The Cluetrain Manifesto wasn’t the biggest nonfiction book to come along in early 2000. That would be Who Moved My Cheese. I never read that, but I did read what was probably the second-biggest: Malcolm Gladwell‘s The Tipping Point. Like Cheese, Tipping is about change. Unpacking one chapter in the book, Malcolm writes, “I think that word of mouth is something created by three very rare and special psychological types, whom I call Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.” It was no accident that at least three of Cluetrain’s four authors combined all three of those types. I also think that those characteristics are not so rare among effective folks in the tech world. Many come to mind: Kevin Kelly, Stuart Brand, Dave Winer, Chris Anderson, Jerry Michalski, Esther Dyson, Tim O’Reilly, Steve Gillmor, Kevins Marks and Werbach, Craig Burton, Clay Shirky, Bruce Sterling… the list, as I think about it, is quite long. You can drive word of mouth with fewer than all three of those natures, of course. And success in an industry depends on people who are good at many other things. It’s just interesting to me that there are so many in the tech world who are good at those three — and are so confident that they can get things moving.
All this comes to mind when I read Eric Norlin‘s Cluetrain at 10 post. It tells the story of how his own life tipped a series of times: when he connected (at some effort) with Chris Locke after Cluetrain came out, when he connected with Ev Williams and the Blogger folks (that’s the same Ev now behind Twitter), when I connected him with Andre Durand of Ping Identity (where Eric was the first employee), and when he helped start Digital ID World, which led to Defrag: Eric’s own conference (he does Glue too).
In his post Eric thanks us. And here I’ll thank Eric too, for connecting me to more people, and good stuff, than I can begin to list.