Tuesday, June 01, 2010

An Afternoon At The Reshma 2010 Headquarters

I was at the Reshma 2010 headquarters for a few hours this afternoon: 833 Broadway. The highlight was I made 70 phone calls, and made 10 contacts with voters. It did not feel like a Buzzd office shared with Reshma 2010. It felt the other way round. There were many more Reshma 2010 staffers and interns. (Buzzd)

In my mind I have been toying with the idea of going to work full time for Reshma 2010 for three and a half months. But that might or might not be the best fit for me and/or Reshma 2010. We will have to see about that. (My Political Resume, Reshma 2010, And September 14) If I end up with a formal role, it is likely going to be amorphous.

The campaign is not in top shape right now. If the elections were held today, we would lose. Two words: name recognition. But the campaign is promising. I see victory possible. September 14 could be ours. But there has to be a willingness to try out new things, to push the envelope. But we can not be worrying about poll numbers right now, this is why: February To September: Little Change.

If we emerge victorious, September 14 is going to be the second most glowing item on Kevin Lawler's resume, the first being the Obama victory in Iowa in January 2008. Kevin was there. (My Talk With Kevin Lawler Of Reshma 2010) He told me some of the war stories. I hope to ask him more about that experience. Without that Iowa victory, Hillary might have been president.

The first debate is going to be our Iowa. We really, really have to win that first debate with Maloney.

We have to hold mock debates. A few different people could step in for Maloney.

I asked Aaron why we don't canvass the East Side the way we canvass Astoria and Long Island City. He said it is because on the East Side we have these huge buildings that we can't get into. And at that moment an idea struck me. Take a look at this site called NYC Bloggers. It lists about 7,000 bloggers by subway stop. People on the East Side have to be digitally savvy. We should perhaps create a blogroll of all the bloggers in our district, and we have to engage them. We read their blog posts, leave comments for them, engage them, and gently guide them over to the Reshma 2010 website. This might work better than reaching out to the community newspapers, or working the subway stops. If there are 1,000 bloggers listed in our district, and each such blogger has at least 10 readers in the district, that is 10,000 people!

This NYC Bloggers idea is no argument against community newspapers, community leaders, and community events though.

There are three types of campaigning.
  1. Targeted Campaigning. And we seem to spend a lot of our time and resources on this one. We know who the potential voters for September 14 are. And we try our best to reach out to them, to identify them, to target them. 
  2. Broadcast Campaigning. This is when you put out an ad in the New York Times (Reshma Saujani Ad Spotted At The New York Times Website) or when we work a subway stop. Or when our candidate gets media coverage. Not everyone who reads a newspaper article about Reshma Saujani is a potential voter. But getting that buzz is still important. If a potential voter has already heard of her through broadcast campaigning, it becomes easier to reach out to them through target campaigning. Right now most voters are not even paying attention. Primaries tend to be low turnout events in the first place. But the real mad dash to the finish line will begin with the debates. 
  3. Getting First Time Voters. This is key. The Maloney campaign might match us in the first two categories, and we have to make up for that by reaching out to people who might otherwise not even bother voting on September 14. We have to appeal to the New Woman on the East Side. 
Talking about the New Woman and the East Side, I spent my first 15 minutes at the Reshma 2010 offices staring at the three huge maps of the district, the district split into three. That was revealing to me. The backbone of the district is the East Side. Unless we can compete with Maloney on the East Side, we can't win. And there is no reason why we can't. Reshma had a lot of early donors on the Upper East Side. You compete on the East Side, and you beat with the votes in Astoria and Long Island City. But the big chunk of the votes are on Manhattan's East Side.
Within a week, the Reshma 2010 headquarters will be moving to a bigger space in Midtown. The office could use a few netbooks - $300 each - and a few Metro PCS family plan phones: unlimited talk. 

My best phone call of the day was with a voter with whom I deviated from the script. So would you say you are very political? I asked. The guy got flattered. He took over the conversation. He told me how strongly he felt about the various issues. He said he had been voting a long, long time. He said he thought Obama was a "weak president" for not having passed immigration reform already. Finally he said, don't waste your time on me, I am already committed to voting for Reshma, go talk to someone else.

So I am working the phone, and a Buzzd staffer walks by. He points at me and exclaims, "Barackface!" And walks away. That's right, I say.

"How do you know him?" Aaron asks me.

"I don't."

Aaron gets impressed. 

A 14-7 Office For Reshma 2010
My Political Resume, Reshma 2010, And September 14
Reshma Saujani, Carolyn Maloney
My Talk With Kevin Lawler Of Reshma 2010
Reshma 2010 Get Together In Little India
Reshma Saujani Ad Spotted At The New York Times Website
Reshma Saujani, Scott Heiferman, Chris Hughes: TechCrunch Disrupt
Reshma Saujani, Haiti Earthquake, Harvard Yale, And 2016
Reshma Saujani "Gets" Tech
Reshma Saujani: Innovation, Ethnic Pride, Thought Leadership
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