Insights and Impact

10,000 Hours: A political messaging revolutionary


Illustra­tion by
Peter Hoey

Illustration of Scott Goodstein

Scott Goodstein, SPA/BA '95, SPA/MPA '99, loves two things that might seem inharmonious: politics and punk rock. Ever the nonconformist, he's fashioned a career without cooling on either and has become a Washington power player in the process. His firm, Revolution Messaging—which specializes in advertising, fund-raising, public relations, and technology—helped propel last year's Bernie Sanders movement and now, even with President Trump in the White House, Goodstein keeps on rockin' in (the capital of) the free world. 

1974: Born in Cleveland, Ohio.

1985: Ran his first campaign on a platform to keep public pools in South Euclid, Ohio, open after Labor Day. (It was unsuccessful.) 

1991: Elected student body president at Charles F. Brush High School.

1992: Headed to AU for college. "I wanted to be politically active, I wanted a big city, and AU was blocks from Fort Reno, which was the epicenter of the politically active punk rock scene."  

1993: Managed WVAU, the college radio station, and worked part-time at DC's legendary music venue, the 9:30 Club.

1995: Dropped out of AU, cut his long hair, bought a suit, and set out for Oregon to work on Ron Wyden's senatorial campaign. "I learned quickly that this is really hard work. But there is an intoxication to living your dream of making political change."

1997: Re-enrolled at AU. "I basically dropped in and out of AU between campaigns."

1998: Traveled around the country working on state legislative races for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

2003: Partnered with Fat Mike, lead singer for the punk band NOFX, to start, which ran the Rock Against Bush concert tours, released CD and DVD sets that sold more than 500,000 copies, and raised more than $4 million for voter education and registration. 

2005: Cofounded Operation Ceasefire, an anti-war group that organized a concert on the National Mall that drew about 100,000 people.

2007: Joined the Obama campaign as external online director. Ran all of Obama's social media and mobile programs.

2008: Sent the most widely distributed text message in history announcing that Joe Biden was joining the ticket.

2009: Started Revolution Messaging. "I saw there was a need for rapid-response political communication through mobile phones." First client was Obama's inaugural committee; now the company has about 80 employees and offices around the country.  

2012: Cofounded the Creative Majority PAC and the Lady Parts Justice League, a reproductive rights organization.

2015: Revolution Messaging ran all the digital for the Bernie Sanders campaign, raising $220 million online. "We raised more money in less time, with less people and resources, than Obama did eight years earlier." 

2016: The American Association of Political Consultants named Revolution Messaging digital strategists of the year, and the agency won best global presidential campaign from the European Association of Political Consultants.

Spent election night at the office churning out ads and last-minute text messages for congressional races. "I remember telling folks in my office to get some sleep because we're going to have to learn how to become the opposition very quickly."

2017: One of his latest initiatives,, has almost 300,000 subscribers who are taking action against Trump. "Even post-Bernie, we're still moving forward helping the resistance movement."