Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Obama Taught Me About Personal Finance

Barak Obama's historical presidential victory is one for the record books. Here are a few of the professional and personal finance lessons that I have learned from the president-elect's campaign.

1. Use technology to improve your fortune: Led by campaign manager David Plouffe and campaign strategist David Axelrod, the Obama campaign aggressively used technology. Facebook, e-mails, text messages and other online social networking tools helped Obama create a financial and political network.

Personal Lesson: Stay current with high-tech trends. Continue to look for opportunites to earn, network and learn online. My career could depend on how well I use various tools.

For the past two years, he's run a sprawling presidential campaign with tentacles in every state that raised some $650 million from 3.1 million donors.-- from

While Republicans and Mrs Clinton saw the political possibilities of the Internet as gimmicky, Mr Obama made it central to his campaign and his fundraising apparatus. --from

2. Use old-school networks: In addition to all of the bells and whistles of new-age technology, the Obama campaign also relied on a network of old-school face-to-face grassroots teams.

Personal Lesson: In addition to my laptop, email account and blog, I should also rely on traditional meet-and-greet events and opportunities. I need to attend more industry events and gatherings.

Obama also has the largest grassroots network of active operatives of any campaign in history.-- from

3. Delegate and build teams. Most successful drives --in sports, money and politics --are built on cooperation, team spirit and delegation.

Personal Lesson: From launching a book to raising children, I've learned the value of relying on the talents and time of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

On average, Obama has several thousand active supporters in each congressional district. Obama could ping them, with the same sort of calling and e-mailing tasks his volunteers fulfilled on the campaign--only this time to apply pressure to their congressmen. -- from

4. Show gratitude:

On Tuesday night, with the election results showing a decisive victory and Sen. John McCain offering a concession, Obama e-mailed a few million of his closest friends: "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next," he wrote. Then, signing off, "Thank you, --Barack."
-- from

5. Be organized and stay disciplined

He also was an incredible candidate who had a very tight, well-run campaign. They used the tools of the Internet and community building. It's a model for how campaigns will be run in the future." -- from

Throughout the campaign, the disciplined and nimble Obama team marched through a presidential contest of historic intensity learning to exploit opponents' weaknesses and making remarkably few mistakes. --from New York Times

6. Think about others. Look beyond yourself.
McCain created a great narrative about John McCain. Obama created a great narrative about America and its future. This was a new frontier election and Obama gave voters a vision of an America renewed, confident and restored."-- from

7. Aim for perfection:

Mr. Obama and his aides believed from the outset that the campaign would have to be nothing less than perfect -- this was an African-American man with an unusual name and past. --New York Times
8. Tackle difficult issues:

On March 18, Mr. Obama gave a landmark speech on race at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. He used the speech to distance himself from his former pastor, the Jeremiah A. Wright, who had made several controversial statements. -- New YorkTimes

9. Embrace change:
On June 3, Mr. Obama campaigned on a promise of bringing change to Washington. "You know in your hearts that at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing," he said. "We owe our children a better future."--New York Times

10. Stay calm.
Mr. Obama kept himself, and his team, on an even keel — a character trait that paid immense dividends in the closing stages, when his understated approach to the economic crisis came off to many voters as steady leadership. --Near-Flawless
Run Is Credited in Victory


Here's how to buy my new book:

@ Barnes & Noble
@ Borders

1 comment:

Deborah Johnson said...

These are lessons we can all use to improve both our financial and personal lives.

Thanks for such a thoughtful post.