Nordic Track Book Club Review: Naked Conversations

Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is the first book on blogging I read and most likely will be the last.  I felt no compelling need to read any book about blogging, but Scoble has impressed me so much over the last couple of years that if I was to read one book on the subject I would read his. 

This is a book filled with simple wisdom about blogging and marketing that may seem obvious, but still important enough to be reminded of again and again.  I’m giving the book 4 out of 5 stars, only because I couldn’t help compare it to Scoble’s everyday writing, which is so much more vital than any book can be.  It was also somewhat basic for long-time bloggers, but still a good read on the [NordicTrack] and particularly valuable for people new to blogging.

The usual excerpts and transcriptions for brevity follow.

p.3 Complete (longer versions of the) interviews in the book available at

p.4 “Corpspeakers” talk to people when they want to speak, not when people want to listen.

p.7 “Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion.” – G.W.F. Hegel

p.24 We would speculate that revolutionary change usually just creeps in on you…Revolutions may be hard to predict, but ignoring them often has unfortunate consequences.

p.26 A blog is nothing more than a personal web site with content displayed in reverse-chronological order.  New posts are placed at the top of the page instead of the bottom…

p.28 Six pillars of blogging: 1) publishable, 2) findable, 3) social, 4) viral, 5) syndicatable, 6) linkable

Some would argue that a high Google rank has more value than, say, a BusinessWeek cover story. Blogging also turns out to be the best way to secure a high Google ranking.

p.40 Ideas that spread win.  Marketing is now about product development, not product hype.  If the marketplace doesn’t think your product is remarkable, then it’s not.  Bloggers don’t need to be interrupted because they are already listening.  They are alert, on the lookout for the next big thing.

p.43 Blogging is the most powerful word-of-mouth delivery mechanism to date.  As Yossi Vardi told us, “Blogging is word of mouth on steroids.”

p.48 Blogging provides the first adequate toolset for enabling executives and businesspeople to get their messages out directly to their audiences–and to hear back from them.

p.57 Mark Cuban “It’s not a management tool of any sort.” It seems to us that anything that tells the staff what the boss is thinking is a management tool–whether intended that way or not.

p.69 Bloggers are the agents that tech companies tried and failed to produce with artificial intelligence.

p.78 Horsefeathers Restaurant Blog (North Conway, NH) strives to extend the sort of conversations online that you would have with Williams if you were at a Horsefeathers dinner table or sitting on one of the 13 barstools.

Five success tips: Talk, don’t sell.  Post often and be interesting.  Write on issues you know and care about. (A good blog is passionate and shows authority.)  Blogging saves money but costs time.  You get smarter by listening to what people tell you.

p.81 If you Google for coffee in Redmond, Victor’s coffee comes up above Starbucks due to Scoble blogging about them.

p.95 Toby Bloomberg envisions a business-like evolution for blogging already in motion with a “rapid progression as marketing/business blogs move from a shoot-from-the-hip attitude to a structured and strategic approach.”

p.101 Blogs are amplified by the people who receive them based on how interesting or valuable they consider the information.

p.109 “Control of message, targeting of audiences, measurement of effectiveness–it’s all changed.  And, most strikingly, most communicators don’t know it yet.”  Neville Hobson. “Others get to know me before we meet.  Blogging has produced new professional relationships, which have led to new clients.”

p.112 Blogs are democratizing the media.

p.118 Leclerc: “Blogging is thinking in front of others.  It is accepting that you are open to their comments, their suggestions, and criticism.  This exhibition in front of the public leads to humility.

p.123 If a blogger has enough passion, the blog becomes the central place on the Internet for that topic.

p.134 Always remember that the people who comment and link most often are the ones with the most passion on a subject.  They don’t necessarily represent your target audience accurately.  Case in point, Howard Dean in his 2004 run for U.S. Presidency.

p.137 The dull should not blog

p.140 On negative comments.  Why wouldn’t you wnat them to say it in your forum–your blog–where you can address the comments head-on?  As Microsoft’s Mike Torres observed, “People are a lot more polite when they know you are listening.”

p.144 A blog started and abandoned can do more harm than good.

p.146 People are hungry for companies that have conversations with them–warts and all.  They tend to distrust companies that try to say “everything’s perfect here.” “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

p.151 Bloggers respond well to real people speaking in their own voices, what Dave Winer calls “come as you are conversations.”

p.159 Account of Kryptonite…

p.162 The greatest number of people and companies blogging wrong are guilty of no crime greater than being dull.

p.164 A good blog cannot just remain neutral, cautious, or tepid.

p.170 Tip: What’s in a blog name? Search engine results.  Keep it simple, keep it focused.  Demonstrate passion and show your authority.  Scoble’s living room comment rule (p 176).  Be accessible.  Tell a story.  Be linky.  Get out into the real world.  Use your referrer log.

p.182 Workplace blogging mistakes list

p.190 Scoble’s Corporate Weblog Manifesto.  34 points.

p.200 Companies wait because they want to have the complete story before they act.  This sounds logical enough, but it is often the wrong strategy.  We live in an age of Blink.

p.212 Blogs and social media are now fueling a new Age of Subscription.

p.215 When you sign up for an email relationship with online marketers, you’re often stuck with that relationship forever.  RSS empowers the receiver, not the sender, to decide when subscriptions will terminate.  The customer gets to watch you and decide if he or she trusts you.  The customer chooses whether and when to start a relationship.


[tags: Naked Conversations, Blogging, Scoble, Nordic Track]

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.