Her Voz


One stands out above the rest.

The question was posed: “How many theses does the Cluetrain Manifesto actually present?” After trying to find the top seven or even an ambitious top ten, I then tried to extract just three. This attempt met failure!

There is essentially one theses present in the Cluetrain Manifesto; the rest of the 95 theses can be considered aiding text/claims—sort of like the Assistant to the Director or the supporting-actor in a blockbuster movie.

The first of the Cluetrain Manifesto’s 95 theses states, “Markets are conversations.” This assertion is like the timestamp for the other 94 theses—or for my own enjoyment “the other supporting acts”—leaving a reference point. It is true as markets we want person to person interaction, companies need to talk with a human voice, and even as employees we are still part of the market that want companies to speak the same language and listen. BUT these arguments still support the higher claim that markets are building and maintaining conversations.

Markets, are speaking with emotions, opinions, and feelings, which Levine argues enables pools of people to interact in a way that wasn’t possible during the mass media era. Companies that choose not to interact with this community of “smarter, more informed and more organized” individuals will agreeably die—as Levine and his cohorts suggest in theses number forty.

We the “market” are human–beings with a desire to express ourselves and interact with each other. In a quarterly survey for Harvard Business. Ruder Finn remarkably found evidence that supports Levin’s ninth theses (“These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge”). Part of the results showed, “Seniors are going online today for the same reasons younger people are: to have fun (82%) and to socialize (80%).” This finding is an echo of statements and actions by online–users, which should not just be considered by corporate executives—who still try to target markets with monotone, computer generated promotions—but acted upon.

Essentially Levine and his cohorts got it right the first time—“markets are conversations.” The sad part is companies “seem to be speaking a different language.” Will they ever make the connection and join the conversation? That’s the question that for now remains a mystery that deserves a watchful eye.