If you were involved at all in sales, marketing or development of webtools and services in 1999, you would most likely have read or at least heard about the #1 Best Seller during that time titled “The Cluetrain Manifesto-The End of Business as Usual” written by an eclectic group of collaborators consisting of Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. If not, you missed one of the most controversial and thought-provoking books of that era. Either way, you have a chance to challenge your business sense and activities once again with the newly published 10th Anniversary Edition of the same title. Here are my favorites from the original 95 Theses presented in the book.
#1. Markets are conversations.
#6. The internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
#9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
#10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
#11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
#12. 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.
#16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
#18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation, are missing their best opportunity.
#30. Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the breakup is inevitable-and coming fast. Because they are now networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships with blinding speed.
#31. Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own “downsizing initiatives” have taught us to ask the question: “Loyalty? What’s that?”
#32. Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.
#50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.
#64. We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will not settle for the four-color brochure, for websites chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance.
#74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
#75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
#76. We’ve got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we’d be willing to pay for. Got a minute?
#86. When we’re not busy being your “target market,” many of us are your people. We’d rather be talking with friends online than watching the clock. That would get your name around better than your entire million-dollar web site. But you tell us speaking to the market is Marketing’s job.
#90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing.
#95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
Keep in mind when reading this list that it was published in 1999. Twitter wasn’t even an idea back then! Much has changed, yet I sense that these are at least as relevant, if not more so than when originally written. If you would like to read the entire list of 95 Theses from ClueTrain Mianifesto or even the entire original book online, click here.
The 10th Anniversary Edition is now on shelves and on Amazon, both in hardback and Kindle versions. The original authors have each added a chapter with their observations and thought about what they wrote back then and how they feel about their ideas today. By the way, the Kindle 2 just had a price reduction to $299.00. Might be a good time to make that jump.
I have found the list helpful in challenging my own activities, intentions and approach to my customers and prospects. How does your company and your own actions stack up? Did you read the book the first time around? What did the authors get it right and where did they miss the mark?