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Exit Interview with Scoble 97

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the need-to-stay-on-the-edge dept.
capt turnpike writes "It's no secret that Windows technology evangelist Robert Scoble (of Scobelizer blogging fame) is leaving Microsoft for a startup, but Microsoft Watch's Mary Jo Foley has the first exit interview with Scoble. Topics range from what Microsoft could have done to keep him spreading the word and building out MS's Channel 9 community site, where he sees MS going and more. From the article: 'There were times when I knew I was taking risks. I didn't know what would happen when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on the gay rights bill wasn't good.'"
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Exit Interview with Scoble

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  • by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @06:30PM (#15528591) Homepage
    I can predict what to expect: 50% chance of a dock in pay, with showers of chairs continuing until mid-evening.
  • Article text (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Scoble The Exit Interview
    By Mary Jo Foley
    Microsoft tech evangelist and alpha blogger Robert Scoble talks about everything from his tensest moments at Microsoft, to what Microsoft could have done to keep him, as he prepares to leave the Redmond software maker and join startup PodTech.Net.

    The Scobleizer hasn't yet left the building. But he will be doing so soon.

    On June 10, word began to leak across the blogosphere that Robert Scoble, Windows technology evangelist and well-known Microsoft blogger, had decided
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @06:45PM (#15528654)
    Proof that Microsoft have also been violating some of SCO's intellectual property.

    ROBert SCOble

    Darl has already seen straight through that obviously made up Microsoft project name.
  • So in other words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547)
    FTA: "...but I want to do the startup life for a few years while I have the ability to take on a good amount of risk."

    So in other words, this guy is rich and he can afford to work on a startup and that work is probably more exciting the working for Microsoft.
    • Re:So in other words (Score:1, Interesting)

      by alfrin (858861)
      Don't you just love how "startup" is becoming the next "cool" thing to do in the business world. Because if you have a startup that has a MILDLY interesting product, thats become better than years of hard work at a corporation on a resume. This is another example of a rich guy with nothing better to do than expirement.
    • Actually, with that particular punctuation and capitalization, it doesn't mean much of anything at all.
    • So in other words, this guy is rich

      Not likely. He wasn't very far up the food chain at MS.

      -jcr
    • by cmacb (547347) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:38PM (#15529130) Homepage Journal
      He's not rich from working at Microsoft, unless he seriously lied about his salary. More likely what he means is that he doesn't have to be saving for retirement or putting his kid through college for a few years yet.

      The main problem I had with him was that he put a kinder face on Microsoft than it deserved. He was a shill, knowingly or not. What he will be doing next is a lot more honest, whether it succeeds or not. I personally think that blogging, including the audio and video forms has peaked (thank God!) but I'm sure there is still money to be had from it if you have the right product.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The main problem I had with him was that he put a kinder face on Microsoft than it deserved. He was a shill, knowingly or not.

        Why would I believe a regular Slashdot poster about what kind of company Microsoft is over someone who 1) interviewed many high and mid level managers 2) had a job that involved walking the halls of Microsoft to try and figure out what was going on 3) challenged his audience daily with his findings 4) thought daily about techonology and Microsoft's role in it's future 4) publicly spo
        • It's really about some people on Slashdot who don't want their belief system challenged in any way. For them MS is totally evil and no evidence to the contrary will every be accepted.
        • by Moraelin (679338)
          Let me tell you about another group to which your words can be applied verbatim. In Soviet Russia they had newspapers, radio, and TV, and reporters who:

          1) interviewed many high high and middle level party officials

          2) had a job involving walking the halls of various official institutions to try to figure out what was going on

          3) challenged their audience daily with their findings

          4) thought daily about politics and the Soviet Union's role in the future

          5) publically spoke out against (mild and pre-approved) var
          • The parent illustrates exactly what I was talking about in my other post. People who don't want their belief systems challenged will not accept any evidence to the contrary. These people will plug their ears and shout to avoid hearing anything that they don't want to believe.
            • As opposed to you, who just post the above bullshit about anyone who dares think different than you do? Is that your point, little fanboy? That surely only those who are on your side of the story are open minded, and everyone even exercising some minimal skepticism is covering their eyes before The Truth(TM)?

              Did you even bother checking that I'm actually fairly pro-MS before writing that idiocy? Nah, you just assumed that anyone who even dares be skeptical about one particular PR voice _must_ be some sworn
              • "Did you even bother checking that I'm actually fairly pro-MS before writing that idiocy?"

                I don't have any obligation to research your opinions other than the one I'm responding to. Each post has to stand on it's own.

                You accused somebody of lying or being a shill without any evidence to back it up. Then you prattle on and on about Soviet Russia as if this proves something.

                If I'm wrong about you being anti-MS than I'm sorry, but when I saw that you felt the need to call somebody a liar just because they said
                • Again you assume too much about what I aggree or disaggree with.

                  This has nothing to do with whether I like or dislike MS, or with whether I aggree or not with his views. It is strictly about exercising some healthy skepticism when your source of information isn't an independent unbiased source. That's all.

                  Yes, it's pretty stupid to assume that he must be lying, but here's the catch: it's equally stupid to assume that he must be saying the untainted truth just because he seems cool, hip, intelligent and inde
                  • Sorry about the (nearly) duplicate posts. My first response appeared to end up in the Slashdot bitbucket so I had to rewrite and repost it. Then the first showed up after all.
              • This, mister, is called a smackdown. And the guy did not respond for a reason:

                He was busy running away, his tail between his legs.

                good post.

                Regards.
              • "Did you even bother checking that I'm actually fairly pro-MS before writing that idiocy?"

                No. Every post must stand on its own.

                You accused someone of being a liar or a shill without a shred of evidence simply because you disagreed with what they said. That sounds like zealot behavior to me.

                If you disagree with him, fine. Can't he just be mistaken then? Why does he have to be a liar or a shill?
                • OK. I went back and looked at some of your writings and there is evidence that you're not a zealot. I'm sorry for calling you that.

                • You accused someone of being a liar or a shill without a shred of evidence simply because you disagreed with what they said.

                  Scoble was paid to evangelise Microsoft Windows Technology. He was open about it, so he's not a shill, and he may have been honest, so he's not a liar. But he's still not a trustworthy source, because "Scoble was paid to evangelise Microsoft Windows Technology". People working in PR are mainly honest, but I still don't trust what they say, because they're being paid to say it.

        • It sounds to me like he's suggesting that Scoble was an evangelist.
          One who absolutely believes in something, and will stop at nothing to spread the Good News. Sorry, I don't go to the Pope for impartial news on Catholicism, and I don't go to the White House Press Secretary for impartial news on the Bush Administration. Why should I go to an self-described "Microsoft Evangelist" for impartial news on Microsoft.

          Normally, of course, evangelists aren't swayed solely by the big paycheck but by a core belief an
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @02:02AM (#15530334)
        The closest definition I could find for 'shill' on Google said, "In some cases, the members of an organization or the employees of a company may monitor and/or participate in public discussions and groups. Such people are not shills, since they don't attempt to mislead others."

        As far as I can tell, Scoble did no misleading. He made no attempts to hide the fact that he worked for MS, and he did nothing that made his blogs or videos appear untrustworthy. For example, it is painfully obvious that his videos have no PR person directing them or even editing them. He just walked into peoples' offices with a video camera, hit REC, and started talking.

        He may have put a human face on MS by letting us all see inside the belly of the beast, but I don't understand what's wrong with that. What's wrong with giving some insight into how things work and why certain decisions were made? Transparency is supposed to be one of the great things about Open Source, so what's wrong when it applies to MS?

        dom
  • Nice to see that he still has good things to say about Microsoft and it's management.
  • by icepick72 (834363) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @06:57PM (#15528722)
    I didn't know what would happen when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on the gay rights bill wasn't good.'"

    Wow, it takes on a whole new meaning when you add some punctuation and capitalize Bill:

    I didn't know what would happen when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on the gay rights: Bill, wasn't good.'
  • "Topics range from what Microsoft could have done to keep him spreading the word.."

    Should actually read something like:

    "Topics range from what Microsoft could have done to keep him, to spreading the word.."

    It takes on another meaning without the punctuation. At first I thought they were trying to suppress him from spreading the word about the channel 9 site or something. editors?
    • "Topics range from what Microsoft could have done to keep him spreading the word.."

      Should actually read something like:

      "Topics range from what Microsoft could have done to keep him, to spreading the word.."

      I think the punctuation was entirely intention, and correct. Scoble's position at Microsoft was largely "spreading the word" aka evangelizing. One topic, phrased as an extent of the set, was what Microsoft could have done to keep him doing this -- What Microsoft could have done to keep him spreading the w

  • Scoble Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macrat (638047) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @07:07PM (#15528777)

    Isn't this guy only famous because he was hired by Microsoft to blog?

    Now he is just a nobody again, right?

  • FTA:

    Another surprise? That every bad decision that I thought was bad had a logical explanation behind it. I didn't always agree with the decisions but there was always a decent thought process behind every decision and, most of the time, after hearing the circumstances behind a decision I usually came to the same conclusion that they did. It's not easy building software that hundreds of millions of people use.

    Someone put too much XAML in his Cool-Aid...
    • Damn you! Now I want kool-aid! And I have none.
    • I look at it as more of a non-statement. I've never seen a business decision that didn't have some reasoning behind it. If anything it tells me that the article was more of a fluff piece that anything else.
      • I've never seen a business decision that didn't have some reasoning behind it.

        That's pretty much what I thought when I read the article.

        Every business decision has a reason. Always. The reason might not be obvious for someone outside the company, but it exists.

        Sometimes, the reason is not even clear to the people inside the company. That usually indicates there is some personal conflict at work. Or it means that someone tries to advance a personal goal, not necessary in the interest of the whole compa

        • The corrolary being that it doesn't have to be a _good_ reason, nor be ther best way to act upon that reason. It also doesn't have to be the publically stated one: people are very good at starting with what they personally want ("but I really want a pony!!!") and working from there to find some bogus rationale they can tell others ("our poll (on exactly one person) indicated that the company's productivity and morale would increase if the CEO had a pony.")

          Frankly, I've seen lots of decisions that technicall
    • ***That every bad decision that I thought was bad had a logical explanation behind it.***

      No, that's a fair assessment I think. Microsoft doesn't make all that many bad decisions. But when they do screw something up, they screw things up big time. My short list of things Microsoft did wrong.

      1. The Registry. They really should have known that a huge, undocumentable data base with sloppy security was going to cause untold mischief. If they had called me in 1993 and asked, I'd have told them pretty mu

      • The registry is a scary thing. I think text files were just considered uncool at MS at one point. INI files were complicated enough, perhaps. But that's nothing, really.

        I've witnessed the use of the registry as an IPC mechanism, if you can believe that. That really creeped me out. But later, I worked with MS RPC (which actually used invisible windows to communicate), the use of shared DLL memory without OS mutex primitives, ATL - and learned to suspend the gag reflex.

        There are things you wish you could un-s
  • FTA:

    Q: What was your biggest surprise about being A Borg?

    A: That they'd really just let me walk around with a camcorder without having a PR person or a lawyer along. Even after quitting I have the entire run of the place.

  • oh neat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bunions (970377) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @07:25PM (#15528849)
    blogosphere drama, how fascinating.
  • by rifftide (679288) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @07:34PM (#15528881)
    He was a sort of newspaper ombudsman as well as their connection to the blogosphere. Someone who could take heat from the public without stonewalling it, who could act as a cheerleader for company products without coming across as too much of a shill. He built credibility by praising competitor's hit products early and often. Likeable enough to get lots of people inside and outside the company to talk. Interesting enough that readers came back the next day. Ambitious, but not so high and mighty that he would leave in a huff.

    They must have figured out early on that he was only going to stay with them 2-3 years, and are relieved that he didn't move on to Google. I wonder if they'll replace him with another high profile type, or opt for the safer blog-by-committee.
    • He was a sort of newspaper ombudsman as well as their connection to the blogosphere. Someone who could take heat from the public without stonewalling it, who could act as a cheerleader for company products without coming across as too much of a shill.

      In the true Tom Wolfe sense of the phrase, he was flak catcher [amazon.com]. An employee whose job it is to deal with and assuage the complaints of customers/constituents (i.e. keep them away from the people who make the decision), whilst being wholly complicit in the fa

  • by cecom (698048)
    Oh, I see he wrote the Windows Vista kernel. No ? MS Office ? Again no ? C#? No, no and no ??? WTF did he code then ?

    Oh, I see he was a an MS evangelist and he wrote blogs! Impressive.
  • Don't.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by mkiwi (585287) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:02PM (#15528993)
    There were times when I knew I was taking risks. I didn't know what would happen when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on the gay rights bill wasn't good

    Don't let the chair hit you up the butt on your way out of Ballmer's office.

  • by L the Cat (965633) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:09PM (#15529021)
    If Scoble is looking for something to keep him excited, I have the pefect recipe: be a Windows Evangelist on /.
    • If Scoble is looking for something to keep him excited, I have the pefect recipe: be a Windows Evangelist on /.
      Only if you count banging your head against a brick wall as exciting.
  • Security? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by RollingThunder (88952)
    FTA:
    Q: What was your biggest surprise about working at Microsoft?

    A: That they'd really just let me walk around with a camcorder without having a PR person or a lawyer along. Even after quitting I have the entire run of the place. That's not typical even in the technology world. At Apple my brother-in-law's badge only works in his building.


    Sooo... they're taking the same lax attitude about computing security and applying it to physical security as well?

    Not everyone should have admin, and not everyone should
    • >Not everyone should have admin
      True.

      >not everyone should have all-building access
      Also true.

      However, those two items don't support your contention that MS is taking a lax attitude to physical security. Scoble didn't say that every employee has access to every server room. He didn't even say for certainty that he does. Allowing employees open access to all work spaces provides a much larger benefit to freedom of collaboration than the slight added risk inherent in letting people into office buildings
      • Allowing employees open access to all work spaces provides a much larger benefit to freedom of collaboration than the slight added risk inherent in letting people into office buildings that they don't necessarily need to visit.

        That must be why you can't talk to someone on another team without their manager's approval.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can say this because I work for PodTech.net. We're all incredibly excited to have him on board. I had been following him long before I started working at PodTech.net and consider myself a fan. I gotta say that it's been rather funny hearing all of the speculation regarding what we're about. I can't speak for why he left Microsoft, but I can only imagine that just as I left one great company that I still have high regard for, there were many reasons for *joining PodTech* for him as well.

    These are incre
  • by ayjay29 (144994) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:32AM (#15530577)
    >>Who was the most interesting person you interviewed on Channel 9 and why?

    >>I'd have to say Bill Hill (guy who runs the reading technology/font teams) He was a huge amount of luck cause he was the first interview Charles and I did but he was hilarious and had great insights. His personality is great, too.

    Check this [msdn.com] out, the guy is great. (Don't know why but he just reminds me of Billy Connaly. ;-)

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