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As I write, I’m at one end of a vast conference table strewn with cables, laptops in every size and make, and enough cameras to set up an eBay shop. In the room beyond the open glass doors, people are sitting on couches, on beanbags and on the floor, laptops lit. Another group is milling around the open bar while a pulsing soundtrack fills both rooms. In a room nearby, another group is making use of the latest gaming consoles. Welcome to PodTech BlogHaus, the home of big bandwidth, enough electrical outlets to make a roomful of geeks happy and lots of refreshments. Sponsored by Seagate, and to a lesser extent, Microsoft and AMD, BlogHaus is a mix of workspace, slick start-up and corporate bash. Not everyone here is a blogger; at one point tonight, two GenX accounting firm employees walked up to the bar, some geek rappers showed up — and performed. Very MySpace meets Usenet, as one person in the conference room put it.
But many of the people here are blogging, podcasting, vlogging or the like — and getting paid for it either as a full-time job or a side gig. The PodTechers, including uberblogger Robert Scoble, are hard at work editing and uploading countless hours of video, their own and those of other vloggers. When I walked in, one group was watching the replay of the Steve Jobs keynote on a large plasma screen. Another large screen in the conference room is set to the BlogHaus feed reader with room for other views. I won’t call this the future of blogging; it’s certainly an interesting part of the present.
Some in the PodTech crew like to talk about what they’re doing as a bridge to the next generation. Jeremiah Owyang, director of corporate media strategy, is live blogging while he tells me of CES staffers coming over to try to figure out how to reach that group. “We’re not trying,” Owyang says. They’re doing.
It’s not a charity effort. PodTech is a start-up and this is, in effect, a product launch for them. Current VCs have been around (U.S. Venture Partners Paul Matteuci and Venrock’s Eric Copeland) while prospective investors and sponsors also stopped by. PodTech has $5.5 million in funding and has expanded to three dozen employees.
A short while ago I looked up and PodTech founder/CEO John Furrier was standing to my side wearng sunglasses and a look of wonder mixed with pride. Linda Furrier is already planning next year.