Startup Voodoo: Robert Scoble On Innovation

By May 20, 2015

The Enigmatic Robert Scoble (photo by Thomas Hawk)


On June 18, 2015, Startup Voodoo will hold its 2nd annual conference at the Lumiere Hotel in St. Louis.

Robert Scoble, famous throughout Silicon Valley since the 90s where he made a name for himself as one of the first breakout bloggers since blogging began, will be one of the keynotes at SV15.  I had a chance to speak with him recently to get a taste of what he’ll be discussing at Startup Voodoo and the startup world in general.

When I asked Scoble how he got into tech in the first place, it was clear he’s been there from the beginning.  “I used to be into BBSes back in the 80s and really got started there,” he said.  (BBS = Bulletin Board System – precursor to the web and internet – direct computer to computer connection via modem) “After that, I did all kinds of stuff.  I ran an electronics store, and I put on conferences for programmers.  Back then there was no community for programmers and I was able to help facilitate one for them.”



On Blogging

“During one of the sessions at one of my conferences, someone suggested to me I start a blog, so I gave it a try,” Scoble remarked.  “Now though, I have moved on from a direct blog, as I feel conversations have moved from blogs to social media.”  To prove his point, take a look at the page for his famous blog Scobleizer.

Scoble is just as active as ever, but now shares his stories through all the various social media platforms in his role as ‘Rackspace’s Startup Liaison Officer.’

On Geographic Location to Launch A Startup


Scoble in a rare moment w/out a camera (photo by Thomas Hawk)

“Does someone have to be in Silicon Valley to launch a startup?  No.  They don’t.  My employer, Rackspace, is located in San Antonio, Texas and is proof you can build a great company anywhere,” said Scoble, “but it is also true that for certain types of companies, Silicon Valley is where they should be”

When I asked him why, he continued, “There are people with certain types of skillsets in Silicon Valley that are in short supply elsewhere, and there is more money in Silicon Valley for investment than there is elsewhere.”

He continued, “But- for anyone wanting or willing to work with talent spread across different places, FB and Twitter and the Internet as a whole has flattened the world and you can work with a team located anywhere.  It really all depends on what you’re doing at the time.”


On Uber and Lyft Fighting to Get Into St. Louis & Innovation’s Future

“When I travel to a new city, I immediately decide whether or not a city is corrupt based on whether or not they have Uber. People around the WORLD (his emphasis) LOVE Uber. I just got back from Dubai and everyone there loves Uber.”

“When I come into a city without Uber, it immediately tells me the powers in charge are engaged in protectionism, protecting their outdated cabs for politics. In Silicon Valley, it really is a Valley. There used to be farms there. Then there was manufacturing and the Defense industry and then the digital revolution happened. This is why I love Silicon Valley. We don’t protect certain jobs or industries, we embrace the future.”

Robert Scoble will be a keynote June 18 at Startup Voodoo- REGISTER to be there to hear him speak.