Christopher Locke (born November 12, 1947, died 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.
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 and the Ricoh Software Research Center, and as a technical editor at the Japanese government's Fifth Generation Computer Systems project.
In 1986, Locke was working in the marketing department of Carnegie Group, an artificial intelligence firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he became vice president of corporate communications, a position he also held at Intelligent Technology, another AI firm in Pittsburgh.
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. His emphasis on respecting the norms of the "Internet community" provoked a disagreement over editorial direction with the publisher and led to his departure.
In 1994 he initiated and oversaw the development and launch of MecklerWeb, an ambitious project that sought to introduce commerce to the Internet and garnered much attention in the business press. 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.
After leaving IBM, in 1996 and 1997, Locke served as vice president of business development for Displaytech in Longmont, Colorado. In 1997, he set up as an internet consultant under the name Entropy Web Consulting in Boulder, Colorado, practising an alternative to mass marketing he named 'gonzo marketing' after Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism. 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, and that companies need to improve their communications with customers to improve the quality of their products and services.
Locke's first publications in print were introductory articles on Lisp and natural language processing. 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.
In 1996, he launched Entropy Gradient Reversals, a "strange webzine" that specialized in "dissecting transparently clueless corporate Internet strategies" and introduced RageBoy, Locke's intemperate alter ego who has a penchant for ranting against business orthodoxy. As of April 1999, the publication counted nearly 3,000 subscribers.
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 and became a business bestseller in an extended book version the next year. In 2009 the book was re-issued as a tenth anniversary edition 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, and of The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy, a compilation of Entropy Gradient Reversals pieces.
He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on December 20, 2021.
- "Top Fifty Thinkers". FT Dynamo. 2001. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Locke, Christopher (1998-09-25). "Ticket to Write". The Industry Standard. Archived from the original on June 11, 2001.
- Petzinger, Thomas (1999-04-09). "Four Web Rebels Try to Make Managers Talk Like Human Beings". Wall Street Journal. New York. ISSN 0099-9660.
- Locke, Christopher (June 1992). "Making Knowledge Pay". BYTE. 17 (6): 245–252. ISSN 0360-5280.
- Sorensen, Karen (1986-06-09). "Fifth Generation: Slow to Rise". InfoWorld. p. 35.
- Gannon, Joyce (1987-04-27). "Geisel Acquires On-Line Unit from Control Data". Pittsburgh Business Times. 6 (37): 3. ISSN 0883-7910.
- Markoff, John (1993-09-03). "A New Information Mass Market". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- "How Hype Sank MecklerWeb". Dot.com. Vol. 1, no. 7. October 1994.
- Schofield, Jack (2002-05-09). "Rebel without a pause". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Locke, Christopher (1994-03-01). "MecklerWeb". Panix.com. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- "Displaytech People". Displaytech. 1996-12-11. Archived from the original on 1997-01-12. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- 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.
- Jossi, Frank (2000-03-15). "A Lesson From the Ancients". Wired. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Locke, Christopher (1998-07-16). "Fear and loathing on the Web: "Gonzo" marketing thrives". CNN. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Rosenstein, Bruce (2001-12-10). "Get personal to market on Web". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Neuborne, Ellen (2000-04-27). "From One-Way Marketing to Cyber Dialogue". Business Week online. Archived from the original on August 24, 2003.
- Locke, Christopher (2000-12-11). "The customer as co-developer". InformationWeek (816): 46. ISSN 8750-6874.
- Sullivan, Tom (2004-11-30). "A new title in IT: Chief Blogging Officer". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
- Locke, Christopher (November 2004). "About Chief Blogging Officer". ChiefBloggingOfficer.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2004. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
- Schofield, Jack (2005-08-18). "Web watch". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Locke, Christopher (1997-06-09). "End of your tether computing". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 18, 2001. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
- Rosenberg, Scott (1999-03-30). "Why Bill Gates still doesn't get the Net". Salon. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Rosen, Judith (2000-04-03). "Riding the "Cluetrain"". Publishers Weekly. 247 (14): 28.
- 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. Perseus. ISBN 9780465018659.
- Locke, Christopher (2000-02-14). "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices" (PDF). Release 1.0: 2–25.
- "Lost in cyberspace". The Economist. 1999-12-16. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- Kat Herding/Facebook
- The EGR Weblog (Archives: Aug 30, 2000 – Dec 23, 2006)
- Mystic Bourgeoisie
- Entropy Gradient Reversals (Archives: May 1, 1996 – Apr 20, 1999 · Jul 27, 1998 – Jan 26, 2003 · Jul 2, 1999 – Oct 24, 2005 · Oct 22, 2005 – Oct 21, 2011)
- The Cluetrain Manifesto Online
- The Cluetrain Manifesto Tenth Anniversary Edition
- Obedient Poodles for God and Country
- Ad Hominem @ Corante
- Gonzo Engaged
- The EGR List
- The Cluetrain List
- Tony Goodson Interviews Locke 2009
- Frank Paynter Interviews Locke 2003
- The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual
- Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices
- The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of Rageboy