Two people worth knowing

Just got round to reading David Weinberger‘s 2012 book Too Big To Know. Summary: “Rather than a systemic collapse, the Internet era represents a fundamental change in the methods we have for understanding the world around us. For thousands of years, we’ve relied upon a reductionist process of filtering, winnowing, and otherwise reducing the complex world to something more manageable in order to understand it. Now, we live in an age when topics are blown apart and stitched together by momentary interests, diverse points of view, and connections ranging from the insightful to the perverse. Rather than knowing-by-reducing, we are now knowing-by-including. Knowledge now is best thought of not as the content of books or even of minds, but as the way the network works. To make sense of this new system of knowledge, we need – and smart companies are developing – networks that are themselves experts.”

I first came across Weinberger as co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto (of which the management writer par excellence Tom Peters said: “So: read it , inhale it. If it pisses you off…GREAT”.) Originally published in 2000 and updated in 2009, the book explained how markets are getting smarter than most companies. Whether management understands it or not, networked employees are an integral part of these borderless conversations. Today, customers and employees are communicating with each other in language that is natural, open, direct and often funny. Companies that aren’t engaging in them are missing an unprecedented opportunity.  A rich tapestry of anecdotes, object lessons, parodies, insights and predictions. The Cluetrain Manifesto illustrated how the Internet has radically reframed the “immutable laws” of business – and what business needs to know to weather the seismic aftershocks. Still a great read.

Co-authors of Cluetrain with Weinberger were Doc Searls, one of the key movers behind Linux, and Chris Locke, a wonderfully outrageous blogger who I’ve been following since the early days of blogging. His alter egos have included Rage Boy, Chief Blogging Officer and his current “original dissociative identity” Kat Herding, active on Twitter and Facebook.

There’s a great deal of fascinating, challenging and hugely enjoyable thinking available from Locke and Weinberger … taste it and enjoy!