Libro 12/52 :: The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine



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.


This is what I read that day.


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.


Parenting Bad Dad Cards



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. 

Be open. 

Be honest. 

Lose the PR.

Try to help.



The tagline that went viral from Cluetrain was, “Markets are Conversations.”



Conversations are between people.

Between humans.

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? 


Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 10.33.03 AM


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.





English, please.

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 ( He’s reading 52 books this year – or at least he’s trying. 



Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 10.32.23 AM





LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

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26 replies


  1. Libro 13/52 :: One Click by Richard Brandt | redanglespanish
  2. Libro 14/52 :: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte | redanglespanish
  3. Libro NA/52 :: James K. Polk by Walter Borneman | redanglespanish
  4. Libro 15/52 :: The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw | redanglespanish
  5. Libro 16/52 :: The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty | redanglespanish
  6. Libro 17/52 :: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk | redanglespanish
  7. Libro 18/52 :: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink « the red angle
  8. Libro 19 + 20/52 :: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson + In Cold Blood by Truman Capote « the red angle
  9. Libro 21/52 :: Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel « the red angle
  10. Libro 22 + 23/52 :: Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind + Makers by Chris Anderson « the red angle
  11. Libro 24/52: Tales From Q School by John Feinstein « the red angle
  12. Libro 25/52: The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker « the red angle
  13. Libro 26/52: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman « the red angle
  14. Libro 27/52: Drive by Dan Pink « the red angle
  15. Libro 28/52 :: Enough by John Bogle « the red angle
  16. Libro 29/52 :: Contagious by Jonah Berger « the red angle
  17. Libro 30/52 :: Lexicon by Max Barry « the red angle
  18. Libro 31 + 32/52 :: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman + A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis « the red angle
  19. Libro 33/52 :: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton « the red angle
  20. Libro 34 + 35/52 :: Choose Yourself by James Altucher + The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzwieg. « the red angle
  21. Libro 36/52 :: Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. « the red angle
  22. Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed « the red angle
  23. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  24. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  25. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  26. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

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