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Robert Scoble
Works at Rackspace
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Robert Scoble

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LIFE AND TECH #30: Music and Tech are Ready to Rumble!

The music and tech industries haven't been the deepest of friends over the past two decades, but I'm seeing signs that is about to change.
1. Virtual Reality is coming and that will open major new opportunities.

2. Beats showed how mixing music into brands can create billions in value.

3. Innovators like Claire Parr have shown that sponsorship is a viable business model (she works with brands like Southwest Airlines, Aloft Hotels and Stella, to bring music to new audiences). Check out an earlier interview I did with Claire, here:

Listen to Jason Flom. He’s a longtime music executive who used to run Atlantic and Virgin Records and discovered many of today’s top artists, including Rob Thomas:

He thinks subscription services like Spotify will make the industry bigger than it’s ever been. Just today, the new YouTube music service was termed a game changer:
But Flom’s mind is exploding at the very thought of VR.
Why? Well let's visit Absolut Vodka:
In that video, you hear the results behind their first VR campaign, where they sent thousands of headsets out to contest winners who were able to watch a live Bob Moses concert.

The average time the winners spent listening was 19 minutes. Afdhel Aziz, an Absolut marketing exec, told me they had never seen engagement numbers like that.
Finally, let's talk to a guy who has sold 80 million records. Rob Thomas himself:
He says he’s looking forward to having thousands of people watching him in VR.
The real reason I’m spending so much time building relationships with musicians is because I saw firsthand how GoPro’s founder, Nick Woodman, used music from the Glitch Mob to help get people excited about his cameras. He isn't alone. Who doesn't want to listen to great music? And many are influenced by the products and experiences musician bring to life.
I hope the tech and music industries will take advantage of these new opportunities and find new ways to make businesses together.
Facebook shipped 360 video capabilities on mobile today:
Ethereum with its next generation Blockchain technology, comes to Microsoft Azure:
A new personal air sensor that will warn you of unhealthy situations:
This startup, Atmotube, is yet another example of how new, low-cost sensors are coming along and enabling new products and companies.
Facebook ships a news notification app. I’ve been using it since it came out and it’s good for those of us who are news freaks:
Cola makes new things possible in messaging, like comparing calendars quickly:
Yesterday, we celebrated Veterans Day at Rackspace Headquarters in San Antonio and heard from Major MJ Hegar.

Her helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan and she detailed how hard it was to get a job when she came home as a veteran:
It’s an eye opening talk from this American hero.
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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This is a reshare of my weekly email newsletter. You can get that every Thursday night by subscribing here:

LIFE AND TECH #28: The Switzerland of Cloud

I don’t usually talk much about Rackspace online. Some might wonder why that is. I often focus on innovations taking place outside the company, to show you where they’re taking the future. After all, how can you be great if you don’t keep up on what other great things companies and people are doing?

Lately you might have noticed a shift in Rackspace’s strategy. We’ve invested in providing support for all sorts of different clouds, from Microsoft Azure to Amazon Web Services to OpenStack (which we developed, together with NASA, and offered as an open source platform to the world).
This is why I love working for Rackspace. We are now helping customers where they are on the technologies they want to use (not the ones we want to push them onto). I tell friends, "we're the Switzerland of the cloud,” and we can now take a real customer-centric approach to businesses trying to figure this technology out.
That all said, we’re still investing a TON in tooling on top of these clouds. Like ScaleFT for security, that you can see here:
We’re also continuing to invest in OpenStack itself, and two days ago we announced a major OpenStack simplification initiative, Carina.
Let's dig into Carina for a second. It simplifies OpenStack for the enterprise by bringing the container magic that Docker brought to the world, but here it’s deeply built into OpenStack. Read Scott Crenshaw's blog where he explains how and why Carina makes OpenStack simpler for enterprises to use:
For the technical look, check out Adrian Otto's post at
(Adrian’s one of the smartest people I’ve met either inside or outside of Rackspace, by the way).
Companies from Comcast to Nike rely on OpenStack, so this will be welcomed by many of you.
OpenStack is KEY to our ability to help customers innovate, even as we support other clouds and the innovation they bring. Another example of this investment is the Intel partnership we announced in July:
As cloud becomes more complex, thanks to companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Amazon and others bringing new capabilities to the market, you'll want a partner who can help you not only navigate those, but someone who will answer the phone when you need help (you'd be shocked at how hard that is at some of these companies).
You’ll want a partner who hasn’t only invested in tooling, opinions, education or services, but someone who can and will be an accountable partner in building the future of your business. Someone who can fill in the gaps in the other clouds with innovation both on top of them, in tooling, as well as investment in a competitive cloud itself, OpenStack.
Here is Techcrunch's writeup of the news:
Other things I saw this week, which was a busy one, included traveling to Australia to meet Rackers and our customers, along with speaking at the Telstra Digital Summit and the Pivot Summit in Geelong.

The latter was aimed at helping think through how to build an innovation zone in a place that has been rocked by some major manufacturing plant closures (they flew me over a Ford plant that’s closing early next year to show the problems this community is facing, but also the opportunities it has in turning this into a place supportive of technology startups). More on that next week.


A new kind of smart travel lock:


What’s the future of IoT? A week ago I asked my readers what the future of IoT is and today Cédric Bollag put together the 230 answers here:
When I was in Australia, Atlassian’s developer advocate Chris Mountford told me about how Atlassian develops software. It should know, its tools are used by developers all over the world. We talked about everything from methodology to Blockchain in this two-part conversation:

Part I:
Part II:

I visited a few other startups and will get those up on Facebook over the weekend and will include them in next week’s newsletter.

We are entering a post mobile era. I told 1,100 business executives and founders at the Telstra Digital Summit this week in Sydney, Australia. Watch my speech here:

As just a little evidence of this post-mobile era, here is a new kind of bot. It’s a conversational messaging platform and uses a bunch of text based platforms.
I’m seeing more and more evidence that we’ll soon have a radically new user interface thanks to not just glasses like Magic Leap, but things like Amazon Echo.

Business is going to be forced to build new conversational “bot” systems and Rackspace will be first there to help businesses build the future. That’s when our “Switzerland” strategy will make sense to everyone. Until then, keep building and hope you have a great weekend!
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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So... Switzerland is the Rackspace of the World?
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I had lunch today with entrepreneur and investor Jason McCabe Calacanis. We compared notes on some cool things. He had just seen DeepStream VR, which lets hospital patients escape pain by using virtual reality instead of hitting the drug button:
We started comparing different things we had seen and social networks we’re into. He’s a Twitter guy, I’m a Facebook guy. I’ve noticed that people who are either rich or running companies tend to like Twitter more (Marc Benioff, who runs Salesforce, recently closed his Facebook account). I asked him why that was, and Jason answered, “there are more business over on Twitter.”
Funny, that’s the reason I’m on Facebook. But it shows that we’re both always hustling, looking for customers and people building businesses.
One reason, I told him, that Facebook works better for me, is because most of the journalists agree with him, which has left me with more “space” to take over on Facebook. In journalism school I learned that the real story isn’t where the herd is going, but where the herd is not. Often that’s where a new answer is.
Which brings me to the camera. Where Nikon and Canon and other manufacturers have set out to perfect the SLR (Single Lens Reflex), and are making row after row of cameras with single lenses, has innovated by using 13 different low-cost sensors and joining those with software.
When cofounder and CTO Rajiv Laroia wanted a new camera, he thought, “Why am I carrying all these lenses?”
He didn’t start out with old assumptions. Of course, he knows technology deeply, he was one of the key players behind LTE, which our mobile phones now use to communicate.
He knew that a new approach to cameras was possible, so he studied optics, but he also looked away from traditional approaches that used a single lens. Instead, he used the R&D of the smartphone world to his advantage.
Every time you shoot an image with his new camera, it joins 10 sensors together thanks to algorithms and lenses that will capture everything from wide angles to telephoto images, in one photo.
I got one of the first looks last week at the Code/Mobile conference that Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher run. Why did I get a first look? I had videoed CEO Dave Grannan on his previous startup and he called me over.
The video I shot has been viewed 3.8 million times: 
It's my most popular video by far, and it shows that putting yourself in play, even in weird places, often brings opportunities all on its own.
Now, some questions still remain. Grannan showed me the images it shot on his laptop. They looked great, but will they stand up against a modern DSLR? I doubt it, at least at first. That point of view though, is missing the point.
This is arguably the future of photography. Will Nikon and Canon have the economic power to improve big sensors more than Google and Apple and the rest of the smartphone industry have? No.
So long term, this “computational photography” camera is the way forward. It won’t be the last one we see, either. Now that we’re headed into a virtual reality world we’ll see many new camera designs.
For instance, watch the video of me interviewing the CEO of Jaunt, which just got $67 million in funding for its VR camera and service, and the former chief engineer of Oculus:
You can see two pioneers who aren’t looking at the world through the lens of “the way things once were.”
I hope you’re watching these things, because they are inspiring people and inspiring products/companies.
More of what I’ve been seeing over the past week:
Here’s the amazing Oculus demo I got that turned me ultra bullish on VR:
Daqri shows off how it is enabling AR in enterprises:
You look at a knob, and it “augments” and shows you what to do. Think this isn’t happening? Yesterday I visited a manufacturing line of the future at Jabil. My photos are at: 
They showed me a workstation where the work surface itself directed me on how to build a new product (and a camera overhead validated that I did it properly). This stuff is becoming real very quickly.
Hive brings us a new, simpler collaboration service, which lets you use a bunch of different collaboration or messaging apps from Slack to email:
HomeCare apps get noticed by people who need to care for elderly parents:
EMC sold to Dell in the largest tech deal ever:
All I have to say is “wow.” This means we’ll see a lot more Dell logos as we walk through our datacenters.
Mobile developers:
Fuse Tools make building mobile apps and syncing changes easy:
HelpShift lets mobile developers add support systems to their apps:
Great look at IFTTT’s data-handling back end:
I love that companies share this kind of data. It helps everyone figure out how to build complex back ends. It also helps our support teams figure out new patterns to build tooling and opinions for our customers at Rackspace, now that we’re supporting a number of different clouds, including AWS and Azure.
Addappt shows me a contact manager. One that actually works and doesn’t spam your friends:
PARC shows me exploding chips:
This is good for making sure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, or, maybe to help make chips more recyclable in future.
Hello Alfred’s CEO shows me its butler app, which is doing well in New York and Boston:
Alphonso’s CEO shows me how he tracks TV:
Sync your smartphones’ speakers for louder music:
My SocialChat on Monday where we talk about Facebook on Blab.IM:
New luggage coming for you heavy travelers:
Reactions App shows a new way to engage smartphone users:
Personal trainer for everyone, Fitnet:
Google Hangout: Meeting with Rackspace’s Fanatical Support for AWS teams:
AWS for IoT:
This is a big deal; both Amazon and IBM announced new IoT-focused clouds. Add in Salesforce. Which one are you going to use?
A new hybrid 3D printer (It extrudes, it cuts, it burns):
Ask this service any question — great for questions that Google can’t answer:
One app I keep using on my Apple Watch is Facebook’s Messenger. Great, now you all will send me more messages knowing you can get my attention even if I’m not looking at my phone:
Google has released a VR version of Street View for its Cardboard users:
I’m hearing that soon the New York Times will send millions of Cardboards to its subscribers.
My talk to marketers at Hubspot’s Inbound conference:
It’s all about the latest innovations I’ve been seeing.
Ubeam has an interesting way to send power through the air to your devices via ultrasound and here they reveal how it works:
CalledIt — Social Network for predicting things:
A look at how music has been devalued both by technology and culture:
How is San Francisco different? This startup shows where you can borrow a mobile battery:
John Borthwick, who runs the Betaworks startup accelerator in New York, held a “Notification Summit” for developers a couple of weeks ago that I attended (it was quite awesome). Here’s what he had to share:
It’s neat that Rackspace has partnered up with the Airforce:
Ahead? I’ll be in Dubai on Monday to meet Rackspace customers and speak at the large GITEX conference there. The week after that I’ll be in Kansas and then head to Australia. I’m always looking to find out where the future of business is headed. Do you know? Drop me a line at
May your week see lots of great partnerships!
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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Both you and +Jason Calacanis are +Startup Study Group members, I guess this is another meeting of members. ;)
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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
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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

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LIFE AND TECH #29: You will be tracked and you will like it.

This is a reprint of my email newsletter that I sent out last week. You can subscribe here:

Airports are doing it.
Shopping malls are doing it.
Nightclubs are doing it.
Stadiums are doing it.
It’s happening to you on freeways.
In your homes.
In your grocery stores.
Even your clothes will do it.

What is it?

Location tracking. Context tracking. Tracking of nearly everything.

Do you like it?

Most of you tell me no. I see the fear. During one speech a guy stood up and said, “I’m turning that s**t off.”

My answer: no you won’t turn it off. You will like it.

A controversial position to be sure, and one that many people are still struggling to wrap their privacy policies around.

But hear me out.

This stuff will eventually save your life. Literally. Wait until your watch recognizes that you're having a heart attack, uses your shopping mall’s indoor positioning technology to direct paramedics to you and saves your life. Don’t believe me? Other technologies from Lively have already saved several lives (that track your senior parents and whether or not they’ve gotten out of bed).

In the meantime, it saved me a night in Chicago. How? I was on a plane headed towards the runway. Tripit told me my flight was being cancelled. It was tracking me because I gave it access to my Gmail account, where it found a United Airlines ticket. It also had access to my GPS and my credit card. Think about THAT if you are a privacy advocate or someone who is scared of all this stuff.
Why was the flight cancelled? Well, two minutes later the pilot came on and explained why. An engine wouldn’t start and the pilot was heading back to the gate. Every one of the more than 150 passengers stayed in Chicago that night. Except for me and two others, who had already purchased a ticket on another airline before the pilot told us about the engine.

How did it beat the pilot? Back when the founders showed me Tripit, they explained how it’s hooked up to the air traffic control system. So the data it gets is the most accurate, and it uses tracking tech (crude as it may be, compared to some of these other examples) to serve its users. And we like it.
How about Waze? I witnessed an accident one day on the highway near my house. Two lane road. The map turned red within 30 seconds of the accident. How did that happen? Well, it turns out cell phone companies (Verizon, in particular, in the United States) gather real time data from cell phones. Your phone knows how fast it’s going. In fact, today, Waze shows you that it knows. Verizon sells that data (anonymized) to Google, which then uses that data to put the red line on your map.

Or, visit Levi’s stadium, where these technologies will eventually let you into the stadium. Today they already bring hotdogs right to your seat, and will navigate you to the closest bathroom, with the shortest line. Here you can see just what can be tracked there:

Or visit American Airlines in Chicago, among other cities, with many more on the way. Their app tracks you indoors (thanks to Locus Labs technology) and shows you how to get to bathrooms, restaurants, bars and even places to charge your phone. That’s detailed here:
Want to know where your friends are in a night club? You’ll turn on tracking thanks to this app:
Or you’ll use Area 360, which lets you track workers through an Amazon Echo:
Now let’s get real. These tracking technologies are scary. “Over the freaky line,” I say. But they’re coming big time to you and your businesses.

They will let you deliver very real features that your customers will love.

Yesterday, I got a first look at just how deeply this “track everything about everything” system will serve you. I met with the folks who started Siri and sold that to Apple. Three years ago Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer left Apple and started working on a new system/company called

They call it the “Internet brain." They aren’t over selling it. This system will let you as things like, “can you buy tickets for Star Wars, deliver flowers to me and find a pizza place with a high Yelp rating near the theater?” It keeps context so you can follow up with “and get me an Uber there?”

These systems will all track you, follow you and know you. The new Viv system shows you everything it’s learning about you as you use it. It’s extensive. And you will love it. More on what I saw here:
(I call it a Siri killer).

This stuff will change a TON.

Here I go more in-depth about this new world and what it will look like in the 45-minute talk I gave at the Pivot Summit in Geelong, Australia:
I explain how technologies that track you, and service providers, like Tapingo, HouseCall, Magic Leap and others will make your world nicer, easier and faster.
Anyway, you might be afraid, but you will use this stuff and you will like it. Trust me on this. It’s gonna happen anyway and it already is.
More from my week:

How can you track people inside your business? Here Cisco shows me the Hyper Location Module, which tracks people down to 1 meter accuracy:

Look at this dress I saw the other night, which tracks your heartbeat and displays that on the front, thanks to built in LEDs:

Congrats to Docker for shipping Swarm, it helps DevOps folks (people who run large scale systems) do clustering easier:

Wireless charging for jewelry, smartwatches and other wearables:
Cool LED sculpture by artist Daniel Siden:

New lightfield camera coming for virtual reality applications:

Google is bringing YouTube to Cardboard. VR is now getting more real every week.

Vodka company Absolut is using Google Cardboard’s plans to make their own branded VR experience:

21 apps picked out of the thousands at Web Summit by Techcrunch:
I didn’t get to go this year, as I decided to keynote the Location and Context World conference instead. I’m glad Mike Butcher visited for us and picked out some apps for us to consider.
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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About to speak to 1,100 business executives in Sydney, Australia.

New talk. "The post-mobile era."

We are going to see the smartphone be devalued more and more over the next decade. I will show why.

Watch live. I am the fourth speaker. Recordings will be up soon.

Shel Israel and Brian Solis are speaking too with a raft of impressive tech and business leaders.

Watch live at
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I guess I see smartphones more as the communication center: LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth... those things can be added to a smartwatch. For screen size I still need my desktop as much as my smartphone, so a smartwatch sits alongside the smartphone and can become the new "center."

But if you're talking about a true technological revolution, then I agree that something like Magic Leap is needed to really bring the change.

I'm simply referring to desktop > mobile > wearable > then implant.
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(This is my newsletter, sent out every Thursday evening to subscribers at ).

We live in a push world that Apple and Google control. More on that a little later.

It’s been 22 days since the Notification Summit at Betaworks’ offices in New York.

I wanted to make sure you knew about this event, which was hosted by Steve Gillmor and John Borthwick, and included participants such as Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic (the folks who do WordPress) and Dennis Crowley, founder of Foursquare.

Put it on your watching schedule. I’ve posted links to videos from the event below, which will get you thinking about the future of mobile in a whole new way.

I’ve watched several of the sessions multiple times, and find that I change my thinking about where mobile is going every time I watch.
Before I get into what I learned, John Borthwick wrote up his thoughts here:

Steve Gillmor posted his here:

Their lengthy notes are way more in depth than I’ll be able to go in my newsletter.

What I learned at the summit is that we’re witnessing the move away from apps and towards streams of interactive user interface elements that stream down our screens.

When you hear developers speak the way they did at the summit, you can hear their excitement about seeing a new world delivered (and one with many more users than previous human/computer interface revolutions, like when the Macintosh arrived with its drag-and-drop user interface).

You also hear fear and exasperation with Google and Apple, due to the lack of context around their interfaces. Take the Apple Watch for example, where all notifications are treated the same whether you’re in a meeting, driving, exercising at the gym or sitting on your couch watching a movie.

All of this will seem quite stupid in a decade I’m sure, but we have to wait for the big platform owners to innovate before we can get to the promised land.

I also noticed that we’re all struggling with noise. At the beginning of the day, Adam Bosworth noted that he’s still trying to convince people to make business connections on LinkedIn rather than Facebook.
Why does he have to convince people? Our notification streams aren’t filterable or granular enough, and we’re afraid we’ll miss out on the wedding announcement of a good friend, all while being deluged with a ton of business requests.

As we get more “bots” (or apps that interact with you almost wholly through notifications) this problem is going to get worse. Making sure you don’t miss important things from your channels is going to be an increasing problem and everyone will solve it in different ways.
Some will go as far as leaving all social channels except for email, to try and escape the demands of engagement. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, for instance, recently closed down his Facebook account because he was overloaded after his Dreamforce event.

The onus is on Google and Apple to give us new tools to handle our incoming notification streams in better ways, all while giving developers even more capabilities to let us move more application functionality into the notification stream itself.

Soon I’ll be visiting with Adam Cheyer, one of the cofounders of Siri. He’s set to reveal the audio operating system his new company is building. One of the things I’ll be asking him is where he needs this world to go to make it possible to interact with these new bots and streams via audio on mobile.

So much is covered in the videos about what the bleeding edge of mobile app developers are thinking, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it:

#1:  A conversation with Adam Bosworth, Salesforce’s CTO.

#2:  Matthew Panzarino (Techcrunch), Or Arbel (Yo!), and Peter Rojas (Betaworks).

#3: The missing conversation with Foursquare’s CEO Dennis Crowley

#4:  Slash Keyboard founders Nick Barr and Cem Kozinoglu. Media using notifications: Jon Steinberg (Daily Mail), Andrew Mclaughlin (Digg), and Alex Danco (Share the Bus).

#5: News and Notifications with Stacy-Marie Ishmael (Buzzfeed) and a data perspective from Gilad Lotan (Betaworks)
#6: Demos XoXco with Ben Brown, Poncho with James Cooper. Then How Web Services are using contextual data to drive relevant notifications: Robert Scoble (Futurist Rackspace), Steve Cheney (Estimote), Joe Stump (SimpleGeo).

#7: A conversation with Linden Tibbets (IFTTT), John Milinovich (URX), and Josh Elman (Investor in Facebook, Twitter, at Greylock).

#8: A conversation with April Underwood (Slack)_, Naveen Selvadurai (Expa), and Ben Brown (XoXco).


24 hours in Dubai:

One thing I took away from my visit to Dubai is how having a few highly connected folks can totally transform what you think of a region. First, Prashant K Gulati, known as “PK” to everyone, gave me a whirlwind tour of the huge GITEX event (the CES of the Middle East). Here he is in front of the Google booth:

He’s been playing key roles here for more than a decade and is running an innovation accelerator in Dubai called “The Assembly,” which is teaching people to code and build new things from drones to a foosball table with Arduino boards and sensors inside:

Another one of the connectors that really impressed me is Tina Yd. She runs accelerators in Dubai and Iran, and is one of the rising stars of business in the region. I predict you’ll hear a lot more about her:


Here you meet ScaleFT, which is helping Rackspace provide better security to our AWS customers:


New user interface device you put on your finger. Ten sensors inside: “Bird.”


Tesla had an up and down week. First it shipped a major update to its latest car, which brought automatic driving capabilities. Here Oculus Rift’s cofounder Palmer Freeman Luckey says “it’s incredible:”

Then, however, Consumer Reports pulled its best rating for Tesla’s Model S, saying it has a ton of quality problems. Here re/code writes about the Consumer Reports decision:

That, of course, got Elon Musk to respond about the problems:

Me? The future of Tesla is safe. I’m jealous of the owners who now get these new features (far better than the ones my Toyotas have) and the market - not Consumer Reports - will judge Tesla by its ability to get a $45,000 or less car on the road.


Startup June has a new oven. One that recognizes food you put into it and cooks it accordingly. Here’s first look:


Is there no such thing as bad PR? Well, here The Information studied data on Uber and found that bad PR caused a few days of downward pressure, but overall it didn’t stop them from growing:


Magic Leap has the hot video of the week and I explain why this company matters :

Google invested half a billion, for one. Can’t wait to try it.


I’ve seen an Intel prototype that has seven sensors on the back of it. What is that for? 3D depth mapping. Here’s a report that talks about Google’s Project Tango (which is what that prototype is designed for):

Is this the next mobile innovation set?


Thinking of going for venture funding? Here Ethan Kurzweil takes a look at the internal memos behind funding in Periscope and Twitch:


On the other hand, if you’re looking to join a startup that’s already venture backed, here’s how stock options work and things you need to consider as you negotiate your next job:


This list of futurists has me in the #1 spot:

Think it’s good time to ask for a raise? ;-)


A post about why Virtual Reality won’t come to mainstream anytime soon:

I don’t care. Back in 1977 I’m sure some were saying that personal computers wouldn’t become mainstream. Truth is I want an Oculus or a Valve or both and I want them bad. I really don’t care if the mass market doesn’t get one for a while.


My talk at the TAP summit: 

“Who here has an Amazon Echo?”


I’m off to speak at Michael Gelphman’s Compute Midwest in Kansas and then to Australia where I’m speaking at Telstra’s Digital Summit with Shel Israel and Brian Solis. Details on that here:

Then onto the Pivot Summit on the 28th in Geelong. Details on that here:

I’ll also be meeting with several Rackspace customers and employees in Sydney. Looking forward to a whirlwind week, hope your week goes well too!


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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Regarding the comic - On it for a year now.... there will be water... soon ... and plenty of it... if everything works out :-)
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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.
Rackspace is your trusted partner for managed AWS cloud services and support. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business.
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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  
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Robert Scoble

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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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Rackspace's Futurist. Searching for world-changing technologies.
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    Go find the future and report on it. Build relationships with startups and other tech industry innovators. Rackspace is the leading managed cloud company.
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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.


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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.
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I shook Steve Jobs' hand.
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Robert Scoble's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The core of Apple's problem is Tim Cook, Scoble says

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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.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Great place to work during the day. Decent food, great views, fun for family and for hanging out. Oh, and the beer is great too!
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reviewed 2 years ago
Food: Poor - FairDecor: Poor - FairService: Poor - Fair
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reviewed 3 years ago
Great Mexican restaurant and family. I love the Chicken Mole and the chips here.
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17 reviews
Great eye doctor. Reasonable prices.
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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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