July 3rd, 2011

conventions, party

The lessons you can learn by losing an election.

In this I am condensing and clarifying some of my thoughts about what happened to cause the Granzella Hoax Bid to win the Westercon 66 Site Selection popular vote.

I have heard a lot of statements about bid committees not bothering to vote when a hoax bid could come ruin all your hard work, and similar statements which are pretty hard not to dismiss as nonsense. But just in case you are concerned about this, let's talk about what really happened, and why it happened, and how you can avoid this. With your convention bid, with your writer's group, or really with just about anything you want to promote. I'm going to make some statements, and then I'm going to back them up with why I feel these things are true.

I do not say this to attack the members of the Portland Westercon 66 bid, and I hope they will bid again. I am simply documenting what I saw and how it affected the outcome.

You have to respect the electorate. When the electorate steps up to tell you that they perceive a problem, you have to take them seriously.

You have to engage the electorate. Not only was the Portland bid not visible to me or others at any previous conventions, but their website had only a few dozen words and 3 status updates, the most recent of which was 82 days before the election. You couldn't get any information about the bid if you wanted to.

You have to pay attention. Portland found themselves facing a large group of people trying to make a very loud point to them... and didn't get it. They attended the site selection meeting in which they were roundly criticized for failing to market their bid and... didn't get it. Nor did they in any form step up their promotional efforts that day to change people's minds.

Let's be very clear: Portland lost their bid by failing to convince a single person that their complaint was heard, and that Portland would do a better job going forward. Not ten, not twenty, but a single switched vote would have won them the election.

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The Granzella hoax bid won for the sole reason that it did exactly what Portland had failed to do. They engaged the electorate. They paid attention. They convinced us that they would do a good job promoting Westercon. Straight and simple, Westercon members are looking for future convention sites that will build and grow Westercon again. And that is what we voted for.