Daily Archives: February 15, 2008

Seattle vs. Silicon Valley sillyness

Seattle from near Amazon's headquarters

Ahh, there’s a big debate about which is better, Seattle or Silicon Valley.

There are things to like about both (I’ve lived in both places).

But for me there’s no option: I couldn’t do what I do anywhere else in the world than here (the range and diversity of tech companies is a lot greater here than in Seattle).

Luckily Seattle is only a couple of hours away from here so I can get the best of both worlds.

One thing you shouldn’t miss is the amount of building that Microsoft is doing. Microsoft’s campus is absolutely huge now and getting much bigger. Nothing like it in Silicon Valley. Oh, and the Boeing factory tour is a not to be missed thing. It’s amazing how they build airplanes there.

Are you breathing while emailing or Twittering?

Linda Stone, continuous partial attention researcher

Linda Stone is a former executive who worked at Apple and Microsoft. Has been doing all sorts of research over the years and is probably most famous for coming up with the term “continuous partial attention.” Which, basically, explains our behavior while using Twitter.

Lately she’s been writing about a new problem she noticed: email apnea.

Today we met up where she told me more about her observations on this topic (that’s her in the picture above).

What is it?

Well, she noticed that most people stop breathing when doing email. She explained to me today that that behavior is fascinating her and that she’s theorizing that it causes stress, among other things.

I’m noticing that I stop breathing when blogging. How about you?

She suggested a few things to try.

1. Change your posture. She said that people who compute while standing up breathe more often.
2. Get exercise. She said that those who exercise seem to breathe better in stressful situations.
3. Be aware and check in with yourself to see if you’re breathing normally. She said there are some devices coming soon where you can play a game with yourself to keep your breathing up to a normal rate.

She is now writing for the Huffington Post and in her post about email apnea rambled out a bunch of bad things that can happen to you due to not breathing well.

This is one reason why I made it my life goal to have an interesting conversation every day with someone smart. If I hadn’t made time for Linda I probably would never have thought about this or known about it.

So, are you breathing deeply right now?

I’m going to “Bil,” not TED

I can’t afford to go to TED. Fast Company is treating me well, but not THAT well (tickets to TED are $6,000). Even if I had the $6K I still wouldn’t be able to go since tickets to TED have been sold out for more than a year.

But I WILL be in Monterey. Across the street at the “Bil” conference. Ethan Zuckerman has the details.

Will you be there?

I have both TED and Bil on my Upcoming list of tech events.

Misreading Scoble on Microsoft cry

I agree with Ethan Eismann that TechCrunch took my post a little too far in an incorrect direction. It’s my fault for getting everyone worked up. In hindsight, I probably should have kept my mouth shut until I was released from an embargo.

It’s interesting where people are going with this. TechCrunch even followed up its earlier post (but took my post into a new, also incorrect, direction). The problem is that Microsoft brings so much baggage to any conversation about it. When you say “Microsoft is doing something cool” then people’s imaginations run too wild to things like operating systems, productivity apps, data centers or databases, video game consoles, or other things that you’ve seen Microsoft do in the past. Some over on TechCrunch are even talking about Photosynth or the Touch table-top device. The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before. I also shouldn’t have associated it with things like the World Wide Web. It +might+ be that significant, but if we all met in 1994 and met with Tim Berners-Lee, very few of us could have guessed that the Web would have the impact that it ended up having. Heck, even Tim didn’t know the real impact. If he had, wouldn’t he have started something like Google or Netscape? It’s too premature to put that kind of baggage on a team that’s built something cool and inspiring, but is only two people big and hasn’t yet shown very many people their work. That’s unfair of me and I’m sorry about that. That said, I think it will stand up to the kind of hype I unleashed yesterday. It is still inspiring me and I still want to get my hands on it as soon as possible.

Instead of letting your expectations run wild, let’s stay calm. This is just a service that inspired me and made me react emotionally, in a way that few things I see make me react.

A few other things.

1. Sometimes, er, often, I get it wrong. I thought Tablet PC and Origami (and Vista) would be far more significant than they turned out to be (several people pointed that out, and they were right to do so).
2. Remember that I’m talking about a two person team, along with a few others. That limits the scope as to what can be done. Remember, Facebook is about 500 people now. Google? More than 10,000. Etc. Etc. So, what I saw is something small. Like I said, if I told you what it was a lot of you would say “Scoble, that really is lame.”
3. I believe that attendees at TED will get a quick look at this, but I’m not sure. Employees (and possibly others, including the press/bloggers) at Microsoft will see it at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest on March 4th. I won’t say anything else about it until March 3rd, when our video show starts up at FastCompany.tv. Last year Microsoft invited a few bloggers and journalists to come up and tour the TechFest, I’m not sure if they are doing that this year, sorry.
4. Valleywag told me off and said I should keep my mouth shut because this kind of hype can kill a product. That’s true. But, remember what Steve Jobs said about hype about the iPhone? He said that if the product delivers on the hype no one will care. On the other hand, see #1. That said my friends tell me that this service is deserving of the hype that I gave it.
5. Sometimes I just get so excited about things I see that I have to tell you and damn the consequences. This is one of those times.
6. I don’t believe this service will ship or be usable anytime soon. Remember that this is a Microsoft Research project and that they build things that aren’t meant to be production quality. We’ll talk more about what it is and when you’ll get to get your own hands on it on March 3rd. When I first saw Photosynth it was quite a few months before it was out in people’s hands.
7. Some have pointed out that the Segway didn’t live up to the same kind of hype that I gave this service. Good point. Let’s get together on March 3rd and talk more.

Anyway, back to regular postings…

UPDATE: Kevin Schofield, after I posted, wrote that I did cause his team some trouble yesterday.