Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why Rand Paul Is Really Opening Up A San Francisco Office

As news has leaked that Rand Paul will soon be opening up a San Francisco office (SEE: Oh Boy, Rand Paul Says He’s Planning San Francisco Office Soon), the speculation has been that it is somehow part of a Rand outreach plan to California's lefties. This is highly unlikely.

Others are speculating that Rand wants to be close to Silicon Valley money because he will have to raise buckets full during a presidential campaign.

Last night, I had dinner with a serious Silicon Valley tech player. The talked turned to Rand and the San Francisco office. He said, "Rand is following the Obama playbook,"

I didn't understand what he meant by this, so he laid it out for me.

Obama beat out Hillary in 2008, and won agian in 2012, because of his superior analytics and understanding of social media.

In 2013, Infoworld reported:
The Obama campaign built a 100-strong analytics staff to churn through dozens of terabytes of data with a combination of the HP Vertica MPP (massively parallel processing) analytic database and predictive models with R and Stata to gain a competitive edge.
NYT reported:
Using data wasn’t new for the Obama strategists. The 2008 campaign developed the most sophisticated system to date to identify tens of millions of voters and place them into useful categories: those most likely to vote Republican, who would be ignored; those supporting Obama — and how likely they were to vote. That system — based on a complicated scoring method that relied on the processing of reams of data — was first devised by an outside consultant, Ken Strasma. But it was partly managed inside the campaign by an economics forecaster, Dan Wagner, who, at 24, helped perfect it for the campaign’s use...But the (re)selling of the president, 2012, was an entirely different matter. The campaign recruited the best young minds in the booming fields of analytics and behavioral science and placed them in a room they called “the cave” for up to 16 hours a day over the course of roughly 16 months. After the election, when the technology wizards finally came out, they had not only helped produce a victory that defied a couple of historical predictors; they also developed a host of highly effective marketing techniques that were either entirely new or had never been tried on such a grand scale.
While the 2012 Obama campaign operated out of Chicago, the top flight statisticians, social media analysts and assorted math whizzes mostly came out of the Silicon Valley-San Francisco corridor.

From an Engage report on the Obama campaigns:
The campaign’s data & technology operations made up an estimated 30-40% of headquarters staff...
OFA didn’t hire your typical political staffer.They went directly to Silicon Valley and to data analysts in the Fortune 500 and academia. One used to work at Pixar. Another was a high-energy particle physicist...

Obama for America used Analytics to improve every aspect of the campaign, with teams looking at Battleground States, Web, Email, Field, and Communications. Analytics encompassed everything from predicting the results of the election to optimizing the performance of landing pages. Analytics was the breakout star of 2012. It saw a 5x bump in staffing and resources over 2008...

The team included veterans of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Quora...

The Obama campaign set up a Technology Field Office in San Francisco in February 2012...

When it came to reaching the crucial 18-29 year old demographic, the Obama campaign came to a startling realization:
• 50% of their targets in this demographic were unreachable by phone
• But 85% of them were friends with an Obama 2012 Facebook app user
• OFA launched “targeted sharing” to Facebook friends who were
voters in swing states

Before the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, according to my source, the job advertisements in northern California were filled with ads from the Obama campaign looking for highly specialized statisticians and math geeks. "That's what Rand is going to be doing in San Francisco. Being close to Silicon Valley money is a bonus, but he is really after the Silicon Valley brains that can analyze polling trends and social media trends, in a way that will be better, faster and more thorough than anyone else. The San Francisco office is going to be his recruiting center. It is going to be the Obama formula on steroids," says my source. "He will know better than any other candidate exactly what different segments want to here and he will tailor his message to capture those segments."


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