I have had the pleasure of working with Robert Scoble since the inception of the Rackspace Startup Program back in 2011. He is the Rackspace champion of entrepreneurs, which takes him around the world studying and creating media about world-changing startups. He’s is a social media sensation, with over 4 million followers on Facebook, Google + and Twitter. His official title at Rackspace is Startup Liaison Officer, and he is the driving force behind Small Teams, Big Impact, which he directs from the San Francisco office, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Scoble is a technical evangelist, writer and blogger. He’s a geek who grew up in Silicon Valley (his father was an engineer at Lockheed) and since 1985 Scoble has built online communities. In 2000, he started his technology blog, Scobleizer, and his life has been on a rocket ship ever since. From 2003 to 2006, Scoble worked at Microsoft as an evangelist and as one of the five guys who started the famous Channel9 video community. And currently, he is writing his second book, The Age of Context.
Scoble will be on site at Champions Sports Bar & Restaurant in the heart of downtown Austin, which will serve as the official headquarters of Rackspace during the SXSW Interactive 2013. Scoble’s duties as Startup Liaison Officer will keep him busy throughout SXSW as he interviews some of the hottest startup CEOs of 2013. Along with Scoble is his trusty sidekick and behind the scenes video director and producer, Rocky Barbanica, to keep things moving efficiently. It’s guaranteed that every video you view from SXSW on Building43 and the Rackspace blog’s Small Teams, Big Impact page will start out with the Scoble trademark, “Who are you?”
We asked Scoble to share his thoughts on SXSW 2013. Here’s what he had to say.
“This year at SXSW, Rackspace is hosting the Open Cloud Experience at Champions with a prime location,” explains Scoble. “I have a studio inside [Champions] where I will be interviewing 20 CEOs from really cool startups like Lanyrd, Evernote, Basis, Wolfram Alpha and Keas.”
“SXSW is an industry-wide celebration on technology; along with a lot of pizza, beer and a bit of alcohol thrown into the mix,” exclaims Scoble. “Last night I was really excited to join in on the SXSW Startup Crawl. There is a really vibrant startup community in Austin. It brought me back to the pre-Twitter days of SXSW.”
When asked about his favorite startups from the SXSW Startup Crawl, Scoble says, “Taskbox, I’m using it to clean out my email and assign myself task. Productivity seems to be one of the key trends this year. Mailbox Tempo, SaneBox, OtherInbox and Sunrise apps are just some examples.”
“ZingCheckout was another favorite Austin startup that I met last night,” continues Scoble. “They are landing major retailers who are going to use them for a new kind of multi-platform, point of sale payment app. It’s showing the continued disruption of industries like payments, retail POS, taxis and limos due to mobile innovation from startups like Square, Uber, Sidecar, etc., etc.”
Concludes Scoble, “2007 was the year of Twitter; 2009 was the year of Foursquare; 2011 was the year of GroupMe; and 2012 was the year of Highlight. This year, we are seeing a group of apps that are hot, but we won’t see a standout. 2013 should be known as the year of Productivity.”
When he’s not in his studio at the Rackspace SXSW headquarters, Scoble can be seen at a variety of parties. He’s at SXSW all week, so give him a big Texas “howdy” when you meet him!
Along with Robert Scoble’s many interviews, Rackspace has a flurry of events planned for SXSW Interactive 2013. And if you want to find us on Twitter, be sure to keep an eye on the hash-tag #SXRackspace.