- “The Political Tech Landscape”, on the InfoQ Podcast
- “The World Is On Fire And So Is Your Website” - how to architect and scale a complex ecosystem of custom tools that power political organizing work on a nonprofit budget, at QCon Plus 2020
- Organizer, CTOs For Good National Summit, Oct 2020
- Video and Slides “Rachel Maddow is the new Slashdot Effect! Architecting systems for extremely bursty web traffic driven by the news cycle” at the 2020 Virtual CTO Summit Series: “Scaling Your App”, and 2019 New York CTO Summit
- NetRoots Nation 2019 July 11-13, Philadelphia, PA Panel: “Tech For The Movement, Not The Billionaires” and Panel and Screening of The Great Hack
- PDF19 in NYC - “Fighting Disinformation on Social Media” breakout session
- The Great Battlefield Podcast - ‘The Intersection of Technology with Organizing and Politics, with Ann Lewis CTO of MoveOn’
- The Movement Cooperative member convening - “How to launch a national crisis response network”
- Fast Company Innovation Festival - “Igniting Movements: How Brands Can Rise To the Occasion” - Hosted by RedPeak and MoveOn
- CTOs For Good National Summit: 9/20-9/21 San Francisco
- NetRoots Nation 2018 Aug 2-4, New Orleans - the largest annual conference for progressives and organizers. Training: “Tech=Power: How to Find Good Tech People and Get Them to Do What You Want”
- PDF18 in NYC June 7, 8 - Personal Democracy Forum is a political tech conference focusing on tech’s role creating, strengthening, and securing democracy and its core institutions. I’ll be leading a PDFOpen workshop, “Reverse Engineering the Tech Platforms to Win Campaigns for Change” a workshop where organizers can learn about how the incentive structures of big tech companies are used to make decisions, and how to get these companies to respond to collective action.
You can email me, DM me in a slack community, or DM me on twitter.
I’m in ~10 slack communities, and I get about 800 emails a week on a slow week, 1200 on a busy week. While I try to eventually respond to all the contact requests I receive, here are some expectations about when you are likely to hear back from me, and which requests I’ll respond to in which ways.
Stuff I Care About
You can invite me to speak or meet with your team or group on any of these topics. Please do not repost or reuse these materials without my explicit permission and attribution.
The Power of Open Source Collaborations
- What are some ways to inspire girls to embrace technology?
- The Myth of The Pipeline Problem The “pipeline problem” doesn’t explain the dearth of women in software engineering careers- most professional software engineers are self-taught and paid to learn on the job.
- Girl Develop It: In 2014 I founded the Central VA chapter of Girl Develop It and ran it until mid 2016. GDI is a national nonprofit that provides affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning software development. This chapter now has over 500 members and is a thriving community. I was proud to hand over the role of chapter leader to a top student from the very first HTML class I taught!
- Tech: Where Do I Fit In? An overview of the different tech and tech-adjacent roles in big and small organizations, originally prepared for a Girl Develop It seminar, Jan 2016.
- Talk: Salary Negotiation Why you deserve it, how to actually do it, and how it makes the world more fair. Originally prepared for a Girl Develop It seminar, Nov 2015
Download Small (200K)
Download Large (900K)
Short Bio (34 words)
Ann Lewis is the CTO of MoveOn. She is a technical leader, architect, and active coder who is passionate about cultivating great engineering teams, and building tech that powers collective action at scale. @ann_lewis
Medium Bio (65 words)
Ann Lewis is the CTO of MoveOn.org. She is a technical leader, architect, and active coder with 15+ years of experience in software engineering and software management, with a focus on distributed systems and scalability. Ann is passionate about building tech that powers collective action at scale, and gives every American a voice in our democracy. You can find her on twitter here: @ann_lewis
Long bio (152 words)
Ann Lewis is the CTO of MoveOn.org. She is a technical leader, architect, and active coder with 15+ years of experience in software engineering and software management, with a focus on distributed systems and scalability. In her work at MoveOn, she in-housed tech and hired a tech team, modernized and upgraded MoveOn’s software infrastructure, created and scaled up new systems for MoveOn’s 2016 presidential election program, 2017 Resistance programs, and 2018 midterm election program, and co-ran and launched a rebranding effort across all MoveOn web properties. Ann sees opportunities for new collaborations between the tech and organizing worlds, to modernize infrastructure, bring in best practices, and scale impact of tools. Ann is passionate about using tech and data to scale the impact of organizing, ensuring that systems of power are fair and accountable, and harnessing people power to hold governments and corporations accountable. You can find her on twitter here: @ann_lewis
Do you run Anne Lewis Strategies?
No. That’s the other Anne Lewis who is a different person. I am also not Clinton strategist Ann Frank Lewis. There are many Ann(s) Lewis. One day we will have an Ann(e) Lewis conference and officially disambiguate.
Will you advise my startup?
After Trump was elected, lots of tech folks discovered politics, wanted to get involved, and have generated lots of ideas for new tools and apps. As a result, I see a boom in political tech projects and startups, and I get about one request a month to advise a startup. Unfortunately I have limited time, and want to spend my time on the most leveraged and equitable possible projects, so here is guidance on how to recruit me as an advisor.
Can you affirm all of these statements?
- You have done your homework about the state of political organizing, and the current landscape of tools. This includes: you are on a few progressive organizing email lists, you have responded to at least one progressive organizing group’s call to action, you have done a “high-bar ask” action like canvassing once, you have researched political CRMs and election data sets like the voter file
- You are committed to equitable hiring practices, understand why this is critical to success and not just doing some marginalized groups a favor, and have a plan to hold yourself accountable to recruiting and advertising your jobs to a population of candidates that is representative of the progressive movement
- You care not just about ideas but also about execution. 90% of startups fail, and 50% of large tech projects (at any size company) fail for avoidable execution related reasons. You have a plan for project strategy and managing your software team beyond “hire smart people and let them figure it out”
If so, DM me on twitter and let’s chat.
I’m a tech person and I want to help, what can I do?
Jobs: MoveOn is often hiring, and you can check out available jobs here. We run rigorous hiring processes for all of our open positions. We appreciate your tech skills and your interest, but please also be advised that because of heightened interest in political tech, and our all-remote workplace, we hire from nationally competitive hiring pools. The tech team’s last hiring process had 150 applications for one open position, and we’ve also seen as many as 250 applications for a single open position.
Volunteering: We have several active open source projects here and you can check out our open source codebases here. We welcome volunteers to hack on these projects, and join our open source communities. We anchor discussion about open source projects in the Progressive Coders Network slack, in the #moveon and #spoke channels. This is a great place to come hang out and look for tasks to pick up.
Ideas: You can also email us with your suggestions and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a tech vendor, and I want your business / advice on breaking into the political organizing market
My advice for you:
- Don’t lead your product pitches with an assumption of technical ignorance. Most organizers have built elaborate and sometimes massively scaled workflows out of very basic tools, and have a keen sense of how built the right things at the right times, and how to manage crazy-complicated logistics. I’d describe them as “people who can build spaceships out of excel spreadsheets.”
- Don’t lead your product pitches with pity, or a savior complex. Yes, you’re probably rich because you’re in the tech industry, and yes most organizers are probably broke. This doesn’t mean that the poor organizers need to be saved by you, it means that even though they probably have as much or more education and relevant experience than you, they chose to do values-aligned work vs get rich. They don’t need to be saved with your tools or ideas, you need to prove you are values-aligned enough to earn their attention.
- Lead your product pitches with specifics: tell your audience about specific workflows your system unlocks and give specific arguments for what value you’re going to add. It’s less likely organizers will hire you for the consulting-style work of doing the thinking for them, and more likely they’ll pay for a tool you’ve built that automates workflows they are currently doing manually.
- Be extremely careful about data privacy. Nothing will get you a closed door faster than “Can you just hand over your email list?” Keeping member data private and only sharing it with explicit consent is not just a value, it’s a key part of an organization’s health: member trust = member engagement.
Represent All Women in Tech
You’re the only technical woman I know, can you explain all the gender in tech stuff to me?
First of all this probably isn’t true. Please take a careful look at the other people on the communication channel where you asked this question, and when you notice other women there, take a moment to consider why you didn’t think of them in the first place, and how invisible they might feel when they read your comment.
Secondly, as a cis-gendered white woman, I can only represent my experience, and not all women, and certainly not all gendered identity issues. Being asked to represent the monolith of people who share an identity characteristic is an othering experience. We’d all rather be treated like human beings. That being said, you can find some of my opinions limited to personal experience on gender and tech here and here.
Third, as you pursue this path of inquiry, hopefully in the direction of enlightenment, please be aware:
- If you are asking these questions, you probably have an outwardly visible identity that labels you as an accepted and insider member of tech culture. People who are not so lucky to be labeled as such have to prove that we belong in tech, via every interaction in a tech environment. This means the burden is on us to establish and firmly defend our credibility or else we’ll be immediately written off as not technically credible, and excluded from future interactions. This makes first impressions extremely high stakes, and makes social environments that may be comfortable or casual for you inherently a performance for us. So please be aware of this when reaching out and asking questions.
- Bonus points: if you are aware of the priviledge that automatically being assumed to be credible without constantly trying to prove it affords you, acknowledging this is a great way to build trust.
- Many people who aren’t automatically labeled as being a part of tech culture expect and regularly experience ridicule for asking too many or the wrong questions in professional settings. So please keep that in mind when asking questions, and put some extra energy into being thoughtful, welcoming, and clear.
If as you read this you’re realizing you don’t actually care about the answer to this question– actually you’re running a hiring process and just wanted to try to attract a diverse set of applicants– I recommend you check out my hiring advice here.
If you’d like a more detailed answer, perhaps you’d like to invite me to speak or meet with your team.
Encouraging Girls In Tech
I have a daughter and I want her to have the opportunity to be interested in tech like you. What toys did you play with as a kid? Sorry, but your premise is flawed. Please read this instead. It’s not just about toys, it’s also about entering and navigating a culture of sexism and a currently unchecked system of oppression. But since you as a parent care about your girl, hopefully this means you’re willing to be an ally and use your privilege to actively work to dismantle this.
What Is Your Personal Style?
No one has ever asked me this, or is likely to ever ask me this. But I have a clever response planned just in case: “unintentional normcore.”