There was a shudder throughout the Internet today: Robert Scoble, former Official Blogger for Microsoft and now writer/podcaster for PodTech.Net, didn’t receive an invite to a Microsoft developer conference. A fellow at Microsoft by the name of Alfred Thompson responded saying (more or less) that Scoble isn’t the target audience for the conference anyway. And Scoble was pissed by this response.
Most of you probably don’t know who Robert Scoble is, or care. But in the world of Internet bloggers, he’s somewhere in the top 50 or so most “powerful”. Tens of thousands of blogs used to link to him when he was Microsoft’s official blogger. Back in his hey-day, he received millions of hits a year. I suspect he probably got used to getting things for free just because he was who he was.
Let us be absolutely clear here: Microsoft didn’t say “Robert Scoble can’t attend the MIX07 developer conference”. Despite Alfred Thompson’s somewhat clumsy post, they weren’t saying he wasn’t wanted. What they did was fail to give Robert a free ticket.
MIX07 isn’t, apparently, a “mass market” event: they want to target developers, not people who report about developers. They don’t apparently care to get the event talked up outside of the attendees. Right or wrong, that is their decision.
I’m a developer for a fairly major company. I do work in the rich media Internet space. My opinion influences hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in investments. But I don’t see Microsoft handing *me* a free ticket to MIX07. And if I wanted to go, I’d have to negotiate with my management for months in advance to get budget assigned. And let me tell you, I’d be a little ticked off if, when I got there after all that effort, I found two reporters for every three developers, and then discovered those reporters got there for *free*.
As much as I admire Robert Scoble, I have a message for him (not that he’ll ever come here to read it): get over yourself. Yeah, Alfred’s post probably rubbed you the wrong way, but expecting free tickets to everything just because you are *the* Robert Scoble makes you look a trifle arrogant.