Pesky Scoble!

Bruce Sterling, in Wired, cracks me up:

“Pesky Scoble! He’s like one geek with a damn camera! There used to be *whole thick bureaucratic and financial and economic and social and personal layers of insulation* between tech startups and the general populace… I mean, people like La Bianchini there, they sure existed — but you didn’t get *pitchforked right into her lap*… What happened to the #$@$%# lagtime and market-friction?! “Those *&&%$$ blogger revolutionaries! They’re worse than the 90s dot-com boomers! They’re more disruptive. They’re violently disruptive. They are not just kiting stocks, they are really tearing into the fabric of reality.”

32 thoughts on “Pesky Scoble!

  1. “Bruce Sterling is a reasonably good sci-fi writer. But, here he reveals himself to be both shallow and a shameless sycophant. ”

    And a slimeball, butt-sucking cokehead.

    Jeez, this guy used to be interesting once. Time to take my Sterling books down to the charity shop.

  2. “Bruce Sterling is a reasonably good sci-fi writer. But, here he reveals himself to be both shallow and a shameless sycophant. ”

    And a slimeball, butt-sucking cokehead.

    Jeez, this guy used to be interesting once. Time to take my Sterling books down to the charity shop.

  3. I am disappointed. Bruce Sterling is a reasonably good sci-fi writer. But, here he reveals himself to be both shallow and a shameless sycophant. I’m embarrassed for him.

    Mat, you are on to why ‘old media’ will stay put. The superficiality of ‘new media’ guarantees that. Is there room for improvement in the traditional press? Certainly. But much of what the Internet has does not remedy the actual problems.

  4. I am disappointed. Bruce Sterling is a reasonably good sci-fi writer. But, here he reveals himself to be both shallow and a shameless sycophant. I’m embarrassed for him.

    Mat, you are on to why ‘old media’ will stay put. The superficiality of ‘new media’ guarantees that. Is there room for improvement in the traditional press? Certainly. But much of what the Internet has does not remedy the actual problems.

  5. Ouch. The Britney Spears comment was probably unnecessary.

    I’m not questioning the *subject matter* of video (and other “new media” content) — I’m questioning the obsession with *SPEED TO MARKET*.

    In many metropolitan areas, there are rag-like free newspaper publications (like “Metro” or “24 Hours”) that blanket the downtowns during rush hour, so that people can get their news fix on the way in to work. Almost uniformly, and by their nature, these pieces are cursory, poorly written and minimally thought-provoking. This suggests that a focus on early content distribution is not necessarily a recipe for quality or depth, in fact it’s often the quite the opposite and the medium can suffer for it.

    It seems to me that the main value proposition advanced by “new media”, like the one you deal in (and are arguably at the forefront of), consists of two components:

    1) Speed of Information
    The delay with which new information, any information, is released to market must be increasingly pushed to zero. Being first to break a story is (and always has been, even in a old media) a questionable thing to brag about, but this is enhanced in the blogosphere, with its playground-like atmosphere at times. I know you suggested that your videos are often produced a week in advance of a release, which should be an argument for content with the requisite production value, but sadly this formula ensures that much of the associated context, reaction and wider-implications go missing from the content itself. Releasing at the event-horizon gets you out there first, but you sacrifice a lot of potential richness for doing so.

    2) Access to Depth of People
    Your show prides itself on being able to access people that we may not otherwise hear from/about. Well, I think this is a balancing act that old media has been trying to cope with for a long time and just because you’ve gone out to one edge of the balance, doesn’t imply the value or success in the formula (nor is it enough for the ‘revolutionary’ hyperbole). By providing such niche videos (skinny and deep) you’re ensuring that a large chunk of your potential audience will find your video boring — a recurring comment I’ve seen in these forums. (e.g. the size of the market of viewer that is enthralled by a video interview with a Google engineer about search APIs is probably not that big – though granted, among your current viewership, higher than one would expect in a control sample). You risk, and are, alienating a swath of viewers by pushing content with too narrow a scope. I for one, would be much more interested in content that considered the implications of technologies, that drew more connections between stories, that allowed itself a little bit more editorializing and less “rawness”. I know you’re all about the “nakedness” Robert, but you must acknowledge some weaknesses, ultimately, in the approach.

    Consumers are going to be looking for nuggets of value in what you produce, and if too often they come up empty handed, they will turn away. The long tail itself will not save you.

  6. Ouch. The Britney Spears comment was probably unnecessary.

    I’m not questioning the *subject matter* of video (and other “new media” content) — I’m questioning the obsession with *SPEED TO MARKET*.

    In many metropolitan areas, there are rag-like free newspaper publications (like “Metro” or “24 Hours”) that blanket the downtowns during rush hour, so that people can get their news fix on the way in to work. Almost uniformly, and by their nature, these pieces are cursory, poorly written and minimally thought-provoking. This suggests that a focus on early content distribution is not necessarily a recipe for quality or depth, in fact it’s often the quite the opposite and the medium can suffer for it.

    It seems to me that the main value proposition advanced by “new media”, like the one you deal in (and are arguably at the forefront of), consists of two components:

    1) Speed of Information
    The delay with which new information, any information, is released to market must be increasingly pushed to zero. Being first to break a story is (and always has been, even in a old media) a questionable thing to brag about, but this is enhanced in the blogosphere, with its playground-like atmosphere at times. I know you suggested that your videos are often produced a week in advance of a release, which should be an argument for content with the requisite production value, but sadly this formula ensures that much of the associated context, reaction and wider-implications go missing from the content itself. Releasing at the event-horizon gets you out there first, but you sacrifice a lot of potential richness for doing so.

    2) Access to Depth of People
    Your show prides itself on being able to access people that we may not otherwise hear from/about. Well, I think this is a balancing act that old media has been trying to cope with for a long time and just because you’ve gone out to one edge of the balance, doesn’t imply the value or success in the formula (nor is it enough for the ‘revolutionary’ hyperbole). By providing such niche videos (skinny and deep) you’re ensuring that a large chunk of your potential audience will find your video boring — a recurring comment I’ve seen in these forums. (e.g. the size of the market of viewer that is enthralled by a video interview with a Google engineer about search APIs is probably not that big – though granted, among your current viewership, higher than one would expect in a control sample). You risk, and are, alienating a swath of viewers by pushing content with too narrow a scope. I for one, would be much more interested in content that considered the implications of technologies, that drew more connections between stories, that allowed itself a little bit more editorializing and less “rawness”. I know you’re all about the “nakedness” Robert, but you must acknowledge some weaknesses, ultimately, in the approach.

    Consumers are going to be looking for nuggets of value in what you produce, and if too often they come up empty handed, they will turn away. The long tail itself will not save you.

  7. Mat: depends. Do you value access to more knowledge, access to more interesting people, access to more niche ideas? I do. So, at minimum it’s adding to my life.

    Maybe you like seeing more Britney Spears photos. In which case this video doesn’t add anything to your life.

  8. Mat: depends. Do you value access to more knowledge, access to more interesting people, access to more niche ideas? I do. So, at minimum it’s adding to my life.

    Maybe you like seeing more Britney Spears photos. In which case this video doesn’t add anything to your life.

  9. Robert: The question I ask what value such video adds to my life?

    Is acceleration of media distribution an end onto itself?

    I wonder aloud…

  10. Robert: The question I ask what value such video adds to my life?

    Is acceleration of media distribution an end onto itself?

    I wonder aloud…

  11. Well, playing offa his ‘nakeder’…heh.

    Oh I take no issue, you do good work for your audience needs, just suggesting he temper his wild “gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm” hype.

    That’s not boring? Well, I guess that depends on the audience, listened to about 20 mins, and it was all a randomized half-sedated sales-pitch, her monotone voice pattern was making my teeth hurt, inflections please. One to One conversations, do not always translate well, in the One to Many, this being a good example.

  12. Well, playing offa his ‘nakeder’…heh.

    Oh I take no issue, you do good work for your audience needs, just suggesting he temper his wild “gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm” hype.

    That’s not boring? Well, I guess that depends on the audience, listened to about 20 mins, and it was all a randomized half-sedated sales-pitch, her monotone voice pattern was making my teeth hurt, inflections please. One to One conversations, do not always translate well, in the One to Many, this being a good example.

  13. Christopher: there are plenty of places to get that kind of information — it’s called main stream media.

    But, where do people who want to learn more than two minutes of a story go? Especially in Tech where most startup CEOs won’t be given the time of day on CNN or BusinessWeek? That’s what blogs and ScobleShow fill.

    I also disagree that conversations are getting boringer. Is that a new word? Heheh. The ones I’ve been having are a lot more interesting than the ones I had two years ago. Just look at the Dow Jones interview I have up today. That’s not boring.

  14. Christopher: there are plenty of places to get that kind of information — it’s called main stream media.

    But, where do people who want to learn more than two minutes of a story go? Especially in Tech where most startup CEOs won’t be given the time of day on CNN or BusinessWeek? That’s what blogs and ScobleShow fill.

    I also disagree that conversations are getting boringer. Is that a new word? Heheh. The ones I’ve been having are a lot more interesting than the ones I had two years ago. Just look at the Dow Jones interview I have up today. That’s not boring.

  15. I am smelling all that buzzworded and supposedly aggregated Ajax that oddly can never seem to scale. And eternal conversations, mean little, substance sometimes is even silent, or best edited. This “gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm” is advertorial in nature, real production, outside of sticking a microphone in someones face letting them yap for all eternity, deals with writers, scripters, heavy production and real gritty cut-throat ratings wars. I am not against your “new-media cataclysm” per se, but don’t fall victim to the hype, good grassroots value, but revolution it is not. And Conversations are getting boringer every day, a million monkeys with typewriters and now video cameras.

  16. I am smelling all that buzzworded and supposedly aggregated Ajax that oddly can never seem to scale. And eternal conversations, mean little, substance sometimes is even silent, or best edited. This “gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm” is advertorial in nature, real production, outside of sticking a microphone in someones face letting them yap for all eternity, deals with writers, scripters, heavy production and real gritty cut-throat ratings wars. I am not against your “new-media cataclysm” per se, but don’t fall victim to the hype, good grassroots value, but revolution it is not. And Conversations are getting boringer every day, a million monkeys with typewriters and now video cameras.

  17. Mat: I filmed this video almost a week before it was shown to you. So, there’s plenty of time to make sure production values are good. I don’t do videos that have to be turned around in an hour.

    What’s revolutionary here is we all have access to distribution. Ten years ago you would NOT have seen this kind of video. Even today, you will not see this kind of video anywhere else. I’m the only one who is bringing you videos from tech leaders (and more than 150 at last count).

  18. Mat: I filmed this video almost a week before it was shown to you. So, there’s plenty of time to make sure production values are good. I don’t do videos that have to be turned around in an hour.

    What’s revolutionary here is we all have access to distribution. Ten years ago you would NOT have seen this kind of video. Even today, you will not see this kind of video anywhere else. I’m the only one who is bringing you videos from tech leaders (and more than 150 at last count).

  19. Perhaps “poorly-produced, poorly-curated online video” was a little bit strong, in retrospect. Point being, early-to-release video is almost necessarily lowER quality than stuff that will come out after requisite time for thought, production, editing and depth. (If the generalization can be made…)

    Do others share this sentiment?

  20. Perhaps “poorly-produced, poorly-curated online video” was a little bit strong, in retrospect. Point being, early-to-release video is almost necessarily lowER quality than stuff that will come out after requisite time for thought, production, editing and depth. (If the generalization can be made…)

    Do others share this sentiment?

  21. To characterize a video camera-wielding Robert Scoble as a revolutionary is going a bit far.

    The man is doing quick-breaking promotional and/or self-serving interviews with tech startups, not over-throwing the third empire.

    We are (at minimum, I am) starting to find poorly-produced, poorly-curated online video to be more than underwhelming. That one is “first out of the gates” with an exclusive video interview will soon cease to be of any importance. The pendulum will swing back towards longer-in-the-oven, and higher-quality, thoughtful analysis and commentary.

    I find myself doing this already – waiting some time before I consume the information that’s being thrown around on any given breaking topic, because it is invariably more well-thought out, and more intellectually satisfying.

    A quicky video released at 5AM to beat the competition does nothing to garner my interest. I’ll wait for the better 5PM video that includes more context, thank you very much. Yes the 24 news cycle has been destroyed, that’s old news, but that’s not to say that instantaneous video is just what the “revolution” has been waiting for.

    I fear we are all falling victim to our own hype. Sure it’s new media, but it’s not as radical as you would have us believe.

  22. To characterize a video camera-wielding Robert Scoble as a revolutionary is going a bit far.

    The man is doing quick-breaking promotional and/or self-serving interviews with tech startups, not over-throwing the third empire.

    We are (at minimum, I am) starting to find poorly-produced, poorly-curated online video to be more than underwhelming. That one is “first out of the gates” with an exclusive video interview will soon cease to be of any importance. The pendulum will swing back towards longer-in-the-oven, and higher-quality, thoughtful analysis and commentary.

    I find myself doing this already – waiting some time before I consume the information that’s being thrown around on any given breaking topic, because it is invariably more well-thought out, and more intellectually satisfying.

    A quicky video released at 5AM to beat the competition does nothing to garner my interest. I’ll wait for the better 5PM video that includes more context, thank you very much. Yes the 24 news cycle has been destroyed, that’s old news, but that’s not to say that instantaneous video is just what the “revolution” has been waiting for.

    I fear we are all falling victim to our own hype. Sure it’s new media, but it’s not as radical as you would have us believe.

  23. Christopher, I used to share and exceed your cynicism on this issue, but the mere fact that I can show up and bluntly horn in on you in the very same day — on Scoble’s blog — is an indicator of a gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm. You arc clueless, dude. Wake up and smell that aggregated Ajax in the coffee. Conversations are getting nakeder every day.

    Furthermore, you’re lucky that my dressing-down here is just a few harmless words in a row. This could have been a shaky, badly-lit video. After all that speed and liquor, you should see the state my hair is in.

    Stay pesky, Robert, you were making my week there. Thanks a lot.

  24. Christopher, I used to share and exceed your cynicism on this issue, but the mere fact that I can show up and bluntly horn in on you in the very same day — on Scoble’s blog — is an indicator of a gosh-darn no-kidding new-media cataclysm. You arc clueless, dude. Wake up and smell that aggregated Ajax in the coffee. Conversations are getting nakeder every day.

    Furthermore, you’re lucky that my dressing-down here is just a few harmless words in a row. This could have been a shaky, badly-lit video. After all that speed and liquor, you should see the state my hair is in.

    Stay pesky, Robert, you were making my week there. Thanks a lot.

  25. I don’t know whether he’s being bad-Hunter-S-Thompson-clone sarcastic, or just raw speed and liquor fueled.

    If he’s not serious, really need not worry, in 6 months to a year most will of these fluffy start-ups will be dead or walking dead, crowded market, too many overlapping “nice feature concepts” posing as companies. Plus the internet tends to shift into the oligarchy, one winner, all others lose.

    And if he’s serious and a swarmy elitest, comeon, startups have ALWAYS needed all the buzz and Demos they can get to stay alive, and with CNN and NBC not exactly knocking daily, cue up the shaky cam bloggers. Eyeballs with the first crash, Video Cameras with the next. And really, only a small segment of the population has the time or the even the inclination to listen to some start-uppy Exec drone on and on for an hour or more.

    But it really really sounds like he needs to tear off some of that reality fabric and dress himself.

  26. I don’t know whether he’s being bad-Hunter-S-Thompson-clone sarcastic, or just raw speed and liquor fueled.

    If he’s not serious, really need not worry, in 6 months to a year most will of these fluffy start-ups will be dead or walking dead, crowded market, too many overlapping “nice feature concepts” posing as companies. Plus the internet tends to shift into the oligarchy, one winner, all others lose.

    And if he’s serious and a swarmy elitest, comeon, startups have ALWAYS needed all the buzz and Demos they can get to stay alive, and with CNN and NBC not exactly knocking daily, cue up the shaky cam bloggers. Eyeballs with the first crash, Video Cameras with the next. And really, only a small segment of the population has the time or the even the inclination to listen to some start-uppy Exec drone on and on for an hour or more.

    But it really really sounds like he needs to tear off some of that reality fabric and dress himself.

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