[INTERVIEW] Robert Scoble on Startups, Dublin Web Summit and Google Glass

5 years ago

Robert ScobleFollowing his appearance at Dublin Web Summit last month, Robert Scoble, shares his thoughts with me on the conference, his love of Google Glass and Rackspace’s support for tech startups around the world.

1. Hi Robert, for anyone that doesn’t know who you are, how would you describe what you do on a daily or weekly basis? Are you a tech blogger, commentator, investor, speaker, or all of the above?

Rackspace pays me to study the future. I interview hundreds of CEOs every year, along with attending the best conferences and hanging out at the top R&D labs.

I share most of that learning online, mostly on my Facebook page but also on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

2. Your Twitter bio says you’re ‘Rackspace’s Startup Liaison Officer’. What exactly does that entail? Why is Rackspace so interested in startups and what support do they provide?

Rackspace is interested in startups because it was one but also we know just how fast this new world of business can happen. Eight years ago Twitter didn’t exist. YouTube was hosted on us before it got purchased by Google. So we’re always looking to help out startups because you don’t know which company will become the next YouTube.

Even further startups push us to be better. They try new technologies before other companies do. So, if you don’t serve startups well you are constantly falling behind.

3. From your blogs and Tweets I know you’re a big fan of Google Glass but having met you at Dublin Web Summit you’re the first person I’ve actually seen wearing them in real life for more than just a photo opp. Obviously this was a tech conference but do you really wear them every day and what do you use them for? Photos/videos, internet browsing, checking emails…? (Also, why are yours orange?)

Yes, I wear Google Glass every day. Mostly to make photos, sometimes to make a phone call, read a tweet, send a message, or get directions. But the coolest software will come out next year after the SDK comes out (which will let software developers use the sensors). They are available in five colours. I like the tangerine ones the best.

4. Dublin Web Summit was an amazing event, full of the world’s leading technology entrepreneurs, companies, investors and speakers (including yourself). There were also over 600 tech startups exhibiting at the event who I’d guess were mostly pre-revenue. Despite all this amazing energy I couldn’t help thinking ‘There’s too much tech!’ Do you agree?

It is indeed overwhelming to keep up with the industry. So much is happening all over the world, particularly in startup communities, that it can be daunting. That said, so many of these companies are coming up with things that improve our lives that it’s worth paying attention.

5. Silicon Valley is rightly considered to be the centre of the tech world, but from your extensive travels which other countries or cities are you most excited about? How does the UK/Ireland compare?

Well, we visited Tyndall in Cork and was blown away. There we saw all sorts of nano machines. Sensors, micro needles, in-body power generators, and more – all smaller than your thumbnail!

When travelling I like cities with concentrations of startups. Tel Aviv, Beijing, London, New York, Seattle, Boston, all fit the bill. Dublin is doing OK, thanks to Enterprise Ireland, but Cork has a good concentration of older tech companies, like Apple, EMC, etc and that’s probably where I would look.

The problem is that for a startup community to really thrive you need a large set of angel investors and right now there aren’t a ton of rich people in Ireland who are willing to risk their capital.

6. Thanks Robert! Anything else you’d like to share with people reading this and wanting to know more?

Just watch what we do at www.rackspacestartups.com. Thanks!