Notes from the Cluetrain

Recently Chris Heuer of BrainJams suggested a re-read of The Cluetrain Manifesto for people attending Beyond Bloggin6 2006. I figured it had a been a while since I had read it, so I picked up a copy. While reading, I wasn’t sure if I had ever read the whole book or just the 95 Theses section.

No matter — it was an a refreshing experience to see that the book is aging pretty well. It’s kind of funny to read any book about the Internet that doesn’t mention “Google,” but other than that — it’s still pretty spot on.

Here are some highlights that I marked along the way. All are from the 2000 paperback edition. The chapter links are to the online edition.

Notes from the Cluetrain:
Chapter One – Internet Apocalypso

“From the beginning, something very different has been brewing online. It has to do with living, with livelihood, with craft, connection, and community. This isn’t some form of smarmy New Age mysticism, either. It’s tough and gritty and it’s just beginning to find its voice, its own direction” (pg 22)

“Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall. De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you.” (pg 27)

Chapter 2: The Longing

This fervid desire for the Web bespeaks a longing so intense that it can only be understood as spiritual. A longing indicates that something is missing in our lives. What is missing is the sound of the human voice.

The spiritual lure of the Web is the promise of the return of voice. (pg 39)


Having a voice doesn’t mean being able to sing in the shower. It means presenting oneself to others. The Web provides a place like we’ve never seen before. (pg 44)

Bland, safe relationships with customers are dead. (pg 45)

Chapter 4: Markets Are Conversations

The first markets were markets. Not bulls, bears, or invisible hands. Not battlefields, targets, or arenas. Not demographics, eyeballs, or seats. Most of all, not consumers. (pg 76)

Conversation is a profound act of humanity. So once were markets. (pg 77)

Positioning is about discovering who you, as a business, are — discovering your identity, not inventing a new one willy-nilly. Positioning should help a company become what it is, not something it’s not (no matter how cool it would be). (pg 99)

Chapter 5: The Hyperlinked Organization

Links have value by pointing away from themselves to some other site. All Web pages derive some value from the links on them. (A page with no links is literally a dead end on the Web.) (pg 128)

One more thing: the Web changes time from sequential to random. … The point? Web time isn’t just seven times faster than normal time. It’s also a thousand times more random — in the good sense. (pg 136)

Chapter 6: EZ Answers

There may not be twelve or five or twenty things you can do, but there are ten thousand. The trick is, you have to figure out what they are. They have to come from you. They have to be your words, your moves, your authentic voice. (pg 171)

Chapter 7: Post-Apocalypso

Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday. Imagine a world in which the business of business was to imagine worlds people might actually want to live in someday. Imagine a world created by the people, for the people not perishing from the earth forever.

Yeah. Imagine that. (pg 183)

Yeah….Imagine that.

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