My OFA Family
There are so many people who touch your life and your work in such an expansive endeavour like Obama for America. I wanted to take a quick moment and try to thank the following people for all they did to help us achieve what we did. I also know that I’m most likely leaving someone out who undoubtedly played a critical part in what we did. With so many people, I’m statistically likely have left at least one person off this list. And even more, one of the frustrating parts of working in an organization the size of OFA is that you don’t always come into contact with every person playing an important part in the campaign’s shared success. In a way, it makes our victory that much more exciting. We had a pretty large group of individuals all working in discrete chunks all leading us to a common goal; a sure sign that our organization was made up of committed and trustworthy people who got the job done when they needed to.
Lots of people did big (and tiny) things that, when added up, contributed to the President being elected. This list omits probably the most important part of the campaign, which was our vast army of fired up volunteers who did the hard work of knocking on doors and calling people: generally persuading others in midst of the the heat, rain, and cold. Nothing we did at HQ would mean anything without the field, so huge props to the field and their leadership inside the campaign: Jeremy Bird, Betsy Hoover, Marlon Marshall, Mitch Stewart, and Buffy Wicks.
- Michael Slaby, Jim Messina, the rest of the OFA leadership all the way up to President Obama: Made it all possible, trusted us, and let us do our thing and help play a part in the finest campaign ever run. They gave us the people, resources, and leadership to do everything right and do it so that it mattered and counted.
- Harper Reed, Dylan Richard, Dan Ratner and Mike Conlow: Built an amazing team under insane deadlines and constraints. They orchestrated this rag-tag group from all walks of life and experience levels into a machine which produced historic infrastructure.
- Dylan Richard and his DevOps crew: Scott VanDenPlas, JP Schnieder, Nick Hatch, Brian Holcomb, and Leo Zhadanovsky: They shaped, molded, and cajoled AWS into an unstoppable campaign software freight train. We couldn’t have done anything we did without these guys to keep our code moving smoothly into the world and chugging at peak performance.
- Carol Davidsen, Mari Huertas, David Osborne, Winnie Lam, Catherine Bracy, Anthea Watson Strong, Jeffery Gabriel, Jason Kunesh. All had a hand in sheperding a product (or lots of products!) and dealing with demanding business owners and crazy engineers. I think project management is one of the hardest jobs out there and these guys did pretty amazing stuff.
- Jason Kunesh should be singled out. He grabbed the reins when they needed grabbing and helped us to deliver products and make those products better. He worked across a dizzying array of departments to keep huge undertakings moving on schedule and also keeping everyone happy.
- Jason Kunesh, Scout Addis, David Castleton, Mark Trammell, Aaron Salmon, and Gabriela Rivas: Helped us refine our applications, and made it so people from all walks of life could use them. They transformed our nerdery into people-focused products that were intuitive. And, most importantly, guided people to doing the work that mattered, which could make the most impact on getting people fired up and ready to vote.
- Aaron Salmon and Ben Korody for handling an insane amount of our front-end development needs. These guys touched almost every project and made it look 10,000 times better—even in IE7! HTML and CSS wizards.
- Brady Kriss herded a vast and ever-changing field of volunteers who managed an opressive crush of support tickets for all our applications. Brady taught scores of high school, college, and post-education folks how our applications worked, how to deal with common issues, and most importantly how to help people. She organized a top-notch support team that was fluid and always changing and crushed it.
- Chris Gansen was the beneveolent Dashboard lead and kept the whole team focused on producing the best possible product for the field. Lots of people worked on Dashboard over the campaign: Gabriel Burt, Angus Durocher, Will St. Clair, Jesse Kriss, Abi Noda, Chirag Patel, Nathan Kontny, David Mathers and myself. I’m sure there are a couple more I’m missing right now.
- Identity was the lynch-pin to so many applicaitons and a vast bulk of it was teed up for me by Zane Shelby, Anders Conbere and Dylan Richard.
- Narwhal was an awesome beast. The API team was staffed with superstars. Anders Conbere got it off the ground and running. Carol Davidsen came in as project manager and Josh Thayer became project lead. They got us focused on delivering the product on schedule all while incorporating all the needs of the many teams that relied on the product. Lots of people helped on the API: Justin Vincent, Zane Shelby, Kevin Der, Jim Meehan, Will St. Clair, Derek Brooks, Ryan Kolak, Ian Dees, Abi Noda, and myself. I’m sure amost everyone wrote at least one line of Narwhal at some point :)
- The integration team gave Narwhal its original purpose. Ryan Kolak, Nick Leeper, Ian Dees, Sam McVeety, Michael Barrientos, Zane Shelby all spent a considerable amount of time working with our vendor’s unique and varied APIs to get data into and out of Narwhal and in a place for everyone else to use it.
- Our DBAs! Noel McKinney, Jay Edwards, Bill Wanjohi, and a whole team of contractors keep our databases humming along, accomodating tons of data and helping us to fix crazy engineering queries.
- We often worked with people not in the technology row for extra front-end, design, and copywriting work. Dan Carson and Taylor LeCroy made everything look beautiful and useful. Anh-Thu Huynh, Chris Wolff, Aki, Greg Bugyis, Eryan Cobham, Manik Rathee, Daniel Ryan, Kyle Rush, Michael Renehan, and Melanie Garunay all helped considerably to make a big difference in our products.
- Mackenzie Walker and Ashley Arenson handled administrative work that kept the team moving fluidly and orchestrated with the rest of the campaign and helped keep us sane.
- The store and payments team of Ivan Indrautama and Nick Leeper built an amazing store and payments API that did really amazing stuff that helped us take an impressive amount of money.
- Our voter team of Derek Brooks, Britt Selvitelle, Ryan Resella, Todd Makinster, Jesse Kriss, and Will St. Clair. Lior Abraham did some great work getting our incident tracker off its feet.
- Catherine Bracy and Angus Durocher did an amazing job of coordinating a whole team of volunteer engineers in San Francisco that helped us build applications we didn’t have the bandwidth to build in Chicago. These guys busted their hump and did some really amazing stuff out west.
- Will St. Clair and Chris Coté worked with our Analytics department and did some amazing targeting work and other related skunkworks stuff that really made a difference in how the campaign reached people and delivered our messages.
- Harry Mattison came into our crazy world and almost instantly began making an impact by helping us automate browser testing, and helping to quality control all our applications.
- Gabriel Burt, Zane Shelby, Chris Wegrzyn, Chelsea Zhang, Christopher Manning, Erek Dyskant, and so many more analytics people collaborated with the technology team to build unprecidented GOTV, targeting, outreach, and matching infrastructure.
- Last and most definitely not least, Ben Hagen, our security guy. He was an awesome and hilarious person to work with, but also made sure everything we produced would not get exploited, and watched our backs to ensure nothing fishy was going on.