chestnuts

I remember how back when the manifesto came out it became a sort of semi-biblical reference within the realms of the internet communities and earl-ish web geeks. And then the other day I thought about the impact this book and the thesis it laid out had on the tech business and even the world of business in general. Has all the early promises of the Cluetrain Manifesto been realised? Everybody can point at a company which demonstrated why the world has changed in ways described by Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger, and how to be successful in this new world. Yet this new era is maybe not moving in as fast as we thought. Or maybe this new world is just an overlay on the old world, not replacing but merely enhancing or reigniting old conversations and collaborations.

So I took to having a look again at the manifesto’s 95 theses (the ones they nailed on the door?) and picked at random with my fat finger landing on 50:

  • Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.

And you know what? That’s definitely more true than 10 years ago. And even 5 years ago I think command and control was more prevalent. More importantly I genuinely think that credibility and influence are winning in the workplace today: if you want to grow your career it’s a better medium to long term strategy than the old org chart ladder slug. And the change I see has not been triggered by one particular event. It’s just getting harder and harder to climb the ladder whilst having no credibility because it is now much easier now to get found out than 5 years ago, let alone 10 years ago.

So here is to opening that old chestnut again from time to time and finding out how its wisdom is percolating slowly but surely into our world.