This is going to be all over the web, so I better go ahead and get my take out of the way.
TechCrunch has reported, and Robert Scoble has confirmed, that Robert’s new venture will involve building a “content and social networking community” for his new employer. . . Rackspace. No, that’s not a boob-oriented porn site. It’s an IT hosting company based in Austin, Texas. I’m interested in the content part, because as much as I don’t like most video blogs (simply because time is precious and I can always read faster than you can talk), I think Robert has a unique position in the blogosphere- he’s loved by the oligarchs and generally trusted by the content-reading class (mostly because unlike many of his friends, he didn’t turn into a prick when he became semi-famous). On the other hand, the “social networking” thing sounds like a mandatory toss-in to up the SXSW buzz.
One of Robert’s goals will be to:
[H]elp the entire cloud computing industry get more adoption, users, customers. We’ll cover technologies from Rackspace’s competitors like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, GoGrid, IBM, and others. Our philosophy on Building 43 is a rising tide lifts all boats, so we’re going to look to get you the best advice on both how to build your business better on the Internet as well as have fun, too.
As Newsome.Org readers know, I am interested in the Cloud. However, I think the Cloud will have a hard time gaining the trust of the corporate IT departments and their bosses when it comes to proprietary and confidential information. I’m going to invite Robert and the head of my company’s IT department to discuss this on one of our future podcasts.
I’m also not sure this qualifies as following my suggestion that Robert become the brand, as opposed to promote the brand. But there’s no way to tell just yet. At first blush, it sounds like Rackspace is paying Robert to be a newer, more social-networked and subtle evangelist- like he was during his glory years at Microsoft, in return for the web presence boost Robert can deliver. On the other hand, if Rackspace is paying Robert a lot of money under a long contract to do what he loves to do, maybe this is the best thing in the world for Robert. I’m pretty sure it will be good for Rackspace, though I wonder how they will quantify the tangible results in this horrible economy.
In sum, I’m not overly jazzed by this news, but we won’t know how good or bad it is until we see the sort of content Robert produces.
It should be interesting to watch, figuratively and literally.
(Photo by Robert Scoble)