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May 27, 2004


hugh macleod

I knew a man who was very fond of the word "trasparency". Translated roughly into Russian it means "glastnost". The man's name was Gorbachov. Heh.

Good ideas are a dime-a-dozen. And the bigger the company, the truer it is. Large organisations, in order to function, allow for a much higer mortality rate of their good ideas than a cash-strapped startup.

Transparency is a good idea.

Johnnie Moore

I think that companies that "get" transparency are likely to be more successful in future. I certainly think they deserve to be!

I do think that it requires a different mindset and a different paradigm of branding. Most brand experts still think that they basically create the brand; that if they are clever enough at understanding customers, they can create magic. They may, very occasionally, succeed. But far more often they fail. And they often don't realise they've failed because they are not very open to negative feedback. And customers choose to ignore them rather than engage.

The alternative view says that the organisation does not really create the brand at all. It may intitiate conversations but the brand is not the brand manual and the list of values and the mission statement etc etc.

On this view, the brand IS the conversations. Passionate conversations - including angry, "negative" ones ARE the brand. Movable Type got those angry trackbacks because of its highly engaged community. It's the price and the benefit of success that their customers don't hold back when unhappy.

Instead of trying to dictate the brand to customers, the brand becomes a joint effort, a dance if you like, where who leads and who follows is constantly changing and evolving. At times, like now for MovableType, that dance is wild and unpredictable - but hey, its got energy.

Heath Row

That's an interesting point. I've _never_ used Trackback on any of my blogs -- personal or professional -- but not because of the possible concern you raise.

I follow Blogdex, Daypop, and Popdex to see what's rising and falling in the Web currency exchange, and I follow Technorati and other such services to see who's linking to me. It never occurred me that people might want to see what others were saying about what I said, and I'm not sure the dynamic straddles privacy/transparency as you posit.

That said, I am considering how Boing Boing has integrated Technorati's "other people commenting" tool, so I could certainly change my mind. But I don't see my not using Trackback as a sign of being closed.

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