President Obama: Whale Hunter

The race is run, the contest’s done, there’s work to do. Let’s get to it.

My blog is not usually political; it’s about landing big deals. Anyone who knows me knows I voted for McCain–so what? I have a new president, who I will be referring to as…Mr. President.

How does a junior senator from a midwestern state, a man of color with no military service and few economic credentials win the most powerful political position in the world? How does he defeat not one, but TWO enormous political machines? (Remember, the tougher fight was probably Hillary and her machine.) The answer? He whale hunts.

If we don’t honor our competitors in review, we can’t learn from them. So, let’s review his whale hunting bona fides:

Scouting – Obama could have waited four years, gotten more experience as a Senator, and increased his visibility, but his scouting told him that he needed to hunt now. This is up for lots of speculation, but I think he wanted to face Hillary outside of the White House, not while she was in it. Remember, the whale signs are subtle, but once you decide to hunt, you have to go all in.

Targeting – Obama hunted the undecided and disenfranchised with specificity. Over 70% of all new voters this year were of color or under 22 years of age.

Clear MessageChange we can believe in. He challenged every “in-place” player. Clinton, McCain–he told the American people that, “Every one of these people is part of the problem. We can only fix it if we throw them all out.” Interestingly, he and the Democratic party were able to make that stick to the minority party in Congress and the Senate. That’s a pretty nifty trick.

Biggest Boat – Here’s the key to the whole game: Obama brought a bigger boat of people, not a bigger group of rockstars. Republicans fundraise in much smaller numbers with bigger donations per donor. Hillary did this, too. Obama brought an enormous number of people to his boat. He also converted them from observant villagers to active boat members.

Break the rules – This campaign changes the game for the future. Using the internet to fundraise, casting a wide net of states to hunt rather than cherry-picking… Red vs blue is done. Few special interest players pulled the strings. Obama broke the rules. Hillary and McCain did not even try to bend them.

Process – Obama’s campaign was professional, effective, efficient and focused. No leaks, one message, few staff changes. Even Democratic pundits had to concede. “This isn’t the way we usually do things in the Democratic party. We are a little more like 1st grade soccer: everyone chasing the ball and lots of falling down.”

So, we have a remarkable whale hunter as our President. Congratulations President Elect Obama, Whale Hunter.