19 November 2012

Inbreeding Isn't a Strength

Well, the story is starting to emerge. Here's a version from The Atlantic. Toward the end of the piece we get this:
"A lot of the software is kind of late. It's looking ugly and I go out on this Field call," Kunesh remembered. "And people are like, 'Man, we should fire your bosses man... We gotta get the guys from the DNC. They don't know what the hell you're doing.' I'm sitting there going, 'I'm gonna get another margarita.'"

The problem: it was the DNC guys who screwed the pooch in 2010, and did little to stop the tsunami in state legislatures then or this year. We now have Yankees and Johnny Rebs, in spades. It's just now Coasts versus Crew Cuts. The lackadaisical DNC gave us this. I met with those DNC guys. They let 2010 happen. They aren't the ones to follow.

And then they provided a separate way for the Analytics people, who had very specific needs, to get the data in a different form.

Of course, if they'd used Postgres and PL/R, they'd have had it all together.

Recall from Triage, the observation that getting the response data would be the most costly (and time consuming)?
With Davidsen's help, the Analytics team built a tool they called The Optimizer, which allowed the campaign to buy eyeballs on television more cheaply. They took set-top box (that is to say, your cable or satellite box or DVR) data from Davidsen's old startup, Navik Networks, and correlated it with the campaign's own data. This occurred through a third party called Epsilon: the campaign sent its voter file and the television provider sent their billing file and boom, a list came back of people who had done certain things like, for example, watched the first presidential debate. Having that data allowed the campaign to buy ads that they knew would get in front of the most of their people at the least cost.

And so it was.

This is near the end of the piece. Not the last words, but the last ones that matter:
And losing, they felt more and more deeply as the campaign went on, would mean horrible things for the country. They started to worry about the next Supreme Court Justices while they coded.

If that doesn't connect with you, shame on you.

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