Information – Getting Cheaper By The Day
The price of information is plummeting. It is like Moore’s law and then some.
This is hitting some parts of the economy more than others. Profits in the print media are being hurt. But, I don’t think things have really even started.
Lobbyists – What Is It They Sell
The tangibles of what lobbyists sell are hard to define. Some see it as information. Selling summaries of what is in the media, Parliamentary debates, and Commission proposals, and the mainstay of many companies.
Personally, I see things differently. For me, whether acting for NGOs or others, I view lobbying as:
1. Guide through the maze – the law making system is easier to follow if you know, and people think it is worthwhile delegating this shepherding to a lobbyist
2. Translator – as a former academic, I always enjoyed the spectacle of people talking about their PhDs to people at parties. Usually, without fail, it was met with looks of utter confusion and eventually the listener running off.
Most people think their issue is something that others are interested in. The hard fact is most politicians and officials are not that interested. The key to grab their interests is to translate your case into something that interests or appeals to them.
Saving a company billions may not work, as a line for a social democrat, protecting workers in Europe will. To this day, most people still go in with a single pitch to all politicians. How they ever sell anything in the real world with this model amazes me.
3. Changing outcomes – telling someone where something really is and what is likely to happen is one thing. The fun part is changing the outcome. Strangely, many people do not want to go this stage. Following a plan of action that stands a likely chance of success usually works. It works on most political campaigns.
But failing to campaign for your position is like leaving the “animal spirits” to decide your fate. It is brave, perhaps heroic, but unlikely to work that often.
What Is Now Readily Available?
Today, you have a lot of the information at your fingertips, that until recently you would have had to pay dear for, including:
Agenda of votes: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/agenda.do
Link to voting list reports: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/reports.do
Link to voting list motion for resolution: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/motions.do
Link to voting results: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/votingResults.do
You can even watch most of the debates in the committess and Parliament from the comfort of your own home thousands of miles away – powered by a good cable connection. And, if you want, you can record the debates and watch them again and again. It is not C-Span just yet but you can do most of what many firms did 5 years ago from the comfort of your own home thousands of miles away.
Now, how those results and positions came about is another thing!