Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cluetrain Manifesto Review

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual is the book the common person has been waiting for and just did not know it. The basic premise is that businesses need to adapt to the new world technology has created. In this world, consumers, or publics, are not merely sitting around listening to messages crafted by marketing and P.R. departments. Instead, consumers today want to be part of the conversation. They want to hear from employees at the companies they are doing business with. They want the companies to hear them, and listen to what they are saying.

My favorite of the author’s 95 theses are:

20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.
21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

The authors certainly do not take themselves to seriously; the book is filled with wit and humor as well as personal stories and experiences. These stories help to make the book enjoyable, but also make the message more powerful. But theses 22 also points out the big mistake a lot of companies make. They think that they can just put a few things on their website and everyone will be happy and buy their stuff. But that is not enough. It is all about communicating, having a conversation between businesses and consumers and vendors and everyone else involved.

Every businessman in America should be required to read The Cluetrain Manifesto. Although very unlikely, these principles have the potential to change the world. Companies have already begun to implement the precepts of the book, simply because they have to if they want to survive. We demand it, insist on it, and they are starting to give in to our demands.

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