Zack Exley

Partner, Middle Seat Consulting

Zack Exley served as a senior adviser on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and was an architect of the campaign’s national, volunteer-driven grassroots campaign. A geek of the Commodore Vic20 generation, Zack was an early pioneer of Internet politics, organising and fundraising – and had been dreaming of a campaign like Bernie’s for a very long time, when Senator Sanders launched his candidacy. Zack first made waves on the Internet when George W Bush called him a garbage man in 1998 while trying to shut down Zack’s site, GWBush.com, the web’s first campaign parody. He organised the first flash mobs in 2000 with simultaneous protests in hundreds of cities around the Bush v. Gore election crisis. He became MoveOn.org’s first Organising Director in its campaign to prevent the war in Iraq, and led the first “online primary” in 2003. As an early advisor to the Dean campaign, he helped transfer MoveOn’s early fundraising and organising discoveries into presidential politics, then served as Kerry’s Director of Online Fundraising and Communications in the general election where he raised more than $100 million online for the nominee. While trying to figure out how to use all these tools and tactics to elect not just a new president but a whole new Congress, Zack worked as a consultant to global NGOs, companies, and campaigns. With ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy, he led field organising software projects for Obama’s 2008 General Election campaign and for social movements around the world. Before rejoining politics with the Bernie campaign, Zack served as Wikipedia’s Chief Community Officer and Chief Revenue Officer during the Wikimedia Foundation’s growth from 20 to 200 employees.