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Advocacy Lessons from Google

Here is an absolutely mind blowing article about the guts and strategy powering Google. I feel like I need a few weeks to digest the business strategy and the lessons for advocates. I also need a few hours to look up the tech stuff I don't understand. However, I wanted to take notes on the article and figured I would post them here.

Google has been building a strategy that is focused entirely on lowering the cost of computations and then leveraging that power to build all kinds of tools that are amazing displays of computational talent. Additionally, Google has benefitted from (and pushed the envelope) on the lowering the cost of storage. For the first time, this article has "laid out" the emergent power of these investments and opened my eyes to the long term potential of the Google platform. Google has the cheapest computers a few dollars a year. It has the cheapest maintenance of those computers, and it has an adaptive platform of connections among those computers. This edge gives them the potential to test and run new applications across the network. They have brilliant programmers that want to play with this horsepower and they let their teams play in the Googlelabs space. Google has built the model by accepting high failure rates and making up for failure rates with redundancy.

Topix.net Weblog: The Secret Source of Google's Power

Google is a company that has built a single very large, custom computer. It's running their own cluster operating system. They make their big computer even bigger and faster each month, while lowering the cost of CPU cycles. It's looking more like a general purpose platform than a cluster optimized for a single application.
While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.
This computer is running the world's top search engine, a social networking service, a shopping price comparison engine, a new email service, and a local search/yellow pages engine. What will they do next with the world's biggest computer and most advanced operating system?

So make the leap from Google model to network-centric advocacy... we may have something to learn from this giant.

Google has been building a strategy that is focused entirely on lowering the cost of computations.....The network-centric advocacy campaign need to focus on lowering the cost of doing campaign work. What is it that need to be done in a campaign? How can we leverage the dominate trends of the age of connectivity ( cheap phone, Internet and travel) to lower the costs of getting the work done. (MoveOn friend of Friend recruitment vs Direct Mail / Kerry Meetups to organize GOTV actions))

Leveraging that power to build all kinds of tools that are amazing displays of computational talent. ..The early part of 2003, the media and others became increasingly amazed at the adaptive capacity of the Dean internet campaign volunteers from razing money, to pressuring media to responding to calls to table at the Mall.

Additionally, Google has benefitted from and pushed the envelope on the lowering the cost of storage. .. We consistently sink huge chunks of change into full time staff where consultants and volunteers would suffice. We consistently worry about ownership when sharing would be cheaper.

The edge gives them the potential to test and run new applications across the network.
Google has the cheapest computers. It has the cheapest maintenance of those computers, and it has an adaptive platform of connections among those computers. The edge gives them the potential to test and run new applications across the network. Anyone not surprised at the experimental campaigns MoveOn has run over the last year? Traditional groups do not have a operation model that accepts such rapid shifts in program focus. The traditional advocacy operation flows from idea / need => program focus => mission assessment => fundraising => staff allocation=> program design => implementation => testing => fundraising => repeat. It takes weeks to months or years for traditional organizations to develop initiatives and programs. The larger the organization the bigger the strategic planning and navel gazing before hand because the groups is about to invest lots of staff, $$, prestige and brand into an advocacy effort. Meanwhile, genuine grassroots groups and loose movements can test and quickly retest campaigns because investment cost is so low. this leads to a general fell that the large nationals are not in front of the movent but lagging behind the activists in the field.

Google have built that model by accepting high failure rates and making up for failure rates with redundancy. There is great redundancy in the environmental and advocacy movement. (that is good) however, there is terrible coordination of ways that redundancy serves to support failure. The redundancy in the campaigns is competitive and often destructive rather than planned and coordinated.


Lots of great stuff.... I want to come back to this article as time permits.

I also love the folks that are worried about the world's most powerful virus and the Google system developing into an Artificial Intelligence system and wiping us all out like the Terminator movies.

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