the single greatest disability: fear.

www.andymann2008.com

i was at a meeting the other night when i fell into a conversation. we got to talking about politics and the fact that i was running against ron paul came up. she couldn’t get over the fact that i would “put myself out there” and take a chance on “failing in front of everyone.”

later i was talking to another person in the room and overheard that same woman saying that she worked for the district attorney or something. i couldn’t help but chuckle a bit. she is a prosecutor and i am the brave one?

it got me reflecting on the fact that fear is such a great robber of potential…and it isn’t until you experience those things in life that you truly SHOULD fear that you realize how much time is wasted on being afraid of things that don’t really matter.

conquering fear is difficult, but the best way to do it is to imagine the consequences of failure and weigh them against the value of success. if i come up short in the election will my kids get cancer? will i be forced to unplug someone from a life support system? will i sustain a head or spinal cord injury? will i die filled with the poison of regret?

no. if i fail i am still an innovator. i am still a friend. i am still a dad.

www.andymann2008.com

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pep talks, mccain, vision, cynicism

today was national call in day for senator mccain’s presidential campaign. a certain ace fundraiser set up a call center downtown and a number of us attempted to raise money for the senator. i called probably one-hundred people and raised an ASTRONOMICAL amount of money…ok, maybe not astronomical…maybe i did so poorly that i decided to increase my primary contribution…so i guess in the end, the system really does work.

one of the people i called was a campaign consultant who i see from time to time at other events. somehow we got into a conversation about working in politics professionally versus doing it because you actually believe in someone or something. having worked in politics for both love and money, i can say that doing it out of love is way more fun. when my paycheck depended on it, i viewed the system much more cynically for some reason.

best pep talk of the day: “Get your @** back to work!”

best response to the question “what do you do for a living?”: “retired.” translation: “i am really, really rich.”

most interesting insider fact: the senator got on the conference call at the end of the day and reported that his wife sustained a shopping-related knee injury. yeah, i don’t get it either.

go mccain!

townhall interview

Here is an interview I did last month for Town Hall.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

marketing, virtualization, apollo-era astronauts, cops

the fun thing about my life is that i get to interact and work with a lot of different topics and individuals on a given day. it gives me a unique perspective and it beats watching a rerun of grey’s anatomy.

a team at work (yeah, i had to go back to work for a few days) was formed to explore how our information management group is perceived and how we can better communicate what we are doing, why we are doing it, and the value of it to the rest of the company. if you work for a big company, most people dislike their IT organization. This usually comes down to a lack of communication, but there are other factors, like sometimes we are jerks. Anyway, it is a fun project and it gets me away from the purely technical stuff I am working on, like using a single server to simulate an entire enterprise infrastructure (virtualization).

there was a fundrasier at space center houston in the evening. i wasn’t going to go, but my kids thought it would be cool to meet an astronaut, so we headed out. i can pick out the shuttle astronauts, but this was for a documentary featuring apollo era astronauts. apollo was a bit before my time. it was tough for me to pick out who the kids should meet. i finally started talking to anyone over sixty-five and ran across cats who did training and simulations for the mercury and apollo stuff. interesting people. we talked about retirement and how the program has changed over the years. my friend alan walks up and shows me a picture of him holding luke skywalker’s light saber, which i think will fly on sts 120. they were taking it out of the case and he asked if he could get a picture with it…yeah, eileen collins and john young were there…but alan took a picture with luke’s light saber. freakin’ sweet.

the last stop was citizen’s police academy. they run classes for league city citizens just to give them a feel for what the police do. the coolest thing about the academy is listening to the cops tell stories about the crazy stuff they do and see. tonight one of the swat guys showed us videos, which devolved into stories about the crazy stuff they do and see. then a sergeant came in and talked about traffic laws…which devolved into stories about the crazy stuff they do and see.

the perspective you gain from learning about things outside of your comfort zone is simply priceless. it is so much harder for me to dislike the cops when they pull me over. i have never really thought much about how the space program has changed over the years, but talking to the apollo guys gave me a feel that they were truly a different breed of cat than today’s team. talking to users about how much they dislike their computer systems forces me to see things from my customer’s perspective.

faith

Interesting time and npr piece about mother theresa and the nature of faith.
mother theresa’s crisis of faith

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13903581

it is interesting because I recall a time in the critical care unit when the isolation from Him was absolutely soul-crushing. strangely, His silence — my perception of His silence — led me to more fully submit. one would think this would have the opposite effect. i can’t explain it.

republican women, shrimp eating contests, regret.

http://www.andymann2008.com

last week was loads of fun. i attended a number of republican women’s meetings throughout brazoria and galveston county, participated in a shrimp eating contest in texas city (judge yarbrough soundly defeated me AND shelly’s campaign manager), met a number of elected officials, and made a few new friends.

people often focus on the negative side of politics, but it is really loads of fun. occasionally people are rude or downright mean, and sometimes you endure a dirty trick or two, but the people you meet and the things you learn far outweigh any negative aspects of the business. also, many people choose to live lives that are so incredibly safe that they don’t learn what to truly fear until it is too late.

have a great week everyone. go melroy! go discovery!

http://www.andymann2008.com

why?

http://www.andymann2008.com

Why does one run for Congress? Why would I leave the safety of a cushy information technology job with a NASA contractor and turn to the rough and tumble world of political campaigning?

This is a big question…and like all big questions, the answers can often be found within ourselves as well as within the person who is being asked the question.

So take a moment to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “what would it take for me to risk it all?” What would it take to gamble your job, your healthcare benefits, your house and the opportunity to do something you love and pursue a challenge of this magnitude?

Would you risk everything for your kids? Would you stand up to someone whose policies threaten your children? As I am sure you are aware, Ron Paul supports the idea of legalizing drugs. While I would have embraced an idea like that as a high school student, I am now an adult and a parent, and I appreciate law enforcement helping me keep drugs away from my kids.

Would you risk it all for your elderly and disabled loved-ones? Ron Paul is opposed to the very idea of Social Security and Medicare. He thinks programs like that are bad for freedom. But I think programs like Social Security and SSI actually promote freedom.

When my Mom retired, my brothers and I asked her to come live with us. But she wanted to stay in Port Arthur with her friends. That Social Security check meant the difference between her being able to stay independent in her final years or moving away from the neighborhood she lived in all of her life.

Would you risk it all to extend the boundaries for mankind through the vision of manned space flight? JSC isn’t a pork barrel project. We are doing something by which time itself is marked. We are going to Mars! When we watch them strap in Tracy, Eileen or Beamer, we know they are willing to put it all on the line for the dream. And almost all of us in Clear Lake and the Cape would trade seats with them in a heartbeat.

Or would you put it on the line and speak truth to power simply because something is just plain wrong. Dr. Paul’s voting record is a collection of really whacky votes. He doesn’t represent me. As a matter of fact, he constantly votes against the thing I love: Space, my friends in Iraq, my kids, the elderly, list is too long!

So look in the mirror and ask yourself “why?”…and when you think of the answer, think of me and say:

Yeah, me too.

http://www.andymann2008.com

gabriel project

lots of people ask me why i switched to the republican party.  it is weird, but it comes down to a single issue:  abortion.  it is not impossible to be a conservative democrat in texas, but it is doggone near impossible to run as a pro-life democrat.  that didn’t become apparent until i started asking my liberal friends to vote for me, and one by one they told me that they loved me, but there was no way they were going to vote for someone who doesn’t support choice.

today i talked on the phone to a volunteer for gabriel project.  i love their angle.  www.gabrielproject.com.  between them and literacy advance www.literacyadvance.org i think i have two organizations i would like to see benefit from my campaign.

full-time

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

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