Trackback Mountain

It was a friendship that became a secret.

There are places we can't return, there are lies we have to tell, there are truths we can't deny. This is the story of two bloggers, Robert Scoble and Om Malik, told by an author who dares not speak his name.

THEY MEET
Robert Scoble: Robert Scoble.
Om Malik: Om.
Robert Scoble: Your folks just stop at Om?
Om Malik: Malik.
Robert Scoble: Nice to know you, Om Malik.

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John Battelle: You two deuces're lookin' for work? I suggest you get your scrawny asses in here pronto.

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Robert Scoble: Friend, that's more words than you've posted in the past two weeks.
Om Malik: Hell, that's the most I've posted in a year.

Robert Scoble: [looking over at Om in the firelight; he has laid back and is looking at his MacBook Pro, smiling] Anything interesting in the blogosphere?
Om Malik: [for the first time in a long time, content] I was just posting thanks.
Robert Scoble: For what?
Om Malik: [with a wink and a smile] For you forgettin' to bring that cell phone. I'm enjoyin' the peace and quiet.

Om Malik: This is a one-shot thing we got goin' on here.
Robert Scoble: It's nobody's business but ours.
Om Malik: You know I ain't a blogger.
Robert Scoble: Me neither.

Robert Scoble: Battelle came by again. Said my server didn't crash after all. Says bring 'em down.
Om Malik: Bring 'em down? Why? It's the middle of August.
Robert Scoble: Says there's a WordPress upgrade he wants to install, worse than the last one.


THEY BLOG

John Battelle: You boys sure found a way to make the time pass up there. Scoble, you guys wasn't gettin' paid to leave the dogs babysittin' the servers while you stem the rose.

Robert Scoble: Tell you what. The truth is... when I can't get a Wi-Fi connection ... sometimes I miss your posts so much I can hardly stand it.


THEY PART
Om Malik: Bottom line is... we're around each other an'... this thing, it grabs hold of us again... at the wrong place... at the wrong time... and we're dead.
Om Malik: I tell ya there... there were these two old guys ranched up together, down home. Dave and Doc. And they was the joke of town, even though they were pretty tough ol' birds. Anyway they... they found Dave slumped over at his computer. Slashdotted.

Om Malik: We can get together... once in a while, way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, record something, but...
Robert Scoble: Once in a while? Every four fuckin' years?
Om Malik: If you can't fix it, Robert, you gotta blog it.
Robert Scoble: For how long?
Om Malik: For as long as we can ride it. There ain't no reins on this one.

Om Malik: You ever get the feelin'... I don't know, er... when you're in town and someone looks at you all suspicious, like he knows you got funding? And then you go read Valleywag and everyone looks like they know too?
Robert Scoble: [Casually] Well... maybe you oughta get out of there, you know? Find yourself someplace different. Maybe a startup.
Om Malik: [Sarcastically] A startup? Sure, and we can just live together recording podcasts. And it'll rain money from Kleiner Perkins and whiskey'll flow in the streams - Robert, that's real smart.
Robert Scoble: Go to hell, Om. If you wanna blog your miserable fuckin' website, then go right ahead.
Om Malik: Fine.
Robert Scoble: I was just thinkin' out loud.
Om Malik: Yep, you're a real thinker there. Goddamn. Robert fuckin' Scoble; got it all figured out, ain't ya?

Om Malik: I'm gonna tell you this one time, Robert fuckin' Scoble, an' I ain't foolin'. What I don't know - all them things I don't know - could get you killed if I come to know them. I mean it.
Robert Scoble: Yeah well try this one, and I'll say it just once!
Om Malik: Go ahead!
Robert Scoble: Tell you what, we coulda had a good podcast together! Fuckin' real good podcast! Had us a multimedia RSS feed of our own. But you didn't want it, Om! So what we got now is Trackback Mountain! Everything's built on that! That's all we got, boy, fuckin' all. So I hope you know that, even if you don't never know the rest! You count the damn few times we have been together in nearly twenty years and you measure the short fucking leash you keep me on - and then you ask me about Microsoft and tell me you'll kill me for needing some stock options I don't hardly never get. You have no idea how bad it gets! I'm not you... I can't make it on a coupla high-altitude pings once or twice a year! You are too much for me Om, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.
Om Malik: [crying] Well, why don't you? Why don't you just let me be? It's because of you that I'm like this! I ain't got nothing... I ain't nowhere... Get off my blogroll! I can't stand being like this no more, Robert.
Robert Scoble: Trackback got us good, don't it?

THEY MEET OTHER PEOPLE

Xeni Jardin: Don't try and fool me no more, Om; I know what it means! Robert Scoble. Robert Nasty! You didn't go up there to podcast!

Amanda Congdon: Just finished my shift. Wanna dance?
Om Malik: I was just on my way to the...
Amanda Congdon: [takes his arm and leads to dance floor] I'm Amanda; Amanda Congdon.
Om Malik: Om.
Om Malik: Malik.
Om Malik: [after dance] No more dancin' for me, I hope.
Amanda Congdon: You're off the hook; my feet hurt.
[takes off shoes]
Om Malik: Hard work is it?
Amanda Congdon: Geeks like you, watching vlog after vlog. Gets tiresome.
Amanda Congdon: So... What do you do Om Malik?
Om Malik: Earlier today I was blogging about a VOIP startup.
Amanda Congdon: Ugh.
[places her bare feet in his lap]
Om Malik: What are you doing?
Amanda Congdon: Tryin' to get a foot rub, dummy.
Om Malik: All right.
[rubs feet]
Om Malik: That good?

Robert Scoble: [yelling to Steve Ballmer] This is MY videoblog, that is MY camera, and YOU are MY interviewee, and you will sit your arrogant ass down before I knock it into next week!

Amanda Congdon: [on the verge of tears] I don't get you, Om Malik.
Om Malik: I'm sorry.
[he pauses]
Om Malik: Was probably no fun anyway, was I?
Amanda Congdon: [crying] Om, girls don't fall in love with fun!


THEY PART FOREVER

Maryam: He always said he wanted his server logs scattered on Trackback Mountain, but I wasn't sure where that was. Knowing Robert, it was probably some pretend place, where bluebirds sing and there's an IPO in the offing...

Photos: Om and Robert by Scott Beale and Brokeback Mountain by Focus Features