Q & A with Jason
Q & A Chat Workshop with Jason Sorens - 12/21/04
Here's a transcript of the chat that took place:
18:01:14 [jsorens] michael - dr matt barney sent me a book recently: 'influence' by cialdini... have you read it?
18:01:41 rothameric enters this room
18:01:51 [HardyVT] What is everyone using for operating systems? Anything other than Windows 98-XP, MacOS 8,9,X, or Linux(x86)?
18:02:07 Aldridge enters this room
18:02:12 [katdillon] Hi scott
18:02:21 [MiclEdlstn] Yes--excellent ideas on how to motivate people to help you achieve your goals.
18:02:26 [rothameric] Hey Kat. How are you?
18:02:42 [katdillon] Really? Sounds like an interesting book
18:02:46 [MiclEdlstn] I continue to make use of his suggestions.
18:02:47 [katdillon] Great
18:03:04 [jsorens] it was a really interesting read. he does a good job of popularizing psychological research.
18:03:24 [katdillon] Would you like to get started?
18:03:30 [jsorens] sure
18:03:41 [MiclEdlstn] Yes. It's the type of book just about everyone would find useful.
18:04:03 [katdillon] Welcome everyone. Thanks for coming. Tonight we have Jason Sorens, Free State Founder here to answer your questions.
18:04:44 [jsorens] there's no set agenda, so feel free to fire away on any topic!
18:05:12 SkippyBob enters this room
18:05:15 [HardyVT] can we get rid of this phpchat/
18:05:16 [MiclEdlstn] Jason, perhaps you can give a "State of the Free State" report.
18:06:18 [jsorens] hardy - i hope so...we're using this now b/c its easy for people, & they dont have to download or install anything
18:07:14 [jsorens] michael - as we're coming to the end of 2004, we're now assessing how far we've come this year, whether we've met our goals, etc.
18:07:35 [jsorens] we set some strategic goals for 2004 at the beginning of the year: some of them we've met, some have changed, others we haven't met
18:07:40 [RussellK] so what was our participant goal for 2004 again?
18:07:56 [jsorens] our goal was 7,000. obviously, we fell short there.
18:08:21 [jsorens] and that was the most important of our goals - the other goals - raising funds, getting our tax status settled - were just means to ends
18:08:46 [jsorens] so we have to reassess some of our recruitment strategies
18:08:56 [jsorens] here is the picture today as i see it...
18:09:17 [katdillon] Jason, I don't think I've heard you say....what do you think is the best way to increase recruitment?
18:09:24 [jsorens] some of our recruitment techniques seem not to have worked well, while others have paid some dividends, and others we're still waiting on
18:09:42 [katdillon] (Take your time....didn't mean to fire questions so fast)
18:09:45 [MiclEdlstn] Could you enumerate each?
18:09:52 [jsorens] our mailing to massachusetts libertarians hasn't gone out yet, & that may have significant positive results
18:10:20 [jsorens] the latest shadow ad campaign in ct has netted only 1 new signup so far, but did get us some positive nh coverage
18:10:27 [jsorens] the problem is getting coverage outside nh, of course
18:10:40 [jsorens] also, the radio campaign in baltimore has netted only 2 or 3 new signups, i believe
18:11:01 [jsorens] now, there is both good news and bad news about the recruitment rate in 2004
18:11:16 [jsorens] the good news is that the decline in 2004 was apparently not as great as we expected
18:11:33 [jsorens] the bad news is that the reason for this was that the recruitment rate in 2003 was apparently not as good as we thought it was
18:11:43 [jsorens] we ran a few numbers recently to get a handle on this
18:12:17 Rinku enters this room
18:12:19 [jsorens] as we all know, over 2000 people who signed up before august 2003 did not vote in our state vote
18:12:33 [jsorens] of those, several hundred have since indicated that they are still committed to the fsp, but about 1500 have not
18:12:38 [katdillon] We got good sign up numbers from the "This is True" ads
18:13:16 [jsorens] if we assume the worst, that none of these are "real" fsp members, then the signup rate in 2003 was only about 50% better than the signup rate in 2004
18:13:17 fisher enters this room
18:13:49 [jsorens] this means that we're not necessarily doing a lot wrong that we used to be doing right, but it also means that the chances of reaching 20,000 by sept 2006 are low
18:14:15 [jsorens] so we'll have to initiate a discussion about changing a goal that many people see as being core to the fsp (20K signups by 2006)
18:14:50 [jsorens] part of that change may involve encouraging people to move sooner rather than later, or making different categories of signups to allow more flexibility...im sure there are other suggestions.
18:15:10 [RussellK] I personally don't think we need 20K to really change NH for the better
18:15:14 [katdillon] For those who just came, feel free to ask questions.
18:15:17 [rothameric] Nice
18:15:30 [jsorens] i think we'll need to evaluate some of the ongoing campaigns and have a discussion among the leadership before starting the wider conversation among fsp members about what to do if 2006 comes and we're still at around 7-10K
18:15:53 [HardyVT] I always said I only need 500 activist in Vermont to change our state. NH you'd need a lot more, but you don't need 20k.
18:16:07 [jsorens] but i expect we'll be tossing ideas around publicly by this time next month, to get a feel for what people think would work best
18:16:33 [jsorens] i agree that we probably need only 10K moderately active people to have a big effect in nh, and just a few hundred extremely talented individuals to have that effect
18:16:40 [jsorens] quality matters as much or more than quantity
18:17:15 [jsorens] to echo something kat wrote above, i do think internet methods of recruitment are still working best. 'this is true' was a big boon; we'll have to do more of that kind of thing.
18:17:28 bannock enters this room
18:17:47 [RussellK] I could see that combo .... many activists along with many more people that move for NH quality of life movers
18:17:52 [jsorens] (advocates for self-govt sends out a big newsletter, for example)
18:18:13 [jsorens] right. also, the website is being redesigned to emphasize those quality of life issues
18:18:17 [Aldridge] How effective was our presence at the LP convention in terms of recruitment?
18:19:03 [jsorens] aldridge - we only got about 5 signups at the convention, but we answered a lot of practical questions about nh for people whod already signed up or were thinking about it
18:19:12 [jsorens] about 40 people came to a breakout session we held
18:19:28 [jsorens] and the questions were very practical, indicating that people were taking seriously the idea of moving
18:19:33 Friday enters this room
18:19:50 [katdillon] http://www.margomaps.com/fsp/recruitment/ This isn't completely up to date, but very helpful
18:19:57 [Rinku] HardyVT> could you repeat the ip address?
18:20:22 [jsorens] yes - kat is now posting weekly numbers on where new signups heard from us
18:20:28 [MiclEdlstn] How effective was our recruitment at FreedomFest?
18:20:30 [bannock] HardyVT> HardyVT Thanks
18:20:31 [Aldridge] Do you think that setbacks like this could lead to morale problems and further setbacks?
18:20:36 [HardyVT] 220.127.116.11
18:20:46 [Rinku] thanks
18:21:17 [katdillon] sign up stats are posted weekly on this thread http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=4;action=display;threadid=8333
18:21:39 [jsorens] well, i dont think we've really seen a significant setback in recruiting. we did have a setback last december through february, when numbers were quite low, but now recruitment rates are only 50% below those for 2003 as a whole
18:22:06 [jsorens] considering that 2004 was a major election year, we were shoved out of the headlines. so i think we'll make up most of that 50% next year.
18:22:06 [rothameric] Maybe FSP needs to get out more info to other groups, like the Constitution Party.
18:22:22 [jsorens] however, people will worry that we probably won't reach the 20K/2006 goal
18:23:44 [jsorens] i do think we should continue to make connections with other groups, including the constitution party. chris harrison heads up our efforts here (community liaisons). some of our liaisons are more active than others. this is a good area to get involved in if youd like to help. its pretty simple.
18:24:00 [jsorens] mostly answering emails and sending out occasional targeted campaigns
18:24:20 [rothameric] Works for me!
18:25:36 [jsorens] we're still trying to crack the cato nut. the cato institute is sympathetic but hasn't covered us at all. even the american enterprise institute has held a conference on the fsp, so its puzzling that cato hasnt gotten more involved.
18:26:18 [RussellK] I am really surprised at how all of these think tank type groups don't want to actually 'do' anything
18:26:26 [jsorens] katdillon> got it
18:26:30 [jsorens] oops
18:26:32 [svillee] It's encouraging that in the "when will you move" poll, about 50% said they would move regardless of whether we reached 20K
18:26:36 [rothameric] Remember, the Cato Institute is a "Think Tank". Takes time, ya know...
18:26:49 [RussellK] We don't want to just chronicle the slide into tyranny
18:27:08 [rothameric] Amen to that!
18:27:13 [svillee] Of course, that poll was skewed toward those who are active on the forum.
18:27:14 FTL_Ian enters this room
18:27:23 [jsorens] svillee - thats true. and after we reach, say, 500 or 1000 people in state, i think even the other 50% will feel comfortable about moving
18:28:02 [jsorens] if we decide to start encouraging early movers, we'll need to really work on distributing practical info to all our members: job market sites, data, etc
18:28:22 [RussellK] I wonder how many people are not waiting for the 20K but just a job or house sale etc.
18:28:29 [Rinku] HardyVT> yes
18:28:37 [katdillon] Man, that's going to be a blast, having all those people here! It's great now...ooops, I mean we'll get so much more accomplished.
18:29:00 [jsorens] many, i think. i know ive been applying for jobs in nh already. from my perspective, theres no reason not to start hunting now
18:29:05 [FTL_Ian] hello all
18:29:08 [Aldridge] Why was the number 20K chosen? Is it arbitrary, or is there some reason for it?
18:29:33 [RussellK] I wonder if someone here could answer that
18:29:41 [Rinku] I think jsorens wrote a paper on how 20k was selected
18:29:58 [Rinku] I forget the details though
18:29:59 [jsorens] aldridge - its somewhat arbitrary. it was initially chosen b/c it seemed like the highest plausible number we could reach. later research i did showed that 20K could have a significant effect in states under about 1.2 million population, which is what nh is
18:30:09 [svillee] estimate of how many activists would be needed to make a difference in a state with a population about 1 million
18:30:31 [jsorens] the revised edition of that research is here:
18:30:32 [jsorens] http://freestateproject.org/about/essay_archive/20000nh.php
18:30:39 [katdillon] I think this is it: http://freestateproject.org/about/essay_archive/strategies.php
18:30:41 [Aldridge] I see. You'll have to forgive me if I ask questions everyone else knows. I'm a bit new to the FSP.
18:30:46 [svillee] I'm curious about Hardy's comment that 500 would be enough in VT
18:31:03 [RussellK] that is what chats are for
18:31:06 [jsorens] thats perfectly fine. btw, you can also access the original essay here: http://freestateproject.org/about/essay_archive/strategies.php
18:32:15 [RussellK] the 20K still makes sense ...they just don't all have to be rabid activists
18:32:27 [katdillon] What direction do you think we should go with our recruitment strategies?
18:32:41 [jsorens] 20k works if most of them do little more than pay annual dues to an activist organization
18:32:45 [Rinku] how many did it take to start the american revolution?
18:32:53 [jsorens] 10k works if people are generally more active
18:33:01 [Rinku] activists, i mean
18:33:24 [jsorens] they say the american revolution was actively supported by just 10% of the population... im just going on hearsay there, however.
18:33:26 [HardyVT] VT's a much smaller state. 500 would have to be dedicated activist - not arm chair viewers. 500 * $50/month is enough to wage large campaigns in VT.
18:33:36 [Rinku] probably that'd be too difficult to estimate since records aren't that good.
18:33:57 [Rinku] hm
18:34:04 [jsorens] kat - i think recruitment strategies should focus on quality of living & the advantages of nh
18:34:16 [Aldridge] Early movers seems like a good idea. If early movers make some sort of pro-liberty achievement, it could gin up publicity and enthusiasm.
18:34:21 [jsorens] if we drop the 20K goal eventually, then the message can be even more flexible
18:34:30 [HardyVT] 10% would be about right. 1/3 for revolution, 1/3 against, 1/3 in the middle. Then 1/3 of the third for it were activists.
18:35:02 [svillee] VT population is about 600K, roughly half that of NH
18:35:05 [jsorens] we can truly cast ourselves as a 'political chamber of commerce,' recruiting on a permanent basis business owners, political and academic leaders, and general liberty lovers who would like to move to nh
18:35:24 [MiclEdlstn] Jason, I'm not clear why a think tank like Cato would officially support activism (FSP or others). Don't think tanks focus on policy recommendations and scholarship?
18:35:24 JonM enters this room
18:35:44 [jsorens] i think the meme of 'nh is a good place for libertarians' has already gotten out around the country. i hear back about the fsp in the strangest places
18:36:17 [Aldridge] Most of the people I've spoken with have been primarily concerned with practical matters like employment and quality of living. That is an important aspect to focus on while recruiting.
18:36:18 [jsorens] one professor at the university of minnesota told me that her brother was a libertarian & always talked about moving to nh. she asked me whether that had anything to do with the fsp
18:36:35 [katdillon] How about efforts to improve liberty in NH?
18:36:38 [Rinku] hehe
18:36:40 [svillee] They could view moving to NH as a 'policy recommendation'
18:36:49 [katdillon] cool
18:36:56 [jsorens] cato could still hold a conference on the idea. aei did that as part of their competitive federalism project, inviting both supporters & critics of the idea, including alan bock, michael barone, richard vedder, etc
18:37:26 [jsorens] we should heavily advertise efforts to improve liberty in nh as evidence that the fsp is working
18:37:44 [jsorens] but not just efforts to improve liberty, but the social aspects as well!
18:38:00 [rothameric] How about starting with our new governor?
18:38:04 [MiclEdlstn] Yes, that would fit under their purview.
18:38:05 [jsorens] people need to know that when they move, theyll have an immediate circle of support, friendship, etc. that matters, believe it or not.
18:38:48 [rothameric] FSP Welcome Wagon?
18:38:54 [katdillon] You know what it was like at porcfest, being surrounded by people who think like you? Living in NH is become like that quickly. It's empowering. It feels like we can really make a change
18:39:36 [RussellK] When you move to NH you can count on endless parties with fellow porcupines
18:40:01 [jsorens] yes, the fsp welcome wagon will really be the only part of the fsp organization per se that is active in nh. itll be there to welcome prospectives & participants, show them around, give them info, etc
18:40:43 [rothameric] That might be a great place to start,,,
18:41:12 [jsorens] otherwise, the fsp doesnt guide political or social activism in nh. since the fsp is in essence an organization of 'outsiders' who have not moved to nh yet, its not our place to influence nh politics. thats for the people whove already moved there.
18:41:41 [rothameric] Or for those who have already lived here.
18:41:46 [jsorens] right!
18:42:37 [HardyVT] there lots of groups that are outsiders that try to influence state's politics.
18:42:57 [katdillon] Mass. democrats?
18:43:21 [rothameric] Ooooohhh, what YOU said!
18:43:43 [RussellK] The FSP has plenty to do helping attract people to NH and help them get there
18:43:43 [HardyVT] Thinking, the Conservation Law Foundation and Anti-SMoking league (when it comes to Vermont)
18:44:00 [jsorens] i know. but in my view thats not generally appropriate. i think local people should be allowed to have the primary say over how they organize their own communities.
18:44:20 [rothameric] Otherwise, it's truly not free.
18:44:35 George enters this room
18:44:35 [svillee] For what it's worth, I think when the FSP says they don't try to guide NH politics, people don't believe it, and making the claim may do more harm than good.
18:44:53 [HardyVT] That's not how life it. Nike influences people, walmart, IBM,...
18:44:56 [rothameric] Good point.
18:44:57 [katdillon] I think so too, Steve
18:45:06 [Aldridge] What should local groups and individuals be doing in order to drive recruitment?
18:45:38 [katdillon] What part of the country are you in, Aldridge?
18:45:42 [svillee] For example, if the FSP points to a particular bill that was passed as "evidence the FSP is working", it's implicit that the FSP approves of that bill, and wants to guide NH politics further in that direction.
18:46:06 [Aldridge] Huntsville Alabama
18:46:45 [jsorens] oh, we definitely, as individuals, have likes and dislikes in nh politics. but we're not trying to elect or defeat particular candidates, or pass particular legislation. we don't lobby.
18:46:45 [RussellK] I think actually having active local groups around the country helps recruitment
18:47:19 [jsorens] local groups are potentially important. wherever theyve grown, they've really helped recruitment. the biggest hurdle is getting one started where one doesnt exist.
18:47:22 [FTL_Ian] The FSP should report on what FSP members are doing, but make the point that not all FSP members support the stated activism
18:48:02 [rothameric] How are FSP groups formed? By county? By town?
18:48:18 [katdillon] There are a lot of ideas on recruiting here: http://freestateproject.org/training/
18:48:21 [jsorens] at one time, there was a very large local group in northern ga/al/western sc/western nc, but since i moved from asheville, and doug hillman (from al) has been less involved, that group seems to have declined. it could easily be resuscitated however.
18:48:44 [katdillon] local groups are usually by state
18:48:53 [jsorens] heres the way local groups are currently organized
18:48:54 [jsorens] http://freestateproject.org/community/localgroups/
18:49:24 [jsorens] i should note that that large group, the 'kudzu porcupines,' has now been broken up into the diff states
18:51:33 [rothameric] I know with the NH Constitution Party, we're breaking it up into counties. That way, we can get an idea of what area is stronger, weaker, etc.
18:51:58 [rothameric] And can coordinate info faster, to apply to whatever situations we may be dealing with.
18:52:54 [katdillon] Roth, do you have problems with not enough member density in each county?
18:53:03 [FTL_Ian] roth= CP member?
18:53:20 [rothameric] Yep.
18:53:23 vtr enters this room
18:53:34 [MiclEdlstn] I have an appt. shortly. Thanks for the Chat, Jason. Bye, everyone.
18:53:43 [RussellK] bye
18:53:49 [katdillon] Night Michael!
18:53:50 MiclEdlstn exits from this room
18:54:17 [FTL_Ian] What brings you here tonight, roth? It appears you are in NH?
18:54:21 [rothameric] As with any new organization, one has to slowly build wherever the people pop up from.
18:54:22 [FTL_Ian] Just curious
18:55:09 [rothameric] I like what I hear from the FSP, and as a NH resident already, I am curious as to how the FSP is going to work here.
18:55:39 [rothameric] I'm not Libertarian, but I don't think that really matters.
18:55:47 [Aldridge] Mr. Sorens, is there anything you'd like to change about the FSP? Any disappointments or reservations?
18:56:19 [jsorens] you may wish to get involved in the nhla, which is a nonpartisan action group of general interest - there are already libertarians and republicans, but i dont believe they have any constitutionists yet
18:56:47 [rothameric] Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.
18:57:12 [jsorens] i definitely am disappointed that recruitment hasnt done better, but i do feel that we've done just about everything we could. another disappointment is that some very talented individuals have burned out in leadership and had to quit their positions. we have high leadership turnover.
18:57:28 [jsorens] being an all-volunteer organization places a lot of stress on the most active volunteers.
18:57:43 [jsorens] http://www.nhliberty.org
18:58:02 [RussellK] yea Jason...what things have surprised you along the way in the FSP?
18:58:11 [FTL_Ian] kat- that's great!
18:58:13 [jsorens] but you may want to email specific people, b/c the website doesnt seem to be updated frequently - i think kat and russell know more about the nhla
18:58:20 [rothameric] Thanks, Jason.
18:58:44 [FTL_Ian] It seems an "extreme" event has brought out at least one activist. Congrats.
18:59:13 [jsorens] im certainly surprised that the fsp has done so well. from a small, idealistic vision to thousands of people signing on, and dozens, perhaps almost a hundred now, actually picking up stakes and moving...its very humbling
18:59:34 [jsorens] im surprised that the fsp became, for a time, a political football in nh, part of the democratic-republican partisan wrangling...
18:59:36 [katdillon] What's going on with NHLA: http://www.soulawakenings.com/underground/tikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=New+Hampshire+Liberty+Alliance
18:59:58 [rothameric] Thanks, Kat!
18:59:59 [RussellK] I am always taken with people's stories about their move to NH
19:00:05 [katdillon] my pleasure
19:00:15 [jsorens] ive also been surprised that the media coverage has overall been so positive!
19:00:23 [rothameric] Really like that "Underground".
19:00:25 [FTL_Ian] Russell: agreed.. they are fascinating.
19:00:49 [katdillon] Thanks
19:01:41 [JonM] Amanda seemed a bit frazzled on Sunday
19:02:00 [jsorens] well, mary is trying to get me offline, so i'd better go, unless there remain some urgent questions
19:02:04 [katdillon] Yeah, what was up with Amanda?
19:02:19 [katdillon] Thanks so much, Jason. Have a good night!
19:02:24 [RussellK] good to hear from you Jason
19:02:27 [rothameric] Thanks for your time, Jason. It was great to hear from you.
19:02:29 [JonM] her company bought another company, she's in charge of accounting
19:02:30 [Rinku] jsorens, out of curiousity, has anyone discovered the FSP through your Civilization 2 scenarios?
19:02:39 [Rinku] (i like them)
19:02:46 [Aldridge] Thank you Mr. Sorens. Good Evening.
19:02:47 [JonM] she's flat out working on that and year end financials
19:03:06 [Rinku] (not an urgent question, sorry)
19:03:16 [jsorens] rinku - not that i know of! i stopped making those years ago, before the fsp even began... but its always possible. my personal website used to link to the fsp. (doesnt now, b/c im applying for jobs in left-wing academia)
19:03:35 [FTL_Ian] I have one
19:03:51 [jsorens] youre too kind rinku. there are many better scenarios out there than my dabblings.
19:03:51 [FTL_Ian] You made reference to doing almost everything for recruiting
19:04:03 [Rinku] alright, thanks. my respect for you improved even more after i played those.
19:04:05 [svillee] I hope that means Amanda will be less frazzled in January
19:04:08 [RussellK] I didn't even know about that game
19:04:18 [FTL_Ian] Why has the FSP not partnered with Free Talk Live yet. Has there ever been a better offer on your table?
19:04:41 [FTL_Ian] I have had a few inquiries from the board, then silence
19:04:49 [FTL_Ian] Not even an objection
19:05:13 [JonM] I kinda have to side with Ian on that, if he's managed two stations so far, that's a lot better than established radio hosts have done trying to syndicate
19:05:14 [Rinku] maybe i could mke a civ 2 FSP scenario...
19:05:18 [jsorens] well, this is pretty much up to bob hull, the advertising director. my guess is that its just a matter of assessing the effectiveness of radio, the money in the budget, & so forth. but you definitely want to talk to bob for updates.
19:05:26 [Rinku] would be interesting to attempt
19:05:39 [katdillon] We do keep having sign ups from FTL
19:05:48 [FTL_Ian] I was under the delusion that the board made these decisions together.
19:05:49 [RussellK] cool rinku
19:05:53 [katdillon] Cool, Rinu!
19:06:13 [FTL_Ian] BobH is an exclusive decision maker when it comes to advertising?
19:06:24 [jsorens] nope! the circle tries not interfere in those decisions at all. the circle (or board) is strictly limited to general policy decisions.
19:06:34 [JonM] the leadership polyhedron!
19:06:39 [FTL_Ian] 4 stations
19:07:13 [jsorens] theoretically, the whole circle/board could overrule a director, but thats generally not good policy. if a director isnt doing a good job, that director needs to be replaced. better than micromanaging by committee
19:07:26 [JonM] terrestrial?
19:07:29 [FTL_Ian] Jason, can you email me his phone number to email@example.com?
19:07:46 [jsorens] will do
19:07:46 [FTL_Ian] Jon, yep
19:07:59 [FTL_Ian] plus 3 known FM micros, one running at least 700 watts.
19:08:10 [FTL_Ian] katdillon> *shrug*
19:08:12 [JonM] what are the two new ones?
19:08:28 [JonM] I really think AM680 in boston could stand to lose Michael Savage
19:08:31 [FTL_Ian] I despise this chat... looking forward to testing the new FSP chat software.
19:08:36 [JonM] that guy grates on me
19:08:43 [FTL_Ian] http://freetalklive.com/affiliates.php
19:08:58 [jsorens] well, gotta run now... good night, all!
19:09:06 [FTL_Ian] Jason: thanks!
19:09:14 [RussellK] bye
19:09:17 [Rinku] good night.
19:09:18 [Friday] thank you, Jason
19:09:21 [jsorens] yw!
19:09:25 jsorens exits from this room