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Blog Posts for February 2012

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Crossing My Fingers

Tonight is a big 247Toolset night. I'll explain more tomorrow, but now that it's getting into commercial venues, and now that it's in its second university, the future looks like it could be busy.

ETC: Last night, 247Toolset was used by Prom DSM, an prom fashion show.

Why in the world would they use 247Toolset, which is an organizational productivity suite?

We (Jonathan and I) wrote a technology piece last summer that allows for text messaging to a 247Toolset portal. Through 247Toolset, you can declare what we call "text words," which are single words, such as "kindle," that people can text to the web site. Upon doing so, it will either recognize your cell number from having texted the web site before, or it won't, in which case it will create a new account for you when you do.

This gives the administrator all of the cell numbers for those who text, and it allows for interaction from a hand-held device. And it allows for things like voting, polling, etc.

Based on a couple of requests that they made, we extended that functionality to allow for what we call "text phrases" - anything not a recognized "text word" was simply put into a queue and managed by an admin to screen what was put forth to be displayed.

Last night, they used a big projection screen to have this at the front of the event:

What you see there is what was actually on screen. Imagine hundreds of teenagers having their texts pushed to a central screen for everyone.

Now imagine sporting events, conferences, etc.

Of the 324 people who texted their portal last night, we accurately captured 282 of the people, which is a success rate of 87%. We can see what we need to do to address those we missed, but the event hosts are quite pleased, and will be pushing this to colleagues of theirs. As I was asked earlier today after the event, "And after paying my $280, I can continue to use this for the rest of the year?"

Yes, she can. She then said that she intends to use this in Chicago for an event soon.

Our server took in over 5,000 text messages and never broke a sweat.

Cool night.

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/3/2012 4:37:40 PM
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Tables Turned

I've argued for a while that it's our children that will inherit and have to pay off these massive deficits. I was worried about it during the Bush years and railed on Bush for it. I was worried about it when Obama first came into office, and the debt ceiling just grows and grows because they're just spending and spending.

Fascinatingly, MoveOn.org agreed with me back then, and even created the above ad. But of course, no such worries when Obama is office. They could just as easily swap Bush's name in that commercial with Obama's, and it's just as true. But they won't - it's a partisan thing.

Me - debt is not a partisan thing. It's a "save my children's future" thing. At least when a Republican is in office, the press cares about such things. Not so when a Democrat is in office. Maybe we should all vote Republican just so that there's a public accountability required of our president by the media, eh?

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/5/2012 8:07:19 AM
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Today's Beauty

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by Brett Rogers, 2/6/2012 6:58:53 AM
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Half a Million

Sometime last night, my Days Alive counter tripped over 500,000.

Criminy but that's a lot. I hope that for all of the people who used it, it helped them gain some insight into the importance of each day.

No advertising used... just good Google placement.

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 2/6/2012 7:05:10 AM
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Newest Fun: Scramble

I always loved Boggle, the game where you have to find as many words as you can among 16 letters.

Zynga, the Words with Friends folks, recently came out with Scramble, their version of online Boggle. After about 3 days of play, I'm diggin' it.

Here's my high score to date:

I think 3,000 is possible... but it would be awfully tough to get to it.

One of my favorite moments in this past year was when our kids and us were in our living room, all staring at our phones, playing massive Words with Friends games with one another. Hilarious to look at all of us staring intently into our phones.

The joys of technology - bringing us all closer.

ETC: And a new high score.

I never play with Power Ups. I prefer the challenge of seeing what I can do myself - plus, I have more tokens that way for more games.

I did play one guy who said he'd scored above 3,000, but he was definitely using Power Ups. Let's see if I can do it without.

ETC: Getting closer to 3,000...

And still never use Power Ups.

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 2/6/2012 7:20:38 AM
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Flurry

Tonight's the night when I connect the programmable dots between payment processing and membership management, and as I worked on it earlier, it occurred to me that membership management isn't much different than subscription management, just as a few days ago it occurred to me that fundraising management isn't really that different from membership management.

I can use my own dogfood, as it is, for my clients to resubscribe. My clients are no different than members of an organization, and the annual "dues" are $239.40 ($19.95 x 12).

Kinda cool.

And while that was dawning on me, it occurred to me that the storefront capability I'm putting into the platform later in the spring will fit real nice in the same module - no longer Fundraising, but Financial.

Reminds me of a quote from Anne Lamott:

The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it... If one of the characters wants to say, 'Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?' you let her.
Which borrows a page from Edward De Bono's Green Thinking Hat, the uncritical, anything-goes, just-get-it-out way of working out a problem.

I'm romping this evening...

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/6/2012 9:03:51 PM
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Business Card Holder

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by Brett Rogers, 2/8/2012 7:01:24 AM
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The Myth of Organized Organization

Last night, Rick Santorum swept into victory in three states. The least funded candidate won decisively among a field of four.

There are those who look at Romney's money and organization and see a juggernaut. Last night, that notion was tucked into bed and the lights were turned out.

Newt Gingrich has money, went negative, and flaunted his grandiose big government ideas, but despite his gift of gab and a recent influx of big money into his Super PAC, he was nowhere near the top of the pile.

Ron Paul - that vaunted organization of his... it didn't do well.

The guy who came in first? He has neither organization nor money.

So why did he win?

It's very simple, and those of you on the left who read this blog won't understand a thing of what I'm about to say, to your detriment.

In early 2010, I bet a very liberal guy named Bruce Stone $20 that Marco Rubio would win the senate seat in Florida. This was before he was nationally known, and before Charlie Crist had lost the primary and before it became a three-man race.

I believed Rubio would win for a single reason: the Tea Party.

When you take a candidate who is a solid family man, believes the right things, states them in well-spoken terms, he has a good shot. When that man has a sizable grassroots organization underneath him, he'll likely win.

Marco Rubio didn't own or organize his organization that catapulted him to victory - and by the way, he beat Crist and the Democrat combined. Instead, the organization decided to get behind him and - ta-da - he won.

After Rubio's victory, I told Bruce (who throughout the campaign gave me silly statistics he had at his fingertips that proved not even close to correct) that his ridicule and lack of understanding of the Tea Party was his Achilles Heel. But he was all full of conventional wisdom and best practices - and he was wrong.

Santorum won last night, for only a single reason: in the last three years, the conservatives of the country, the ones who can muster hundreds of thousands to Washington for Tea Party rallies, figured out that rallies are fun and interesting, but mostly ineffective. So we instead went very quietly under the radar to start running for local offices and to get into the central committees and to support the candidates of our choice. But we've been organizing, make no mistake, in an almost undetectable way.

When a conservative candidate finally came out swinging for capitalism and against Romneycare, for limited government without the trappings of big government solutions, the Tea Party, a very organized group, communicated their approval to each other. That organization showed up last night in three states.

Money in politics is nice, but it's only a means to an end. The end, of course, is to get out the vote, and getting out the vote is all about one thing: bodies and ballots. At the end of the day, you can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have the bodies or the ballots, you lose.

Romney has been trying to win without the base. He's been running a general election campaign since he started because he felt that he was the presumed winner. Sorry pal - you still need us in the cheap seats to carry you over the line. I have yet to meet a Tea Partier who strongly supports Mitt. (And no, Ann Coulter is not a Tea Partier. She's an Ann Partier.)

Mitt might still win it. But the reason Santorum won last night is that the stealth-organized Tea Party believed him, just like they believed Marco Rubio. Against conventional wisdom, Santorum could win this, if he, like Rubio, remains true to his beliefs and his supporters throughout the campaign.

I watch the left and the elite media folks, neither of whom ever tried to really understand the Tea Party, sit in shock today at the results. But every Tea Partier I know looks at the race today and understands Santorum's victory and how he won it.

And we smile.

I have my disagreements with Rick, but he's a full-throated capitalist, and I know where he stands. Good for him and for his acquired organization that lifted him to victory.

ETC: I found this later in a thread at HotAir, from a person in Colorado, and it cinches what I'm saying.

This shook up the GOP establishment in Colorado, make no mistake.

Its pretty simple: The state GOP apparatus, with former McCain people and all the Romney people, supported Romney. Large numbers of LDS voters here as a pool to draw on. Lots of money spent on direct mail, and he was basically the only one making robo-calls some folks got 4 of them plus a live call! On top of that, Romney won Colorado in 2008. Romney had everything going his way in CO - yet despite all those advantages, Romney still didn't get more than 35%, and got beat by a guy on a shoestring budget. Why? Message, Obamacare, and state/local politics.

We don't trust the so-called GOP elites here anymore. And we are now angry enough to get out and do something. The rest of us, the "grass roots" GOP members, especially the newly active Tea Party types, got trained in how to do caucuses and precinct elections, and showed up in larger numbers than the establishment expected. And Santorum was the beneficiary. At our precincts, Gingrich was seen as an untrustworthy beltway bandit, Romney as the ultimate sell-out establishment guy, and many of us were simply tired of both of those types of GOP "elites". So we voted for the only other viable conservative choice we had: Santorum. He has flaws, but they are probably the most easily mendable.

But the big thing is that we put our people in as delegates to the county and state instead of the usual people who have been there for decades in some cases - we will be making changes to the bosses; we are out to kick in the door of the old boy network personified by the Owens clique, Dick Wadhams et al, who have been running the GOP in Colorado for nearly a decade, and who have blown every election cycle since 2004.

We aim to misbehave.

OrdinaryColoradan

So again, for those who think the Tea Party is dead, you just keep thinking that. It works to our advantage.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/8/2012 8:25:12 AM
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The 10th Amendment

Some of the folks who support Romney, and Romney himself, they say that the healthcare mandate in Massachusetts is Constitutional, and they use the 10th Amendment as support.

It reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
To suggest, as some do, that it is then Constitutional for states to have near dictatorial rights to pass any damn thing they want, as long as the majority want it, is a ridiculous abuse of the amendment.

The 10th Amendment was not written to give states a license to trample our rights and freedoms. It was written to protect the states from an overreaching federal government.

It's important to understand a bedrock principle of our founding: the individual is granted inalienable rights by the Creator, not by man, not by the government. Those rights cannot be taken away by man or by the government. This renders the individual, here on Earth anyway, sovereign. No one is a subject of the government here in the United States. We are a free people.

The Constitution sought to establish the minimum framework necessary for free people to maintain a society. For that reason, the power of the federal government was limited. Madison wasn't real excited about the 10th Amendment, but he gave in to those who demanded it. As a draft of it was passed around through the room, someone wrote in ", or to the people." It served as a healthy reminder that the state was not to become sovereign over the individual. The state, like the federal government, was also to establish a minimum framework to maintain society, while respecting the primary principle of our country: that men are, by nature, free and have rights that cannot be removed from them.

Nobody ever cites that last part of the amendment when they defend Romneycare.

A Reuters poll from March of last year showed that MassCare had an 84% approval rating in Massachusetts. You know what that means? It means that 16% of the people don't approve of it. The way it works: everyone is required to have health insurance - the mandate - and for the very poor, the amount owed can be as low as a few dollars per month.

Let me make this point: the government of Massachusetts decided that private citizens are forced to purchase specific goods and services from a private enterprise. That is unlike having to get a driver's license (government), schools (government), property taxes (government), or speeding limits (government). All of that is addressed by my relationship with the government. But you can't make me buy milk. What if I don't want milk?

If I don't want to have car insurance because it's too expensive, I can walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation. But in mandating the purchase of health insurance, I am robbed of my freedom to choose what I purchase, and thus, gone is my individual sovereignty.

Some read the 10th Amendment as allowing the states to be almost dictatorial in controlling their respective citizens.

That's a horrible reading of the amendment and it forgets the overarching intent of the Constitution.

The truth of the Constitution is that it did not allow the federal government to step in and prevent the states from being almost dictatorial in controlling their respective citizens. The 10th Amendment is a limitation on the federal government, as are the other nine amendments. It is not a license granted to the states to do as they please. Only citizens have a license to do as they please, not the states.

The 10th Amendment doesn't mean that states have authority over us, especially when we are in the minority, nor should we allow them to take it just by legislating it into being. Ours was intended to be a free country, despite state bureaucratic mischief. We either fight for it, or we don't, but I have no clue why conservatives who support Romney would cede one bit of their god-given freedom to the state or any government. What the hell??

Remember: the 10th Amendment is not license. It simply limits the federal government from interfering in matters outside federal jurisdiction, but Constitutionally, I am still sovereign over any government because my freedoms are granted to me by my Creator, and no body of man can remove them from me.

When a state mandate removes individual freedom from us, there's nothing Constitutional about it, and any day that I allow myself to surrender to tyranny of the majority within a state is the day that give up my individual sovereignty.

Today, the popularity of Romneycare is plummeting:

A recent poll from Suffolk University and WHDH-TV reports that 49 percent of respondents do not believe RomneyCare has helped, while only 38 percent believe that it is working.
I won't get into why that's happened, only to say that at the end of the day, everyone wants the freedom to choose the direction of their own lives. Anything less than that is un-Constitutional.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/9/2012 7:21:44 AM
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Poor Execution

As it becomes more apparent that Mitt Romney isn't the obvious nominee, he sees a need to really cinch up his relationship with a base that increasingly won't vote for him in the primary.

So he goes off to CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, and gives a speech, hoping to solidify his credentials as a conservative. And he says to the assembled crowd, "I was a severely conservative Republican governor."

Now as it turns out, those weren't his prepared remarks, which read, "I was a conservative Republican governor." He, all by his own self, wove in there the word "severely."

Limbaugh has lampooned this. The entire conservative base has lampooned this. In fact, someone, by proxy, has now registered severelyconservative.com.

When you, as a would-be executive, go to a conference of your base and instead of solidifying your support, you instead say things that erode it, you're not gifted with skills of execution.

Damn, but a lot of people wasted money on that campaign...

ETC: I read that Romney wins the CPAC vote. That's what happens when you pay to bring as many of your supporters as you can muster.

The bigger news? Santorum (31%) was only 7 points behind Romney (38%), and Santorum didn't have any money to ship people in.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/11/2012 5:26:51 AM
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Today's Wish for Beauty

Today's beauty would be lounging around, reading a book or painting or something. The last time I had a day off was Tofino, back in September. I sure could use one.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/11/2012 4:12:01 PM
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The Road Ahead Looks... Interesting

I'm all for shaking things up. It's healthy when it's done to reorganize and regroup.

But I have to wonder whether the new RPI chairman, Ron Paul's guy - AJ Spiker, will be able to unite the GOP in Iowa.

Some potential road blocks:

  • AJ was Ron Paul's co-chair in Iowa, and Ron Paul hasn't said that he would support the eventual nominee or even rule out a third party run.
  • Ron Paul is often down in the mouth about the GOP. Where does AJ stand?
  • Ron Paul's crew is somewhat known for not mixing too well with the GOP.
  • The RPI chair is chiefly a fundraising position. AJ's gonna have to pretty quickly establish himself as being, you know, all about the GOP.
Well done, Campaign for Liberty... you did a great job setting the stage for the election of your guy. Now, can you unite the party in Iowa, from the establishment down to the grassroots?

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by Brett Rogers, 2/11/2012 10:29:47 PM
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On Social Issues

I have a very strong opinion about social issues, and my feelings are best summed up this way:

Obama is killing our economy by growing government.

While others want to talk about the false narrative of banning birth control, the most fundamental aspect of the birth control issue is this:

Obama is overwhelming my children's future with monumental debt.

To some, social issues are really important. To me, they are divisive and they detract from the most unifying aspect of this election:

Obama is ruining our private business sector and eroding jobs.

Republicans can allow themselves to be distracted by stupid non-arguments, and thereby allow Obama a second term, or they can focus on the single issue that will them the election:

Obama is championing a centralized government that is washing away our economy.

Some people want to talk about saving unborn babies. I want to talk about saving the already born babies from mountains of debt. The former won't win elections. The latter will win elections, and saving our children from the burden of big government spending is the greatest social issue of our time.

4 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/16/2012 3:03:24 PM
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Expectations

For me, I've found that life never turns out like I expect it will. Almost nothing is in my control. The only thing I can do is be true to myself, and make the best decision I can for me and for those around me. Sometimes, that's not easy.

I had an opportunity yesterday to remind my son, Tate, that the hardest thing is life is to see things as they really are. He struggled with a personal situation, and none of it was in his control. None of us can truly peer into the souls of others and determine their motives or ambitions. Being ignorant of what's going on outside our vision begs our mind to fill in the blanks, but in truth, we don't know what's going on. The truth can eventually reveal itself, and it's best if we remain in a position where we can receive it for the truth that it is and not convince ourselves in the meantime of something that isn't true.

Sanity, by definition, is a healthy mind. Our mind is only as healthy as what we put into it. If we stuff it with things that aren't true and real, then we can't be sane.

Sanity is all about true vision. And sometimes waiting to see what's true is agonizing, but it is the sane thing to do.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/18/2012 8:57:52 AM
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Act of Filmmaking

Last night, I saw Act of Valor. It was a great film, with an excellent story, and was told with a voice that boasted American military competence.

Amen.

This is the only movie I've seen at the box office since Iron Man II. I expect that it's the only movie I'll see until Avengers, and if I'm going to give my hard-earned dollars to Hollywood, I'll give it where it counts most. This movie deserves your hard-earned money and time.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/25/2012 8:54:38 AM
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