You know how you remember subtle details in your life when something BIG happens?
What shirt you wore.
What the weather was like.
What co-worker was annoying you.
What you did right after IT happened.
At the risk of being overly dramatic, I remember those details the first time I read an excerpt from The Cluetrain Manifesto.
I thought, “Wow. I wish I wrote this. This is me.”
At that point I was close to opting out of my corporate gig. I was struggling with… well, lots of stuff that happens in big companies when times are tough.
Cluetrain and I were on the same track.
It described my point of view better than I could.
It was like that Hallmark card you buy and you feel guilty because it totally nails how you feel.
Turns out I was hardly the only one who felt this way about Cluetrain.
I was just 12 years late.
Back in 1999, four computer guys put their virtual heads together online. Out came The Cluetrain Manifesto. The title comes from a line one of the authors heard repeated, “The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery.”
The authors believed corporations grappling with the new newfangled internet weren’t taking delivery of the Cluetrain either.
The internet amplifies who we are. If companies view their customer as “a gullet whose only purpose in life is to gulp products and crap cash,” well… that will come across more emphatically online.
Cluetrain posted 95 Theses online, jamming a digital forefinger in the chest of business-as-usual.
These 95 should be laminated on the wall of every CEO’s office.
If people disagree with it… great.
Have a conversation about it.
No buzzwords allowed.
None of this, “Socialize this list among your peer group.” stuff.
Use a Human Voice.
Have a sense of humor.
Lose the PR.
Try to help.
The tagline that went viral from Cluetrain was, “Markets are Conversations.”
Conversations are between people.
Corporations are made up of humans.
Let them speak.
Take a load off.
I’ll tell you what I think I’m looking for.
Tell me how you can help me.
Maybe we can help each other?
Cluetrain reminds me of Gary Vaynerchuk at the Art of Marketing Seminar I attended last year in Chicago. Gary Vee was dropping eff bombs all over the place, ranting about the marketing pedants proclaiming facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Klout/Pinterest et al. will change everything.
Vaynerchuk called bullshit.
His message: It’s all marketing. It’s just another way to communicate with other people, and to maybe have a relationship. It’s all marketing. Same as it ever was. Quit acting like a 15-year old boy, trying to score on the first date. Listen.
Case in point: A friend was recently hired by a company whose CEO had this meaningless corporate swill as a bio:
Corporate McGee leads Company X with an unwavering focus on customer and employee success. He guides our strategy and commitment to operational excellence while ensuring that we continue to extend our global leadership position.
Prior to joining Company X, Corporate McGee spent 15 years at Huge Corporation where he oversaw a variety of customer-facing organizations. During his tenure he led teams in ERP, consulting, and CRM including the entire CRM ‘on-premise’ and cloud portfolio.
Just talk to me about what you offer.
I’ll advise my friend to give the CEO a copy of Cluetrain on his first day.
Bottom Line: Buy this book and read it. Share it with the executives in your company too. It’s important.
Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com). He’s reading 52 books this year – or at least he’s trying.
12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine
Categories: Libro 52 Challenge