Database We Can Believe In: Stories from the Front Lines (and Server Rooms) of Barack Obama's Online Presidential Campaign

Location: Ballroom E Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 8 ratings)

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign created an unprecedented online grassroots movement in which supporters generated thousands of events, made millions of phone calls, raised record amounts of money, and received over a billion emails. Blue State Digital, whose PHP/MySQL-based tools powered, only had the 2004 and 2006 elections to use as guidance—before other tools like YouTube and Facebook had been used for presidential politics. Chuck Hagenbuch and Leigh Heyman of Blue State Digital will talk about their experiences leading up to Election Day, the tools that were used, and how the campaign’s online efforts exceeded all expectations.

Photo of Chuck Hagenbuch

Chuck Hagenbuch

Blue State Digital

Chuck Hagenbuch leads the software infrastructure team at Blue State Digital, building the core of the company’s tools and working with new technologies. He brings years of experience writing web applications and software libraries to the job of growing the company’s software to new uses and broader scale.

Prior to joining Blue State Digital, Chuck worked for Zend Technologies, providing professional services to many prominent companies, including Google, PayPal, and Portugal Telecom. He founded the open source Horde Project in 1998 and remains active leading its development.

Photo of Leigh Heyman

Leigh Heyman

Executive Office of the President

Leigh oversees the development and operations of, We The People, and all of the White House’s Drupal-based websites and applications. His team provides a secure, stable, and scalable technical infrastructure across the White House’s web, social media, and mobile platforms, supporting the President’s communications objectives. Leigh’s fifteen years of experience cover all aspects of system management of high-profile online engagement platforms in both the private and public sectors, including work for Blue State Digital and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Stephen Gunn

Google, Inc

Steve was the Site Reliability Engineering Lead for a large MySQL installation at Google from 2005-2008. Late in 2008, he volunteered at Obama For America helping with big-data analytics. Upon returning to Google, he’s been working with networks. Steve has more than 15 years experience as a UNIX and OpenSource generalist from Purdue University, Progeny Linux Systems, FedEx, and Google.

Photo of Mikey Dickerson

Mikey Dickerson

Federal Government | United States Digital Services Team

In 2013, Mikey Dickerson joined what became known as the “ad hoc” team, tasked with rescuing after its failed launch on October 1. In August 2014, President Obama established the United States Digital Service to see if the strategy that succeeded at pulling out of the fire could be applied to other government problems and appointed Mikey to serve as the administrator. Now two years old and employing about 150 people spanning a network of federal agencies, the US Digital Service has taken on immigration, education, veterans benefits, and health data interoperability and helped agencies build effective government services and improve IT procurements by focusing on industry best practices and agile methodology, ultimately driving change in the largest institution in history. Prior to joining the US Digital Service, Mikey worked as a site reliability manager at Google.

Ian Gulliver


Ian has worked in the computing industry for over ten years at telecom giants and Internet startups. He founded and implemented an anti-spam blackhole list using MySQL that grew to be the most-queried on the Internet. Eventually, the pull of Google brought him to California, where he now works doing administration and development around Google’s MySQL deployment.

Co-presented By:

O'Reilly Media MySQL/Sun Microsystems
  • Kickfire
  • Virident
  • Infobright, Inc
  • JasperSoft
  • Intel
  • Advanced Micro Devices
  • BIRT Exchange by Actuate
  • Calpont
  • Canonical
  • Continuent
  • Dolphin Interconnect Solutions
  • Facebook
  • HiT Software, Inc.
  • IBM
  • iDashboards
  • Oracle
  • Pentaho
  • R1Soft
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • SQLstream
  • Ticketmaster
  • Zmanda, Inc.
  • Linux Journal

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