I could have named this post, "In Pursuit of My Own Self-Interest..."
As readers of the site know, I created 247Toolset a couple of years ago. I envisioned it as a tool for libertarians / conservatives to become smarter in the coordination of their volunteers and base. After all, the Ron Paul campaign and the tea parties saw all kinds of professional people come out in service of a philosophy they believed. Smaller government? Sweet!
So I exclusively marketed my technology to those on the right side of the political spectrum. I explicitly told my sales force that I had no interest whatsoever in marketing to the Left. I lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for standing on principle. I said "No" to a lot of sales because I cared.
So I demo'd to the GOP. Eric Johansen of the Iowa GOP has seen the demo not once but twice. His comment to me was that campaign volunteers are "generally 70 years or older and they won't use a tool like this." Matt Strawn, head of the Iowa GOP, has seen it once. Chuck Grassley's people, Terry Branstad's people, Bob Vander Plaats personally... they've all seen it. And not just in Iowa... my salesfolks and I have shown it to people in Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
The reluctant conclusion to which I've come is this: the Right is clueless.
I say this because my salespeople begged me to let them show this to Democrats. I consistently said "No," to the point where the immediate follow-up question they would ask a prospect is "What political party are you?"
But the market of right-leaning campaigns kept telling me "No," so I finally I said okay and had a meeting last week with a well-placed Lefty guru. He saw 247Toolset, my calendar of events, and my previous work on email newsletter functionality. Blend the three of those together, and it's one hell of a volunteer engagement tool, he told me. "Love it!" he kept saying. Now, I have a trip to Arkansas in my near-future. He loves it, believes in it, and tells me I'm stupid to have waited for the Right to get it.
"Republicans weren't the first to discover blogs. They weren't the first to Facebook. They weren't the first to use Twitter. Why would you think they would see the potential in this?"
Fair enough. The guru had a point. So much for any "strategic advantage" I was offering to the Republicans...
Joe, the guy who connected me to the guru, reminded me that politicians don't care about anybody but themselves. "They're all after their self-interest. I don't understand why you care so much... those same politicians and activists don't care about you and yours, so shouldn't you take up for yourself? For your family? If a guy on the Left buys it, good for you. And if his opponent in the race eventually buys it, well good for you again."
He's right. So I've stopped caring about who buys it. Viva the free market. The only group I care about going forward is my customer base, and if it's the Democrats, then I'll take care of them with the same fervor I provide every customer of mine.