January 12th, 2004
"Starting an Internet/Software Company Today"

Minutes of the 03-09-04 Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group
(RMIUG):"Electing With Clicks"

The meeting started at 7:00 with about 40 people in attendance. Josh ran
the meeting tonight and introduced a few committee members, and thanked the
RMIUG sponsors for their support:

MicroStaff (http://www.microstaff.com) generously provides food and
beverages at the meetings. The company provides Creative and Technical
Talent for Web, Interactive Media, Marketing Communications and Software
Development projects.

ONEWARE (http://www.ONEWARE.com) -- a Colorado-based software company that
provides semi-custom web-based applications, is the sponsor of the RMIUG
meeting minutes.

NCAR -- for the use of their wonderful facility.

Our newest sponsor, Copy Diva (http://www.copydiva.com) which provides
marketing project management, marketing communications consulting, and web
content development is the new AV sponsor for RMIUG.



Joe Pezzillo - Citizens for Verifiable Voting.
Encouraged people to go to Coloradovoter.net or countthevotecolorado.org


Electing with clicks

Josh asked warm up questions and introduced the topic and the two

Matt Statman (matt@motivedi.com), the co-founder and Director of Client
Services for Motive Design+Interactive. Matt's company is a Denver based
brand and interactive marketing agency, and built DeanForAmerica.org.

Bobby Clark (bclark@deanforamerica.com) is a recent alumnus of Dean for
America. He was one of the earliest staff members and he is the one who led
the development of the Dean campaign's groundbreaking Web presence.
The Dean campaign is widely recognized as the first presidential campaign to
effectively use the internet to build a national grassroots organization for
meetings and fundraising.

Internet is really important in elections today. Tonight we're here to talk
about what tools and techniques seem to work, and what candidates are going
to be doing from now on. Tonight's discussion will also include what
deanforamerica.org means to internet marketing in general.

How did a Colorado shop get hooked up with the Dean campaign?

Bobby Clark came to Matt and asked him if he wanted to pitch the business to
Dean. Bobby didn't even have a photo to start with. They did it in 3 days.
They did the Welcome to Dean for America page using photos from the West
Wing w/Martin Sheen.

When they saw it, they liked it and wanted it up in like 3 or 4 days.
They only had about 5 digital photographs. They took a strategic approach -
which meant asking several key questions:

What are Dean's attributes?
What are the key considerations of a Presidential Campaign? ... etc.

They decided on three things for the site strategy:

Experience Strategy

-Entice - Creative Strategy
-Engage - Content Strategy
-Activate - Trigger Strategy - (June 23rd picture with all the signs)

Creative Strategy

-Approachable & comfortable for their audiences

-Had to be a strong reflection of Dean's personality - for example, a
physician speaking on health care reform.

-Had to be effective in elevating his stature. So they created a strong
visual sense that something BIG was taking place.

(pictures of the initial Dean campaign)

Content Strategy

-Offer fresh, relevant content on a daily basis that would drive repeat
visits to the site

-Utilize rich media to deliver a one to one Dean experiences to the visitor

-Deliver customized content to targeted support base segments

-Provide everything a visitor would expect, plus some more

YOU MUST make it media rich and interactive. How do you take it to the next

Engage: --

Q - What did you use for content management?
A- They used a content management system eventually called Brikalage.
Brikalage is an open source content management system based on the
programming language "mason." It allowed them to break the site into
components that they could then syndicate to other sites.

Q - How did you choose the domain name?
A - Dean for America was chosen a long time ago. They swear it wasn't
influenced by the West Wing, but in an early issue, a guy holds up a napkin
that says Bartlett For America.

Q- Is there a logging system that tracks all of the user actions to help
drive content?
A - We'll get to that later

Bobby Clark was pretty much alone, and ended up with 20 people on the web

The idea was every day on the site you had some kind of new headline.

Examples of targeted messages, like the Advocate magazine cover.

Trigger Strategy - ACTIVATE:

Student websites. Online petition doubled the database site.

The outcome:

The Online Pulse of the Campaign. Led to a website that enticed people to
learn more about Howard Dean and became a truly grassroots campaign.

Q - Would you have done anything differently, marketing wise?
A - They weren't afraid to do Anything, whatever it was, they'd try it.

So: (in this kind of environment you have to) capitalize on momentum, don't
stop every second questioning whether or not it's perfect - just keep
rolling with it.

Bobby expressed his thanks to Matt. Bobby was blown away by the campaign
manager - in early October of 2002. And the web presence at that time was
truly horrid and negative, visually.

They started in Jan with $160,000 in the bank. He'd (Dean) never spent more
than $750,000. Bobby thought the internet budget was way too low.

In a campaign, stuff happens immediately. Reacting quickly often meant
calling Matt at midnight. They had about 10,000 people on a list, and
somebody was sending a couple hundred emails at a time via MS Outlook.
Politics is all about perception. They needed to get him noticed by raising
money and limiting expenditures.

If it hadn't been for clawing their way to recognition in those early days
... it wouldn't have happened. They really had to get people to pay

Music and media is also about perception

They dropped their lives and went to Vermont because they cared what was
happening in this country.

Q - [something to the effect of what were the actual numbers again?] A -
They raised 23 and 1/2 mill online, but 53 million dollars was raised
indirectly as a result of the online presence.

They listened to people: There were dozens of websites for Dean, and BLOGS
online. They embraced it/them, rather than competing with them - they
directed people to them - and in that way built community.

They had to be very careful not to support grassroots activities obviously.

Joe Trippi [Dean's Campaign Manager] talked a lot about how it HAD to be
decentralized, this campaign. How it had to take away from big companies
and pushed out to America.

They started linking [Dean's site] to sites that weren't owned by GE or
Disney or other large corporations.

At the end of the day, they felt they were only seeing part of those out
there who were for Dean, but in exchange for that they engaged 100's of
1000s of people for the first time ever in presidential politics. They
engaged people in a meaningful way that they'd never had in a presidential
campaign before.

350,000 people contributed to the campaign, most under $20.

On the day of Wisconsin, his mom gave another $100. People felt it was SO
important. $819,000 in one day, on June 30th, at the end of the second

And then almost $800,000 again in one day. It worked because they
deliberately set out to give away power. Bobby had to help Howard Dean open
his email.

"he had an approach to politics that was fundamentally different - he was
the carpool dad, would drive them to hockey practice - then he'd go to
Montpelier and do government. He wasn't sequestered in a mansion, so the
New England town meeting model was natural to him."

Joe Trippi was a passionate advocate of decentralized campaigns. He helped
win Iowa for Gary Hart.

It was [designed] to engage citizens to participate, and to trust THEM, not
to control it/them. People were posturing in markets. It was all about
trying to engage people at the grass roots and letting them take control of

They got swamped by mass media in the end, on some negative items ...

Q - What did he [Dean] think of it?
A - Dean got it, enough that he wanted it - he got how the internet was
enabling the grassroots.

One seminal moment was when Dean heard about meetup.com. Meet Up is a
private for profit enterprise. When they put the logo on the web site, they
more than doubled their registration.

It was Trippi's idea for Dean to have a Meet Up in the New Year.
Hundreds showed up a year ahead of the primaries. All the national media
talked about it.

One of the opportunities was to connect people together. They started as
storytelling exercises, with people voicing their opinions and sharing their
stories. All were volunteers.

It's almost like church for the Dean campaign.

Trigger Strategy: "Activate"

Coordinate local events
House Parties
Tell A Friend
"XYZ for DEAN" sites
Vote to shape campaign policy
Download flyers, banners, collateral
HTML updates to forward on
"just ask"
Online Petition

BLOG - it's like an online campfire. It's not a thread, but similar.
His mom sent him an email the day before Wisconsin that there were trolls on
the BLOG. He couldn't believe it.

Q - how did they control the trolls?
A - they didn't, that's the point. Free speech is messy, democracy is messy.

Things became so bad (trolling) in the days leading up to Iowa, that they
had to have people register.

Q - did you track market segment/information of site traffic?
A - he wishes they'd done more. They used Convio ASP (working with Kerry
and Lieberman, back-ended by an Oracle database) - and Convio had tracking
tools, but they never really did that. They were in the ASPs sandbox, as
that's how ASPs work.

So they started hiring developers to create tools and do all sorts of
things. But the Developers didn't like Convio. But the online processing
system was great.

They talked to one of the big CRM companies (like Siebel), but it was
millions of dollars. For a campaign, it was just too much.

Trippi had opposition to segmentation. It's one message, to everyone.
They deliberately didn't use it. He (Bobby) thinks it was a mistake, that
they should've done it.

One of the things they tried to do was let the targeting happen by
plugging into people's existing social networks. The Farm Workers used
meetings to build their money; so in April or May of 2003, they came up w/a
field model based solely on living room meetings. Their work was to go to a
meeting and recruit someone to have a meeting in their home, and invite at
least 50 people; show Dean video, and not talk policy, but the host or
hostess would storytell and everyone around the room would tell their

Q - What did you learn about the political process?
A - That there's an enormous amount of entrenched power that resists change.

A funny thing happened w/Gore. When Gore endorsed Dean, they [other
candidates] all went into a panic. Gephardt was going to take down Dean
even if it killed them. Two 527's started running ads against Dean -
drug companies sponsored one (Fund for Growth) - it was an elderly couple
walking out of a house - horrible ad - "body piercing ... blah blah ....
should go back to Vermont."

They used it to their advantage.

Then, this really hurt the campaign-- a democratic group was started by some
that had left Kerry and Gephardts' campaign, that included George
Steinbrenner - the whole ad was Bin Laden's face. Danger - Be Afraid -
Incompetence -- (message was if you vote for Howard Dean your life is
in danger -it was payback)

Kerry's campaign found a 4 year old clip where Dean was comparing primaries
to caucuses - and critical of caucuses. It wasn't specifically attacking
Iowa caucuses, But the clip ran 8-10 days before them and it was as if he
was saying Iowans are like idiots.

Matt Gross had the Dean blog, the early one. And Trippi was watching it if
Gross and the other guy weren't. When suggestions were made, they would do

Q - Volunteer for Dean since Sacramento speech. Really just a statement ..
blah blah ...

Bobby said Howard is announcing what he's doing on March 18th with Dean for
America - to follow though with it, for change.

They'd create scenarios for action - people do it because of emotional
scenarios - Rick Santoro had made some comments about homosexuals, and they
called for contributions as an expression of outrage. And they learned it
was all about context - people want to engage. When Ashcroft was touring
around promoting the patriot act, they printed out the petition and stood
with the wall of paper when he got off the plane.

They threw up a goal to give everyone something to work for, which really
hadn't been done before. The comments on the blog: "finally a candidate we

This is what they succeeded in at the end of the day - that individuals can
effect change, piece by piece, towards a goal.

Trivia Q - What was the first project that Motive and Bobby Clark did
A - The Colorado ... (something, missed it)

Matt - what can be learned from this for consumer based marketing? You see
Ben and Jerry's and Vans do this with getting kids out there - but how would
it be done?

Comment from audience on Proctor and Gambles doing this with house parties
and products.

Dan - did the Dean campaign use any RSS feeds?
Bobby - yeah, on the BLOG

Q - What happened to the Dean space sites?
A - It was a way to create community sites and syndicate fed out content.

Q - Josh - how much of it was Dean's personality, and how much was the site?
A - Was that in October? (Bobby) - I think a lot of it WAS Dean. In the
early days they used the site to give people a sense of who Dean was.
Matt's organization really helped a lot with that. In the fall, they
started focusing more on process, and they focused less on him. And for
those just tuning in, it left him to be defined by them, or ill defined ...

Comment - Matt - don't undervalue or undermine the value of creating a brand
type identity, grassroots or no - you have to say there's something big
going on.

Bobby -- there's always an adoption curve. And at some point, as it begins
to tip - with the campaign, they didn't really allow for the campaign to
evolve. They always turned the camera on the audience. But
in Iowa, they thought the Deanies were a little weird and rabid. And
he had a filter mic, on the clip from Iowa, and they didn't show the crowd.
The truth was you couldn't hear him at all over the crowd, which is why he
was yelling.

The video camera footage on the CNN documentary shows HOW out of context
that footage of Dean was, without the sound of the audience etc. That
particular clip was shown 900 times between Iowa and New Hampshire, and
obviously had a huge effect.

Q - blogging software?
A - Blogger.com

Bobby -- Dailykos.com = popular BLOG sites. Or post a comment to Dean
for America asking about it and somebody will respond. Nico has a
consultancy, one of the things they're doing is forming BLOGS.

They have people all the time coming to them asking them to set up BLOGS.

Care and feeding of a BLOG - it's a constant conversation that requires
constant attention.

www.blogforamerica.com -- has links to tons of BLOGs.

Nico@nico.org will be doing some consulting. He may be working for Joe
Trippi at Change for America.com

Q - can you talk about the editorial process on BLOGs?
A - he thinks political organizations have camps - but they talked, all
their different camps.

Q - underlying technology? How did you push all the emails?
A - into Convio, through the second quarter. Problems: shared environment,
too big, needed a dedicated environment. They got one, and rendering of
their email was difficult. What they ended up doing was getting a system
called Lyris. It wasn't on a database so it needed a list built every time,
so they hired somebody from Seattle and he used My SQL.

They had a lot of different tools - this guy built "the candle" which tied
everything together.

Campaigns need to go to CRM - to platforms you can build on [scalability].
They had planned for capacity bursts after the primaries, which Kerry is now

Kerry's campaign raised 6 million dollars in 6 days after super Tuesday.

Q - where do you think these tools will go, and how do you think they'll
impact the upcoming election?
A - they were just beginning to ask those questions when the campaign went

What does the campaign mean for a Dean presidency. Nine press conferences
in 3 years would not cut it.

Q - Do you have a sense of the "electing" population and will this be
A - Bobby thinks it will have an effect. GWU did a study on folks engaged
online -and the vast majority of them were policy leaders of some kind. It's
injecting a conversation - different personality types.

A2 - People who are coming online are opinion leaders, and going to
influence people offline. Both parties are competing over a shrinking
electorate - but the left side is what's peeling off the most; the people
who are more progressive are opting out. So Trippi wanted to re engage
people, and that's what happened - Iowa and New Hampshire had more people
turn out than ever before. "Just show up" It matters.

More college members for DeanforAmerica than for RocktheVote.

Trivia Q - What was the first project that Motive and Bobby Clark did
A - The Colorado Voter Initiative


RMIUG (http://www.rmiug.org/) appreciates the sponsorship of
MicroStaff (www.microstaff.com), ONEWARE (http://www.ONEWARE.com), and Copy Diva (http://www.copydiva.com).

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