Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cloud Software Hardware Politics Technology

The Billion Dollar Startup: Inside Obama's Campaign Tech 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the devs-we-can-believe-in dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "A presidential campaign is many things to many people: a reason to hope in the future, a wellspring of jokes and debate fodder, an annoyance to tune out, a chance to participate in the civic process. But for a couple dozen software engineers and developers involved over the past two years in President Obama's re-election effort, a campaign was something entirely different: a billion-dollar tech startup with an eighteen-month lifespan and a mandate to ship code under extreme pressure. Speaking to a New York City audience, some of Obama for America's leading tech people—those involved in the all-important Dashboard and Narwhal projects, as well as fundraising and DevOps—characterized the experience as 'insane,' filled with unending problems and the knowledge that, at the end of the whole process, nearly everything they worked on would likely end up tossed away. This is the story of what happened, and how technologies on a massive scale can make or break campaigns."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Billion Dollar Startup: Inside Obama's Campaign Tech

Comments Filter:
  • SIGH.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:37PM (#42537051) Homepage Journal
    If only someone could have hit their system with some kind of stuxnet type virus/trojan, we might have a brighter future to look forward to.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:37PM (#42537055)

    What bothered me the most about the 2012 campaign was the lack of almost any discussion of actual issues. There was almost no discussion about the fiscal cliff, entitlement reform, gun control, or any other issues that the country is now dealing with. Unfortunately, the lesson seems to be that keeping campaigns content free, and instead focusing on social media, turnout, and the "ground game", is the way to get elected, even if it isn't good for the country.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:39PM (#42537091) Homepage Journal

    What bothered me the most about the 2012 campaign was the lack of almost any discussion of actual issues. There was almost no discussion about the fiscal cliff, entitlement reform, gun control, or any other issues that the country is now dealing with.

    Of course not...that wasn't in their best interest.

    And the masses would actually have to *think* and try to understand tough things like "issues".

    I don't think we've actually had an election where the candidates have actually addressed issues since maybe the early 80's or slightly before.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:51PM (#42537287) Journal

    You're just now getting this? Every election is about the little shit that doesn't really matter much. It's about emotion and flash. It always has been. Look back 100 years and it will be the same thing. Look back 200. Mudslinging, character assassination, out-of-context quotes, outright lies have always been part and parcel of the political election process. Sure, we can do more and make more convincing fakes with technology (autotune the news, anyone?), but it's also easier to fact check.

    Contentless politician banter is anything but a recent phenomenon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:57PM (#42537401)

    Nobody wants to hear how similar real candidates are. They want a football game. Someone to hate and someone to cheer for.

    Really it's more like a very long, very complicated chess match with an unequal number of pieces. You take an endorsement from this group, let the other guy take the endorsement from that group. Up the ad budget in these four states and concede these other ones to the other guy. Spend those dollars elsewhere. Say you're pro-choice, but you're for parental notification. That gives up dollars and votes from these people but gets you dollars and votes for these other ones. Everything is negotiable. Not because they're open to changing ideas, because they're open to slightly different, more effective strategies.

    Nobody runs for president because they really, really believe in certain things. They just run for president, and use the party with the platform that casually aligns with their own. The rest is bullshit politics.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:17PM (#42537751)

    Every election is about the little shit that doesn't really matter much.

    Plenty of elections, even recent elections, have put big issues in front of the voters. Even Obama, in 2008, made health insurance reform an issue in his campaign. This election the only issue seemed to be whether taxes would go up on 1% of the taxpayers or 0%. This campaign was unusually content free.

    Look back 100 years and it will be the same thing. Look back 200.

    Read some history books. Look at the election of 1864. You think that was content free? "Continued the civil war till victory" vs "peace through negotiated secession" seems like a pretty big issue to me. Big issues were raised in the presidential campaigns in 2008, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1972, 1968, 1964, etc.

  • by datavirtue (1104259) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:49PM (#42538201)

    Becasue none of the candidates wanted to talk about their "accomplishments" which would have certainly led to their blatant incompetencay and failures. Romney technically was the better choice but no one wants to debate technical merit as has been pointed out. In all seriousness you need a practical business man to head the government becasue their leadership and ability to make decisions has been proven, everything else is but the flip of a coin. Instead we got inbroiled in class warfare which Obama stoked and continues to stoke. This is not leadership, it is devisive and irresponsible. Perception still rules the day--forget facts.

  • Re:SIGH.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:00PM (#42540773)

    Yes, a brighter future... Since Bush left office, the deficit is down, unemployment is down, the economy is up and healthcare costs have gone down (my insurance provider sent me a refund this year, and as a result dropped my premiums. People who tell you they will increase are lying. Obama has pretty much undone the path to complete economic failure that Bush set us up for.

    Don't pick a team. Look at the facts and figure things out for yourself. The country as a whole is doing far better than it would have under any current Republican candidate. The current Republicans only care about short-term gains for themselves and their cronies, while the Democrats are actually trying to make things work long-term.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:22PM (#42540977) Journal
    Are you for real? You complain about "class warfare" and in the same paragraph basically claim that a class of people (successful business men) are the only class of people who can be trusted to lead properly. And you don't see a glaring contradiction?

    Please don't take the above as an insult, my intention is to be blunt, not insulting. Politics requires "critical thinking skills" more so than science but rarely are they applied with the same rigor. The reason you fall for the "class warfare" bullshit is because your vote with your gut, not your brain. You actually need to use both, know your emotional triggers and question your own basic assumptions, such as the assumption you display in the post that says something like "governments and corporations are very similar", once you accept that assumption as gospel, what do you then do to balance the power that you have handed over to wealthy merchants?

    Just remember one fact when people talk about "class warfare" - ALL governments redistribute wealth and they all claim their particular formula is for the "common good", it's not "class warfare" it's their purpose, it is the very definition of civilization itself. Sometimes the wealth piles up in great mounds on the "elite", sometimes it stolen and squandered by corrupt officials or angry mobs, every now and then a "booming middle class" appears as it did in the US after WW2, and is now doing in China after Mao's famines.

    Yes, I have an assumption that a "booming middle class" is a GoodThing(TM), but I don't think anyone really knows exactly how to create one (please don't send me newsletters). Truth is, if you take the time to look there are good and bad ideas from all sides, politics should be about shaping society in OUR own image, that image should not be preemptively restricted to the economic heroes of of the day.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:36PM (#42541613)

    Obama was a symbol because of his race, so his election in 2008 and reelection in 2012 might be one-offs that won't be easily copied either in the US or overseas. Remember there was no Tea Party in America until Obama was elected, then all of a sudden tens of millions of Americans became obsessed with trillion dollar budget deficits ("yeah we know, Bush was bad too."). Both supporters and opponents understood the significance of Obama's re-election: a one-term Presidency is considered a failure, so defeating Obama would be tantamount to rolling back his earlier victory. But it didn't happen, because his supporters were at least as energized as his opponents.

That does not compute.

Working...