A blog to accompany whydontweownthis.com, authored by members of the LOVELAND Technology team and friends of the show. Posts here are most likely about Detroit land use issues and ideas, the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, the WDWOT website and service, and etc. Get in touch at email@example.com. You can also catch us at facebook.com/makeloveland & twitter.com/makeloveland.
From the hopefully-not-too-introspective Sunday post-birthday department:
LOVELAND and its baby services like Why Don’t We Own This?, despite the recognized value they add, don’t yet have government support or solid funding, but what we undoubtedly do have is a technology stack, an attitude, and an approach that can change Detroit for the better faster and cheaper than anyone else can. Why?
Because public information combined with avenues for action in the hands of the public win every time, and the web provides a whole new set of super powers we haven’t even started to tap yet.
You may think you get it, but you need to wake up from your trance and vomit a few times before you can really grasp what it means to have a $115 million 2012 information technology budget and yet no one is informed of anything and the city continues to shrink, burn, and hollow out due to its lack of ability to quantify and confront service issues in anything near a manageable fashion. (For a topical budgeting comparison, leasing Belle Isle to the state, which everyone is yelling about right now, saves $6 million a year and helps solve no other problem.)
Sometimes even people who would claim the contrary have a really hard time believing that the public should be openly and relentlessly informed with public information using the latest methods. And sometimes (just sometimes) we even have a hard time really believing this, too, because even people in city government will call us dumb or ignore us for thinking that.
Friday was my 31st birthday, and after driving up to Royal Oak with my friend Vince to watch Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, The Master, I fell asleep back home in Detroit watching Moneyball via mailed Netflix disc (how cool am I? … /*crickets*). The Master was interesting, but hot dang, I didn’t expect to find so much resonance in Moneyball.
These 2 scenes do a decent job summing up a lot of conversations at LOVELAND right now:
Peter Brand: There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams. I apologize.
Billy Beane: Go on.
Peter Brand: Okay. People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs. You’re trying to replace Johnny Damon. The Boston Red Sox see Johnny Damon and they see a star who’s worth seven and half million dollars a year. When I see Johnny Damon, what I see is… is… an imperfect understanding of where runs come from. The guy’s got a great glove. He’s a decent leadoff hitter. He can steal bases. But is he worth the seven and half million dollars a year that the Boston Red Sox are paying him? No. No. Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions. And if I say it to anybody, I’m, I’m ostracized. I’m, I’m, I’m a leper. So that’s why I’m, I’m cagey about this with you. That’s why I… I respect you, Mr. Beane, and if you want full disclosure, I think it’s a good thing that you got Damon off your payroll. I think it opens up all kinds of interesting possibilities.
“For forty-one million, you built a playoff team. You lost Damon, Giambi, Isringhausen, Pena and you won more games without them than you did with them. You won the exact same number of games that the Yankees won, but the Yankees spent one point four million per win and you paid two hundred and sixty thousand. I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always.
It’s the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it’s threatening the game. But really what it’s threatening is their livelihoods, it’s threatening their jobs, it’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go bat shit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they’re dinosaurs. They’ll be sitting on their ass on the sofa in October, watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series.”