Jim Messina, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, arranged a series of seminars with CEOs, starting with Steve Jobs, as part of “what may be the highest-wattage crash course in executive management ever undertaken,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
At Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago, Messina said: “I went around the country for literally a month of my life interviewing these companies and just talking about organisational growth, emerging technologies, marketing.”
During the private seminars, which took place in early 2011, the same year that Jobs died, Apple’s late co-founder didn’t hesitate to tell Messina what he thought the White House was doing wrong, and how he believed the campaign could use technology in ways that weren’t previously possible.
“Last time you were programming in only a couple of channels,” Jobs told Messina. “This time you have to program content to a much wider variety of channels – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, Google – because people are segmented in a very different way than they were four years ago.”
Illustration from Businessweek showing who taught Jim Messina what
The report describes that Jobs had told Messina that, with the introduction of devices such as the iPhone, mobile technology needed to be a major part of the campaign. “He knew exactly where everything was going,” said Messina. “He explained viral content and how our stuff could break out, how it had to be interesting and clean.”
Messina also spoke with CEOs and senior executives from Facebook, Zynga, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Dreamworks.