Reports are coming in from the Vloggercon conference about Robert Scoble‘s latest career move. According to Beet.TV and a few other verbal sources who were at the conference Scoble will publicly announce he is leaving Microsoft within the next few days and joining Silicon Valley startup PodTech.net as a videoblogger. Scoble has been at Microsoft for about three years and plans to move back to the Bay Area.
Robert Scoble was employed as a videoblogger at Microsoft’s Channel 9 developer center, interviewing teams across Microsoft on their latest releases and features. Later in his Microsoft career Scoble’s popular blog became a part of his job as well, connecting his readers to Microsoft teams, announcements, and people and company using Microsoft products. He was originally hired as a developer evangelist for what was then Longhorn, now known as Windows Vista.
The news does not surprise me, as Scoble’s tour of corporate campuses and PR firms over the past year undoubtedly yielded some lucrative job offers. Working at PodTech allows Scoble to continue chatting about technology every day with executive clients of the corporate communication network. Scoble’s readership in the blogosphere will be a selling point for new clients, allowing them to have an amplified message in this new communication medium. PodTech is early stage and I’m sure Scoble has a good sized equity participation.
What does the news mean for Microsoft? More people in large companies now realize the value of an information aggregator for internal and external communication. In a 60,000 person company you need some internal connectors to help keep teams and projects working together and benefitting from the work and knowledge of others. If Microsoft does not already have a team or teams dedicated to internal corporate development, hopefully they’ll realize the value and create such a team.
Microsoft’s TechEd conference kicks off this week, and executives will talk about new developer programs and outreach efforts. Windows Live Messenger is rumored as the first Windows Live product to leave beta, and it’s also the first big application I know of to have a link to the team blog as a menu item. Expect more applications to connect directly with their user active base through the application. The Windows Live Dev also just launched to help connect more people with information about products and to collect feedback.
Many companies have bloggers among their ranks who want to be the next Scoble. I’m sure a few people within Microsoft envision themselves in the position of a PR blogger. The world of corporate communications is changing, and the good news is that you are now able to get closer to the teams developing the products and features you use every day. Yesterday Nick Bradbury of FeedDemon was able to get an annoying bug fixed within the Windows networking stack just by blogging about it. A few people responsible for the file causing him some grief were able to jump into the comments, get the information they needed, and hopefully patch the issue before the next release.
Best of luck to Robert Scoble on his new venture.
Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft but the words and thoughts above are my own.