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The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual

December 29, 2009
Updated January 26, 2015

Guy Jumping The The Cluetrain Manifesto was released just before Y2Y in 1999. As much as the Manifesto was a powerful statement a decade ago, it’s even more relevant today, given the growth of emerging economies and markets, the financial meltdown, the recent “Great Depression,” technological change, new social media, and the list goes on. For me the Manifesto has so many messages.

But one strong undercurrent is that of self-empowerment. To quote author Harrison Owen, and creator of Open Space Technology, “If I empower you, to some extent you are still within my power.”

We hear a lot about management – those in position of authority – “empowering” employees, but this is a façade. Management, when practicing true leadership, sets the context for people to empower themselves. Then, and only then, are people capable of unleashing their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in a collective effort to effect real change in their organizations and communities. Owen’s statement, therefore, is incredibly important to what is taking place in society.

If you read the Manifesto, all short 95 Theses, you’ll see the self-empowerment theme running through, I’ve subjectively selected 12 of the Theses that really speak to me (the numbers correspond to the theses). Take the time to review the Theses and determine which ones resonate with you. The full Manifesto can also be read for free online, or follow the links to where it can be purchased online.

I especially like the reference in the book’s foreword that despite it being optimistic it’s also “…an obituary for business-as-usual.” Indeed. It’s about time. There is hope. I would love to hear your thoughts, views and suggestions on the Manifesto. In fact, maybe you have additional ones to include.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting. Which of the above have particular meaning for you? Or the other Theses in the Manifesto?


Book CoverClick here to download my complimentary e-book Discover Your Inner Leader: Reflections to Inspire and Motivate.


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