Posted July 10, 2013 by SV411.
By Dan Pulcrano
In a fog shrouded neighborhood of Cape Cod homes on the California coast, a development of tightly arranged homes with pitched roofs and white picket fences, Robert Scoble became the poster boy for the banality of viral—chubby and wet and wearing computer-equipped specs. “We were in competition with other journalists for story lines,” he says, when he realized that “nobody had written about waterproofness.” It might have been another failed meme if Scoble had gone with one of his earlier thoughts, like submerging Google Glass in a fish tank.
His wife Maryam snapped the shower shot and posted it to her Facebook page. Scoble reposted and tweeted the image. “The next thing I know, my wife was on the phone saying ‘you’re on top of Buzzfeed with 11 million views,’ and I’m like, ‘What’s Buzzfeed’?”
Long before becoming a digital age celebrity, Scoble, who was born in New Jersey, grew up in Cupertino and attended Saratoga’s Prospect High School, helped his mom stuff components into Apple II motherboards. That was in the 1970s, before robots and foreign outsourcing. His father was a Lockheed engineer. Teen-aged Scoble worked in camera stores, like the long-gone LZ Premiums on a Saratoga Ave. strip mall, and still keeps two 35mm SLRs on the bookshelf at his home office.
He dabbled in photojournalism at West Valley College’s student newspaper and switched to writing while at San Jose State University. After college, he worked at a niche magazine for computer programmers. It had a circulation of 110,000 and revenues of $10 million. Now he has nearly 4 million Google Plus followers, he says with a laugh, and hardly makes anything off it.