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.

194 thoughts on “Scoble should be fired, author tells Microsoft

  1. “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.

  2. “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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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! :-)

  14. 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! :-)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 !!!

  20. 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 !!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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