Startups are fun. They attract people who want more than a job, they want meaning. As I suggested months ago, we all want to be of consequence. When I catalyzed the Dynamac project in 1987, we had people who came to work for free just because it was so new and exciting and well-publicized.
The Dean Campaign vibe is the inspiring tech start-up, cubed. Smart people, so committed to the mission that there’s no visible friction between a good idea and a better idea. The tactics of retail politics and the overarching passion for a better society are all jumbled together into a collage of issues, ideas, tech, fundraising, friendraising, organization, User Interface, Campaign laws, fiscal responsibility, health care, best practices and everything else that a West Wing viewer could ask for.
It’s 2 in the morning, and here’s Zack and Gray and Andrew and Josh being interviewed by Samantha Shapiro of the New York Times Magazine:
Samantha’s trying to figure out all the threads and interconnects among bloggers, campaign staff, Internet tools and all the rest. How does Emergent Democracy and Cluetrain and Social Software and free software and what’s open source and what do you do for the campaign, and how is Joi Ito and Andy Rappaport and Music for America and David Weinberger and Larry Lessig and Jock Gill and Michael Cudahy and how’d you meet Zephyr and Josh and Zack and What are you doing here anyway?
And Josh, could you explain again how you found Britt on Doc’s site and connected with Zack and the 20 or so people working on DeanSpace and can this really be the fastest development and deployment of a few hundred dynamic content sites?
Pulling the Thread out of the Sweater
Imagine if you were in the dead tree publishing business with one of the best publications in the world. That’s Samantha. You’re smart, educated, connected, and young enough that you use Google and the web and email a LOT and you’ve read some blogs but you’ve not been following the blogging echo chamber. Or open source software or smart mobs or all the rest. How the hell would you even begin to connect all the dots? I suggested to Samantha that her situation is like Tom Wolfe’s when he wrote The Right Stuff. He wanted to write about the cultural phenomenon of the original seven Mercury astronauts and found that, to those guys, being an astronaut was fine, but what was really important to them was that they were Fighter Pilots. And so he had to learn what that meant and discovered the entire world of the right stuff, which was more important to the heroes than the cultural event.
It’s impossible to understand the Dean campaign without understanding blogging. You can’t understand blogging with out looking at the issues that bloggers care about, and Samantha’s starting cold. I’m glad that’s her problem and not mine.
It’s a Quarter to Three…
Time to go home. But it looks like these guys aren’t going anywhere. Miles to go before CPUs sleep.