Andrew Yang – Next Steps. Rest. Reassess. Reset. Restart. Why he will unsuspend the campaign
Andrew Yang will continue to play a role in the DNC upcoming nomination process after concluding that the mission of ensuring the Freedom Dividend or Universal Basic Income (UBI) is necessary to be part of the DNC platform. Andrew will conclude that waiting until 2024 is too long and too risky for the country and eventual Democratic nominee not to adopt as part of the platform.
Suspending the campaign, resting, reassessing and resetting is exactly why he will be back. So much happened so fast and the problems the campaign had in scaling up to make a material impact became more apparent. The good news is the campaign has good leadership making the tough and important judgement call. The good news is Andrew will be back. The campaign will be back. It will be very different than what we’ve seen so farMy blog post was inspired after watching the great video with Paget Kagy and Dr. Quintus Jett where Dr. Jett reviews what happened inside the Yang campaign and specifically the challenges of scaling up when literally learning on the fly.
Why Andrew would return.
1. Evidence of how Andrew thinks is from the great podcast with Kara Swisher in July 2019.
Specifically the following segment at the end of the podcast. Area bolded for emphasis.
(Swisher) Yeah, so last question, it sounds like a crazy question, but why do you want to be president?
(Yang) So imagine being the guy who spent six-plus years helping create thousands of jobs around the country in Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Baltimore. And realizing that your water was like pouring water into a bath that had a giant hole ripped in the bottom. And then Donald Trump wins the election in 2016 and your country does not seem to understand what has happened to it. Your country is scapegoating immigrants for something that immigrants have nothing to do with. Your country does not understand that we’re in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in our history, the fourth industrial revolution, and we need to get our shit together as fast as possible to make sure this country is strong and whole so that my kids and yours can grow up in a country we’re still proud of. So let’s say you see all of this in 2017 and then you say, how can I get my country to understand what we’re facing and advance meaningful solutions in a reasonable time frame before the truckers riot?
And then you’re an entrepreneur and operator, you make a list and the list starts and ends with one thing: run for president. And then you look at that and you say, well, if I decided to put my heart and soul into that, do I have a chance to wake my country up? Do I have a chance? And I looked in the mirror and said, yeah, I have a chance. And then you decide not to do that, then you are an asshole.
And I looked in the mirror and said, all right, let’s do this thing, because I want to be able to sleep at night. I may not win, but I am damn well sure I’m going to make this case to the American people and I’m going to be able to sleep at night knowing that we actually knocked some sense into enough of our fellow citizens so we can start solving the real problems of the 21st century.
2. The original mission is still in play
Whoever the Democrats nominate, the reality is the fourth industrial revolution will continue march forward relentlessly. (See other blog post – FRONTLINE -In the Age of AI). Although Andrew could wait again for the 2024 election cycle, the fact is he and the YangGang have momentum now. Although it did not translate into votes, what has occurred is a once in a lifetime cultural phenomenon much like Linsanity did but at a larger scale. Perhaps an equal enthusiasm awaits in four years. However as Dr. Jett astutely noted, it would be a different time. We don’t know the situation or circumstances or future candidates in the race in 2024.
The mission of ensuring that someone carries the platform of UBI or a Freedom Dividend as a candidate of a major political party is precisely why Andrew ran. As of now, no Democratic nominee will publicly commit to that.Until that happens, there is a good chance Andrew will come back and re-engage. When Andrew learned no one planned on doing so after meeting with former SEIU labor leader Andy Stern, he decided to leave his job, file the paperwork, and run for president.
I’ve seen many mission driven leaders like Andrew in my lifetime. Often they are introverts. Often they don’t want to lead. They’d rather have someone else do it. However, they will also step-up and do the right thing, not because they want to or have to, but because they feel compelled to. It’s also what drives many entrepreneurs to do what they do. You have to be a little passionate to enter a career where 90 percent of start-ups fail, which is the same failure rate of presidential campaigns.
From Andrew in Las Vegas 2 days after suspending the campaign:
I want to get this across the finish line. I want to grow the movement. (see 26:50).. It was only after some people that I like and trust came to me and said, “Hey, If you want to maximize the potential of this movement, you’re actually better served by a different timing structure because of a number of factors…” If we drop now we can build the movement in different ways. That’s the direction we’re going to head. You’ll know more in the next 2 to 6 weeks.
3. Pivot. Time to Rest. Reassess. Reset. Restart.
Andrew and Zach Grauman are enterpreneurs and have a start-up mindset. From day 1, the campaign was in start-up mode. Proven experienced political staff wouldn’t join a team with a complete unknown and so the founding team learned as quickly as possible and replaced expertise with like minded folks with energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity.
However most start-ups regardless of how good the original plan was or how well-intentioned the founding team was, many companies find themselves pivoting to find a new path for success. They often will reset, reassess all assumptions and plans, and reset finding out who will be needed to fit the new narrative and plan.
This is where I believe Andrew and the campaign currently are.
After the Joe Rogan podcast, Andrew and the campaign finally found themselves gaining traction with donations and an online movement. They were scaling up fast and literally creating infrastructure and processes in real-time that put them in a disadvantage to other campaigns. With the pressure of fundraising, increasing voter awareness of Andrew, time crunch of looming primaries, and relatively smaller resources than other campaigns (and outlasting many many others!), the absence of this experience and infrastructure became apparent after the disappointing results in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Instead of marching forward into Nevada and South Carolina with a process and an approach that did not seem to be working and with the numbers not in favor of an Andrew Yang presidency in 2020, a group of trusted campaign advisors suggested perhaps it was time to pause or suspend the campaign.
Rest. Reassess. Reset. And I believe ultimately to Restart.
Time to reflect and rest. Reassess both internally by learning what could have gone better and externally by watching how the next set of primaries go. Reset with a laser focus on what the mission is. And then based on what happens over the next few weeks, then likely restart and unsuspend the campaign.
Internally, I think they are trying to figure out, since Andrew and Zach are operators, the following:
- What are are key strengths and learnings that we did not have or know a year ago?
- Given our current financial and staffing situations and our constraints, how we maximize our impact in ensuring our mission?
It will be much smaller, leaner, and may look more likely the early days of the campaign with a larger focus on podcasts and social media to get the word out and more engagement and direction to local YangGang groups which often felt like they had little coordination with headquarters. Scaling up real-time with little experience or infrastructure in doing such a thing in real-time – building an airplane while in flight – a concept well known to all entrepreneurs and likely was part of the reason for a less than ideal outcome in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Nevertheless, everyone should be incredibly proud of the how far the campaign did given all of the challenges it faced. There will be cases studies about how they pulled off what seemed impossible to improbable to nearly possible!
FINALLY WORDS FROM ANDREW
- You’ll be happy to know there’s a guy who’s mission in life it is to improve on this. And that’s me (2015)
- You can feel bad about what’s going on with this country, but the moment you feel like your doing something about it you feel so much better (2019)
- One of my of rules in entrepreneurship and life is that you have to give your chance to win. Not lose less. Not hold on for a longer period of time, but actually win.