Political Campaigns Like Startups

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Toby Chaudhuri, Co-Founder and CSO of SocialxDesign: What you just shared was very insightful. Your discussion of leadership talked about envisioning what a better future looks like, creating a sense of urgency and orchestrating the empowered teams.

It’s striking to me how that can be analogized to startups in the private sector.

I’m wondering what your views might be about any similarities between political campaigns and startup companies.



Toby Chaudhuri

Political Campaigns Like Startups: Cost

You can look at the Indian elections, where they just spent about $5 billion US dollars or the Obama election in 2012 when the US spent about $6 billion US dollars.

Each political campaign is like a startup.

  • It’s moving in a very finite amount of time.
  • It’s a large budget.
  • It’s having to build a team that has a broad and deep scope.
  • It has a very clear metric for success. It’s no different.

Political campaigns are probably the oldest iterating startups that we’ve had in democracies. There is a lot of similarity.


Political Campaigns Like Startups: Creative

A startup goes through a creative process where it learns and discovers, envisions, creates prototypes, tests and then has to have a very fast feedback loop where it’s constantly correcting its product or service.

A political campaign goes through similar iterations.


Political Campaigns Like Startups: Collective Intelligence

The most successful in both columns are the ones that are able to create that kind of collective intelligence to prosper. It’s a very similar idea.

What’s been fascinating is that, when you look at Silicon Valley, it has always said that it is trying to create societal impact.

Perhaps now with the proliferation of startups and private equities, it’s always questionable what kind of societal impact they are having.

It’s just like in political campaigns when people want to know what exactly our leaders are fighting for. Once they are in office, how are they going to lead?


Political Campaigns Like Startups: Motivation

Startups and political campaigns are always questioning and wondering what the compass is that drives and motivates them. When it comes to process, they work exactly through the same sorts of stages.


Tell Us:

Political campaigns like startups, did you notice the similarities before? What surprised you most? Share with us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Toby Chaudhuri.

The entire interview transcript is at: Toby Chaudhuri NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Current State of Politics in US and India

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP Spotlight