Who are you, Christopher Locke*?

Who are you?

In a tone equal to that used by Christopher Locke in the Internet Apocalypso, I ask: who the hell is Christopher Locke? Who is this man, talking in an authoritative, sometimes even assertive, manner? I am abhorred: where are the academic sources to support his claims? Where are the dates? The statistics? References?

The Big Bad Corporations

To be fair, he does make a reference to a familiar figure: Frederick Taylor. Locke went on to explain an all too familiar model of Taylor: the model that de-skilled the human worker. He says that this model will not do anymore, as global competition turns its tide at an uncontrollably fast rate. Competitors are sprouting like nasty, crabby mushrooms—and people are beginning to consider the options. Worse for them, they’re beginning to speak up.

Painful though the truth may be, this de-skilling, the command-and-control chain, the monopoly of knowledge are still very real from where I’m standing. These are companies I have personally been in or heard in stories, companies that will have none of what those in the bottom of the organization are thinking. Companies in fairly stable states, so much so that they don’t want their boats rocked. They may soon meet their painful end, but it’s not happening anytime soon.

The Healthy Paradigm

Still, allow me to concede. Locke is right. With the exception of a few stubborn but still unbelievably healthy companies, the Internet has done many a wonder in the market. So wondrous, that people are now able to speak with all the colorful emotions they’ve been gifted. So wondrous, that an invisible connection among the audience—or an active, vocal part of it—has been created. So wondrous, that companies are beginning to lose it.

And by it, Locke means control. This is where it gets real. Companies are one by one chipping in to make their own brand of Intranet: an avenue where employees can discuss and breathe to life the theory that Total Quality Management posits. But there’s a trick: you can only say so much. Management still takes over; you still have to portray brand loyalty; there’s still a limit to what you can express et cetera et cetera et cetera. He doesn’t need to give statistics for his rather bold claims that companies who practice such as obsessive-compulsive and ignorant. The unique experience of this self-confessed unique voice–it matches mine.

What do I do next, Smartypants?

I stop dead on my tracks: Locke is making peace with the same Fortune 500 companies he condemned by ‘loosening up a little’. And as if I can’t get any more aghast, Locke talks about my capacity, our capacity, to express our voice in the Internet—zilch about us, the same reactors to these companies’ products and services, making money and making companies ourselves! Then again, he can only say so little, and I can only do so much. I won’t penalize him for reserving his comments on what I think he should have said. I have, after all, my own unique voice–just like his.

I almost missed the point. No sooner did it dawn on me: Christopher Locke, true to what he’s written, is trying to talk to me in his own unique voice. No statistics, no high-falluting language. He’s trying to ‘strike up a conversation’, true to his idea that markets are conversations. A conversation–the same thing that made him earn publicity for his former company.

Why, Christopher, you could have told me sooner. You can’t blame me for being shocked at your all too self-assured opinions and experiences. You know , one semester of Intercultural studies barely did me any good.

————–

*Christopher Locke, as it turns out, has been named by the Financial Times Group as one of the top 50 Business Thinkers of the World in 2001. The author is glad to have met him.

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Posted on 06/29/2009, in Social Media at Work and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. He was a business thinker after all. Man I should have figured this out earlier.:((

    And I can’t even imagine my future having an all-knowing, assertive employees under me. Won’t that be chaotic?

    • Hahhaa. Make that OUR companies, Noemi. I do believe that your differences in opinion can be settled via a friendly chat. 😛

  2. another fresh take on the reading, and God knows how happy I am when greeted with another fresh take on a subject some 50 and more others are talking about. 🙂

    while everyone else talks about the wonders of Internet, you aimed your shot at the author, without getting personal. i like how you made sense of the pronouncements in the reading by taking a step back and taking it from Locke’s point of view. and then somehow comparing it with your own.

    indeed, Locke was being himself and the whole point of Internet Apocalypso is encouraging intelligent creatures like you (perhaps, I’m not quite sure with the adjective, haha) to speak up in your own voice. you see, we are so used to boring, scholastic writing that someone like Locke shocks us, only to realize (deep down in our hearts) that there’s a Locke in all of us.

    • And you bet I was shocked when I was made to read it… as a class reading at that! Hehe. In fact, I put it off for the whole week, because I didn’t want to read it. 😦

      In the end, though, I think I understood what he was trying to say. I’d certainly love to discuss it with him, seeing how active he is in the Internet! Hehe.

  3. On the intranet “But there’s a trick: you can only say so much.”

    True. While you CAN say what you want to say, chances are you wouldn’t want to say it. Because someone up there is listening. And I’m not saying it’s God. 😉 How dare they moderate the grapevine. Haha.

    This post is so you, Arvin. As if always wanting to pick a fight :p

    • Mwahahaha! But in reality, just kind and gentle. ❤
      You can even get kicked out of the job if you say something evil!

      • “You? Kind? and gentle? All in one sentence? I think not!!!”

        …would be a sample of something that might get you fired. Hahaha.

      • “You bet I will fire you!”

        …is an example of what an evil boss would say.

        BUT,

        if you were to say that to me, I’d just reply, “Maybe we can talk about this? Tell me what you think.”

        Kind and gentle… ❤

  4. Nash Albacea

    I was supposed to comment on this post before going to school, but I found myself canceling it and navigating away from the page. Why? Because I was afraid that my comment would be such an insufficient collection of words to praise your great insights.

    ‘Brilliant’ would still be an understatement.

    Inspire us! 🙂

  5. i must agree with sir barry. i love that you wrote on a different angle. and hey, because of what you did, napaisip din ako. just wanna share. i thought he’s already, you know, dead. (Berger, Weber, et al on mind). Then I realized, hey jam he can’t be dead! He wrote about The INTERNET! hahaha.

  6. I only just now found this while ego surfing (c’mon, you know you do it too!). I thought you were going to rip me apart at the start of this. To the lack of statistics, sources, dates and references, you can add the lack of any formal academic credentials. What can I say? I forgot to go to college.

    Also, you should know that my views changed somewhat after I was LOST on that damn desert island!

    • Why, hello Christopher Locke. As I said roughly months ago, the author is glad to have met you.

      And for someone who forgot to go to college, I must say: you know an awful lot. Then again, college is grossly overrated. 😛

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