Christopher Locke

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Christopher Locke (born November 12, 1947) is an American business analyst, consultant, journalist, author and speaker.


In the late 1970s, Christopher Locke was working as a construction contractor[1] and cabinet maker, but was forced out of business in the housing downturn of the early 1980s.[2]

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[1] and the Ricoh Software Research Center,[3] and as a technical editor at the Japanese government's Fifth Generation Computer Systems project.[4]

In 1986, Locke was working in the marketing department of Carnegie Group, an artificial intelligence firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[4] where he became vice president of corporate communications,[5] 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.[3]

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.[6] His emphasis on respecting the norms of the "Internet community" provoked a disagreement over editorial direction with the publisher and led to his departure.[7]

In 1994 he initiated and oversaw the development and launch of MecklerWeb, an ambitious project that sought to introduce commerce to the Internet[7] and garnered much attention in the business press.[2] 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.[8][9]

Locke subsequently worked as editor and publisher of the Net Editors segment on internetMCI,[10] and as Program Director for Online Community Development at IBM.[10]

After leaving IBM, in 1996 and 1997, Locke served as vice president of business development for Displaytech in Longmont, Colorado.[11] In 1997, he set up as an internet consultant under the name Entropy Web Consulting[2] in Boulder, Colorado,[8][12] practising an alternative to mass marketing he named 'gonzo marketing' after Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism.[8][13][14] 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,[15] and that companies need to improve their communications with customers to improve the quality of their products and services.[16]

In 2004 Locke accepted a job as consultant and Chief Blogging Officer for HighBeam Research.[17][18]


Locke's first publications in print were introductory articles on Lisp and natural language processing.[1] 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.[19]

In 1996, he launched Entropy Gradient Reversals,[8] a "strange webzine"[20] that specialized in "dissecting transparently clueless corporate Internet strategies"[13] and introduced RageBoy, Locke's intemperate alter ego who has a penchant for ranting against business orthodoxy.[8] As of April 1999, the publication counted nearly 3,000 subscribers.[2]

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[21] and became a business bestseller in an extended book version the next year.[22] In 2009 the book was re-issued as a tenth anniversary edition[23] 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,[24] and of The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy, a compilation of Entropy Gradient Reversals pieces.[8]

Locke has been praised by The Economist for the "wisdom of RageBoy."[25] In a Financial Times Group survey, he was named as one of the fifty leading business thinkers in the world.[26]


  1. ^ a b c Locke, Christopher (1998-09-25). "Ticket to Write". The Industry Standard. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ a b Locke, Christopher (June 1992). "Making Knowledge Pay". BYTE 17 (6): 245–252. ISSN 0360-5280. 
  4. ^ a b Sorensen, Karen (1986-06-09). "Fifth Generation: Slow to Rise". InfoWorld. p. 35. 
  5. ^ Gannon, Joyce (1987-04-27). "Geisel Acquires On-Line Unit from Control Data". Pittsburgh Business Times 6 (37): 3. ISSN 0883-7910. 
  6. ^ Markoff, John (1993-09-03). "A New Information Mass Market". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  7. ^ a b "How Hype Sank MecklerWeb". 1 (7). October 1994. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Schofield, Jack (2002-05-09). "Rebel without a pause". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  9. ^ Locke, Christopher (1994-03-01). "MecklerWeb". Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  10. ^ a b "Displaytech People". Displaytech. 1996-12-11. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Jossi, Frank (2000-03-15). "A Lesson From the Ancients". Wired. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  13. ^ a b Locke, Christopher (1998-07-16). "Fear and loathing on the Web: "Gonzo" marketing thrives". CNN. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  14. ^ Rosenstein, Bruce (2001-12-10). "Get personal to market on Web". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  15. ^ Neuborne, Ellen (2000-04-27). "From One-Way Marketing to Cyber Dialogue". Business Week online. 
  16. ^ Locke, Christopher (2000-12-11). "The customer as co-developer". InformationWeek (816): 46. ISSN 8750-6874. 
  17. ^ Sullivan, Tom (2004-11-30). "A new title in IT: Chief Blogging Officer". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  18. ^ Locke, Christopher (November 2004). "About Chief Blogging Officer". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  19. ^ Schofield, Jack (2005-08-18). "Web watch". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  20. ^ Locke, Christopher (1997-06-09). "End of your tether computing". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  21. ^ Rosenberg, Scott (1999-03-30). "Why Bill Gates still doesn’t get the Net". Salon. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  22. ^ Rosen, Judith (2000-04-03). "Riding the "Cluetrain"". Publishers Weekly 247 (14): 28. 
  23. ^ Levine, Rick; Locke, Christopher; Searls, Doc; Weinberger, David; McKee, Jake (2009-06-30). The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition (Anniversary ed.). New York: Perseus. ISBN 9780465018659. 
  24. ^ Locke, Christopher (2000-02-14). "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices" (PDF). Release 1.0: 2–25. 
  25. ^ "Lost in cyberspace". The Economist. 1999-12-16. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  26. ^ "Top Fifty Thinkers". FT Dynamo. 2001. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 

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