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RUNNING THE OFFICE

Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, Office: Which US presidential campaigns are using what

REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
The office.
  • Michelle Cheng
By Michelle Cheng

Reporter based in New York

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Running a presidential campaign is a lot like running a fast-growing startup.

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign staffers are Slacking one another. Bernie Sanders’ staff is dropping files into Dropbox. When it comes to video conferencing calls, Andrew Yang’s campaign prefers Zoom while Beto O’Rourke’s campaign uses both Zoom and UberConference.

Bringing political campaigns into the modern age makes sense, of course. Like a lot of the startups that were early to adopt office tools such as Slack and Trello, US presidential campaigns tend to run lean and work with short timelines. Tech-enabled tools allow teams to move fast while fostering more collaboration among workers.

There are 20 Democrats vying for their party’s nomination and the chance to run against US president Donald Trump in the 2020 election. According to Federal Election Campaign (FEC) filings, their campaigns have spent about $3.2 million on office software so far this year to help them in their efforts. On the Republican side, Trump’s campaign spent $1,205 in the past two quarters on office software tools. A few campaigns, including Joe Biden’s, didn’t list expenses for hot office-software brands.

Quartz looked through the FEC filings covering expenditures from January to June to see what the campaigns are spending on in regards to popular office software.  Notably, many of them are using so-called “enterprise” software tools—Slack, DocuSign, Cloudflare, and Zoom—indicating that use of these tools has moved not only outside of Silicon Valley but also the private sector.

Messaging apps

  • According to campaign filings, Trump, Yang, Warren, Cory Booker, Seth Moulton, and Pete Buttigieg’s campaigns use Slack.
  • Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign uses GoogleSuite and FrontApp, a collaborative email platform.
  • Amy Klobuchar uses Wickr, and end-to-end encrypted messaging app.
  • Trump’s campaign also uses RingCentral, an all-in-one, cloud-based team messaging, voice, and video tool. It spent $794 on the technology in the past two quarters.
  • To make managing apps easier, Yang uses Zapier to connect multiple web-based apps, like Slack and email, to one another.
  • Email is still relevant: Candidates have spent a total of $2,827 on email marketing services from Mailchimp.

Video conference calls

  • Video meetings are popular with campaigns. Yang, Warren, Marianne Williamson, O’Rourke and Julián Castro spent a total of $7,675 with Zoom Video Communications.
  • Booker, John Hickenlooper, and Klobuchar use MaestroConference, and spent a combined $3,333 on it.
  • Trump, O’Rourke, Sanders, and John Delaney spent $2,111 on UberConference.
  • Warren spent $250 on Vimeo.

Recruiting software

  • Candidates are using recruiting software to help wade through applications to assemble their staff. Warren, Sanders, and O’Rourke spent around $25,000 on recruiting software from Greenhouse.
  • The campaigns of Booker, Buttigieg, and Yang use Lever, spending a total of $13,897 on it.
  • Trump’s campaign has spent $25 so far this year on applicant-tracking software Enlist.

Productivity software

Campaigns are using cloud-based tools to manage everything from spreadsheets to web applications. Here’s what they’ve spent on them so far this year.

O’Rourke
AirTable
$951
Yang
Asana
$1,382
Booker
Atlassian
$811
Warren
Atlassian
$721
Warren
Box
$1,992
Harris
Box
$212
Booker
DocuSign
$780
Warren
DocuSign
$319
Warren
Dropbox
$1,792
Williamson
Dropbox
$80
Sanders
Dropbox
$1,269
Trump
Dropbox
$10
Moulton
Dropbox
$280
Sanders
LogMeIn
$3,592
Gillibrand
LogMeIn
$393
Gillibrand
Salesforce
$33,721
Booker
Trello
$368
Biden
Upland
$70,225
Harris
Upland
$73,783
Buttigieg
Upland
$36,500
Warren
Upland
$54,109
Yang
Zapier
$1,617

Writing software

Google Doc or Microsoft Word? Yang’s campaign has a preference for Microsoft Office, for which it spent $479; Williamson is feeling the love with G Suite, on which her campaign has spent $1,065 this year.

Creative software

Warren, Yang, Booker, Sanders, Delaney, Trump, and Kirsten Gillibrand use Adobe, the maker of software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.  Their campaigns collectively spent $7,906 with Adobe this year.

Security

A number of candidates are spending money to help make their internal processes more secure—not the worst idea after what happened to the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

  • Booker, Sanders, and Williamson spent about $17,000, collectively, on Cloudflare, a web performance and cloud security company.

Office space

While office space is not necessarily software, the lines between the two are starting to blur, thanks to office-space disrupters like WeWork. Both Buttigieg and Warren’s campaigns use WeWork, spending $18,424 and $47,109, respectively, on space from the co-working giant.

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