Late last night, a certain geek-focused corner of the blogosphere worked itself into something of froth over the pending departure from Microsoft of Robert Scoble, a platform evangelist and noted blogger.
Robert has also been a part of the Channel 9 team, and was one of the folks who interviewed Brad Uhrich of my now-former team, an interview which I myself blogged here.
I can’t claim to be anything like close to Robert. I’ve been on a couple of email threads on an internal bloggers’ alias with him, and in those instances we seemed to have similar worldviews, but beyond that I can claim no special knowledge of, or even proximity to, the work he’s doing or the situation he’s in.
What I can say, without fear of retribution or error, is that Robert’s departure is in no way the “death knell” for Microsoft bloggers, nor is it a sign that Microsoft’s management “doesn’t get it” when it comes to blogging. Robert himself says as much in his initial response to the outcry (money quotes: “I love Microsoft and Microsoft did not lose me -- at least as a supporter and friend”; “(Microsoft) is the best big company in the world”), and he’s certainly in a position to know. He’s promised to discuss his choice more later today; I’ll update this post with that link when it’s available (here it is).
Change is always challenging, both for those making the change and for those who’ve grown accustomed to that person’s presence in their previous position. As someone who’s made a career change himself recently, I can only say that I’m glad nobody leaked my plans -- and speculated incorrectly on my motivations in the process -- before I was ready to announce them.
There’s no denying that the public face of Microsoft blogging will be different without Robert, just as my old team will be different without me. In both cases, though, important work will continue to get done by brilliant, passionate people.
So, from this little eddy in the blogosphere, let it be noted that no fear and loathing has ensued from Robert’s announcement. I’d like to thank Robert for his contributions to Microsoft -- both public and internal -- and wish him the best in his new venture.