Beyond the Dot 2014: Political IT Innovator Announced

Josh Bourne ⬥ February 4

IT Innovator

We can hardly contain our excitement as the Beyond the Dot 2014 conference comes together. Our latest coup: President Obama’s 2012 campaign mastermind Jim Messina will keynote the conference, which is designed to examine the impact of Internet domain names on businesses and consumers.

The conference will take place at the Newseum in Washington D.C., and we welcome you to register here.

“We look forward to hearing Jim’s ideas about where new top-level domains will fit into politics and American society over the next several years,” said Nao Matsukata, President and Chief Executive Officer of FairWinds Partners, which is hosting the conference. “Jim’s 2012 consultation with the nation’s foremost tech leaders is just one example of his out-of-the-box thinking, which is so crucial to the future of the Internet.”

Messina, who managed the President’s 2012 re-election campaign, is known for perfecting the digital age political campaign through the unprecedented use of technology to target likely voters. His first order of business was to visit the chief executives of a number of technology companies – Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Zynga, and Google – to seek advice.

“I went around the country for literally a month of my life interviewing these companies and just talking about organizational growth, emerging technologies, marketing,” Messina told Bloomberg Businessweek.

In two private conversations, according to Businessweek, “Steve Jobs tore into Messina for all the White House was doing wrong and what it ought to be doing differently, before going on to explain how the campaign could exploit technology in ways that hadn’t been possible before. “

Messina also sought advice from Steven Spielberg and his team at DreamWorks on how to capture the attention of American voters.

Not surprisingly, Messina concluded that a modern day presidential campaign is very much like a technology company. “What they’ve done is more readily applicable to me, because they all started very small and got big very quickly,” he told Businessweek.

Currently, Messina is leading Priorities USA, a political action committee that supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Beyond the Dot 2014 will be the first conference to explore the ramifications of new top-level domains (the text to the right of the dot in a web address, such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG) on the end user.

Other speakers at the conference include former Ambassador and Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who is also chairman of the Internet task force at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Akram Atallah, President of the Global Domains Division at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees many technical functions of the Internet. In addition, the owners of new top-level domains .GOP, .GAY, .NYC, and .UNO will participate in panel discussions. See the agenda here.

Beyond the Dot 2014 is designed to educate the public about the coming changes to the Internet: approximately 1,400 new top-level domains over the next two years, in addition to the 22 previously in common use. These changes will affect the totality of Internet behavior, from search, to navigation, to commerce, to security, to privacy, to analytics, and more. For a primer on this unprecedented expansion of the domain name space, check out FairWinds’ microsite


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