It was one of the more artful job descriptions I've read: A description of a person – a personality, not a set of qualifications, endorsements and achievements held together by a resume or some faceless candidate.
"Chief Organizer, NationBuilder."
All I had to do was send a tweet-length email.
I want NationBuilder to succeed as much as you do. - @adrielhampton
I've known Jim Gilliam, President of 3dna and creator of Act.ly, TweetProgress, GovLuv and NationBuilder, since I ran as an anti-establishment candidate for Congress in 2009. Jim called me up and asked if I wanted to try a tool he was working on called "NationBuilder," a Billboard-style charting tool that would allow supporters to suggest and rank ideas for my platform.
I later met Jim in person at Gov 2.0 LA in February 2010, where Jim, Martin Bosworth and I ditched the opening mixer to drive around LA in my rental car and talk politics, organizing and Battlestar Galactica. Jim drove so I could tweet any especially good snippets. Later that year, I reached out to Jim about working together on a location-based service idea, but he was busy with something he was calling "Pro.Act.Ly," which would later become the full-scale suite of organizational tools that is today's NationBuilder. You couldn't find someone better to work with than Jim, and our New York-based designer, Jesse Haff is also amazing. (Along with the graphics you see throughout NationBuilder, Jesse came up with "Evil Smiley" for the film, "WalMart: The High Price of Low Cost" while working with Jim at Brave New Films.)
I'm very excited to be joining NationBuilder as Chief Organizer, and I'll be writing frequently here about our vision for this platform-as-a-service and its transformative power for organizations and individuals, from sports clubs to churches to independent artists and municipal, state and federal electoral campaigns. I will be wrapping up work with the San Francisco City Attorney's Office for another week before officially joining 3dna on May 16.
As a civil investigator for the last six years, much of my work has been things I don't talk about, with brief highlights of my work in the press, such as the incredible experience of participating in the investigation of the 2007 Christmas Day tiger mauling at the San Francisco Zoo, and the Treasure Island surveillance operation that resulted in resignations and criminal charges for several City high voltage electricians.
At NationBuilder, the core of my work becomes much more public. I will be working with social media and campaign consultants around the world to share the power of our simple and inexpensive cloud platform, which integrates website and events and donation management with a highly customizable CRM system.
NationBuilder is a very small company, with very big potential. It provides, frankly, transformative capabilities for grassroots activists and campaigns to spin up the same kind of online organization that Barack Obama used to become President and to radically level the playing field by giving agile candidates and small businesses tools that simply don't exist in one package anywhere else.
In the coming months, I look forward to meeting up and working with many of my social media and political friends and making many more. I will be evangelizing NationBuilder, helping our customers, and continuing to speak broadly about social media as an organizational tool on behalf of our company.
I will also continue to produce and host Gov 2.0 Radio on Sunday nights, and look forward to my newest co-host, Allison Hornery, expanding her role in chronicling the civic technology movement around the globe. I am also excited about continuing an active role in helping San Francisco grow its leadership in collaborative technologies and innovative public-private organizational models, including through our Third Thursdays SF meetup with GovFresh, and as President and co-founder, with Suki Kott, of the San Francisco Technology Democrats, a political organization that aims to increase the influence of technology innovators in California policymaking.
Jim's oft-repeated personal tagline is "internet tools to shake up a broken political system." I do believe our political system is broken, and that all of us need better tools to organize ourselves as friends, neighbors and individuals in the face of unbridled corporatism in our politics and economy. NationBuilder is a powerful tool available to activists and organizations across the ideological perspective, and, to borrow from Marshal McLuhan, the platform is the message.
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