techPresident was started by Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry as a crosspartisan group blog covering how the 2008 presidential candidates were using the web, and vice versa, how content generated by voters affected the campaign. Since then, techPresident's coverage has expanded to cover everything from how President Barack Obama is using the web, to how campaigns at all levels are going online, to how citizens themselves are changing politics in the networked world.
The 2008 election was the first where the Internet played such a central role, not only in terms of how the campaigns used technology, but also in how voter-generated content affected its course. techPresident.com tracked all these changes in real-time, covering everything from campaign websites, online advertising and email lists to the postings on YouTube and who's got the fastest growing group of friends on MySpace. These stats are all archived on the site.
TechPresident continues to cover how political campaigns--presidential, congressional and state--are using the web, as well as how voters are using the web to affect those campaigns. We're also keeping a close eye on how the White House and the public are interacting through the web, a topic that we also track for the whole political and civic arena. Our team of bloggers are veterans of the 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections, ranging across the political spectrum. Their expertise covers everything from website design to the latest in mobile tools and social networking sites.
Micah L. Sifry
Chief Operating Officer
Sarah Lai Stirland
Senior Staff Writer
Operations and Events Director
Andrew Rasiej, Founder & Publisher
Andrew Rasiej is an entrepreneur and technology strategist. He's counseled national and international political leaders, government officials, academics, and heads of nonprofits and foundations on issues related to civic engagement, technology, transparency, digital diplomacy and campaign strategy. Andrew got his start working at the intersection of technology and politics in 1999 offering early new media advice to leaders like Hillary and Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and Congressional Minority leader Dick Gephardt. In 2003, presidential candidate Howard Dean and his campaign manager Joe Trippi named him chairman of the Technology Advisory Committee for the Dean for America Campaign which demonstrably moved all political campaigns into the future—by pioneering tactics in constituency development, community building, and networked political fundraising that used digital media in strategically orchestrated and thoughtful ways.
After the 2004 presidential campaign, Andrew founded Personal Democracy Forum, the international cross-partisan conference series that examines and analyzes how technology is impacting the evolving global political landscape while illuminating how activists, organizers, technologists, journalists, politicians, and government officials are advancing democratic ideals, using digital media to facilitate a more participatory, connective and transparent world. In 2007, he co-founded techPresident, an award-winning group blog that covers how activists and candidates are using the web. His commitment to finding and promoting digital solutions for a more open and accountable government extends to his position as senior technology advisor to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2006, which works to use the power of technology and citizen use of the internet to promote greater government transparency and accountability.
To help demonstrate the potential of the technology to empower local communities, in 2005 Andrew ran a highly publicized campaign for the office of New York City Public Advocate promoting many ideas now being championed by politicians in NYC and elsewhere such as inexpensive public WiFi, using social media to report potholes and other local infrastructure issues, and connecting citizens to each other to improve their neighborhoods and communities.
Andrew's belief that technology could empower citizen engagement originally took hold in 1997 when he founded MOUSE.org (Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education), a nonprofit helping under-served public school students to become technology leaders in their schools. Today, the MOUSE program is active in 10 states and 58 countries worldwide.
In the wake of the September 11 tragedy he mobilized dozens of volunteers to aid in relief and recovery efforts and subsequently proposed creating a national emergency technology corps to be organized for future natural disasters or terrorist attacks. After his lobbying, and with the help of Senator Ron Wyden, Congress voted 97-0 to create the National Emergency Technology Guard (NET Guard) in 2002, which was later incorporated into the law creating the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2010 Andrew was named chairman of the New York Tech MeetUp, an organization comprising more than 18,000 entrepreneurs, technologists, venture capitalists, and other professionals engaged in the tech start-up renaissance driving innovation and investment in New York.
Prior to a life in politics and education, Andrew founded several music-focused enterprises including: Irving Plaza, the world-famous Gramercy Park/Union Square music ballroom; Digital Club Network, the first live music streaming and archiving channel on the internet; and, Plug-In, the first conference focused exclusively on the future of digital music distribution. While operating Irving Plaza he also founded the New York Night Life Association to promote the hundreds of clubs and live music venues in New York City as an integral part of its economic vibrancy and cultural scene.
He is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, an alumnus of the prestigious David Rockefeller Fellowship Program administered by the New York City Partnership, and a member of the Board of Directors of PopTech. Andrew lives and works in New York City.
Micah L. Sifry, Editorial Director
Micah L. Sifry is co-founder and editorial director of Personal Democracy Media, which produces the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference on the ways technology is changing politics, and techPresident.com, an award-winning blog on how politicians are using the web and how the web is using them. In addition, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world. He is a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation, which he helped found in 2006, and also serves on the board of Consumer Reports. He is the author or editor of six books, most recently Wikileaks and the Age of the Transparency (OR Books, 2011), and in the spring of 2012 he began teaching at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
From 1997-2006, he worked closely with Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on comprehensive campaign finance reform, as its senior analyst. Prior to that, Micah was an editor and writer with The Nation magazine for thirteen years. He is the author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002), co-author with Nancy Watzman of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), co-editor of Rebooting America (available online for free download at rebooting.personaldemocracy.com), and co-editor of The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003) and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991). His personal blog is at micah.sifry.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @mlsif.
Jennifer Vento, Chief Operating Officer
Jennifer directed the inaugural Personal Democracy Forum Conference in 2004, subsequently managed the launch of personaldemocracy.com, and returned in 2010 to manage the organization's day-to-day operations. Prior to returning to PDM, she co-founded a film production company, Framework Media LLC, and worked primarily with the United Nations Development Program to raise awareness about community-based initiatives in developing countries through video storytelling. She has also produced work appearing on ABC, PBS, and CNN, and, in her former life as a consultant, Jennifer played a key role in new media-related projects for organizations including PBS, the US Navy's Maritime Civil Affairs Group, Gilda's Club Worldwide, Public Agenda, and The Nation Magazine. Jennifer began her career in New York's entertainment industry, most recently as head of technology and production for a music company. She holds a BBA from the George Washington University, an MA in International Affairs from The New School, and sits on the Advisory Board of MOUSE.org. You can follow her on Twitter at @jrv1111.
Nick Judd, Managing Editor
Nick Judd is the managing editor of techPresident, where he has been an editor and writer since 2009. He also managed candidate and media partnerships for PDM's 10Questions project.
Prior to signing on with PDM, Judd covered politics in the Bronx and in Hudson County, NJ, for newspapers there. He also did a brief stint as a research assistant for the public policy think tank Center for an Urban Future.
He graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a B.A. in metropolitan studies and journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @nclarkjudd or visit his personal website at nclarkjudd.com. Nick lives in Brooklyn.
Sarah Lai Stirland, Senior Staff Writer
Sarah Lai Stirland is techPresident's senior writer in San Francisco. She's a veteran legal affairs, business and politics reporter, having covered these subjects for more than 15 years. Her work has appeared in the nation's most recognized media outlets, which include: Bloomberg Wealth Manager, Business 2.0, CNN, Congress Daily, Good Housekeeping, National Journal, National Public Radio's On The Media, The New York Post, POLITICO, Portfolio.com, Red Herring, The Village Voice, and Wired.com's widely-read Threat Level, one of Time's favorite 25 blogs. Her leading coverage of the historic 2008 presidential campaign and its unprecedented reliance on social media to influence the race at Wired.com was on the daily bookmark list of television and radio producers around the world. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LaiStirland.
Antonella Napolitano, Europe Editor
Antonella Napolitano is PDM Europe editor and works as social media consultant. In the past she served as consultant and volunteers coordinator for UDC, a moderate Italian party, as community manager for Kublai, a project of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and worked at the Consulate of Italy in New York. She's co-founder of Micromacchina, a nonprofit association that works on enhancing citizens participation. She graduated in Media Studies (M.A.) at University of Bologna (Italy) and was Research Fellow at Vassar College. She writes about tech and politics for l'Unità and other Italian magazines, her personal blog (in Italian) is Vassar Stories, and you can follow her on Twitter (in Italian and English) @svaroschi.
Anthony Russomano, Operations and Events Director
Anthony Russomano received a BA in history with a minor in New York City Studies from Pace University in May 2004. While attending Pace University, Anthony worked in online marketing as the Assistant Director of Marketing for Wall Street Rising, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring the vibrancy and vitality that existed in Lower Manhattan prior to the devastating events of September 11, 2001. During his senior year, in addition to working at Wall Street Rising, Anthony interned at the district office of New York City Councilmember Alan J. Gerson. There he was responsible for researching and drafting legislation that would become New York City laws. Anthony currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys spending time with his goddaughter Antonia and his nephew Angelo.
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Personal Democracy Media maintains a divide between our editorial work on our publications, including techPresident, and our other endeavors. Because, on occasion, PdM may work with organizations that are also covered in our publications, in the spirit of transparency we offer you an accounting of those relationships. We will update this note as needed.
New (March, 2011): PdF co-founders Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry have begun consulting for TechSoup, helping the organization grow its presence on the East Coast and offering strategic advice to its leadership as needed.
Ongoing -- PdF co-founders Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry are senior technology advisers to the Sunlight Foundation, and have been since its founding in 2006.
Ongoing -- PdF co-founders Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry, along with their associate Allison Fine, are consulting for the Avi Chai Foundation since May 2010, advising them on how to integrate social media into their mission.
Ongoing -- PdF co-founder Andrew Rasiej is an investor in the following companies: ChallengePost, Daylife, Mobile Commons, Blip TV, Medical Algorithmics, CapitalNY and Fluid DB. He is also an advisor to MadRaces.
Past -- Personal Democracy Media produced and facilitated a one-day "Tech Camp" on November 20, 2010 in Santiago, Chile for the U.S. State Department.
Past -- PdF co-founders Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry have consulted in the past for the New York State Senate's CIO's Office, Air America, the Campaign for America's Future and the Regional News Network.