The Scoble Train Derails

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I like Robert Scoble alot. I wish I knew him better. I’ve met the guy at a variety of industry events and he’s a very personable guy. Disarmingly so. His contagious laugh is sure to put everyone at ease. And he really has a firm handle on social marketing. Just ask him about “starfish marketing” (I don’t know if thats what he calls it, but it fits) – an approach to marketing that involves promotion across social networks.

So don’t get me wrong, I really, really respect the guy as a thinker and as an early adopter.

However, I think he lost his Valium at Gnomedex. Since Gnomedex, I’ve been, well, uncomfortable with him. He’s been way over the top obnoxious and critical. It’s unlike him, in my opinion. Let’s look at a timeline:

  • Aug 9, 2007 – Chuck Olsen floats rumor of Scoble leaving PodTech on Twitter. Andrew Baron jumps on the story (unconfirmed, later retracted)
  • Aug 13, 2007 – Scoble takes a week off after some depression. Cites rumor-mongerors about PodTech departure
  • Aug 16, 2007 – PodTech CEO John Furrier steps down. The COO, James McCormick, replaces him. Scoble is passed over. To be fair, I don’t know if Scoble would even want a CEO job. Doesn’t seem to be “him”.
  • Aug 22, 2007 – Exchange over Twitter between Chris Pirillo and Scoble. Scoble smacks Pirillo by saying Gnomedex was a mediocre event that didn’t have TED-quality speakers (one of many Tweets that night). But, it also doesn’t have a TED-like pricetag. Chris is already on the defensive due to events transpiring in and at Gnomedex and in the back channels. Scoble piles on the man who he stood with at his wedding as Best Man just a few months ago. This doesn’t communicate objectivity in criticizing a colleague, it demonstrates “ass-like” tendencies.
  • Aug 27, 2007 – Scoble acknowledges the backlash he is receiving in a flippant sort of way.
  • Aug 29, 2007 – Today. For good measure, I throw in one of his articles where Scoble continues his “nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms” routine.

Now remember, I like Scoble. I don’t want to see him trashed, nor do I want to see his professional impulses damaged. But if I were Scoble, I’d be stepping back and wondering if I were doing something that was alienating his supporters. It seems like there is a general swing in opinion that is not in his favor and he can take the “everyone else is wrong” approach, or he can re-jig his gears and tweak whatever it is that he is doing wrong. If I have to guess, he’s talking too much and listening to little. Ego will kill.

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