Ya, I know the guy isn't dead, (and thank goodness!) but the news Robert Scoble's leaving for a Silicon Valley startup called PodTech.net feels a bit like I need to fire 21 nerf guns and pass the Kleenex.
You can read about his reasons more here: http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/06/11/the-joy-on-her-face/
I am trying to think back when I first met Robert Scoble. I think I'd seen his name in tons of email threads and first actually met him when he and Adam Sohn led that blogging lunch and the "Blog Smart" phrase got coined (I'm pretty sure by Adam). He was the one giving advice from the trenches and talking about how to make blog posts more discoverable. Since then I've been fortunate enough to present with him a few times, bounce ideas off him, gain insights into the industry from him. He is a natural evangelist, and natively generous - he connects people instinctively with each other, and with new ideas.
At New Year's this year I vowed that 2006 I was going to thank everyone one of my mentors with some kind of gesture ( :-) if I haven't gotten to you yet, be patient, there's a lot of you). After I gave up being blog queen and went to MSN, I took Robert to lunch (we ended up at Claim Jumper where the food portions are bigger than your torso) because I wanted to thank him for all his help and insights with blogging.
He was his sunny, cheery self, but he was also about to go on vacation and was showing that fatigue of being always-on, always responsive to his emails, and always traveling. Around that time he also explained to me how to work out and get in your Xbox gaming time at the same time (how's that for mentorship?! right on!) but we also talked a lot about what matters to you, how you pick projects, and burnout.
Part of the reason I could leave Gotdotnet and running blogs.msdn.com and blogs.technet.com is that I knew they were stable, growing, and would be no longer a bootstrap effort any more for whoever took them over - they were running smoothly. But karma aside (yes, don't hand your coworkers a stinker project) also part of me needs to leave at that smooth going phase, because I love the v 1.0, the new, and the startup. It's where I groove and I think Scoble is also that kind of person. He has acted as the blog champion, the daredevil, the magnet of attention at Microsoft and he helped grow our company's understanding of blogging as a medium (not to mention everybody's else's :) )
Robert saw us through some of the earliest, rockiest times for blogging at Microsoft, and show people what could be done (and what mistakes could be made but still won through). He has been a superstar conscience, advocate for quality, a pot-stirrer and brought flavor to a company many thought was faceless. He dared to disagree, and also to apologize, and his courage made us better as a company and a community of bloggers.
Some of the anti-Microsoft commentary on other blogs about his leaving seems a little overwrought. His bosses here are blog-savvy and dug him. Podtech.net just sounds like the right adventure at the right time and in the right location. While I wish Scoble the highest new salary possible, (because Maryam deserves that BMW :) ) I've never ever seen him be about the money. He's about the people. Natural connector, as I said before. I'm sure he will continue to be that way.
We will miss you Robert and wish you well.