Seagate avoids Scoble Blindness with new HD media sharing and storage device

Alan Wolk made an important point for marketers: do not get blinded by “Scoble blindness.”

What is “Scoble blindness?” Making products just for Scoble, or thinking that I, or my behaviors online, represent the mass market. Alan is right. They do not. But more on that later.

Here Seagate, our premier sponsor over on FastCompanyTV (they have sponsored my video shows for several years now, which lets me go around the world and meet the top tech entrepreneurs and innovators), shows they get this better than anyone with its introduction of Seagate’s FreeAgent|Theater HD media player (we have exclusive video to show you what the device does). The New York Times wrote up more on the device.

Did they make a geeky media center device that can do everything that geeks want? That will thrill me and my fellow geeks? No.

They saw that normal people (those people who don’t yet know what Twitter or friendfeed are) are having tons of troubles just getting the photos they shot on their new digital camera up on their big HDTV. Or, maybe they got a new FlipCam HD and they want to play their videos on their screen to show their neighbors.

They saw that normal people don’t yet care about playing YouTube videos or doing Internet stuff like I do on my MacMini (and you probably do too).

So, they designed a product for the rest of the people. Here’s why the geeks might care too. My dad, for instance, wants to see videos and photos I shot of our 16-month-old son, Milan. But he doesn’t want to go to the trouble of going to Flickr, looking through all the pictures I shot of tech execs and other things, just to find the photos I shot of Milan.

Using Seagate’s new FreeAgent|Theater I just bring a hard drive over with those videos and photos, plug it into the USB port on the new device, and they show up on his HDTV. It’s that simple. No setting up Internet accounts. No struggling with going through all my other stuff.

Will I have one attached to my TV? No, I already have a bunch of ways to view that content (and have had for years) but will I get my dad one? Absolutely! Now I can bring him new videos and photos just by bringing a hard drive over. Cost? $130 (plus the cost of the USB-hard drives). Comes out this spring.

That’s a good example of avoiding “Scoble blindness.”

Now, in regard to Alan’s post, I think he got a lot wrong about what I do. I travel the world and talk with tons of “normal people.” I understand them a lot better than you will ever get from my blog. But I am not passionate about having conversations with them about technology. They don’t read blogs, they don’t hang out on twitter, and they aren’t addicted to friendfeed yet. So, excuse me if I’ll stay focused on what I’m passionate about here and on Fast Company TV: bringing you the most interesting people and ideas in the tech industry.

You can’t serve everyone in a blog. If I started writing posts for “normal people” then the advanced people in the audience would get turned off. This morning I spoke to an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show that was very advanced. How do I know that? Most of the audience was using TweetDeck. If I started talking to them about basic stuff like “this is Google, here’s a blog, here’s a YouTube video” they would have laughed me off the stage.

So, I’ll take the “Scoble blindness” abuse in stride. That means that I’ve done a great job of serving the audience I want to serve: you!

UPDATE: Want to try one? We’re running a Twitter contest to get some into your hands. More details on that shortly.

22 thoughts on “Seagate avoids Scoble Blindness with new HD media sharing and storage device

  1. PS – My money plunked down on the Popcorn Hour A-110 with WN-100, I mean what a killer featureset, tad costly tho.

    But no HDMI port on the Seagate?!?? These guys nuts?

    1. No HDMI – for a HD product? What on earth? Are they literally CRAZY?
    2. Ugly design, looks like a phone answering machine of the Rockford Files era.
    2. Locked into FreeAgent Go with that dock, get lost Passporters seems the message, shameless promoing their own hard drives. But that strategy will backfire, as I’ve never actually seen a FreeAgent in the wild, whereas Passports are like sand, everywhere.
    4. No 1080p, surely you jest?
    5. Costs more and not yet available.

    WDTV wins hands down, and with the new firmware update even more so. WD should just skip Fujitsu, and buy up Scotts Valley, put them outta their misery.

  2. PS – My money plunked down on the Popcorn Hour A-110 with WN-100, I mean what a killer featureset, tad costly tho.

    But no HDMI port on the Seagate?!?? These guys nuts?

    1. No HDMI – for a HD product? What on earth? Are they literally CRAZY?
    2. Ugly design, looks like a phone answering machine of the Rockford Files era.
    2. Locked into FreeAgent Go with that dock, get lost Passporters seems the message, shameless promoing their own hard drives. But that strategy will backfire, as I’ve never actually seen a FreeAgent in the wild, whereas Passports are like sand, everywhere.
    4. No 1080p, surely you jest?
    5. Costs more and not yet available.

    WDTV wins hands down, and with the new firmware update even more so. WD should just skip Fujitsu, and buy up Scotts Valley, put them outta their misery.

  3. WD TV is better and cheaper, and shipping. What’s the special sauce here?

    Normal people do internet content on laptops (and get bored with it) and get HD from DirectTV or Comcast PVRs, and maybe do a prefab ProShowish photo montage DVD disks, if lucky.

    Betweeners get a $50 Philips DVD player with a USB2 port and stick a USB flash stick in or burn a data DVD, the xvidish legally dubious TV and movie downloads, starting to creep into mainstream.

    Edgers cull from SANs/PS3/360s, and hack up AppleTV or Archos and go XBMC or TV Cardish BeyondTV and Sage and download things in 1.3 gig 720p. And firmware hack up everything.

    The WD TV and Seagate product falls into the Between market.

  4. WD TV is better and cheaper, and shipping. What’s the special sauce here?

    Normal people do internet content on laptops (and get bored with it) and get HD from DirectTV or Comcast PVRs, and maybe do a prefab ProShowish photo montage DVD disks, if lucky.

    Betweeners get a $50 Philips DVD player with a USB2 port and stick a USB flash stick in or burn a data DVD, the xvidish legally dubious TV and movie downloads, starting to creep into mainstream.

    Edgers cull from SANs/PS3/360s, and hack up AppleTV or Archos and go XBMC or TV Cardish BeyondTV and Sage and download things in 1.3 gig 720p. And firmware hack up everything.

    The WD TV and Seagate product falls into the Between market.

  5. @Leigh- great comment, could not agree more, really gets to the heart of what first struck me about this space. I remember how surprised I was when I learned that people didn’t actually know the “A-Listers” whose lives they were dissecting in such detail– it felt like reading a Bollywood fan magazine or something where there were all these “stars” I’d never heard of. And “sour grapes” is a more than apt description.

  6. @Leigh- great comment, could not agree more, really gets to the heart of what first struck me about this space. I remember how surprised I was when I learned that people didn’t actually know the “A-Listers” whose lives they were dissecting in such detail– it felt like reading a Bollywood fan magazine or something where there were all these “stars” I’d never heard of. And “sour grapes” is a more than apt description.

  7. I’ve never weighed in on Scoble comments before and i don’t know you personally, so I’m basing this comment off observations.

    Truthfully, I’m a fan of just about any person that can carve out a niche that enables that person to do what they love. I do understand and agree with Alan’s many of the points in Alan’s piece. However, I do believe that he was speaking to the boatload of people who seek to imitate you and your approach in a very misdirected fashion.

    It’s always jarring for me to see how PERSONAL people get when discussing “A-listers” – especially in social media. My friends are pretty cool about it — but with regard to some of the other, more hostile detractors… I guess that type of scrutiny comes with the territory in which you find yourself, Robert.

    I think you’d agree that it’s important for all of us to weigh and learn from the criticism and insight of others. At the same time, (and I’m NOT speaking of Alan’s post but some adjacent comments and things I’ve “heard”) we must filter out the stuff that smells a lot like sour grapes. ;-)

  8. I’ve never weighed in on Scoble comments before and i don’t know you personally, so I’m basing this comment off observations.

    Truthfully, I’m a fan of just about any person that can carve out a niche that enables that person to do what they love. I do understand and agree with Alan’s many of the points in Alan’s piece. However, I do believe that he was speaking to the boatload of people who seek to imitate you and your approach in a very misdirected fashion.

    It’s always jarring for me to see how PERSONAL people get when discussing “A-listers” – especially in social media. My friends are pretty cool about it — but with regard to some of the other, more hostile detractors… I guess that type of scrutiny comes with the territory in which you find yourself, Robert.

    I think you’d agree that it’s important for all of us to weigh and learn from the criticism and insight of others. At the same time, (and I’m NOT speaking of Alan’s post but some adjacent comments and things I’ve “heard”) we must filter out the stuff that smells a lot like sour grapes. ;-)

  9. Nice to see, but Western Digital already does this in a smaller package.

    The WD TV is a smaller package and can do 1080p HD.

    I own won, picked it up on sale for $99 at Best Buy the week it came out and have been really impressed with it.

    It has handled everything I have thrown at it. Has HDMI out, optical audio out as well as composite audio/video connections.

    I’m sure the Seagate product will be cool too, but they are playing catch up.

  10. Nice to see, but Western Digital already does this in a smaller package.

    The WD TV is a smaller package and can do 1080p HD.

    I own won, picked it up on sale for $99 at Best Buy the week it came out and have been really impressed with it.

    It has handled everything I have thrown at it. Has HDMI out, optical audio out as well as composite audio/video connections.

    I’m sure the Seagate product will be cool too, but they are playing catch up.

  11. My sister lives in Zambia, and likes to take photos of her four year old daughter. My mom looks at these pictures on Flickr when my sister sends her a direct link to the set.

    My mom’s TV is a 20″ CRT that dates back to the early 90s. She’s 65, and a retired public school teacher. I can’t imagine her dropping $1000 on a brand-new LCD TV when she’d rather spend the money on medications, her mortgage, or, shucks, even food.

    By the way, it’s great to see you spending a little more effort shooting nice photos with your $2800 SLR.

  12. My sister lives in Zambia, and likes to take photos of her four year old daughter. My mom looks at these pictures on Flickr when my sister sends her a direct link to the set.

    My mom’s TV is a 20″ CRT that dates back to the early 90s. She’s 65, and a retired public school teacher. I can’t imagine her dropping $1000 on a brand-new LCD TV when she’d rather spend the money on medications, her mortgage, or, shucks, even food.

    By the way, it’s great to see you spending a little more effort shooting nice photos with your $2800 SLR.

  13. Robert: Apologies if it seemed that I was painting you as some tech-obsessed poindexter who was incapable of talking with “normal people.”

    Far from it.

    I was referencing your writings here, in Fast Company and on Twitter, which, as you note, are primarily about technology, which is your passion. You do reach a lot of secondary tech-heads (myself included) and I hope I made it clear that I fully agree that you’re doing a stellar job reaching your intended audience.

    Consider the existence of “Scoble Blindness” an extreme compliment, that your fans cannot consider that the mass market isn’t equally as infatuated.

  14. Robert: Apologies if it seemed that I was painting you as some tech-obsessed poindexter who was incapable of talking with “normal people.”

    Far from it.

    I was referencing your writings here, in Fast Company and on Twitter, which, as you note, are primarily about technology, which is your passion. You do reach a lot of secondary tech-heads (myself included) and I hope I made it clear that I fully agree that you’re doing a stellar job reaching your intended audience.

    Consider the existence of “Scoble Blindness” an extreme compliment, that your fans cannot consider that the mass market isn’t equally as infatuated.

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