Surprise developments in the 2012 Greek elections

I love political communication.   It appeals to the idealist in me.   The social engineering part of me thrives on twisting messages to fit into mediums that will best influence people.   And right now, Greece is the place to be.   The old media is crumbling.  Based on funding from business people that used television and newspapers to influence public spending (ie get the tenders for big projects through blackmail!) the whole model crashed.   Social media rides in and …everyone is confused!   An ex US ambassador to Greece does a great summary of what led us here on his Facebook page.  (In English, the original is here.)

So in order to get involved with a political party, first I had to pick one that is actually not corrupt.   Athena Drakou explains it all (in English) here from that perspective in this excellent introductory article of hers.   And then, a few weeks before the elections, we have to take a party that 99% of Greece hadn’t even heard about a month ago and get it into Parliament.   With zero budget!

As we look at highly dubious poll results and await the exit polls, there is a major upturn in Greek politics.   A. Apostolakis – founder and entrepreneur does it here .  A.Doxiadis – famous author and mathematician does it here . G.Tziralis – the Greek start up man does it here. N.Moraitakis does it here. 53 other Greeks from abroad do it here.  What we have is a pandemic of famous and important Greeks who have never before stated their political affiliations publically doing it now.   Why?

Sure it is an amazing bunch of people.  Within the party and around it, most major Greek intellectuals have gone public in support of “Drasi or Stefanos Manos personally.   It was part of our strategy (for lack of budget) but it has spiralled almost like a viral social media campaign.   Sure the party is on very solid ground through wise long term planning.   It is a loosely knit group of very clever people, each somehow pulling in the same direction without the need for a big central structure.

In the last week before elections we have witnessed a unique development as one after another, major public figures from business and culture take a stance in support of “Drasi”, either through online articles (mainly online, as the party is shut out of most media).  Even vocal supporters from “the Left” and a communist party figurehead have decided that something important needs to change in Greece.  Until now everyone kept there political affiliations a secret for fear of losing a job, a deal or a position in the civil service.   Now they are publically supporting this party for fear of there being no jobs left to get!

But ultimately, especially for a region like Greece which resembles a volcano ready to erupt, good communications will be the deciding factor.   Especially if (when) the May elections do not produce a useful government, there will be 11 million even more disappointed Greeks to kick into action.

(Full disclosure: I am in charge of the social media campaigning of “Drassi”.  For more information visit or – in English the links provided above.  For the latest guesstimates on possible outcomes you will be really hard pressed to find any authoritative account – I have put a summary  of polls here.)



Mobile revolution in perspective

Some people on the planet feel the need to bring some balance to this debate.   Not that there is much debate.   Everyone seems sure that mobile devices will conquer the planet.   Apps are growing like mushrooms.   Many with less meaningful content than an edible fungus.  This doesn’t stop marketing departments investing in mobile platforms for everything.   Everything.

Don’t get me wrong.   I am happy that this is leading to some interoperability.   (Not so happy we are wasting a lot of global energy pandering to a very small minority of …well whatever Apple dreams up of, often on its own little island.  We should be talking about “tablet compatible” things, not “iPad” compatible.)   It is great that websites are getting better to navigate from different resolution screens.   I have been a road warrior and smart phone user since the days when this involved carrying a brick in my back pocket and being laughed at in meetings for using it.

I have done work on a mobile phone.   Back in the days when you could find a phone with a decent keyboard I would even write thoughts like this on one.   But real individual information processing work gets done on a PC.   Unless you are in the business of only reading stuff or killing pigs by throwing birds at them from a slingshot.

There are some rock solid obstructions to a mobile device being truly capable:  1. Screen resolution.   I struggle with netbooks because the 600 pixel limitation to the height makes getting anything done on the internet difficult.  Even 768 on many laptops is annoying.   2. Screen size.   Some of us are lucky enough to not mind ridiculously small fonts.   Not everyone.   The Galaxy Note is a step in the right direction. 3. Keyboard.  Again netbooks are a good example.  Read reviews and all the complaints people make about smaller keyboards.   For anyone that writes to make their living this is serious.   Virtual keyboards on touch screen never, ever, ever come even close and voice recognition remains a problem in the real world.  4. Multi tasking.   Even if Alt-tab isn’t your second nature, when you are working you are very often multitasking.   I’m not talking about an iPhone finally being able to run essential tasks simultaneously.   I am talking about 5 spreadsheets, 8 browser windows, a business app and a few other things running at the same time because I need to them to put something together.   Even a simple presentation will often demand 6 or 7 software applications running concurrently.  5. Speed.   When we are talking about serious work, the speed of the device is essentially stalling your thought process.   I am annoyed at upgrading to an 18 megapixel DSLR because it takes that much longer for my Core i7, SSD laptop to process the images.  Time is money and mobile devices are wasteful in this respect.  Unless they are a laptop.   Mobile enough!

The list continues with other major or minor niggles.   “Niggles” being things that bother you.   Like the room being too cold.   Like your chair not being comfortable.   Like all those things you don’t want bothering you when you actually try to get some work done.   For anyone wanting to focus on a task involving the use of technology, a PC will continue to be the best place to get it done.

Niggle free.