Cluetrain 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.

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives,
dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is
typically open, natural, uncontrived.

5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this

6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that
were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked
employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new

9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms
of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.

10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more
organized. Participation in a networked market changes people

11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far
better information and support from one another than from
vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to
commoditized products.

12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than
companies do about their own products. And whether the news is
good or bad, they tell everyone.

13. What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees.
A metaphysical construct called ”The Company” is the only thing
standing between the two.

14. Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new
networked conversations. To their intended online audiences,
companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized ”voice” of
business — the sound of mission statements and brochures –
will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the
18th century French court.

16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the
dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.

17. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that
used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.

18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked
person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined
in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If
they blow it, it could be their last chance.

20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At

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.

23. Companies attempting to ”position” themselves need to take a
position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market
actually cares about.

24. Bombastic boasts — ”We are positioned to become the preeminent
provider of XYZ” — do not constitute a position.

25. Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to
the people with whom they hope to create relationships.

26. Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are
deeply afraid of their markets.

27. By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant,
they build walls to keep markets at bay.

28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market
might see what’s really going on inside the company.

29. Elvis said it best: ”We can’t go on together with suspicious

30. Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the
breakup is inevitable — and coming fast. Because they are
networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships
with blinding speed.

31. Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked
knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own
”downsizing initiatives” taught us to ask the question:
”Loyalty? What’s that?”

32. Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.

33. Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It
can’t be ”picked up” at some tony conference.

34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns
of their communities.

35. But first, they must belong to a community.

36. Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures

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.

40. Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will

41. Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a
red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than
against their own market and workforce.

42. As with networked markets, people are also talking to each
other directly inside the company — and not just about rules
and regulations, boardroom directives, bottom lines.

43. Such conversations are taking place today on corporate
intranets. But only when the conditions are right.

44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR
policies and other corporate information that workers are doing
their best to ignore.

45. Intranets naturally tend to route around boredom. The best are
built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct
something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate

46. A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the
word. Its effect is more radical than the agenda of any union.

47. While this scares companies witless, they also depend heavily
on open intranets to generate and share critical knowledge.
They need to resist the urge to ”improve” or control these
networked conversations.

48. When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and
legalistic rules, the type of conversation they encourage
sounds remarkably like the conversation of the networked

49. Org charts worked in an older economy where plans could be
fully understood from atop steep management pyramids and
detailed work orders could be handed down from on high.

50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect
for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract

51. Command-and-control management styles both derive from and
reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of

52. Paranoia kills conversation. That’s its point. But lack of open
conversation kills companies.

53. There are two conversations going on. One inside the company.
One with the market.

54. In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost
invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete
notions of command and control.

55. As policy, these notions are poisonous. As tools, they are
broken. Command and control are met with hostility by
intranetworked knowledge workers and generate distrust in
internetworked markets.

56. These two conversations want to talk to each other. They are
speaking the same language. They recognize each other’s voices.

57. Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable
to happen sooner.

58. If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of
IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up.

59. However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now
online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal
fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from

60. This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies.

61. Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk
to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of
language that rings false — and often is.

62. Markets do not want to talk to flaks and hucksters. They want
to participate in the conversations going on behind the
corporate firewall.

63. De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to
talk to you.

64. We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and
strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will
not settle for the 4-color brochure, for web sites
chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance.

65. We’re also the workers who make your companies go. We want to
talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes
written into a script.

66. As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting
our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless
annual reports and third-hand market research studies to
introduce us to each other?

67. As markets, as workers, we wonder why you’re not listening. You
seem to be speaking a different language.

68. The inflated self-important jargon you sling around — in the
press, at your conferences — what’s that got to do with us?

69. Maybe you’re impressing your investors. Maybe you’re impressing
Wall Street. You’re not impressing us.

70. If you don’t impress us, your investors are going to take a
bath. Don’t they understand this? If they did, they wouldn’t
let you talk that way.

71. Your tired notions of ”the market” make our eyes glaze over. We
don’t recognize ourselves in your projections — perhaps
because we know we’re already elsewhere.

72. We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are
creating it.

73. You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take your shoes off at the
door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel!

74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.

75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it
something interesting for a change.

76. We’ve got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some
better service. Stuff we’d be willing to pay for. Got a minute?

77. You’re too busy ”doing business” to answer our email? Oh gosh,
sorry, gee, we’ll come back later. Maybe.

78. You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.

79. We want you to drop your trip, come out of your neurotic
self-involvement, join the party.

80. Don’t worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it’s
not the only thing on your mind.

81. Have you noticed that, in itself, money is kind of
one-dimensional and boring? What else can we talk about?

82. Your product broke. Why? We’d like to ask the guy who made it.
Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We’d like to have a
chat with your CEO. What do you mean she’s not in?

83. We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take
one reporter from The Wall Street Journal.

84. We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool
online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they
come out and play?

85. When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If
you didn’t have such a tight rein on ”your people” maybe they’d
be among the people we’d turn to.

86. When we’re not busy being your ”target market,” many of us are
your people. We’d rather be talking to friends online than
watching the clock. That would get your name around better than
your entire million dollar website. But you tell us speaking to
the market is Marketing’s job.

87. We’d like it if you got what’s going on here. That’d be real
nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we were holding
our breath.

88. We have better things to do than worry about whether you’ll
change in time to get our business. Business is only a part of
our lives. It seems to be all of yours. Think about it: who
needs whom?

89. We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the
light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive,
more interesting, more fun to play with.

90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more
interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any
TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate
web sites we’ve been seeing.

91. Our allegiance is to ourselves — our friends, our new allies
and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that
have no part in this world, also have no future.

92. Companies are spending billions of dollars on Y2K. Why can’t
they hear this market timebomb ticking? The stakes are even

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

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.


Copyright 1999 Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger
All rights reserved.

However, world rights granted for non-commercial use
on condition that this page remains intact,
including this notice.
Rip it, steal it, web it, mail it, post it.
This message wants to MOVE!

1 comment

  1. Är du en analog utvandrare? | stefan deak says:

    [...] Cluetrain Manifesto [...]


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