For those who missed CNN's coverage of the U.S. presidential election, you missed a real treat. Alex Castellanos, a Republican consultant, discussed President-elect Barack Obama's "bottom-up" approach to leadership, comparing it to the open-source movement (and chiding traditional Washington "top-down" government as akin to the "old way" that Microsoft builds software).
(Obama) said his campaign began with a simple idea: "Change begins from the bottom up." That's not the way the U.S. government works. The seminal essay--this is a little wonk-speak here--in computer software architecture is called The Cathedral and the Bazaar. And the cathedral is the old way of doing things. It's the way Microsoft builds software. We're going to do it our way, worship at our church or you don't get to do it at all.
But the open-source movement in computer engineering is people get together from all over the world and build computer software bottom-up. Is Barack Obama going to be the old top-down industrial-age cathedral leader, or is he going to be the fellow we heard tonight, this new generation of leadership that is very bottom-up for the communications age?
It's an open question as to whether Obama will actually live up to his hype, and Castellanos', but I agree that Obama's groundswell approach to leadership, along with his call for help from the masses to construct the government they desire, is very open source.