Selection from 95 Theses
The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
Markets (Consumers) are getting smarter, more informed, more organized.
People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors.
The networked market (consumer) knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
What's happening to markets is also happening among employees.
Corporations do not "yet" speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations.
Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.
Companies that don't realize their markets are now networked person-to-person in conversation are missing their best opportunity.
Companies can now communicate with their markets directly.
Companies attempting to "position" themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.
Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.
Elvis said it best: "We can't go on together with suspicious minds."
Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own "downsizing initiatives" taught us to ask the question: "Loyalty? What's that?"
Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.
To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
But first, they must belong to a community.
Human communities are based on discourse—on human speech about human concerns.
Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.
As with networked markets, people are also talking to each other directly inside the company.
Such conversations are taking place today on corporate intranets. But only when the conditions are right.
A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the word. Its effect is more radical than the agenda of any union.
Open intranets generate and share critical knowledge. Companies need to resist the urge to control these networked conversations. When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and legalistic rules, the type of conversation they encourage sounds remarkably like the conversation of the networked marketplace.
Paranoia kills conversation. But lack of open conversation among employees and in market kills companies.
There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.
In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete notions of command and control n the part of managements.
As policy, these notions are poisonous. As tools, they are broken. Command and control are met with hostility by intranetworked knowledge workers and generate distrust in internetworked markets.
Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.
If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up.
Maybe you're impressing your investors. Maybe you're impressing Wall Street with press meets and conferences. You're not impressing us.
If you don't impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don't they understand this? If they did, they wouldn't let you talk that way.
We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it.
You're invited, but it's our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel!
We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
We've got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we'd be willing to pay for. Got a minute?
You're too busy "doing business" to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we'll come back later. Maybe.
You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.
Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the guy who made it.
We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal.
When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If you didn't have such a tight rein on "your people" maybe they'd be among the people we'd turn to.
We'd rather be talking to friends online than watching the clock. That would get your name around better than your entire million dollar web site. But you tell us speaking to the market is Marketing's job.
We have better things to do than worry about whether you'll change in time to get our business.
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.
Our allegiance is to ourselves—our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.
We're both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they're really just an annoyance. We know they're coming down. We're going to work from both sides to take them down.
To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down.
Every day, More people are linked to each other.