9. It’s given a face to the company, and it’s helped to get so many people excited about the stuff that’s going on up there in Redmond. I know it’s had a strong positive effect on me.

    Keep up the great work! There are plenty of us out here who really appreciate it. =)

  23. Here’s the full quote, as best I could transcribe it:

    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.

  24. A company that can’t take constructive criticism from its employees (as well as its customers) isn’t going to last for very long. I’m actually glad Microsoft lets its employees say what’s on their minds.

    I personally think you’ve done some fantastic things for Microsoft, especially with Channel 9. It’s given a face to the company, and it’s helped to get so many people excited about the stuff that’s going on up there in Redmond. I know it’s had a strong positive effect on me.

    Keep up the great work! There are plenty of us out here who really appreciate it. =)

  25. I vote for firing Scoble so that MS can burn even faster. With Scoble on the outside, MS can continue it’s race to the bottom and Scoble can go work somewhere where people will actually listen to him.

  26. I vote for firing Scoble so that MS can burn even faster. With Scoble on the outside, MS can continue it’s race to the bottom and Scoble can go work somewhere where people will actually listen to him.

  27. Adam – keep in mind that revenue figure for MSN includes a 30% decrease in Narrowband Access revenues. The only way MSN is able to offset that steep steep dropoff is all thanks to MSN’s growth in both text & display advertising.

  28. Adam – keep in mind that revenue figure for MSN includes a 30% decrease in Narrowband Access revenues. The only way MSN is able to offset that steep steep dropoff is all thanks to MSN’s growth in both text & display advertising.

  29. That person is really stupid, thats like saying the company does not need beta testers or MVPs. Or telling a country’s citizens not to criticize the government. Scoble, you are doing a great job and what makes it special is its creative and in depth, we actually get to meet the people building the products and interact with them through Channel9 and get to help you criticize them on their mistakes. I think that person is just jealous of you.

  30. That person is really stupid, thats like saying the company does not need beta testers or MVPs. Or telling a country’s citizens not to criticize the government. Scoble, you are doing a great job and what makes it special is its creative and in depth, we actually get to meet the people building the products and interact with them through Channel9 and get to help you criticize them on their mistakes. I think that person is just jealous of you.

  31. PBJ – love your sandwich, btw…

    That’s fair enough – so it begs the question – why hasn’t MSFT sold off its ISP? The fact still remains that Google is growing while MSFT is nearly standing still.

    I also noticed MSFT is going to devote $19 billion to stock buybacks over the next year. NINETEEN BILLION DOLLARS to buy MSFT stock because 1) they can’t think of anything else to do with the money and 2) no one wants to buy MSFT stock so the company has to lower the supply to give the perception of increased demand.

    I bet many of you could think of ways MSFT can spend than money instead of giving commissions to stockbrokers. Scoble talked recently about all these search related problems that are going unsolved. If there’s all these problems to solve, MSFT must be thinking of letting someone else solve them because they’re certainly not ramping up their R&D…

    Sorry to be so harsh, Scoble, but I’m only going on what I read in the news and what I see in MSFT’s financial statements…I think MSFT should expand its research budget, obviously!

  32. PBJ – love your sandwich, btw…

    That’s fair enough – so it begs the question – why hasn’t MSFT sold off its ISP? The fact still remains that Google is growing while MSFT is nearly standing still.

    I also noticed MSFT is going to devote $19 billion to stock buybacks over the next year. NINETEEN BILLION DOLLARS to buy MSFT stock because 1) they can’t think of anything else to do with the money and 2) no one wants to buy MSFT stock so the company has to lower the supply to give the perception of increased demand.

    I bet many of you could think of ways MSFT can spend than money instead of giving commissions to stockbrokers. Scoble talked recently about all these search related problems that are going unsolved. If there’s all these problems to solve, MSFT must be thinking of letting someone else solve them because they’re certainly not ramping up their R&D…

    Sorry to be so harsh, Scoble, but I’m only going on what I read in the news and what I see in MSFT’s financial statements…I think MSFT should expand its research budget, obviously!

  33. I’d fire you for being a lackey, shill, kissass. Not for criticizing: you don’t do that enough. Hell, I’d fire you jsut for all the “Wow”ing in your silly videos.

  34. I’d fire you for being a lackey, shill, kissass. Not for criticizing: you don’t do that enough. Hell, I’d fire you jsut for all the “Wow”ing in your silly videos.

  35. Oh… reading the quote, it kind of makes sense. my interpretation is: you pay a guy for his criticism so that you can say “look, we criticize ourselves” to the outside world, but no one in the outside world believes it and the outside world does more and better quality criticizing from without… So why pay him for a useless exercise.

    That makes sense.

    Fire Scoble for being both a lackey and a critic.

  36. Oh… reading the quote, it kind of makes sense. my interpretation is: you pay a guy for his criticism so that you can say “look, we criticize ourselves” to the outside world, but no one in the outside world believes it and the outside world does more and better quality criticizing from without… So why pay him for a useless exercise.

    That makes sense.

    Fire Scoble for being both a lackey and a critic.

  37. Robert – You’re going to make this guy a lot of money with all the free advertising for his products. He came to Microsoft with an agenda and you’re helping him immensely. Maybe, Dave Winer will go miedieval on his rear and get him boosted higher into the Meme-o-sphere.

    Keep calling ‘em as you see ‘em… I’ve never caught you being so harsh on your employer that they would benefit from canning you. There’s an intangible quantity that the big accounting firms like to put in the balance sheet under the heading “Goodwill”. You make MS seem like kinder and gentler rapacious overlords… and that’s really quite a hat trick.
    Keep working on making Scoblizing a verb that means
    “to try to care about all sides at the same time and to fail more often than not.” Go figure… Even Scoble can’t make everyone happy. Especially a business author that wants to see LESS BS in the world and would never pay anyone to say he’s usually full of it… as are most of us.

    Maryam appears to actually be pretty close to on target when it comes to avoid spouting BS.

  38. Robert – You’re going to make this guy a lot of money with all the free advertising for his products. He came to Microsoft with an agenda and you’re helping him immensely. Maybe, Dave Winer will go miedieval on his rear and get him boosted higher into the Meme-o-sphere.

    Keep calling ‘em as you see ‘em… I’ve never caught you being so harsh on your employer that they would benefit from canning you. There’s an intangible quantity that the big accounting firms like to put in the balance sheet under the heading “Goodwill”. You make MS seem like kinder and gentler rapacious overlords… and that’s really quite a hat trick.
    Keep working on making Scoblizing a verb that means
    “to try to care about all sides at the same time and to fail more often than not.” Go figure… Even Scoble can’t make everyone happy. Especially a business author that wants to see LESS BS in the world and would never pay anyone to say he’s usually full of it… as are most of us.

    Maryam appears to actually be pretty close to on target when it comes to avoid spouting BS.

  39. Companies need to be open to critism. Especially when they’re the size of Microsoft. Employees need to feel able to speak their mind including critising thier company.

    Good luck keeping staff at any company that fires people for speaking their mind, especially when they do such a great job serving the dev/tech community around the company like Mr Scoble does.

  40. Companies need to be open to critism. Especially when they’re the size of Microsoft. Employees need to feel able to speak their mind including critising thier company.

    Good luck keeping staff at any company that fires people for speaking their mind, especially when they do such a great job serving the dev/tech community around the company like Mr Scoble does.

  41. Adam, your accounting is faulty. You recognize revenue when you add to accounts receivable. Microsoft is simply transferring AR to cash, which has no effect on the income statment (profit), only on the balance sheet.

  42. Adam, your accounting is faulty. You recognize revenue when you add to accounts receivable. Microsoft is simply transferring AR to cash, which has no effect on the income statment (profit), only on the balance sheet.

  43. The question, “What do you think about what we are doing with blogs?” Came from your friendly neigborhood MacBU employee, yours truely. Now that you are driving traffic to his site, I maybe I should get a cut in his increased book sales… ;-)

  44. The question, “What do you think about what we are doing with blogs?” Came from your friendly neigborhood MacBU employee, yours truely. Now that you are driving traffic to his site, I maybe I should get a cut in his increased book sales… ;-)

  45. Robert,
    Welcome to fame. Most of these YAHOOS, yes I put it in caps on purpose, can’t even crawl put of bed in the morning. Ignore them. Your dialog on this site has opened doors many didn’t even know were closed.

    Don’t let it end. Fire you, I don’t think so, give you a raise (;-))I don’t think so. You are doing a job, a great one in my estimation, and that should be good enough.

    When you close your eyes at night, do you feel good? If you do you won today.

    Bill Faulkner

  46. I’ve maintained that Microsoft should fire you from the beginning of my trolling of your blog.

  47. Robert,
    Welcome to fame. Most of these YAHOOS, yes I put it in caps on purpose, can’t even crawl put of bed in the morning. Ignore them. Your dialog on this site has opened doors many didn’t even know were closed.

    Don’t let it end. Fire you, I don’t think so, give you a raise (;-))I don’t think so. You are doing a job, a great one in my estimation, and that should be good enough.

    When you close your eyes at night, do you feel good? If you do you won today.

    Bill Faulkner

  48. I’ve maintained that Microsoft should fire you from the beginning of my trolling of your blog.

  49. Adam here. I’m really an idiot. Why would I compare the percent increase in revenue between an apple and an orange?

  50. Adam here. I’m really an idiot. Why would I compare the percent increase in revenue between an apple and an orange?

  51. In olden days, the King’s jester was allowed to say whatever was on his mind. So, whatever else people were thinking and were too afraid to say, the jester could say it. The King got the valuable feedback as to what was really happening out there, without it compromising his majesty.

    Perhaps Scoble is King William’s jester?

  52. In olden days, the King’s jester was allowed to say whatever was on his mind. So, whatever else people were thinking and were too afraid to say, the jester could say it. The King got the valuable feedback as to what was really happening out there, without it compromising his majesty.

    Perhaps Scoble is King William’s jester?

  53. Man are you lucky! This is exactly the kind of activity that will elevate you to upper management even faster than we all expected. A “tool” like this guy seems so out of touch it’s almost scary. There are still super smart people at MSFT and they already know the value you bring to Microsoft. Now with this guys talking trash you’ll get even more exposure. There’s really no such thing as bad press. They say that’s not true, but it really is. Every exposure is an opportunity to, well, have a conversation.

  54. Man are you lucky! This is exactly the kind of activity that will elevate you to upper management even faster than we all expected. A “tool” like this guy seems so out of touch it’s almost scary. There are still super smart people at MSFT and they already know the value you bring to Microsoft. Now with this guys talking trash you’ll get even more exposure. There’s really no such thing as bad press. They say that’s not true, but it really is. Every exposure is an opportunity to, well, have a conversation.

  55. Scoble, ignore this guy. You’ve done more to improve the image of MSFT through your blog and Channel 9 than anyone in the history of the company.

  56. Scoble, ignore this guy. You’ve done more to improve the image of MSFT through your blog and Channel 9 than anyone in the history of the company.

  57. I’m in for a Save Scoble t-shirt too.

    Robert telling it like it is part of what makes Microsoft seem much more human and much less clueless.

    I think that anyone who advocates only putting on their “shiny happy corporate face” to the public these days is part of the old guard and the old way of doing things.

  58. I’m in for a Save Scoble t-shirt too.

    Robert telling it like it is part of what makes Microsoft seem much more human and much less clueless.

    I think that anyone who advocates only putting on their “shiny happy corporate face” to the public these days is part of the old guard and the old way of doing things.

  59. [...] Case in point, while reading a post on Scoble about how he should set up a website to see if he should be fired from Microsoft or not, I figured this was just the kind of quick, copy cat, simple website Ning was perfect for. Two cheesy graphics from Paint later (I was on may laptop and don’t have Photoshop installed but it did the trick) and five minutes configuring an existing photo battle application and Scoble has a fire me/don’t fire me voting site. [...]

  60. The funniest part for me is that he probably thinks that saying that publicly will be good for his book sales. Just shows how NOT good of a businessman he really is. Isn’t understanding your market and target audience part of knowing how to sell something (himself in this case)? I didn’t think bold, extremist statements sold stuff these days.

  61. The funniest part for me is that he probably thinks that saying that publicly will be good for his book sales. Just shows how NOT good of a businessman he really is. Isn’t understanding your market and target audience part of knowing how to sell something (himself in this case)? I didn’t think bold, extremist statements sold stuff these days.

  62. He’s nuts. He’s simply saying he would be scared if he were in Microsoft’s shoes, which says a lot more about him than it does about you. Says the reverse of Microsoft, though – willing to meet a challenge head-on.

    Related: http://www.dooce.com – read the “about me” stuff. She got fired for blogging. Note: sometimes NSFW.

  63. He’s nuts. He’s simply saying he would be scared if he were in Microsoft’s shoes, which says a lot more about him than it does about you. Says the reverse of Microsoft, though – willing to meet a challenge head-on.

    Related: http://www.dooce.com – read the “about me” stuff. She got fired for blogging. Note: sometimes NSFW.

  64. Brian Fugere’s an idiot. Paying people to critique your products and services is nothing new; doing it in public only adds the benefit of public feedback.

  65. Brian Fugere’s an idiot. Paying people to critique your products and services is nothing new; doing it in public only adds the benefit of public feedback.

  66. As a past employee of Microsoft, and darn proud of what the company has done in spite of the media painting a bulls eye on it, I think that you are safe. After all, “know thine enemy” and “keep your enemy closer” are some serious truths. ;-)

  67. As a past employee of Microsoft, and darn proud of what the company has done in spite of the media painting a bulls eye on it, I think that you are safe. After all, “know thine enemy” and “keep your enemy closer” are some serious truths. ;-)

  68. I am with Gobbels, as you don’t even take a harsh critical tone, Gay Rights issues and iPods and the occasional MSN/Tablet/Marketing/Misc. rant, are the biggest hits, big deal, those are total safe zones. Start cutting into real bone, like shareholder action and frothing up the Feds, using information to hurt rather than help, releasing beta code, and sending away big customers, ruining contracts, all that would be an instant ticket out the door. You are their puppet, faux critical pointless yabberings that look like it’s internal self-criticism, but it’s not even close (and as someone that has quite deadly-honest literally cost MFST mega-millions, I know of what I speak).

    But how you get away with breaking the all the strict NDA convenants, is worthy of a case study itself. I guess like in politics, if you have enough friends, you become Above the Law. Or you get to speak in a ‘human voice’ and rewrite your own set of rules, for the ‘new age of market conversations.’

  69. I am with Gobbels, as you don’t even take a harsh critical tone, Gay Rights issues and iPods and the occasional MSN/Tablet/Marketing/Misc. rant, are the biggest hits, big deal, those are total safe zones. Start cutting into real bone, like shareholder action and frothing up the Feds, using information to hurt rather than help, releasing beta code, and sending away big customers, ruining contracts, all that would be an instant ticket out the door. You are their puppet, faux critical pointless yabberings that look like it’s internal self-criticism, but it’s not even close (and as someone that has quite deadly-honest literally cost MFST mega-millions, I know of what I speak).

    But how you get away with breaking the all the strict NDA convenants, is worthy of a case study itself. I guess like in politics, if you have enough friends, you become Above the Law. Or you get to speak in a ‘human voice’ and rewrite your own set of rules, for the ‘new age of market conversations.’

  70. Context is everything. I attended this speech, and it was actually full of references to Cluetrain, as well as admonishments that Microsoft should be more self-aware. The whole thing was about discovering our personality and flexing our right brain. The point about Scoble was just that we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public. Microsoft employees should check out the speech online.

  71. Context is everything. I attended this speech, and it was actually full of references to Cluetrain, as well as admonishments that Microsoft should be more self-aware. The whole thing was about discovering our personality and flexing our right brain. The point about Scoble was just that we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public. Microsoft employees should check out the speech online.

  72. >The point about Scoble was just that we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public.

    I disagree with straight up rules like that. There are sometimes reasons to share your dirty laundry in public. Why? Oh, credibility? Gaining trust?

    Look at how Six Apart handled their dirty laundry just yesterday.

  73. >The point about Scoble was just that we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public.

    I disagree with straight up rules like that. There are sometimes reasons to share your dirty laundry in public. Why? Oh, credibility? Gaining trust?

    Look at how Six Apart handled their dirty laundry just yesterday.

  74. Robert, whatever else you’ve done, you’ve put a human face to Microsoft, and the dividends it pays are enormous. And your ability to stay honest means that people trust your writing, even when you say great things about MS.

  75. Robert, whatever else you’ve done, you’ve put a human face to Microsoft, and the dividends it pays are enormous. And your ability to stay honest means that people trust your writing, even when you say great things about MS.

  76. I would compare Microsoft before Scoble, like IBM before the PC. Big, corperate and completely unfriendly. It’s so tru what Michael Arrington says, Scoble has put a face on Microsoft, and the fact that he gets to interview people like BillG, Ballmer and Alchin just shows how much they like him aswell.

  77. I would compare Microsoft before Scoble, like IBM before the PC. Big, corperate and completely unfriendly. It’s so tru what Michael Arrington says, Scoble has put a face on Microsoft, and the fact that he gets to interview people like BillG, Ballmer and Alchin just shows how much they like him aswell.

  78. Hey its not jus about dirty laundry !!

    What’s wrong with someone asking for your head eh?? Nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is that you were fired, based on single opinion and not the facts. Secondly it would a gross mistake by the corporation to do that, as it will expose them for libel and unfair practices :)-

    Actually jus to be mean, I wish you get fired – msft does not deserve your loyalty and intergrity !!

  79. Hey its not jus about dirty laundry !!

    What’s wrong with someone asking for your head eh?? Nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is that you were fired, based on single opinion and not the facts. Secondly it would a gross mistake by the corporation to do that, as it will expose them for libel and unfair practices :)-

    Actually jus to be mean, I wish you get fired – msft does not deserve your loyalty and intergrity !!

  80. Robert, just ignore him.
    He truly doesn’t understand that the public opinion of Microsoft has changed lately, and part of that is due to your work.
    You have put a familiar face on Microsoft that has been lacking. We’ve always had the gurus, our heroes, that we worship and adore. But we’ve never had a face that wasn’t related to coding.
    I was at the PDC and when I met you in the hallways it was like meeting an old acquaintance.
    Keep up the good work!

  81. Robert, just ignore him.
    He truly doesn’t understand that the public opinion of Microsoft has changed lately, and part of that is due to your work.
    You have put a familiar face on Microsoft that has been lacking. We’ve always had the gurus, our heroes, that we worship and adore. But we’ve never had a face that wasn’t related to coding.
    I was at the PDC and when I met you in the hallways it was like meeting an old acquaintance.
    Keep up the good work!

  82. I’ll be happy when Robert eventually leaves Microsoft, so he can stop persuading me to reinstall MSN Desktop Search when Google Desktop is still so much better! I must have have swapped between the two a dozen times now… :)

  83. I’ll be happy when Robert eventually leaves Microsoft, so he can stop persuading me to reinstall MSN Desktop Search when Google Desktop is still so much better! I must have have swapped between the two a dozen times now… :)

  84. Let’s face it – you’d be at Google before the day was out if they fired you, and I doubt the Microsoft shareholders will be too happy about having to buy so many chairs ..

  85. Let’s face it – you’d be at Google before the day was out if they fired you, and I doubt the Microsoft shareholders will be too happy about having to buy so many chairs ..

  86. Although I’ll point out, Robert, that you handle this pretty bloggily — posting an article right away, based on second-hand evidence, rather than wait (as you admitted you could) a mere one day to see the tape yourself and make a more informed post. So you started with a disorted view and you had to know the comments would a) amplify the distortion and b) overwhelmingly support you. Ye gads I’m starting to sound like Christopher Coulter.

    - adam

  87. Although I’ll point out, Robert, that you handle this pretty bloggily — posting an article right away, based on second-hand evidence, rather than wait (as you admitted you could) a mere one day to see the tape yourself and make a more informed post. So you started with a disorted view and you had to know the comments would a) amplify the distortion and b) overwhelmingly support you. Ye gads I’m starting to sound like Christopher Coulter.

    - adam

  88. Scoble! I do not always agree with what you write, and would not necessarily say I am a fan of yours. BUT… Your blog has given me more respect for Microsoft than anything else they have done besides Office for the Mac. The fact that Microsoft is willing to promote open discussion of the pros and cons of their policies, marketing, and products goes a LONG way towards debunking the image of MS as pure evil.
    Plus, for people who like MS technology, your entries make people excited about what is being developed, and anticipatory towards release. You are good for MS. And for the blogosphere. Keep it up.

  89. Scoble! I do not always agree with what you write, and would not necessarily say I am a fan of yours. BUT… Your blog has given me more respect for Microsoft than anything else they have done besides Office for the Mac. The fact that Microsoft is willing to promote open discussion of the pros and cons of their policies, marketing, and products goes a LONG way towards debunking the image of MS as pure evil.
    Plus, for people who like MS technology, your entries make people excited about what is being developed, and anticipatory towards release. You are good for MS. And for the blogosphere. Keep it up.

  90. So there’s a nice big Italian family that lives in Redmond. Grandma and Grandma come from the old country, worked their butts off to build a very successful pasta company. Nine children, 43 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren. The family has made a lot of money off fussilli and rigatoni, and everyone in the family has nice jobs in the pasta business. All built from scratch, and the patriarchs are justifiably proud of what they’ve created.

    But the family has some problems (which ones don’t?). There’s Uncle Vinny with the drinking problem. Maria has had a couple of scrapes with the law. And the business is having a few challenges. There’s some unrest in the family, as the family members bicker over what needs to be done to take the business into the future. One of the grandchildren is Roberto Scobaloney, who makes a nice living from the business. But Scobaloney sees all the problems, and is very frustrated that Grandma and Grandpa don’t seem to get it. He tries (or so we are told) to raise his concerns to Grandma and Grandpa, but just can’t seem to make any progress. So he does something unheard of – Scobaloney decides that the family would be best served if he went public with his concerns. He writes to the local newspaper and tells the paper everything he knows about the family and the pasta business – good and bad. He reasons that this is actually good for the company, because it will force Grandma and Grandpa to finally make some changes. And that will benefit the whole family.

    In Grandma and Grandpa’s world, you simply don’t air dirty laundry in public. Particularly things that the public doesn’t know about or wouldn’t be aware of, like Uncle Vinny’s drinking problem. Being in the family allows you to scream and shout at the dinner table over pasta pomodoro and chianti, but nothing leaves the room. There is a contract, a code of honor. In return for the benefits of being in the family and earning money in the business, the family asks for each family member’s loyalty to each other and to the family. When one grandchild puts himself above the family and it’s code of honor, it weakens the family. It breaks the bonds of loyalty, shows that the family can’t work out things on its own. And it puts one person above the law.

    Scobaloney thinks this is hopelessly out of touch with the modern world. Mutters something about a friend named Cluetrain. Grandma and Grandpa are deeply wounded by Scobaloney. Not so much for what he has said, but because the family that they worked so hard to nurture is weakened. Because family is everything to them. They could understand it if a reporter for the newspaper wrote about them, but a family member? They can’t fire him, because he has backed them into a corner and that will just make them look bad. And they can’t even criticize him, because that too would make them look bad. And some of the issues he brings up, they can’t tell their side of the story because it’s private, and that would hurt the family. But they are smart, and they just decide to wait it out. They know that all he really cares about is seeing his name in the newspaper, and that one day all his self absorption and narcissism will make him irrelevant. In fact, it’s happening already.

  91. So there’s a nice big Italian family that lives in Redmond. Grandma and Grandma come from the old country, worked their butts off to build a very successful pasta company. Nine children, 43 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren. The family has made a lot of money off fussilli and rigatoni, and everyone in the family has nice jobs in the pasta business. All built from scratch, and the patriarchs are justifiably proud of what they’ve created.

    But the family has some problems (which ones don’t?). There’s Uncle Vinny with the drinking problem. Maria has had a couple of scrapes with the law. And the business is having a few challenges. There’s some unrest in the family, as the family members bicker over what needs to be done to take the business into the future. One of the grandchildren is Roberto Scobaloney, who makes a nice living from the business. But Scobaloney sees all the problems, and is very frustrated that Grandma and Grandpa don’t seem to get it. He tries (or so we are told) to raise his concerns to Grandma and Grandpa, but just can’t seem to make any progress. So he does something unheard of – Scobaloney decides that the family would be best served if he went public with his concerns. He writes to the local newspaper and tells the paper everything he knows about the family and the pasta business – good and bad. He reasons that this is actually good for the company, because it will force Grandma and Grandpa to finally make some changes. And that will benefit the whole family.

    In Grandma and Grandpa’s world, you simply don’t air dirty laundry in public. Particularly things that the public doesn’t know about or wouldn’t be aware of, like Uncle Vinny’s drinking problem. Being in the family allows you to scream and shout at the dinner table over pasta pomodoro and chianti, but nothing leaves the room. There is a contract, a code of honor. In return for the benefits of being in the family and earning money in the business, the family asks for each family member’s loyalty to each other and to the family. When one grandchild puts himself above the family and it’s code of honor, it weakens the family. It breaks the bonds of loyalty, shows that the family can’t work out things on its own. And it puts one person above the law.

    Scobaloney thinks this is hopelessly out of touch with the modern world. Mutters something about a friend named Cluetrain. Grandma and Grandpa are deeply wounded by Scobaloney. Not so much for what he has said, but because the family that they worked so hard to nurture is weakened. Because family is everything to them. They could understand it if a reporter for the newspaper wrote about them, but a family member? They can’t fire him, because he has backed them into a corner and that will just make them look bad. And they can’t even criticize him, because that too would make them look bad. And some of the issues he brings up, they can’t tell their side of the story because it’s private, and that would hurt the family. But they are smart, and they just decide to wait it out. They know that all he really cares about is seeing his name in the newspaper, and that one day all his self absorption and narcissism will make him irrelevant. In fact, it’s happening already.

  92. Brian: it’s obvious you haven’t followed any of my writing, any of my videos, or met me in person. It’s really easy to attack someone who is doing something different. But EVERYTHING I do is aimed at bringing out the positive in Microsoft, not the negative. How many times over the past 2.5 years have I said something negative about Microsoft? Maybe 15? Out of thousands of posts?

    Oh, and how do you explain the 2.7 million unique visitors on Channel 9 last month? With no advertising. No old-school PR. No links from Microsoft.com.

    Hint: it shows off what Microsoft is doing in a real, conversational, human, way.

    And traffic is going up every month.

  93. Brian: it’s obvious you haven’t followed any of my writing, any of my videos, or met me in person. It’s really easy to attack someone who is doing something different. But EVERYTHING I do is aimed at bringing out the positive in Microsoft, not the negative. How many times over the past 2.5 years have I said something negative about Microsoft? Maybe 15? Out of thousands of posts?

    Oh, and how do you explain the 2.7 million unique visitors on Channel 9 last month? With no advertising. No old-school PR. No links from Microsoft.com.

    Hint: it shows off what Microsoft is doing in a real, conversational, human, way.

    And traffic is going up every month.

  94. Ive been reading you for about a year. Most of the “negative” things you say, are meant for positive purposes. Like calling out a product group’s webpage, for lack of an RSS feed.

  95. Ive been reading you for about a year. Most of the “negative” things you say, are meant for positive purposes. Like calling out a product group’s webpage, for lack of an RSS feed.

  96. While i dont necessarily say you should be fired. I do wonder – do you do any actual work that is of a benefit to microsoft? Sure, i love your blog, and i love the insight, but do you really do anything all day long becides blog?

  97. While i dont necessarily say you should be fired. I do wonder – do you do any actual work that is of a benefit to microsoft? Sure, i love your blog, and i love the insight, but do you really do anything all day long becides blog?

  98. Andrew: I do the video blog at http://channel9.msdn.com

    Last month it had 2.7 million unique visitors.

    My bosses are VERY happy with that. And, yesterday I was pitched by executives by some very big companies who want the same thing at their companies. Don’t worry, though, I ain’t leaving!

  99. Andrew: I do the video blog at http://channel9.msdn.com

    Last month it had 2.7 million unique visitors.

    My bosses are VERY happy with that. And, yesterday I was pitched by executives by some very big companies who want the same thing at their companies. Don’t worry, though, I ain’t leaving!

  100. [...] Microsoft to fire Robert Scoble. That is to fire *the* famous Microsoft geek blogger. I think it’s all about why Microsoft would want to pay someone like Scoble just to criticize them. Well,more than just that. Most of the comments supporting him. But I also notice something else “Dave Winer just voted for Microsoft to fire me. But he had an ulterior motive. He wants to hireback. Heh!“. I say, I agree with Budi. Think different Robert. Go to Apple:)   #     [...]

  101. Bah, this guy is an idiot. Worry not Scobes (can I call ya Scobes? Thanks), I think you’ll be growing old, holding that blog torch as long as your fingers can grasp it.

  102. Bah, this guy is an idiot. Worry not Scobes (can I call ya Scobes? Thanks), I think you’ll be growing old, holding that blog torch as long as your fingers can grasp it.

  103. Brain: “self absorption and narcissism ” ..then it takes one to recongize one ..and whats good for the goose should be for the gander too !! :)-

    Its so unfortune that you still have one foot in your mouth when commenting here !! Can you take it out before your next comments ?? any Hoot do you have u read this somewhere

    “Scobles in Siberia ?? Yes, I nearly fall of my chair laughing. Its so wierd, but so beliveably true!! This is what Blogsphere is all about.

    “When Ted Demopoulos, principal of Demopoulos Associates, an information technology consulting company, was traveling in Russia recently, he stopped in Surgut, Siberia, where he was surprised to find Scoble fans. “I’m out in the middle of nowhere and they ask me about Scoble,” says Demopoulos. “To them, Scoble is the voice of Microsoft.””

    geeee.. get a life Brain !!!

  104. Brain: “self absorption and narcissism ” ..then it takes one to recongize one ..and whats good for the goose should be for the gander too !! :)-

    Its so unfortune that you still have one foot in your mouth when commenting here !! Can you take it out before your next comments ?? any Hoot do you have u read this somewhere

    “Scobles in Siberia ?? Yes, I nearly fall of my chair laughing. Its so wierd, but so beliveably true!! This is what Blogsphere is all about.

    “When Ted Demopoulos, principal of Demopoulos Associates, an information technology consulting company, was traveling in Russia recently, he stopped in Surgut, Siberia, where he was surprised to find Scoble fans. “I’m out in the middle of nowhere and they ask me about Scoble,” says Demopoulos. “To them, Scoble is the voice of Microsoft.””

    geeee.. get a life Brain !!!

  105. Microsoft already pays people to be critical of their products. I’m sure execs listening to this said: “hasn’t this guy ever heard about our usability testing?”

    One of the first things they tell you is: “we aren’t judging you, only what you say, so go ahead and be as critical as you like.”

    What Scoble is doing at his blog is just an extension of this type of testing that Microsoft already believes in and has been doing for quite some time.

    Also, anybody that hasn’t checked out the ton of videos Scoble has shot and published over at Channel 9 and is solely judging his value by what he says on his blog isn’t being very thorough. He’s done some exciting work over at Channel 9. He has said repeatedly that this blog isn’t his job though he certainly uses it from time to time to pimp his employer.

    I will admit though that some of Scoble’s blog posts and comments are very contradictory. That’s annoying as a reader and I wish he’d work on being a little more consistent, but that’s just one reader’s complaint, as I’m sure plenty of others enjoy his waffling on some things.

  106. Microsoft already pays people to be critical of their products. I’m sure execs listening to this said: “hasn’t this guy ever heard about our usability testing?”

    One of the first things they tell you is: “we aren’t judging you, only what you say, so go ahead and be as critical as you like.”

    What Scoble is doing at his blog is just an extension of this type of testing that Microsoft already believes in and has been doing for quite some time.

    Also, anybody that hasn’t checked out the ton of videos Scoble has shot and published over at Channel 9 and is solely judging his value by what he says on his blog isn’t being very thorough. He’s done some exciting work over at Channel 9. He has said repeatedly that this blog isn’t his job though he certainly uses it from time to time to pimp his employer.

    I will admit though that some of Scoble’s blog posts and comments are very contradictory. That’s annoying as a reader and I wish he’d work on being a little more consistent, but that’s just one reader’s complaint, as I’m sure plenty of others enjoy his waffling on some things.

  107. And I’ve always thought you were the apologist for MS and Defender of the Faith regarding the horible tablet pc. I guess it depends on what side you are being view from. This guy must have the sun in his eyes.

  108. And I’ve always thought you were the apologist for MS and Defender of the Faith regarding the horible tablet pc. I guess it depends on what side you are being view from. This guy must have the sun in his eyes.

  109. I’d love for Microsoft to fire Scoble, then as a Mac User I can give up any thought of freely buying an MS product again. As long as that scoundral Scoble works there I can’t deny the possibility, darn him! :-)

  110. I’d love for Microsoft to fire Scoble, then as a Mac User I can give up any thought of freely buying an MS product again. As long as that scoundral Scoble works there I can’t deny the possibility, darn him! :-)

  111. Isn’t it obvious?? Scoble is all about Scoble. God only knows what his job is other than to promote himself. I mean look at the entries. I met this CEo, this important dude, that star, got invited to this conference, spoke at this meeting, ad nauseum. GAG ME!! Every once in a while he writes something negative about MS to get attention, keep his street cred up, and make it impossible for MS to fire him.

    I think Channel 9 is a step in the rite direction toward a real job. That does a human face on stuff at MS. So I guess I would only cut his salary in half.

  112. Isn’t it obvious?? Scoble is all about Scoble. God only knows what his job is other than to promote himself. I mean look at the entries. I met this CEo, this important dude, that star, got invited to this conference, spoke at this meeting, ad nauseum. GAG ME!! Every once in a while he writes something negative about MS to get attention, keep his street cred up, and make it impossible for MS to fire him.

    I think Channel 9 is a step in the rite direction toward a real job. That does a human face on stuff at MS. So I guess I would only cut his salary in half.

  113. Robert, can we see your job description? I think there’s a good pt about what microsoft pays you to do. I mean, it seems like a pretty good gig to be able to just get up in the morning and post whatever you feel like. the rest of us have to work for a living.

  114. Robert, can we see your job description? I think there’s a good pt about what microsoft pays you to do. I mean, it seems like a pretty good gig to be able to just get up in the morning and post whatever you feel like. the rest of us have to work for a living.

  115. Truthteller: I only blog at nights and weekends. My day job is Channel 9. JW: if you don’t think what I do is work, why don’t you try doing it sometime? I am answering email, being here for customers, connecting people, writing strategy, and doing a lot more too. Oh, and it’s 2:54 a.m. and I’m giving two speeches later today at the Blog Business Summit too.

    Yeah, it is extremely gratifying work. It isn’t doing roofing in 110 degree heat. I’m having a ball. But it isn’t easy. If you think it is, I’d be happy to fly you here for a couple of days and see how well you do at it.

  116. Truthteller: I only blog at nights and weekends. My day job is Channel 9. JW: if you don’t think what I do is work, why don’t you try doing it sometime? I am answering email, being here for customers, connecting people, writing strategy, and doing a lot more too. Oh, and it’s 2:54 a.m. and I’m giving two speeches later today at the Blog Business Summit too.

    Yeah, it is extremely gratifying work. It isn’t doing roofing in 110 degree heat. I’m having a ball. But it isn’t easy. If you think it is, I’d be happy to fly you here for a couple of days and see how well you do at it.

  117. Nietzsche once said “truths are but lies we agree to recite to each other.” Quoting the Cluetrain does not mean you really understand it. Robert, never apologize for being part of the conversation.

  118. Nietzsche once said “truths are but lies we agree to recite to each other.” Quoting the Cluetrain does not mean you really understand it. Robert, never apologize for being part of the conversation.

  119. As the notorious author who ripped Scoble during a recent speech at Microsoft, it’s been interesting to watch the conversation unfurl. After extricating my size 9 ½ Nikes from their resting spot deep inside my oral cavity, I’ve had time to do some research (OK, OK – this should have come before my comments, not after). My real interest is not whether Scoble is a good guy (he is), whether he’s technically credible (he is), or whether he wears boxers or briefs (too much information). What I really care about is whether or not he’s actually good for Microsoft.

    Let me start off with what’s not so good for Microsoft. One of my major issues is that sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense to air Microsoft dirty laundry in public. Sometimes, it’s better to keep things in the family, and Scoble (IMHO) has occasionally crossed the line here.

    Scoble, you responded to this issue by referencing the recent Six Apart public apology for issues they were having. Agree – the Six Apart apology was a good thing for them to do. But the apology came from its founder and president. This represented the official view of the company, coming straight from the founder’s mouth. It didn’t come from a “technical evangelist” or some other random employee. The problem is when technical evangelists get themselves confused with founders and CEO’s. So when Scoble rails against MS for their anti-discrimination policy (for example), he’s a rogue voice (regardless of how you feel about the issue) who happens to have an oversized megaphone. Like a union organizer, he invites sympathetic voices to join him in his proletariat march. There are plenty of outsiders who will kindly do that for you, free of charge! I’m as new age as they come when it comes to corporate conversations, but no amount of dope from the Cluetrain pipe will convince me that this type of public issue mongering is good for any company. Sensitive issues sometimes need to stay at the family dinner table. It’s hard for me to see how backing leadership into a corner and forcing them to debate delicate internal issues in public is a good thing for MS. Scoble has created huge stature for himself, and with that stature comes a responsibility to, well, be responsible.

    The tough thing for Scoble to do, and he seems to be doing it exceptionally well, is to walk the very fine line between constructive critique and destructive criticism. I worry that his credibility is somewhat reliant on his willingness to be critical – that creates some warped incentives. But Scoble seems to be very very skillful at navigating that narrow balance beam.

    Having said all that, I looked at the impact of Scoble overall. When viewed in the aggregate, I must admit that what he is doing is good for the company. The main point of our speech at MS was around their need to develop more personality as they evolve. Feature and function superiority alone won’t cut it in a world craving humanity, meaning, candor, simplicity and authenticity. In a way, that actually describes what Scoble is all about. He has put a more human face on MS, and his straightforward and authentic voice seems to be changing conversations and attitudes at MS. He pushes the company to raise the bar with its products, but does so in a way that is positive. It is still unfolding, and much of what makes it work is Scoble’s personal prowess at doing what he does. So overall, I was wrong about his impact on Microsoft. It’s pretty clear that he is having a positive influence not only with the outside world, but perhaps more importantly inside MS.

    As Yogi Berra so eloquently put it, I made a wrong mistake.

  120. As the notorious author who ripped Scoble during a recent speech at Microsoft, it’s been interesting to watch the conversation unfurl. After extricating my size 9 ½ Nikes from their resting spot deep inside my oral cavity, I’ve had time to do some research (OK, OK – this should have come before my comments, not after). My real interest is not whether Scoble is a good guy (he is), whether he’s technically credible (he is), or whether he wears boxers or briefs (too much information). What I really care about is whether or not he’s actually good for Microsoft.

    Let me start off with what’s not so good for Microsoft. One of my major issues is that sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense to air Microsoft dirty laundry in public. Sometimes, it’s better to keep things in the family, and Scoble (IMHO) has occasionally crossed the line here.

    Scoble, you responded to this issue by referencing the recent Six Apart public apology for issues they were having. Agree – the Six Apart apology was a good thing for them to do. But the apology came from its founder and president. This represented the official view of the company, coming straight from the founder’s mouth. It didn’t come from a “technical evangelist” or some other random employee. The problem is when technical evangelists get themselves confused with founders and CEO’s. So when Scoble rails against MS for their anti-discrimination policy (for example), he’s a rogue voice (regardless of how you feel about the issue) who happens to have an oversized megaphone. Like a union organizer, he invites sympathetic voices to join him in his proletariat march. There are plenty of outsiders who will kindly do that for you, free of charge! I’m as new age as they come when it comes to corporate conversations, but no amount of dope from the Cluetrain pipe will convince me that this type of public issue mongering is good for any company. Sensitive issues sometimes need to stay at the family dinner table. It’s hard for me to see how backing leadership into a corner and forcing them to debate delicate internal issues in public is a good thing for MS. Scoble has created huge stature for himself, and with that stature comes a responsibility to, well, be responsible.

    The tough thing for Scoble to do, and he seems to be doing it exceptionally well, is to walk the very fine line between constructive critique and destructive criticism. I worry that his credibility is somewhat reliant on his willingness to be critical – that creates some warped incentives. But Scoble seems to be very very skillful at navigating that narrow balance beam.

    Having said all that, I looked at the impact of Scoble overall. When viewed in the aggregate, I must admit that what he is doing is good for the company. The main point of our speech at MS was around their need to develop more personality as they evolve. Feature and function superiority alone won’t cut it in a world craving humanity, meaning, candor, simplicity and authenticity. In a way, that actually describes what Scoble is all about. He has put a more human face on MS, and his straightforward and authentic voice seems to be changing conversations and attitudes at MS. He pushes the company to raise the bar with its products, but does so in a way that is positive. It is still unfolding, and much of what makes it work is Scoble’s personal prowess at doing what he does. So overall, I was wrong about his impact on Microsoft. It’s pretty clear that he is having a positive influence not only with the outside world, but perhaps more importantly inside MS.

    As Yogi Berra so eloquently put it, I made a wrong mistake.

  121. “The main point of our speech at MS was around their need to develop more personality as they evolve. Feature and function superiority alone won’t cut it in a world craving humanity, meaning, candor, simplicity and authenticity”

    Aren’t you behind here? It seems like you are advocating them doing what they have been doing for over a year or so. Isn’t microsoft’s push to msdn blogs, channel9 and other moves lately already make it obvious that this was planned strategy by MS to soften their image after all the monopoly talk over IE vs Netscape finished up?

    I don’t disagree with you but I think Scoble is the direct result of a company initiative not the seeds of a new one. I’m not so sure they intended one person to become almost like a PR guy for uber nerds but I do think overall he was planned in general.

  122. “The main point of our speech at MS was around their need to develop more personality as they evolve. Feature and function superiority alone won’t cut it in a world craving humanity, meaning, candor, simplicity and authenticity”

    Aren’t you behind here? It seems like you are advocating them doing what they have been doing for over a year or so. Isn’t microsoft’s push to msdn blogs, channel9 and other moves lately already make it obvious that this was planned strategy by MS to soften their image after all the monopoly talk over IE vs Netscape finished up?

    I don’t disagree with you but I think Scoble is the direct result of a company initiative not the seeds of a new one. I’m not so sure they intended one person to become almost like a PR guy for uber nerds but I do think overall he was planned in general.