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ct manifesto @ 10

By Dale Reagan | July 2, 2009

2009 – Several interesting points (with my brief comments in bold print with (DR) following the comment) that are still relevant and some seem to be mushrooming.

1999 – The Clue Train Manifesto

# 1 Markets are conversations.
# 2 Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
# 3 Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

# 35  But first, they must belong to a community.
# 36 Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end.
# 37 If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market.
# 38 Human communities are based on discourse—on human speech about human concerns.
# 39 The community of discourse is the market.

# 92 Companies are spending billions of dollars on Y2K. Why can’t they hear this market timebomb ticking? The stakes are even higher.
# 93 We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down.
# 94 To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down.
# 95 We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.

That’s how I discovered PR doesn’t work and that markets are conversations.

“That’s also how I started ghostwriting for the CEO. One afternoon I was banging out an article, and I wrote a paragraph that stopped me cold. It stopped me because something new and very different had just showed up on the screen: my own voice. It’s hard to explain, but the paragraph I’d just written resonated with something that had been sleeping all my life, something potent, something deep. I realized I could say things I cared about, and I could say them in a way no one else could. I stopped ghosting and started writing my own stuff.”

Value and Values (DR)
“Symantec took a similarly creative approach when they first launched their CafÈ product, a suite of programming tools for Java developers. They had one person virtually living in the public support newsgroups. He responded to questions, fielded tech support requests, and generally got himself known as a very straight shooter about Symantec ís products. He was only one person, but he was almost single-handedly responsible for the developer community ís positive take on Symantec. He wasnít there to promote, but strictly to assist. He gave honest answers to hard questions, acknowledged product shortcomings, and painted an honest, open picture of the product ís strengths and weaknesses. The developer community ís collective opinion of Symantec soared.”

Value of SEO in your posts (i.e. Solution Engine post) (DR)
“I’ve seen reductions of up to 75 percent in support e-mail traffic simply by creating informative lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and making people aware of them at the point where they’re likely to be scratching their heads over a particular type of question. Making certain, of course, the new content isn’t written in corporatespeak! ”

“These conversations are most often about value: the value of products and of the businesses that sell them. Not just prices, but the market currencies of reputation, location, position, and every other quality that is subject to rising or falling opinion.

It’s nothing new, in one sense. The only advertising that was ever truly effective was word of mouth, which is nothing more than conversation. Now word of mouth has gone global. The one-to-many scope that technology brought to mass production and then mass marketing, which producers have enjoyed for two hundred years, is now available to customers. And they’re eager to make up for lost time.”

“What’s more, networked markets get smart fast. Metcalfe’s Law*, a famous axiom of the computer industry, states that the value of a network increases as the square of the number of users connected to it — connections multiply value exponentially. This is also true for conversations on networked markets. In fact, as the network gets larger it also gets smarter. The Cluetrain Corollary: the level of knowledge on a network increases as the square of the number of users times the volume of conversation. So, in market conversations, it is far easier to learn the truth about the products being pumped, about the promises being made, and about the people making those promises. Networked markets are not only smart markets, but they’re also equipped to get much smarter, much faster, than business-as-usual.”
Hmm – would you trust the Facebook or Myspace ‘market’? (DR)

“Ever since the Web showed up, business-as-usual has desperately tried to pipe-weld it onto the back end of TV’s history. The money at stake is huge. McCann-Erickson reports more than $45.5 billion spent on TV advertising in the United States alone in 1998. In the same year, total worldwide advertising expenses passed $400 billion. That’ll keep a lot of axes in a lot of heads.

But it won’t work on the Web, because networked markets aren’t passive spectators waiting to receive the next marketing message. The Web isn’t home to advertising-as-usual. The “push” movement of 1997 became the pushover of 1998.”


“Positioning wasn’t even an issue until 1972, when Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote a series of articles for Advertising Age and then authored one of the top-selling business books of all time, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. The goal of positioning, Trout says, is to own one word in your customer’s mind. For evidence, you don’t even need to leave your own skull. Take a look: you’ll find Fedex in the “overnight” position, Crest in the “cavities” position, and Volvo in the “safety” position, even if you never buy those products. In the battlefield of your mind, those companies are entrenched in those positions.

Why one word? Because to Trout and Ries, the human mind is as closed as a clam and just as roomy. Witness Jack Trout’s “five basic principles of the mind,” from The New Positioning:

  1. Minds are limited.
  2. Minds hate confusion.
  3. Minds are insecure.
  4. Minds don’t change.
  5. Minds lose focus.”


Value and Value(s) again… (DR)

“But how can a business be authentic? Authenticity describes whether someone truly owns up to what she or he actually is. Since corporations and businesses aren’t individuals, ultimately their authenticity is rooted in the employees. If the company is posing, then the people who are the company will have to pose as well. If, on the other hand, the company is comfortable living up to what it is, then an enormous cramp in the corporate body language goes away. The marketing people won’t create throwaway lines that are clever but false. The sales folk will walk away from the “sales opportunities” that the company is better off losing than having to support. The product developers won’t propose features that look good on paper but do their customers no real good.”

“That’s the only way a growing business can satisfy the market’s demand for conversation.”

“The party’s already started. You can join or not. If you don’t, your silence will be taken as arrogance, stupidity, meanness, or all three. If you’re going to join, don’t do it as a legal entity or wearing your cloak of officialdom. Join it as a person with a name, a point of view, a sense of humor, and passion.”

“The intranet revolution is bottom-up. There’s no going back. If a company doesn’t recognize this, the top-down intranet it puts in can breed the type of cynicism that results in ugly bathroom graffiti and mysterious golfing cart accidents.”

“This last point is a big shift. Links have value by pointing away from themselves to some other site. All Web pages derive some value from the links on them. (A page with no links is literally a dead end on the Web.) In fact, the single most-visited site on the Web, Yahoo!, derives almost all of its value not from what it contains but from what it points to.”

[Hmm, is Yahoo! still the most visited site?] (DR)

“As everyone who’s taken Computer Science 101 knows, information consists of significant correlations of data. “Ants #1-#100 died at 8:58” is data. “Ants #1-#100 ate mayonnaise from the office cafeteria at 8:51 and died at 8:58″ is information.”

“We may be accustomed to the professional voice, but it isn’t natural, God-given or neutral: it’s the voice of middle-aged white men who will do anything to keep people from seeing how frightened they are.”

“We don’t need more information. We don’t need better information. We don’t need automatically filtered and summarized information. We need understanding. We desperately want to understand what’s going on in our business, in our markets. And understanding is not more or higher information.”

The Cluetrain Hit-One-Outta-the-Park Twelve-Step
Program for Internet Business Success”

My response:  continuing the conversation with customers is a key part of maintaining and building business –  keep it simple… (DR)

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