Notes on My Meeting with Dave Winer

Yesterday, I had a chance to sit down for about an hour with Dave Winer and his host to the Microsoft Campus, Curtis Wong to talk about the role that social computing can play in modern political campaigns.  Here are some quick notes and notes-to-self for future blogging:

I was spurred to arrange the meeting with Dave at the last possible moment (I sent an invitation to several hundred of my closest friends 27 minutes before the meeting) based on some comments that Dave made in a talk on Monday to a large crowd in Microsoft's conference center. Tim Jarrett has compiled some amazingly detailed and accurate quotes from Dave's talk here.

In our meeting yesterday, Dave sounded a distinctly non-partisan note that will resonate with anyone who is an independent or little 'd' democrat and who also happens to be a professional software developer.

First, Dave disagreed with Howard Dean's insistence that all software used on his campaign be open source and provided free of charge (think Desktop Dean and precinct call management solutions).  “Developers deserve to be paid for their work. This open source thing is crap.”  For the record, I agree, and just want to point out that the Dean campaign appears to have placed no such restrictions on TV commercial developers and marketers.

Dave proposes that a Voter Support System be created to help citizens decide on the ideal candidate for political office before they are even presented with real life alternatives.  When I pointed out that the VSS acronym is already taken (...:-) by Microsoft Visual SourceSafe AND by Microsoft Windows' Volume Shadowcopy Service), he added RPP.  The Voter Support System of the Rational Person's Party (VSSRPP).

Dave, you deserve to be awarded a fellowship at the Department of Defense for so quickly concocting such a long and overwrought software acronym.

Dave also suggested that Presidential campaigns would be well served to preemptively spend a significant portion of their financial war chests on a magnanimous cause that would benefit the American people now.  For example, he suggested that the Dean campaign spend its remaining $10 million dollars (of $50 million raised) to feed every hungry person in Montgomery, AL until the money runs out.  Now there's an idea you can run with.

More next time.  I've gotta run to Planning Commission now.  If you want, you can watch me try to be a responsible planning commissioner for the City of Redmond, LIVE and in color at 7:00PM PST tonight at mms://

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