Time to get this blog back in gear. And what a better time to do it than with the landmark announcement over the weekend that
Robert Scoble is leaving Microsoft to work for Podtech Update: Maryam is joining Podtech, too. She'll be announcing it soon. Congrats to the both of them.
Robert changed the blogosphere. His engaging style, insights and jovial personality combined as a potent force that he used artfully.. He's a master of the medium. He does great work.
Will Robert have the same effect on podcasting?
Podcasting is a world of its own. Personalities abound but no one, I think you could argue, has transcended the podcasting medium the way Robert has done in the blogosphere. Adam Curry, Chris Pirillo and folks like Eric Rice are immensely popular. Doug Kaye is a legend. Correct me please if you disagree but I do not know of any podcasters who has had as much of an influence as Robert has with his blog.
Will lightning strike twice?
Robert did have the good fortune of blogging from Redmond. He worked there at a time when the company needed to display itself in a way that would counter its image as an evil empire of sorts. He opened up the company in a way that will serve as a historical example of how blogging has affected corporate culture. Channel 9 did what it was supposed to do. With his rough cut video intervews, Robert and the team he worked with showed that people besides Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie actually work at the company.
The timing was just right for a personality like Robert to be a Microsoft blogger and engage with folks. He's a jolly guy, able to counter flames from angry commenters. He'd get fried sometimes. But he was always quick to get back in and engage. He did it in a way that wasn't over the top. And that counts for a lot. It's easier to be a lightning rod when people like you.
We know little about what Robert's role will be at Podtech. But his impact will be far different. My guess is he will continue to be an evangelist in some way, back on the conference circuit, interviewingh people and bringing the message to the corporate world about the offerings that grass roots media and Podtech provides.
Will he have the same effect on podcasting that he had on blogging? Is podcasting so different that the two are mutually exclusive in how they impact our lives? Will there ever be a Scoble like personality in the podcasting world? Podtech doesn't seem like the place where Robert will act as a lightning rod. But maybe he'll do a daily show? Rile it up? I'd love to see that.
I just expect that we will continue to see Robert do great work. And that in itself ill make an impact on podcasting that will change the medium for all of us.
Good luck, Robert and Maryam. We'll all be watching with interest.