Monday, 27 April 2009

Cluetrainplus 10: Thesis #95

Thoughts on old school management:

- Top down management with the belief that knowledge is a tool for domination
- Belief that the system can be engineered
- That marketing efforts can be predetermined and have desirous effects
- The notion that they must negate value that can’t be directly quantified
- Belief that traditional linear levers of control can be applied to a networked ecosystem

But we know that the power of networks has changed people's behaviour. It has altered purchase paths and processes. Technology has become biology and our standard path for doing business has become less and less effective.

Traditional constructs do not change quickly or easily. Resistance is everywhere. The belief in centralized control mechanisms reigns supreme. It's at the core of our systems. It's at the centre of our belief.

Why? It's core to our DNA - our eduction, our finacial systems regardless of the fact that those very systems haven't been able to keep pace with the new networks speed of evolutionary change.

Old models need to be replaced by new ones. Networks necessitate that we change. Whether we like it or not. This is a radical cultural shift that goes to the core of our beliefs and values. It's a new world view that embraces connections big and small, weak and strong. It's a focus not on ourselves as individual businesses but understands our role within the context of the larger whole. The centre of our success is intertwined and connected to the collective.

How should we translate this? Some initial thoughts:

- Corporations will need to increasingly accept that they are part of the system and not outside of it. They are one node. Some bigger than others. But nodes nevertheless.
- As such, hierarchy as we have understood it, no longer applies and therefore neither does top down approaches
- The networked ecosystem cannot be controlled or managed and therefore strategies need to embrace the notion of "*KNOW" control (reference Mitch Joel)
- We must embrace the idea of open and understand that there are no boundaries
- We must accept that this is an ecosystem and as such, this system is alive and constantly evolving - change emerges rather than is prescribed
- We need to embrace and understands that as the system changes, we all must change

What does this mean for what we do day in and day out? Hum..not sure if I know for sure. I'm continually trying to figure it out. Some thoughts I've had and picked up from others along the way include:

-Your customers are your creative team
-Everything is a beta
-Open source your brand, products and services
-Change your processes to embrace agile planning models
-Set your content free
-Understand that there are no rules there are rather consequences for actions
-To evolve together, you need to get closer and figure out for yourself and your business, what closer means
-Figure out what you are good at and embrace your contribution in the context of the larger ecosystem
-View our success and measure ourselves not only by what we take out of the system, but what value we give
-Focus on co-operation and co-creation vs. competition

Of course you don't have to. You can continue instead with the status quo. But that's when it's not a bad time to remember Cluetrain thesis #95 which was the inspiration for this post:

We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.


This blog post is an ode to "Cluetrainplus10 is a project to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the manifesto. On Tuesday April 28, 95 bloggers around the world will each write a blog post on one of the 95 theses."

photo credits:

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Paraphraseitis & The Quest For An Original Thought

Have you ever looked at a really fancy diagram in a blog post or slideshare presentation and thought, wow....that's really smart. Digital thought leaders using new phrases I've never seen in a context that appears to be completely original. Words like 'experience vertical design' 'cross-calibrated networked scenrios ' 'transformative media types' ...the list goes on and on.

And then did you take second look. And think...

Hold on a second...

They've just renamed stuff.

They just called marketing planning some new fandangled digital phrase.
They've just paraphrased what was formally known as a creative brief.

Hold on a second, what's going on here?

And then you realize that this isn't a new thought at all. It isn't original. It's something far more sinister.

It's what I call "paraphraseitis".


Paraphraseitis: In the quest for an original thought and personal brand building, an expert, usually in the field of digital communications, renames something old and attempts to turn it into something new. They often then put it into diagram form, and distribute it through social media and RSS feeds thus getting notoriety through retweets and blog posts cheering their new great word/phrase discovery

What's the real issue here isn't that it bugs me (which it does) but that it actually is a detriment to what i do every day. It confuses people. It makes clients think they don't know 'what's going on with this digital stuff' when actually, they do.

It makes them think that there is some magic that they don't have powers in that only these shiny new Internet experts with their new diagrams, fancy new processes and fantabulous new phrases can explain.

Here's my personal ask. If there is already a phrase for it, let's use that. If there is a job that is close already, let's just use that word instead of making up a new one. And if it isn't an original thought? That's ok. Just reference what it really is. No one will judge you for it.

As for the quest for a real original thought? If you don't have to work hard for something, it's probably not worth having.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Community Is The Service

I used to love friendfeed. Essentially friendfeed is what I thought of one of the first 'lifestreaming' services. In their words they call their service one that

"enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends."

For a while there, friendfeed was a daily habit. Really it was becoming more of an obsession than anything else. I had discovered lots of interesting new people. My own network was starting to use it. And, the discussions there seemed to be more thoughtful and provoking than ones i had seen other places.


Something weird changed. I don't know if it was the type of community that landed there. But, firstly, people went from really interesting to the banal. And I"m not talking Twitter banal. I'm talking whole conversations on people saying, good morning. Hello. Hi. How are you. On and on it went.

The other thing was that I found, no one on friendfeed was ever commenting on my links or blogposts. Maybe i'm just boring. I can accept that. However, in my other communities, like Twitter and Facebook, I consistently get feedback, comments and have interactions that enrich the experience.

Friendfeed just seemed to get really cliquey. There actually seemed to me to be a cool crowd and the rest of us just weren't invited. There was very little reaching out. Very little interaction outside of a core group. And over time, I just got plain bored. I checked in with a few friends and they all seemed to have a similar experience as i did.

I still go from time to time. Check out to see if anythings changed. But it hasn't.

Mike Arrington
over at Techcrunch thinks the service might be too complicated and that's what's limiting its growth.

I don't think that's what the problem is. To me it's the community that makes the service not the other way around. And it's the community that's the problem with friendfeed. And no feature set is going to be able to fix that. Coolest app or not.

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