Dan Ancona

Vision, strategy, and execution for democratic and civic engagement.

    The Way to Win

    07 Mar 2018

    Last Friday, at an unassuming warehouse in the funky/fancy San Francisco Dogpatch neighborhood, a power network and meta-campaign called Way To Win launched. I’m not joking or being hyperbolic here: I think this effort is going to alter American history.

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    Ten Years Ago, the NRA Sent Out Millions of Copies of This Brilliantly Produced, Racist Mailer

    21 Feb 2018

    The events of the past couple of weeks have reminded me of something. It’s a file that I’ve kept floating around my desktop for years. I think it was orginally published in either BoingBoing or Wired, or both, but I can’t find the original links to it. The earliest copy I have in my archives says 2007, so it must have been from around then.

    I’ve kept it hanging around because it’s an absolute masterpiece of propaganda. The production values, artwork, storytelling and copywriting all come together in such a beautiful and persuasive way, along with a heaping pile of dog-whistle and just-plain-calling-the-dog racism, Nancy Pelosi hatred, thinly veiled anti-Semitism, fear, othering, fear and more fear.

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    Polarization is not the problem. Extremist Republicans are the problem.

    09 Jan 2018

    An old politics-loving pal who I hadn’t seen in some years showed up at our house holiday party last December. We were catching up and chatting about the big, beautiful, and yuuuge blue wave that seems to be forming, but at some point she said: “No, I don’t think people should get involved with parties. We’re already too polarized.” Record scratch!

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    That Crisp New Blog Smell, My Brain Fricasséeing 2018 To-Do List, and What I Read in 2017

    09 Jan 2018

    Welcome! After the 47 trazillionith time of getting this advice, I am finally setting up my own dang blog on my own dang website! I’ve been writing on Medium for the past few years, and I love the design & UX there, but it’s time to branch out. My focus here is going to be dispatches from my corner of the Imagination Battle, the phrase that Adrienne Marie Brown borrowed from Terry Marshall that about perfectly ties together everything I’m working on.

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    About this Blog

    I write here because I am an organizer. If you're not familiar with that term, all it means is the process of deepening people’s love for and participation in democracy. I think engaging in democracy is the most interesting and important thing in the world at the moment. And this phase of American history is weirder than fiction! The purpose of this blog is to share that excitement and love. I write for people who are very involved, people who are new to getting involved and people who are considering being involved. As amazing activist adrienne marie brown puts it, we are locked in an imagination battle. It's a great battle, and I look forward to fighting alongside you!

    About Dan

    Dan Ancona creates stories and builds and evangelizes online tools that connect people and strengthen democracy. He has helped create and build interest in numerous products in twenty years of experience in startups, technology companies and academia, with a research focus on visualization and geographic information. Since 2006, he has been accelerating the shift from top-down, broadcast-based political systems to a more networked, person-to-person, diversity-positive and inclusive democratic system. From 2007 to 2010 he built California VoterConnect, a nonprofit social venture that provided advanced online voter file tools and training to community based organizations and large and small campaigns, focusing on ethnically and racially diverse communities. VoterConnect achieved breakeven revenue in three years, and helped its clients record nearly 1M person to person field contacts in California in the 2010 election cycle. He later founded Democracy Dashboard, the first online social voting and endorsement platform. His clients have included PlaceWorks, TargetSmart Communications, Citizen Engagement Lab, and the Agenda Project. His writing has been published by the Drum Major Institute, TechPresident, Democratic Strategist and various blogs. When he's not writing or building stuff, he's usually cooking, DJing, skiing or sailing. You can get more information about and buy his novel (science fiction, where the advanced technologies are relationships and democracy) at readvenusshrugged.com. He lives in a mini-cohousing community in Oakland with his wife and fellow organizer Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, and their son.

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Oakland, California.