Archive for December 26th, 2003

I can’t resist passing these on..


First, here is a great new piece by Eric Alterman, in The Nation:  “Washington Goes to War (with Howard Dean).”

An excerpt:

S addam Hussein may be out of his spider hole, but
Washington’s real enemy is still at large. His name: “Howard
Dean”–and nobody in America poses a bigger threat to the city’s
sense of its own importance. New Republic writer Michelle
Cottle returned from maternity leave to find Washington fit for a
“Tarantino-style blood bath,” with the Democratic front-runner cast
as a “paleoliberal…a heartless conservative…too na

Dean campaign software and services innovation


Responding to Dave Winer’s criticism of the Dean and Clark campaigns for not doing enough to support small businesses that provide software:

I’m the newly appointed Director of Internet and Information Services
for the Dean campaign, and oversee our software and services
policies.  Disclosure: I’m also a fellow, along with Dave Winer,
at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

At Dean for America, it is our policy to purchase software rather than
to make it, and to work with vendors large and small to help them be
successful while also pursuing our own success as a grassroots-powered
presidential campaign.  We strongly support small businesses for a
variety of reasons, including that they are the major contributors to
employment growth in our nation.

Dean for America enjoys a good relationship with a number of innovative
small businesses in software and services, including for
meeting software,  Six Apart for blog software,  Envision for
message boards, and Convio for CMS, fundraising record keeping and FEC
compliance.  We use additional small business-provided software
for voter file management,  email, and list management.  We
also use software and services from large companies including Yahoo,
AOL, and Microsoft.  We pay market prices for all software and

Obviously, some of the code we use (and that all technology-employing
organizations use) is created by independent communities of volunteers,
and has a
market price, set by the communities, of zero.  We appreciate what
these citizens are doing in the service of democracy and technology,
and regard it as
their choice whether they organize in companies or not-for-profit

Like most enterprises we  prefer to buy software and services, but
sometimes must make our own.   The make/buy decision can be
tough.  In many cases, vendors do not provide solutions that
integrate the features that campaigns need,  and companies may not
see campaigns as a particularly attractive market.  In such cases
we sometimes need to make internal changes to existing software and
services or develop our own.  This is particularly the case in a
campaign like ours that is innovating in grassroots philosophy and the
use of information and communication technology.

The Dean campaign is participating in the social software movement
because we are committed to grassroots and netroots campaigning—and
because members of the social software movement  constitute a
crucial part of our most active base of supporters.  Members of
the social software movement are us.  We are in the innovation
cycle, as well as a beneficiary of it.  Thus we have deployed some
community communication services including services now called
DeanSpace and Dean Commons.  Let me be clear:  We are establishing our
services to empower citizens, not to compete in the
social software industry.  Our aim is to compete in the
presidential election and encourage the transformation of American
politics.  This is more than enough for us.  Our aim is to
elect Howard Dean, improve the presidency, and empower people.

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