I hear through the grapevine that the Dean campaign does welcome geek support, but, like any client, they’d like to get their current tech together and then imagine a bigger picture.
I’ll put on my consultant’s hat here, and predict with some confidence that the campaign’s priorities look something like this. I have no direct input, so All of the following is conjecture:
Above all, like any enterprise, the Dean Campaign can only flourish in an ego-free zone. Helpers need to understand that just because geek volunteers have passion and a sliver of competence does not mean that we can push our pet technologies and agendas.
A sure-fire way to kill the spark that Dean has ignited is to drown the campaign under a Slashdot flood of good intentions.
Some tech Czar must emerge who has the respect of the campaign and the geek volunteers, with the background to pull together the solutions and opportunities that Dean’s Army of Geeks makes possible. That person needs to be the right blend of suit and geek, dreamer and hard-headed realist. Maybe the campaign’s already got that miracle worker, but probably not.
If you know that one-in-a-million leader, have him/her volunteer. If too busy, you know you’ve got the right person, so ask what anyone is doing for the next 16 months that’s more important. Re-tell the Cincinnatus story. Gag and tie the reluctant hero and drive non-stop to Vermont. You can work out the details later.
Update from Josh
Into the Chaordic Zone
Despite the need to manage the campaign so they operate in tech Nirvana, fine-tuned and smooth-running, chaos must be married to order so that the grassroots effort allows a thousand flowers to bloom. With Campaign Ops under control, grassroots geeks can do the unimaginable, like the Apache model, where each piece fits into a well-understood context. As long as the context is well communicated, the geek contributions can be useful campaign objects that work together as an ad hoc assemblage of passion and purpose.
Yeah. We could do that.