Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The most important campaign of my lifetime

So far, I have successfully avoided subjecting my (very few) readers to a political endorsement this election season. Sorry, can't resist now.

Andrew Hoppin sums up the import of the moment quite well:

His work to rid Congress of special interest influence within 8 years would leverage a “Crowdsourced Congressional Staff” of 10,000s.
Of whom does he speak? Larry Lessig is considering a congressional run.

The part that really galvanizes me is the concept of a crowdsourced congressional staff. The concept that there could be a politician that runs "ground operations" well after the campaign has ended. Obama (my other favorite politician) fascinates me because he has created a ground operation that is tightly controlled and on message and, in the end, can be turned off once he gets into office. Very different from the whole Dean experience.

A Lessig campaign, I imagine, would be the first step in building the ground operation. A freshman congressperson is pretty irrelevant. A freshman congressman that can mobilize a national constituency around a narrow set of issues (money in congress) without any particular care about reelection.... mmmm that gets interesting.

Ultimately, I'm not sure he is savvy enough or thick skinned enough or tolerant (of old school politicians) enough to succeed in creating change. But I sure would like to watch him try.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Drupal 6 Released!

Drupal 6 has been released! Totally awesome, but slightly misleading. I'll be able to use Drupal in a few months when many key contributed modules have been upgraded.

This is the truth about Drupal. You can do a bunch with the core modules, but the vast majority of sites require contributed modules... plus who wants an un-cool drupal site? The community generally bangs out the upgrades of the contributed modules rapidly, but the D6 release announcement is the start of the process. It will take a few months for the contributed modules to catch up.

(there might be a startup business opportunity in there... I wonder if anyone has ever thought about that ;)

The Drupal community has been doing a bunch of planning around marketing, but I wonder if the big push for blog posts and messaging should happen a few months after the D6 release. The time for me to write this post for a broader audience is when someone can build a production Drupal 6 website.

This is the conundrum of open source marketing... many audiences, many messages. Everything needs to line up just right.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nonprofit Competition

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of competition recently. In the nonprofit sector, folks often share the same goals... helping the homeless, improving nonprofit effectiveness through technology, etc.

They also find themselves competing for funding, mind share, partners and other resources.

Yet the concept of coopetition really hasn't been well developed, IMHO. In Silicon Valley, they concept of cooperative competition is relatively established... and the calculations are fairly straight forward. Will I make money? If the answer is yes through cooperation, then coopetition is a perfectly good way to go. If the answer is no, then coopetition is a definite no.

But asking the question "will I help the homeless?" maybe shouldn't lead to the same calculation. The homeless might be helped a lot by coopetition, but I as an individual actor might not be doing a lot of the helping. In that situation, I as an actor shouldn't bail out if I care about the goal... my ego should be able to take the bruising of not being able to take credit.

This yields an interesting optimal outcome.... many actors all helping the homeless. They are competing for credit and "market share." They are cooperating on policy and standards (which helps the "market" making the pie bigger).

The key is that no one out competes anyone else. In fact, the fiercer and more equal the competition, as long as there is cooperation on policy and standards, the better the overall social outcome.

So how do you bring institutionalized coopetition to a set of actors?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

NetSquared wants you for mashups

The NetSquared team is working on viral videos to catalyze involvement and support. Is a video really viral if it doesn't involve a cut furry animal or stupid people injuring themselves?