Words of wisdom from a 10 year old (Part 2)

The Clue Train Manifesto

This month marks the 10-year anniversary for what I consider one of the most important manifestos on the Internet. My goal over the next several days is to entice you to read (again or for the first time) The Clue Train Manifesto (free). You can read part one here.

When I first read The Clue Train Manifesto I was young in my marketing career. I first read it during a time when I was trying to tie up the loose theory I learned in college while at the same time seeking something that would help guide my future pursuits. When I first read it, I knew I had found what I was looking for. It was almost a magical moment. Hopefully it will help you as well.

Here are today’s money quotes:

  • We long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about, for work that’s more than clock-watching drudgery.
  • [C]ompanies don’t like us human. They leverage our longing for their ends. If we feel inadequate, there’s a product that will fill the hole, a bit fetishistic magic that will make us complete. Perhaps a new car would do the trick. Maybe a trip to the Caribbean of that new CD or a nice shiny set of Ginsu steak knives. Anything, everything, just get more stuff. Our role is to consume.
  • Because the Net connects people to each other, and impassions and empowers through those connections, the media dream of the Web as another acquiescent mass-consumer market is a figment and a fantasy.
  • Markets must come to have faces and personalities in place of statistical profiles.
  • The question is whether, as a company, you can afford to have more than an advertising-jingle persona. Can you put yourself out there: say what you think in your own voice, present who you really are, show what you really care about? Do you have any genuine passion to share? Can you deal with such honesty? Such exposure? Human beings are often magnificent in this regard, while companies, frankly, tend to suck. For most large corporations, even considering these questions — and they’re being forced to do so by both Internet and intranet — is about as exciting as the offer of an experimental brain transplant.
  • 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.

Read The Clue Train Manifesto

Happy Wednesday!

Words of wisdom from a 10 year old (Part 1)

The Clue Train Manifesto

This month marks the 10-year anniversary for what I consider one of the most important manifestos on the Internet. My goal over the next several days is to entice you to read (again or for the first time) The Clue Train Manifesto (free).

Here are some money quotes that are still (if not more) relevant today. Keep in mind this was 1999, well before anything that could have been labeled web 2.0 or social media:

  • Markets are conversations. Markets want to talk to companies.
  • There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market. In most cases, neither conversation is going well.
  • Most corporations…only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies.
  • [L]earning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.
  • Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what’s really going on inside the company.
  • Companies must ask themselves where their company cultures end. If their cultures end before the community begins, the will have no market.
  • The community of discourse is the market.
  • If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it interesting for a change.

Read The Clue Train Manifesto

Happy Tuesday!

Ross the Intern meets the Subservient Chicken

rosschickenmashup.pngQuestion: What do you get when you cross the internship of Jay Leno’s Ross the Intern with the interactive obedience of Burger King’s Subservient Chicken?

Answer: You get Trevor from the latest social media experiment from Mentos.

Trevos is a student at the University of Cincinnati and is a summer intern for Mentos. On the website he is described as “a summer intern for everyone” meaning you get to fill up his day with stuff to do. Some suggestions are: “order you lunch”, “call you in sick to work”, “proofread your term paper” and “catch you up on your favorite TV shows”.

I think that given the target audience this could work. What do you think? Is this breaking down the barrier between customers and company or is this just a gimmick that will not produce any fonder feelings or better sales for Mentos?

Seth Godin’s vision of the web

Seth Godin has an awesome post about his vision of the web. He calls it Web4. What is Web4 you ask? Seth says it’s “about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative”. A few of my favorite ideas from Seth about how Web4 could be are:

I’m late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me.

My PDA knows I’m going to a convention. Based on my email logs, it recommends who I ought to see while I’m there–because my friends have opted in to our network and we’re in sync.

I’m about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it cheaper, or if I want it from a vendor with a better reputation. Not based on some gamed system, but based on what a small trusted circle believes.

Another idea I would add is:

Its Friday night. I am bored. My GPS phone knows that a few of my friends are available because it knows their schedules as well. My phone recommends a place to meet based on our GPS location, hang out wait times and our previous chat conversations, and sends out the invites to my friends. Once we decide where to go, my phone sends out a reservation alerting the club/restaurant/hang-out spot that we are coming.

What are your ideas for Web4?

Choose Your Own Adventure TV?

questionmark.jpgDo you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books growing up? The books where you are given choices and the plot unfolds according to direction you take? For example,

If you decide to eat the magic pill, turn to page 25
If you decide not to eat the magic pill, turn to page 16

How would it be if we applied this same concept to a TV series? It would be a blend of the voting capabilities of American Idol, the character control of Second Life, and the “nothingness” of Seinfeld. I could see this as something that could really be an engrossing, innovative concept or a really big flop.

I think the format could work if:

  1. It took advantage of the many built-in social media opportunities (voting, content creation, discussion, etc.)
  2. The series was very engaging
  3. The timeframe from vote to action was minimized

Could this work? What do you think?