Friday, January 23, 2009

The Cluetrain Manifesto

As a part of my Music Marketing class George Howard has assigned The Cluetrain Manifesto as our first reading. So far it has struck me as one of the most seminal works explaining the effect that the advent of the Internet has had on the old model of business.

I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to make sense of their own place in the Internet marketplace. The book is free to read at this link. I suggest at least reading the 95 Theses and the Internet Apocalypso.

Below is my take on Chapter Two:

So far The Cluetrain Manifesto has presented itself as trying to be to the business world what “Disarm Authority! Arm Your Desires” is to anarchists. In fact, it is written in much the same way citing alienation, loss of voice, and over-arching management as the cause of the human race’s problems. It would not surprise me to discover a past history of flying black flags by the authors of the book. They are correct that humans hate being managed. However, the authors are also correct that humans need management to feel safe from the surrounding environment. The main problem is, as the authors brilliantly state, that business is unmanageable, but the humanistic desire to tame the untamable drives control-freak executives to extremes in an effort to regiment every aspect that can be controlled. This regimentation, in effect, is what has driven the concept of humanity out of the working business world. Well actually, regimentation in conjunction with an overly litigious and thin-skinned society who feels threatened by anything and everything that is not homogenized. What has resulted is Hume’s Social Contract gone wild. What has also resulted is the separation from our collective experience by compartmentalization, political correctness, and fear of outsiders (which, by modern standards, an outsider is just about anyone besides yourself).

The authors of Cluetrain state that the Internet has become the solution to this by bringing the human voice back to the forefront. I personally think that it has gone a step further by putting us back in touch with our collective experience and subconscious. Think of it, every thought and experience past, present, and future that a human being is capable of can and will be expressed in some way on a website. Now you simply need to find it. As technology advances, these thoughts and experiences are accessible at speeds nearing the capabilities of human thought. Once this access speed becomes a reality, every concept, thought, action, or experience known to mankind will be available for our personal perusal and consumption. The lack of connection with our collective subconscious, alongside rampant greed and competition, is what has hindered modern human advancement for centuries. All of these burdensome boundaries are being smashed at a rate that increases every day that new bandwidth increases. We are on the brink of a new oneness that has not been seen since the days of tribal culture. I am wholeheartedly optimistic about what this could mean for our humanity and our collective futures.