Why Reddit Co-Founder’s Book Tour Could Aid A Future Political Run

Could Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian's U.S. bus tour for his new book, Without Their Permission, also lay the groundwork for a later run at political office?

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian debuted a crazy video for his 100-city bus tour to promote his new book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made Not Managed. You can check out all the details here.

The tour is scheduled to start in Ohanian’s hometown of New York City October 7 with stops at Cooper Union and New York University, and continue through early 2014. In all, some 65 universities are expected to play host to the unofficial spokesman for internet entrepreneurship.

What I find interesting is how the book tour could be part of a broader strategy of positioning Ohanian for a future political run—a notion Ohanian addressed last year with Social Times following his involvement in lobbying Congress during the battle over SOPA/PIPA legislation.

While Ohanian said then that he has no plans to run for office anytime soon, all of the Reddit co-founder’s activities—from the bus tours to writing a book—are steps political hopefuls often take to position themselves for a run or at least leave the door open.

The book tour mirrors the format of the internet freedom bus tour Ohanian launched in 2012 to promote start-ups outside of Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley, which also featured stops at universities. That tour even had a political twist when it concluded in Danville, Ky. the night of the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

Here’s how Alexis Ohanian’s book tour lays the groundwork for a future political run.

University Appeal

Ask any outside the establishment candidate like former Gov. Howard Dean about the important role that universities can play in making or breaking their candidacy. It’s the environment where political dreams can come true.

This is now the second tour where Ohanian can preach his gospel to an enthusiastic audience primed to listen. Who knows, he might even launch the next generation of successful internet entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that would be willing to fund a future candidate if one of their own were to run for office.

We don’t know which political party Ohanian would join but you can bet he’d be an ideal third-party candidate (successful entrepreneur with a youthful exuberance unspoiled by politics as usual.)

Quirky Ads

From Jesse Ventura to Herman Cain, non-establishment political candidates often employ a paid media strategy that features off-the-wall ads designed to garner attention (especially since they generally lack money for a large ad buy.)

In the age of social media, the more creative the ad, the more likely it is to spread like wildfire on Facebook—and get the mainstream media establishment buzzing.

Ohanian’s wacky book tour ad was produced by the Taiwanese firm NMA (Next Media Animation), known for their wacky internet ads. The book tour video features a cast of characters from Ohanian’s world, like the Hipmunk character from the tech entrepreneurs’ travel web site of the same name.

Battleground States

While the political map is constantly shifting, the tour for Without Their Permission features a heavy dose of stops in battleground states. Whether intentional or a byproduct of the tours’ scope hardly matters.

Ohanian will be raising his profile and generating coverage from local media in swing states, such as Minnesota, Ohio and New Hampshire.  As a result, he’s raising his profile among an audience of potential supporters. Whether he runs in the future from Maryland or New York hardly matters.  He’s building a network and a national profile along the way.

Do you think Alexis Ohanian’s book tour will help the author if he decides to run for elected office in the future?