Jock Gill says we need to redefine the electorate as active producers of good government, not passive consumers of government services. (Jock finds the customer label as pejorative as consumer. He’d probably buy Doc‘s distinction between the two, but perhaps finds it too subtle to make his intended point):
The crucial differences in our communications in 2004 are:
- low cost many to many communications, supporting micro markets with zero costs, is a radical disruptive innovation that trumps one to many communications with high capital costs demanding mass markets with high financial returns.
- the diffusion of many to many communications has crossed the threshold of critical mass and has become a self sustaining chain reaction: gone critical.
- the technologies of many to many communications are rapidly improving — full multi-media chat, for example. Good bye text only environments. Video, voice and text, is much more compelling. This will only accelerate the adoption of modern many to many communications
- all of the above can be seen in a new phenomena: cable modem users active, engaged, PRODUCERS.
BTW: this last point turns the business models of the cable tv companies on its head. They have neither the architecture nor the technology to support Production – called reverse asymmetry. The cable business is strongly rooted in the old model of one to many distribution to passive consumers. All very McLuhanesque. The cable companies’ best customer is the sports fan sitting at home on his couch. Bush works this particular demographic very well and makes them feel important and empowered.
The Production Line
I see every challenge as a design study. Sure, studies rarely lead anywhere, but neither does most thought and commentary. Of the few examples of progress, none is built without being designed. If there’s a challenge worth taking on, you have 4 choices:
- Ignore it or complain about it (human default A)
- Wade into it, swinging, without considering the causes (human default B)
- Fix it based on a practical, tightly-reasoned, broadly acceptable plan
- If no such plan exists, design one
In today’s world, there are three ways to reach consensus to effect change:
- Web Application.
- Web Application.
- Web Application.
A web app is to 21st century progress as Location is to real estate. A web application is the only conceivable way of getting we the producers to stop squabbling and express our real preferences and unleash our energies.
We can’t count on government, which seems to have devolved into a partisan pit of paralyzed pedantry, focused on neoconservative initiatives and progressive reactions. But, if the government were to suddenly transform itself into a citizen-centric governance model, how would that model be expressed? Through a series of web apps, whether for citizen input or IRS forms.
The Dean Web Application
Let’s reset our perceptions about the American political process:
The Howard Dean phenomenon isn’t a campaign, it’s a web app.
The Tipping Point
The Dean For America web app (blog, contribution link, funding report, blogroll) is the primary entry point for knowledge about the candidate. Through links to its related Dean Meetup web app, the campaign web app has attracted some 45,000 citizens to ubiquitous political meetings that are unprecedented at this point in a pre-primary roll out. Those people, the most Internet-connected progressives, were then moved to participate in a related web app called the MoveOn Primary. By attracting so many of the most-connected progressives to its candidate, the Dean web app was able to win the MoveOn primary in a landslide.
The campaign appears to be on a ride even it can’t comprehend. As of a week ago, Sunday morning, 6/22, the campaign had raised $3.2 million in the previous 84 days. By tonight–8 days–it will have doubled that amount. At 2:47 am this morning, $2 million of the $2.8 raised had came through the Internet. Let’s be clear: the campaign is now past the fund raising stage, it’s in the fund receiving business. In a week, we’ll see that this is a phenomenon feeding on itself like any other viral phenomenon.
For the last 20 months, our government has not allowed us to make a difference. On 9/12/01, most Americans woke up yearning to contribute. We donated blood but the blood banks ran out of room before most of us could contribute. We tried to drive to New York to help pick through the rubble, but were turned back at the bridges and tunnels. Instead, we got an ad from our president encouraging us to be loyal consumers and get on airplanes and fly anywhere but to New York! “Keep moving folks, there’s nothing to see here. We don’t need your help.”
If my premise is correct, this snub will be looked back on as one of the great political blunders in history. If it is revealed as a blunder, it will be because one candidate with enough common sense, charisma and speaking ability set up a web application and a related web log that linked to the web logs of people who still had not been permitted to make a difference.
The 44th president of the United States will be elected by a bottom-up, citizen-led production. That president will, literally, be owned by citizens, whose resources trump companies. If we put ourselves in the place of that 44th president, what kind of government will we fashion?
Probably a web app.