Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Thursday, March 28, 2002

Oh, boo hoo, the Web sucks and there's nothing worth visiting anymore, right? At least that's what this article says. What bull+++t. I guess they don't visit the personal sites that spring up every few seconds at <sigh>

A friend just asked "what kind of job would you be interested in?"

Hmmm. That got me thinking.

1) I'd want to be around people who've done interesting things. I'd prefer those interesting things to be business related, but heck, if you're a janitor who's won a Gold medal at the Olympics, that'll do.
2) I want to be in the computer industry. Why? Cause I see computers continuing to change our lives faster than any other industry.
3) The team I'd join must be entrepreneurial. Even if you're at a big company, you've gotta be thinking like a startup for me to be interested.
4) The job must help the world use IT technology. Why is Walmart the richest family in America? Easy: they use IT technology ruthlessly to help them run their business.
5) It needs to be a people-oriented job. I like talking with people, getting them to see the world in a new way, and help them use IT technology.
6) It needs to be a place where innovation is rewarded and enabled. Does management like team members who take risks and who try new things? New approaches? Or, is status quo rewarded?
7) The company's product needs to be top notch. I can't stand working with second-rate products. If I went to work for a camera manufacturer, it'd be Nikon or Canon. Polaroid? Forget it.
8) I'm going to stay in Silicon Valley. So, a company that didn't pay enough for me to stay here, or who wasn't located here would be crossed off the list.
9) The company I join needs to believe in training. Whether that means giving me a book budget or a conference budget, doesn't matter. But, I need to know that the company wants me to be the best in my field.
10) I want to work for a company that has resources. That doesn't mean Bill Gates' wallet, but certainly enough to implement a business plan of some reasonable nature.
11) The company I work for must want to own the particular business niche it's focusing on. IE, Avis' "we try harder" stance. I'll go to #2, but they better be focused on being #1. Of course, that means I'll never work at Sun cause they are only focused at throwing rocks at #1. Note, there's a difference between Avis's stance and Sun's.
12) The company must be ethical and if I find that its managers are trying to play fast and loose with the rules, I'm outta there.
13) I want to work for a company that has a plan for my life. If I'm a janitor, does the company want me to stay a janitor, or do they want to help me get the skills to get into a better job? Does the company promote from within, or do they always go to outside folks for management positions? If someone has a dream, does it get funded? (Adam Bosworth, for instance, got Bill Gates to give him a blank check so he could build a team that eventually came up with XML stuff for Microsoft's products).

Do you have any others? These are just off the top of my head.

Update: Michael Bernstein just added in my comments below: "Here's mine: The company must balance responsibility with authority. If I'm going to be blamed for mistakes or given credit for good decisions, then they had better be my mistakes and decisions. No 'death march' projects."

Oh, oh, I've dropped to #8 now on Google. Well, that's a good thing. Means more people are talking about Instant Outlining!
Hey, I'm the #2 link on Google for Instant Outlining.

Dave Winer wants a conference where the conference team will take steps to connect their audience.

I've been pushing that for a while now and even was interviewed in the conference industry's leading newsletter: EventWeb. Here's my interview in EventWeb. Here's another article that EventWeb wrote about weblogging and conferences.

But, I didn't get a single bite.

Why not? Cause conference directors don't weblog and don't get why this is important for them to do this. It's amazing to me that conference teams aren't looking for ways to differentiate themselves from each other.

Building a series of Web services for conference attendees so that they could communicate with each other, with speakers, and with conference staff, would make a completely improved conference experience.

Some more thoughts on the new journalism. Yes, I'm just a lowly spoke in Dan's wheel.

But, I'm also a hub in other wheels.

A wheel is a bad metaphor, I realize.

Get over it.

The truth is, our power as webloggers comes from who we know (er, who we link to) and what we witness and our skill in passing along information that other people can use.

Dan's better than me cause he does it every day and cause he's paid to go to so many industry conferences. That's why he has a bigger audience than I do.

Dale Carnegie and Henry Ford used to say that you are only as good as the people you know. Well, Dan simply knows more people than I do (and is paid to get in contact with even more).

I'm just a single card in his rolodex. Er, link on his blogroll.

Dan Gillmor, editor with the San Jose Mercury News, writes about his first experience with interactive journalism. He calls it Journalism 3.0.

Yup, journalism sure has changed in the 10 years since I went to J-school at San Jose State University.

There we had to wait 24 hours to have a conversation. Now we can have a conversation in real time and without boundaries -- I can have a conversation via email or instant messenger with Dan now, even though I'm thousands of miles from him sitting at my home computer. That was improbable, if not impossible 10 years ago (Dan would have had to have had access to an expensive phone line at the conference center 10 years ago to converse with me the way he can right now via an 802.11 wireless link).

Dan keeps saying that his audience knows more than he does. Well, that's like saying that a spoke in a wheel knows more about being a wheel than the hub of the wheel. It's irrelevant. The one I want to know is the hub of the wheel. That's the only part of the wheel that is connected to all the other spokes. That's the journalist. He's the one who connects spokes (people like me) to other spokes.

A journalist's role is going to change to a connector. What's more important to the wheel? The hub or the spokes? Arguably it's the hub.

For instance, I can't sit in every conference that Dan gets paid to go to. But, I might have something to say to other people who are on stage, or in the audience, or somewhere else.

So, I'll go to Dan to say it. He'll decide the appropriate place for my information. It might only be appropriate for his personal blog. It might be only appropriate for him to email it to someone else. Or he might decide that my information is appropriate for his newspaper column.

In other words, he's an information hub. I'm just a lowly spoke in the wheel. All surrounding people like Dan and Dave, or places like Slashdot.

A journalist's power, in the future, is going to be arranging the spokes in ways that help the wheel turn the best. A lopsided wheel isn't a good one. That's why it's so important for a journalist to remain objective and "not bought off." I know Dan's employer believes pretty strongly in that (although, I note that they don't encourage Dan to point out what Knight Ridder is doing wrong).

Dan's power is in his ability to hook each of us up together in powerful ways. It used to be that journalists saw themselves as the only source of information. Now they aren't. But, in a way, they are even more powerful. Because each of us now has the ability to publish to each other, we'll increasingly look to professionals like Dan to tell us who is doing and saying the most interesting things.

Because Dan now has tools to converse with his "wheel" in real time (even when the spokes of that wheel are up on stage giving talks), we're all getting better information.

I know that with every conference Dan goes to, and every weblog entry Dan writes, and every email of mine that Dan answers, his power in my life goes up.

Note, too, that Dan's "brand" has gone up simply by him having a conversation with me, and with that guy on stage. Journalists who don't realize that the world has changed and that they better start working on getting more spokes in their "wheel" will soon be irrelevant and out of work.

I note that Dan has remained employed even through the worst publishing depression to hit Silicon Valley's journalism industry in modern times. Ever wonder why? It's cause Dan has figured out there is a new era for journalism and has embraced it.

One thing that I got out of my meeting yesterday (sorry, can't name the big company) is that big companies are really watching the weblogging thing for evidence that there's a true knowledge management component to all of this.

More and more business people have started reading John Robb's K-Logging (Corporate Logging) information. It's interesting. Now when I visit a big company, there usually is someone there who's tried Radio and who has started evangelizing K-Logs.

Why? Cause managers want normal people to work together.

Definition of normal? You don't know HTML.

Inside companies there are tons of experts on various things that don't know how to do a Web site. Right now how do they share information with each other? Email?

Email works great, but how do you get at that data in the future? What happens if you get hit by a bus? How do your coworkers get at it.

In seven months at UserLand I've accumulated 700MB of email. Damn.

Guess what? That 700MB is on my hard drive. Behind my firewall at home. Not even stored on the corporate servers. If I got hit by a bus, all that information would be gone. (Even if I gave you access, you'd never find anything useful in there. I have about 100 folders, and my own naming scheme).

How about instant messaging? Lawrence and I pass info back and forth a lot via IM. That's cool, but as soon as you close the IM window that data is gone forever.

So, what's the answer? Setup a new kind of intranet with weblogs, er, K-Logs. And, get instant outlining going. Radio has radically changed my life. It'll be interesting to see how it changes life at big companies.

Can a big company think like a startup?

I met with a small division of a large Japaense company yesterday.

They are a handful of people who wrote up a business plan, got funding from the parent company, and are trying to change the way their parent company deals with enterprise customers.

This is a company that -- like so many in Silicon Valley -- laid off thousands of workers over the past two years.

They are hiring, but slowly and smartly.

It's a story that's played out every day on Craig's List.

If you know how to read between the lines, that is.

It shows that Silicon Valley has started to rebuild. Slowly at first. There are too many open sores still wounding companies.

But, now, visionaries inside even big, potentially slow moving companies, are taking charge and pressing on.

Anyone notice that Silicon Valley's traffic is getting worse? Or that Craigs List has more jobs available than three months ago?

It's springtime in the valley. Unemployment is still high, but I see things starting to turn around. Do you?

Good morning Instant Outliner fans!

Don't know what an instant outline is? I'm not going to try to sell you on that here. Let's just say I've found a whole new way to work with my friends that's different than email or instant messaging (and compliments both).

My life is an outline. Is yours?

Yes, Radio UserLand is the secret to all this. It's free for 30 days. Try it out and join the outlining revolution! (If you have Radio, join my outline by clicking the OPML coffee cup to the left).

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 1:29:36 AM.