Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Eric Mack coaches a girls robotics club and this weekend they won a bunch of awards. Congrats! I love that the nine guy was with them, too.

Here's a blog written by the girls themselves.

10:07:10 PM    comment 

OK, now the fun begins. I got a TON of stuff to try this weekend. First things first. Gotta get Podcasting working. So, DopplerRadio was first on my list (I'm using the 1.1 beta). It's nice and easy.

Next up? Gotta get my Mirra working so I can get all my stuff backed up from all my various machines.

Got something for me to try out? Now's your chance. I have four days at home. Well, we're going to a friend's house for turkey dinner tomorrow. But other than that, it's geek ville!

What do I like about DopplerRadio? Very simple UI. It tells you when something new comes down. It lets you put it in the folder you want. I'm stuffing files into my ActiveSync directory, so those are automatically put onto my cell phone.

Looking for some Podcasts? Podcast Alley has a few. has more. I'm catching up on .NET Rocks and IT Conversations.

Update: added a bunch from Adam Curry's PodSquad. Thanks to Michael Geoghegan of ReelReviews for letting me know about that.

8:24:11 PM    comment 

I'm seriously considering making my link blog full text again. Why? Because it would make the link blog more useful to everyone.

Remember, I stopped doing it because a couple of people said it was stealing their content. On the other hand, the same content is cached by Google and no one complains (and if they do, it's falling on deaf ears). It's also cached at Bloglines and other places.

I think I can justify doing full text under fair use guidelines. Here's why:

1) I will not repost every post from someone's blog. Out of the 1500 posts I read a night I usually repost 100 or so. So, only 10% of any single blog will probably make it to the link blog.

2) I don't add my own editorial comments, and it's pretty clear that I did not develop the content, I'm just picking the best ones.

3) Because only a small portion of each blog will be displayed, it'll be a good advertising mechanism for the blogs I post (most readers will click back on the blog to subscribe).

Does anyone have a problem with this? If so, I'll just unsubscribe from those who have a problem and you'll never get read by me, or posted to the link blog.

Speaking of which, I am now caught up with my feeds, so the link blog is up to date now.

6:42:26 PM    comment 

Tantek, who works at Technorati, took notes of my Information Overload session and is telling aggregator developers some ways to make it better for users like me.

4:46:51 PM    comment 

Yeah, Doc, I noticed that Craig Burton effectively nailed me. I shoulda linked to him. He wasn't the only one, though, that got on my for my patent comments.

4:40:36 PM    comment 

On Monday I had breakfast with Doug Rowan at a Kirkland Starbucks. You can see a picture I shot, on my new cell phone, of Doug here.

Who is Doug?

He's the former CEO of Corbis. As such, he's one of the world's most powerful people in the digital photography business. Well-connected, too (he was the manager of the team that built Bill Gates' house, so he knows a few people). In an hour of talking with him I learned more about the digitial photography business than most people would learn in a year of trying to figure it out on their own.


Because Doug's invested in several businesses in the digital photography space, and he has one of the world's best networks.

Here's some anectdotes. One of his companies, Preclick, was in the running to be acquired by Google. Google decided on a competitor, Picasa, instead. Why? Doug says that Google wanted Picasa's Hello, which lets you share pictures via an instant-messaging-style service.

Preclick, in my view, is a better app than Picasa, but that was only 1/15th of what we talked about. Here's the rest of the list -- would love to know what your favorite app is on this list, or if you know of any others that are cool:

Picaboo -- create and share digital photo albums.
Our Pictures -- easy photo organizer.
Beon Media -- Turn your plazma or TV screen into a digital canvas for the world's finest art and photography.
PhoTags -- innovative photo suite that lets you embed all sorts of metadata into photos.
Piczo -- fun photo sharing. Doug says that Canadian teenagers are going nuts over this. Why only Canadian teenagers and not, say, teenagers in Europe? He has no idea, but the company is trying to find out (their thesis is that it's because a large percentage of the first 100 people it was seeded to were Canadian -- there's the effects of a few influential evangelists on a company again).
Funtigo -- photo scrapbooking and sharing.
Buzznet -- Photo blogging and sharing.
Flickr -- Photo sharing and blogging. My favorite so far, although I'm still using Text America cause I started with that.
Text America -- Photosharing and blogging.
Photo Story 3 -- Make cool photo stories.

Grouper -- Share photos with your friends in a secure way.

Any other cool ways to share photos?

4:30:51 PM    comment 

Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury News' technology columnist, is speaking at Microsoft on December 7.

Now, this should be an interesting talk. Dan is one of the world's most outspoken critics of Microsoft. He also wrote a book, We the Media, about citizen-led journalism. It's a good historical look at the effect of the first few years of blogging on journalism and lays out what he thinks the effects of such will be on mainstream journalism over the next few years.

It'll be interesting to see what he asks Microsoft to do and what area of citizen journalism technology he focuses on in his talk. For instance, here's my breakdown of citizen journalism technology. I think you can break it down into six buckets:

1) News gathering (camera phones, recording devices, portable computers, etc).
2) News propogation and comparison (email, instant messaging, chat, newsgroups)
3) News production (photo editing applications, word processors, content management, er, blogging tools)
4) News distribution systems (databases, server farms, web servers)
5) News reading (Web browsers and RSS aggregators)
6) News finding and trend analysis (search, link analysis, pattern analysis)

Right? Am I missing any?

What improvements does the technology industry need to make to really help citizen journalism take off?

It'll be interesting to hear the discussion inside Microsoft. I'm sure it'll be blogged, I don't think it's an NDA talk.

What do you think Dan should tell Microsoft? What would YOU tell Microsoft if you were invited to speak?

4:01:39 PM    comment 

"Channel 9 is marketing." I've heard that a few times, usually from people who try to deride what we're doing there.

Of course it's marketing. But, it's disintermediated marketing. Here, look at this video interview with Jason Zander. He runs the .NET common language runtime team.

In one short video he did more to explain what .NET to developers than a slickly-done graphic that took hours to produce.

Now, there's a role for the slickly-done graphic too, but something about asking Jason to explain the architecture of .NET on his whiteboard resonated with me, and seems to be resonating with developers too. So far 3,549 people have watched the video.

See, Jason is on the team. He knows more about .NET than almost anyone alive. I bet he knows more about .NET than even Bill Gates knows. His explanation might not be slick. It hasn't been edited. Cleaned up. Colorfied. In fact, it's even worse than that. We shoot with $450 camcorders and $30 microphones. I don't use lights. I don't use makeup. I don't do a lot of editing (I'm lazy, shoot me).

I think this is the future of marketing. Removing intermediaries. Developer-to-developer. Enthusiast-to-enthusiast.

What's even better is that if you watch any of the CLR tour and you still have questions, you can pen a note to Jason and his team and he answers back. Think about that one for a minute. Has marketing changed?

It's the death of marketing. It's the beginning of building a relationship with the long-tail.

Now we all know what .NET is and we didn't need a team of marketers to reexplain it to us.

3:00:50 PM    comment 

Thomas Hawk asks "what if I only had 30 minutes a day to read blogs?"

This is similar to the question we tried to answer at BloggerCon III, where we talked about "Information Overload."

Right now to get through my 1000 RSS feeds, I'm spending three to five hours per evening. So, in 30 minutes you should be able to get through 100. But, I probably would subscribe instead to sites where either editors or algorithms bring back just the cream of the crop.

For instance, here's some that I'd pay attention to:

1) Slashdot
2)'s top 100 aggregator
3) Scoble's Linkblog
4) Microsoft Employee Blogs
5) Memeorandum
6) Technorati NewsTalk

If you read those six, you'll get most of the important stuff. Yeah, you'll miss some of the random stuff that might be interesting, but then most people don't have four hours a day to keep up with 2200 bloggers.

Update: Another few links that would be good to watch, if you had limited time, is Mike Gunderloy's Daily Grind (.NET info of note); Erik Thauvin's link blog (lots of tech stuff linked daily); and for you Macintosh news fiends, the Mac Surfer link blog is highly popular. Oh, and one of my readers just suggested the Daily Rotation. Headlines from your favorite blogs, all on one page. Looks interesting!

1:00:53 PM    comment 

I'm speaking at the AMA Hot Topic Series, Blogs: Marketing Beyond the Website, here in Seattle on December 17.

I'm also speaking at the Blog Business Summit on January 24-25, also here in Seattle.

Oh, and Northern Voice is holding a blogger conference up in Vancouver on February 19th that I'm signed up for too. Not sure yet if I'm speaking or not, there, though.

Whew, lots of blogger conferences coming.

12:46:40 PM    comment 

David Thorpe, an executive with Young and Rubicam Brands, sent this one along: The Northrup-Grumman "Touch Table." Imagine a conference room with one of these in it. That's cool!

David took me to lunch yesterday and we had a fascinating conversation about, what else, branding and social software.

Did we learn anything? I shared with him that "the long tail" is where the next few big companies will come from. In fact, Microsoft and Apple and Google all came from the long tail. Remember 1976? Only a handful of people were into personal computers. A few small user's groups. A few hobby magazines.

That's a lot like where podcasting is today, no? Or even blogging. About 10 million blogs exist right now, right?

So, if you wanna figure out what is coming in the future, you must build relationships with the long tail. You must figure out ways to see things happening in the long tail before anyone else.

Finally, those who pay attention to the long tail will build strong brands, profitable companies, and strong organizations.

Latest success story to come out of the long tail? Google.

Think about it, Google didn't pay attention to the 80% of the market. They paid attention to the weirdos at the end of the tail. The folks who really used search a LOT.

David told me that his friends in the movie business really don't like the long tail. They hate it, in fact.

They hate that they can't manufacture a hit movie anymore with awesome marketing. They hate it that Steve Jobs, with Pixar, is kicking their behinds by making movies that people talk about in the word-of-mouth networks.

I see it in my aggregator. The Incredibles is STILL being talked about on blogs. Many of those blogs only have 10 to 100 readers. Maybe even less. But, that's where the profitability comes from. Every blogger that talks about a movie makes that movie more profitable.

I told David that blogs are only the tip of the iceberg. Blogs are only the part of the word-of-mouth networks that we can see. So, for every blog that talks about something, there are probably 100,000 conversations that we can't see. Blogs just give us a fuzzy picture of what really is being discussed person-to-person in IM, email, on the phone, or over turkey dinner tomorrow at Thanksgiving.

Hint: Microsoft isn't very good at dealing with the long tail anymore. We quantify markets. Put them into charts. Look at what the "short head" is doing. You know, the 80%. And we build products for them.

Oh, yeah, there are exceptions. Xbox and Halo 2 are two. You do notice that Halo 2 had lines at stores all over the world of people waiting to buy it, right?

But, go back three years ago. The pundits were saying that the Xbox was going to be a failure. That Sony and Nintendo were doing everything the market needed. Because Sony and Nintendo owned "the short head" the Xbox team was FORCED to look at the "long tail."

And now it's starting to pay off.

But, most teams at Microsoft don't think that way. They don't understand bloggers who celebrate audiences of hundreds of people. They don't understand Google, who built a search engine for the hard-core-searcher (they are still trying to react to Google's vision six years later).

They don't grok wikis. After all, only the geeks are using wikis today, right? (You and I know they are wrong, but selling the long tail is tough).

Hey, the Tablet PC is for the long tail. Now you know why I like it so much. Only a few people think they want to use a pen. I remember when only a few people thought that a mouse and menus were a good idea.

Finally, look at Robert Bly. He thought blogs are stupid. Now he's blogging. He was looking only at the "short head" and not the "long tail."

More long tail ahead.

12:38:43 PM    comment 

This is our first Thanksgiving in Seattle. It's also the first Thanksgiving that I'm not spending with relatives or family other than my wife. So, it's a bit weird, but relaxing. Yes, I'm working from home today in my pajamas. No, I'm not gonna upload a photo. :-)

Anyway, last night I loaded a bunch of stuff up to my link blog. I am a sucker for a good headline. Here Nicole Lee posts one of the best: "My click is bigger than yours."

Usually I like a simple informative headline, but occassionally I enjoy a good play on words too, or a simple sensationalistic headline.

Anyway, hope you have a good Turkey day. I'm going to bump up my RSS feed to a higher number for the next few days, by the way. I sense a torrent of stuff to come. Translation: I have a huge folder of backlogged stuff to blog.

Plus I have a Mirra box sitting here calling my name, and, yes, Halo 2 still hasn't been played much. Ahh, too many things to do. Too little time to do it in.

12:15:30 PM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:59:34 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). 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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