Pining for an open-source political campaign

I hate telemarketers, especially political ones

One of Mitt Romney's sons used to be my neighbor. As such, it was hard to not contribute to the campaign.

I'm finding, however, that it's even harder to disengage from the campaign. I get four emails per day (sometimes more) from the campaign (usually two of the same message sent to the two email addresses of mine they somehow have on file). I get calls. I can't get away. Dana calls it basic database marketing. I call it annoying.

It's a bit like the traditional proprietary software model, where obnoxious sales people sit in your office haranguing would-be buyers until you purchase the proprietary ball-and-chain to get rid of the salesperson. (Which is exactly what happens when you write the check - the salesperson disappears. Completely.)

Today I found myself pining for an open-source political campaign. It would operate something like this:

  • All of the politician's information - voting record, positions on the issues, etc. - would be available online in one place. The candidate's source code, as it were. I wouldn't need someone to call me to tell me to vote for him or her - I could choose for myself after reviewing "the source."

  • Because of the first point, there would be no need for campaign staffers to pepper me with emails or phone calls. The source code would either attract my interest or it wouldn't. Open source encourages a passive sales model. The sales team only bothers with those that show an affirmative, proactive interest in the "source."

  • Candidates would win on the basis of who they really are, not who they can pretend to be. Romney takes heat for flip-flopping, but let's be honest: how many politicians have you seen that won't flip-flop on an issue to pull in votes? Very few. Open source the candidates and perhaps we'd have less of this buffoonery.

I doubt we'll ever have an open-source campaign like this, but I sure wish we could. I'm sick of getting emails. There's a problem when a Republican stops wanting to get messages from Republican candidates. It means that it's time for an open-source campaign, one heavy on substance and light on marketing.

I can dream, anyway.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Up for a challenge?

    Put yourself to the real tech test by building your own virtual-reality headset with a few household items.