TheBridge profile: Ben LaBolt

TheBridge profile: Ben LaBolt

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Name: Ben LaBolt

Current city: San Francisco, CA

Current job: Partner, Bully Pulpit Interactive / President, The Incite Agency

Past job: National Press Secretary, Obama for America

Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting: Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, The Coffee Bar in DC

Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Even if it’s in a different field or requires a different skill-set, your prior experience shapes your results in your current job. You’ve learned your strengths and shortcomings. You’ve built a talented network you can call on for advice. You’ve learned that you will be more successful when your team is successful.

Political campaigns teach you to make important decisions quickly, to be agile and able to change course, and to always keep reputation at the heart of your decision making. When we help companies build and execute integrated campaigns, we bring a different point of view than folks who have been through the corporate revolving door. We know that we can’t reach and convince everyone so we identify the persuadable audience that matters and treat it as our North Star. We reach them across all channels, earned, paid and owned, wherever they receive information. We understand how to operate in regulated and restrictive environments without drowning in bureaucracy. Those skills were shaped by building massive startups that have to deliver results quickly — political campaigns.

Q. Job advice in three words? Relationships, over-communicate, over-deliver

Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? We sit at the intersection of reputation, technology, and public affairs. We focus not on engagement metrics, which pictures of fluffy dogs would win every time, but on persuasion. And unlike other firms we never approach things in silos. Companies and organizations hire us at high stakes moments to figure out how to persuade the audience they want to reach with a compelling message. You’ve got to have earned media, paid media, digital content and analytics experts available to produce the 360 strategy to accomplish that.

Q. Average hours of sleep you get? I aim for 7 or 8.

Q. Last time you were completely unplugged? Sadly, can't remember. 

Q. Living person you admire? I have two: Bill Murray and Angela Merkel.

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