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Christopher Locke

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Christopher Locke (November 12, 1947 – December 20, 2021) was an American business analyst, consultant, journalist, author and speaker. He is known as a coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and author of two other books: Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices, and The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy. In a Financial Times Group survey from 2001, Locke was named as one of the fifty leading business thinkers in the world.[1]


In the late 1970s, Christopher Locke was working as a construction contractor[2] and cabinet maker, but was forced out of business in the housing downturn of the early 1980s.[3]

His interest in artificial intelligence secured him a number of jobs in Tokyo between 1983 and 1985: He was working as a documentation editor for Fujitsu[2] and the Ricoh Software Research Center,[4] and as a technical editor at the Japanese government's Fifth Generation Computer Systems project.[5]

In 1986, Locke was working in the marketing department of Carnegie Group, an artificial intelligence firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[5] where he became vice president of corporate communications,[6] a position he also held at Intelligent Technology, another AI firm in Pittsburgh.

He was director of industrial relations for the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University before joining Cimlinc in a similar capacity in 1991.[4]

In 1993, Locke founded Internet Business Report, an industry newsletter owned by CMP Publications. Serving as the publication's chief editor, he argued for the commercial use of the Internet.[7] His emphasis on respecting the norms of the "Internet community" provoked a disagreement over editorial direction with the publisher and led to his departure.[8]

In 1994 he initiated and oversaw the development and launch of MecklerWeb, an ambitious project that sought to introduce commerce to the Internet[8] and garnered much attention in the business press.[3] Locke's e-commerce concept was abandoned two weeks after the launch by the site owner, who chose to turn MecklerWeb's into a conventional product catalog.[9][10]

Locke subsequently worked as editor and publisher of the Net Editors segment on internetMCI,[11] and as Program Director for Online Community Development at IBM.[11]

After leaving IBM, in 1996 and 1997, Locke served as vice president of business development for Displaytech in Longmont, Colorado.[12] In 1997, he set up as an internet consultant under the name Entropy Web Consulting[3] in Boulder, Colorado,[9][13] practising an alternative to mass marketing he named 'gonzo marketing' after Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism.[9][14][15] Gonzo marketing asserts that companies are ineffective in their use of the Internet as a marketing tool when they insist on lecturing instead of conversing,[16] and that companies need to improve their communications with customers to improve the quality of their products and services.[17]

In 2004 Locke accepted a job as consultant and Chief Blogging Officer for HighBeam Research.[18][19]


Locke's first publications in print were introductory articles on Lisp and natural language processing.[2] He has since written for Wired, Release 1.0, The Industry Standard, Harvard Business Review and many other publications. Since 2005, he has been writing the Mystic Bourgeoisie blog.[20]

In 1996, he launched Entropy Gradient Reversals,[9] a "strange webzine"[21] that specialized in "dissecting transparently clueless corporate Internet strategies"[14] and introduced RageBoy, Locke's intemperate alter ego who has a penchant for ranting against business orthodoxy.[9] As of April 1999, the publication counted nearly 3,000 subscribers.[3]

Locke is a co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, a tract that admonishes businesses to join the "networked conversations" of the Internet. The Manifesto was first posted to the Web in March 1999[22] and became a business bestseller in an extended book version the next year.[23] In 2009 the book was re-issued as a tenth anniversary edition[24] with a new chapter from each of the original co-authors and commentaries by three new contributors. Locke's new chapter, "Obedient Poodles for God and Country," offers a scathing critique of the fake spirituality the author deems pervasive in contemporary American culture.

Locke is also the author of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices, a book that expands on the Cluetrain Manifesto's themes,[25] and of The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy, a compilation of Entropy Gradient Reversals pieces.[9]

Locke has been praised by The Economist for the "wisdom of RageBoy."[26] In a Financial Times Group survey, he was named as one of the fifty leading business thinkers in the world.[1]

He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on December 20, 2021.


  1. ^ a b "Top Fifty Thinkers". FT Dynamo. 2001. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  2. ^ a b c Locke, Christopher (1998-09-25). "Ticket to Write". The Industry Standard. Archived from the original on June 11, 2001.
  3. ^ a b c d Petzinger, Thomas (1999-04-09). "Four Web Rebels Try to Make Managers Talk Like Human Beings". Wall Street Journal. New York. ISSN 0099-9660.
  4. ^ a b Locke, Christopher (June 1992). "Making Knowledge Pay". BYTE. 17 (6): 245–252. ISSN 0360-5280.
  5. ^ a b Sorensen, Karen (1986-06-09). "Fifth Generation: Slow to Rise". InfoWorld. p. 35.
  6. ^ Gannon, Joyce (1987-04-27). "Geisel Acquires On-Line Unit from Control Data". Pittsburgh Business Times. 6 (37): 3. ISSN 0883-7910.
  7. ^ Markoff, John (1993-09-03). "A New Information Mass Market". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  8. ^ a b "How Hype Sank MecklerWeb". Dot.com. Vol. 1, no. 7. October 1994.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Schofield, Jack (2002-05-09). "Rebel without a pause". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  10. ^ Locke, Christopher (1994-03-01). "MecklerWeb". Panix.com. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  11. ^ a b "Displaytech People". Displaytech. 1996-12-11. Archived from the original on 1997-01-12. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  12. ^ Lane, Hilary (1997-06-01). "What's return on Web site? Companies starting to ask". Boulder County Business Report. 16 (6): 1. ISSN 1528-6320.
  13. ^ Jossi, Frank (2000-03-15). "A Lesson From the Ancients". Wired. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  14. ^ a b Locke, Christopher (1998-07-16). "Fear and loathing on the Web: "Gonzo" marketing thrives". CNN. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  15. ^ Rosenstein, Bruce (2001-12-10). "Get personal to market on Web". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  16. ^ Neuborne, Ellen (2000-04-27). "From One-Way Marketing to Cyber Dialogue". Business Week online. Archived from the original on August 24, 2003.
  17. ^ Locke, Christopher (2000-12-11). "The customer as co-developer". InformationWeek (816): 46. ISSN 8750-6874.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Tom (2004-11-30). "A new title in IT: Chief Blogging Officer". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  19. ^ Locke, Christopher (November 2004). "About Chief Blogging Officer". ChiefBloggingOfficer.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2004. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  20. ^ Schofield, Jack (2005-08-18). "Web watch". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  21. ^ Locke, Christopher (1997-06-09). "End of your tether computing". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 18, 2001. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  22. ^ Rosenberg, Scott (1999-03-30). "Why Bill Gates still doesn't get the Net". Salon. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  23. ^ Rosen, Judith (2000-04-03). "Riding the "Cluetrain"". Publishers Weekly. 247 (14): 28.
  24. ^ Levine, Rick; Locke, Christopher; Searls, Doc; Weinberger, David; McKee, Jake (2009-06-30). The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition (Anniversary ed.). New York: Basic Books. ISBN 9780465018659. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  25. ^ Locke, Christopher (2000-02-14). "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices" (PDF). Release 1.0: 2–25.
  26. ^ "Lost in cyberspace". The Economist. 1999-12-16. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-03-19.

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