Lessons from Scoble – why PodTech failed.

I used to think Robert Scoble SUCKED.  I found his work at Microsoft Channel 9 sucked because it was all Microsoft-centric.  Gee, what a surprise eh?  Bloke works for Microsoft, so OF COURSE he’s going to be all "Hoo Rah Microsoft".

Glad I’ve changed my mind (ie. I was wrong) and now have him on my RSS feed list.

Saw this over at FriendFeed, and some of Robert’s learnings are worth noting.  DO READ the whole feed to get the context.  My comments in BLUE.

I sure learned a lot about how a company can screw up big time.

Brother, I know how you feel.

Major learning’s for me?

  1. Have a story.
  2. Have everyone on board with that story.
  3. If anyone goes off of that story, make sure they get on board immediately or fire them.

Other things I learned:

  1. Make sure people are judged by the revenues they bring in. Those that bring in revenues should get to run the place. People who don’t bring in revenues should get fewer and fewer responsibilities, not more and more.
  2. Work ONLY for a leader who will make the tough decisions (see above).
  3. Build a place where excellence is expected, allowed, and is enabled.
  4. Fire idiots quickly (didn’t happen at PodTech — even if you count me as one of the idiots).

Working for people incapable of making a decision SUCKS. Learn to manage your boss in that case. Or leave.

Failures of companies often happen around failures at the leadership level.

Particularly when they say one thing, and then demonstrate something else.

We never played together as a team. It is why entrepreneurs need different skills after they start their companies. It is not enough to sell people on a dream. You must coach your way to it too.

I have been thinking about what Furrier said about me not having a full picture of what went wrong. First of all I don’t think he is right, but if he is I will add one last learning: never work in a VP position when those above you don’t share a complete picture of the business with you. Especially when that business is a social media one that was pushing transparency and community values.

Never worked as a VP, but that seems right. If you can’t be informed at the VP level, there is no hope for the company.

FastCompanyTV is making our bosses happy (we’re bringing in more revenue than is being spent) but we’re a private company so we don’t discuss our finances in public. About our audience. I’d argue that I know more about our audience than any TV show does and we’re soon going to require logging into FastCompanyTV to comment. Who is making tough decisions? I have a boss and he has a boss but the community is really our ultimate boss.

Listen to your audience. Your audience is the customer and your bosses.

Some Scoble links:
scobleizer.com
Scoble’s Google Reader Shared Items
IBM unveils nano-projector based VirtuaHuman with 1TB of memory

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