Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Can Run This Election With One Arm Tied Behind My Back...

...or, at least, with one foot in a cast and on crutches.

You see, back in December, after stopping a shot while playing indoor soccer, I was literally ran over by the opposing player, fracturing a bone in my right ankle.

I know the blog is better augmented with photos, but I'll spare you the photo of the ankle. 

You're welcome.  But, think pot roast.

Yesterday's doctor visit confirmed that I will need surgery, sooner than later, and that may impact my planned participation in a technology in voting workshop for persons with disabilities later this month in Atlanta.  Easy for me to say before surgery, but if I can swing it, I still want to go.  I probably wouldn't be the only person with mobility issues attending.

One reason I want to attend is to join the conversation related to a post by Thad Hall on Personalized Voting.

Thad has defined what personalized voting could mean for a person with disabilities and I suggest further that such a customized voting experience could be possible for each voter.  At the very least, I'm a big fan of customizing outreach materials (even if it is just changing something like to to make things feel more personal.

Essentially, the post from Thad is the first articulation I've seen about defining a new covenant of the voter experience.  We've dabbled with it here but never been able to create a comprehensive way for voters to customize their voting experience.

Customization could range from a user-specific web page to remembering ballot font-size preferences on a voting machine.  At the very least, and to the extent possible given our resources, I think customization would make voters feel like guests, and that's a good aspiration.  I am proud to say that our election workers take that point of view, too.

One-to-one marketing was a hot concept pushed by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers 15 years ago.  It's a great idea but almost impossible to implement effectively.

The concept spawned the phrase "mass customization," which shares the title with "co-op-etition" and "share of wallet" as the three marketing phrases that most make me cringe.  They remind me of my high-school physics teacher's explanation of, "rapidly approaching zero," which is what I believe happens to companies' revenue prospects when believing these phrases represent good business strategies.

But, it's a great approach.  Customer Relationship Management Systems were borne out of this concept.

In fact, I subscribe to email updates pushed by Peppers and Rogers.  The emails often suggest new articles on their website, with a link.

You'd think if anyone could get the one-to-one concept down, it would be them, but after the click, I'm greeted with a log-in screen.  Okay, fair enough, but it could at least say, "Welcome back, Brian!" 

Instead, it says, "if you are registered with, please login." 

I feel like a first-time visitor to the site, every time. Even the inventors of personalized service can't implement one-to-one marketing effectively.

So, going in eyes open, knowing the difficulties, I still am an embracer of the concept of personalized voting.   Thad's post recognizes that there are roadblocks, and this is a discussion I'm hoping to join.

First things first, I'm waiting for a surgery date, and I do need to juggle it around election dates and training sessions.  I definitely want to be off crutches before the intensity of our primary election hits.

I'd often thought how fun it would be if we had a Segway in our warehouse and thought, "This is my chance!" but, alas, Segways cost several thousand dollars.  (Yes, I checked).  Maybe I can personalize my crutches.