More on edge cases

Liz Lawley was the one who said I was an edge case and has more on her blog about why she said that. (I didn’t realize until now that it was her, I just heard the voice in the back of the room and didn’t know who said it).

She says: “Someone who reads 840 blogs is an edge case.”

Here, let’s look at it another way. Do you ever go to Google News? That’s showing something like 10,000 news sources. So, you gonna call everyone an edge case who reads 10,000 news sources?

Or a newspaper. How many stories does the average newspaper have? So someone who spends two hours reading the New York Times on Sunday is an “edge case?” He would have been 200 years ago. Only the richest and most powerful in society had access (or thought they needed access) to that.

Or, look at Memeorandum. Gabe says he’s now added tons of new bloggers to his system. Thousands. So, when you read Memeorandum are you reading one page? Or thousands of blogs? Are you an edge case?

Yeah, maybe you won’t read 840 feeds in a feed-by-feed folder approach like I do, but there will certainly be millions of people reading TONS of stuff.

But, it’s more of a general sensitivity to the term “edge case.” I’ve been called that a lot over my career. I was called that in 1977 when I was among only five people at my Jr. high to hang out in the new computer lab. How many personal computer users came after me? Most — I got a tour of Apple computer when it was one small building in Cupertino back then. I heard it in the late 80s when I was a Mac evangelist. The IT guys at both West Valley and San Jose State University told me that no one needed those “toy computers” with menus and mice. Real computer users used command line. I heard it in the late 90s when I had the first Web site for ICQ (Yossi Vardi says I was first, anyway, and he was the guy who funded it). Hundreds of millions of people followed me. I was the first guy to show Internet Explorer on TechTV. Lots of my friends were Netscape advocates and thought that IE would never be successful in the marketplace. I’ve been a Tablet PC advocate for years and derided over and over for that, but now we’re starting to see sizeable commercial success. Yeah, Bob Sampson, I can’t live without mine either. I guess Bob and I are edge cases.

But, Liz has a good point. What’s the difference between early adopters and trend analyzers and “edge cases?” Well, when it comes to RSS I was pretty early (not as early as, say, Dave Winer, though, but I was using it before the New York Times was). RSS is gonna be very popular. Why? Cause we want our information to come WHERE WE WANT IT. But, how many of you will read 840 feeds? A LOT. But not in the way I’m doing it.

Here, go to Technorati. Do a search on “Liz Lawley.” Now, watch how long it takes for this post to get into the search engine there. Are you reading one feed or millions? (I’d argue you’re reading millions by doing that).

Or, back to Memeorandum. You do realize that Gabe started with my list of feeds, right? Gabe turned my reading behavior into an algorithm. So, welcome to my world of being an edge case! :-)

Really, I sensed a tone of “don’t listen to Scoble cause he’s a weirdo.” You can take that tack. But it’s no way for a big company to run. Today’s weirdo is tomorrow’s trillion dollar business. Just ask Steve Wozniak. His bosses at HP and Atari told him he was an edge case. Someone to be ignored.

Yoav Shapira has some comments about my edge case comment too that you should check his post out (he has links to a bunch of other news stuff too, including news from Search Champs yesterday).

Finally, Michael Bazzoni asked himself “what’s an edge case?” and found some interesting stuff.

Update: some of my friends have emailed me and said “give it a break” and then explained that I am taking too much personal offense. Oh, I see the disconnect. I’m NOT talking about my ego here. I’ve been called far worse than an “edge case” before.

I took so much umbrage because we were talking about FEATURES and not about my ego.

See, when someone says “you’re an edge case” in a discussion about FEATURES what they really are saying is that your feature request isn’t important. That’s bullshit.

All of today’s features started out as edge cases. Developers even have a name for that. It’s called “scratching your own itch.”

And, I know dozens of other people who read hundreds of feeds.

See, if you don’t plan your product for the edge cases it’ll suck. Why is Photoshop so good, for instance? Because they made it for professional photographers. Someone could have said “anyone who needs a histogram is an edge case.” They would be right. Very few photographers need histograms. But Photoshop was designed for edge cases. Why is that important? Cause everyone is an edge case sometime.

Comments

  1. Get. Over. It. Please.

    You ARE an edge case. And, it isn’t a bad thing at all.

    It merely means that you live your life in an area that – for better or worse – 99.8% of the beings on this planet do not. I would wager that well, under 5% of people living in the USA are online anywhere near the amount of time you are.

    It merely means that however “mainstream” or “hip” or “regular-and-not-A-list” you portray yourself to be, you aren’t. You work the party circuit anymore, and you have this insistant tendancy to want to invent new terms for things that have existed for years/decades.

    It merely means that NOBODY really reads 840 blogs. You don’t either. But you claim to. (And Robert, it’s disingeneous of you to compare YOUR claim of following 840 blogs to Google’s caching of 10,000 news feeds. Apples annd oranges. ANd yes, it shows how sensitive you are to this term I guess…. since you have to resort to such a poor comparison.

    Get. Over. It.

    Peace!

  2. Get. Over. It. Please.

    You ARE an edge case. And, it isn’t a bad thing at all.

    It merely means that you live your life in an area that – for better or worse – 99.8% of the beings on this planet do not. I would wager that well, under 5% of people living in the USA are online anywhere near the amount of time you are.

    It merely means that however “mainstream” or “hip” or “regular-and-not-A-list” you portray yourself to be, you aren’t. You work the party circuit anymore, and you have this insistant tendancy to want to invent new terms for things that have existed for years/decades.

    It merely means that NOBODY really reads 840 blogs. You don’t either. But you claim to. (And Robert, it’s disingeneous of you to compare YOUR claim of following 840 blogs to Google’s caching of 10,000 news feeds. Apples annd oranges. ANd yes, it shows how sensitive you are to this term I guess…. since you have to resort to such a poor comparison.

    Get. Over. It.

    Peace!

  3. Someone who reads everything on google news is an edge case too. “Most people” who go to google don’t read everything. “Most people” don’t read every article or section of a newspaper. So maybe you aren’t really reading 840 blogs. You just say that because it sounds impressive.

  4. I’d have to agree with Dave…did you read all of Elizabeth’s post? She wasn’t at all trying to say “Don’t listen to Scoble because he’s a weirdo”. She’s just saying that nobody has enough time to REALLY keep up with 840 independent feeds.

    But, here’s how I think you’re pushing the envelope of technology. Right now, you consume this incredible amount of information. Then, you take the interesting bits and blog about it. And, you’re also in a position where a lot of the interesting news is going on right around you. So you’re also pretty qualified to write about that stuff too. The benefit for me, is when I want to get the cool news – I just have to read a few blogs – yours, some TechCrunch, Joel’s, and a handful of others that I care about. I get all the good stuff and none of the junk. And it only costs me, maybe 30-60 minutes a day.

    This is what Technorati/Memeorandum are, in a sense, trying to do algorithmically.

  5. The difference between a typical Google News visitor and someone who reads all the entries from 840 different news sources (which themselves might aggregate and filter news from 100s or thousands more sources) is that the visitor to Google News is not reading every news article from Google News. Occasionally, they look at the front page stuff.

    I’m not sure where the definition of “edge case” should be, but people like you and I are pretty close to it wherever it is :-)

  6. Someone who reads everything on google news is an edge case too. “Most people” who go to google don’t read everything. “Most people” don’t read every article or section of a newspaper. So maybe you aren’t really reading 840 blogs. You just say that because it sounds impressive.

  7. I’d have to agree with Dave…did you read all of Elizabeth’s post? She wasn’t at all trying to say “Don’t listen to Scoble because he’s a weirdo”. She’s just saying that nobody has enough time to REALLY keep up with 840 independent feeds.

    But, here’s how I think you’re pushing the envelope of technology. Right now, you consume this incredible amount of information. Then, you take the interesting bits and blog about it. And, you’re also in a position where a lot of the interesting news is going on right around you. So you’re also pretty qualified to write about that stuff too. The benefit for me, is when I want to get the cool news – I just have to read a few blogs – yours, some TechCrunch, Joel’s, and a handful of others that I care about. I get all the good stuff and none of the junk. And it only costs me, maybe 30-60 minutes a day.

    This is what Technorati/Memeorandum are, in a sense, trying to do algorithmically.

  8. The difference between a typical Google News visitor and someone who reads all the entries from 840 different news sources (which themselves might aggregate and filter news from 100s or thousands more sources) is that the visitor to Google News is not reading every news article from Google News. Occasionally, they look at the front page stuff.

    I’m not sure where the definition of “edge case” should be, but people like you and I are pretty close to it wherever it is :-)

  9. Update: some of my friends have emailed me and said “give it a break” and then explained that I am taking too much personal offense. Oh, I see the disconnect. I’m NOT talking about my ego here. I’ve been called far worse than an “edge case” before.

    I took so much umbrage because we were talking about FEATURES and not about my ego.

    See, when someone says “you’re an edge case” in a discussion about FEATURES what they really are saying is that your feature request isn’t important. That’s bullshit.

    All of today’s features started out as edge cases. Developers even have a name for that. It’s called “scratching your own itch.”

    And, I know dozens of other people who read hundreds of feeds.

    See, if you don’t plan your product for the edge cases it’ll suck. Why is Photoshop so good, for instance? Because they made it for professional photographers. Someone could have said “anyone who needs a histogram is an edge case.” They would be right. Very few photographers need histograms. But Photoshop was designed for edge cases. Why is that important? Cause everyone is an edge case sometime.

  10. Update: some of my friends have emailed me and said “give it a break” and then explained that I am taking too much personal offense. Oh, I see the disconnect. I’m NOT talking about my ego here. I’ve been called far worse than an “edge case” before.

    I took so much umbrage because we were talking about FEATURES and not about my ego.

    See, when someone says “you’re an edge case” in a discussion about FEATURES what they really are saying is that your feature request isn’t important. That’s bullshit.

    All of today’s features started out as edge cases. Developers even have a name for that. It’s called “scratching your own itch.”

    And, I know dozens of other people who read hundreds of feeds.

    See, if you don’t plan your product for the edge cases it’ll suck. Why is Photoshop so good, for instance? Because they made it for professional photographers. Someone could have said “anyone who needs a histogram is an edge case.” They would be right. Very few photographers need histograms. But Photoshop was designed for edge cases. Why is that important? Cause everyone is an edge case sometime.

  11. You are an edge case and an early adapter. The early adapter part will go main stream. The edge part will not.
    The boundary between the two is a grey area.

    Only time will tell.

    Was called a lot of things when I got my first cell-phone. And they were all horribly wrong. And got called a lot of things when I was hand-coding my printer drivers. And they were right.

  12. You are an edge case and an early adapter. The early adapter part will go main stream. The edge part will not.
    The boundary between the two is a grey area.

    Only time will tell.

    Was called a lot of things when I got my first cell-phone. And they were all horribly wrong. And got called a lot of things when I was hand-coding my printer drivers. And they were right.

  13. He would have been 200 years ago. Only the richest and most powerful in society had access (or thought they needed access) to that.

    Well it wouldn’t have been the NYT, rather William Bradford’s ‘New York Gazette’ or John Peter Zenger’s ‘New York Weekly Journal’ as the Times was first published only 155 years ago…

    September 18, 1851 – “We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come.”

    And, sigh, you better brush up on your early American history, newspapers were actually quite common to the masses, rich and poor alike, it wasn’t just the well-to-do, newspapers were quite of the democratic sort, for a treasure trove of historical material see Clarence Brigham’s ‘History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820′.

    And even, outside of newspapers, a famed pamphleteer, Thoams Paine, started a Revolution with ‘Common Sense’ and ‘The Crisis’, that reached the masses, if you recall.

    And around NYT timeframe, the “Penny Press” became a the first mass-medium communicational force, following with the the William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and Lord Northcliffe empires. Newspapers reached everyone, rich and poor alike. Indeed Revolutionary, in a sense.

    Partisan Press, to Penny Press to Empire Press. Partisan reached the masses in form of a Revolution, Penny in terms of low-price and a broad appeal, and in the Heart era it was simply all-pervasive, inescapable really.

    Wrong on dates, and wrong on the history. Sorry.

  14. He would have been 200 years ago. Only the richest and most powerful in society had access (or thought they needed access) to that.

    Well it wouldn’t have been the NYT, rather William Bradford’s ‘New York Gazette’ or John Peter Zenger’s ‘New York Weekly Journal’ as the Times was first published only 155 years ago…

    September 18, 1851 – “We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come.”

    And, sigh, you better brush up on your early American history, newspapers were actually quite common to the masses, rich and poor alike, it wasn’t just the well-to-do, newspapers were quite of the democratic sort, for a treasure trove of historical material see Clarence Brigham’s ‘History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820′.

    And even, outside of newspapers, a famed pamphleteer, Thoams Paine, started a Revolution with ‘Common Sense’ and ‘The Crisis’, that reached the masses, if you recall.

    And around NYT timeframe, the “Penny Press” became a the first mass-medium communicational force, following with the the William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and Lord Northcliffe empires. Newspapers reached everyone, rich and poor alike. Indeed Revolutionary, in a sense.

    Partisan Press, to Penny Press to Empire Press. Partisan reached the masses in form of a Revolution, Penny in terms of low-price and a broad appeal, and in the Heart era it was simply all-pervasive, inescapable really.

    Wrong on dates, and wrong on the history. Sorry.

  15. Wow, Robert, a bit defensive, aren’t we?? Liz was categorizing you, not criticizing you. I think the real reason you’re sensitive about this is that the underlying idea of Liz’s argument is that your behavior is not a good predictor of general behavior, and that hits the core of your predictive rhetoric. This is the myth of the early adopter: they are not good predictors of late adopter behavior.

    Most importantly, searching for “Liz Lawley” on Technorati is NOT reading millions of blogs, nor even dozens, unless you actually read them. Just as using the card catalog at a library is not the same as reading all the books in the library.

    You can’t use your behavior to predict what will happen. I was talking with Cam Reilly the other day about buying CDs and making personal compilations and he said to me with quite a bit of confidence “People don’t do that any more, they use the shuffle button on their iPods”. 30 million Americans have iPods. I asked him what the other 200 million do. The problem wasn’t that he didn’t have a point. The problem was that his worldview had become so slanted by his early-adopter perspective that I couldn’t really learn much from his statement. I want logic not religion.

    That’s the problem with being on the edge. It allows you believe that someday, everybody will be like you. But they won’t, ever. Instead, they’ll probably do something you would never do.

  16. Wow, Robert, a bit defensive, aren’t we?? Liz was categorizing you, not criticizing you. I think the real reason you’re sensitive about this is that the underlying idea of Liz’s argument is that your behavior is not a good predictor of general behavior, and that hits the core of your predictive rhetoric. This is the myth of the early adopter: they are not good predictors of late adopter behavior.

    Most importantly, searching for “Liz Lawley” on Technorati is NOT reading millions of blogs, nor even dozens, unless you actually read them. Just as using the card catalog at a library is not the same as reading all the books in the library.

    You can’t use your behavior to predict what will happen. I was talking with Cam Reilly the other day about buying CDs and making personal compilations and he said to me with quite a bit of confidence “People don’t do that any more, they use the shuffle button on their iPods”. 30 million Americans have iPods. I asked him what the other 200 million do. The problem wasn’t that he didn’t have a point. The problem was that his worldview had become so slanted by his early-adopter perspective that I couldn’t really learn much from his statement. I want logic not religion.

    That’s the problem with being on the edge. It allows you believe that someday, everybody will be like you. But they won’t, ever. Instead, they’ll probably do something you would never do.

  17. It sounds like all this talk is being generated by different understandings of what activities the label “read” denotes.

    Saying “I read X sources” carries little sense… we scan, we skim, we reread, we abstract, and so on.

    I prefer more sense from fewer words, than less sense from more words. Cheaper.

  18. It sounds like all this talk is being generated by different understandings of what activities the label “read” denotes.

    Saying “I read X sources” carries little sense… we scan, we skim, we reread, we abstract, and so on.

    I prefer more sense from fewer words, than less sense from more words. Cheaper.

  19. Robert,

    Can also list something you was an “edge case” and nobody followed you ? Becouse it looks like you are smartest person in the world in your opinion…

  20. Robert,

    Can also list something you was an “edge case” and nobody followed you ? Becouse it looks like you are smartest person in the world in your opinion…

  21. Robert you and I both early adopters … I don’t like the term “edge case” too much like “head case”. We’re evangelists. We’re pushing the boundaries and we’re also striving to make RSS, blogging, etc easy and accessable. Of course we’re on the bleeding edge, by being on the bleeding edge we can comment on the industry. I know that very few people read the number of feeds we do (yeah I think I’ve caught up to you), but because you and I both strive to be able to absorb lots of information quickly, we help to improve readers for everyone.

    By being on the edge, trying new stuff we see the potential, but also when something is too geeky for most. Look at WP.com vs Blogger … it’s an evolutionary change. I’ve gotten three people blogging on WP.com in minutes. Minutes! Jeez with Blogger I know it would have taken longer. The interfaces, the technologies are just getting better and better. And I think it has a lot to do with the efforts of people like us.

    BTW … I didn’t know that Memorandum started with your feed list! I always wondered how I was getting listed on there so quickly!

  22. Robert you and I both early adopters … I don’t like the term “edge case” too much like “head case”. We’re evangelists. We’re pushing the boundaries and we’re also striving to make RSS, blogging, etc easy and accessable. Of course we’re on the bleeding edge, by being on the bleeding edge we can comment on the industry. I know that very few people read the number of feeds we do (yeah I think I’ve caught up to you), but because you and I both strive to be able to absorb lots of information quickly, we help to improve readers for everyone.

    By being on the edge, trying new stuff we see the potential, but also when something is too geeky for most. Look at WP.com vs Blogger … it’s an evolutionary change. I’ve gotten three people blogging on WP.com in minutes. Minutes! Jeez with Blogger I know it would have taken longer. The interfaces, the technologies are just getting better and better. And I think it has a lot to do with the efforts of people like us.

    BTW … I didn’t know that Memorandum started with your feed list! I always wondered how I was getting listed on there so quickly!

  23. Focus. In the past few days: MS hits its financial target, Gates pledges $900M to eradicate TB, Google takes heat on China policy, Jobs in position to head Disney, Big Bells continue to try and put toll gates on the Net…

    There’s plenty of other things to blog about.

  24. Focus. In the past few days: MS hits its financial target, Gates pledges $900M to eradicate TB, Google takes heat on China policy, Jobs in position to head Disney, Big Bells continue to try and put toll gates on the Net…

    There’s plenty of other things to blog about.

  25. This meltdown is hilarious. You are a true revolutionary Scoble.

    Lead the way to the future! You popularized the mouse and the GUI and soon the Tablet PC will dominate computing thanks to your efforts!

    Every development team should study your behavior and base products on you! I mean, you were after all the guy who claims to reboot his tablet every single day.

    Fact of the matter is that it’s a hell of a lot harder to come up with a new product than it is to be an early adopter of one. Early adopters are certainly important — but your self-important tone is ridiculous.

  26. This meltdown is hilarious. You are a true revolutionary Scoble.

    Lead the way to the future! You popularized the mouse and the GUI and soon the Tablet PC will dominate computing thanks to your efforts!

    Every development team should study your behavior and base products on you! I mean, you were after all the guy who claims to reboot his tablet every single day.

    Fact of the matter is that it’s a hell of a lot harder to come up with a new product than it is to be an early adopter of one. Early adopters are certainly important — but your self-important tone is ridiculous.

  27. I’m an edge case too

    Elizabeth Lane Lawley thinks Robert Scoble is an edge case because he follows 840 blogs in a web feeds reader. Someone who reads 840 blogs is an edge case. But so is someone who reads dozens of daily newspapers, or…

  28. This debate is fascinating, particularly this:

    > All of these comments are ‘self-important’ — show me a blog or a blogger or any comment in any blog (or medium) anywhere that is not ‘self-important.’ We would not write/create/post/debate any of this if it were not (including this comment.)

    Secondly, the practical part of this debate may be the observation that the edge is not actually as far away from mainstream as is implied in these ‘criticisms.’ Decades ago, Buckminster Fuller tracked ‘idea to mass adoption’ in decade-based units. Today, ‘idea to mass adoption’ can be measured in months.

    Robert, you are certainly on the edge, as always — but the edge today is really only about ten seconds (or one click) away from the alleged ‘mainstream’ in Peoria.

    * * *

  29. This debate is fascinating, particularly this:

    > All of these comments are ‘self-important’ — show me a blog or a blogger or any comment in any blog (or medium) anywhere that is not ‘self-important.’ We would not write/create/post/debate any of this if it were not (including this comment.)

    Secondly, the practical part of this debate may be the observation that the edge is not actually as far away from mainstream as is implied in these ‘criticisms.’ Decades ago, Buckminster Fuller tracked ‘idea to mass adoption’ in decade-based units. Today, ‘idea to mass adoption’ can be measured in months.

    Robert, you are certainly on the edge, as always — but the edge today is really only about ten seconds (or one click) away from the alleged ‘mainstream’ in Peoria.

    * * *

  30. People who read Google News or the New York Times are reading a lot of diverse news, but it is essentially one source, winnowed from many by either human or machine editors.

    People who read 700+ blogs or other sources themselves – and I am one – ARE edge cases.

    By the way, a couple of hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin, a common man, printed a newspaper in Philadelphia. And his paper was not the only one in town. Reading the newspaper wasn’t just for the rich.

  31. People who read Google News or the New York Times are reading a lot of diverse news, but it is essentially one source, winnowed from many by either human or machine editors.

    People who read 700+ blogs or other sources themselves – and I am one – ARE edge cases.

    By the way, a couple of hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin, a common man, printed a newspaper in Philadelphia. And his paper was not the only one in town. Reading the newspaper wasn’t just for the rich.

  32. Oh, and not all features start out as edge cases. The ability to correct mistakes by deleting or typing over text in a word processor would be a mandatory feature, without which nobody would buy the product. Hardly an edge case.

  33. Oh, and not all features start out as edge cases. The ability to correct mistakes by deleting or typing over text in a word processor would be a mandatory feature, without which nobody would buy the product. Hardly an edge case.

  34. Robert, you need to spend a lot more time outside of your technobubble.

    You have this very warped view of the world and what people do. It’s like Gates and that idiotic light table demo. In his world, people clean up after his messes, and handle all his details for him. That’s a necessity for him.

    But in the real world? WIth sick people and babies, vandals and nutcases? A big glass table that has to remain clean.

    you just ponder that.

    It’s not that you’re an edge case as much as everyone you deal with is just like you, and now you think that you and your little geeks represent the planet. You’ve deluded yourself into thinking you are, or even vaguely represent the mainstream.

    That’s incorrect.

  35. Robert, you need to spend a lot more time outside of your technobubble.

    You have this very warped view of the world and what people do. It’s like Gates and that idiotic light table demo. In his world, people clean up after his messes, and handle all his details for him. That’s a necessity for him.

    But in the real world? WIth sick people and babies, vandals and nutcases? A big glass table that has to remain clean.

    you just ponder that.

    It’s not that you’re an edge case as much as everyone you deal with is just like you, and now you think that you and your little geeks represent the planet. You’ve deluded yourself into thinking you are, or even vaguely represent the mainstream.

    That’s incorrect.

  36. I’m sorry, but Photoshop IS an edge case. It’s huge, and complex, and does a million things, and most people who just want to take pictures and occasionally sharpen the focus or remove redeye have NO IDEA how to do it with Photoshop, and don’t own that or any other $600 software package anyway.

    I read about 150 newsfeeds in Bloglines, and I know for a fact that makes me an edge case. I’m very happy that Bloglines has features for people like me – such as dividing sources into folders and the “display only sources with unread items” feature.

    These features are completely absent from the “mainstream” aggregators like My Yahoo and Google Personalized and Live.com, and they probably should be – RSS is just getting traction in the real world, and they need to focus on keeping it simple.

    Memeorandum and Google News make it even more simple: they choose the sources for you. I can’t stand them. They’re not designed for edge cases.

    I’m personally proud to be an edge case. I pride myself on being ahead of the curve. I know sometimes that will mean I’m investing time, energy, and money in something that won’t even exist in the future – I have owned a $2000 DAT tape drive and a REX PDA, not to mention several different computers made by Atari.

    But I also know that there’s a very good chance I’ll be one of the first to try a great new technology (like Google) that would change the world a few years later. And I love that.

    Nevertheless, I try to be an Edge Case who still understands everyone else and isn’t off in his own little world, and I consider explaining the technology to those who don’t “get it” yet one of my strengths.

    That’s why you should be proud, Robert – not of being an Edge Case, but of being one of the most accessible and friendly Edge Cases out there who isn’t afraid to talk to “regular folks” and explain all this cool stuff to them. Stay on the edge!

  37. I’m sorry, but Photoshop IS an edge case. It’s huge, and complex, and does a million things, and most people who just want to take pictures and occasionally sharpen the focus or remove redeye have NO IDEA how to do it with Photoshop, and don’t own that or any other $600 software package anyway.

    I read about 150 newsfeeds in Bloglines, and I know for a fact that makes me an edge case. I’m very happy that Bloglines has features for people like me – such as dividing sources into folders and the “display only sources with unread items” feature.

    These features are completely absent from the “mainstream” aggregators like My Yahoo and Google Personalized and Live.com, and they probably should be – RSS is just getting traction in the real world, and they need to focus on keeping it simple.

    Memeorandum and Google News make it even more simple: they choose the sources for you. I can’t stand them. They’re not designed for edge cases.

    I’m personally proud to be an edge case. I pride myself on being ahead of the curve. I know sometimes that will mean I’m investing time, energy, and money in something that won’t even exist in the future – I have owned a $2000 DAT tape drive and a REX PDA, not to mention several different computers made by Atari.

    But I also know that there’s a very good chance I’ll be one of the first to try a great new technology (like Google) that would change the world a few years later. And I love that.

    Nevertheless, I try to be an Edge Case who still understands everyone else and isn’t off in his own little world, and I consider explaining the technology to those who don’t “get it” yet one of my strengths.

    That’s why you should be proud, Robert – not of being an Edge Case, but of being one of the most accessible and friendly Edge Cases out there who isn’t afraid to talk to “regular folks” and explain all this cool stuff to them. Stay on the edge!

  38. [...] One of my aims of this blog is to become an “Edge Case”. I didn’t actually know what an edge case was until I read about Robert Scoble being upset that he was called one. As a long time reader of his blog, I actually agree with Elizabeth Lane describing him as an Edge Case (now that I know what one is). [...]

  39. Subscribing to 840 feeds is edge case behavior. It’s your attempt to act cool, informed with it. Your examples are absurd. You point to digests, anthologies, etc… Butwhat you do is like going to the library, taking out 1000 books, and routining them two days later, saying, “I just want to make sure that they circulate and I’ve seen them.” (In this case, I mean “edge case” as in nut job, not trend setter or nerd or geek.)

    And what’s with this silly “features” cover story when you recount how kids knew you were a nerd in high school, etc… You are getting sensitive because you are a weird nutbag nerd. You aren’t much of a trendsetter or innovator. But a geek. Yeah.

  40. Subscribing to 840 feeds is edge case behavior. It’s your attempt to act cool, informed with it. Your examples are absurd. You point to digests, anthologies, etc… Butwhat you do is like going to the library, taking out 1000 books, and routining them two days later, saying, “I just want to make sure that they circulate and I’ve seen them.” (In this case, I mean “edge case” as in nut job, not trend setter or nerd or geek.)

    And what’s with this silly “features” cover story when you recount how kids knew you were a nerd in high school, etc… You are getting sensitive because you are a weird nutbag nerd. You aren’t much of a trendsetter or innovator. But a geek. Yeah.

  41. Sometimes it’s easy to get overly defensive when living in the (echo chambered) fish bowl and I think that’s what Scoble’s done here.

    Robert, you are most certainly an edge case. You’re the last person that anyone developing software for “Regular People” should consider.

    That doesn’t mean that some of your geek ways won’t eventually get watered down and filter into the mainstream (probably mostly unrecognizable at that point,) but to try to argue that you should be considered anything but an edge case is just plain silly.

    - A

  42. Sometimes it’s easy to get overly defensive when living in the (echo chambered) fish bowl and I think that’s what Scoble’s done here.

    Robert, you are most certainly an edge case. You’re the last person that anyone developing software for “Regular People” should consider.

    That doesn’t mean that some of your geek ways won’t eventually get watered down and filter into the mainstream (probably mostly unrecognizable at that point,) but to try to argue that you should be considered anything but an edge case is just plain silly.

    - A

  43. Lets get back to basics, you cover alot of MS stuff, they have a lot of cool products especially coming down the pipe, I want to hear about them and get sneek peeks like with Channel 9 and thurrot. if people think firefox is way better and that IE7 is a train wreck then ya you have a right to your opinion. Microsoft has cool stuff and so do alot of companies out there and just people. I love that you cover the inside track in Microsoft and I want you on the edge, if reading/feeding this is not your thing and you absolutely hate microsoft (aka borg) then why are you even here and want to shout your point at every turn??

    blog at will (:

  44. Lets get back to basics, you cover alot of MS stuff, they have a lot of cool products especially coming down the pipe, I want to hear about them and get sneek peeks like with Channel 9 and thurrot. if people think firefox is way better and that IE7 is a train wreck then ya you have a right to your opinion. Microsoft has cool stuff and so do alot of companies out there and just people. I love that you cover the inside track in Microsoft and I want you on the edge, if reading/feeding this is not your thing and you absolutely hate microsoft (aka borg) then why are you even here and want to shout your point at every turn??

    blog at will (:

  45. Asa,

    Your post is ironic. I remember being one of the first people at Microsoft to talk to developers inside Microsoft about Firefox (the browser you developed). What was their answer? “Who needs tabs?”

    Tabs aren’t for my dad or mom.

    They are for the edge cases. I loved them.

  46. Asa,

    Your post is ironic. I remember being one of the first people at Microsoft to talk to developers inside Microsoft about Firefox (the browser you developed). What was their answer? “Who needs tabs?”

    Tabs aren’t for my dad or mom.

    They are for the edge cases. I loved them.

  47. Robert:
    “edge case” seems to me to be the new term for “innovator”, long ago (1962) defined by E. Rogers in his diffusion of innovations theory and used all over since. Here’s a good definition, http://www.zonalatina.com/Zldata99.htm
    Seems like you fit pretty well. Look here for why innovators are vital, but not desirable, to the market: http://www.mitsue.co.jp/english/case/concept/02.html

    In the end, you’re wired the way you are. Let it go, and keep on keeping on.

  48. Robert:
    “edge case” seems to me to be the new term for “innovator”, long ago (1962) defined by E. Rogers in his diffusion of innovations theory and used all over since. Here’s a good definition, http://www.zonalatina.com/Zldata99.htm
    Seems like you fit pretty well. Look here for why innovators are vital, but not desirable, to the market: http://www.mitsue.co.jp/english/case/concept/02.html

    In the end, you’re wired the way you are. Let it go, and keep on keeping on.

  49. And his paper was not the only one in town. Reading the newspaper wasn’t just for the rich.

    Yes. For someone who “studied” Journalism, Scoble sure knows little about the history of newspapers. And Ben Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Bache, continued the tradition, with the American Aurora, which is truly incredibly fascinating reading. (See at bottom).

    And actually Ben was working in the newspaper industry even before Philadelphia, with his brothers, ‘The New England Courant’, but it was just a reprint of British news, and Ben had to make up character called ‘Silence Dogood’ to actually get a ‘byline’. But he had to escape Boston, as he was against smallpox inoculation and made snarky and sarcastic fun of the Mather’s, the ruling Puritan family that supported inoculation. Ironically, Washington’s later order forcing inoculation, saved the feeble American Army camped at Morristown from withering away. Franklin was for inoculation then. :)

    Franklin BOUGHT the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729 (he wasn’t the founder), and later doing the famed bookish-newspaperish ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’. Notice the word “poor”, it being a Farmers/Land Owners newspaper of useful info.

    Here’s a list of Philly newspapers from my Tomeraider database (yes, I am a historical-buff edge case, freely admit). But the point of this list is to show that newspapers were quite common, and not at all, only of well-to-do-means; hereby destroying (actually wholesale pulverizing) Scoble’s contention, that newspapers were but for the rich.

    Royal Pennsylvania Gazette (1778), American Herald (1784), Scott’s Philadelphia Price-Current (1813), American Star (1794), American Weekly Mercury (1719-1746), Finlay’s American Naval & Commercial Register (1795-1798), Freeman’s Journal (1781-1792), General Advertiser (1790-1794), Grotjan’s Public Sale Report (1812-1820), Independent Gazetteer (1782-1796), Pennsylvania Chronicle (1767-1774), Pennsylvania Evening Herald (1785-1788), Pennsylvania Evening Post (1775-1784), Pennsylvania Ledger (1775-1778), Pennsylvania Mercury (1784-1792), Philadelphia Gazette (1794-1802), Porcupine’s Gazette (1797-1800), Poulson’s American Advertiser (1800-1820), Spirit Of The Press (1805-1813).

    On the Aurora…

    Here is a view of America’s postrevolutionary era so subversive it makes Gore Vidal look like a traditionalist: John Adams wants to be king, George Washington is a hypocrite, a standing army is a mercenary force. Yet it’s not fiction—well, not totally. It is based on the Philadelphia Aurora, a newspaper founded by Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Bache, and whose political barbs, according to independent historian Rosenfeld, led to the passing of the Sedition Act of 1798. – Kirkus Reviews

  50. And his paper was not the only one in town. Reading the newspaper wasn’t just for the rich.

    Yes. For someone who “studied” Journalism, Scoble sure knows little about the history of newspapers. And Ben Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Bache, continued the tradition, with the American Aurora, which is truly incredibly fascinating reading. (See at bottom).

    And actually Ben was working in the newspaper industry even before Philadelphia, with his brothers, ‘The New England Courant’, but it was just a reprint of British news, and Ben had to make up character called ‘Silence Dogood’ to actually get a ‘byline’. But he had to escape Boston, as he was against smallpox inoculation and made snarky and sarcastic fun of the Mather’s, the ruling Puritan family that supported inoculation. Ironically, Washington’s later order forcing inoculation, saved the feeble American Army camped at Morristown from withering away. Franklin was for inoculation then. :)

    Franklin BOUGHT the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729 (he wasn’t the founder), and later doing the famed bookish-newspaperish ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’. Notice the word “poor”, it being a Farmers/Land Owners newspaper of useful info.

    Here’s a list of Philly newspapers from my Tomeraider database (yes, I am a historical-buff edge case, freely admit). But the point of this list is to show that newspapers were quite common, and not at all, only of well-to-do-means; hereby destroying (actually wholesale pulverizing) Scoble’s contention, that newspapers were but for the rich.

    Royal Pennsylvania Gazette (1778), American Herald (1784), Scott’s Philadelphia Price-Current (1813), American Star (1794), American Weekly Mercury (1719-1746), Finlay’s American Naval & Commercial Register (1795-1798), Freeman’s Journal (1781-1792), General Advertiser (1790-1794), Grotjan’s Public Sale Report (1812-1820), Independent Gazetteer (1782-1796), Pennsylvania Chronicle (1767-1774), Pennsylvania Evening Herald (1785-1788), Pennsylvania Evening Post (1775-1784), Pennsylvania Ledger (1775-1778), Pennsylvania Mercury (1784-1792), Philadelphia Gazette (1794-1802), Porcupine’s Gazette (1797-1800), Poulson’s American Advertiser (1800-1820), Spirit Of The Press (1805-1813).

    On the Aurora…

    Here is a view of America’s postrevolutionary era so subversive it makes Gore Vidal look like a traditionalist: John Adams wants to be king, George Washington is a hypocrite, a standing army is a mercenary force. Yet it’s not fiction—well, not totally. It is based on the Philadelphia Aurora, a newspaper founded by Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Bache, and whose political barbs, according to independent historian Rosenfeld, led to the passing of the Sedition Act of 1798. – Kirkus Reviews

  51. Robert, tabs were never an edge case feature. We wouldn’t have included them if they were. Tabs are something that a significant number of users appreciate and benefit from. That was obvious from the start.

    - A

  52. Robert, tabs were never an edge case feature. We wouldn’t have included them if they were. Tabs are something that a significant number of users appreciate and benefit from. That was obvious from the start.

    - A

  53. [...] So, it’s with some amusement, that I read Scoble’s meltdown at being called an edge case. His argument is that being an edge case isn’t bad, because most of the cool “features” in software are due to edge cases. Which may, or may not, be true. But he’s still an edge case. And I’d argue that 99% of the features that edge cases request are never useful to anyone else. [...]

  54. Tabs are something that a significant number of users appreciate and benefit from.

    I am with Ash, 200%. When my tech-phobic sister is actively using them, it’s not edge. Maybe in the mind’s eye of Microsoft, but then if they’d ever get up from their desktops and blogger dinners, and interact with the world at large, they might see this.

  55. Tabs are something that a significant number of users appreciate and benefit from.

    I am with Ash, 200%. When my tech-phobic sister is actively using them, it’s not edge. Maybe in the mind’s eye of Microsoft, but then if they’d ever get up from their desktops and blogger dinners, and interact with the world at large, they might see this.

  56. RSS is almost not edge case, but that’s because it’s showing up in common applications, like web browsers. I never gave RSS a second thought or even a first thought until it showed up in Safari.

    Why?

    Because it was inconvenient to have yet another application open, when I normally have to deal with 20+ throughout my day. But when I was able to easily use it in an application I have open all the time anyway, I started to work with it more.

    I don’t think it’s that world changing, but it did push me to redesign my site, because I couldn’t get one feed to work with all the sections. It’s when you see things show up in a convenient, reasonably intuitive way that they stop being edge case uses.

    Wireless was totally edge case until Apple made it cheap and easy to use.

    It’s the implementation, not the tech, that brings something out of edge case land.

  57. RSS is almost not edge case, but that’s because it’s showing up in common applications, like web browsers. I never gave RSS a second thought or even a first thought until it showed up in Safari.

    Why?

    Because it was inconvenient to have yet another application open, when I normally have to deal with 20+ throughout my day. But when I was able to easily use it in an application I have open all the time anyway, I started to work with it more.

    I don’t think it’s that world changing, but it did push me to redesign my site, because I couldn’t get one feed to work with all the sections. It’s when you see things show up in a convenient, reasonably intuitive way that they stop being edge case uses.

    Wireless was totally edge case until Apple made it cheap and easy to use.

    It’s the implementation, not the tech, that brings something out of edge case land.

  58. could you be more defensive? Your pattern is way too predictable. Someone calls you out and you take on a bunker mentality and lash out in a childish, defensive manner. How enlightened! Scoble, you are a wierdo, nut job, edge case. It’s obvious whenever you attempt to talk about something mainstream (auto racing, Super Bowl.. etc). But, it’s okay to be an “edge case”. Without people like you we wouldn’t have Comic Book Guy or Professor Frink, or Artie Ziff from “The Simpsons” or movies like “Revenge of the Nerds”. Really, its okay. The world needs people like you to remind the rest of us that we are really are normal.

  59. could you be more defensive? Your pattern is way too predictable. Someone calls you out and you take on a bunker mentality and lash out in a childish, defensive manner. How enlightened! Scoble, you are a wierdo, nut job, edge case. It’s obvious whenever you attempt to talk about something mainstream (auto racing, Super Bowl.. etc). But, it’s okay to be an “edge case”. Without people like you we wouldn’t have Comic Book Guy or Professor Frink, or Artie Ziff from “The Simpsons” or movies like “Revenge of the Nerds”. Really, its okay. The world needs people like you to remind the rest of us that we are really are normal.

  60. It’s the implementation, not the tech, that brings something out of edge case land.

    Someone in Silicon Valley should frame that. No truer words spoken. At one time mp3′s were “edge case”, I mean I camped out for the first Diamond Rio, stuffing as much (CD-ripped) Siouxsie I could onto that (now pitiful) 32 meg. But lots of years until the iPod somehow made mp3′s a cultural force.

  61. It’s the implementation, not the tech, that brings something out of edge case land.

    Someone in Silicon Valley should frame that. No truer words spoken. At one time mp3′s were “edge case”, I mean I camped out for the first Diamond Rio, stuffing as much (CD-ripped) Siouxsie I could onto that (now pitiful) 32 meg. But lots of years until the iPod somehow made mp3′s a cultural force.

  62. Live Labs: Microsoft’s Think Tank and Incubator for the Web 2.0

    Last week, Microsoft marshaled its vast resources and influence to launch a full-blown think tank and incubator for the disruptive and increasingly pervasive technologies and products of the Web 2.0 age. Called Live Labs, I was fortunate to be

  63. [...] Elizabeth Lane Lawley thinks Robert Scoble is an edge case because he follows 840 blogs in a web feeds reader. Someone who reads 840 blogs is an edge case. But so is someone who reads dozens of daily newspapers, or runs 10 miles every morning. Their choices may influence our behavior–those edge cases are great at recommending things to others – but most people will be far more moderate in their behavior.” [...]

  64. Scalability In RSS/Atom Feed Readers

    There’s currently a discussion going on between Elizabeth Lane Lawley and Robert Scoble centered on the question: do we need tools that let help people deal with large numbers of RSS/Atom feeds. Robert believe we do need such tools, and Elizabeth…

  65. Someone who reads everything on google news is an edge case too. “Most people” who go to google don’t read everything. “Most people” don’t read every article or section of a newspaper. So maybe you aren’t really reading 840 blogs. You just say that because it sounds impressive.

  66. Someone who reads everything on google news is an edge case too. “Most people” who go to google don’t read everything. “Most people” don’t read every article or section of a newspaper. So maybe you aren’t really reading 840 blogs. You just say that because it sounds impressive.