Archive for the ‘Cluetrain’ Category

The no help desk

April 27, 2007

Poor service video

Fighting back against bad service
This is how customers can fight back against poor customer service! Record the call (they do) and put it on the Internet. This is the power of global reach. I love the way “Mark” left the case number in just so the vendor knows who they made angry enough to put this video together.

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Naked, part II

April 17, 2007

The first block of reading I was to do in “Naked Conversations” solidified personally that Robert Scoble really was passionate and knowledgeable about the blogosphere. His compilation of success stories in the next reading assignment further demonstrates this. Both the depth of thought into the applications put forth by the blog authors and the passion Mr. Scoble, and Shel Israel, have in writing about them is expressed well.

Chapter five was built completely of good news for bloggers. The little guys prevailing. From MacLeod quoting of Cluetrain to a tailor, to a church pulling its congregation closer all the bloggers in this section of the book have achieved more than their goals.

A few examples, Buzz Bruggeman and his way into the blogospere, The Treo blog going from $50 revenue to $20,000 of income, each subset of chapter five is a boost to blog, and as a matter of fact, tells “how-to.”

Here, in chapter six, is the practical use tips and afore mentioned “how-to’s” of a successful blogger. Starting with a good example, Ernie the Attorney, three of the five tips from the previous chapter are addressed. Talk, don’t sell. Ernie says, after agreeing to be interviewed, not to be “Mr. Marketing Guy.” Post often and be interesting. Building a reputation on your blog to be credible not a salesperson. And, write about what you know. Also exemplified by the designers example, but Ernest built an informed and entertained fan base. Point blank, chapter six tell us, a successful blog is not a marketing campaign.

Blograge: Harassment

March 30, 2007

Blograge: The darkness among us
I do not go to many conferences. This is because it is hard for me to get time off work and I usually have to pay for the conferences out of my own pocket. One of the conferences I have and am willing to pay to go to and take vacation time to attend is the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference a.k.a Etech. This year Etech and CATS2007 was scheduled at the same time. That and the fact that my employer paid me to go to CATS caused me to miss Etech this year.

Prominent female blogger getting death threats
Kathy Sierra writes the popular blog, Creating Passionate Users. She was scheduled to present a workshop at Etech this year. She did not go and canceled her presentation due to death threats she has been getting from within the blogging community. These threats have been in the form both comments in her blog and posts on other blogs. The sexual harassment nature of much of these has been so personal and so outrageous she is now afraid to go outside her house. She is not the only prominent female blogger who has been harassed. Prominent male bloggers have been trolled and harassed as well.

Scoble and other bloggers react
A-list blogger, podcaster and SJSU Alum Robert Scoble said, “I’m physically ill after reading what happened to Kathy Sierra. Maryam and several others here at PodTech asked me about it and are concerned since the same sites that are attacking Kathy also mentioned me and Maryam. Maryam is really freaked out about it. So am I.” He said, “I’m going to stop blogging in support of Kathy, who I consider a friend and someone who’s voice would be dearly missed here. I’ll be back Monday.”

What do we do about it?
As Sierra said, “death threats against bloggers are NOT ‘protected speech.'” This is not the first time Scoble has taken time off due to harassment. He has been the target himself of vicious trolling. As Scoble said, “We have to fix this culture.” There has been talk of a blogger code of conduct. If we don’t find a way to fix this we could loose this. Harassment is not free and protected speech and we cannot allow it to continue.

cluetrain finally got a clue…

March 13, 2007

There were So many different thoughts and concepts in chapters 6 and 7 I don’t even know how to begin to summarize them for you, you being one of my many, many readers. OK, so maybe by you I mean you being one of maybe three readers. Now with that in mind I will attempt to sum up some of the concepts that rang true to me and that I could actually make some sense of.

The simple, if painful, prognosis: organizations must encourage and engage in genuine conversation with workers and markets — or go belly up.”

  1. The engagement and passion-for-quality of genuine craft.
  2. Conversations among recognizably human voices.

Nicely put huh?

Let’s forget all this internal conversation that takes place in the workplace and let’s begin to include the conversation that comes from the market place. The author uses the Berlin Wall as an example of the imaginary wall placed between the workplace and the marketplace. Now if the work place is creating products for the market place it makes sense to include them in the conversation, right? Right. The author suggests finding people with-in the organization who know what’s going on. In conclusion make friends with the market place and let the bureaucracy fall while your profits soar.

OK, now my favorite excerpt from the entire book…ready for a 12 step program? Britney’s doing it, you don’t think your better than Britney do you? That’s what I thought, now scroll down.

The Cluetrain Hit-One-Outta-the-Park Twelve-Step
Program for Internet Business Success

  1. Relax
  2. Have a sense of humor
  3. Find your voice and use it
  4. Tell the truth
  5. Don’t panic
  6. Enjoy yourself
  7. Be brave
  8. Be curious
  9. Play more
  10. Dream always
  11. Listen up
  12. Rap on

Do these things and you just can’t miss.

Nicely put times 2.

So chapter 7 made me realize one thing and one thing only…The Internet was not built just for chatting and myspace, no this can’t be true! Well it is so suck it up and read on. The net helps organize markets, self organizing markets. You can go online and get just about anything you need from anywhere in the world.

“But enough about early advertising. One thing the Net is good for is organizing markets. Especially if you’re invisible and powerless, ignorant of how things are supposed to work, ignorant of business-as-usual. Especially if you’re intent on end-running the empire.”

This books ends where reality sets in, this book was written years ago and one of the authors Samuel Beckett mentions that the era of cluelessness is about to come to an end…Well it has ended and we are here to prove the authors premonitions to be true.

Internet=Life

March 13, 2007

I agree with fellow classmates when they say that the entirety of the Cluetrain Manifesto could have been summed up in one single chapter. I’m going to go a bit further and say that it could have been done in one single paragraph:

“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet people are discovering and inventing ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter-and getting smarter faster than most companies.”

There. That should do it.

In response to Sarah’s comment (it should be the one below me) about all of the questions the author was posing without answering, I think the point was that the answers should unfold for themselves in the future. I attempting to answer questions on their own, people are learning from their “spontaneous mistakes”, and the web is being reinvented.  If we ask for the answers then we lose track of the meaning of the question.

“This is an existential moment. It’s characterized by uncertainty, the dissolving of the normal ways of settling uncertainties. In times like this, we all have an impulse to find something stable and cling to it, but then we’d miss the moment entirely.”

I noticed a strinking similarity in the ways which the author described the internet in chapter 6, and life in chapter 7, as being anti-formulaic, anti-institutuional, it can’t be shrink-wrapped, caged, dissected, analyzed, or owned. Life is free. The author in a way is saying that the internet is life, and we are the ones breathing life into it. Large coorporations can’t seem to get this concept because of course, they are not human. They want to institutionalize the internet, but can’t.

So You Want a Revolution?

March 13, 2007

Well, Christopher Locke writes in Chapter 7 of Cluetrain that an online one has already begun.  He adds, “And by the way, since it’s not being covered by CNN and Fox, we’re winning.  You say you didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary? Nor were you supposed to. Invisibility and ignorance are powerful weapons.”  Normally, I think of invisibility and ignorance as negative things.  Futuristic, dystopian societies in novels such as Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 come to my mind.  However, Locke says invisibility and ignorance have actually been beneficial for the revolution talked about in Cluetrain.  Under the noses of corporations, among other groups, ordinary people have been using their voices through the Internet, which has become a source of empowerment.  Discovering and then using one’s voice has been a common theme throughout Cluetrain, and chapters 6 and 7 continue this message.   

Something I’ve noticed throughout this book is that the authors present ideas and issues, but they don’t provide answers to questions.  Chapter 6 is full of questions.  One particular passage written by Christopher Locke and David Weinberger stood out to me:
“But there is a heartfelt question lurking here. It has to do with the things of the world that quench our thirsts and raise our souls. It has to do with our fear of replacing the shops — and the neighborhoods they enable — with a paper-souled efficiency that lets us search out and consume commodity products at disquietingly low prices. We’re afraid that the last shred of human skin left on the bones of commerce is about to come off in our hands.”
I had an online “talk” with someone, and I mentioned how I think it’s easier for me to express myself online than in person because I’m sometimes more open and “outgoing” when I write than when I talk to people.  That’s why I like forms of communication such as e-mail and instant messaging, and I’m not too crazy about talking over the phone.  However, she and I both agreed that in spite of the conveniences of online communication, it still doesn’t beat communicating with someone in person.  There’s just something about that face-to-face contact that seems more natural and special.  I think it’s a worry for many people that although we can connect to each other in more ways than before, are we making deep connections?  Although Cluetrain doesn’t provide any simple answers, it brings up points for people to ponder over as they read. 

Whew…I’m done…

March 13, 2007

Chapters 6 and 7 had the same repetitive talk about the genuine “voice”. Although the Cluetrain, as a whole, was profound in its theories on the pervasiveness of the internet, genuine voice, and how to run a successful business, the redundancy of it made it a tedious read. I agree with my classmate (whoever you are, I forgot the blog user name) who said that Cluetrain can be summed up in one chapter but instead the authors decided to keep it as a constant rant through unnecessary multiple chapters. Below is a comprised list that I can take away from reading the Cluetrain, what I learned:

  • The internet’s pervasiveness has changed communication forever
  • There is no way to shut anyone up anymore
  • Corporations are now at the mercy of chatting employees and consumers
  • Producers/Head-haunchos become further removed from the market, and thus further removed from their employees and consumers
  • Employees know more about the product than their bosses (the ones who act like they know it all) do
  • The foundation for markets are “conversations”
  • The internet provides “choices”
  • The internet provides “freedom”
  • The internet provides “power”
  • Businesses must learn to listen to become successful

If I’ve missed any key items, please feel free to add on to the list. =)

Volunteered Slavery

March 13, 2007

No one is ever going to put down Cluetrain for a lack of hipness. Name-dropping Rahsaan Roland Kirk would be great enough on its enough, nevermind that that the allegory rings true.

Like jazz, the Cluetrain is always looking forward, always experimental, but those who would seek to follow it constantly find themselves being tempted back into the old patterns, trends and formalisms of what came before. It’s more comfortable for a profit-based business to stay trapped in the mores of undemocratic, hierarchal and vaguely militaristic command structures rather than to take a chance on riding a wave (of decentralization) that without their proper adaptation could destroy them or even worse; render them totally irrelevant.

The question now: How does this model apply to the world of Journalism?

A rambling cluetrain

March 13, 2007

The two last chapters, while smaller reading than the past assigned, was still a job to get through. Reading through the last two chapters, the point the I could relate to the most was the subject of bosses losing their ability to communicate. Or more so, losing their connection to the employees and the out products of their businesses. I think that this happens to be the biggest issue. A good corporation is a corporation who tries to keep the lines of communication open with it’s lower employees. Lower employees see a lot more of product needs than their boss counter parts ever will.

I think this sort of communication separates a good company from a bad company. An example to me would be HP. I have an aunt that works for HP and she feels that the communitcation with employees, regardless of level is what keeps the company successful. CEO’s need to keep the lines of communication open with their employees whether it be in person or the internet. The lower employees are the closest thing to the people they sell their products to .

The sky is falling… Well, not really. Unless we make it.

March 13, 2007

Chapter 7 was slightly hard for me to get into. Maybe it was because my eyes hurt from staring at the computer screen all day, or maybe it was because after a while, it seemed the the author was just giving himself a pat on the back for writing the book. Either way, my eyes are still tired. I did however, find chapter 6 interesting.
“The simple, if painful, prognosis: organizations must encourage and engage in genuine conversation with workers and markets — or go belly up.”
“Continents drifting across the oceans have trends. Bullets have directions. Cannonballs have trajectories. The future doesn’t. The future is the intersection of choice and interruptions. The Web — what a surprise! — is more like the future than a cannonball. It will be what we make of it.”

Those were a couple of my favorite sections out of the chapter. The first quote seemed to me as more reenforcement of a lot of other points in the book, but i strongly agree with the author in this case. If a company doesn’t connect with anyone, it will be like running blindfolded in a dark room. I know thats kind of a repetitive statement, but i think it helps to get the point across that they will not only not know what is happening, they will be confused as well.
I just liked the second quote, well, just because its a very true statement. No one knows where the future is going, what it will bring us, or not bring us, just like the internet. The internet will go wherever we make it go. No company or corporation will ever be able to take control of it and decide its fate. There as much of a chance of it becoming obsolete as we get little chips with all the information in the world installed in our heads and being able to communicate telepathically , as there is a chance of it causing the downfall of Microsoft. Who knows? I don’t. You don’t. However, the internet could be like a cannonball… Except it would be a cannonball made out of rubber and hundreds of angled sides. Where will it bounce to next?

“We’re not trying to change you. We’re trying to get you to think differently.”