The keynote speaker at Convergence 2009, David Plouffe, Campaign Manager for Barack Obama, blew me away yesterday with his remarks. Warren Frey nicely summed up the gist of the talk, so these are thoughts I took away from it and wanted to share them with you.
Firstly, I think that it was interesting how he compared running a campaign to the beginning stages of running a startup or creating a business. He said that one should know the difference between tactics and strategy and when to adjust tactics, but never waver on the strategy. His team had two fundamental “pillars” they were working on and he said that they were maniacal about not wavering to please “politicians or anyone else.”
Question for CEOs, VCs and investors reading this: How would you describe the difference between tactic and strategy?
Next, I don’t know if Plouffe really explained a “social media” strategy behind the Obama campaign, in so much, as he explained the psychology of people (what motivates us to volunteer, what makes us tick, why do we care?) and he used that context to show how technology can be a tool to foster, share and disseminate this information. Moreso, how organizations can go offline and use that information to ther advantage. He did point out that without a sort of word-of-mouth, grassroots movement, the campaign would not have been won. My friend and me called this the evolution of “a new model to a political party,” we might see in the future (The Technocratic Party) it’s tenets based on more active popular participation of the people that believe in using technology to spread the message.
Question for anyone: What would you name this new technology party?
Overall, I feel that Plouffe strengthened my belief in the following: Science and technology are the driving force behind society and they’re meant to be shared. If you don’t share it, they don’t flourish, because people need to change ideas constantly to come up with something better. And these ideas can’t be owned by one company or person, because it’s not the nature of it. The Obama campaign understood this aspect well and leveraged it. As Ploffue said about what how they approached (and eventually won) the campaign,
We were very sober and realistic about the odds. At the core of that was a belief that we needed to run a grassroots campaign and technology would be at the core of that.