Friday Buzz: Big Data Meets Lobbying

A $4,800-per-year data analysis product is changing the nature of lobbying in a big way—and the creators of Quorum aren't even out of college yet. Also: Stuck with a problem employee? Here's how to handle the situation.

“Data driven politics” could be the future of lobbying, and we might be able to thank a couple of college students for that future.

National Journal reports on the rise of Quorum, a data platform that aims to add science to the process of advocacy. The four-month-old product, which came from a pair of college roommates—Alex Wirth, a policy wonk; and Jonathan Marks, a computer science major—tries to map the decision-making process between different members of Congress. Marks, the programmer of the crew, says he got his inspiration from, of all things, the way that proteins interact in the body.

“Though proteins and people are different things, math doesn’t really care,” he noted to the publication.

While the approach hasn’t been 100 percent perfect (one Congressional staffer noted, “I think it’s clear in how they’ve designed it that they’re not from the Hill”), it’s been good enough that they’ve gotten a number of big bites for their service, which costs $4,800 per year, per user. A number of large lobbying groups, along with General Motors and the United Nations Foundation, are already on board.

As The Washington Post notes, Wirth and Marks have effectively taken a process that takes years to master and turned it into a couple of keystrokes. Not bad.

Break Down Your Weak Link

Every organization has one—the person who’s difficult to work with, who isn’t the team player, who can’t be motivated to take his or her work to the next level.

It’s not easy to deal with a situation like that, but the Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) emphasizes that it’s important not to ignore the lingering problem on your team.

“Whether they are constantly calling in sick, on their phones texting, or simply not engaging in team meetings, don’t wait to address the situation until there is a significant pattern; or perhaps waiting for someone else to notice, deal with them,” the organization states. “If you let it go with that ONE individual, others will notice, and possibly follow suit.”

Check out the full post for ideas on dealing with “difficult” team members. (ht @rockettm)

Other Links of Note

Playing Snakes and Ladders with your email? You will be, after checking out this infographic on SocialFish.

A sound information-governance strategy is more important than all the tech in your toolbox, Laurence Hart writes on CMSWire.

Need a starting point for your next creative project? You can’t do better than Makerbook.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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