Been a couple of days -- and again, the change in the campaign is indescribable. But, in an interview with a new volunteer, I realized the similarities of this campaign with another situation I was intimately involved in -- the dot.com experience. We were fighting in a market that the leading company was generating all of the attention -- both in terms of media interest, customer attention, vendor attention, and purchase orders. All without having the product "sold" to a single customer. And then, the first consumer reports came out that were not statistical samples -- but the real purchasing patterns emerged. And suddenly, the customers took another look at the other products.
Our little company, in the wake of this domination of the media and mindshare, we took stock of what was happening. Our original efforts were stymied -- both from the outside and from within. But we spent time looking, listening and learning -- we refocused our efforts, we changed tactics and started to address some of our major issues -- and we waited. Because no matter how good our site was, no matter how good our product was -- until the customer decided to sample our product and decide to purchase it -- we had very little justification for our efforts.
One person should be noted that will not in the wake of all of the media that will begin to swirl about the campaign and the Internet effort -- David Thorne. You ask, "Who is David Thorne?" Well, David is one of JK's best friends from college and from the military and (I believe) is related through marriage (David's sister was JK's first wife). David has been the outside person pushing for Internet related issues more on a fundraising effort before anyone else had in the very beginning -- and even brought in Nick Grouf (ex-CEO of Firefly, ex-CEO of PeoplePC) into the team in order to help us go through our initial re-evaluation of the Internet efforts. And through Nick, the campaign began to change in it's focus on the Internet -- but it should be noted that David has been the person pushing for the team when Dean was trouncing the campaign in the 3rd and 4th quarter.
What is it like in the wake of the NH primary? Funny thing -- the office is still a-buzz with work and everyone is still cranking along in a normal fashion -- but nothing is certain and there certainly is no air of ineviability. As far back as three weeks ago, we were on the trash heap of history with articles written about our campaign being completely dead (my favorite is the one where a history teacher recounts the 2004 election year cycle and how Kerry, with all of his strengths did not win the election) -- it is no where near considered a done-deal. The Feb 3rd States are coming up -- and that will begin to consolidate the forward reaching efforts of the campaign. If we are successful there -- maybe we will breathe a little easier. But not terribly so.
Funny thing -- it was my assumption that after the primaries, we would get a chance to relax -- maybe for a month -- but I have learned that this assumption is false. If we were to win, we are in this for the long haul -- and the game only gets more busy and more intense. We are in this for a period unheard of in my personal experience. At the beginning of this post, I drew a parallel to my dot.com experiences. I was with a number of those dot.coms -- and my favorite (eGroups) barely came close. In that story, the money came in, and we had heady times -- but the story was even more free since the schedules were not determined by outside forces. In San Fran, when the weekends came -- you could have time with your friends and family. Here -- government works 24/7 -- I am awake at 5:30/6am -- onto the computer and watching the cycle. Funny thing -- the next month will help shap the direction and focus of the team and campaign. And, where the IPO effort was all about closing customers (GOTV), bringing revenue to the bottom line (fundraising), and generating the hype about our position is the marketplace (polling and press) -- it was all about the vision of the CEO and the operational team (campaign manager and staff). And it is funny, our VC (JK) had a management change -- and whether it was the change or the hype for the other product -- the product is beginning to sell. And we believe for the better.
And -- as a placeholder for another post -- I will try to remember to discuss whether or not the Internet has changes the face of politics or is it just an improvement on the earlier processes.