Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Sunday, May 26, 2002

Mike McBride (we're having a BlogDebate): "Let me ask you a question, Robert. Let's say you're having lunch with a bunch of folks you admire, which seems to be an important part of conferences for you. Are you blogging it real-time? Why not, aren't there important things being discussed?"

Well, usually where I have lunch there isn't an 802.11 connection around. If there were, I'd seriously consider blogging it pretty close to live.

I have interviewed people at conferences live on my weblog before. I've also been on stage and technographing what's going on.

I'm sure you'll see someone blog a lunch or dinner pretty soon too. Another reason? Usually lunches or dinners are informal kinds of things. One where you get background information and aren't "on the record." In fact, I've had lunches where people say "this lunch is 'blog free' right?"

When someone gets on stage, he's trying to share information with the audience. Today, that audience is far larger than just the folks sitting in attendance at a conference.

"If there's no visual feedback because you are all typing most everything I say, then the session is going to suck, and it'll get worse at conferences where everyone's blogging real-time, not better."

Well, I started the trend of technographing (I did it on stage with Dave Winer last year at Seybold). But, then, I was the "official" technographer so that no one else needed to take notes for the session.

But, I sorta agree with you. Now I don't technograph anymore. I listen to the session and see if I can pick up a theme. Look at my notes from the WWW conference when Berners-Lee was on stage. I couldn't technograph him anyway -- his speech pattern is mostly unquotable. So, I boiled down what he was trying to say and put that on my weblog.

Anyway, times have changed. If you're a speaker you'll have to deal with the fact that I'm in the audience checking my emails, taking notes, and looking at porn sites on my computer.

Tommy says that the Canon EOS D60 or the Nikon D100 are better choices for the same price as the Olympus E-20N. Thanks!
The New York Times today: "Mr. McIntyre could hardly have known it, but he stood at a critical boundary. Above him, across 19 floors, were 1,344 people, many of them alive, stunned, unhurt, calling for help. Not one would survive." Powerful and moving journalism. On this Memorial Day weekend I am remembering.
Mike McBride: "But I don't think he'd be too pleased when I came back and said, "Well I was trying to blog about what the speaker was saying and my laptop was having some problems with the WiFi connection so I missed a big chunk of the presentation, but I got to meet a lot of really cool people."

I don't know what kind of computer Mike uses, but I have Windows XP and I've never had 802.11 problems at a conference site. All I need to know is the SSID and I'm up and running.

The average conference attendee can attend maybe 10 sessions in a two-day conference. You telling me there are webloggers who miss more than half an hour because of their 802.11 network settings? I've never seen anyone have any such problems. I wonder who he's refering too.

Taking notes for myself and writing blog entries for other people's consumption are two entirely different things, Robert. If you want to use your laptop to take notes, fine. But understand that turning those notes into something that your reader can understand and process takes energy and focus that you are, therefore, not giving to the presentation.

Actually, I find that I put even more energy into listening when I know I have an audience of hundreds instead of just my boss. Plus, because I'm having a conversation with hundreds of people, not just listening to a stooge on stage, I actually learn more, and help my business out more.

The trick in being a good employee isn't in knowing everything. It's knowing where to find answers when you have troubles. I have a great network of people to ask questions to because of my weblogging efforts.

As boring as the presentations may be, that's the reason my boss agreed to pay for the conference and that's what I better be paying attention to.

The presentations are not the only reason people get sent to conferences. And, I'm paying my own way to go to Pop!Tech and taking vacation time to do so -- that conference is that important to my own career that I'm willing to invest the time and the money into it. It's not every day you get to meet John Sculley or Dan Gillmor or Doc Searls or Bob Metcalfe. If you go to Pop!Tech you will.

My weblogging has opened up vistas to me that just would not have opened up to me if I hadn't been writing this.

See ya later.

What's funny about Woodside is that they have a really nice park there. They also have Larry Ellison. Unfortunately, unless you know Larry, you can't get a tour of his mansion. You can't even see it from the road. I've walked in front of it and have seen tourists take pictures of the front gate. I can just imagine the discussions back home "hey, Marge, check this picture out. It's Larry Ellison's gate."

Oh, boy.

Is there anything to see in Silicon Valley?

Actually I wasn't born here, but I've lived here since I was five years old.

Well, for nine years I did an annual bus trip as part of the VBITS conference (now named the VSLIVE conference). I always got a lot of requests to see Silicon Valley.

The problem is that Silicon Valley isn't a place. It's an attitude. A lifestyle. That's what Alan Cooper said at one of his VBITS keynotes one year (he's the guy who invented the "Visual" part of Visual Basic).

And that's true. Like Dave says today in his weblog, if you visit here you'll see lots of buildings, suburbs, and traffic.

But, there's something else too. If you wanna be a Silicon Valley tourist, then you must study history. That's where the interesting things are here. And there are some (but, to tell you the truth, you'd be far better served by spending a day in Yosemite or Carmel or Napa/Sonoma).

The Winchester Mystery House is part of our history (although it's been turned into a huge tourist trap and doesn't map well onto why this place continues to be one of the most important technology-generating regions in the world).

I tend to start tourists on a tour of Stanford. Stanford really is the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

Did I mention that Stanford was a monopolist?

Yes, Silicon Valley was started by the railroads. Just like most other cities and towns in America.

You need to understand our history to understand why we continue to lead the world in technology innovations here. The pill was invented here. The VCR. The processor. Much of our software. Most of the corporate databases. The electronic calculator. And on and on.

Even the Space Shuttle's engines were built here.

Where is here? 50 miles south of San Francisco and the surrounding 50 miles.

All spreading out from Stanford.

Guess what one of Stanford's most prized possessions is? The golden spike.

We're a railroad town. Did I say that already?

The other trend you need to understand is that we've gotten the world's best minds to come here. Yesterday I had dinner at a Persian restaurant. The people who've left Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan are the richest and best educated from that region. The same is true for many other cultures here. My mom is German, so I'm a direct result of the immigration that continues to this day. I'm amazed that other countries don't get the fact that they are chasing away their best minds.

OK, here's a tour.

1) Stanford and campus. Stanford has a nice free museum and is a great campus to walk around on. 2) The Hewlett Packard garage. It's only worth a five minute stop, but it's where the valley's entrepreneurial spirit started. 3) Fry's. It's no longer unique (Fry's has expanded to many locations now) but Fry's was instrumental in solidifying Silicon Valley's technological power. No where else could you buy the parts that high tech needed in the 1980s. 4) Apple. If you're really lucky you can get Woz to show you the original building on Bandley Drive in Cupertino. I remember getting a tour of this building in 1977 when I was in Jr. High (I lived a mile or so away from the first Apple building and was at Hyde Jr. High which had some of the first Apple's given to schools. Remember the cassette tape drive?) 5) Bucks. It's where lots of deals are completed. If you're need some money, I'll take you to see Simi at the Bank of America branch on Sand Hill Road nearby. It's unlike any Bank of America branch I've ever been in. (Sand Hill road is where all the venture capital firms are). 6) Santa Clara railroad depot. This is where one of Silicon Valley's first "computers" is still located today (it's a mechanical interlocker machine). I love seeing the pictures of the depot in the early days with not a single building around it. 7) Wozniak's house. Hey, where else can you play 50 video games for free?

I wish more of the orchards here had survived. If you're really lucky, one of the old timers invites you over to pick cherries or apricots and then you get to make ice cream with the fruit. I remember doing that as a kid and it's an experience I constantly seek out.

But, there really isn't much to see here, and the best stuff isn't open to the public, unfortunately.

May 2002
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Apr   Jun

Referer Page
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.

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.
Subscribe to "The Scobleizer Weblog" in Radio UserLand.
Click to see the XML version of this web page.
Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 1:36:44 AM.