Robert Scoble and his productivity problem


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By Mark O’Neill

It’s not often that I read anything by Robert Scoble. It’s not that I dislike the man or anything. I’m sure he’s a very pleasant guy. It’s just that his output is so staggeringly huge that I can’t keep up with him! Reading his Twitter feed for example is like trying to push back an avalanche with your bare hands. I sometimes wonder how he manages to fit a day job in between all his social networking.

But one of his blog posts caught my eye last night and once I started reading it, I just couldn’t stop because it addresses a problem most of us have these days. The post starts off with a letter that Mr Scoble received from a man who said to him :

“It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time.

I don’t have any of it — for that matter, I don’t own a Blackberry, iPod, wireless laptop, or even a cell phone — and I get along fine without them.”

And basically he wanted Mr Scoble to explain why they were so great, why he got so excited about it all and why they were so relevant in today’s world.

I have exactly the same problem and I’m sure you do too. You go to your parents, elderly relatives, non-tech friends and you start chatting about computers, the iPhone, the latest Apple product, and their eyes glaze over with utter indifference. They then start to ask you why you get so excited about something so pointless.

Mr Scoble’s answer is a quite long and sometimes rambling one but it mostly hits the mark. Do you agree with it? Or would you have answered the letter differently?





8 Responses to Robert Scoble and his productivity problem

  1. In His article, Mr. Scobbles says: “Hey, sitting on the couch with your baby and your wife and drinking a beer while watching TV is a lot of fun, but it gets back to the question I ask myself often: “what do I want to get out of life?”

    Well, I don’t know how Robert lives his life, but if he has a kid and a wife and neglects them in favor of his job and passion, one thing is for sure, he’ll eventually end up in trouble because of this.

    You shouldn’t have to ask yourself if there’s anything you ought to do instead of spending time with your wife and kids.

    Like in all things, people should live a balanced life… Spending time with your loved ones is necessary… and is as important as building up your career.

  2. In His article, Mr. Scobbles says: "Hey, sitting on the couch with your baby and your wife and drinking a beer while watching TV is a lot of fun, but it gets back to the question I ask myself often: “what do I want to get out of life?”

    Well, I don't know how Robert lives his life, but if he has a kid and a wife and neglects them in favor of his job and passion, one thing is for sure, he'll eventually end up in trouble because of this.

    You shouldn't have to ask yourself if there's anything you ought to do instead of spending time with your wife and kids.

    Like in all things, people should live a balanced life… Spending time with your loved ones is necessary… and is as important as building up your career.

  3. I have to be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty old school myself lately because I’m not a big user of facebook or twitter. I read a ridiculous number of blogs and RSS fields every day (not as much as Mark, though), and I spend most of my time working in open source software projects, which involve newsgroups, mailing lists, bugzilla traffic, etc. So I already feel overwhelmed with the amount of time I spend processing information. Adding yet another layer of social networking on top of it just doesn’t excite me.

    I think a more honest (and shorter and less self-absorbed) answer from Scoble would be:

    “Look, I love technology. I’m a geek, and I’m proud of it. I can’t get enough of the latest thing, and the more I can master technically, the happier I am.”

    That’s why he does it. That’s why most of us in technology-related fields get excited by this stuff. Claiming that every single thing we do will change the world is just “drinking our own kool-aid”. Yes, some of what we do is really revolutionary, but taking our technology to the masses has had only modest success at best. Just ask your parents and non-technie friends.

  4. I have to be honest, I've been feeling pretty old school myself lately because I'm not a big user of facebook or twitter. I read a ridiculous number of blogs and RSS fields every day (not as much as Mark, though), and I spend most of my time working in open source software projects, which involve newsgroups, mailing lists, bugzilla traffic, etc. So I already feel overwhelmed with the amount of time I spend processing information. Adding yet another layer of social networking on top of it just doesn't excite me.

    I think a more honest (and shorter and less self-absorbed) answer from Scoble would be:

    "Look, I love technology. I'm a geek, and I'm proud of it. I can't get enough of the latest thing, and the more I can master technically, the happier I am."

    That's why he does it. That's why most of us in technology-related fields get excited by this stuff. Claiming that every single thing we do will change the world is just "drinking our own kool-aid". Yes, some of what we do is really revolutionary, but taking our technology to the masses has had only modest success at best. Just ask your parents and non-technie friends.

  5. That’s a great way to look it, Scoble is Mr. Kool Aid. He hasn’t actually done anything, and doesn’t actually do anything but talk. I know people like him, they get paid a lot of money to do nothing and when people finally realize it he moves on to work for someoneone else who hangs on his every word and is oblivious that he doesn’t actually do anything. Prententious? Maybe, Narcissistic? Talking heads usually are. In short he’s an academic who isn’t at a university. At best he’s a talking billboard that people worship because they want him to talk about their stuff. Sounds like Paris Hilton.

  6. That's a great way to look it, Scoble is Mr. Kool Aid. He hasn't actually done anything, and doesn't actually do anything but talk. I know people like him, they get paid a lot of money to do nothing and when people finally realize it he moves on to work for someoneone else who hangs on his every word and is oblivious that he doesn't actually do anything. Prententious? Maybe, Narcissistic? Talking heads usually are. In short he's an academic who isn't at a university. At best he's a talking billboard that people worship because they want him to talk about their stuff. Sounds like Paris Hilton.

  7. Is it just me or does Scoble bear an uncanny resemblance to Philip Seymour Hoffman? Google for pictures and compare them. You’ve got to admit, there are similarities!

  8. Is it just me or does Scoble bear an uncanny resemblance to Philip Seymour Hoffman? Google for pictures and compare them. You've got to admit, there are similarities!