Why the HRC campaign was too much like a can’t-miss technology startup that crashes and burns

Campaign punditry in a nutshell: Thanks to Twitter and RexHammock.com, readers of this blog are rarely subjected to my faux political punditry as I off-load any glib comments on that topic onto those channels. However, for marketers, media types and entrepreneurs, I decided to post this short observation here. After reading Todd Purdum’s controversial Vanity Fair piece, along with this indepth analysis of why the Clinton campaign failed in today’s Wall Street Journal, it seems those first drafts of history (something I’ll call spin-history) are blaming her loss on three factors:

1. Mark Penn’s hubris

2. Bill Clinton’s hubris

3. The entire campaign’s hubris

Lessons from these first-draft spin-histories: From those articles and a quick read of this ‘reporter’s notebook’ piece in the WSJ (free if you click through this Digg link), the early hubris of Clinton’s campaign seems akin to the following fairy tale: Major Silicon Valley VC firms that made their initial billions by investing in ClintonCorp are approached by the founder of ClintonCorp (who is now one of their biggest investors and on the boards of every marquee company in Silicon Valley) to fund the next can’t-miss thing the ClintonCorp founder is putting together (it’s stealth but has something to do with being a mashup of Facebook and Google and hybrid engines for rich people). Out of obligation, greed and genuine belief that there needs to be a Google with a hybrid engine, all the A-List firms throw millions at the startup. Except this go-’round, ClintonCorp founder is not a scrappy and hungry young maverick, but someone who wants to fly around in the G650 he/she owns and leases to the new startup. After a while, but too late to do anything about it, the new venture and its backers discover that leasing a G650 (a metaphor for hubris, if you need annotation to this fairy tale) is the kiss-of-death if you’re competing with a scrappy hungry young maverick who figured out a new way to fund and run a startup with none of the baggage that comes along from having a mindset of entitlement and hubris associated with, well, you know the rest of the story: the scrappy young maverick lives happily ever after until one day, they buy a G650.

Bonus link: For a first-draft “how he won” (rather than, how she lost) look at the campaign, there’s a great spin-history in the Washington Post.