Obama Has Marc Andreessen’s Vote

March 3, 2008

Marc Andreessen writes that he is impressed by Obama.

We asked him directly, how concerned should we be that you haven’t had meaningful experience as an executive — as a manager and leader of people?

He said, watch how I run my campaign — you’ll see my leadership skills in action.

As a Canadian my opinion is without consequence. The other day I listened to a CBC Radio “Search Engine” Podcast (a “best-of” re-run actually) which included an old piece about Obama and his campaign. The story was about Joe Anthony and how the Obama campaign treated him over his Obama MySpace page which had 160,000 friends.

I thought the story pointed out a fundamental issue with Obama (or maybe his supporters). The Joe Anthony story demonstrates a disdain for entrepreneurs and individuals that accomplish things outside of official channels.

Obama certainly has a gift. The man is a joy to listen to. Either he or is speech writers have true talent when it comes to the material. The upbeat message is a wonderful change. But the man had an opportunity to take charge and correct a silly mistake made by his campaign managers and he failed. Obama talked to Joe Anthony and did not use the opportunity to make things right.

The Obama campaign appears to be firing on all cylinders but its unclear to me whether any of it is due to great leadership or just a powerful popular movement. The Joe Anthony story is one small anecdote but an important one in my mind. Is there anything behind the gifted inspirational speaker? He delivers “I Have a Dream” speeches that move people to tears but is there a “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that outlines the structure underlying the dream?