it is weird leaving work to campaign full-time. i love my job. as a matter of fact through all of the challenges of the last few years (death of loved-ones, divorce, quality time spent in emergency rooms and neonatal intensive care units) the one constant has been my job and coworkers.

i love my company. they pay me way too much to do something i do at home as a hobby.
i love my customers. it happens all of the time. you walk into a room because someone is complaining about the wireless network, and you see the blue prints for the new lunar lander, or you see a bunch of international partners and boeing guys talking about station.
i love my coworkers. for those of you who have lost parents or loved-ones, you might notice how something you miss about that parent or loved-one is suddenly noticeable in a coworker. i can’t help but feel that parent-like respect and love for some of my older coworkers and managers. as for my friends…i will miss them the most.

but it is time to get to work.

: )


0pen source politics

The web team is beta testing our first “open source” political product.  The term has been bantered around a bit…there is a wikipedia entry on it I believe, but until now, I don’t think anyone has really defined a real model for providing an “open source” for the political process.

When people talk about the Internet and innovation, it usually starts with loads of hype.  For example, the Dems taking questions from YouTube.  Then everyone realizes that this doesn’t really add value, and the public gets disillusioned with the technology.

The funny thing is, as soon as everyone writes off a hyped application of the Internet, the lightbulb comes on for some smart cookie.  And that is when innovation occurs.

Our beta product is simple.  It automates my petition to get on the ballot.  It also allows a voter in Galveston County to get registered to vote if they aren’t already.

The source code for this will be available for first time candidates.  Check it out on the website http://www.andymann2008.com

ron paul’s base: more anecdotal evidence that he will not be re-elected

wow!  more evidence dr. no’s base in congressional district 14 is eroding.

it is strange, but every republican activitist i talk to…EVERYONE says EXACTLY the same thing:  “I love the message, but the voting record doesn’t reflect our values.”  Then, within two or three sentences, “RINO” and “time for a change” are spoken.

it is spooky, because you don’t usually see this sort of consistency of message without the assistance of expert political craftsmanship.  none of my opponents or i have the money to lend resonance to this message which can only mean one thing:  he might be selling cookbooks full time come march.



the new political horse race: a modest proposal

Is it just me, or is money the only way to judge the health of a political campaign these days?  Of all the ways to measure an endeavor, is this really the best we can do?

Just for a moment, imagine arriving at a car wreck, jumping out to offer assistance, and suddenly being stopped by a member of the press and asked, “how much money do you have on hand?  Really?  Did your momma give it to you?”  If you are like me, you might think “Who the heck cares!  Something needs to be done here!”

And let’s take a look at what you are actually measuring.  Have you ever given money to a political campaign?  For the vast majority, the answer is no.  I would love to send John McCain a check for $4,600.00, but I have to hit Wal-Mart for back to school school shopping, and oh yeah, my mortgage is due.  So who does give?  I imagine there are three groups:  People with a financial stake in the outcome of the election (unions, trial lawyers, big business, insurance companies, etc), rich people who truly care about certain issues, and an occasional middle class person who is just mad enough to send in a check.  While I applaud their participation, thank the good Lord it isn’t just these groups who show up on election day.  

So, if we toss the money measurement (or as we say in the information technology world, “metric”) , what do we replace it with?  Here is an new idea:  How about measuring the number of people who actually commit their vote to a candidate?  This might reduce the early influence of special interests.  Not to mention the fact that it might force politicians to stop begging rich people for money long enough to get out there and shake some hands and kiss some babies.

But is this practical, or even possible?  I believe it is.  Let’s reflect upon a situation that we can all understand.  And, incidentally, a situation that is actually measured in dollars:  your checking account.

Lots of people do banking online.  If Bank of America can keep track of you and all of their other customers’ balances,  why can’t a candidate keep track of how many times he or she asks, “Can I have your vote on election day?”  And received a “yes” to that most sacred question?

I imagine skeptics reading this right now, shaking their heads.  “It will never work.  There are too many unknowns,” they are saying to themselves or anyone within earshot.  And that is ok.  There is at least one of those people in every meeting where I suggest a new application or new technology.  My favorite response like that came one day back in 1994 when I boldly proposed to a mid-sized organization that they connect their network to this network called “the Internet.”  The response? 

“Why would anyone want to do that?”

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