491 years and 18 days ago, the 95 Thesis was nailed to the door in Wittenberg. In its day, this was the means of inviting scholars to debate important issues. Not a single person took the challenge.
A decree condemning the views was issued. The decree was later burned. The rest is history.
Eight or so years ago Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger bought their 95 Thesis to the marketplace in The Cluetrain Manifesto.
I’ll not force feed 95 points down your throats.
However in dealing with some important copy writing today, the kind that has family’s lives hanging in the balance, I was moved by how little some have changed.
Clearly we continue to miss the main idea from these authors, who wrote, “Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.”
Here are only a few of their thoughts. If you would like to see all 95, you can read them here. Surely you can find the time.
#4 Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
#11 People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
#14 Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, and literally inhuman.
#15 In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.
# 24 Bombastic boasts—”We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ”—do not constitute a position.
#61 Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings false—and often is.
#75 If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
#91 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.
#95 We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
I beg you in the most human of voices to hear this mad man’s voice from the wilderness and respond. Call me, email me, snail mail me, or comment right here on our blog.
Please join this conversation. Your business life probably depends on it.