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October 19, 2021 59 min

 There aren't many stories like Stefan's Smith in politics...growing up with a single mom in public housing in South Carolina...and from a gig worker to the upper echelons of presidential campaigns and iconic progressive organizations in four years. Stefan flirted with both a career in academia and the entertainment industry before finding his calling in digital politics. In this conversation, he talks his unusual path to politics, his road warrior days on campaigns, goes deep on his time with the Buttigieg campaign, & the projects he's taken on since. Stefan is also generous with his advice to those bouncing around campaigns, those interested in working in digital, and anyone looking to help make working in politics accessible to more people.  

IN THIS EPISODE…

Stefan’s upbringing in Greenville, South Carolina…

The life-changing moment when Stefan got his first computer…

The first race Stefan cared about…

Why Stefan veered away from academia…

Stefan’s stint as a researcher / writer on Drunk History on Comedy Central…

The two reasons why Stefan found himself on the 2016 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign…

Stefan’s time as an itinerant campaign worker for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Senator Martin Heinrich…

Stefan’s “transformational” experience building a digital plan for New Mexico Democrats…

Stefan’s 4 practical tips for campaign road warriors…

Stefan’s circuitous path to working for Pete Buttigieg…

Stefan’s take on why & how Buttigieg dramatically exceeded conventional wisdom in 2020…

Stefan takes us inside the Buttigieg world on Iowa Caucus night…

Stefan de-mystifies the Buttigieg digital strategy…

Stefan’s digital advice for lower-budget campaigns…

Stefan’s tips for operatives who want to work in digital…

Stefan’s post-primary work on election violence and criminal justice reform…

Stefan’s current job as the #2 digital staffer at the ACLU…

Stefan’s one ask of white people to help diversify political campaigns…

Stefan’s one unusual work habit…

AND…10-page memos, Adobe Premier, Rakim Brooks, George W. Bush, Greta Carnes, the catapult strategy, the CHIP program, clown car primaries, the Confederate flag, Kevin Costner, digital armies & ass whoopings, dope meme stashes, Facebook, Carrie Gooch, Al Gore, Michael Halle, Bridget Halligan, Kamala Harris, Meena Harris, Martin Heinrich, the Iowa Liberty-Justice Dinner, Tito Jackson, Jay-Z, Jeep Wranglers, Marsha P. Johnson, Van Jones, Joe Kabourek, the Kennedy-Nixon debates, Eric Koch, Machiavelli, Meek Mill, momentous cigarette breaks, More in Common, Jess O’Connell, para-social relationships, political gateways, Postmates, pyroclastic volcanic flows, Reddit, REFORM, Karl Rove, Ian Sams, Bernie Sanders, Saturday morning champagne, Hari Sevugan, Sonal Shah, Lis Smith, SnapChat, Spice Girls chat rooms, Samantha Steelman, Tom Steyer, Sun Tzu, Twitter, Uber Eats, vanity metrics, Viacom, Chris Wallace, Derek Waters, Patrick Wyman, YouTube…& MORE!

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