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5.0 out of 5 stars Old business paradigms are out the window! The web rules!
This thought-provoking book actually was one of the catalytic influences which dynamited me out of my complacency in terms of my own existing web site. Just like Dr. Martin Luther, posting his similarly disruptive "95 theses" on t"he Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" in 1517, Mssrs. Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger put a definitive stop to the...
Published on June 8 2002 by Dr. Louis B. Cady

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but lots missing...
I have mixed feelings about this book. At the beginning, it makes a lot of sense, with discussions about markets and the power of the Internet. Here it succeeds. The problem is that it runs out of steam. A lot of concepts are repeated over and over and some of them make less sense the more they are repeated. There are some good ideas about using the technology to...
Published on Dec 1 2003 by adam872


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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but lots missing..., Dec 1 2003
By 
adam872 (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
I have mixed feelings about this book. At the beginning, it makes a lot of sense, with discussions about markets and the power of the Internet. Here it succeeds. The problem is that it runs out of steam. A lot of concepts are repeated over and over and some of them make less sense the more they are repeated. There are some good ideas about using the technology to reconnect with customers, co-workers and the world at large. The case histories are also quite illuminating. These guys have clearly been there and done it. The problem I have is that they think the Internet is somehow a magic cure for a lot of these problems. Technology by itself never fixes anything and I say this as someone who is an IT professional.
I found it an interesting read, but was left wanting more from it in the end. Some of the observations about organisational hierarchy and culture I think are over simplified and at times plain wrong. As a companion to the book, I would recommend readers try "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, which deals with how some organisations make the jump and some don't. It's an interesting counterpoint, as it focusses a lot on effective management of people, any organisation's most valuable asset. Cluetrain is worth a read, but keep some salt handy....
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2.0 out of 5 stars Markets are not conversations., June 16 2003
By 
Scott Harris (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
If you prefer Hotwired to The Economist, James Carville to David Brinkley, and Tom Peters to Peter Drucker, you will probably enjoy this book. It cheers the power of the Internet to create productive informal relationships between people.
The book's primary message is "Markets are conversations." It should have been "Marketing is a conversation."
Economic transactions are the exchange of information as well as economic goods and money. The authors are right to condemn the traditional tendency to focus too much on the exchange of economic goods for money. By overstating their case, the authors imply that we can safely ignore the exchange of economic goods and money. As many dot.com investors learned the hard way, dominating a particular conversational niche on the Internet does not automatically lead to success in business.
As a book about marketing over the Internet, this book deserves four stars. As a book about Internet economics or information age management, it deserves none.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Markets are not conversations., June 16 2003
By 
Scott Harris (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
If you prefer Hotwired to The Economist, James Carville to David Brinkley, and Tom Peters to Peter Drucker, you will probably enjoy this book. It cheers the power of the Internet to create productive informal relationships between people.
The book's primary message is "Markets are conversations." It should have been "Marketing is a conversation."
Economic transactions are the exchange of information as well as economic goods and money. The authors are right to condemn the traditional tendency to focus too much on the exchange of economic goods for money. By overstating their case, the authors imply that we can safely ignore the exchange of economic goods and money. As many dot.com investors learned the hard way, dominating a particular conversational niche on the Internet does not automatically lead to success in business.
As a book about marketing over the Internet, this book deserves four stars. As a book about Internet economics or information age management, it deserves none.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Business Protestantism, April 25 2003
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
So The Cluetrain Manifesto begins with 95 theses.
I get it, like Martin Luther's 95 theses against the Catholic church in 1517 started Protestantism.
Perhaps these authors mean for their treatise to be equally revolutionary. The format begs high expectations. I just can't help thinking, "Shakespeare said, 'First thing, let's kill all the lawyers.' You'd have to do that for this Openness in Business to work." So where are the lawyers in this groundbreaking philosophy for businesses?
It seems like businesses double-talk & obfuscate to protect themselves against liability. And I notice that none of the authors of this philosophy are lawyers.
And as for openness inside the company, we all know how long that would work. I don't see this book as revolutionary or practical. How do the authors tie in these exhortations to any current management philosophy?
Authors: Come down from your ivory tower and conduct some research in the 8-5 world.
If we need a parable, we'll turn to "Who Moved My Cheese?"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old business paradigms are out the window! The web rules!, June 8 2002
By 
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
This thought-provoking book actually was one of the catalytic influences which dynamited me out of my complacency in terms of my own existing web site. Just like Dr. Martin Luther, posting his similarly disruptive "95 theses" on t"he Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" in 1517, Mssrs. Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger put a definitive stop to the notion of "business as usual" in the newly "wired" world. It kind of reminds me of a next door neighbor I used to have: he predicted that the internet would be "a fad just like CB radio." In a pig's eye!
The co-authors assert that "markets are converstaions" and that they "consist of human beings, not demographic sectors." Much like this site, with the numerous hyperlinks, connecting YOU, the user with more information, logically organized, than you would be able to construct yourself, the authors also assert that "hyperlinks subvert heirarchy." In other words, if the shortest distance between you and the knowledge that you need is a short clickable link on the world wide web, executed by the 1/10th of an inch movement of your index finger on a mouse, the "priesthood of experts" fall.
This is an "in your face" book that should be read by EVERY entrepreneur, EVERY fee-for-service practitioner of ANY profession, and EVERYONE connected with modern networks and the internet. You will never look at the world, or business, the same way afterwards. And you will recognize that "eye candy" web sites with the same old advertising messages will no longer work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cluetrain to somewhere, Sept. 3 2001
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
As a public relations practitioner of 17 years, I have watched the Internet blast away at PR/Marketing-101 in recent years. I have watched email, website communications, streaming video and audio and the electronic transfer of images turn my business on its ear in less time than it took to study all this stuff in college! And it took the unholy rantings of Cluetrain to put this revolution into some perspective.
Sure, Cluetrain repeats itself, stumbles over some facts and is light-on when it comes to practical examples. However, it's a sea change that works! I have gone back to chatting with journalists, jumping into newsgroups and forums and generally TALKING (as advocated in this book).
And guess what? It works!!
Expect this book to be the forerunner of others determined to show the shortcomings of traditional PR & marketing -- and how to turn these around in the years ahead.
What are you waiting for? Jump in, and enjoy the conversation instead of spinning around the block!
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2.0 out of 5 stars A foreign country, May 10 2001
By 
Mr. A. Pomeroy (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cluetrain Manifesto (Hardcover)
Very much a period piece now, this is separated from the present by a big glass wall. You can read it, and see how people thought things might have been, way back in 1998, a time when it looked as if 'the suits' were on the verge of being replaced by a new breed of business, and a new breed of businessperson. As one of the reviewers above says, "In a turn of events that will send shudders of terror through corporate America, most of the business-as-usual ways of thinking, acting, and talking, of the last century prove absolutely toxic to the would-be successful corporation doing business in this new medium." Except that the 'would-be successful corporations' are going to the wall at a rate of knots, and the 'business-as-usual' ways i.e. making a profit by selling stuff, turned out to be right after all. As for the 'markets as conversaions' model, does anybody actually relish going to the local used car emporium so that they can talk to the sales staff? People simply don't want to talk to Amazon.com as if it was a great friend, they just want to buy books with the minimum of fuss and effort. The future? People at home using digital television to access a handful of hand-picked shopping sites, with no access to, or desire to access, the old-fashioned internet.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Get the abridged version, March 1 2001
By 
Thomas D. Kehoe (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
I forced myself to listen to the first one-third of the 6-hour Audible version. Get the abridged version instead.
This book has one good point: consumers don't like the way many companies talk -- "mission statements," fluffy advertising pitches, "your call is valuable to us" while they put you on hold for 30 minutes. In contrast, consumers respect companies that let you talk to a real person with the knowledge and power to solve your problem.
The book rightly says that the Internet can help companies to do the latter, instead of the former. That's everything worth reading in this book. Feel free to mail me the $... I've saved you. :-)
The authors take this one good point and repeat it endlessly. They don't give examples of how companies have implemented this good idea. They don't talk about possible pitfalls of taking this good idea too far. All they do is say how smart they are to have this one idea, and how stupid everyone else is. I suspect that the authors are consultants.
Strangely, this book doesn't talk about the Internet, post 1992. The authors rave about how great the Internet was in the 1980s. Newsgroups were populated by Ph.D.s and bright college students, passionate about their fields. This is true. When I got on the 'net in 1983, the people were wonderful. I met two girlfriends online.
But the Internet today is different. Better in many ways, but the chatter of most newsgroups and e-mail lists isn't worth reading. Spending time on-line with customers in my field is a waste of time. Many newsgroups started with smart people, but as stupid people (esp. stupid people with lots of time on their hands) joined and the signal/noise deteroriated, the smart people left to do more useful things, dropping the signal/noise ratio to zero. No mention of this problem in the "Cluetrain Manifesto".
The "Cluetrain Manifesto" doesn't explain how to design a website to improve feedback from customers. They don't talk about (to give three examples of bad design) websites that have no way to contact the company; "contact us" forms where you have to choose from their list of what they want you to say; and websites that make it easy to join, but have no way to quit (e.g., Audible.com, AllExperts.com). I get the impression that the "Cluetrain" authors haven't been in the Internet in the last 8 years.
--
Review by Thomas David Kehoe, author of "Hearts and Minds: How Our Brains Are Hardwired for Relationships"
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4.0 out of 5 stars One Great Thought Beat to Death 190 Times, Feb. 24 2001
By 
Robert David STEELE Vivas (Oakton, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Paperback)
There is one great thought in this book, i.e. that the Web makes it possible for everyone to participate in the "great conversation", and that it is the summing and slicing of these conversations that will drive business in the 21st Century.
The authors are quite correct, and helpful, when they point out that in the aggregate, the combined preferences, insights, and purchasing power of all Web denizens is vastly more valuable and relevant to business decisions about production, quality, and services than any "push" marketing hype or engineering presumptions about what people might need.
Sadly, the authors' neither provide an integrated understanding of the true terrain over which the great conversation takes place, nor do they provide any substantive suggestions for how web content managers might improve our access to the knowledge and desires that are now buried within the web of babel. Their cute "tell a story" and equally cute advice to have big boxes for customer stories in the forms provided for input, simply do not cut it with me.
This book is a 5 for the one great idea, a 2 for beating the idea to death, a 3 for presentation, and a 4 overall because it was just good enough to keep me reading to the last page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars. What more could I say in a title?, Jan. 10 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cluetrain Manifesto (Hardcover)
Many people happen to think this is a great book and I think it's definitely something that many business majors could benefit from. I'd advise people who don't find this book to be of any use or to be "nothing more than the ramblings of a number of self-appointed dot-com smart guys who have little or no experience in the real world of profit and loss" to stick to lower level reading and I think I'm not alone here judging by the other reviewers. "How-to's" are probably what you should be grazing on, spiteful remarks notwithstanding. As all successful businessmen know, and there are still many on the Web, it takes creative thinking to implement vision in real-world manifestations and this book is a great starting place for spurring that kind of thinking -- the now-cliched "Thinking out of the box." Anybody would rather devote several years of their lives to a project that's original enough to succeed and taking the thoughts in this book to heart is a great way to help assure that.
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