Lessons as Presenter Imperatives from the Cluetrain Manifesto

Mike Schoultz
4 min readAug 31, 2022

If you follow people like Hugh Macleod and Robert Scoble, etc., you know that we’re living in the era of “the Cluetrain.” I first read the Cluetrain Manifesto four-five years ago. One of the central ideas in the book is this: markets are conversations and companies by a large do not get that (even if their employees do). Traditional ways of mass-media marketing need to adapt or get out of the way. The keys are presenter imperatives, aren’t they?

What Cluetrain was talking about was the change in current company-to-consumer interactions, though their emphasis was on how technology and the web, among other things, were changing this interaction in a radical way. What the Cluetrain Manifesto is saying, at its heart, is that communication matters and that the way we think about organization-to-customer communication needs to change.

It’s all communication
Websites, intranets, message boards, email blasts, blogs, developer conferences, sales presentations, and CEO keynotes — it’s about communicating. It all matters. Whether it’s a blog, an e-newsletter, or a presentation, what audiences and customers yearn for from organizations is authenticity and transparency, simplicity, and a real human, emotion-without-the-BS approach to communicating. A real conversation…for a change.

The Cluetrain tenets — the “95 Theses” at the beginning of the book — speak largely to wired communications. But it’s all communication. While the “Theses” may not have been written with presentations in mind, many of the items fit nearly perfectly and can serve as good advice or reminders for how we need to connect and engage with our audiences today.

Below are ten items (in bold) I took from the list of “95 Theses” in the Cluetrain (my comments follow). I suggest purchasing the book, but you can get most of it free here.

“Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.”
Markets are not abstractions, and neither are our audiences. They’re people worthy of our full attention and respect. If we can remember that it’s about them and not about us…we’re on the right path.

“Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.”
I don’t hate politicians and I don’t hate marketers…but I hate the way they talk. “Mission-critical, forward-looking value propositions….” People do not talk that way! Many corporate

Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles. www.digitalsparkmarketing.com