digital campaigning

Romney’s White Whale: Old Man’s IT and the Election That Got Away

Moby Dick

[Illustration from Moby Dick, c. 1925 edition]

ArsTechnica did a comparison between Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns’ information technology expenditures. They note a few key attributes that differentiate the Romney campaign’s use of IT:

  • Outsource anything that’s not a key competency, and spend as little as possible on it;
  • Reward “friends” with outsourcing contracts;
  • Spend on ad hoc items and pre-built SaaS* (buy from “friends” where possible).

Sure looks like the typical modus operandi of vulture capitalists that don’t invest but hit-and-run on the high seas, looking to harpoon anything of value in order to flay its carcass for cash. This says something both familiar and abhorrent about Mitt Romney and his supporters with regard to democracy.

But there are several other points that ArsTechnica missed in their assessment.

Generational shift — The difference in funds allocated and the way in which the IT monies were spent revealed a compelling truth: old guy Romney doesn’t value information technology the way younger guy Obama does. It’s a generational shift, from old school campaigns which still rely heavily on direct mail and broadcast media, to digital campaigns run by Gen-X and Millennials who are digital natives.

Based on past performance by vendors and team members alike, Obama’s team also trusts the technology team it assembled to do work quickly, effectively, on the fly. They trusted technology.

In contrast, Romney’s camp went with bigger brand name vendors like Best Buy (via service subsidiary) and SalesForce (for customer relationship management SaaS app). In mega-corporate they trust, apparently. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @onekade No, I am not a cop. But I deal with them a lot and find this completely believable. Almost predictable.
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bmaz @TyreJim @emptywheel @onekade It is not my choice, but a lot of records interactions are still done that way. PPD finally getting better.
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bmaz @onekade I deal with cops all the time via fax; I see nothing whatsoever implausible about it.
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JimWhiteGNV @ChuckPfarrer Blix was right and invading Iraq over false WMD allegations was a war crime. @ClintSharpe @SpyTalker @WideAsleepNima
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emptywheel @B_D_Silver Which is why my Modest Proposition is so smart. Potholes will never get filled unless Snyder buddy profits. @attackerman
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emptywheel @B_D_Silver I keep making a Modest Proposition that Snyder turn potholes into for-profit charter schools and fill w/children @attackerman
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emptywheel @ilovaussiesheps Right. Choose to pay a coach $48M Choose not to pay to fill the potholes. @attackerman
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bmaz @emptywheel @onekade I have a fax machine
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emptywheel @attackerman Well as I said before I've got mixed feelings abt Harbaugh, especially bc we can't afford to fill our potholes.
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emptywheel @attackerman Better you should take credit for the Kitties playoff berth, since the Gents aren't using theirs this year.
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bmaz RT @GormoJourno: @mattdpearce It was passed to me by a cop with decades on the force. It is 100% authentic.
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emptywheel @attackerman Well how come he's on my telly 2,000 miles away? And what was he doing in NYC anyway?
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