Presentation: "Democratic Political Technology Revolution"

Time: Wednesday 18:45 - 19:45

Location: Fleming Room


The state of the art in political technology has evolved radically from 2004 to 2008. In 2004, software development in Democratic political campaigns consisted of a few rag-tag hackers taking shots in the dark and building applications that sometimes scaled, and sometimes didn't. On November 5th, 2008, several political start-ups had built some of the most innovative social applications around, built systems that accepted nearly half a billion dollars in donations -- and elected a President.

The talk will focus on two areas:

  1. The development of peer-to-peer social functionality for the Obama campaign.
    1. How applications evolved from the Primaries in 2004, to the General Election in 2008.
    2. Advancements in Online Fund-raising
    3. Peer to peer voter contact / Neighbor to Neighbor
    4. MyBO Groups
    5. Facebook integration - VoteForChange facebook application
  2. Software development in Politics
    1. 2008 Dev. landscape -- who was building everything?
    2. What methodologies are useful in building software in the politics domain?
    3. The applicability of various Agile techniques
    4. Development pace and scaling
    5. Systems Infrastructure - Increasing efficacy of building out political apps in the cloud
    6. Why hasn't open source won the day in political technology?

Chief Scientist Martin Fowler, Loud-mouth on Object Design

Chief Scientist Martin  Fowler

Martin Fowler is an author, speaker, consultant and general loud-mouth on software development.

He concentrates on designing enterprise software - looking at what makes a good design and what practices are needed to come up with good design. He has pioneered object-oriented technology, refactoring, patterns, agile methodologies, domain modeling, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), and Extreme Programming.

He's the Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks - an international application development company, and has written five books on software development: Analysis Patterns, UML Distilled (now in its 3rd edition), Refactoring, Planning Extreme Programming (with Kent Beck), and Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture. I also write articles regularly on my site at Martin Fowler.

Zack Exley, ThoughtWorks

No picture of  Zack  Exley

Zack Exley is a ThoughtWorks consultant who advises organizations and campaigns on strategy, organizing and technology. He is a co-founder and president of the training and research organization the New Organizing Institute. In 2008, Zack researched the Obama campaign's remarkable field campaign in several states, publishing several articles during the campaign. He also worked with ThoughtWorks on technology projects with the campaign and party. In 2005, Zack directed the online campaign for the British Labor Party's re-election. In 2004 he was Director of Online Organizing for John Kerry's presidential campaign. Before that, he served as national Organizing Director at, and was an adviser to the early Dean campaign.

Zack entered Internet politics via his political parody website, which earned him the nickname "Garbage Man" from President Bush, as well as other early experiments in online organizing. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and blogs at