This is a place for your voices. War stories, comments, flames and rants: all fair game. Try it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we consider Letterman, integrity, circuses, and the ascendance of the small business.
Edited by Rick Levine
You fools. Why model yourselves after Luther when Letterman is so much more popular. What are the Top 10?
Of course. Rageboy came through...
I can read seven.
Scott Rautmann is an ex-Silicon Valley managerial type. He jumped ship, is planting ginger on Kauai, and growing up his kids barefoot.
I take a lot of the site to be talking about integrity. I love this concept. It's a value that is in the top three for all people as they rate their management. It's the value that transcends hierarchical, director, production, group-wise and chaotic models of getting work done. It's the value that most people are equipped to detect no matter what their up-bringing. It's hard to imagine you need to be on the edge to promote that. I'm reeling.
Of course, there's a lot more that's said on the site.. but if I had to sum it to a word, it's integrity in a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional sense.
The manifesto almost drove me nutz. Part essay, part step-wise program, part philosophy. I liked it. But I wonder about who the "market" is. There are a lot of sheep out there, my friend. They aren't sheep by nature or genetics, they are schooled to be sheep. I hate to say it.
And then I read this in one of Chris' interviews:
Chris: It's more of an open issue than a vision really. I've got this nagging question in the back of my mind. Are audiences as stupid as many seem to believe? Or have they just been waiting for something like the Net to come along? I'm not suggesting this is a conscious thing necessarily. There has been so much conditioning by previous media models in which people were simply information consumers that, at this point, I think they're not sure what they want.Sheesh. I was only talking from the people I've met since leaving the rarified atmosphere of silicon valley.
Integrity implies many things. Integrity in business implies enlightened capitalism, making only what you need, and not the max you can get. Integrity in business implies honesty and integrity in communications. It implies actually solving a customers' problem, not finding a customer for the solution (which implies open dialogue with the customer.) It implies groups of people formed to solve problems for customers to be treated in such a way that they can solve those problems, and that they are allowed to fuck up when they don't. Fuck ups are the most brilliant new products of tomorrow. I could go on.
Cluetrain focuses on integrity, for lack of a better word, within business. Wanna kick ass and take names in the business world? Only work for those managers/leaders with the requisite integrity (whatever you want to call it), in personal and business dealings. Don't stop there: go one step further and treat the neighbors like this. Take a further step and rip out out your lawn and plant perennial food plants that self-water and self-manage. You can treat the planet with integrity, too.
Life is just too short to sit through one more marketing presentation.
As a business student approaching graduation, reading your recent manifesto gave me a good guideline as to what kind of company I should be working for. It also threw everything I've learned in the past few years out the window.
Case in Point: In my MBA-level "Organizational Analysis" class (got to laugh at that one), we spent the entire year trying to define what the quintessential transnational company would be. As my final project, I decided to do an hour presentation on a circus. Literally. The Prof. didn't say a word after I finished. It obviously threw her off guard that a company built on connecting with the human spirit was inherently more "international" than IBM.
The response from the class was somewhat different. People came up to me after class, wanting to know more, interested in my personal take on the case. People who have seen me on Campus for the past 4 years through the veil of institutional learning now feel comfortable enough to say a quick hello when we pass.
Proof that content and connection create community. Which is where this whole thing is going, right?
I signed the manifesto. (Hoping that one of the companies listed is hiring) ;-)
So hire the lady, already.
I suppose being a self-employed tradesman has left me in such a mindset that I have difficulty comprehending that the corporate mindset which occasions some of your best rants really exists. I've had to work the way you hope corporate America will come to work to stay alive, depending on referrals from past customers to acquire new, exploring their real desires and approximating those desires within a realistic budget. It seems the only natural way to function. That's probably why your "real" work leaves me somewhat bored. Broken down to basics, it's so obvious, it doesn't seem necessary to say it.
I believe the thrust of your 95 Theses is that "the market" is evolving (and that generally is assumed to represent forward motion) but the substance of those theses seems to represent the dynamics involved in a small, local service company.
A home repair contractor, for example, needs to follow the tenets you set forth to maintain and expand a client base. The networked community he serves is bound by geographical constraints, but the interaction of the people in that market determines, to a large extent, his financial success. He needs to listen to his customers, on an individual basis, to give them what they want.
Similarly, the general store proprietor of years past had to determine what his customers wanted/would purchase and stock his store accordingly. Again, geography limits his customer base, but those same limitations force the kind of networking you champion as a new outgrowth of internet connections.
The newness exists in the removal of the geographical barriers. The groupings of individuals are based on criteria other than physical location. The providers of goods and services need to revert to a "more primitive" way of doing business. If your theories prove true, it will likely mean that smaller, more specialized businesses are the way of the future as they were in the past (and, in some industries, have remained through the present.)
Of course, some products are attractive to multiple communities and in these cases, larger companies can continue to prosper. The apparent result of your analysis, however, is the demise of many large businesses and the resurrection of the primacy of small (even very small) enterprises.
manifesto | signers | ringleaders
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