Since the publication of the Cluetrain Manifesto, the phrase 'markets are conversations' has been cited widely.
In the last two weeks I've been reminded
on three separate occasions about how these market conversations are
happening, quite literally.
1. Markets are conversations.
"Question to the feed search engine folks...(David Sifry, Blake Rhodes,
are you listening?)...how do we stop this? Can we? It can't
be good for your business if this kind of thing takes off, can it?"
Within 24 hours David, Blake and Bob each posted a comment on my blog,
acknowledging the industry-wide issue and confirming their companies'
commitment to solving the problem. Bob even took the time to
point out that Bill Wyman (as I originally wrote) was in fact, and to
my acute embarrassment, a Rolling Stone. I noticed the rocking Bill
Wyman didn't come to my blog to correct me 😉
I spoke, they listened and responded. Who am I? A nobody, but we conversed anyhow.
19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
The second event blew me away (and a few others). John Montgomery posted a 'I don't get this' type post on the subject of a new start up called Ning, created by Marc Andreessen (of Netscape fame and fortune).
In response to John's question about how the company was planning to make its money. I speculated on a couple of revenue models and wrote, tongue-in-cheek:
"Good question John, I don't know
either. Marc Andreessen might but hasn't share the biz-plan me
yet. Are you there Marc?"
Within hours, Marc Anreessen posted a comment on my blog:
"Alex -- your description of what we are trying to do is very well said. It's an experiment, but those are the goals.
are going to see if we can generate enough revenue through a blend of
advertising (like Google, Yahoo, etc.) and premium services to be able
to support what we are doing, including the free developer accounts.
Thanks for the thoughts and comments..."
I fell off my metaphorical seat (and
physical seat if I recall). Marc Andreessen is listening in on the
blogosphere and taking part directly. This is what the smart companies and people are doing. They 'get it'.
25. Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
My third piece of evidence to show that
markets are really are conversations came in yesterday. It
relates to a product I've used for some time now - FeedDemon (an RSS feed reader), now owned by Newsgator.
Nick Bradbury (the original developer of Homesite, TopStyle) posted about a new feature available in a current beta release of FeedDemon.
I posted about how I thought the new feature was cool but I had an 'ask':
"The file can't be exported (OPML, would be nice Nick?...anything!)"
Nick commented on my blog explaining that I could get at my attention data but through another larger file. I wasn't 100% satisfied and suggested a separate OMPL file for ease of use. Nick commented again two days later:
"Just wanted to let you know that
I've added OPML export of the reports to the next build of FeedDemon -
expect to see this in RC2."
No Ivory Towers here, just stunning stuff.
Markets really are conversations
If I was ever in any doubt the notion that markets are conversations (not that I ever was) or considered the Cluetrain Manifesto as a theoretical concept only, these two last week's activities on my blog would have eradicated those doubts from even the most cynical critic.
Blogs have made the mantra become real. For those who choose to participate, markets really are conversations.
- Cluetrain Manifesto authors: Chris Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger
- George N. Dafermos, How weblogs are turning corporate machines into real conversations
- James Torio's thesis, chapter 4 - the global conversation
- Robert Scoble, Microsoft blogger - interview on 'corporate blogging'.
- Shel Israel and Robert Scoble, Naked Conversations (book blog)
- Hugh Macleod: gapingvoid, 'The Hughtrain'
- Jeremy Zawodny, Yahoo blogger, on how to follow the conversations
- John Dvorak (gets it wrong, again), Cult of the Cluetrain Manifesto
- David Sifry interview, Economist ("web-as-conversation metaphor is no longer eccentric")
- Connecting the dots: The disconnect between marketers and the conversations
- Euan Semple, 'Markets are conversations. No they are not.'
- Wayne Hall, markets are conversations but not when it comes from mass media