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Robert Scoble
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Robert Scoble

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Big news for us at Rackspace today.

You can read the press release for the particulars about what Rackspace and Amazon are doing together and I’ll link to the best news reports I’ve seen below. In short we made a deal to provide Fanatical Support for AWS plus three additional beta offerings, Managed Security for AWS, Compliance Assistance for AWS, and Managed Cloud for Adobe Experience Manager (which runs on AWS).

What I’m here for is to explain the why.

For that you have to go back to when I first saw Flipboard. That was way back in 2010. I saw it months before it was released and knew it would be a really amazing company. I turned to founder/CEO Mike McCue and asked him “what cloud are you using?” (Even by then in Silicon Valley nearly every startup had decided to use cloud, rather than hosting their own infrastructure in a cage somewhere).. He gave an answer I heard many times before and since: AWS.

Since then, though, the cloud space has gotten a lot more competitive. Microsoft Azure and Google’s App Engine both came along from companies with deep pockets. They are pouring billions into their cloud offerings. At Rackspace we gifted OpenStack to the open source world and it’s taken off, with companies from Comcast to Nike using that to run their businesses. The world of cloud has gotten flatter and more complex, even if you just stay on AWS you’ll see that it has hundreds of APIs, many of which have been added in just the past few years.

Because of that the press has noted that there’s a full on war over cloud. Innovative businesses from Uber to Instagram have bet on it and bet big. Plus, most enterprises are now hosting on cloud, or, at minimum, cloud technology hosted in their own datacenters. Yeah, it’s easy for the highly-technical folks that start new companies. But, let’s be honest, if you know how to build and scale a new service like Uber why would you want to work for, say, a pizza chain when your skills can be used at a pre-IPO startup? Isn’t your local mom and pop pizza chain being asked to build the same kind of apps and systems that Uber has built?

Not to mention there are lots of businesses who don’t know how to deal with being on, say, Shark Tank, or, for the bigger businesses, staying up during a Super Bowl commercial. Getting on that show can bring a 5,000% increase in traffic and if you haven’t built your system properly it can be tough slugging on the busiest and most important day of your company’s life. Heck, I was hanging out with the guy who runs Coachella’s music festival (200,000 attendees) and after I interviewed him he told me he couldn’t get through to his cloud provider on its busiest day of the year — they weren’t answering their phones and forcing him to deal with a slow ticketing system. The day when all of his customers were registering their armbands and loading its app up with the latest schedule — his business was down.

When you say Fanatical SupportⓇ most people don’t recognize just what it means. Unless you’ve either experienced what it means, or the lack thereof, like the chief geek at Coachella.

For companies it means they can focus on their core value proposition — and possibly even save money because they need fewer highly technical staff on their payrolls. It also means that they have an accountable partner (one neck to wring!) that can help them prepare for, and execute, systems that will deal with the business demands they are seeing, whether it be sensor workloads from IoT devices or new millions of new customers that will pop up on a concert tour in one of the new “smart stadiums” like Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara that will host the Super Bowl (it runs on AWS by the way).

Why go with Rackspace support over AWS support? Simply: support and managed services are different. This is why Amazon has a Managed Service Partner program. While we do support the AWS platform as part of our offers, we go beyond that with managed services that speak to how customers should design for, and operate applications on AWS. These opinions are reflected in our tooling, automation, and templates for Navigator (one of our service levels). In our Aviator service level, we operate and manage customer application environments, which go beyond AWS infrastructure support and into in-guest/instance support here. For example, we provide SysAdmin/DevOps expertise to do GuestOS support — logging into servers, configuring, making changes, patching, etc. (i.e., day-to-day operational management with an army of technologists that operate on a 24/7 basis).

We are a managed service provider at our core, it’s who we are. Rackspace has a 16-year heritage of working with businesses to help them make applications more effective and efficient to operate, and we’re the trusted service partner for more than 300,000 customers across 120 countries.

This is why I’m so excited to be part of the 6,000+ employees who are working with Amazon and its CTO Werner Vogels to provide better support to the world that wants to use AWS as its business infrastructure. Now, can we talk?

That’s all sweet and stuff, but this is just part of Rackspace’s new strategy: to provide Fanatical Support for a variety of clouds your business might need. For instance, Microsoft Sharepoint, Exchange, or Azure. Or Magento. Or OpenStack. What this means is we’re the Switzerland of clouds. We’ll support you in the best place for your business. And, in some cases, we’ll recommend different clouds for different parts of your business and support them all.

This is why I’m such a good fit for Rackspace and why I haven’t left to join some startup or head to Alphabet or some other company. Rackspace is uniquely positioned to provide this support. It maps perfectly to my interests in where the future is. IoT? Rackspace supports it. Contextual apps? Rackspace supports those. Enterprise workflows? Rackspace supports those. Robot operating systems? Rackspace will be there. :-) Why? Rackspace has hired for years employees with strengths in people skills. Rackers, as we choose to call ourselves, are curious, listen, and are highly technical. Walk through one of our buildings in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Austin, Sydney, or our 1.2-million-square-foot home in San Antonio and you’ll find thousands of geeks who keep the Internet running for 300,000 customers. Many of whom have gone “back to school” over the past couple of years to learn AWS deeply.

To wrap it up, we’d love to be your business partner. Let’s talk! You can find me at For more, see (our official site on AWS Support), (Press release) and (Our official “why” from our CEO, Taylor Rhodes). I’ll post more links here as they come available.

Oh, and what does this mean for me?

Well, for the time being I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done: visit the world’s best entrepreneurs and innovators and keep bringing what I learn as Rackspace’s Futurist to Facebook and other places. It is that learning and relationships that is a key part of Fanatical Support and I’m happy to keep looking for the future, no matter what cloud it is running on. I will be doing a wrap up of the news in my weekly newsletter tonight. Please subscribe to that at to get everything I do.
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This is a reprint of my email newsletter. Please subscribe at to make sure you never miss one!

Oh, VW. What a mess.

The other day I wrote about the chances its CEO would last the week and avoid going to jail. If you've been living under a rock for the past few days, it was recently revealed that VW has been programming its diesel-powered vehicles -- and those under at least one other nameplate, Audi -- to cheat when measured for emissions requirements. That cheat has shipped on millions of vehicles over six years, so the numbers of people who have been involved must be pretty stunning.
The axe fell hard and fast. CEO Martin Winterkorn was gone within hours of me asking that question, along with a ton of other executives.

And the bleeding still hasn’t stopped. Investigations as to who knew and participated are ongoing. I won’t be shocked if someone goes to jail. But that will all play out in due time.

On Thursday, Wired Magazine had an interesting point -- we should open up the Internet of Things to avoid such problems and also to make them more secure:

I agree. Over and over again we learn the positives behind open source and how it enables people to fix bugs, add features and better understand systems.

It’s going to be interesting to see how far this goes. Now it’s being reported that government officials knew:

I imagine the ones that will really get harmed here are the engineers. They don’t have golden parachutes and expensive lawyers to protect them. Even if they only lose their jobs, they will find it hard to get rehired, since they're tainted with this scandal/syndrome, and many may have to spend months in court as this plays out.

I can’t defend them. If the company I worked for asked me to break the law, I’d refuse and make a big stink. Shame on engineers who coded these kinds of law breaks into products.


One of my favorite memories was attending the original Maker Faire a decade ago. I’ve been several times since and each time I am inspired by people who make things from small jewelry, to wondrous robots, to amazing pieces of art. This weekend, Maker Faire visits New York, and that’s brought a slew of new product announcements along with it.

3D printers are having their “laser printer moment.”
Remember back in 1985, when Apple showed the world the Laser Writer? A $7,000 printer that changed desktop publishing?
Before today, the sub-$5,000 3D printers produced items that had a crude feel to them, or were hard to use.
Well, this week Formlabs brought us its new Form 2 printer. This printer makes much higher resolution objects than other extrusion-based printers can do. Here, you can see how it’s easier to use, and can make objects with soft and tough materials too: This is the printer I want to own. It gets rid of the negatives of previous printers.

It isn’t alone this week either. Glowforge showed me a laser cutter that can cut through ¼-inch-thick organic material (wood, plastic, leather, etc.) and can etch metal. Here you can see their new printer:

Why are these important? Because so many entrepreneurs rely on them to make prototypes and other products. Watch for them to pop up at future Maker Faires like flies on honey.
Here’s some other things I saw and did this week:


This week I traveled to Brazil to meet executives and startups. I was quickly pointed to NuBank by a customer who told me that people are waiting six months to get one of its credit cards.

Why? The credit cards from Nubank are awesomely integrated into the mobile lifestyle that so many of us are getting used to with our smartphones. This Sequoia-backed company (makes my heart warm, since Rackspace was Sequoia backed too) is the hottest startup in Brazil and is growing so fast they don’t know where to put new hires:

The three founders showed me around and gave me a unique look inside its customer-centric culture (another thing Rackspace shares a love for) and explained why there was such demand. Their credit cards are free, for one thing, and they work to keep expenses very low. But everything is designed for the mobile-centric user, from their welcome kit to the notifications that show up in real time after you make a transaction. I posted some screen shots here: 
You can see the care it takes and why customers are very evangelistic about this company and its credit card.

Oculus shows off its latest:

This is the most important product introduction since the first iPhone. Now, most of you won’t agree with me there. At least not until about 2017. Then we’ll look back on today’s announcements as far more important than we can currently recognize. This isn’t an upgrade of an already loved product, like the iPhone really was (a lot of us had Palm Treos or Blackberries or Nokia Phones back then, and the iPhone just was a more usable version).

No, this is a new category of products. It's a category no one has in their homes yet, so its real usefulness won’t be recognized until later. That doesn’t make it any less important. Imagine being around on the day the Apple II was announced. Barely anyone in society cared. But we can all look back on that day and know it was a very important one for the industry and all of us. Same will be true here.


Shel Israel’s new book, “Lethal Generosity” is getting great reviews: (I wrote the foreward, it’s a great follow-up to our earlier book, “Age of Context” which is still relevant two years later).


Web Summit moves to Lisbon. This move shocked a lot of people because Ireland is the home of Web Summit (my favorite startup conference, which will have 30,000 attendees this year in Dublin). I’m skipping this year’s because I was asked to keynote another conference back in San Francisco, but I will be at Web Summit’s “Collision” event in New Orleans next year as well as the first Lisbon event:


Pebble ships a new watch:

There are rumors on the street that Pebble will get bought by a big company soon. I think that makes sense. Pebble has a great brand, demonstrated in that it can ship great products, but to really get to the next level, it needs the integration with a bigger partner. It’s hard to take Pebble too seriously when the big companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Apple are shipping great products in this space too. But there are companies, like Facebook and Amazon, that don’t yet have a play in wearables. I wonder if they're ready to make the move?

Facebook’s new 360 video showed off in Star Wars video:


A basketball with sensors:


Apple Watch saves someone’s life:


Big data nerds: Rackspace now is offering managed Cassandra:


Curiyo, content discovery system and app:


I’m off to speak in New York next week at and also will be seen at BetaWorks on Thursday where we’ll be broadcasting Gillmor Gang.

As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.
Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.
I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at  
Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:  
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You don't see everything I do on Facebook UNLESS you subscribe to my newsletter: Here's the newsletter I sent out last night:

It isn’t every Facebook post that gets Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, along with Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak and former Apple CEO John Sculley all to leave comments.

But that's what happened here:

The comments were in response to a post I made about yet another Steve Jobs movie, er, documentary, titled “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.”

You can read more about that documentary, which was released in theaters and on Apple TV last Friday, here: .
Why did they all comment? Well, Benioff says that the latest documentary is heavy on the “Steve Jobs dark side,” but light on the magic that made Steve Jobs.

Woz hasn’t seen the latest documentary, but is praising a yet to come movie, which he says gives insights into Steve Jobs, the man. He gave faint praise to an earlier movie, in which Ashton Kutcher plays Jobs.

So, to figure out what Benioff was saying, last weekend I sat down with Andy Grignon, who is in “The Man in the Machine,” and watched it. He’s one of the dozen people who built the original iPhone for Steve Jobs.

I agree with Benioff. “The Man in the Machine” just doesn’t give any insights into why Jobs was able to come back, save Apple from death and make it the most profitable company around.

For instance, do we learn how Jobs got AT&T to do visual voicemail? Grignon told me that when he pitched AT&T on the idea, they treated him like a child and refused to do the feature. He went home, “cried” to Steve, and somehow, months later, the iPhone had the feature. AT&T had capitulated.

I asked Ed Whitacre, former AT&T CEO about his side of the story, and he said he walked away with a five year exclusive from Jobs because Jobs wanted the feature so bad.

"The Man in the Machine” was lacking just that type of detail, although it was heavy on a bunch of the items that made him out to be a jerk of the first order. I’m not saying those things aren’t true, I’ve heard many stories about Jobs’ lack of empathy towards other human beings too, but it’s just that the story is incomplete.
It also didn’t demonstrate why Jobs had such a “reality distortion field,” and could convince you the sky was purple. His charisma, along with his social proof, and pedigree as founder of Apple all fit into it, and those things are just hard to communicate through a screen.

Some key quotes from the Facebook post:

Woz: “Some personalities are nice and some aren't, and they rarely change much after they form around 18-23 years old. For Jobs this was when Apple started, with money coming to sponsor the Apple ][. He switched from an average fun loving joking person to a serious businessman, since that was now his destiny and goal. Nothing would get in the way of him being #1.”

Woz: “One thing nobody likes to point out is that John Sculley himself, as well as almost all of us at Apple, believed that the Macintosh was Apple's future. We all sacrificed the growing personal computer market (10x over a decade and MS got all the growth) in this belief. We (Sculley leading) had to work very hard for 3 years to make the Macintosh as successful (in dollars) as the Apple ][ had ever been, following Jobs' vision. The choices can be argued because you can never go back and say what decisions would have what results, but it was a business decision to SAVE Apple as a company, after the stock dropped by a third in about a day when the Macintosh failed to sell due to not much software. Steve Jobs wasn't pushed out of the company. He left. I supported him in his belief that he was made to create computers. But up until then he'd only had failures at creation. He was great at productizing and marketing the Apple ][ and the revenues financed the failures Apple ///, LISA, Macintosh and NeXT. This is not shown in the movie. After the Macintosh failure it's fair to assume that Jobs' left out of his feeling of greatness, and embarrassment about not having achieved it. That is not shown either. This movie is more about Steve Jobs inside, his non-feeling about a lot of things including how others thought of him, and some pushes to reform that in the end.”

John Sculley: "Woz you are amazing. I am one of the few who remember how you personally inspired and trained some of our best Macintosh engineers to look for clever ingenious ways to make really expensive technology affordable. Your genius was appreciated by so many of us. Now the rest of the world should know too.”

There’s a lot more too, you should read all the comments at:

Which brings me to yesterday. If you haven’t been living under a rock you know that Apple announced lots of new stuff yesterday, from a new Apple TV, a new iPad, to new iPhones. Ben Thompson does an awesome job about asking why Apple didn’t bring us a better iPad:

I’ll reserve more discussion until Gillmor Gang on Friday, which will be on Techcrunch on Saturday.

Some other fun things from my week:

Holy fighting Megabots! I sit in the robot that will take on Japan. This was the crowd pleaser at Maker Faire earlier this year:
Visit to Eko digital stethoscope startup. I told you about this startup in last weekend’s newsletter, but here I visit the company and meet with the founders:


Vanity Fair backs up what I’ve been telling you for weeks, that Oculus Rift is cool (among other insights about why Zuckerberg bought it):


An oldie from last year, but it's still good to watch - a look at my Stir Desk: I love this desk, which reminds me to switch it up and stand instead of sitting all day long. Unfortunately it’s very pricey, cost me $4,100, but I feel like Elon Musk when standing at this desk.
I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. Thanks too to Hugh Macleod and team for helping me do art each week for this. We love his work! You can find more at:
Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:
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This is a reprint of my newsletter sent out last night. I send out a new one every Thursday night. Please subscribe at:

What an honor.

You’ve gotta understand, when you visit SRI it’s like going to church for anyone technology-minded. In just a few buildings, so much has been invented. Let’s start with the Internet itself. The first node on the Internet was installed there (the other first node was at UCLA).

The mouse was invented there, along with hypertext linking and much more by Doug Engelbart (who gave the “Mother of All Demos” way back in 1968. Info about that is here:

But the invention list goes on and on. Surgical robotics. SIRI. HDTV.

So when they invite you over, it’s a big thrill.

What did I learn?

First, a few lessons about why Silicon Valley continues to be an innovation leader, mostly thanks to military spending, but more on that later in the newsletter.

What else did I learn? Let’s start with the revelation that our phones can still get much smarter. Look at this set of demos, which show that your phone will soon be able to recognize you simply by your voice:

Voice Recognition:
Part II:

Using that technology, your phone can figure out who is talking, and even unlock at the sound of your voice. I can think of dozens of places where that will improve our lives. Think about Amazon’s Echo, which is a device that sits in your home, listening to you. Imagine if it could tell that it’s you speaking, and not your wife or your kids.

But let’s see something else they showed me at SRI: contextual video search. Watch it in action here: 

You could search “man eating a hamburger,” and it would take you to videos of people doing exactly that. It can also take you right to the part of the video where that activity is happening.

How does this work? Artificial intelligence and machine vision learning systems. I want this so bad for my Facebook videos. Imagine being able to search for specific people talking and doing different things.

As we walked through the halls, our guides (both the current and former president of ventures there) said, “the next guy is probably our smartest employee.” Who were they talking about? Patrick Lincoln, director of the computer science lab at SRI (his info can be found at:
Here, he gives me a first look at how SRI does computer and network security: 
It's an amazing look inside how this lab protects itself against hackers.
Then it got more fun, they put a robot on me!

What was that for? Well, it was developed for the military. For soldiers. Why? They need to carry 100 pound backpacks and walk long distances. The task of the robot is to assist you when walking. Now the researchers are working on making it commercially available to all of us. I can imagine a version you buy at mountaineering stores that will help you backpack.

They outfitted me with the robot, and had me walk around. It has a little motor on both sides that pulls on a cord headed down to my shin. It puts up to 100 pounds of force to assist me in walking. Very cool. In the two-part video you see the robot, the sensors that were designed to figure out where my legs and feet were and how fast I’m walking, and the computer and motor pack on my back.

Robots you wear:
Part II:

Finally, we visited a part of the campus I hadn’t visited before (2,200 people work at SRI, mostly in Menlo Park, California and Princeton, New Jersey, but here I was visiting its headquarters in Menlo Park). It's David Cooper’s lab, where he does sensor systems. Here they use new kinds of sensors to figure out what kinds of illnesses people have:

Which brings me to the point. Why do Silicon Valley and Israel still stand out in the world of innovation? Largely due to labs like these, which are doing government-focused work. Siri, for instance, was built for the government to enable workers to do new kinds of searches.

That’s why I keep going back. These labs continue doing long-term research that takes four to 10 years, maybe longer, before it bears fruit commercially. In fact, as we walked away from the interview, Norman Winarsky, former president of SRI Ventures, agreed when someone else said, “we’re going to be commercializing some of the stuff Pat’s working on now for the next 15 years.”

It shows just how important even a single extremely smart person is to a lab, a region and to a country.

I walked away thinking how just a small number of people have really changed my life in very deep ways. Many of whom have walked through the doors of this lab.

Here are some other things I’ve done, or that caught my eye, just in the past week.

I got a tour of smart clothing manufacturer Athos: These clothes help athletes have better workouts.


My friend Ken Yeung looks into the top startup helper, Y Combinator:


Startups. Here Andreessen Horowitz schools you about your phony metrics:

Lots of data about the collaborative economy from Jeremiah Owyang:


State of Artificial Intelligence in one post:


This startup told me to fly a kite. PhotoKite lets you fly a drone with a camera in a new way. Useful for journalists and others who want to fly a camera in places where drones won’t be allowed:


Facebook announced it's developing “M” which is a personal assistant built into Messenger. Here I sit down with Bob Rosenschein and talk about it. He started He's a great one to talk to about this:

Steve Rubel podcast: We talk about my role at Rackspace, marketing trends and the innovation I’m seeing around the world.


On September 2nd, I’m speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco:


My wife and I are enjoying Blue Apron, which ships food to you that you make at home. We're eating healthier and learning how to cook more things, too:


I sat in the front row at Obi Worldphone launch last night. Here John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and Pepsi, launched a new set of very nicely designed smartphones for less than $200. Here is the video I shot and why it matters:


The hot development trend: React lets you reuse code for Web, iOS, and Android: My developer friends are talking a lot about React lately.


My first live video on Facebook was on a boat cruise with a few computer science professors: All at the Think Big Festival (a conference about robotics and artificial intelligence). Fun times, and I had a robot chasing my orange shoes!


I visited the drought-resistant shower company, Nebia, which is getting a lot of attention since the shower head it developed uses 70% less water:


Something fun to end the week. I was behind the scenes as country music performer Pete Stringfellow filmed his latest music video:

Cool look into one of the summer’s musical hits:

Sneak peek at music technology soon to come from Retronyms: this was a fun visit to a startup that many musicians are using to create their music.

Thanks, what an incredible week, and thank you to so many at SRI who gave me an amazing tour!

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. Thanks too to Hugh Macleod and team for helping me do art each week for this. We love his work! You can find more at
Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:
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Eat your heart out. I got a tour of the technology behind the scenes at the Taylor Swift concert last night at Levi's Stadium. The videos are up on my Facebook at

This is the most technologically advanced stadium in the world, with 1,200 wifi hotspots. 2,000 beacons. 45 gigabits of bandwidth. Two of the best 4K video screens. And more. You see it all with the guy who built it.

This is a sneak peek at the tech that will run the Super Bowl, too. 

Hint: if you ever visit Levi's Stadium make sure you download the app before you get to the stadium. It does a TON of stuff while you are the stadium.
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Robert Scoble

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Thanks for letting me take a few weeks off of the newsletter. This is what I sent out last night to my email subscribers. Subscribe at (It includes both my best work, as well as the best things of the week I see around the Internet).

Yesterday, I spent some time on the phone with someone from Facebook. They are planning on expanding their live video features to people who aren’t just celebrities, but they're also rolling it out slowly. Here’s the Techcrunch article about that:
At Rackspace we're very interested in using Facebook’s Live Video to bring you into places, provide training and do other things to let our customers and partners know what’s up. You might be interested too.

Today, I was on MSNBC discussing live video:

Marketers who think it’s another way to push through messages are salivating, but Facebook is holding them back. So far, only verified celebrities have access to the feature (I’m expected to get an early look “within hours,” according to Facebook).

What will I do with it? The same thing I’d recommend you do with it: be careful and use it sparingly. Yes, you can get your content pushed out right now, but if you overuse it and don’t provide value, people will remove you from their notifications and/or unfollow or unfriend you. At Rackspace we just say, “be helpful.”

So, even if I broadcast myself eating dinner, there will be some sort of payoff for the folks who watch my live videos. An interview with someone interesting, how-to content or a look at a new technology or product.
Another way to look at the video market is how to make a video go viral. Here I talk with Samir Arora, CEO of Mode Media (seventh largest media company on the Internet). He walks me through the stats behind a video they had that went viral (58 million views in 21 days). He also shares how dominant Facebook and YouTube are:


This week’s big news was Google’s major reorg under the brand “Alphabet.” I was over at Shel Israel’s house (longtime journalist and strategist, who wrote two books with me) and we talked about what it all means:

Basically, it will help Google unlock a lot of value as it allows its member “companies” like YouTube or Nest, to thrive separately from the Google brand and business model.

I also spoke at the PR Summit this week. Here Rich Reader captured me talking about why I’m so passionate about Virtual Reality:

This afternoon, the founders of Upload VR (who are doing the VR pavilion at Techcrunch Disrupt, among many other things) came over and we also talked about VR:

Can you tell I’m a bit excited by VR?

Even security cameras are coming to the cloud. Here, founder and CEO Dean Drakko shows me Eagle Eye Networks:
It isn’t his first time starting a company. Years ago he started Barracuda Networks, which got very big. He is a passionate evangelist for cloud technology and shows off many features that make a video security system better than when it was hosted on-premise.

Do you want to do your own PR, but need help figuring out which journalists to hit? Then Press Friendly will be great for you. Take a look here:


Do you watch Product Hunt? I do. This is where you can find tons of new products before anyone else on your block learns about them. Here they've put together a collection of Drone-oriented software:

Here’s another Product Hunt compilation of things that will automatically do stuff for you:

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. 
Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:

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Robert Scoble

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I’m currently sitting at the feet of Dennis Crowley, the founder and CEO of Foursquare, as I type this newsletter. Literally. You can see photos here:

Over on that thread, Dave Wilson asked why Foursquare needed to split into two apps, and Crowley explained why: to let him get more granular notifications so people won’t turn them off.

I sort of disliked that move. It meant giving up some features that I cared about. At least at first. Crowley admitted that he wanted to get rid of check-ins to save people time and keep them from having to “work” to use the app. When they complained, he added those features back in.

If you really listen to Crowley, it’s clear that the two apps are split functionally into these two pieces:

Swarm, which is a contextualizer and data generator, and Foursquare, which is a data viewer.

As you walk around the world, Swarm knows where you are and what space you just walked into, thanks to the pattern it has recognized at millions of places. This is why Foursquare was able to accurately predict how many iPhones would sell based on Swarm users.

It watches how many people enter Apple stores around the world each day and figured out that it can accurately predict how many products Apple will sell. Vic Gundotra, formerly at Google, told me the same thing. He knew that if you walked into a store, that was a form of intent.
So Swarm is the app that can let you know things as you walk around the world, and Foursquare is the app you open up if you want to figure out where to walk in said world. Subtly different.
Crowley gave hints about other apps that might be coming to show you different things as you move around the world.

All of this leads me to Frictionless.

I’ve noticed the most interesting new mobile businesses remove friction, or pain, from life.

Think about Uber. It removed friction at nearly every step thanks to mobile. Now the system knows where you're standing and where the driver is. It can charge you automatically at the end of the ride, and it lets you properly rate the driver. By the way, the driver rates you as well, and we talk about that here: ).
One story I talk about is Tapingo. Most people I speak to have no clue about Tapingo, yet it currently processes 70 percent of the transactions at Santa Clara University. What is Tapingo? It's a mobile app that students use.

Let’s say you're a student at Santa Clara University. You wake up at 7 a.m. and order your iced latte. Using your mobile phone, the order is made on the app, and tells you it will be ready roughly 30 minutes later. In the meantime, it sent the order to a box in the Starbucks that lights up, beeps and spits out a receipt that goes into the workflow of the coffee shop.

So there’s one piece of friction removed. You don’t even need to get out of bed to order. No waiting in line. When you get there, you don’t need to wait in line, you just pick up your drink and leave.

This year Tapingo added delivery. Another student can now offer to pick up your drink and bring it to your class. They get paid in a virtual currency (Tapingo has its own crypto currency). The system removes friction at every level and is very disruptive.
All year long I’ve been bringing you mobile app news from developers who are building frictionless systems. From Levi’s Stadium, which has 2,000 beacons and an app that lets you order food from your seat (among many other things), to NUBank in Brazil, which makes your expense reports easier by sending you notifications and emails sourced from its credit card every time you make a purchase (and it also includes a ton of data about where you spent the money).
It all comes back to notifications. If the notifications get spammy or uninformative, people will turn those features off and/or delete apps altogether. It’s why we were at Betaworks in New York today at the Notification Summit, which John Borthwick and Steve Gillmor put together. It was small, intimate and awesome, and they recorded it and will put some of it up on Techcrunch in the near future.
We're quickly heading into a frictionless world — are you building a piece of it?

By the way, if you are, check out the Button Marketplace that was announced this morning:

This lets you incorporate various mobile-focused services into your own app, or it lets you offer your services to other app developers.
Another item worth pointing out here. This week Rackspace announced a new security service:

As more mobile services are created, we'll also need more help figuring out how to secure our systems and not just keep private data secure, but protect the financial instruments these apps are increasingly relying on.

Tapingo, for instance, uses its own virtual currency. No bank or government is backing that. So there’s a LOT at stake in the future of security and we’re investing in the best people and the best infrastructure to help your business in this critical space.
Other things I did this past week:

A quick chat with Siri cofounder Adam Cheyer:
How Medium and Twitter could beat Facebook:

Nest releases Weave communication protocol to connect other devices to its products:

The CEO of Hello Alfred tells me about the numbers behind this butler app/service:

Facebook adds new video profiles and I’m one of the first to get them:
This is another small and seemingly unimportant update, but it’s clear Facebook is heading toward a pretty different user experience over time. This is particularly nice for mobile users.

Smart toy cars teach programming:

New wedding registry Zola:

A social network for doctors:

New Tesla released to rave reviews:
I hope you have a five star weekend, see you next week!
As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.
Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.
I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at
Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:
And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at
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Marc Benioff is the master.
170,000 people showed up this week to watch Salesforce CEO and Co-founder Marc Benioff perform in front of the ever larger audiences at its Dreamforce event.

Since I was able to sit in the front row and study Steve Jobs when he was still around, I wondered what I’d learn by sitting a few feet from Benioff. Disclaimer, Rackspace is a Salesforce customer, and Benioff wrote the forward for my book, “Age of Context.”
Here’s some things:

He leaves nothing to chance. They released the real news last week, long before the press would even show up at the event.

Why? Well, that way attendees would already know what sessions they needed to attend to learn about the latest. Also, journalists often get caught in traffic, get tired or just don’t have the ability to understand what speakers said on stage.

By meeting with them a week earlier, Salesforce can control the message a lot better than by trying to rendezvous with the hundreds of journalists that show up at Dreamforce.

It also means journalists have an outline of articles, like this one in Venture Beat, that they fill in with photos and quotes from the event itself:

Brand tying is religion. If you walk around San Francisco this week, you’ll see sign after sign for the brands that Salesforce is trying to align itself with, from Uber to Aetna.

On stage, Benioff is a master of walking around the huge pavilion and either saying hi to representatives from different brands, to having them on stage. Many times brands like Cisco, get many minutes all to themselves on the Dreamforce stage.

Dreamforce is where he pushes his teams. I’ve been to a half dozen of them now.
Benioff regularly announces new technology (yesterday he announced IoT support). But when you push the teams for real software, or even pricing, they answer, “we’ll have those details soon.”

Sure enough, over the next year, those details trickle out of Salesforce at various events. I even used this to write a book. I knew that to get my book featured at Dreamforce, we needed to ship it before Salesforce announced a feature on it.

Here’s a hint: I bet that next year Salesforce will be all over Virtual and Augmented Reality. It was too early this year, but next year look for sexy demos with Microsoft Hololens, which is rumored to ship next summer, at least in beta form.

Benioff's team does a masterful job at trying to make the show entertaining and not just dry. Stevie Wonder opened up the keynote yesterday. One of the co-founders, Parker Harris, showed up on stage in a funny “Lightening Man” suit.

They’ve pushed themselves to get closer to customers, with a round stage that Benioff visits infrequently as he walks through the audience. When I walked up to get a better photo, I found each section is watched by executives and others, and they make sure nobody blocks camera angles, or gets out of line.

It makes sense, since the theme for the last few years has been that Salesforce helps you build a customer-centric company.

Benioff is an amazing listener, even as he obviously has to keep track of many things while he walks around and presents. During his interviews with other execs, it’s clear that he’s not scripted, and he adds value on the fly.

Very few execs can pull off this “scripted non scriptedness.” Watching him you can tell he’s rehearsed most of it though, the same way a jazz musician knows just how many bars he/she can improvise before getting back on script.

After the talk I walked through the expo hall looking for other hints of where the industry is going. If you walk through the expo hall, like I did at , you’ll see some industry trends too. I was looking for technology that could help us improve the lives of Rackspace customers. 

Look at the 360 Fly video camera. Unfortunately for most of us, there are so many innovations coming soon. Kodak and Ricoh just announced new cameras that have better quality (360 Fly themselves admitted off camera that they have a newer model coming at CES). Translation: buy only what you need and expect it to be obsolete nearly instantly.


My first try at Blab.IM, including an interview with the investor behind it, Michael Birch, and the founders: Many of my friends have been pushing me to try this for weeks now. Why? It lets you do video conferences with four participants easily and without software (on the Web). The viral features (it’s very easy to push a discussion you like to Twitter) and chat features are awesome, and you can see just how good a community Blab has here.


Facebook open sourced React Native, the framework that lets it easily change the UI on its mobile apps. It also lets developers make cross-platform mobile apps. Are you using it? What’s your experience?


Gillmor Gang. weekend a group of us gets together to talk about the nerdy news of the week. Here we tear into Apple’s announcements.

Since then I’ve gotten iOS 9 and love it. My battery on my iPhone 6+ seems to last a lot longer, and my phone is snappier. It fixed a few nagging bugs too (like scrolling through photos in Facebook Messenger is a lot faster), and I love the updates to notifications and other places. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Here’s some hidden features in Mashable:’ll do another Gillmor Gang on Saturday morning, probably at 10 a.m., so watch my Facebook for news of that. We’ll wrap up all the Salesforce news (and take a fresh look at iOS 9 on Apple devices too).

Next week? Watch out for a bunch of 3D printing news as Maker Faire arrives in New York next weekend. Have a great week, stay geeky.
I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. Thanks too to Hugh Macleod and team for helping me do art each week for this. We love his work! You can find more at
Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:
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Robert Scoble

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Life and Tech #20: Burn it up

(My weekly newsletter, which is sent via email to anyone who subscribes at ).

It’s a slow week here in San Francisco. Why? It seems like much of the tech industry is at Burning Man. Over the weekend, I asked why you weren’t going to Burning Man:
There were a lot of fun answers, like Lou Covey’s: “To go to the California desert for a week, live in a tent, crap in a bucket and hang out with a bunch of pretentious rich people? Yeah sounds great.”
Then I asked a bunch of other people. Hey, I’ve been thinking about going to Burning Man for years, and have been trying to get my wife to go with me too. She refuses, even after at least 30 of our friends have told her it’s the most amazing thing they’ve ever done.

The answers to such evangelism are very similar to answers I hear about new technology:

“Hell no, no way.”
“I see no need to do that.”
“It’s a religion with those people.”
“I can’t stand that idea.”

Those are from people who never have been. Compare them to answers from people who have been:

“It’s the best thing you’ll ever do.”
“Life changing.”
“You must go.”
“Amazing experience.”

I realized those are the same answers I hear when I talk to people about Virtual Reality or self driving cars. They even remind me of things I've heard in the past, like when I was pushing Twitter on my blog back in 2006.

What do I learn? That the answers from people who have tried the technology or experience differ radically from other people’s experiences or answers.

Here’s the problem: some technologies are so expensive, very few people will be able to try them. How many people will really be able to afford an Oculus Rift, or a self driving car anytime soon? Very few. Same as being able to afford going to Burning Man. Many of my friends can’t afford to go. Taking a week off of work and off of life is a luxury.

Instead of saving up the money and figuring out how to go, it’s easier to deride the experience. Plus, having fun takes some effort. I get it. Back in 2014 I asked “how much are you willing to suffer to have fun?”

I noticed that going to the Coachella music festival meant putting up with a high level of discomfort. It was hot and dusty there too, and you needed to walk about a mile just to get into the venue.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but since I’m talking to mostly people who have never been to Burning Man (since most of those who told me they went in the past said they were going again this week) I figure I’d take your side.

By resisting change, by resisting the costs, you're making life easier for yourself. I know it’s easier for me, I didn’t have to rent an RV, figure out how to get tickets, wait in line, deal with bugs, get a costume, pack a bunch of water and food or get things to give away on the Playa. It’s easier to just say, “no way in hell,” or “what a bunch of nuts.”

All while harboring just a bit of jealousy.

What does this mean for technology? Think about your reactions to VR or self driving cars. I can’t stand how people talk about them, because the opinions are often so uninformed. See the reactions around the web to this article, which shows that humans are to blame in accidents with self driving cars because the cars are too “perfect” at following the laws: 
I hear almost the exact same words from people who don’t want to save a few hundred bucks to get a VR headset. It’s easier to just say, “it’s not for me,” or, “that thing is hideous/dorky/geeky/etc.”
I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed in myself for not finding a way to go to Burning Man this year. I’ll make up for it by being first to get an Oculus Rift. But get ready for an onslaught of articles praising VR, the same way that Burning Man attendees evangelize that event.
Here’s a couple:

Tad goes raving mad about VR:

He’s not alone. Here’s a report from a tech journalist at GeekWire:
Anyway, enjoy the quiet week and try to tell yourself that you’re really having much more fun than all those weirdos wearing costumes in the desert listening to crappy electronic music.

Here are some other things I collected over the past week:

Blab.IM is getting praise for its multiparty videoconferencing features:

VMWorld was this week, here’s a writeup of the news:

Rackspace announced a deal with VMware to deliver an interoperable OpenStack Cloud Architecture:

A tool to enable you to move from your on-premise datacenter to cloud:


Petersen’s Automobile Museum is going to have some awesome Indy footage featured in a “wrap around VR-like screen.” I learned about it by running into a Motor Trend camera crew shooting with this camera that has seven GoPros:


I visit Clustrix to learn about its scalable database in a talk with its CEO:

There's a new Nest thermostat coming:

Samsung’s SmartThings launches a powerful, privacy-friendly home automation hub:

Amazon’s Dash buttons:
Kym McNicholas' interview of me where we talk about the Extreme Tech Challenge, great contest for startups:


Denmark’s ad guys come by and talk about how startups should think about storytelling:


Digital stethoscope from Eko shows how sensors continue to change our lives:

Here’s our best chance for patent reform, says Van Lindberg, who is a Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Rackspace:

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. Thanks too to Hugh Macleod and team for helping me do art each week for this. We love his work! You can find more at

Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:
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Robert Scoble

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(Every week I send out a new email newsletter. This is last week's edition. Subscribe to the newsletter here: and you'll get the next one emailed to you every Thursday evening).

Today, Facebook gave me access to its new live video feature.

Here I broadcast a bunch of computer scientists as we cruise around Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, where I'm helping moderate the sessions tomorrow at Nick Smoot’s robotics conference:
This is an incredible event with about 1,000 attendees. Nick has pulled together all sorts of interesting people, including Burt Rutan, who built the first plane that traveled around the world without refueling, among others.

The conference, titled “The Think Big Festival,” starts tonight. Watch my Facebook page for more info, or the event page at:

But that’s not what I was most excited by this week.
Over the weekend I attended the Taylor Swift concert at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Before the concert, I was lucky enough to get a tour of all the technology in the stadium. The tour was led by John Paul, CEO of who is the geek running the tech at the most technologically advanced stadium in the world.

I split the tour into two parts here:

Part I:
Part II:
This is where the Super Bowl will be played in February 2016.
TL;DR: Get the app BEFORE you come to this stadium and you can do a ton of things - from logging into your parking space and walking into the stadium, to getting directions to your seats and ordering food that will be delivered right to your seat.
OK, I've been in a lot of stadiums. The wifi never works. The app doesn't do all that much. But this isn't true at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Located a few blocks from Intel's headquarters, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, you might imagine the stadium would be a heavy technology user.
You'd be right.
The stadium holds 2,000 beacons. I've never seen a deployment elsewhere that had more than 100 (and Shel Israel and I wrote a book, "Age of Context," about how this kind of technology might be used). 
There are 1,200 wifi hotspots. Last night Rackspace CTO, John Engates, was watching Taylor Swift with his daughters. He wrote me, "the wifi is amazing."

Yes, it is. It's the only stadium I've been at where the wifi actually works. It's backed up with a 45 gigabit pipe, too.
Two 4K screens, the best in the world at the moment, are on both sides of the stadium.
But it goes on. John's team of 50 custom built ticket scanners for each entry and there are also these "Kezars" at the entries to each suite area and club area.
They monitor how many people have checked into each parking lot (passes are sold by people checking in cars, or you can buy them ahead of time like I did. My mobile phone showed a bar code and I was checked in that way through a hand-held scanner).
In this video you also meet the guy, Aaron Kennedy, who runs the scoreboards’ control team and room and see all the tech that controls all the video screens in the stadium and the scoreboards.
Hope you enjoy this look behind the scenes.

Here’s some other things from my week:


52 Startups born at Y Combinator:
I interview the cofounder of Ticket Fairy, one of the top new YC companies: (makes a new ticket system for performances).

Product Hunt has a great system where you can see most of the YC companies, ranked by popularity:


I chat with Techcrunch cofounder and Chat Center founder, Keith Teare, who shows me how companies can use chat to increase customer service:  


Tagatoo shows me its new email client, helps with tracking tasks:


Rackspace announces Fanatical Support for Adobe Experience Manager: While I’m pitching Rackspace, here’s how Rip Curl (the surfing equipment manufacturer) is growing its business as a Rackspace customer:

Slick has a new gimbal for steadying GoPros: First one that is waterproof, ships in March, you can preorder now. This will help you do professional-quality video on your GoPro camera.


Ngrok has a new way to setup a server that is getting raves:
Google has a new, easy to setup, wifi router. I don’t have one yet, but seems they made it simpler and more useful.
Hope you have a great week, see you next Thursday night!
I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at Please let me know how I, or Rackspace, the leading managed cloud company, can be of service to you. Thanks too to Hugh Macleod and team for helping me do art each week for this. We love his work!
Please share this newsletter on social networks and email. If you have gotten it from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:

Thank you to Hugh MacLeod, who does the fabulous art each week for my newsletter. You can find his work at
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Big news about Google splitting up into smaller companies under one called "Alphabet" is ALL OVER MY FEED. I am feeling like this is a rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. But wow. Microsoft should have done that in 2000.
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Great sunset in Half Moon Bay.

Who is this demonstrating how to shoot on an iPhone while holding wine?

+Andy Grignon, who was one of the dozen or so people who built the first iPhone at Apple.
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Rackspace's Futurist. Searching for world-changing technologies.
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  • Rackspace
    Futurist, 2009 - present
    Go find the future and report on it. Build relationships with startups and other tech industry innovators. Rackspace is the leading managed cloud company.
  • Microsoft
    Strategist, Evangelism, 2003 - 2006
  • NEC
    Sales Support, 2002 - 2003
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    Vice President, Media Development, 2006 - 2008
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Rackspace's Futurist helps small teams have a huge impact with cloud computing technology.
Rackspace's Futurist searches the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology. 


As Futurist for Rackspace, the leading Managed Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people.


If you are looking to contact me, email is best: but my cell phone number is +1-425-205-1921.


Time: One of the top 140 Twitterers!
FT: One of the five most influential Twitterers!

I'm a geek who grew up in Silicon Valley (my dad was an engineer at Lockheed) and since 1985 I've been building online communities. In 2000 I started my technology blog,, and my life has been on a rocketship ever since. In 2003-2006 I worked at Microsoft as an evangelist and one of the five guys who started Microsoft's famous Channel9 video community.

I'm now working at Rackspace as its Futurist (I go around the world to study and make media about world-changing innovators). You'll also see my videos on but the best place to watch me now is on Facebook, on Twitter or on my blog. Our professional videos, done in studio, are on Rackspace's YouTube site.

The real-time streaming web is changing my life faster than I can imagine, and lets me keep in touch with thousands of technology and business innovators all around the world.

I'm also the father of three sons, Patrick, 21, Milan, 7, and Ryan, 5 (as of 2015). Lots of fun and they are all geeks in training too.

Anyway, visit some of my links to see more about me, especially my Wikipedia profile (I didn't edit any of it, that was done by people in the community) and feel free to drop me a line at anytime you need something or want to talk about being on one of my video shows.

Oh, and, yes, I do answer my own cell phone and I do include that number on the Internet for you to use: +1-425-205-1921 and have for several years. I live in Half Moon Bay near the Ritz and would love to meet up with geeks/entrepreneurs if you are in town and I'm available.
Bragging rights
I shook Steve Jobs' hand.
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The oldest local business in Half Moon Bay. Kevin, the owner, is a real lover of books and this is a must-support place if you are a book lover.
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Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Found this a bit by accident, but the home made Persian bread, alone, made the meal. They roll it and bake it right in front of you. We had a variety of meat dishes, including lamb, chicken, and beef kababs and they were all among the best I've had (my wife is Persian). The service was efficient, but not very personable, which is why I didn't rate them five stars (I save that rating for only the best restaurants that have the full package). It's a small place, but comfortable. A full meal (no alcohol) was £115 for six people, which gives you some idea of the pricing.
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Food: ExcellentDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago