Main | Rapid Response: Memetic Engineering in the 2004 Presidential Campaign »

March 19, 2004


Bob Jacobson, Grassroots for America

Brilliant, Phil. You capture the urgency of the challenge and provide a solution to fit. I'm not a big fan of blogs, because they're so non-directed, but you work with what you have. No. 1 Question: how will you get funding or in-kind contributions to begin? I'm sure you've thought this through. -- Bob

Phil Wolff

No, I haven't thought the money through. While I suspects the components of a solution are free, integration won't be fast or polished without money. The pitch for money?

- Unified Democratic Coalitions are often too slow, barely coordinated, and leave resources untapped. The competitive advantage goes to the best team players. Winning in fundraising, membership recruitment, volunteerism, and media goes to the party with the better ongoing integration of its affiliated organizations. You have tools to enable volunteers and staff to become "An Army of One"; this helps your many armies work intelligently together.

- Secondary pitch: make this a for-profit business: if you are a commercial interest, use this toolkit to actively manage your business's ecology of organizational relationships. CRM but for partnerships. I think potential customers could include the private sector. For example, Harley-Davidson using these tools to help bikers organize their clubs, advocate to H-D for new features and services, coordinate activities, and recruit new members and riders.

Valdis Krebs

This white paper on building networks may be of assistance -- especially the 4 phases of network/bridge building. Although it focuses on connecting small businesses, it can be applied to connecting various types of small groups for a common purpose.

Brian Sarrazin

Phil, you’ve got it all here.

Your outline offers an appealing way to structure a 4th phase (from Valdis’s paper) network and I think your section on “relationship” people shows insight. As you and I discussed, human nature is rarely fully leveraged in technical designs. Structure is vital, but not necessarily causal. Ultimately, the information needs to flow, and self-interest, as you point out, is the answer. My personal sense is that with an adaptive system, we can get past dogma like this:

“It’s The People, Stupid!”

… when, but only when, we are willing to relinquish some control. And to that end, Ito offers what I think is a very helpful perspective, perhaps you’ve seen it:

The point I find most important here is actually within a quote he offers from Johnson (author of “Emergence”):

“Self-organizing systems use feedback to bootstrap themselves into a more orderly structure. And given the Web's feedback-intolerant, one-way linking, there's no way for the network to learn as it grows, which is why it's now so dependent on search engines to reign in its natural chaos.”

I believe we can structure a system that offers “two-way” linking by spurring people to be the link, by structuring our understanding of human motivation, and human foibles, into the design. A system that presents event/project formation/completion in an open, iterative way, such that the “environment” of volunteers “selects” with their activity/enhancement forces two-way linking via the most (if, like me, you agree with Nietzsche) compelling human drive of all: power.

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