What if the Internet were profoundly changing the way
corporations were able to do business - by allowing the least significant
employees to be much more knowledgeable than the corporations that are
suppressing them? The authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto are proposing
no less than a total revolution, with the information technology proletariat
on the verge of showing the world's largest corporations that the cooperation
and consideration for others lacking in business for so long is about
to be set free by technology.
I totally believe this is true.
But the authors make the same classic blunders that many others make
when they come up with a great business or sociological thesis. Their
mistakes: 1) The Internet, by itself, is making this revolution possible.
Other factors are not examined. 2) This is going to happen any day now.
3) This change will be profound and noticeable, not subtle and slow to
reach all businesses.
So yes, the authors make an astute point, but they
make too much of it. This is a good book to read in the context of other
books on business, technology, and 21st century American societal trends. Unfortunately, I can see this
book becoming one of those fluff pieces perfectly geared for people who
never read anything else. Like The Celestine Prophecy, but for
business. "This will totally change your life!" Not quite.