Scripting News for 5/21/2007

Advice for campaigns 

At the end of the last session on Friday they asked the people in the audience to raise their hands with ideas for the campaigns. I had my hand up, but they didn’t call on me. Had they, this is what I would have suggested.

Take the money you raise and instead of spending it all on advertising, spend some of it on stuff that helps people now.

Spend 1/4 of the money on political advertising. The usual stuff, attack ads, issue ads, whatever. It’s all a waste, but you have to waste some money to persuade the press your campaign is serious. Try to run your ads in media the press follows.

Spend 1/2 of the money on a social program that people care about. Buy health insurance for 50,000 poor people in Mississipi. Install free wifi in one American city for a few years. In 2004, I recommended to Dean that he set up permanent blogging infrastructure because at the time setting up a blog was too hard and unreliable. Now that’s no longer a problem.

Spend 1/4 of the money telling everyone how you’re using 1/2 of the money to help people. This proves that your Presidency will be about solving problems, because you’re not waiting to get elected to solve problems. (I predict this will raise you even more money, for you to spend on helping people, and the idea is so fresh, it might actually help you get elected, but even if it doesn’t you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you not only helped people in a real way, but you also helped people feel positive about politics. I think net-net this is why a lot of people got behind Dean, something that Dean himself never really appreciated. They wanted to do something powerful to help their country. Politicians tend to be cynical, so they don’t get that many people are not inherently cynical.)

Next attempt at Zune 

When I was in NY, I picked up a couple of old Windows laptops I had left at my parents’ house, out in the garage, in plastic containers. They weathered the east coast winters fine, both booted right up, one has a broken keyboard and the other runs Windows 2000. And they have files I had previously lost, so that’s welcome. I’m going to back them up to DVD right away. And I’ll use the one with the broken keyboard to try again to setup the Zune that Microsoft generously gave me to play with at Mix 07 in April.

BTW, on the flight back from NY I saw someone using a Zune. Made me think that if I had mine working we could have shared some music over wifi (even though I guess it violates the airline rules).


I started my checklist for my 11-day Europe trip which starts a week from today.

Purchased my Eurail Pass. I have five days starting in Copenhagen and ending in Milano.

They ship it from Newton Center, which is pretty close to where I used to live when I was in Massachusetts.

Thanks for PDF 

I had a wonderful time at the PDF, even though I spent a fair amount of time writing and surfing instead of participating. I really like both of the guys who ran the conference, Andrew and Micah. And everyone was so warm and friendly, much more so than at conferences held in California. How unusual for a NYC event!

Late start 

First post today at 3:25PM.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by psm on May 21, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Your Zune-on-a-plane comment made me curious. We will see more and more “smart” wireless P2P behavior from devices, so indeed, what, exactly, am I allowed to use on a plane? I gave up finding useful information on the web pretty quickly, so I’ve been calling/emailing airlines ever since I saw your comment to get a precise response. Surprise, surprise: getting a good answer is tricky. I’ll keep trying and post back here if I (against the odds) get a straight answer.

    Regards, P. (


  2. Posted by Ann on May 21, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I spent my formative years in Newton Center! The Brighams ice cream parlor is now a health food shop…times they are a changing….Have fun in Europe — sounds great! Ann


  3. 11 days in Europe; I’m jealous.

    If you’d like to eat well in Italy–if you will have time to get out and eat a bit–pick up a copy of Slow Food’s Osterie d’Italia once you’re in the country. The guide highlights the restaurants that serve the most traditional Italian food with the best ingredients. The ones in Piemonte are fancy, reflecting the wine wealth of the region, but most of the ones in the guide are family restaurants. The Osteria guide is much more interesting than the Michelin guide (as a friend of mine once said, “If you want to eat at a good French restaurant in Italy, I guess the Michelin works.”)

    There is, of course, a lot of good wine in the area, though Lombardy wines aren’t my favorites in Italy, much as I like most of the bottles from the neighboring regions. Drink local throughout, at any rate.


  4. RE: Advice for campaigns

    Just a debate point: would people see beyond a “what does this do for me” mentality to be inspired by the act? Health insurance for 50k folks in Mississippi does not address people in 49 other states. Wi-fi for a city seems secondary to addressing exponentially increasing carbon dioxide output levels in major cities. The issue with addressing any individual problem is that the majority of people are not (currently and/or obviously) impacted by that problem; I’m not sure the majority of people would be touched enough to sway a vote.

    But perhaps more relevant, donating funds to good causes shows character, but doesn’t directly demonstrate leadership or the ability to manage a fiscal budget properly.

    I’m only being cynical for the sake of being a jerk. I like the idea; is the use of these funds better than placing thousands of signs along the highway? Sure. But the challenge lies in the risk of alienation of a majority while not demonstrating the ability to translate personal charity into governmental legislation.


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