How Obama’s Geek Leakers May Have Cost Themselves Billions
As a pack-rat archivist, I downloaded the very few stories that came out about Obama's secret campaign operation. Damn slim pickings. In the back of my mind were the words of Walt Weintz:
Once the basic principles and techniques of mail-order promotion are understood, they can be applied in the most unlikely places, and for unexpected products. Although my own initial mail-order experience happened to do with magazines and books, the same rules would have applied had I been working on a correspondence course in accounting, the mail-order sale of Christmas hams or Chesapeake crabmeat, securing leads for Ford cars, or, indeed, getting political candidates elected or fund raising for a political organization like the Republican National Committee.
"Silence Is Golden." —Thomas Carlyle, 1831
One thing was sure: If Obama's whiz kids kept their mouths shut, they stood to make billions—literally—taking what they learned into the corporate world. It was not to be.
Time broke the story right after the election in its "Commemorative Election Special" of Nov. 7, 2012 with an article titled "Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win":
Exactly what that team of dozens of data crunchers was doing, however, was a closely held secret. "They are our nuclear codes," campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt would say when asked about the efforts. Around the office, data-mining experiments were given mysterious code names such as Narwhal and Dreamcatcher. The team even worked at a remove from the rest of the campaign staff, setting up shop in a windowless room at the north end of the vast headquarters office. The "scientists" created regular briefings on their work for the President and top aides in the White House's Roosevelt Room, but public details were in short supply as the campaign guarded what it believed to be its biggest institutional advantage over Mitt Romney's campaign: its data.