There have been accomplishments, both wins as well as lots of challenges overcome.
  • I summoned the courage to give up working. Twice.
  • I found ICount as a partner.
  • I developed the biggest list on the internet of government-transformation sites
  • I talked to all of the founders that would take my calls.
  • I built a prototype with very compromised technology
  • I stepped up to “become a visionary”
  • I reached many groups and tor their agreement to send many millions of members to PeopleCount when it launches
  • I spent many, many nights and weekends reaching lots of people and talking with them
  • I actually listened to them
  • I contacted and met with a political author
  • After he gave a talk, I gave billionaire Tom Steyer a 1-minute pitch. He said it sounded promising and gave me his card. No one ever answered his phone or returned any of about a hundred phone messages and emails.
  • I was contacted by the UN and met with a guy- he’s interested once it’s up and running- the UN wants a way to represent people, not just governments.
  • I spent some money on marketing help, got some articles published and learned about marketing consultants.
  • Developed very promising marketing and launch plans
  • Let it go after 8 months and found a job in 2013
  • Continuing to work on it in the background
  • Took it up full time again in 2015
  • Came up with a key improvement, and later, a post-MVP killer feature
  • Found a partner, worked through most of the details,
  • Was heartbroken when he bailed, but didn’t give up,
  • Handled severe, episodic depression since 2016, never gave in to the cynical meaning of the emotions, but accepted that severe failure effects the mind.
  • Committing to work with a business coach for a year
  • Began regular blogging
  • Tried to build MVP (first product) using offshore help
  • Found 2 real partners, one to manage the offshore team
  • Wasn’t stopped when the offshore team proved dishonest
  • Found a team with good references
  • Took over the everything when one partner was in a car accident and the other was consumed by a divorce,
  • Fired team 2 when they proved to be incompetent
  • Tried a third team and fired them quickly for dishonesty.
  • Found a fourth team and worked with them
  • Built and rebuild much of the code myself, including learning 3 new technologies
  • Let team 4 go when they reached their limit and couldn’t deliver what was promised
  • Searched for others who could pick up the work and tried some consultants
  • Found a 5th team- two Americans
  • Let them go when they insisted on changing the tech, but cut huge corners on the functionality
  • Kept successfully handling the depression
  • Gave up when the election became too close to launch
  • Continued to blog (370 articles are published on the blog)
  • Found a new job
  • Continue to work on PeopleCount nights and weekends, without a break
  • Found new people to work with
  • Constantly maturely handle people not keeping their word.
  • Keep reaching out

Best wishes…

PeopleCount has been an Adventure

PeopleCount has failed, so far. But it has been an adventure.

The Adventure Began

In truth, what I’m most proud of is my fortitude. It has been incredibly difficult to change who I am, to step into bigger shoes when no one’s help.

In jobs, when I tackled a bigger project or a bigger responsibility, such as building a needed tool, designing a new feature, or even managing or group, I did it in an organization that defined the role, accepted my new status and was there to support me. They were also there to judge me and give me feedback. It was like stepping up to a new level.

In PeopleCount, there was no one else. I had a few people encouraging me, and once in a while I had someone willing to help with a specific bit of work. But no one else was willing to shoulder any responsibility.

I had to define every new role and declare what the goals needed to be and what was doable and good enough.

I had been an engineer, adding to an established product. And I was an engineer with little or no artistic sense. I left the look of the products to others. I almost never gave a technical talk or designed a presentation- and when I did, it was with others’ feedback and appreciation. I certainly never designed a marketing brochure much less did any sales.

Bigger roles, expanded character

Suddenly, I needed to be a visionary, an entrepreneur, plus a web designer and a marketer. I had to guide article creation and decide “what I wanted”. My strength is analyzing, not deciding. I’m much better at deciding things when I work with others. But there was no one else. I approached lots of friends and acquaintances, but most begged off – they didn’t have the time and certainly not the expertise.

I designed a brochure and tackled several presentations. So far, I’ve given just 3  presentations, but that’s far more than I had ever done before, especially since I was talking to a completely ignorant audience about something they couldn’t even imagine.

Plus, I needed to do sales. Contacting people was very, very difficult. I tried all sorts of ways. When they didn’t answer, should I give up on them, hide in shame, or try again? And if I tried again, should I repeat the email or phone message?  Should it be longer? Or shorter? I’ve tried to contact a couple thousand people and most never reply. For most of them, I grappled with how to try again- should I say more? Should I say much less? Of the dozen ways to approach it, which should I take? Or should I come up with a new way?

Breaking through limits

Another huge step was spending money on it. Quitting my job was scary. I hadn’t been without a job since the downturn at the turn of the millennium. It had ravaged our savings and was a time of endless worry and struggle. How could I voluntarily quit my job?  But I had to- I wasn’t making progress on it while working.

It’s been endless trying and failing and struggling with new things, and learning. I’ve even had deep bouts of depression where what got me through was the commitment to reality instead of believing the mirage given by depression. I’ve learned a ton…

And in two days, I’ll be 60 years old. The adventure continues.

PeopleCount’s Launch Schedule

PeopleCount at this point, is an idea, plans, a blog, and some unfinished software. There’s no target launch schedule.

I believe a team of 3 could finish the software in 3 months, and complete an alpha and beta in 2-4 more months. We could powerfully begin to transform politics in 2017.

Since I’m the only one working on it, and I have a day job, and don’t have the front-end skills needed, the 9 person-months could take 3-6 years.

It’s depressing to think about. So much potential, wasting away.

I’ll keep looking for possibilities, ways to move forward…

PeopleCount offers Real Political Transformation

In the previous post, I asked a new contact to please take PeopleCount seriously.

Real political transformation

PeopleCount is the real deal. It’s a real solution to our worst political problems and empowers citizens to make Congress fix the rest. It empowers not just citizens and incumbents, but hugely empowers challengers. They add ideas, keep incumbents honest, and pressure them to perform.

And PeopleCount doesn’t just empower challengers to win. It empowers whoever wins to rise above party politics and serve the people.

Our political system is in bad SHAPE

Right now, our political system has the PERFECT shape to deliver the results we’re seeing. Our current system is ineffective and invites corruption and dishonesty.

With PeopleCount, the shape of the system will naturally pull for accountability. It’ll naturally improve our political system. Plus the PeopleCount organization will work hard to serve people. We’ll keep molding it to serve people, not parties or philosophies, and support finding great solutions.

And we’ll deliver breakthrough accountability for an organization. We will be accountable to you. We’re not in it for profit, but I’ve spent my savings on this. We’ll set up a bonus system that will only pay out with citizen approval.

Currently, America has NO system for finding, developing and delivering improvements to politics. No system for delivering accountability. PeopleCount is committed to being that system.

Sports in the woods, or in an arena?

It’s sort of like an arena for sports. When sports were played in tilled fields, it was natural to be wild and playful. There were limits to what was possible and players often got hurt. An arena, with its stands and referees and lines and scoreboards invites scrutiny, fairness and real rules. It’s an environment that pulls for better sports.

PeopleCount creates an environment that pulls for accountability, honesty, transparency and serving the public good.

74% Complete

I’ve done 99% of the planning and 75% of the work. In a very real sense, its success depends on the next 99% of the planning and work. I’ve prepared for launch and created plans that will grow it quickly. The work involved in that growth is daunting. PeopleCount needs a team.

Please put some real time into considering this. Please read some more and suggest some ways you can help. I’m an engineer- I’m not a marketer or a writer. I’ve done a fair job at those, but not enough to even run a crowdfunding campaign, much less launch. Please help.

If you saw a real political solution you wouldn’t know it without doing some homework, some challenging thinking. Please do that. Please read my Nuts and Bolts article, and a few others of note on on my blog.

Then tell me how you’ll help. To start with, please put your name on our mailing list and make a donation. Let’s make real transformation happen.

Introduction to PeopleCount, Political Power and Accountability

This is an introduction to PeopleCount and myself. It’s one (860 word) article, and points to a 2-part series about The Nuts and Bolts of PeopleCount, and a 6-part series about how Political Accountability is in our Blind Spot. PeopleCount is about a new paradigm for politics, one that can start in a few months, if I can get some support… Continue reading

I’m a Lousy Entrepreneur

I’m a lousy entrepreneur. That means I’ve fail a lot and redo a lot. In the last post, I listed a bunch of myths, plus a rule, that make entrepreneurship harder than it needs to be. This one is about my weakest weakness.

Needed: Salesperson

Every team needs a sales person. I’m okay giving a presentation, but not great. People distract me. If they interrupt, I easily forget to keep moving the presentation along.

And I’m too bright for my own good. I’ll be giving a presentation and someone will ask a question. The answer springs up in my imagination like a long, winding road. I don’t know how much to tell them. And there are some interesting sites along the road. I’ll squint a little bit as I sift through what to say. People easily mistake that for looking confused or concerned.

Salespeople lie. Usually not in a bad way. They gloss over the unnecessary details, smudging the truth a bit, finishing the pitch. Of course there are more details, but they’re not appropriate in a sales meeting. My brain chases after details like a Labrador Retriever chases squirrels.

Needed: Micromanager

I’ve learned is that contractors need to be micromanaged if the task isn’t extremely simple. If the slightest detail isn’t specified, they’ll make something up or fake it. And every small task should end in a new test passing. Otherwise they’ll think it’s done when it’s not.

Have you heard of the Dunning–Kruger effect? This is where incompetent people will over-estimate their competence. They understand something, so they assume they understand what’s needed. There’s a corollary: “…high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.” I made that mistake managing others. I assumed they understood what I told them and that they understood the spec I wrote.

A lousy entrepreneur is who’s available

Maybe, with enough time, I can get PeopleCount off the ground with no funding and no committed help. It’s almost demo-able right now. One part is missing but I may be able to get a company to give me some software for free for the first half year. (Fingers crossed.)

But my brain keeps screaming: You shouldn’t be doing this alone! It’d be great to have a team of 4- someone doing sales, marketing, presentations and networking, someone designing the web pages, and a political science person helping with the content. Meanwhile, I work on the back-end and generate the vision to drive us all.

But for now, it’s all me… Plus I’ve got taxes to do and am looking for full-time work to calm my wife and son… Oh, and I need to finish the book. I’m sure there’s more. This is who’s accountable for transforming politics.

Please help. In 30 seconds, for no money, please put your email address on my announcement list. If you want to make my day, and strike a blow for America having a government that’s accountable to the people, make a donation, too.

PS: The next post will be more upbeat…