The 2016 Election Is Changing (Quickly) Right Before Our Eyes: A Conversation with Blue State Digital’s Joe Rospars

In 2008, the political news cycle moved to the blogs, and in 2012 it spilled into social media, but remained mostly intact as an insular conversation among journalists and opinion-shapers. In 2016, it’s now disrupted by candidates, trolls, and everyone in between.

Joe Rospars, Founder and CEO of Blue State Digital (and President Barack Obama’s chief digital strategist for both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns) will speak alongside Garance Franke-Ruta (Washington Editor of Yahoo News) for a discussion about how the relationship between campaigns, news media, and the public is being reshaped in real time before our eyes, and what it means for our political process.

This session “2016 Election Throwdown: Campaigns vs. Reporters vs. Everyone Else” will take place on Thursday, February 25 at 12:30pm at the TimesCenter (FWD Stage).

About Joe Rospars

“Joe Rospars is Founder & CEO of Blue State Digital. He previously served as chief digital strategist for Obama for America in 2008 and 2012.

Joe and BSD’s team of more than 200 strategists, creatives, and geeks advise some of the world’s leading brands, campaigns, nonprofits, and cultural institutions to inspire and mobilize people, from the NAACP to Google, the USOC to Freedom to Marry, and Oxfam to EMILY’s List.

For both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Joe was Barack Obama’s principal digital strategist and adviser, overseeing the digital integration of the unprecedented fundraising, communications and grassroots mobilization effort. The digital arm of the campaign provided the backbone of design and branding both online and offline, engaged a record-breaking number of Americans through mobile, social, video and the web, and raised more than a billion dollars in mostly small donations from ordinary Americans.

Joe has been recognized as part of the Digital A-List by AdAge, 100 People Who Are Changing America by Rolling Stone, Most Creative People In Business by Fast Company. He has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, TIME, Fast Company, and Adweek, among others.” (via Blue State Digital)

View The Initial Program Of Events for SMW New York

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, brings together thousands of professionals in marketing, media and technology. We’re excited to announce the initial schedule and speaker lineup for SMW New York, which takes place this February 22-26.

Join us across our two official venues, and hear from organizations such as Ogilvy, Starcom MediaVest, MRY, Forbes, Mashable, MTV, The Economist, GE, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and many more!

Register for SMW New York

If you’d like to hear from visionary speakers, and join the thousands of attendees that come to Social Media Week in New York each year, register today by purchasing your pass.

Image Credit: The Guardian

Pitch it to me!

The art of “the pitch” has gone from a 60-minute opportunity to 3-minute opportunity for startups. While many accelerators, like 500 Startups and TechStars, include fast pitch and media training in their programs, some startups don’t have mentors to help perfect their pitches. Enter the agency pitch experts.

Agencies have been taught to say more with less and get to the value proposition within five seconds, or else risk losing their audiences. Agencies do this for myriad scenarios: AOR accounts, strategic roadmaps, tactical plans, and/or singular social tactics….just to give context to the range of things we pitch at any given time. So, the idea of pairing agencies + startups together makes perfect sense to me, given my background in strategy at agencies for 12+yrs.

The art of pitching is one that does not come easily.
Tenured agency folks are well-honed pitch ponies. We are. It’s the truth. 50%+ of our time is spent pitching ideas to clients, existing ones and new. We have been taught to Get. To. The. Point.


  • + Say how it solves a problem
  • + Say what it is
  • + Say what it does
  • + Say how/why it’s applicable for the brand you’re pitching to (most important)
  • + The less buzz words you use in this approach, the better off you’ll be

Considering most people (clients/investors, etc) allocate one minute to understanding your core idea before they float off into the world of “wait— what did she just say?” and stop listening to the remainder of your pitch because they’re still trying to figure out what you just said— the art of perfecting your pitch is of great importance for every startup to master.

It doesn’t surprise me that KITE has engineered a great session for SMW, titled A Visit from the Startup Pitch Doctors<, where they secured a few impressive agency executives (ie: the pitch doctors) to listen to, and evaluate three startup’s pitches. It’s a brilliant pairing. The Pitch Doctors:

  • + Gemma Craven, Exec Director, Head of Social Customer Engagement at OgilvyOne WorldWide, @gemsie
  • + David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, @dberkowitz
  • + Jason Newport, SVP, Head of Mobile Strategy, Aegis Media

The Startups

In prep for the session, each pitch doctor is paired up with a startup to evaluate and give feedback on its pitch. The startups proceed to improve their presentations, based on that input, and will present 3-minute pitches during the session.

It will surely lead to a vibrant conversation and Q&A about the process and lessons learned after the pitches, moderated by Tarah Feinberg, CMO of KITE (@TarahFO). This type of collaboration is a real-world version of KITE’s platform, which fosters innovation within brands and agencies by helping them to discover, evaluate and partner with startups that align with their strategies.

A must attend-event for anyone in business development or at an agency or startup — secure your pitch perfecting spot here, and if you have a Campus Pass, join our 7×7 Mentor Session: Industry Leaders Share Career Advice on Getting Ahead.

Jess Seilheimer runs a consultancy called Cretegic– your insight-driven partner for a digital world. We accelerate strategic planning into actionable ideas & marketing for brands and startups. She is also the Strategy & Marketing lead for a startup Birdi. Prior, she was the SVP of Digital Innovation and Strategic Planning at Havas.

Last Call: Apply Before Friday to Win a Scholarship to SMW NYC Courtesy of Nokia!

Social Media Week starts in less than a week! We could not be more excited for the incredible program of sessions, master classes and panels that are going down at the SMW campus.  Because all events require a pass this year, we have teamed up with Nokia to make sure that Social Media Week stays accessible to everyone.

In partnership with Nokia, we are sponsoring 500 complimentary campus passes for those who qualify. The Campus Pass will give you access to our experiential floor, made up of co-working spaces, networking lounges, The Future of Now Exhibition, and a Pop Up Marketplace for Digital Brands. In addition, this will include all official sessions, including two floors of programming consisting of keynotes, panels and masterclasses (which are always subject to availability).

Sound good? We thought so. Here’s who is eligible to enter!

  1. students (currently enrolled)
  2. non-profit employees
  3. startup or small business employees (defined as a company with no more than 10 employees)

If that sounds like you, apply here, and the last day to enter is FRIDAY. Please note, that we have a limited number of Scholarships and cannot guarantee that your application will be accepted.

Thanks again to Nokia for supporting this campaign! Their ongoing support our mission at SMW makes this Scholarship Program possible.