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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:21 AM

40 Engineers Worked 14-Hour Days, 7 Days A Week To Get Obama Reelected—Here Is Their Story

The team had elite and, for tech, senior talent -- by which I mean that most of them were in their 30s -- from Twitter, Google, Facebook, Craigslist, Quora, and some of Chicago's own software companies such as Orbitz and Threadless, where Reed had been CTO. But even these people, maybe *especially* these people, knew enough about technology not to trust it. "I think the Republicans fucked up in the hubris department," Reed told me. "I know we had the best technology team I've ever worked with, but we didn't know if it would work. I was incredibly confident it would work. I was betting a lot on it. We had time. We had resources. We had done what we thought would work, and it still could have broken. Something could have happened."

In fact, the day after the October 21 game day, Amazon services -- on which the whole campaign's tech presence was built -- went down. "We didn't have any downtime because we had done that scenario already," Reed said. Hurricane Sandy hit on another game day, October 29, threatening the campaign's whole East Coast infrastructure. "We created a hot backup of all our applications to US-west in preparation for US-east to go down hard," Reed said.

"We knew what to do," Reed maintained, no matter what the scenario was. "We had a runbook that said if this happens, you do this, this, and this. They did not do that with Orca."



Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/11/when-the-nerds-go-marching-in/265325/

They must not have had a union contract?

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Reply 40 Engineers Worked 14-Hour Days, 7 Days A Week To Get Obama Reelected—Here Is Their Story (Original post)
FarCenter Nov 2012 OP
Coyotl Nov 2012 #1
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #16
Sedona Nov 2012 #2
uponit7771 Nov 2012 #3
patrice Nov 2012 #8
loudsue Nov 2012 #14
patrice Nov 2012 #18
JackN415 Nov 2012 #4
Tess49 Nov 2012 #5
pipewrench Nov 2012 #6
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #7
ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #9
loudsue Nov 2012 #15
malaise Nov 2012 #10
progressoid Nov 2012 #11
Scuba Nov 2012 #12
Patiod Nov 2012 #13
phiddle Nov 2012 #17
Cha Nov 2012 #19
Tigress DEM Nov 2012 #20

Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:24 AM

1. Next time, the Rs will call a union first

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:56 PM

16. Were these guys unionized?

I don't think the article said. I hope they were union.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:25 AM

2. I'm happy to see my money was responsibly spent. nt

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:30 AM

3. This is ONE of the reasons IT should be uninonized, these guys did it right covered low hanging

...fruit of fire drilling known scenarios so they don't have to make their life and anyone else life hard

If it wasn't Obama's team running things the incompetent leadership would drive a lot of people batty by allowing the obvious to be skipped.

A unionized shop would at least have standards making the latter a lot harder

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:03 AM

8. +google! - tech. writer here. It's a useful model. We KNOW how to do it right, just too many people

cutting corners they barely know one damned thing about and then thinking their sparkling personality will save the day, or that we can just throw a bunch of people at it and they'll "make it happen", when what you really need to know is, for example in our state party, more and better uses for resources, especially human resources and that includes fine tuned things like which order of priorities, how many targets for maximum benefit, how long on each, in what sequence for most efficient effect and a whole host of contextual issues . . . .

We are a red state: Watched one of our most dedicated, most comprehensively aware, hardest working, party "old timers" burn out this cycle. Have known her for a long time. She will NOT do this again.

Funny thing, this just made me think about it, our state party appears to function similar to our occupy, which if it weren't for the shear "muscle" of a VERY VERY FEW individuals, would have done nothing but argue and connive against one another, while they waited for "the next big thing" to come along and justify our existence. In theory, that's resolvable, but we never did and I realized just now that probably exactly the sort of thing that goes on in our state Democratic party.

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Response to patrice (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:50 PM

14. That's a great post, Patrice. And thank you and your friends for your efforts.

There is a lot of work to do for the democratic party to start getting a cohesive message out to every American about what we stand for, as opposed to what the rightwing propaganda is SAYING we stand for, and I HOPE that the democratic party finally decides that we are going to be a force to reckon with. Hopefully, the party will use what the Obama campaign did in this past election and go forward with it.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #14)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:25 PM

18. Tks! I am encouraged by the young Americans I see around me. I'm looking FORWARD!

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:37 AM

4. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251238764

 

Yes, it's not about which campaign hiring better technologists. It's about technologists wanted Obama win and to defeat Romney.

It's about pro-progress.

One of my colleague's former student (a computer scientist) worked for Obama's campaign for this reason. No amount of money from Romney would hire him.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:30 AM

5. Great read. Thanks for posting this. n/t

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Response to Tess49 (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:51 AM

6. +1 (edit) +1000

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:59 AM

7. In the future (actually now), she who controls the electionic systems, controls the world. nm

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:21 AM

9. Love it. Obama knew who to recruit to help him win...

...he got the best and I'm SO glad he did! I just wish there had been more (any) women/blacks, people over 30 and/or other "minorities" on this elite tech team. But such is the nature of IT - that's not Obama's fault. It's just not a very diverse industry at its core.

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Response to ProfessionalLeftist (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:51 PM

15. They only lacked Lisbeth Salander. n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:23 AM

10. Great read

A friend sent me by email early this morning

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:29 AM

11. marking this for a later read - thanks!

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:57 AM

12. Thank the nerds and geeks. Science saves us again.

(disclaimer: I am one of the nerdiest geeks around)

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:27 PM

13. I was kind of amazed at how well it worked

During Bill Clinton's second campaign in 1996, I went to volunteer, and no one knew what to do with me.

I ended up inputting scheduling on our local US Congressional candidate's calendar, because I was the only one at the office who knew the program and could type fast. I could have been some sort of mole or saboteur, for all they knew, but I could type.

Other times I stuffed envelopes, but only after sitting around for hours. I spent more time sitting in the Congressional campaign manager's office bullshitting about politics than I did working.

Fast forward to 2012 -- I got a text saying "to volunteer tomorrow, text WIN". I texted "WIN" and was IMMEDIATELY provided with nearby Obama HQ locations and shifts.

Showed up (off-shift, I might add) at one of the HQs, and was signed in, trained, provided with walking lists, clipboard, pen, water and snacks, and out the door in 10 minutes. No sitting around allowed! They even said (as nicely as possible) "don't come back until the list is complete. And find us more volunteers." Everyone in the office was working on laptops. No one was sitting around bullshitting.

These people enabled a lean, mean, 2012-era GOTV machine.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:12 PM

17. Great article! Going forward,

Could this technology be adapted to (1) generate grassroots pressure on behalf of Democratic policies, and (2) elect more Democratic House members? This would be a change from a unitary model-elect one president- to a pluralistic model. With a nod to Howard Dean's 50-state strategy, this would be a 438-Congressional District approach.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:56 PM

19. From your link, FarCenter.. Great Exciting article, thanks!

And of course, the team's only real goal was to elect the President. "We have to elect the President. We don't need to sell our software to Oracle," Reed told his team. But the secondary impact of their success or failure would be to prove that campaigns could effectively hire and deploy top-level programming talent. If they failed, it would be evidence that this stuff might be best left to outside political technology consultants, by whom the arena had long been handled. If Reed's team succeeded, engineers might become as enshrined in the mechanics of campaigns as social-media teams already are


"We now know what happened. The grand technology experiment worked. So little went wrong that Trammell and Reed even had time to cook up a little pin to celebrate. It said, "YOLO," short for "You Only Live Once," with the Obama Os.

When Obama campaign chief Jim Messina signed off on hiring Reed, he told him, "Welcome to the team. Don't fuck it up." As Election Day ended and the dust settled, it was clear: Reed had not fucked it up."


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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:01 AM

20. Best sentence... They must not have had a union contract? nt rofl

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