Everybody has been through this,” says Mulally, “where they think they can manage everything. Where they make proprietary systems that don’t work with anybody else’s. The ‘not invented here’ syndrome kills all kinds of great ideas. It’s the same thing in airplanes. The minute you make it proprietary, you’re dead meat.

The role of technology in bringing together the protesters has been crucial. The leaders of the protest movement have used community radio stations, mobile-phone messaging and the Internet to forge an identity for lower-income Thais and connect a vast constellation of people in villages and towns. At times the protests in Bangkok could be described as flash mobs of the disaffected. Protesters, who wear trademark red shirts, have converged on government buildings, banks and military bases across the city guided by text messages. “This would not have been possible 10 years ago,” said Ms. Thanida, who was returning from military barracks in Bangkok where protesters had demanded that soldiers leave the area. The military acquiesced. Like many protesters, she subscribes to D Station, a “red shirt” news service that gives updates and instructions to protesters.

“These cops are charging cyclists with a law that does not apply,” said White, who had advised Brauer to argue that the traffic statute allows cyclists to use their judgment, and use the lanes when they are safe to use. “You can’t be convicted of something that doesn’t apply in New York City,” White noted. “If they are charging you with something that doesn’t apply, it’s impossible for you to defend yourself — it’s a violation of due process.” The judge agreed — and tossed the ticket.