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December 2011
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February 2012

Do you know how to caucus?

Do you even know what a caucus is?  We all should be familiar with a primary election.  The process there is much like the general election.  You go to your voting precinct (or mail in ballot or such), fill in the punch card/electronic machine taps/bubbles on a card/etc. for your candidates of choice.  From there some machine counts your vote, results are tallied and a winner is declared.  A caucus is TOTALLY different, but with the same end goal and results, a preferred candidate chosen by the people for the general election.

I hate the phrase “grass roots”.  It is overused and often will turn people off from the get go.  But, I cannot think of a more appropriate way to describe a caucus.  But, even if you, like me, hate the words, read on for a minute.

My caucus experience is limited to what I have done here in Colorado.  I have to assume there are little differences for each state and each precinct within a state even.  First off, if your kids are old enough to understand what’s going on, bring them with you to caucus.  Show them our government in action and how people influence it.  They won’t have a vote, but they can observe and ask questions.  (if your state doesn’t caucus, bring your kid with you to the voting booth, let them see that too)

The caucuses meet in your stereotypical election places, in my case, the middle school cafeteria.  We had several precincts in the same place, but we each had our own private-ish spot in the room.  Precincts are based on geography, so you will see your neighbors here.  You will discuss politics here.  It’s ok.  They are there to discuss politics as well.  Since caucuses are based on political party, you will have some common ground for discussion and will likely still be friends afterward.

We discussed potential party issues and candidates.  The group did some talking for a bit, we asked each other questions.  We talked politics.  We talked about the future of our country.  We talked about the legacy we leave for our kids. 

The group asked for volunteers to help with the organizational aspect of the evening, collecting and counting votes and such.  The “voting” here comes in many forms.  With our group we scribbled the name of our preferred candidate on a scrap of paper and spoke of our preferences too.

Candidates or their reps can stop by your caucus, answer questions about the candidate, speak to your group if you’d like (or not if you don’t like I suppose) and so on.  They don’t have to, and the likelihood of say Romney stopping at Mountain Ridge Middle School on caucus day is rather slim.  But, the local folks will often stop by or send someone to see how they can help get your “vote”.  You are caucusing for more than your President; any race with more than one bona fide candidate with the same party affiliation can be caucused at this time.  There is not the same 100 feet rule (is it 100?) that you have for standard distance of campaigning that you have for “voting”.

In the end our precinct came to a consensus on the candidate to choose.  Actually, in the paper vote all but one voted for the same candidate and the holdout agreed to the consensus.  (Three guesses on who the odd one out was?)

In addition to a chosen candidate to represent the party in the general election, state delegates are chosen from volunteers.  I hear that in most precincts anyone that volunteers goes, in mine we actually had to do voting, we had more volunteers than we had delegate spaces.  The delegates agree to vote at the state convention to represent the group they are from (meaning if your caucus chooses Candidate A, as a delegate at the state convention, you must also choose Candidate A, even if you voted differently).

These state delegates often become national delegates and attend the full-party convention to represent their states.

This is about my personal experience and I am in no way official anything on elections and this is my 4-years old recollections.  Below are a couple of links to more official sources than I. 

official stuff from Colorado Secretary of State

2012 Primary Schedule « 2012 Election Central


Stop Online Piracy Act.  Sounds like a great idea on the surface.  AND, for all you know it could quite possibly be a great thing.  But do you know?  What do you know about it?  You heard this?  Someone complained about that?  Your politician of choice is in favor of it?  Against it?  Do you even know?

I am concerned about SOPA as it is written now.  As a provider of IP (intellectual property) I am generally in favor of protecting the assets I create, either for me or my clients.  I am concerned about SOPA because I think it goes a bit too far.  I am often concerned when people don’t know much about technology (career politicians) and then try to regulate it.  I compare it to all the complaints I hear of executives from health insurance companies regulating our health care choices instead of trained medical professionals.  Not with the same potential life and death results, but still similar.

I won’t go into loads of details defending my opinion, but I will challenge you to go find your own resources and learn about it.  Form your own opinion.  And if you agree with it, after you do your research, that’s totally fine by me.  And if you disagree with it, call your legislators.  Don’t email them.  Call.  No one calls anymore, it holds more weight when you take time to place that call.  (go to to find your rep if you don’t know)

If you are not in the US, not to worry.  SOPA here in the US WILL affect your digital life.  And, chances are there’s something quite similar happening where you live too.

I will caution you to consider the resources you find with info about SOPA (or your local equivalent).  Sites like Wikipedia are totally against it and will likely be slanted in that direction, even with the best of intentions.  Find more than a single source of info and find what you need to know.  It is irresponsible to be uneducated on this matter in this day and age, especially if somehow you wound up here, reading THIS blog.

It’s ok if you don’t agree with me and my reservations and you support SOPA.  I only ask that you are an educated supporter of whatever opinion you have.

eXtremeCRM 2012 Berlin

As you may know, I spoke at the eXtremeCRM conference in Las Vegas just a few months ago.  The same group is hosting the Berlin conference in just a few weeks (Feb 5-8).  Here’s some details about the conference (yes, some is cut and pasted PR content, some is my own words).  Several of the speakers are friends of mine, all great folks.

At eXtremeCRM 2012 Berlin you will:

· Hear informative keynote addresses from Microsoft executives

· Sit front-row at the first-ever eXtreme App Challenge.  Partner developers facing off in the development of CRM-specific applications is sure to be exciting.

· Attend an eXtremeCRM conference that includes both partners and end-users.

· Ask partner leadership about the first Practice Leader Summit.  I’ve read about the workshop-style event and it sounds like the perfect share-learn-strategize combination for partner leaders.

· Attend high-level sessions led by experts at Microsoft and in the CRM industry.  You can see the role-specific content at


eXtremeCRM 2012 Berlin

How to do New Years Eve in NYC

NYE in NYC;  yes, it is Chaos with a capital C.  But, that is exactly why you go, right?  We thought it was such a spectacular idea and I do not for a second regret going.  But with that said, there is truly some planning and considerations you need to keep in mind or you will be cold, hungry and miserable.  We were fortunate and had some of the best weather ever for New Years in NYC, and I’m sure that added to both our enjoyment, and the number of people in the crowd.  And I didn’t even wear a coat!

The energy that is in that crowd is indescribable.   If you are claustrophobic or agoraphobic, this is not the event for you.  But to have that New Years kiss in Times Square with a ton (literal) of confetti dropping from overhead…to sing New York New York in New York for the New Year…to see the fireworks over the flashing 2012…to watch and listen to the countdown and ball drop…all of those things you’ve watched on TV, happening WITH you is just so cool.


  • There are a solid million or so folks that head to Times Square for this shin-dig and you are a mere blip.  Don’t expect any special treatment from anyone.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone was polite, in a party mood and very nice.  But if the cop on 44th Ave told you to go across the square at 49th and the cop at 49th told you no, the answer was no (with a head shake and an “I’m sorry man”).  You kept walking, and walking.  But, when they say you can see the ball drop from as far away as such and such, they are right.  I’m sure the energy in the crowd ten blocks away was just as high as the energy where we were standing.

  • Pay attention to the fine print.  A pedi-cab is usually a great option and might very well still be, but they too inflate prices and we paid $28 per person to go 9 short blocks.  The fine print was the “per person”.   A word of caution on “partial” views from hotels and restaurants, find out what that really means.  Also, watching Times Square behind a pane of glass 10 stories up just doesn’t sound all that appealing, the wow is in the crowd.
  • Plan and then plan again and have a back-up plan.  Our hotel was at 8th and 43rd.  Our dinner party was on 44th, just past 7th.  Any other day of the week, that’s about a 6 minute walk.  Around 6pm on NYE that walk took us over 90 minutes and included a $56 pedi-cab ride.
  • There are many people that go out around lunchtime and stay out until the ball drop.  Here’s a quick summary of how it typically works.  Cops start with barricades and they corral people into sections, filling a section, then moving on to the next one, each one further from that action than the last.  Get in to a good section, congrats!  You now get to stand there, no food, drinks or bathrooms until after the ball drop.  You can leave your section anytime you want, but once cops call the section full, it is closed to re-entry.  We were out people watching at around 4pm and the sections were filled up to around 7 blocks away from the ball.  The crowds increased a bazillion-fold over the next few hours.
  • My advice to anyone wanting to go experience this once in a lifetime event…find a private event that will get you to Times Square, but at a reasonable time.  We went to an all you can eat/all you can drink dinner party at Dopo Teatro.  The food was good, the drinks plentiful and we made a few new friends.  They had packages that ended with the ball drop and others that included more drinks/dancing until 4am.  The best part…?  We were escorted from the restaurant, past the crowds and police barricades (heck the cops protected US from the crazy crowds, like we were celebrities), and out to Times Square at 44th at around 11pm.  That put us right next to the platform that Ryan Seacrest was broadcasting from.  This is not a cheap option, a few hundred dollars per person. 

  • When looking for a place, pay attention to what you get.  Some places right on Times Square have parties for a few hundred bucks too, but they neglect to tell you that you stay inside for your countdown, no ball drop for you.  Find out what they mean by “partial” view of the ball.  Ask questions, these things are usually non-refundable.
  • Use common sense, like you would in any crowded place.  Men, wallets in front pockets.  Ladies, avoid a purse but if you bring one, wrap it around your shoulders, hold it with your hand, etc.  Mine was a wristlet that held some cash, my ID, my phone and my small camera.  Didn’t need more than that.

This is a crowded place, even when it’s not NYE.  Make it the big night and it was VERY crowded.  If you are annoyed by other people, can’t stand being jostled by (and with) strangers, don’t like loud noise, etc…don’t go, watch it on TV.  But if you can make it there, pay attention around you.  Enjoy the people watching, the celebration.