Barack, Inc: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaignby Barry Libert, Rick Faulk
Barack Obama's campaign didn't just make history: it teaches lessons that every business can profit from. The Obama campaign was brilliantly planned, strategized, and executed, and built to drive home a powerful, consistent core value proposition: the proposition of change. Moreover, it had an extraordinary understanding of innovation, manifested by
Barack Obama's campaign didn't just make history: it teaches lessons that every business can profit from. The Obama campaign was brilliantly planned, strategized, and executed, and built to drive home a powerful, consistent core value proposition: the proposition of change. Moreover, it had an extraordinary understanding of innovation, manifested by its extraordinary use of technology to achieve specific, quantifiable goals. In Barack, Inc., Barry Libert and Rick Faulk present the Obama campaign as a business, identifying lessons any business leader can use to maximize performance. Libert and Faulk cover issues ranging from marketing to leadership, strategy to execution. They reveal how Obama's team identified and honed a powerful core message, and applied it flexibly in response to changing circumstances without ever compromising core brand values. You'll discover how Obama built a focused, "no-drama" organization that empowered local decision-makers without sacrificing nationwide consistency or discipline. Finally, the authors, executives at the world's leading provider of business social networking services, show how Obama leveraged social networking at a scale unprecedented in the history of either politics or business. From start to finish, Barack, Inc. is actionable: packed with ready-to-use strategies and tactics that can help you succeed with any goal, in any marketplace.
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Read an Excerpt
Who among us ever fully believed that a Cinderella candidate could soar out of Illinois obscurity and become the 44th president of the United States, confounding dozens of world-renowned politicos in the process? Yet Barack Obama managed to beat the Republican Party at its own game with discipline, organization, and massive fundraising.
From his cooler-than-cool leadership style to his use of Internet-based social technologies to his basic message of change, Barack Obama showed businesspeople that they have a lot to learn from a savvy politician.
In the flush of Obama’s triumph, we need to recall his initial hurdles, all seemingly insurmountable. Here was a truly exotic presidential hopeful—a stranger with a Muslim-sounding name, an African father, a white American mother, a Hawaiian childhood, a Harvard law degree, and a political resume of perhaps 25 words or less. As he put it in his victory speech, “I was never the likeliest candidate for office.”
All sorts of moves, from tried-and-true tactics to cutting-edge strategies, turned Obama’s candidacy from improbable to inevitable. He assembled a first-class team of staffers who ran a nearly flawless campaign; he attracted tens of thousands of volunteers, many of them so dedicated that they left their jobs or dropped out of school to work on his election; and he collected an unprecedented amount of money, both from small contributors and big traditional donors. But we were especially riveted by the campaign’s prodigious use of social networking. That’s a subject we have studied in depth, and Barack Obama is tuned to our wavelength. He turned a 50-state presidential campaign into one enormous online community. His networking inspired millions of people across the United States to join a national crusade, pooling their skills, time, and dollars to achieve a decisive victory. As a result, American (and perhaps world) politics will never be the same.
We believe Obama’s political pioneering set a brilliant standard for any business seeking to prosper in the Web 2.0 world of the 21st century. Hence this book: Obama’s campaign saga annotated for business use.
We combined our own observations with those of a diverse group of media whose expertise was on display during this long, dramatic campaign. We interviewed Obama supporters, collected an array of superb reports from a variety of sources, and paid close heed to the blogosphere’s unprecedented election coverage—the latter a concatenation of diverse views and voices ranging from Politico to Twitter that did much to make 2008 a turning point in politics. Our goal was to tease out the relevance of this historic campaign to business leaders everywhere.
Let’s get started.
Barack, Inc.: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign
“From social networking on the Web to stunning message discipline, the campaign holds lessons for every leader, from the world of soap powder to the practice of accounting. Barack, Inc. does a fine job of capturing these universally applicable and immediately implementable precepts.”
—Tom Peters best selling author, Re-Imagine! and In Search of Excellence
“Obama is the first president of the Internet age. His application of social media and his understanding of the Net generation brought him to power. Every business leader should follow his lead and read this great book.”
—Don Tapscott best selling author, Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital
“Barack Obama is a man of rare abilities. Leaders of all stripes in all sorts of organizations – public and private – have much to learn from his extraordinary campaign. It’s all right here, ready for you to put to work.”
—Captain D. Michael Abrashoff best selling author, It’s Your Ship
“For years, the American people have wanted government to run more like a business. The surprising truth: most businesses could stand to learn a great deal from Barack Obama, and from this insightful, whip-smart, and hugely useful book.”
—Daniel Coyle best selling author, Lance Armstrong’s War
Visit www.barackinc.com to put the winning lessons of the Obama campaign into action within your organization.
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Meet the Author
Barry Libert is chairman and Rick Faulk CEO of Mzinga, a leading enterprise social technology and services provider. The company manages over 14,000 online communities, which draw more than 60 million total online visitors every month.
Libert is a recognized authority on entrepreneurial leadership strategies and a pioneer in the business use of social technologies. He recently co-authored We Are Smarter than Me, a critically acclaimed book created in collaboration with Wharton Publishing and more than 4,000 community participants that illustrates how businesses can profit from the wisdom of crowds. A one-time McKinsey and Company consultant, Libert has also co-authored two other highly regarded books about the business value of information and relationships entitled Cracking the Value Code and Value RX. He is also a regularly featured keynote speaker who has delivered speeches to audiences of 20,000+ globally.
Faulk is currently the CEO of Mzinga, and has more than 21 years of executive leadership and marketing experience at some of the world’s most notable high-tech companies, among them Cisco, WebEx, Intranets.com, PictureTel, Shiva Corporation, and Lotus. Early in his career, he also founded First Software, which grew to sales of more than $175 million in less than four years and was ranked on one of Inc. magazine's lists of fastest-growing companies in the United States.
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