Had a great time giving the keynote on the last day at SES Chicago this year. Really appreciate the invitation to speak and all the folks who showed up to see me.
During the keynote I made the first public announcement of our new product called Spreadly. Learn more about it here: http://spreadly.com/
In case you missed it, here are my slides:
Here's a picture of me doing a Jedi mind trick to the audience with my left hand:
During my talk I shared the lessons I learned while leading the analytics team for the Obama campaign:
- Define quantifiable success metrics.
- Question assumptions.
- Divide and conquer.
- Take advantage of circumstances.
- Turn your customers into evangelists.
Thanks again to everyone who attended the keynote and all of you who tweeted such nice things:
Hope the conference will let me share the video at some point in the future. I don't think they have finished post-production on it but whenever it is finished it will probably be hidden behind a paywall for Search Engine Watch Premium Membership.
In the mean time, you can watch similar talks I gave…
… at Google:
… at Stanford:
My next scheduled speaking appearance will be at SoCon10 in Atlanta, GA on January 30rd, 2010.
If you are interested in watching this talk in person, shoot me an email and I'd be glad to speak at your business, conference, or gathering. Hope to share what we learned as broadly as possible!
Here is the talk I gave back in May on YouTube:
Let me know what you think! I'll incorporate your feedback as well as the lessons we have learned with CarrotSticks. I'm planning on giving two more talks in the not-so-distant future:
- Google Partner Summit on October 13th, 2009
- SES Chicago on December 9th, 2009
What a glorious day!
I just downloaded Chromium 3.0.183 for Mac and it's pretty dang good. Chromium is the open source project led by Google to build Chrome (hence the similarity in name). The product is so polished I think it is ready for prime-time.
Give it a try:
Or you can browse the recent builds.
Yesterday I gave a talk at Google entitled “How We Used Data to Win the Presidential Election” which is the last of three talks I'm planning on giving on the topic. They recorded it and promised it would be up on YouTube in a week or two.
Note: the slides are 39.5 MB in size due to all the videos clips I used. Also, you need Apple Keynote to open these slides. If you don't have it, can download a 30 day free trial. I tried converting these slides to HTML and PPT but doing so messes up the layout and videos, so sorry, you need to use Keynote.
Please let me know what you think of the talk and send me any feedback in the comments. I would be glad to give the talk again if you or people you work with are interested in hearing about what we learned during the campaign.
And lastly, thank you to everyone who showed up to the talks!Update 6/6: Here are all the original video clips I refer to in the talk:
It is a shame that politics is a game often won by the candidate who can afford the best “strategists” and “consultants”. This creates a huge industry of people who make a buck by claiming to be better than the other guy because they have some strategy or technique no one else can execute. Sometimes it doesn't even matter whether the candidate is better or worse than the other guy because in the end they win by Karl Roveing their opponent.
Well, I'd like to do my small part in leveling the playing field by sharing the lessons we learned during the Obama campaign. I'm not one of the aforementioned strategists or consultants who make their living by coveting secrets. I'd much rather an election be won by the better candidate, not the better strategists. I happen to believe that means more democrats will win, so I don't care how many people know what I know. I'm going to give away all the lessons we learned by using data to help Obama win last November in two three upcoming talks:
An abridged version at the Politics Online Conference
- What: Panelist for a session entitled Tinkering Your Web Strategy: Using Analytics to Understand Your Traffic and Making Adjustments
- When: This Tuesday, April 21st 2009 at 3:30pm
- Where: Meridian D&E at the Ronald Reagan Building
- Video: Unfortunately not recorded
- The full version at Stanford for the Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
A Google-flavored version of the Stanford talk:
- What: Speaker for Authors@Google talk entitled also “How We Used Data to Win the Presidential Election”
- When: Wednesday, May 13th 2009 at 12:00pm
- Where: Google Building 42 on the second floor at Paramaribo Tech Talk (not open to the public)
- Video: Coming soon
Here is the abstract of what I plan to speak about:
Of the 129 million people who voted in the election last November nearly 70 million voted for Barack Obama. Obama's popular vote percentage (52.9%) was the highest for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, and his margin of victory was the largest ever for a non-incumbent. These are all astounding facts but they are just part of the story. A story about what went into securing those 70 million votes. A story about data.
In this talk, Dan will describe how the campaign used data to win the presidential election. He will share the lessons his team learned along the way and how you can apply them to any data-driven decision you need to make— whether you are a developer, designer, or even a marketer. If you are building a product or selling an idea, you can use data to do it better. Data can be a powerful force for good.
Let me know if you are interested in attending either of these talks and I can help get there. If you can't make the talks in person, fear not, for both will be videotaped and I'll update this entry with links when they are available online.
I am truly happy. Today I turned 26 years old. My birthdays have always been days when I reflect back on the path I've taken in life to get to where I am today. I guess that habit started way back when my dad would ask me and my brother on our birthdays, “how does it feel to be 4 years old?”, “how does it feel to be 5 years old?”, year after year. I don't know if he asked that as a way for me to realize my age was a continuous value and not a discrete step-function, or whether he asked me that to force myself to think metaphysically about my own true being. Today I certainly find myself doing the latter.
It's been a month and six days since my last post. Oh, wait… two years, a month, and six days. I'm going to be a little rusty at this. The impetus for my return derives from a major change in my life.
I'm joining the campaign for one of the two major presidential candidates. Which one? Well, if you've talked to me in person recently, you know which one (or least you think you do). I'm not going to say who the candidate is right now.
Neither campaign wants staff members blogging. The most well-intentioned post can be misconstrued. My goal here will not be to try to write about the campaign, but to write about my life, which coincidentally has been signed over to the campaign. It shouldn't matter then who the candidate is.
If you think you've figured me out because exhaustive detective work led you to discover that that my brother volunteered for Osama, I mean Obama, then well done. You've nailed me. I'm going to move to another city, put my professional career on hold, and leave my friends behind all so that I can be just like my brother.
Pack your bags for the sarcasm train because it's scheduled to depart at irony o'clock.
I would normally delete emails like this so I can understand your hesitation. I honestly think Barack Obama is different and deserves your attention.
It is a bit after 9pm. I am on the phone with an Iowa voter asking him who he plans to caucus for and if he needs any help getting to his caucus location or daycare for his kids. Alexander taps on the glass of the small conference room I am sitting in and flashes me a thumbs up with a huge smile on his face. The Iowa voter answers that this is probably the 13th phone call he has gotten from our campaign; that he is definitely going to caucus; and that he is definitely going to caucus for Barack Obama. His response turns out to be a harbinger of what I am about to learn: the latest and likely most accurate poll has Barack Obama ahead of all other democrats by seven percent points. This is huge.
Working in a campaign is a lot like swimming in the ocean: it looks fun on the surface but underneath you are paddling as fast as they can to stay afloat and despite your best efforts you never know where the currents will take you.
This is the first of what I hope to be a handful of posts about my month-long hiatus from Google to work for Barack Obama’s campaign in Chicago.