Robert Scoble

 

Robert Scoble is a titan of Silicon Valley and the tech industry.

He is arguably the most influential person in the tech industry and has the ability to make or break a well funded startup depending on his public assessment. It has been written that he knows more about the global tech community than any other person on Earth, something many would readily agree with.

In 2005 ‘The Economist’ noted that whilst Technology Evangelist for Microsoft, Scoble was solely responsible for making ‘Microsoft appear noticeably less evil to the outside world, something that small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years’.

In 2009, after leaving Microsoft and having spent 2 years with Fast Company, Scoble joined Rackspace, a Rockefeller Habits (Scaling Up) One Page Strategic Plan user and Gazelles customer as their Technology Evangelist. When he joined Rackspace in 2009 the stock price was $5.98 and trades around $47.88 today. Perhaps an exaggeration, but this infographic tries to explain his influence on that growth (and therefore substantiate his value to the company).

His respect from the industry comes from his open, authentic personality, and his ability to readily admit when he gets it wrong. And sometimes he really gets it wrong.

So for Rackspace, Robert Scoble is an industry MVP. One of the rare Most Valuable Player employees that everyone else wants to recruit who can significantly change the fortunes of a company. Whilst A Players are defined as employees in the top 10% of potential employees in your pay bracket who align with your Core Values, MVP’s are the Most Valuable Players in an industry. As an employer, your objective should always be to fill your company with A Players.

But last week was a very, very difficult week for Robert Scoble.

After publicly writing about his experience with child abuse, having a world class 50th birthday party and then declaring he was an alcoholic leading to his joining Alcoholics Anonymous, he wrote an emotional Facebook post about taking a break which included “All my meetings between now and April 1 are cancelled. I will not be available for work stuff until at least then“.

To put this in context his calendar was booked for at least a year ahead and was reported to post to twitter approximately 21 times per day. He then posted this video stating as part of his AA journey he would not be taking part in any social media for 2 months.

What mattered during this difficult time?

If you read through this “White Space” Facebook post where he announced his need for a break, there is one point in particular where he speaks to ‘Rackers’ (Rackspace fellow employees);

“To the Rackers around the world: we both feel your love and support and totally feel the core values you all are living, especially this one: “Treat fellow Rackers like Friends and Family.” There’s a reason why Rocky and I have worked at Rackspace almost six years (our anniversary is a month from today). It is the best group of people I’ve ever been a part of.”

He then posted a link to the Rackspace Core Values page as shown below to close out that post.

  • Fanatical Support® in all we do.
  • Results first, substance over flash.
  • Committed to Greatness
  • Full Disclosure and Transparency
  • Passion for our Work
  • Treat fellow Rackers like Friends and Family

Rackspace Core Values

I can only imagine the terribly difficult time Robert was going through and he has both mine and many thousands of peoples warmest wishes for a healthy and speedy recovery. Yet what shone through during his difficult time was the Core Values of his employer and co-workers. I know first hand it has taken many years and a great deal of effort from so many people at Rackspace to develop this conscious culture. It would have been incredibly easy to resign and walk away for Robert Scoble last week. But he didn’t and that is likely due to the culture and relentless focus on Core Values by the Rackspace team.

We use three tests for Core Values with clients

  1. Would you fire someone who doesn’t live your Core Values
  2. Would you take a financial hit to continue living your Core Values
  3. Are your Core Values alive today (or are they aspirational)

Can you confidently say your company has a set of Core Values that meet these 3 tests? If you had an A Player who needed 2 months personal time would they be talking about your Core Values and how your team is the best group of people they have ever been a part of as they left?

If not, why not?

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Brad Giles works with CEO’s and management teams to develop & execute a winning strategy at offsite planning sessions. Learn more at www.evolutionpartners.com.au

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