Apple, er AT&T, tells corporate types to pound sand

Don MacAskill is the CEO of SmugMug, a popular photosharing service. His crew wanted to get iPhones. So, he had an idea that he was going to stand in line and buy a bunch of iPhones for his entire company. Well, of course, life doesn’t quite work out like that. Apple apparently doesn’t want to sell to corporate types and isn’t going to let Don register the iPhones to his AT&T corporate accounts.

We’ll see.

But, in the meantime, don’t expect YOUR boss to buy you an iPhone.

Anyway, join us in line tomorrow. Patrick and I will be there by noon. Come by for lunch!

Get on ScobleShow, get fired

Last night one of the people who’ve been on the ScobleShow (my video show) wrote me and told me he was fired for appearing on my show without PR permission. I won’t tell you who that was since he’s interviewing for a new position now, but it made me realize that when I aim my camera at someone that there are real consequences for doing so. Now, the guy in question should have known that would have pissed someone off. Most big companies, in their employment agreements, have in there that you aren’t allowed to talk with the press unless given permission by the PR departments.

This rule drives many people nuts. I got yelled at at Microsoft for talking to the press a few times. But they stopped bothering when they realized that I was talking to the press on my blog anyway and generally I wasn’t causing too many messes that needed to be cleaned up. Heck, the executives did enough of that and I was paid a lot less so my messes were cheaper.

Being in the public eye is NOT easy, NOT for the timid, and NOT for those who don’t have a good read on the corporate membrane.

I’m reminded of this again when I read David Weller’s blog at Microsoft where he points out some of the difficulties of representing a big company in the public eye. I see both points here, by the way. Doing the kind of blogging that I was doing at Microsoft is much harder than it looks. You’ve got to have great relationships across the company to be able to do things like tell people they should be fired for not doing something, like I did at Microsoft, without being fired yourself.

Plus, today, Microsoft is changing its approach to PR. Why?

Two words: Steve Jobs.

Steve has gotten the most fantastic amount of PR the world has ever known by making everything secret.

You can say a lot of things about Microsoft but one thing I came away with after my three years inside there is that it’s a learning company. I’m sure right now they are arguing out all sorts of things about the iPhone launch and thinking about how they will apply the lessons from this period in time to Microsoft.

I’m hearing from my friends on the Windows team that Steven Sinofsky and his team (Steven runs the Windows team) has made it clear he doesn’t want anyone talking about the next version of Windows. Hey, Steven is learning from Steve.

Steve Jobs is MANUFACTURING great PR by keeping everyone’s mouth shut. Heck, I’ve met some people I KNEW had an iPhone and they were so scared of retribution or consequences that they wouldn’t answer a single question.

Have you noticed that no one has started talking about the next version of Windows? I have. That’s on purpose. They learned their lesson and realized that letting you see inside the meat factory is a little too messy for this new world of PR. Rather keep all that mess behind corporate walls and come out when something is actually finished.

This also is the reason why I haven’t had many developers on my show. I’d love to have more. But PR departments keep the developers away from the press because the PR departments know that developers:

1. Are likely to tell the unvarnished truth.
2. Aren’t skilled in explaining/demoing what their product does.
3. Might be boring or unprofessional on camera.

It’s a real problem and I’ve been working with several of the PR folks to gain their trust so they’ll let me a little deeper inside their companies to look around like I got to do at Microsoft. But it’s not an easy process.

Anyway, when interviewing people from now on I’m going to make sure they have PR’s approval to appear on my show and/or understand the consequences of doing that.

It’s not worth getting people fired just by turning on my camera because they didn’t check with PR first.

That said, if you want to get on my show I’ll be filming for the next two days in front of the Apple Store in Palo Alto on University Ave. Come on by, bring your PR person too!

Another Twitter competitor — want an invite?

First came Twitter, then came Jaiku.

Now comes Pownce.

I’ve given away my invites, sorry.

Well, that’s not true. I have four left. (UPDATE: Now only one left, I’ll give that away in the morning).

I’m going to give them to the four people who write the best insult.

Not your usual kind of flame like “Scoble, you’re a dickhead.” My 13-year-old can flame better than that.

No, you need to have something worthy of Valleywag or Fake Steve to get my invites! Hell, you can even make something up!

Otherwise I’ll just hoarde them like the anti social person I’m becoming. Heheh.

Seriously, why do we care about this? It’s prettier than Twitter. It has more features than Twitter. And it was done by Kevin Rose of Digg fame (among a group of other cool kids).

But I’m getting tired of adding friends on all these social networks. I’m getting really anti social because of all of these things.

Dead man walking

Wow, I met Derek Miller at Gnomdex and a couple other places. Maryam has been following his blog and told me his blog hit her hard today. I went and looked and he’s blogging his experiences with stage 4 colon cancer. The doctors gave him about the worst news one can get yesterday. His post today was titled “dead man walking” and that’s the harshness of it.

His posts bring life into sharp focus. Derek, I hope I get to have another conversation with you. Your posts are inspiring. YOU are inspiring!

Maryam said that Derek’s attitude is always uplifting, that he always seems to have the best attitude in the room. She asked me why does this happen to the nice people? She also noted that Derek and her are the same age (both are seven years younger than me which puts this into even sharper focus — I’ve already been given a gift of five years longer than the doctors gave Derek).

I don’t know but I sure am glad Derek is with us and sharing what life is about.

Can Jaman compete with Bittorrent?

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Lots of my friends are watching movies that they’ve downloaded illegally off of Bittorrent. I don’t use Bittorrent because I don’t believe in stealing content. So, I’ve been looking for an alternative way to get long-form content onto my computer and my Apple TV so that I can watch movies that might not be on Netflix yet.

When I saw Jaman at the Demo conference this year I saw a major part of the answer.

Now, Jaman is only for independent films. You won’t find Spiderman on it. But you’ll find “mid-tail” content including what you’ll probably see at a film festival like Sundance.

Or, maybe you’re looking for films that come from outside our culture. My wife is Iranian, for instance, and her mom likes watching Iranian films. Jaman has several of those that I can download and let her watch when she comes over. Hey, gotta keep the mother-in-law happy, right?

Anyway, I love Jaman and it’s bringing me movies I never thought I’d watch into my home. Here’s a look with Jaman’s CEO that I recorded for ScobleShow.

If you like indie films, or discovering films that you might not see at your local theater screens you’ll love Jaman.

Oh, and look at the use of community interation on Jaman to help bring the better films to the top. Really great stuff that every geek working on Social Media should check out.