Timing Is Everything
So the big news on the blogosphere is that Robert Scoble's leaving Microsoft to join the "vlogging revolution" at Pod Tech. If, after less than a year, Rocketboom can earn $85,000 a week in advertising on an audience of 300,000, then there's clearly something happening (even if it turns out to be a case of advertisers jumping on a potential bandwagon at negligible cost).
I briefly met Scoble at a geek dinner in London last year and he's a passionate, dedicated guy for whom I wish and expect nothing but success, however I think he may be asking himself whether he has something to learn about the old media skills of controlling the message and understanding scoops. In his first interview about this move to Pod Tech he highlights Vista's improved audio and video quality as one of four factors (along with the rise of High Definition Video) that prompted his decision and yet he also lets slip that he was due to meet with Bill Gates in the next few weeks.
He assumes this will no longer be happening and I'm guessing he's right. This makes the timing of his move all the more confusing. It seems to me that the low barriers to entry mean that vlogging will be very much a business based on talent and trend spotting since that very ease of entry threatens quickly to create noise and clutter far in excess of that in the old media world. Think public access television multiplied a thousand-fold. In the factual arena, scoops and informed insight will be crucial.
Notwithstanding issues of commercial confidentiality, the scoop opportunity to sit with Gates would have offered him a rare chance to gauge the thinking of someone he sees as key to this new industry. He may not have been able to report what was said but he would have gleaned many insights into the man that would have informed and enhanced his future vlogging reports.
I don't buy the argument that it's impossible to manage media in this interconnected world. There may be more ears out there, but they only hear what is said - so if those involved in his hiring had limited their numbers and kept their mouths tight shut on all occassions, then the blogosphere would still be circulating the old guesswork rumours about Scoble potentially quitting Microsoft and he could have come to PodTech on the back of a meeting with Bill Gates. Perhaps I'm being harsh (and I'm sure I'll find out soon enough) but I hate to see great marketing opportunities go begging.