Image of Reshma SaujaniYesterday I showed up at the Reshma 2010 headquarters and made phone calls from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM. I did not make the 1,000 phone calls for the day, but then I started a little late and ended the exercise earlier than planned. And the next time my push is no longer going to be on the total number of calls made. Now I am going to measure success in terms of how much time I actually spend talking to voters, next time I do it, which might be as early as Tuesday 7 PM. I want to maximize my chances of actually being able to talk to someone.
It was a nice day out on a Sunday afternoon. A lot of people were not at home. 35 of the 400 calls went through. That compares to my first day making calls: around 10%. But this last Tuesday the rate was 20%. It went back down to 10%.
Although I must say one good supporter to talk to makes up for a lot of calls that did not go through. Next time I try it I am going to focus more on the conversation. Deviating from the script is okay, but I was also skipping big chunks in my race for numbers.
Have you heard of Reshma? Do you plan to vote for her on September 14? And next. That was my attitude. I got talking about issues with only a few voters. And that was a big thing to miss. I learned the campaign likes to send out mailers to those voters based on what issues they might be interested in. My calls yesterday did not help out in a big way in that department. But I got rid of a lot of wrong numbers though.
Some people said they had not heard of Reshma, and I said, well she is running for Congress, and I need you to vote for her on September 14. That's not in the script. None of them said no. Have you ever come across an ad for Coke that says, please drink Coke? There is no please.
I had it down like an industrial process. Do you let the phone ring four times or five times before you end the call and call the next person? I was thinking seconds, cutting corners here and there.
After I was done, I walked over to Union Square. I kept thinking, I hope people are looking at me, because I am wearing a Reshma 2010 shirt. Once at Union Square, I decided, what the heck, I am just going to walk home, it is a nice day out. While I was crossing the Williamsburg Bridge the thought crossed my mind that I had just left Reshma's district.
The 400 phone calls exercise made me think in terms of making better calls next time I do it, it also got me thinking of all those people who only have cellphones, no landlines, and who can best be reached through social media.
The most heart warming thing to learn while at the office though was not tech. It was the immense push for field work that the campaign is undertaking. The best part of Obama 08 was not that it used social media profusely, the best part was that it got people to meet each other in person in large numbers. Reshma 2010 is focused on that face time element in a big way.
70 phone calls to 100 phone calls to 400 phone calls is progress. But the best part is when you actually get to talk to someone.
My preferred method of involvement continues to be digital, but you need to balance that out with conversations. I have a blog post in mind that will probably be next.
And, by the way, at the office I saw Reshma's face splashed across the front page of a major Indian newspaper. On page two was an article written by Vinod Khosla, the biggest Indian in America. That is how you know the paper is big.
A lot of Indians are going to end up in Congress next year, but Reshma is going to be First In The Class. Her run is the most audacious of all Indian runs this year.
Vinod Khosla is a billionaire. Last year he raised half of all money all VCs raised in America. Tony Blair works for him. Reshma is on her way to becoming a political billionaire.
The political billionaire concept is this. In the 1990s Bill Clinton was a political billionaire, and Bill Gates was the money billionaire as Microsoft Chairman ("Chairman Mao"). After one event in Silicon Valley Bill Clinton invited Larry Ellison to come over to his limo to talk some more. When Larry showed up, he said, "The limo I came in is bigger." To that Bill Clinton said, "That might be true but this is much safer." That is political billionaire talk. Money can't buy the secret service that a POTUS has.
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