I had too much fun writing this review for my profile on Goodreads. (I read it as part of my research for my PC for my graduate degree.) I just had to cross-post it here as well. Check out my review below, the cluetrain website, and the book.
Expanding on their website launched in 1999 (actually, expanding on the book published that expanded on the website), the four authors add additional commentary to their original work(s) and review how the Internet has changed business.
There are some good nuggets aboard this train.
First, you have to get past the voices. Oh, the writers are very proud of their voices. They explain how humanity hid its voices for The Corporation. They explain how the Web will free voices – has freed voices – and how if you don’t find A Voice and talk in A Voice, then your business will fail.
Perhaps they’re making up for lost time for their many years of hiding their voices. The voices must be stretched to check for their limits – the same way a 42-year-old at his college reunion tries to tailgate the same way he did as a senior.
You must also get through the tone, which can rail against business the same way a jilted lover proclaims all the failures of his or her beloved.
At times, the authors strike a tone similar to teenagers who sneaked into the office, turned on the P.A. system, and barricaded the doors – determined to have as much fun as they can squeeze into their minutes in the Sun.
That said, I’m convinced that markets are conversations. I’m convinced that conversations sound humans, and that ignoring those conversations means missing opportunities. I’m convinced that hyperlinks mean that networks can be as powerful as hierarchies within organizations. That smart companies can connect conversations that occur inside and outside the corporate firewall. That one of the changes wrought by the Internet and the World Wide Web is the lack of scarcity. That this abundance and this connectedness offer unique possibilities and challenges for all of the “people of Earth” – business and market.
So don’t misread my warning about voice and tone. Set those aside as you read it. This book offers four viewpoints (eight, now, with the new chapters and forward) of how to use the power of the Web to listen and to speak with your customers.