A Letter to Investors

We’re not looking for donations.

When we donate to political causes, we do so with the hope that the money will make a difference. For me, it was the easy way out; putting my faith in others and trusting that they would do what needs to be done in order to win the day.

I realize now, that my lack of involvement was the real problem. I could have done more; a lot more, but I was limiting my possibilities to the traditional form of activism that I was being asked to do. I wasn’t comfortable making phone calls or knocking on doors, and even if I was, I didn’t have the time required to participate in these activities. So, I got out my credit card and did all that I thought I could.

If you’re like me, when you woke up on November 9th you could see the world with a new acuity. You could see how for nearly a decade, progressivism has suffered loss, after loss, across all levels of government, and you may have wondered as I did, “Where’s the accountability?”

After the election, I remember opening my email inbox and seeing emails from the DCCC like the one below and thinking “What the hell is this?” I realized, I never really “saw” these emails. I mean, I did see them and deleted them as quickly as they came, but there’s clearly a symptom here of a more serious underlying problem, and I missed it completely. I suppose I could chalk this up to blind faith, but I do marketing for a living and this was a huge miss:

Democratic leadership has no idea what they’re doing.

The DCCC’s #1 SUPER-DUPER cutting edge tactic: Circa 2003 spam.

It’s actually pretty despicable if you ask me; begging for money by playing on people’s fears. And so far as I can tell, this is it; this is the main way they want us to get involved. Give them more money and trust them… Again.

Looking ahead to 2018, I wasn’t feeling very confident about pumping more money into the same old causes: Groups that somehow managed to squander their riches on antiquated tactics that don’t scale in cost-effective ways. I wanted a 21st century alternative, so I made one.

On February 5th, the day after the infamous Roseville Town Hall, I joined forces with a team of local activists, and created Indivisible Citizens of California’s 4th Congressional District. We began working with local Indivisible, Democrat, Progressive, environmental, and other left-leaning groups from across our district to get organized, and created a district-wide umbrella organization. After two months, 25 groups are on board, with another 50+ groups on deck. Collectively, the 25 groups represent more than 10,000 activists. In these two months that have passed since the page first launched, we have more followers than all northern California Tea Party and Democratic groups combined, and nearly as many followers as the Republicans of California, and their page has been up for 4 years.

We’ve been told by the DCCC that our district is “un-flippable” and that they’re going to focus their resources elsewhere. Many believe that Tom McClintock’s seat cannot be won.

I disagree.

There are several data-based reasons why voting-out Tom “McTrump” is a real possibility, but over the course of the last few weeks it’s become clear that we’ve discovered an untapped market segment that has the potential to grow into a mainstream movement, and accomplish something much larger than simply winning one House seat. My team and I are having incredible success in building the brand as an education, advocacy and lifestyle nonprofit, creating opportunities for genuine connections between people by hosting local events across our district.

To accelerate growth, I’m doing what I do best, borrowing heavily from Lean Startup principals and growth hacking tactics, building our organization in the mold of a Silicon Valley startup that knows how to hustle. I’ve got a team of 18 volunteer social media managers stoking engagement, as well as a creative team led by an experienced executive producer that includes professional photographers and videographers to create original content. It’s all going far better than I ever expected, but there is SO much more we could do.

So, what next?

Seconds after I hit the submit button on this post, I will be stepping into a meeting to resign from my position as Senior Global Marketing Programs Manager at Apple. I am now wholly committed to Indivisible and our mission. I am also unemployed.

We’ve got incredible momentum, but we can’t win on our own. My team and I are looking for individuals and organizations who seek moonshot opportunities, but also expect results. People who are visionary, yet scrupulous. People who expect remarkable returns on their investments. (Silicon Valley, I’m looking at you.)

We’re looking for angels. We seek funding to stand up a small full-time staff with modest salaries, and a marketing, events and production budget than can accelerate our growth and make Indivisible a mainstream movement. We aim to build identity for the district, helping those who live here think of themselves as “from CA-04” and taking pride in the incredible bounty of riches our district holds.

What we’ve got is so awesome; our barrier to entry so high, that the only way the competition beats us is by moving away from their tired tactics of division by fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and casting us in their game of identity politics, spreading animosity, and spitting poison. That’s one hell of a pivot, and I don’t think they can make it. We will win this fight, and in doing so, bring our country back from the brink of tribalism and rally around our shared beliefs.

I’m doing this. I hope you will join me. If you expect more from your contributions and are looking for a new way to make a real difference, please send me an email or give me call, and let’s do something our grandkids will brag about.

Yours in struggle ✊

Paul Smith
Director of Marketing
Indivisible Citizens of California’s 4th Congressional District
(916) 741–3389 c.