People of Earth…….10 years on: Cluetrain did have a clue.
28 April 2009
I first read the Cluetrain Manifesto about 10 years ago, when I was living in Tokyo, and running a digital agency that created humble Web 1.0 websites. This was a long time BG (Before Google), BFB (Before Face Book) and BT (Before Twitter). Re-reading it today, in preparation for an up coming speaking engagement, I was spell-bound by how prescient much of the Cluetrain still is. I highly recommend it to you if you have never read it.
Markets Are Conversations
The manifesto was written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. It is a set of 95 theses organised and put forward as a manifesto, or call to action, for all businesses operating within what is suggested to be (at that time) a newly-connected marketplace (the Internet).
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.
The ideas put forward within the manifesto aim to examine the impact of the Internet on both markets (consumers) and organisations. In addition, as both consumers and organisations are able to utilise the Internet to establish a previously unavailable level of communication both within and between these two groups, the manifesto suggests that the changes that will be required from organisations as they respond to the new marketplace environment.
Here are a few of my “favourite” picks. Seriously, these sound like an instruction manual for Social Media, long before such a thing even existed:
- Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
- Markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organised. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
- People in a networked market have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors.
- There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
- What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called “The Company” is the only thing standing between the two.
- Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
- Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humour.
- Getting a sense of humour does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate website. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.
- Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.
Have a look at it. I would love to hear your thoughts…….