Kristen Soltis Anderson
City: Washington, DC
Current job: Co-founder of Echelon Insights and ABC News political contributor
Former: The Winston Group
Did you watch the news this election cycle? Then chances are you watched Kristen’s commentary on polling and politics. How will the next round of candidates incorporate data science and polling tech into their campaigns? Kristen is building the playbook.
Q. Morning routine? Snooze. Snooze again. Read Twitter before getting out of bed. (This is bad! Don’t do this!) Look at my calendar and see if I need to wear something “TV-able” for the day...if I have no TV scheduled, I can wear prints or wear something that’s black or white, but if I have TV I stick to solids and good colors. Once I get out of the house, I have to get an iced mocha in order to really kick into productivity mode.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Curiosity! I love when people I work with are always trying to learn new things, uncover new ways of doing what we’re doing, identifying new problems or new markets. In the polling world, this means always thinking up new questions we should be asking to better understand how people’s minds work and how opinions form.
Q. Favorite app? Galley, which is a food delivery app here in DC. (In full disclosure, my husband made the app!) I’m really busy and not a great cook, so even some of these subscription meal kit things are too much work and require too much planning. On the other hand, ordering take-out at 8 pm feels like failure. Galley is barely any work and requires very little planning but still feels like a “win.”
Q. If you had to live in another city, which would it be? I’m pretty obsessed with London. I’d hate to not live in the U.S., but I love everything about London and am always happy when I’m there. Might be a little jarring for a Florida girl to go somewhere with so much rain, but good beer and Indian food could make up for a lot.
Q. Best advice you’ve received? When I was in high school, I was on the debate team. There was a woman from a different high school who I competed with who was a year older than me and an absolute rockstar. (She would go on to Harvard and become a Rhodes Scholar, so yeah, she’s incredible.) I sent her an email asking her for advice on how I could be as good as her at debate, and her advice was simple: “Speak well and speak differently than everyone else.” Essentially, there’s no secret trick or routine or magic wand you can wave. Just by being yourself and not trying to conform to sound like everyone else, you will stand out, and while you are standing out, if you are doing good work, it will pay off. This really stuck with me. I try to remember this a lot when I go on TV to discuss political news. There are lots of people who do this who say predictable things, or yell at people in a predictable way. I just try to focus on saying something clearly and being as eloquent as possible, and I try not to just rehash what everyone else is already going to say, I try to add something new and different to the discussion.
Q. How do you unwind after work? I’m a sucker for TV and video games. I wish I could say that I go to the gym every night, or that I’ve taken up learning a new language, but the idea of sitting on the couch watching old seasons of Archer on Netflix sounds divine.