The Cluetrain Manifesto was originally published back in 1999. A seminal publication, which had a huge impact on me, one of its central theses was ‘Markets are Conversations‘.
Its a phrase that has stuck with me through the years. If you have time, follow the link above and browse the site. You’ll find it fascinating.
Last week, I went for a pint with my father-in-law. Tony’s a retired International Relations Professor, and much of his research and publications over the years has been on the Middle East. We’ve talked many times about going for a pint, but for various reasons, it’s never happened.
Over Christmas we agreed that this must change, and so we found ourselves meeting in Mennies on the Perth Road last Tuesday evening. Of course, as soon as we arrived, we bumped into Kirsty Thomson, her partner Charlie, and her lovely parents. It was a nice surprise and a chance to say Happy New Year. I could tell this was going to be a good evening.
Mennies has a great range of local beers, and we were able to try a couple before deciding on our first pint. You just can’t beat a good local pub, owned by people who care and aren’t just working for the brewery. So much history in that pub.
We celebrated Tony’s 80th birthday recently, and one of the things I love about Tony is how upbeat and enthusiastic he always is. We sat down, sipped our pints, and his eyes lit up as we started to talk. I was enthralled as he told me tales of the old Hawkhill, demolished to make way for the road that now runs past the University, but where his first flat was when he came to work in the City back in the 60s.
The thing that struck me as we spoke, was how much time Tony has spent in pubs over the years. He told me tales of people he had met, and colleagues he’d got to know better over a pint. As a senior academic, globally renowned in his field, he liked nothing better than a good debate over a pint.
It reminded me of the great writers who liked to hang out in bars and coffee shops, discussing, debating, and having conversations. Which brought me back to the Cluetrain Manifesto.
Markets are conversations. It’s as true today, as it was back in 1999, 1899, and all the way back. Technology has enabled so much progress in our world, however let’s not forget that meeting in the flesh, and having a healthy debate over a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail, is a great way to live. We’ve done it for centuries, and it’s a fine way to get to know people better.
I’ll certainly be back out for a pint with Tony soon. We’ve so much still to discuss!