Supernova 2007: Introducing the Relationship Economy

A panel discussion with two of the four Cluetrain Manifesto - Doc Searls and David Weinberger - hosted by Jerry Michalski and about the launch of the conversational market, how conversations are markets.

Weinberger: What we were seeing was that the Internet was being looked at as business-only, and looking at the Internet as only-sales driving force instead of conversation driven.

Searls: A few years ago, I noticed that marketing people were never elevated to the top level, but it was always sales people. The marketing people were politically weak because sales people had the power. It's because marketing people are seen as weak, and while both sales and marketing is "bullshit," sales has that people relationship. Marketing has an uphill battle to carry the conversations, where it has traditionally been carried by sales people.

Weinberger: I always see senior people think that they can do the work of marketing, because they do not understand the real value of marketing. There is an uptake of "markets are conversations" and done with enthusiasm, but my blood curdles because marketers have trouble entering the conversation. It's hard for them to be the bloggers, because it is hard for CEOs and marketers to be bloggers, because they have been trained to talk one way, have an interest in presenting the conversation in one way. Marketers are trying to figure out a way into the conversation, and the first instinct is to talk - they want to bring the conversation in, but it's going on already on the outside.

Searls: People take it too literally that the conversations are markets. It is not just about marketing, but about everybody. Having a loud voice, international reach, controlling the medium - it's going away, and it happened with the media. Markets are being markets, and no longer these areas controlled by large companies. It's companies with people in the middle of it.

Weinberger: There are attempts to subvert messaging - such as PayPerPost - and there are people being fired for blogging (the control by corporations of blogging), and the silliness of "user generated content" where companies embrace this, and not really understanding. We're about UGC and we're going to invite people to submit their ads ... which looks like the same crap from advertising. Or the fakeness of politicians using YouTube to announce, where it is about control.

Searls: What I know is what I am. The way we teach each other and learn is fundamental to doing business. If we reduce everything to fixed commodities - generated content - is bullshit.

Searls: If you look at what we want, versus what companies are willing to hear when we are trapped in their sealed silos (of CRM). Is there independence ways to go beyond the CRM? There should be a better way, and what we are trying to do is find a better way by discussing this out loud.

Searls: Build markets around what customers actually want, what customers actually need. Why can't shopping cart go from one site to the other - it's 2007, and we still cannot do that. It cannot be from another site, but we have to better equip the customer.

Weinberger: CRM is the tool of oppression. It's the opposite of the value, where VRM (value relationship management) is what is important - it's about both sides of the fence.

Weinberger: I really liked Amazon. No one at Amazon knows who I am. It's easy to use, it's like using an ATM, and I just press a couple of buttons and I get books. I feel an emotional attachment to Amazon, but what sort of relationship does Amazon have with me? What relationship is there with me?

Searls: You just relate to it. You trust them, they have solved problems when they have come up, and get the books to me.

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  1. The noise and actions that lead to convergence is heating up fast. Just consider the last thirty days of announcements: Google, Facebook, Linkedin, MSN, IBM and others ( I can hardly keep up anymore). Soon it won’t matter which existing network “you” think is better rather value will be created by how you manage “your network“. As more and more closed systems open, it begins to interact more directly with other existing systems, and therefore acquires all the value of those systems.

    Soon we will all be overwhelmed with an abundance of value proposition in which you’ll need to decide how and what to use in “your” network to meet your personal and professional aims. You will soon become your own aggregator of networks, of relationships, of information, of knowledge and last but not least…of VALUE.

    Technology provides the means, relationships provide the value.

    The Relationship Economy is now, not when, being built by individuals who learn how to maximize the value of relationships by optimizing technology. We’ll need to forget what we’ve been using and think “how” to adapt to the convergence of means which enables us to maximize value. We need to ReThink our methods and ReShape the means so we can individually and collectively capture the most value.

    Here are seven things to consider and help you start thinking and planning for “your” network:.

    1) Which networks do you want fed to your network? Which has your interest, value, the best collection of individuals and the content which match who you are? etc. etc.

    2) Which networks represent your interest geographically, by industry and by topic? Which blogs represent the same categories of interest? etc. etc.

    3) What will be the rules of your network? Standards for connections? RSS feeds in and out? etc. etc.

    4) What image and brand do you want your network to project? Think hard and long on this one. Lots to consider as you build your value proposition to the global market.

    5) What mediums do you want in your network? Video, audio, pictures, etc. What Network Channels will be available that interest you most both personally and professionally?

    6) What do you specifically want to accomplish with your network? Start with this end in mind and build towards it. Again, lots to think about.

    7) Your network is an economic factory. How do you produce quality and quantity effectively?

    The list can go on and on but this is a start for you to begin to Rethink your vision, mission strategy and tools for your network. Soon we’ll have a personal planning guide, materials, technology and access to experts who can help you plan your “Link to Your World“.

    Are you ready? What is your plan? How will you adapt? How will you “Link to Your World?”

    When is Now: Shift Happens, What say you?