Alex Barnett pulls together a definitive Cluetrain / “markets are conversations” post.
Example one from Alex:
“The first of the three events this week is to do with splogs – spam via RSS feeds and blogs. I posted about my experience of the problem and called out:
“Question to the feed search engine folks…(David Sifry, Blake Rhodes,
BillBob Wyman are you listening?)…how do we stop this? Can we? It can’t be good for your business if this kind of thing takes off, can it?”
Within 24 hours David, Blake and Bob each posted a comment on my blog, acknowledging the industry-wide issue and confirming their companies’ commitment to solving the problem.”
Ok, cool. But all the folks above are in the blog business, so maybe it’s not that surprising. Which leads to example 2…Alex wonders…what the heck does “Ning” do?
Alex: “I speculated on a couple of revenue models and wrote, tongue-in-cheek…’Good question…Marc Andreessen might but hasn’t share the biz-plan me yet. Are you there Marc?'”
A few hours later, what does he find? A comment from Andreesen.
“Alex — your description of what we are trying to do is very well said. It’s an experiment, but those are the goals.
We are going to see if we can generate enough revenue through a blend of advertising (like Google, Yahoo, etc.) and premium services to be able to support what we are doing, including the free developer accounts.”
Brilliant. The third? Alex notes a functional deficiency in FeedDemon, “The file can’t be exported (OPML, would be nice Nick?…anything!)” What does he find two days later in his comments from Nick Bradbury?
“Just wanted to let you know that I’ve added OPML export of the reports to the next build of FeedDemon – expect to see this in RC2.”
It’s so easy for a company to do this. Set up an RSS feed to listen. Listen to it. If a customer has a question or concern, take the few seconds required to answer it on their turf. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Scratch that. It’s not easy for a “company” to do this. It’s so easy for a person to do this. Companies (despite their legal existence as “entities”) really can’t do anything on their own. They don’t walk. They don’t talk. They don’t bathe. They can’t communicate.
People communicate. That’s where relationships happen. Between people.
(hat tip: Kevin Briody)