How We Used Data to Win the Presidential Election

Mira Dontcheva   Dan Siroker, Obama Campaign and CarrotSticks


Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 8, 2009

Of the 129 million people who voted in the election last November nearly 70 million voted for Barack Obama. Obama's popular vote percentage (52.9%) was the highest for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, and his margin of victory was the largest ever for a non-incumbent. These are all astounding facts but they are just part of the story. A story about what went into securing those 70 million votes. A story about data.

In this talk, Dan will describe how the campaign used data to win the presidential election. He will share the lessons his team learned along the way and how you can apply them to any data-driven decision you need to make-- whether you are a developer, designer, or even a marketer. If you are building a product or selling an idea, you can use data to do it better. Data can be a powerful force for good. 


Dan Siroker recently founded CarrotSticks, a startup focused on using technology to help kids learn.

During the presidential transition, Dan was the Deputy New Media Director where he was responsible for strategic planning of the administration's use of the internet and technology. He led several online initiatives on including a way for the American people to publicly comment on proposed policy, ask a question, or a submit an idea-- all of which could be voted on by others and went directly to President Obama and his cabinet.

Prior to working on the presidential transition, Dan led the analytics team for the Obama presidential campaign and served as a senior member of the larger New Media team. He led a team of software engineers and analysts responsible for optimizing the effectiveness of the campaign's online operations that ended up raising over half a billion dollars, registering over 2 million voters, and enabling 3 million phone calls to be made in the final four days of the campaign.

Before joining the campaign, Dan was a Product Manager for Google Chrome, the open-source web browser from Google. Dan worked previously as a Product Manager for Google AdWords.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.