2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Obama & Beyond: Political Tech in Business

#sxsw #PoliTech


To build the Obama campaign (and other campaigns up and down the ballot), a corporation's worth of technical infrastructure had to be built in a fraction of the time. From deep targeting across channels to community organizing analysis, tools and applications were created that are now transforming other industries and entire verticals, including health care, customer service, and sales management. This panel of entrepreneurs are transforming the for-profit space with very political technology. We'll talk about how the lessons of politics do and do not apply in business, and what's next for entrepreneurs looking to leverage the best of politics.


Amy Gershkoff

Chief Data Scientist


Dr. Amy Gershkoff is the Chief Data Scientist for WPP, Data Alliance. In this role, she works collaboratively with WPP’s more than 350 operating companies worldwide to create integrated data and technology solutions for WPP’s clients.

She is also the Global Managing Director of Analytics & Strategy for Burson-Marsteller, where she designs custom measurement solutions for clients’ communication programs and oversees all social and digital media analytics programs for the agency. She also serves as the Global Director of Analytics for Penn Schoen Berland, a WPP market research company.

Previously, she served as the Director of Media Planning at Obama for America, where she built the first-ever of its kind in-house media planning department. In this role, she designed cutting-edge tools to optimize paid, earned, and owned communication in real-time. Prior to joining OFA, she was co-founder and Managing Partner of a Changing Targets Media, an advertising analytics company.

Andrew Bleeker

Global Digital Lead

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Andrew Bleeker is a leading voice in the field of digital marketing and communications. Andrew is perhaps best known for founding Bully Pulpit Interactive, a leading interactive agency. In this capacity, he provides online marketing strategy for many of the biggest names in both the public and private sectors in the U.S. and around the world.

Before founding Bully Pulpit, Bleeker helped build Change.gov and served as the new media director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. During the 2008 general election, he was the director of internet advertising for OFA, where he oversaw the largest political online marketing operation in history. In this capacity, he was responsible for all aspects of online marketing for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee, including unprecedented programs for list building, donor acquisition, voter registration, early voting, persuasion messaging and GOTV.


John Lee

Chief Technology Officer


John Lee is the CTO and a member of the executive team at NGP VAN, the leading provider of technology to Democrats and progressive organizations. Prior to the merger of NGP and VAN in 2011, John led Voter Activation Network as its Chief Operating Officer, guiding the growth of the organization while managing high profile projects such as VAN’s integration with Blue State Digital for the Obama campaign’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.

Subsequent to the merger, John is aiding in the vision and execution of NGP VAN’s innovative new Social Organizing product, which allows supporters of a campaign to match their Facebook friends to the voter file and claim responsibility for them. Tech President writes that this tool “has the potential to change the way campaigns work.” John is also focused on NGP VAN’s mobile technology strategy via MiniVAN, continuing on the mission that VAN started when it first moved campaigns from paper based electoral rolls and district maps to the digital age.

Rayid Ghani

Former Chief Scientist for Obama for America 2012, Founder Edgeflip

Edgeflip/Univ of Chicago

Rayid Ghani is currently at the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is also the co-founder of Edgeflip, an analytics and social media startup that is focused on helping non-profits, advocacy groups, and charities do better fundraising, volunteer recruiting, outreach and advocacy. Previously, Rayid was the Chief Scientist for the Obama 2012 Election Campaign focusing on analytics, data, and technology. Rayid is currently focused on using data, analytics (and other related buzzwords ) for social good, both with Edgeflip and the University of Chicago. In his spare time, Rayid advises several startups and non-profits and speaks at, attends, and organizes academic and industry analytics conferences.

Thanks to our sponsors

Miller Lite Monster Energy Esurance Chevrolet AT&T IFC Subway Austin Chronicle

Music sponsor

Sonic Bids

Interactive sponsors

Deloitte American Express Pennzoil