by Eileen | 1:31 am, February 8, 2013 | Comments Off
I’ve been thinking. I do that, sometimes.
Here’s what I think.
The Left is currently way ahead on all things techy. Pure technology. Code. Data-mning. Data-analytics. Statistics. Yadda yadda yadda.
The way this usually gets parsed on the Rights is that people with those skills are all Left-leaning. We can’t have good technology because people with computer skills hate us.
Personally, I know enough techies of truly staggering creativity and skill to do astonishing things with a political campaign who are right-leaning. And I’m not that fully integrated into tech circles. I think and I write. A good day is when I think smart thoughts. A great day is when some of them are worth writing down.
I’m not buying that all the technologists are on the left.
And we know it’s not money. The Right truly screws people over but it’s not the the Left is offering some brilliant programmer anything close to what she’s already earning in Silicon Valley.
So why does the Left have the techies.
It’s a cart horse problem.
We tend to look at what the Left has and assume they’ve got great technology because they have the right people. What if it’s the other way around?
What if they attract the cream in the technology world because they’ve already got the right attitude to technology?
We are talking about people who can work anywhere they want. People who, even in this economy, are personally functioning in a buyer’s market.
Workers who represent the cutting edge of technology are drawn to the Left because that’s the political side that will let them create and deploy the things they love to do.
If that guy gets in touch with the Right, we’ll tell him to type names into an Excel spreadsheet or we’ll make him fix the same bug a dozen times a day because the campaign manager insists on admin access and keeps changing the defaults.
Technologists aren’t diehard leftist politicos. If they were, they’d be politicos for a living instead of technologists. Some of them do lean left. A lot of them see no point in working for a movement that doesn’t care about tech policy. But the thing they want, and I say this with confidence because it’s the thing everyone wants, is to have fun at work.
For a lot of people, maybe for most people, that’s the stuff of dreams. But the people at the top get to pick jobs that excite them. Meaning anyone who needs to hire someone of that caliber needs to offer those prized intangibles.
And there is nothing exciting about trying to do technology of any kind for the Right.
There’s no excitement because, at least at this moment, there’s no real hope. Trying to compel funders and decision makers to get serious about a technology overhaul is an isometric exercise – it’s a strain and you don’t get anywhere. Still. After the humiliation of 2012, the stock response from the decision makers remains, “Huh, that’s interesting. Good luck with that.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Right needs to put more money to paying good tech people and supporting the products they build. That’s a problem with a known solution; we just need to apply it. Stop paying the damn consultants so much. That’s your tech budget right there.
But the other part requires us to really, really, fall in love with technology and its promises. How on earth that hasn’t happened is what I still can’t figure out.
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