Rejuvenating with Scott Bourne (and talking about whether I’m paid to pimp stuff like FriendFeed)

My goal is to have an interesting conversation with someone interesting every day. Yesterday was an all-out winner. I had conversations with two interesting guys. The first was with Ismael Ghalimi, founder of the Office 2.0 conference and keeper of the definitive database of Office 2.0 apps (Office 2.0 apps are those that are on the web and collaborative, like Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets or Zoho’s suite of stuff). That was for our WorkFastTV show on FastCompanyTV. The full show will be up on Monday. After the show we continued the conversation over on Kyte.tv where he told us even more interesting stuff about his favorite apps (he has tried about 600 of the 800 apps listed on the Office 2.0 database).

But afterward I headed over to Podango Productions to visit with Scott Bourne. I have run into Scott here and there, but had no idea:

1. He owns the studio where the first Diggnation was filmed.
2. Is an accomplished photographer. Here’s his Photrade account (his photo was on the home page of that yesterday).
3. Rides a Harley for fun.
4. Is co-founder/owner of This Week in Photography, which has 600,000 unique visitors per month (amazing growth for a new show about photography that has not had a single dollar spent on promotion or advertising).
5. Is a damn nice guy (spent two hours with me just talking about the new media business and life).

What’s funny is that the conversation started over on FriendFeed where he wondered if I was paid to pimp FriendFeed. He invited me over to do an interview on that topic, which he put up last night.

The answer is: I am not paid by anyone other than Fast Company. Seagate and SAP and some other sponsors to come soon pay Fast Company. If I ever change that, I’ll let you know. I am NOT paid by Qik, FriendFeed, Kyte, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or any of the other companies I like and talk about a lot. I also do not own stock in any company I cover and if that ever changes I’ll disclose that as well.

Anyway, it was really great getting Scott’s perspective on things and getting a tour of Podango’s studio (which is huge, his company has done film and TV production in addition to things like This Week in Photography, which already is my favorite show about photography).

I found our two-hour conversation rejuvenated me. Which is pretty rare and why I seek out conversations with interesting and brilliant people who are trying to build interesting and brilliant things.

Who have you talked with who’s gotten you to see things in a new way?

35 thoughts on “Rejuvenating with Scott Bourne (and talking about whether I’m paid to pimp stuff like FriendFeed)

  1. Scoble,
    When you said you’re not paid by WordPress, do you actually pay wordpress to be a VIP? Same question for Kyte and Qik. Did they give you a free Nokia phone? If they did, then shouldn’t you disclose that too?

  2. Scoble,
    When you said you’re not paid by WordPress, do you actually pay wordpress to be a VIP? Same question for Kyte and Qik. Did they give you a free Nokia phone? If they did, then shouldn’t you disclose that too?

  3. I think you should judge a person’s character not by what they achieve in business or what big, expensive toys they possess but how they treat people they have power over, like their employees.

    I’ve done a lot of interviews and, of course, if they have a lick of sense the interviewee is “nice” to me…I can influence how others perceive them (not in the tech field but in my own field). Sometimes a person wants to be perceived as an a$$hole but most people want the interviewer to write something favorable about them. There doesn’t have to be money or goods involved, it can just be about tending to the interviewer’s needs or flattering them.

    I think “pimp” is too strong a word but I do think you sometimes sound more like a fan than a journalist. You also refer to the individuals who read your written work as your “fans” which, as a reader, I find troubling. It’s why I’m not a subscriber to this blog or your Twitter feed.

    Just because I’m interested in someone’s opinion doesn’t make me a fan of theirs and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be perceived that way either, to being thought of as uncritical towards those you interview or blind to their faults. Of course, everyone has their subjective viewpoint but it can get sloppy when your admiration of a person overrides your “duty” to see and speak the whole truth, not just what the person or company wants the public to see or know.

    In political journalism, for example, reporters have been accused of going soft in order to have continued access to powerful people they need to get quotes from. And the danger of speaking the truth, however unpleasant, can sometimes get you off of the guest list for parties or not be on a first name basis with every powerbroker or CEO.

    It’s an ongoing issue every writer needs to keep reflecting on throughout their career, IMHO.

  4. I think you should judge a person’s character not by what they achieve in business or what big, expensive toys they possess but how they treat people they have power over, like their employees.

    I’ve done a lot of interviews and, of course, if they have a lick of sense the interviewee is “nice” to me…I can influence how others perceive them (not in the tech field but in my own field). Sometimes a person wants to be perceived as an a$$hole but most people want the interviewer to write something favorable about them. There doesn’t have to be money or goods involved, it can just be about tending to the interviewer’s needs or flattering them.

    I think “pimp” is too strong a word but I do think you sometimes sound more like a fan than a journalist. You also refer to the individuals who read your written work as your “fans” which, as a reader, I find troubling. It’s why I’m not a subscriber to this blog or your Twitter feed.

    Just because I’m interested in someone’s opinion doesn’t make me a fan of theirs and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be perceived that way either, to being thought of as uncritical towards those you interview or blind to their faults. Of course, everyone has their subjective viewpoint but it can get sloppy when your admiration of a person overrides your “duty” to see and speak the whole truth, not just what the person or company wants the public to see or know.

    In political journalism, for example, reporters have been accused of going soft in order to have continued access to powerful people they need to get quotes from. And the danger of speaking the truth, however unpleasant, can sometimes get you off of the guest list for parties or not be on a first name basis with every powerbroker or CEO.

    It’s an ongoing issue every writer needs to keep reflecting on throughout their career, IMHO.

  5. Call this a gripe if you like:

    I’ve noticed a lot of your interview write-ups include a note that the interviewee was “a nice guy” or equivalent. Does that mean that when you do an interview and don’ inclde that notation that the person was an a-hole?

    An attribute of good journalism, if not THE attribute, is objectivity. If you’ve known someone for a few years, interact with them of the record and know them to be “a nice guy” that’s probably worth a mention.

    I don’t know about you, but most of the people I meet and talk to fall into the category of “nice guy” (or gal). That doesn’t mean though that in their professional life they are not selling snake-oil, perhaps unknowingly, or perhaps knowingly, but with good motives like getting their kids through college.

    Here are some questions that I’d like to see asked of all of these self-promoters, nice or otherwise:

    (1) Do you have a policy against lock-on? Can users easily export/import data? Does your service or hardware device work with multiple operating systems r does it require that I use Windows, or a specific web browser, or a specific word processing program, e-mail client, etc?

    (2) There are other questions like API support, DRM, end-of-life support (Microsoft Music) and so on, but the answer to questions in (1) will pretty much tell you all you need to know about the answers to the other questions, so I’ll just leave it at that.

    Of course asking potentially embarrassing questions may not result in the “nicest” of interviews, but it will sure make them more useful. Since most of us are not likely to ever meet these people I’m not sure how important their ability to make a good first impression is to us.

    For the record, Larry Ellison was extremely nice to me when I met him back in the 70s. Hard to square with some things I’ve read about him since.

  6. Call this a gripe if you like:

    I’ve noticed a lot of your interview write-ups include a note that the interviewee was “a nice guy” or equivalent. Does that mean that when you do an interview and don’ inclde that notation that the person was an a-hole?

    An attribute of good journalism, if not THE attribute, is objectivity. If you’ve known someone for a few years, interact with them of the record and know them to be “a nice guy” that’s probably worth a mention.

    I don’t know about you, but most of the people I meet and talk to fall into the category of “nice guy” (or gal). That doesn’t mean though that in their professional life they are not selling snake-oil, perhaps unknowingly, or perhaps knowingly, but with good motives like getting their kids through college.

    Here are some questions that I’d like to see asked of all of these self-promoters, nice or otherwise:

    (1) Do you have a policy against lock-on? Can users easily export/import data? Does your service or hardware device work with multiple operating systems r does it require that I use Windows, or a specific web browser, or a specific word processing program, e-mail client, etc?

    (2) There are other questions like API support, DRM, end-of-life support (Microsoft Music) and so on, but the answer to questions in (1) will pretty much tell you all you need to know about the answers to the other questions, so I’ll just leave it at that.

    Of course asking potentially embarrassing questions may not result in the “nicest” of interviews, but it will sure make them more useful. Since most of us are not likely to ever meet these people I’m not sure how important their ability to make a good first impression is to us.

    For the record, Larry Ellison was extremely nice to me when I met him back in the 70s. Hard to square with some things I’ve read about him since.

  7. Griping has value, as you gripe about what is wrong, to fix that which is not. Auditors, Quality Control Engineers, Film Critics, Journalists, Scientists make livings doing nothing but griping. But if you go ‘yes and no diplomatic’, never coming to any conclusion, they call you an analyst. Then you can muddle around all day, being vague, playing with ever-changing metrics, THEN you “add value”, like Jeremiah does it all day long. ;)

    Had you followed my advice on WDC, back then, wow. You truly are the greatest fortune-teller, only in reverse, uncanny in accuracy. But whata I know, I am just a “jealous idiot”. Still Seagate, was one company I thought halfway immune, obviously not.

  8. Griping has value, as you gripe about what is wrong, to fix that which is not. Auditors, Quality Control Engineers, Film Critics, Journalists, Scientists make livings doing nothing but griping. But if you go ‘yes and no diplomatic’, never coming to any conclusion, they call you an analyst. Then you can muddle around all day, being vague, playing with ever-changing metrics, THEN you “add value”, like Jeremiah does it all day long. ;)

    Had you followed my advice on WDC, back then, wow. You truly are the greatest fortune-teller, only in reverse, uncanny in accuracy. But whata I know, I am just a “jealous idiot”. Still Seagate, was one company I thought halfway immune, obviously not.

  9. About SAP… Are you planning to cover their products somehow? Perhaps not, but anyway it would be interesting to see if you can find any coolness from ERP space.

  10. About SAP… Are you planning to cover their products somehow? Perhaps not, but anyway it would be interesting to see if you can find any coolness from ERP space.

  11. It’s cool that so many people value your opinion enough to believe that if you think it’s cool, its worth checking out. I say Go ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

    As for the “HATERS…” Back in the day they’d say “There’s no such thing as bad ink. I guess today’s version is “there’s no such thing as bad pixels?”

  12. It’s cool that so many people value your opinion enough to believe that if you think it’s cool, its worth checking out. I say Go ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

    As for the “HATERS…” Back in the day they’d say “There’s no such thing as bad ink. I guess today’s version is “there’s no such thing as bad pixels?”

  13. @ steve hodson …. those who slog ahead everyday are some of the most boring people on earth

    how do find the interesting ones in the mass?

  14. @ steve hodson …. those who slog ahead everyday are some of the most boring people on earth

    how do find the interesting ones in the mass?

  15. Wow Robert it looks like you get your share of comments from jealous idiots too! One correction – I don’t “own” the studio where Diggnation was once filmed. I just pay rent on it.

    Come by any time it was great to talk with you.

  16. Wow Robert it looks like you get your share of comments from jealous idiots too! One correction – I don’t “own” the studio where Diggnation was once filmed. I just pay rent on it.

    Come by any time it was great to talk with you.

  17. PS – More likely that you’d be paid by the COMPETITORS of all those Web 2.0 deadpools, as anything you talk up, well, gets cursed. Seagate certainly no exception.

    Here’s the lovely story. Seagate digests Maxtor, needs a push, goes long-term with Komag. WDC buys Komag, supplying Seagate. Irony. :) Seagate buying Maxtor was the best thing for WDC. Now Seagate, going patent hoard, suing STEX and soon (reading tea leaves) Intel and Samsung, with Siemens on their back. Plus, Watkins, king of world. when Scoble yanked, is now one of the most investor hated CEOs, top 25, at least. No High Cap 2.5″ drives, lack of expandability with the 250GB/platters, how he keeps his job amazes me, more a politician than a CEO.

    If I was WDC I’d be handing bagfuls of dough to Scoble,

    STX stock price Jun 07′ = $21.00
    Jun 08′ = $21.00

    WDC stock price Jun 07′ = $20.00
    Jun 08′ = $39.75

  18. PS – More likely that you’d be paid by the COMPETITORS of all those Web 2.0 deadpools, as anything you talk up, well, gets cursed. Seagate certainly no exception.

    Here’s the lovely story. Seagate digests Maxtor, needs a push, goes long-term with Komag. WDC buys Komag, supplying Seagate. Irony. :) Seagate buying Maxtor was the best thing for WDC. Now Seagate, going patent hoard, suing STEX and soon (reading tea leaves) Intel and Samsung, with Siemens on their back. Plus, Watkins, king of world. when Scoble yanked, is now one of the most investor hated CEOs, top 25, at least. No High Cap 2.5″ drives, lack of expandability with the 250GB/platters, how he keeps his job amazes me, more a politician than a CEO.

    If I was WDC I’d be handing bagfuls of dough to Scoble,

    STX stock price Jun 07′ = $21.00
    Jun 08′ = $21.00

    WDC stock price Jun 07′ = $20.00
    Jun 08′ = $39.75

  19. Talking up another Web 2.0 media-drip company guy, that’s into photography podcasts and rides Harley’s casually, part time bad-ass…heart be still, geeeee whiz, that’s really going outside the demographic there, Metallurgist’s from Peoria, need not apply.

    Get out of “expert driven” podcast aggregating, backtrack, backtrack. Take abandoned pre-boom industrial-freight-elevatorish warehouseish space, turn into something faintly resembling a studio, buy lots of equipment that the biggies wouldn’t even sniff at (no Panavision Genesis here), but kick out the jams on the low-hanging fruit of Web 2.0ish podcasters and “video producers”, pray and hope, enough dupes out there to maintain a decent cash stream. Pray again and again.

    Funny, that was EXACTLY Podtech’s biz model once, now just borrring infomericals from borring companies duped into playing with the latest shiny toys.

    Podango’s press releases are HILARIOUS, but I think they/he actually took that seriously. But gosh, is anyone looking at the audience numbers? NO ONE is listening to these amateur things, repeat no one, all rumblings are Snakes-on-a-Plane Dean-phenom like, heavy termite-chewing from the same core of people. The only place “podcasting” is getting any kick, be well-established places like Rush Limbaugh, and then it’s just on-the-go replacement mp3′s at that, no “I invented it all” Adam Curry buzzwords to kick out the jams, some MC5 lingo there.

  20. Talking up another Web 2.0 media-drip company guy, that’s into photography podcasts and rides Harley’s casually, part time bad-ass…heart be still, geeeee whiz, that’s really going outside the demographic there, Metallurgist’s from Peoria, need not apply.

    Get out of “expert driven” podcast aggregating, backtrack, backtrack. Take abandoned pre-boom industrial-freight-elevatorish warehouseish space, turn into something faintly resembling a studio, buy lots of equipment that the biggies wouldn’t even sniff at (no Panavision Genesis here), but kick out the jams on the low-hanging fruit of Web 2.0ish podcasters and “video producers”, pray and hope, enough dupes out there to maintain a decent cash stream. Pray again and again.

    Funny, that was EXACTLY Podtech’s biz model once, now just borrring infomericals from borring companies duped into playing with the latest shiny toys.

    Podango’s press releases are HILARIOUS, but I think they/he actually took that seriously. But gosh, is anyone looking at the audience numbers? NO ONE is listening to these amateur things, repeat no one, all rumblings are Snakes-on-a-Plane Dean-phenom like, heavy termite-chewing from the same core of people. The only place “podcasting” is getting any kick, be well-established places like Rush Limbaugh, and then it’s just on-the-go replacement mp3′s at that, no “I invented it all” Adam Curry buzzwords to kick out the jams, some MC5 lingo there.

  21. you know Robert I think it is really great that you get to talk to all of these fancinating wealthy people in whant amounts sometimes (or so it seems) to a pimping of their respective companies. Yes we can learn a lot and we get to see some cool stuff.

    But knowing how you like to meet new people and help the blogosphere as a whole I think that maybe if you took some time and talked / interviewed some of those folks who slog ahead everyday trying to provide information and opinion from their blogs for no other reason than they love what they are doing.

    Who knows maybe you will learn something new from them as well and in turn you are helping out the grassroots of the blogosphere.

    Just a thought.

  22. you know Robert I think it is really great that you get to talk to all of these fancinating wealthy people in whant amounts sometimes (or so it seems) to a pimping of their respective companies. Yes we can learn a lot and we get to see some cool stuff.

    But knowing how you like to meet new people and help the blogosphere as a whole I think that maybe if you took some time and talked / interviewed some of those folks who slog ahead everyday trying to provide information and opinion from their blogs for no other reason than they love what they are doing.

    Who knows maybe you will learn something new from them as well and in turn you are helping out the grassroots of the blogosphere.

    Just a thought.

  23. If you don’t have an interesting conversation queued up for tomorrow yet, let me know and I will come over. My 50th reunion high school class just told me I was fascinating ROFL

  24. If you don’t have an interesting conversation queued up for tomorrow yet, let me know and I will come over. My 50th reunion high school class just told me I was fascinating ROFL

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