"The cluetrain stopped there four times a day for ten years and no one ever took delivery." [Doc Searls about an acquaintance at a company that was free-falling out of the Fortune 500, The Cluetrain Manifesto, Apr. 1999]
Is this you? Is this your company?
Despite all this talk of Kindle I just bought the book's souvenir -- the paper, glue, and glossy cover version of this manifesto, which was typed what seems like ages ago. Yet, as Tom Peters has been known to say: it ain't old until it's done.
And while all of the market forces and the theses covered by Rick Levin, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Christopher Locke have certainly unfolded and spread, while it is true that the attraction of the Internet is human fascination with storytelling, we are only now beginning to see the realization of their vision.
That's because it's our vision, too. I started this week with Web 3.0, it seemed only fair to conclude our brief journey spanning decades where it all begun, with conversation. Markets are conversations, they declared, this is the end of business as usual. As your kids would say from the back seat with anticipation: are we there yet?
As individuals I think we are. The subject matter of today's post at The Blog Herald is that you are your own brand navigator. That has ripple effects throughout the economy. Many of you have left large companies or agencies to start your own business and consultancy. With the tools available today and based on the fact that hyperlinks (by nature relational) subvert hierarchies, with a focused approach you can not only get smarter, you can make a good living from it, hard work included.
The big agencies are starting to feel the pain. I was reading earlier how in today's splintered advertising world Kevin Roberts is Scrambling to keep Saatchi & Saatchi relevant. [hat tip to John Moore] That's because markets are (inter)networked and people are (intra)networked, a reality and not a play on words. I would take the meaning one step further from the original intent to take into account commerce layered upon the original mix. Free agents, consultants, entrepreneurs all get brand ownership has everything to do with commerce -- a promise made is a promise kept, their reputation is on the line.
Individuals talk plain language, with human voices. We have discovered our personal brands, developed our careers, blossomed in our communities of practice and co-work locations. "Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations."
Are companies catching up? A few are beginning to talk directly to their markets, to individuals. Many are still deeply afraid of their markets, of hearing the truth. Markets want to talk to companies. I hope more companies decide they want to have this conversation by starting to listen. Because "we are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting."