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Patrick Ruffini
Works at Engage
Attended University of Pennyslvania
Lives in Falls Church, VA
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Patrick Ruffini

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We're very excited for this week's +TWiL, fantastic topics and guests with +Patrick Ruffini and +Joshua Stearns joining us.  You should too, we're live NOW! http://twit.tv
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Patrick Ruffini

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Stuart Stevens argues that the Republican Party doesn't have a 140-character problem. He's right about that. What the Republican Party actually has is a problem with an intellectually incurious and cautious operative class that stifles technology innovation, policy innovation, and everything in between. (These are portrayed as separate problems, but they're actually the same problem.)  

What really troubles me about Stevens's comments is his dismissive statement that "technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase." No, it's not. Technology is not about the tools. It is about people. It's about creating a culture that drives metrics over hunches and BS "message of the day" fire drills. 

Stevens will be the last general strategist of his kind not because he didn't tweet, but because he thought of technology and data as some cool toy you could buy, not as the very foundation of a strong organization. 
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The market for political consultants is massively inefficient.*  Candidates are ill-equipped to judge who is the best consultant, so plum jobs go to the folks who 1) happened to work on a major upset or 2) are good at pitching business.  Not to mention that candidates often don't know a consulting shop's true won/loss record.

I don't know how to solve this problem, and I've been thinking about it for a long time.  

* It almost goes without saying, doesn't it?  Stevens steered the Charlie Crist ship into an iceberg, and got rewarded with Romney12.  Amazing.
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Patrick Ruffini

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Choose to believe.
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Patrick Ruffini

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We're partnering with +BuzzFeed on this awesome series of graphics correlating your cultural tastes to your politics. Up today food: Cracker Barrel and Five Guys fans are on Team Romney, while Chipotle fans lean Obama. http://bit.ly/Rr5Vaw
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Another way to look at this chart -- if you eat out a lot and have a favorite Food Chain, you're likely a Romney voter.  Doesn't look like Team Obama likes to eat out much.
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Patrick Ruffini

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Vote for our SXSW panel with +Derek Slater , Virginia Postrel, and +David Moon on the Internet's potential to disrupt party politics! http://bit.ly/disruptdc
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Patrick Ruffini

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Some of the smartest, most entrepreneurial people I know are on the left. And they're the ones most angered by the failure of HealthCare.gov. But it's not enough just to blame procurement. What happened was the inevitable consequence of big bureaucracy meeting crony capitalism. And ultimately, of a governing philosophy that says when it comes to government, bigger is better.
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People who follow my work should probably know that I've been an outside consultant to Google's DC policy team for a few years now. Nonetheless, this piece posted by Ben Howe on RedState touches another nerve and something I've spent countless hours since November agitating on: the Right's broader failure to understand how technology works, and the seeming fear of it that this piece tries to stoke. 

Howe's rant may be about a client, but these are my personal thoughts that touch on something very important I've been trying to get across in the last few weeks. 

Howe correctly stipulates that Republicans could well get beat by a Democratic machine powered by "breathtakingly large, real-time data that could be used for real-time trend analysis, predictive modeling and even behavioral manipulation." And imagine if Google randomly happens to merge their search data with Democratic predictive modeling! Because Google executives support Obama! Because they can read your email, and stuff you write on Google Drive! (Where have we heard that before? http://tcrn.ch/Y8IpkA) Because Joe Biden once hosted a Google+ Hangout, and this is proof of a nefarious conspiracy! 

The results? "The real threat is that Google, or perhaps just a few people within the leadership of Google, may be quietly operating as a private intelligence agency for the left." 

Yes, this is exactly what global technology companies do. Operate as private spying operations for political parties with dingy headquarers on South Capitol. (Rather than make money by working with everyone.)

Beyond the sheer hackery and technical illiteracy of this piece, the fact that someone thought this narrative could be successfully peddled to people on the right is dispiriting. Because the truth is actually scarier than Howe admits. Because the Obama campaign actually built something to successfully predict the behavior of individual voters on their own. And because we seem to be completely unaware of the fact that you don't need massive technology companies to build a hugely powerful political database. 

You can build it yourself. 

Or at least the left can. Because they have developers and technologists who actually build real things of value, instead of bellyaching about how Silicon Valley doesn't like them, or how they can't get permission from the higher ups for their non-idea.

Want the stuff Obama has? Don't play the victim. Just build it.
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So your agitation, your "beef", is with the right's lack of understanding of how technology works; correct?  I'd rather hear our rebuttal of Ben Howe's article about Eric Schmidt being in the tank for Democrats, but is doesn't sound like you're capable to do that.  What I think you've done is reinforce his assertion that Google overtures to Republicans are strictly short shrift and Google is actually in the tank for Democrats...  Wear that tin foil on your head much?  You should buy Joe and Aaron a latte.
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Patrick Ruffini

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I had the chance to collaborate with Aaron in the fight to keep the Internet free. Despite his prodigial achievements (he wrote the spec for RSS 1.0 at 14!) what makes this painfully sad is the knowledge that he had yet to reach the mountaintop, and could have if he wanted to. I didn't know him that well, but he seemed to be an insatiably curious guy who had his hands in a lot of things. I like that. 

Aaron's case should also force us to re-examine our laws and ensure they are consistent with the incredible opportunities afforded by sharing on the Internet. Let a free Internet with open access to knowledge be his legacy.
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what a shame.
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I want hourly tracking polls. Here's how we do it. 
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Hourly tracking polls would have some value.  I want daily tracking polls specific to the swing states, especially Ohio!
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Patrick Ruffini

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The downside of mastering a certain way of being is a tendency to judge others who are different. The real value lies not in pushing your own way but in understanding people who have the opposite strengths, and crafting the right balance. Extremes and rough edges are essential to making interesting things happen.
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In his circles
695 people
Have him in circles
3,801 people
Adam Green's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Political strategist
Employment
  • Engage
    Partner, 2007 - present
  • Republican National Committee
    2005 - 2007
  • Bush-Cheney '04
    2003 - 2004
  • U.S. Department of Energy
    2005 - 2005
  • American Enterprise Institute
    2001 - 2002
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Falls Church, VA
Previously
Washington, DC - Philadelphia - Connecticut - New York City - Florence, Italy - Paris, France
Story
Tagline
Bits over atoms
Education
  • University of Pennyslvania
    1996 - 2000
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Gender
Male