It’s a small, obscure firm called Blue State Digital, a market research-New Media hybrid that has played an instrumental role in fostering Obamamania. The campaign declined to discuss Blue State, but the firm says its handiwork and technology can be seen in the more than $ 200 million Obama has raised online, the 2 million phone calls made on the candidate’s behalf, and in barackobama.com’s social network of 850,000 users, who have organized 50,000 campaign events.
Blue State was founded in 2004 by four former members of Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign. Other firms were already selling software to help candidates raise money online. But Thomas Gensemer, a former venture capitalist who, at 31, is now Blue State’s managing partner, says he and his associates wanted to use such tools to mobilize grassroots support for progressive candidates, causes, or products. “The idea has always been to engage the citizenry, make them feel part of the process,” Gensemer says.
In 2005, Blue State began working with AT&T, which was attempting to launch a TV service to compete with cable companies. The telecom declined to comment, but Gensemer says that in one project, Blue State used the Web and other media to organize community groups and citizens to mobilize against Connecticut’s rigid cable franchise laws. Some 30,000 letters were sent to state legislators, who eventually enacted a new law making it easier for AT&T to take on the cable guys.
Read more …
Obama’s Secret Weapon, Business Week, 24 Jun 2008.
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