Robert Scoble — aka The Scobleizer — works at Rackspace, where he's building a community for people fanatical about the Internet called building43. But that just scratches the surface. Scoble has been making a name for himself on the Internet for a while now.
"There’s a really excellent about page over on Wikipedia about me. I didn’t write a single word about it, but I do watch to make sure it’s accurate," he told me.
So let's start there. He's best known for his (late great) blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technology evangelist at Microsoft. It earned him a mention in the Economist in 2005, which noted Scoble had become
a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience."
Thoughts from a Tech Evangelist
As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books — including "The Age of Context," co-authored with Shel Israel -- YouTube and many social media sites.
Sobel: Tell us a bit more about your years at Microsoft, the birth and growth of your awesome blog “Scobleizer” and your work at Rackspace.
Scoble: Rackspace is a cloud computing company that hosts about 200,000 companies' websites — everything from TED to Pabst. They ask me to study the future, so I go around the world and meet with innovators, mostly startups, and also interview tons of them in my San Francisco-based studio.
I've been blogging since 2000, when I helped run some programmer-focused conferences, but lately I've switched to social media, distributing my content via Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter, among others. In 2003, my journey brought me to Microsoft, where I interviewed hundreds of employees, from the janitor to Bill Gates. I've also worked at Fast Company, producing my videos for a channel there.
At Rackspace I do a few things that aren't readily apparent: brand development, lots of public speaking, business development and strategy. If the innovator I am interviewing isn't on Rackspace, I pass along details about why not.
Sobel: In 2006, you and Shel Israel wrote “Naked Conversations,” a book that persuaded businesses to embrace what we now call social media. In 2013, you teamed up with Shel again to report that social media is but one of five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. Can you explain what that is all about?