Scoble pushes the envelope

Whoa. Robert Scoble is once again pushing the envelope for how far he can take blogging inside business. This is Scoble addressing Steve Ballmer:

The fact that Microsoft is even in this position makes me want to leave and join a different company that won’t be pushed around by religious folks. Is that the message you want to send?…Steve, I’m sad. Very sad. This is leadership? What if we were a company in Germany in the 1930s? Would we have taken the same position you just did?

I wonder how many people in an organisation would say this – in full public view – to the big mozzarella? I wonder how many organisations would accept it?

If you read the comments, you can see that he’s opened a big can of worms with some supporting him and others outraged. What he’s talking about involves religion politics and sexuality – an incendiary mixture that a lot of folks would prefer not to touch.

I think the ability to accept, indeed embrace, dissent and controversy can be a measure of an organisation’s strength. Yet there’s a common view that this just isn’t the done thing. Some of the comments seem to suggest that companies shouldn’t have opinions; well companies may not but the people who work for them do, and I think it’s healthy for that to be acknowledged.

I’m surprised by how far Scoble has gone this time. And I think this could be a telling moment. My own feeling is that by accepting this degree of open dissent, Microsoft becomes stronger not weaker – and raises the bar for the rest of the corporate world.

If he carries on like this, we’ll have to call him Robert Sco-balls. Mind you, that could be interpreted in more than one way.

9 thoughts on “Scoble pushes the envelope

  1. The Newest Industry

    LINKS: More on Ballmer’s Memo

    Adam Barr
    Scoble getting all CYA
    Vic Gundotra toeing the company line
    Gary Cornell
    OUCH! Track The Ballmer’s political contributions [here]
    Johnnie Moore

  2. The Post Money Value

    More Free Learning

    [Caution: Cable isn’t out but Desperate Housewives isn’t on yet, long post coming] Let’s see. One part religion, one part sexual orientation, one part politics. Mix well, stir, and pour into the public.

  3. David Burn

    I commented on Scoble’s blog, saying it seems odd for Ballmer to concern himself with this topic (that does not address Microsoft’s core business) when he now has Google to keep him up at night.

    At any rate, I do agree with you Johnnie that allowing for this degree of dissent and airing of laundry is bold, and deserving of admiration.

  4. regina

    Thought the snapcast was a great forum for conversation on this topic. Wow – I think Scoble took one big step for “blogkind” and really put his neck on the line.

    I’m curious to see how much Ballmer’s leadership ego can tolerate?


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