This nationally acclaimed best seller is a spirited, original, and wonderfully irreverent conversation that will challenge, provoke, and forever change your outlook on the digital economy. A rich tapestry of anecdotes, object lessons, parodies, insights, and predictions, The Cluetrain Manifesto illustrates how the Internet has radically reframed the seemingly immutable laws of businessand what business needs to know to weather the seismic aftershocks.
About the Author
Rick Levine is co-founder of Mancala, Inc. Previously, he was architect of Sun Microsystems' Java Software group. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.Christopher Locke publishes Gradient Reversals from Boulder, Colorado. A noted speaker, he has also written extensively for publications such as Forbes, Internet World, Information Week, and The Industry Standard.Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal. He has written for Upsde, Omni, and PC Magazine. He co-founded Hodskins Simone & Searls, which became one of the leading advertising agencies in Silicon Valley. He lives in Woodside, California.David Weinberger is the editor of JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization). He is a commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered" and has written for Wired, the New York Times, and Smithsonian. He lives in Boston. Chris Locke is author of The Bombast Transcripts, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and editor/publisher of the Webzine Entropy Gradient Reversals. He has worked for Fujitsu, Ricoh, the Japanese government's "Fifth Generation" artificial-intelligence project, Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, CMP Publications, Mecklermedia, MCI, and IBM. Named in a 2001 Financial Times Group survey as one of the "top 50 business thinkers in the world," he has written for a wide variety of publications, including Forbes, The Industry Standard, Information Week, Harvard Business Review, and Release 1.0. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Rick Levine is co-founder of Mancala, Inc. Previously, he was architect of Sun Microsystems' Java Software group. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.Christopher Locke publishes Gradient Reversals from Boulder, Colorado. A noted speaker, he has also written extensively for publications such as Forbes, Internet World, Information Week, and The Industry Standard.Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal. He has written for Upsde, Omni, and PC Magazine. He co-founded Hodskins Simone & Searls, which became one of the leading advertising agencies in Silicon Valley. He lives in Woodside, California.David Weinberger is the editor of JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization). He is a commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered" and has written for Wired, the New York Times, and Smithsonian. He lives in Boston. David Weinberger is the publisher of JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization). Co-author of the best-selling The Cluetrain Manifesto, he is a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and has written for a wide variety of publications, including Wired, the New York Times, and Smithsonian.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © 1999 Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger.
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
- The Cluetrain Manifesto: The Website
- Chapter 1: Internet Apocalypso
- Chapter 2: The Longing
- Chapter 3: Talk Is Cheap
- Chapter 4: Markets Are Conversations
- Chapter 5: The Hyperlinked Organization
- Chapter 6: EZ Answers
- Chapter 7: Post - Apocalypso
- About the Authors
- The Cluetrain Manifesto: The Website
What People are Saying About This
Like Zen masters, these four irreverent visionaries produce startling insights by first confronting our most cherished but often misguided beliefs about business. Seeing the Internet as forcing profound and deeply humanistic change, this book lights the way into the 21st century for e-businesses large and small.
(Eric Severson, Executive Consultant, IBM Global Services)
These troublemakers are going to get what they deservea huge and enthusiastic following!
(Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings)
When people in networked markets can get faster and smarter information from one another than from the companies they do business with, it may be time to close shop. Or, maybe it's just time to get on The Cluetrain and fully understand that your customers are living, breathing creatures who want one-to-one relationships with your company, not just one-way rhetoric.
(Don Peppers, co-founder Peppers and Rogers Group, co-author of Enterprise One to One)
The Internet changes what we mean when we say we mean business. The Cluetrain Manifesto explores the profound depths of this change to deliver an analysis that will enlighten and challenge you, make you laugh or drive you crazy. Love it or hate it, no one with a stake in the online scene can afford to ignore what this book is saying.
(Michael Wolff, author of Burn Rate)
Exceptionally compelling and brilliant! This train hurtles at high speed into your perception of business theories and explodes out the back of your brain with exhilarating ideas that engage, energize and enlighten. Anyone connecting with the Internet-as seller, buyer, surfer or stroller-should heed these four exceptional writers the way a law student studies for the bar.
(Steve Larsen, EVP Marketing, Net Perceptions)
The Cluetrain Manifesto is required reading for the new millennium. It will make you question just about everything you're doing online. It will make you sad for the way companies perceive the web today and joyous for the possibilities to come.
(David Siegel, author of Futurize Your Enterprise)
If you don't think you need this book to better understand your market, that's your second mistake!
(Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing)
The Cluetrain Manifesto is brilliant and impossible at the same time. It's magnificently overstated and yet entirely correct: The Web changes the way people and markets meet and work in almost every way, and a remarkably high percentage of companies just don't get it -- yet. The Cluetrain Manifesto gets it, and the authors aren't shy about shoving it down our throats.
(Thomas A. Stewart, author of Intellectual Capital)
The Cluetrain Manifesto is an in your face warning to all businesses as they seek to adapt to the spread of electronic markets. It delivers a "tough love" message: embrace the conversations enabled by electronic networks or become road kill. Embracing these conversations means rediscovering our passion and our voice. All managers must heed this message, even though it will require wrenching changes across all elements of the business.
(John Hagel, III, Partner, McKinsey & Company and co-author of Net Worth and Net Gain)
The Cluetrain Manifesto is the purgative for the corporate soul your company and career need to make success on the Internet possible. You may want to put this book down, because it tells hard truths, but you'll never stop coming back to it in order to obliterate your old ideas.
(Mitch Ratcliffe, VP of Programming & Editor-in-Chief, ON24 Network)
The Cluetrain is to marketing and communications what the open-source movement is to software development-anarchic, messy, rude, and vastly more powerful than the doomed bullshit that conventionally passes for wisdom.
(Eric S. Raymond, President, Open Source Initiative, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar)
An Interview with Christopher Locke
The Cluetrain Manifesto began as a fairly simple yet potent and thought-provoking web site launched in early 1999 by four professionals who set out to challenge all things status quo. Now these same four voices also put together a enlivening book for all businesspeople looking to understand the collective human voice that is driving the Internet economy. Barnes & Noble.com's Amy Lambo interviewed Christopher Locke, one-fourth of the writing team behind this new title.
Barnes & Noble.com: One of the hardest-hitting arguments you make in the original Cluetrain Manifesto is the fact that "corporations do not speak in the same voice" as the open, uncontrived, and natural conversations that the Web makes possible. With that in mind, is it possible for you and I, each representing large corporate business entities, to conduct this conversation in the same kind of human voice that you embrace in the Manifesto?
Christopher Locke: Of course! It goes without saying that two individuals can and do, millions of times a day, have exactly such conversations. There isn't a problem with individuals being able to speak with each other. What's difficult is, if you don't know someone in the corporation that you're trying to reach, and you hit that corporation's web site, for example, it usually bespeaks the same broadcast mentality with language and messages that are vanilla and characterless. In the days of broadcast media, the whole objective was to reach the largest possible audience with the lowest common denominator or message. What that translates into is, "Never offend, never be funny, because it might not appeal." That is not the way people online talk. We have very strong opinions, very strong likes and dislikes. That's why during these still very early days of the medium, there is this ebullient reaction against broadcast. People are so happy to be heard. They are so opinionated and gung ho, and everything has so much hyperbole. There is this joyous reaction.
B&N.com: Is television, along with its counterparts in the broadcast realm, all negative? Is it always going to consist of one corporate messenger force-feeding an agenda to the masses?
CL: Corporations and large broadcast entities are not all about negativity. One anecdote that demonstrates what I'm talking about is from 1997. Microsoft made a $1 billion investment in Comcast, and I just happened to hit the Microsoft web site that day. Someone working there put in a slug line about the investment that said, "We found some extra cash lying around in a sock drawer." It just floored me. And I thought, "Oh my god, there's life on Planet Microsoft." I went back for weeks and weeks and weeks, hoping to find some of that voice. But I suspect that that moment of playfulness ended up getting that person transferred to a job as a shipping clerk for the Encarta CD collection. But anyway, there's an instant connection that comes along with that sort of playfulness.
A good test of voice that anybody could do is to snip a dozen random paragraphs from email that you get or send to other people. Put them in a hat. Then snip out a dozen paragraphs from annual reports or press releases. Shake them all up, give them to any human being -- whether they've been online or not -- and say, "Who wrote these?" Everybody I've said that to can really relate to the difference in voice. When we get online, we're passionate. We're saying that that passion is possible within companies. If all you've got is the broadcast-style web site and it doesn't look any different than a BusinessWeek ad or an infomercial, there's a glaring mismatch of the kind of voice and communications you're used to with peers, friends, and colleagues online. It ain't gotta be that way.
B&N.com: How can huge companies with millions of customers efficiently engage in such passionate conversations with their customers?
CL: The ability of the market to speak amongst itself has tremendous economic and financial ramifications for the e-commerce world. And it should be noted that the Web isn't just a place for people to scream at companies. It's also a tremendous source of innovation, where customers will say, "You know, perhaps you could get your product to do 'x.' " That's gold, that sort of stuff. Companies have to engage that conversation, or they're leaving their money on the table.
A lot of people argue that and say, "But get real. If you have a million customers, how do you have these conversations without driving your burn rate into the stratosphere?" I'm editor-in-chief of a site called personalization.com that's underwritten by Net Perceptions. It's an attempt or a test bed for the idea of market conversations. Their underlying technology is called collaborative filtering. This is a really interesting case, because here's a company that's spent a lot of money, and they've got no product promotions on their site. Plus, they've invited in their competitors and invited conversation about the whole suite of personalization technologies, including negative views that say things like "personalization sucks." We worked together and did all of this, then we burned the mission statement, because if you want to have a conversation with the marketplace, conversations don't have mission statements. Net Perceptions is obviously selling things, but they didn't want this to be just a promotional site. They wanted it to be a content-rich site that brought together lots of voices and perspectives. And they thought the best way to achieve that was not to use the normal approach that you'd expect companies to do, which is bang the drum louder than everybody else. The site has been extremely well received because it does that, invites conversation. How can a corporation get advantage from engaging in these kind of discussions? personalization.com is one model for hosting those conversations in a smart way.
The other answer to the question is the personalization technologies themselves, which can provide potent clues and help you understand the market from the bottom up, not top-down, old-school demographics. But how can you even begin to characterize the interests of these emergent micromarkets? The thought of hiring thousands of people is a pretty daunting proposition. The first thing is to get rid of any quality testing models that you may have had and make quality everyone's responsibility. Instead of having communications be for the communications department, make it everybody's job. The corporation is this sort of Berlin Wall separating these conversations. Take that wall down, and let people talk across the divide.
B&N.com: Your Internet message is drastically different than all of the media coverage lately, which focuses on the latest IPO madness.
CL: That was the whole impetus in the first place for me. About a year ago, I was getting so frustrated hearing how many trillions of dollars of e-commerce there would be by 2004 -- this technology cheerleading exercise with everybody patting each other on the back. For many, many years, I've been saying, "You need to get mind share before you get market share." So, sure, there are going to be these trillions of dollars in e-commerce, but which pockets they go into is not a foregone conclusion. Look at how fast the Internet came on, and look at how deep and fundamental and shocking the changes are that have taken place. I think there are a lot more surprises coming.
Look, if we're wrong and the whole Cluetrain premise is flawed, then you can look back and say you were safe to have ignored it. But if we're right, trillions of dollars will flow in different directions based on this message. You might want to take this seriously even if it has a slight chance of being the case. This is not model theoretics. This is based on hundreds of person years among the four authors, who have been in this medium for 70 to 80 collective years. And it's not just us, it's people on the Cluetrain web site, all the signers of the Manifesto whose most common reaction to it is, "It's about time." That's why I looked for the biggest two-by-four I could find to smack business over the head with The Cluetrain Manifesto. It's just to get the business world's attention and point out that there's an enormous opportunity here. And we've been skating along with these business practices, and the Internet questions them all at so fundamental a level. It helps to step back and say, "What the hell are we doing?"
About the Author
Christopher Locke is editor-in-chief of personalization.com, editor/publisher of the webzine Entropy Gradient Reversals, and president of Entropy Web Consulting in Boulder, Colorado. He launched Internet Business Report for CMP Publications in 1993 and was president of MecklerWeb Corporation in 1994, editor and publisher of the Net Editors segment on internetMCI in 1995, and program director for Online Community Development in IBM's Internet division in 1996. He has written extensively for Forbes, IEEE Internet Computing, Internet World, Information Week, Byte, Network Computing, Microsoft's Internet Magazine, the Public Relations Society of America's PR Tactics Journal, and The Industry Standard. His work has been reported on by The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, Advertising Age, Inter@ctive Week, and NBC Nightly News.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Cluetrain Manifesto was one of the seminal books of the dot.com bubble era, but reading it now is like waking with a hangover and looking at all of the empty bottles, each of which seemed like a great idea at the time. The Internet changed everything, all right. Those who can bite back the irony long enough to see the big picture and keep reading will find some valuable practical advice on using the now-not-so-new-technology of the Web to do business more effectively. We recommend this pivotal book for the sake of your sense of perspective (or to give you a critically necessary background if you are too young to remember when Amazon was just a river.)
the cluetrain manafesto is one of the best books i have ever read i recomend it to every one