One of the main perpetrators of this hype has been tech blogger extraordinare, Robert Scoble.
A month ago, he was full of praise for the service:
“Thanks Quora for providing a great community and way for people to communicate about what’s interesting in their lives in a new way. That’s innovation in blogging.”
And yet, today we get this:
“Turns out I was totally wrong [about it being a good service for blogging]. It’s a horrid service for blogging, where you want to put some personality into answers. It’s just fine for a QA site, but we already have lots of those and, in fact, the competitors in this space are starting to react… Even worse, I’m getting dozens of emails from people pissed that their questions have been changed, their answers marked “not helpful,” or that they got kicked off the service altogether. Admittedly one of the things I really love about the service is there is very little, if any, spam and everyone is forced to use their real name, but lots of people want to talk about their business or not use their real names.”
Scoble is part of the problem. He is the embodiment of the problems the technology industry (and the media) has when it comes to overhyping the latest thing.
Those of us who class ourselves as geeks are always running around hypervenilating over the next ‘new thing’. If you’ve seen any of Scoble’s videos with new tech CEOs you’ll know what I mean. The sycophantic idol-worship he emits as he runs around demoing every new piece of software like a hamster on steroids is quite laughable really.
To be fair to Scoble, he’s pretty honest when he’s made a mistake and judged something unfairly as this post shows
And maybe we need people like Scoble. He pushes things into the limelight for the crowd to decide. Some succeed, most fail.
Services like Quora become victims of their own hype (or Scoble and Techcrunch’s hype). Victims of their own PR.
All PR isn’t good PR
Is this a bad thing? Maybe services like Quora that try very hard are just never deemed to succeed, or at least not on the scale some might think. They won’t be the next Twitter or Facebook or Google, but then the vast majority of businesses never will be.
In the comments in Scoble’s piece, some are comparing Quora to Digg. The latter is a service that, although has often promised much, it never reached the heights some predicted. Instead it is a pleasure ground for geeks. Not that this is a bad thing. Digg is a very successful operation with a healthy revenue stream. Quora could do worse.
The wisdom of the crowd
At the end of the day, the wisdom of the crowd will prevail.
While some of us geeks would love everything we see to become super brilliant, with Scoble at the front as some larger than life cheerleader, most of them never will.
The market and the crowd will always decide.
And that’s what makes this roulette wheel of the tech start up world so utterly addictive!