I am sure Robert Scoble is a very nice guy. He’s smart, affable, and very passionate about technology. Plus he was once a Blankbaby reader, he stopped reading a while ago, but something tells me he’ll see this post.
The problem with Robert is one that many of the A list tech bloggers have: the geographical echo chamber. Sure, most of the A Listers know each other in real life, and of course they are going to link to one another. However, there is this propensity for West Coasters in, or near, the Silicon Valley to think that all tech happens there (the same geographical echo chamber can be seen in many residents of Manhattan. Many simply refuse to leave Manhattan because they see no reason. If it matters, it happens in Manhattan, right?).
This idea crystallized when I read this passage on Scoble’s blog, which oddly enough is about Web 2.0 stuff gaining traction outside of the Valley:
The thing is I’m getting reports from around the world that people are talking about Facebook in weird places like Moscow and Paris and Cape Town.
Now, I’m not sure what makes these places ‘weird,’ but it isn’t like they are small little backwaters. According to Wikipedia Moscow is the world’s 20th largest city by population, followed by Paris which takes slot number 21 (Philadelphia clocks in at 45th, which makes it SUPER weird, while San Fran-Oakland takes the 87th spot beating out Cape Town which is 98th).
My point is that urban centers are always places where art, commerce, and technology have historically intermingled. It is the height of arrogance to think that people outside of Silicon Valley aren’t doing cool stuff (or using Facebook for goodness sake!). Lots of cool stuff is even happening right here in good old Philadelphia (Ban Franklin, by the way, certainly didn’t think Paris was weird. He was a noted Francophone and America’s ambassador to France for a spell).