Having dinner last night, discussion turned to the iPhone and the new version set for release in June. Chatter around the table turned to whether to upgrade (or purchase, for the people at the table without the device already). It seems everyone’s waiting a month before contemplating the big purchase.
T-Mobile is releasing Android based phones this fall. Enabling development of a huge array of applications for the phone has the potential to create the iPhone killer. T-Mobile is talking internally about their new G3 platform and the phones in development as unlike any phone/network you’ve ever seen.
Now, I have to admit, the fact that the iPhone is only available through AT&T is the main factor in me refusing to purchase. However, even if the announcement coming out of Apple in June is the end of that exclusivity and the wider distribution of iPhone to other platforms, I’m still not buying.
Take the Google-driven Android platform, and combine that with their new FriendConnect service to unite all of their properties and other social nets through a giant open-source and open access distribution network, and the “gee-whiz” aspect of iPhone allowing you to browse YouTube and Facebook suddenly seem like an antiquated concept.
You’ll be able to truly interact from the mobile device. Tie your mobile’s built in GPS to location based social networks and you’ve got capabilities for connection on your phone that Apple just doesn’t match with the iPhone.
Add the fact that T-Mobile has been playing up wi-fi roaming via their phones, and suddenly your T-Mobile Andriod phone has is a wide open playground for development. The possibilities of this are endless.
In a nutshell, that’s why you’re unlikely to see me schlepping an iPhone any time soon.
Someone sent me a link to the YouTube video below and suggested I take a look at about the 35-36 minute mark. I admit, my curiosity got the better of me and I tried to skip ahead, but the gremlins at YouTube would not allow it. I ended up watching the whole thing. I was surprised to hear my name mentioned at about the suggested frame. This is apparently part of the Authors@Google series in which book authors chat with Google employees. Garrett Graff was discussing online politics.
The question in which I was mentioned had to do with this Washington Post article in which I said most online campaigns really aren’t moving the ball forward. The question was whether Garrett agreed with my assertion. I’ll let you watch for yourself the discussion and his answer. It’s good, so I recommend you do.
Let me, however, elaborate on the original question I was asked and the reply. I did not mean to imply that campaigns weren’t doing interesting things. Mindy Finn with Romney’s campaign did some really good work on the “create your own ad” effort. Obama’s people have done an amazing job of fundraising online. There are some novel online efforts being undertaken.
What I meant, more specifically, was there does not appear to be any effort to convert that excitement and energy into actual votes. Most of the GOTV work being done is still being done offline. Take for instance this note I got from Hillary’s people.
I’m writing to you because Hillary needs you now more than ever. As I write this email, Team Hillary volunteers here at headquarters are on the phones talking to voters. Can you pitch in for Hillary and join us at the phone bank for at least two get-out-the-vote shifts between now and March 4th? Reply to this email to let me know when you can do your part.
Every night this week a senior advisor to Hillary, including Harold Ickes, Terry McAuliffe, Guy Cecil and campaign manager Maggie Williams, will join our volunteers for strategy discussion of the path to victory. Which night will you volunteer this week?
We need help every day. Our shifts are:
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Reply to this email to let me know when you can pitch in for Hillary.
We also have a critical need for volunteers this weekend. Can you pitch in this Saturday or Sunday? Please reply to me and let me know when you can help out!
Obama, Thompson, and Romney all gave me tools that allowed me to make such calls any time it was convenient for me. The technology really isn’t very difficult to create or manage. You allow your user to log in, get a script and numbers, make calls and complete a survey form, and report back the same data they would report back if they were sitting in your HQ.
The Hillary model, which looks like the same model Bill used in 1992, assume I have four uninterrupted hours to spend in your office. It also assumes I want to drive there, find parking, arrange for a sitter, etc. etc. It doesn’t allow for me to participate on my terms on my schedule.
This was something we understood in 2004 and was the reason we pioneered online call tools with the Bush campaign. We made a half-million contacts using our online tools. That was over and above the millions made in the traditional way.
Had Clinton’s campaign spent some time building such a tool instead of figuring out how many Drudge clones they could make (ahem, ahem) they could have empowered their supporters to get involved when and how it was convenient for them.
That was the point that I was trying to make in the Post piece. It’s not that campaigns aren’t doing anything jazzy with technology, it’s the fact that very little of it is meant to empower voters. Romney’s create your own ad effort was a great example. Give people stock footage, audio, video, images, etc, and let them be part of your creative team. Give them walk lists, call sheets, and other tools to mobilize voters and let them do it.
Where the campaigns this year have fallen short is they gave us tools without showing me the best way to use it. If I hand you a hammer, nails and a saw, you could eventually figure out that you could cut down a tree and make something. If I gave you the same tools with a guide to woodworking from raw materials, you’d be much better off.
My vision of campaign 2008 in December of 2004 was dramatically different from what has been. While it still may come to fruition, I’m not seeing much evidence that it will. It should, by nature, have been Obama, Paul or Thompson who pulled this off. I’ll explain what I had hoped to see.
Imagine a completely different campaign. Imagine a campaign that invested heavily in both the mobilization tactics and the microtargeting acumen of the Bush campaign, with the grassroots groundswell of the Dean campaign. Imagine taking a national database of registered voters and creating a sense of ownership among your online activists to reach low-propensity or non-voters. Here’s how it would work.
A campaign invests in microtargeting to determine what their typical supporter looks like as a function of consumer behavior, issue preferences, etc. The campaign buys consumer data for every citizen of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc that matches their model. Not just voters, mind you, but every single citizen that fits the mold.
Online activists are given tools like online phone banks, walk tools and handouts to go door-to-door reaching out to other voters who support their guy. More importantly, though, they match the consumer data for unregistered voters against their voter data to determine who is NOT registered to vote. An intensive campaign is run among online activists to reach them.
When activists are engaged, but nobody else is (say January through October of 2007) the campaign has their people working to register those people. The activists are brought in at the ground level to begin building what will be a long-term relationship with these folks. Geotargeting will allow the activist to find people located very near them, and reach out to them not just as a campaign volunteer, but as a neighbor – as someone who shops at the same grocery store, whose kids go to the same school.
The campaign would ask those volunteers to “adopt” those non-voters and urge them to a) drop off registration forms, b) follow up to make sure they get registered – which the campaign would verify by tracking voter registration additions against it’s internal database of targeted non-voters, c) deliver news and information about the campaign, and d) get them to vote in the primaries/caucuses/general.
We had, with the Bush campaign, developed tools along two separate lines. We called them all “Virtual Precinct”, but they were comprised of either your friends and family (to whom you could e-mail info) or targeted voters living near you (to whom you could walk, call, etc). This year, I had expected to see the two merge as campaigns used microtargeting, geotargeting, and online activism in synchronicity.
You have given your activists incredibly powerful tools to build the campaign. By explaining the goal, building a community, empowering them to be involved, and fostering a sense of ownership in the outcome, you have given them the instruction manual and a way to judge their success.
In addition, you could have volunteers in states with late primaries reaching out to those with early primaries – not in the way Howard Dean attempted with outsiders identified by their neon hats tromping through town, but via phone, e-mail and mail. Personal messages of support for a candidate delivered with passion by a voter in the comfort of their surroundings, are more effective that any stale script repeated over and over by an underfed, underappreciated volunteer jammed into a tight space with 85 other people on phones two feet away.
Think of it as the difference between telecommuting and working in a sweatshop.
That’s what I had expected to see and that’s where I think campaigns are still missing what’s possible. Campaigns in 2008 are, for the most part, still stuck in the mold of the 1980s and 1990s.
We can buy groceries from home and never have to go to the store. We can buy any product we want from Amazon, Buy.com or others and have it the next day without ever leaving the couch. We can play video games with friends we have never met a half a world away. We can engage in whatever pursuits we choose with others who share our hobbies regardless of where we all reside.
But despite all of that, campaigns stil force us to go to their office, to use their phone, to drink their old, cold coffee and eat their leftover doughnuts. Campaigns are still about me doing what they want, when they want me to do it. They miss the simple fact that there is no better spokesperson for the campaign than a single dedicated supporter talking to their friends, neighbors, and family in comfortable surroundings.
Update: Apparently the Clinton campaign actually does have an online phone bank tool. That actually makes the plea for me to appear in person even more confusing. I have not, at any time, received an e-mail asking me to make calls using that tool. I, as a would-be volunteer, was sitting here untapped. I could have made countless calls into states that voted earlier, and states that vote after Virginia. The campaign, however, never mobilized me to use the tool they built. Instead, they waited until after my primary, and until it was almost too late. to ask me to make calls at all.
I had heard through the rumor mill today that David was fairly upset at Erick Ericksonand I (and later Lance Dutson) for chastising him about his recent rant against RedState for banning Ron Paul’s venom spewing minions. I had heard he was worked up and would be writing a reply, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for it.
I assumed David would argue that he’s not bent on self-promotion. I had expected him to challenge the notion that he continually puts himself above the cause. I had a number of things floating through my head that perfectly illustrated David’s tendency to do this. The best example was the e-mail I received asking about the status of RightRoots while we were rebuilding. I told him we were expanding what we had done in 2006 and would soon be rolling out the new version. He then rushed to build Slatecard to compete with it.
Now I’m not against competition and welcome it, but it seemed odd that given his desire to advance the cause he would choose to muddy the water with multiple competing interests rather than jumping on board an existing initiative. His actions, in retrospect, all make sense. He would have been assisting with RightRoots, but his name would be synonymous with Slatecard.
So I had all this stuff running through my head, and the strangest thing happened. He explained away his tendency to put himself above his cause as the practical reality of trying to run a business in the PR world. So be it. It seems he agrees with our assessment that he’s out for himself, and offers a reason, so I’ll simply accept it and move on.
His motivations notwithstanding, let me dig into his reasoning for opposing the ban (he completely ignores the Google/MoveOn controversy by the way, and that is most of what Dutson dinged him on, so we’ll get back to that). David argues that the support for Paul is very real, and as evidence offers a NH poll out today showing him with 7 percent support.
Ron Paul is turning on people that have likely never been turned on to politics including young people. And regardless of what party they thought they belonged to, they are now supporting a Republican candidate.
Well, actually, no, they aren’t. They’re supporting a fringe Libertarian candidate. Now don’t get me wrong. I consider myself to be of the libertarian wing of the GOP. I am not, by any stretch, in the religious faction and nobody who knows me would accuse me of that. As a libertarian Republican, I cannot now, nor will I ever, get behind Ron Paul. If Paul is our nominee, I would have to push the button for Hillary. I could no more vote for Ron Paul than for Dennis Kucinich.
And what’s interesting is another little study out today that shows I’m not the only one who considers Hillary to be more conservative than Paul. Based on visitors to their website, and those same visitors tendency to read partisan blogs, the kind folks at Compete have analyzed “The Company They Keep” – a look at the reading habits of campaign supporters. What did it show?
Internet darling Ron Paul is attracting significant interest from the left, leapfrogging even Hillary Clinton.
What, you say? Ron Paul’s supporters spend more time reading liberal blogs than conservative blogs? 23% of Paul’s visitors read liberal blogs while only 13% read conservative blogs. They are almost twice as likely to read liberal blogs than conservative. Does that make them “Reagan Democrats”? All draws that comparison (one that any Republican who was actually alive during Reagan’s entire tenure in office would find distasteful).
The fact is Ron Paul personifies a brand of Republicanism that most Republicans find objectionable. If the Republicans spontaneously nominated Howard Dean, there would be an exodus of GOPers regardless of how many crazed liberals he brought along.
All further explains his belief that Ron Paul represents “change” and this is going to be a change election. (Note: I have advocated that this is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent election, but not necessarily a change election in the traditional sense. 2006 was about change. 2008 is about anger at Washington. That’s not about change, that’s about lashing out with little concern for the fallout, and is a very dangerous and unpredictable type of election for either party.)
I disagree with his description of Paul as the change candidate, as well. Paul is a reactionary candidate. He is attractive to a very narrow and angry minority who feel displaced by society at any given point. If he loses the GOP nomination (which I will go out on a limb and guarantee) he will seek the Libertarian nomination (mark my words). His supporters will follow him, and he will get the same .5% that Harry Browne garnered in 1996 and 2000.
Will a single one of his supporters (attracted to an anti-war libertarian who has accused the current GOP administration of engaging in an illegal war) support a nominee that is likely to be in favor of finishing the jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan? I doubt it. If his anti-war hysteria is what draws them to Paul, I don’t really think they’ll hang in there to vote for Rudy, Fred, Romney or McCain regardless of how welcome RedState makes them feel.
All’s attitude reminds me of the county parties in New Mexico. When I was first hired to analyze the races in the state and make recommendations regarding which legislative districts would get resources (and where we should deny them), we were met with howls. The “fair” thing to do would be to divide the money evenly amongst our counties and candidates. We stuck to our guns, and ignored districts where we would not win, and put it into districts where we could. As long as we did, we added seats every year (regardless of what happened in DC or the statewide races. It was only when we were savaged by infighting that we lost.
David’s model is much the same. We should expend resources trying to make inroads in places we have no hope of making them. It’s a losing philosophy. It’s throwing a hail Mary on first and ten instead of steadily moving the goal posts.
David, as I mentioned, left the Google question untouched. Lance Dutson (who, like me, All describes as a ‘friend’ despite not knowing either of us very well) was not kind to David when he weighed in:
I don‚Äôt know David All very well, but I do know him. Based on my experience, I think I would take this beyond the criticism of self-promotion that Turk and Erickson levy against him, and say that he is actually hurting the very movement he has anointed himself the leader of. David All is providing a crass misrepresentation of the work that the rest of us are doing, he‚Äôs proffering poorly-deduced theories about how the Right should use the internet, and he‚Äôs allowing the traditional media to paint Republicans as inept and childish when it comes to technology. I‚Äôve been fortunate enough to work with some extremely talented people in this world over the last few years, and it really bothers me that David All has become the public face of what is in reality a remarkable group of people. His two-dimensional YouTube mania, his incessant and misplaced references to Anderson‚Äôs Long Tail theory, and his predilection for cliche in lieu of explanation works to widen the gap between an older generation of Republican leaders and the rest of us who are attempting to convince them of the need to evolve.
He also sums up David’s approach to the Google/Collins flap pretty succinctly.
All wrote a post about the issue at TechRepublican.com, in which he described me as his ‚Äòfriend‚Äô. His post indicated that he had contacted Google, and that after listening to what they had to say, he agreed with Google‚Äôs decision to ban the ads. Strangely, All didn‚Äôt bother to contact his ‚Äòfriend‚Äô to get reaction or further explanation, a move that would have helped him avoid making a completely incorrect assessment of the situation.
I don’t think I can top that, so I’ll stop trying.
Back at the beginning of the year, David All joined the chorus of voices pointing out that the GOP was not exactly embracing the Internet as a political tool. Prior to his career as a professional agitator, David worked for a couple of campaigns and received notoriety for his role as Jack Kingston’s blogger. He is, by all accounts, a master of self-promotion.
I have run into David in several circles, but never really have sat down to discuss politics or technology at length with him. I don’t know what kind of guy he is. I had always, however, read what he had to say – agreeing with him occasionally, and disagreeing completely almost as often.
In the last few weeks, however, he has gone from someone I can agree with to someone for whom I have absolutely no respect. His post on RedState banning Ron Paul’s angry, vocal minority was ridiculous.
I agree with Captain Ed. Generally, Republicans need to welcome Ron Paul (and all others willing to wear a Republican banner) to the debate and the discussion. If Ron Paul doesn’t win the nomination, we need him to actively endorse and support the winner so that his supporters will use their energy to defeat Hillary.
Personally, I recognize that Paul’s support is very, very real, especially in the politics + tech sphere. He is the people-powered Howard Dean candidate of 2008 which I’ve been saying we need to “prove” the importance of an effective Internet strategy. He is that Revolution.
First, Paul is not a people powered movement. People powered movements have people. Dean in 2008 had people. He was surging in the polls and imploded. Paul has never garnered more than a single digit in any polling not conducted on a website. His “popularity” is a creation of, by, and for the Internet. I play video games online, that doesn’t mean dragons and aliens exist in the real world. Ron Paul may be able to organize his minions to stuff the ballot box on MSNBC, but can he deliver a single person to the polls?
Second, and much more important, a revolution of anti-Semitic, racist, white supremacist, black helicopter Republicans is absolutely not what we need to “prove” anything. Sending a crystal clear message to these people that we a) will not tolerate them and b) absolutely do not want them in the party is what we “need” to do. Erick Erickson is right.
If David All wants to bring in these people to beat Hillary, he can have at it. Thanks, but I’ll pass. The media already paints the GOP as angry white guys enough without David bringing these guys in to help.
I’m guessing David was about 8 or 10 during the 1992 convention, but the angry right was embodied by Pat Buchanan’s speech to the delegates in Houston. It was that speech, as much as anything else, that cemented our brand as reactionaries and zealots. It has taken us 15 years to recover from putting the radical ideologies of an extremist on display.
Arguing that we need people in our coalition who preach the “Zionist conspiracy” as a political philosophy (which is what Erick was railing against, and the reason for the ban) misses the point completely. If David actually believes that the lunatic wing of the right will fall into line to support the eventual nomination of Romney, Giuliani, Thompson or McCain, he needs an adjustment to his political instincts. As Erickson pointed out, Paul himself said during the CNBC debate that he would not support the GOP nominee.
I find it odd that Paul calls it “our party” having run on the Libertarian ticket for President the last time he ran. It seems he only wants to affiliate with the GOP when he thinks there is electoral advantage. His minions probably don’t share that tendency and would likely vote for the Libertarians’ quadrennial sacrifice.
What would cause David to believe that Paul’s supporters would ever get behind the GOP? That argument is almost as laughable as the one he used to defend Google and MoveOn.
Arguing that Google was simply protecting MoveOn’s trademark was laughable. That may be the justification that Google used, but it forgets one thing – our constitution and judicial system have always protected political speech above all else. Political e-mail is exempt from CAN-SPAM for exactly that reason. Commercial speech and political speech are treated completely different under the law.
David’s argument that Google was right to act as it did undermines that. He could have, just as easily, called on Google to recognize the value of political speech as the government does. He could have called on them to recognize that nobody has the right to hide behind a trademark to throw grenades at a candidate. Instead, he knelt at the alter of Google and jumped in bed with Joan Blades.
Erick Erickson theorizes that David’s problem is two-fold. First, David is more committed to the technology than the cause, and second, he is simply trying to grab onto the story to get attention.
Erick presents these in the opposite order, but I’ll tackle them this way, and one at a time. The more troubling of Erick’s charges is that David may be more devoted to technology than to the GOP. That, I would argue, is a harder charge to make stick. David has, to his credit, served a fair number of GOPers and spent some time in the trenches. Do I think he’s still a little wet behind the ears, and needs a bit more experience? Yes. Do I think he’s likely to look back on some of these positions some day and think, “What the hell was I thinking”? Absolutely. But do I believe that he has put a love of Google and a desire to see some marginal Republican achieve success online (even at the expense of the greater party)? I really don’t.
I’d like to suggest that Erick’s first instinct may have been the correct one. As I have said, David is, by all accounts, a master of self-promotion. It’s entirely possible that he made a conscious choice to take the contrarian position solely to further his agenda of making David everything that David can be. If that’s the case, he certainly wouldn’t be the first. Ann Coulter has made an entire career of being annoying just to get press.
That said, I have no respect for that. I dislike Ann Coulter and now refuse to give her a dime or a minute of my attention. She has advocated some ridiculous positions, and made the GOP look terrible for no reason beyond her own advancement. I think David has done the same. He has advocated against basic political speech rights of a candidate under attack, and argued (allegedly in pursuit of an “Internet victory”) for the rights of racists and anti-Semites to use anyone else’s platform as they please.
Does he do it out of some misguided technologist passion? I just don’t buy it. I think David is calculating, and has come to the conclusion that taking these positions gets him noticed. I think that’s why he took his post against RedState and circulated it to the media (as Erick alleges).
Back in May, David and I were quoted in the same WaPo story railing against the GOP and its inability to develop an “A” game online. It appeared front page, above the fold. It made me, with more than 20 years serving my party, a bit uncomfortable. You’ll notice I have since shown more restraint in my criticism. While I still believe we need to do more online, I am spending more effort helping candidates do it right than I am telling people what we’re doing wrong.
I believe that David took from the experience a completely different lesson. I think he discovered that when it comes to the press, the squeaky wheel gets the attention. I have noticed a significant increase in his tendency to not only get his name in print everywhere he can, but to promote any mention of himself via e-mail and blog.
I think Erick missed the target, but hit the tree. I think David is more committed to David than to the cause.
Update: Right after I posted this, I received an e-mail from a friend suggesting I take a look at David’s Facebook profile pic (below).
Pictures are normally worth a thousand words. In this case, 1,416. That image says everything I did, but it’s much more eloquent.
I’ve been using Google Earth in an attempt to pinpoint our hunting area. It helps to see an aerial view so I can get a sense of where there are thick pockets of tress, saddles and draws that might house an unsuspecting deer. Unfortunately, Google is limited in its ability to be helpful because a good deal of the satellite imagery is outdated.
Google, in an effort to provide more and better data, should enter into an agreement with a company providing such imagery (or simply launch their own satellites, after all, they’ve got the dough) and allow users of Google Earth to request a fly-by of a specific area. You could enter the lat/long of the area you wanted to see, and submit a request. To prevent some idiot from snapping ever more recent photos of his house on their dime, they could charge for priority imaging. The upside is two-fold.
First, Google makes even more money by charging you for the imaging. Second, Google makes the newly snapped image available to everyone else, thereby enhancing the value of the service (better, newer maps underwritten by those who want them most would still carry value for others). The newer. more reliable maps would drive more traffic and more users.
Granted, the land we’re hunting is private land, so the marginal value it gets under the second point is less. For hunters on public lands, however, it would benefit anyone getting a tag there next year because the map is only six months old, not six years.