25 | COFOUNDER, FACEBOOK; DEVELOPER, MY.BARACKOBAMA.COM
27 | FOUNDING PARTNER, BLUE STATE DIGITAL
Winning a 21st-century presidential election, it turns out, hinges on one counterintuitive strategy: letting go. As new-media director for the Obama campaign, Joe Rospars adopted every embryonic tool availablefrom blogs to online videoto mobilize support, attracting an unprecedented 13 million followers and 2 million activist users to My.BarackObama.com. So effective were his tactics that the campaign didn't have the resources to oversee all the action. Rospars' response? Bring it on. "That was a big risk, to let 35,000 grassroots volunteer groups pop up on the website," Rospars says. "There were hundreds of thousands of events that we didn't touch or organize in any way." Holding that vast web together was Rospars' online organizer-in-chief, Chris Hugheswho, after cofounding Facebook, could easily have retired to a schooner anchored off Capri. Instead he applied his soc-net savvy to the S.S. Hope and proved that the same technology that brought you Scrabulous could turn red states blue. "It was clear that we were going to have to invest in technology," Hughes says, "because it was small people up against the Establishment." And before the lemon bars could cool at Republican bake sales, Obama had snagged the election. All of which serves to illustrate that these two are more than the future of campaigningthey are the future of mobilizing the masses.