In an interview following his commended speech at UBS’s annual China conference in Shanghai this week, Harper Reed, a key player in Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, says a fundamental lesson learned as the campaign’s chief technology officer was that people matter more than technology.
Harper is of the generation of business leaders at the forefront of digital “disruption”, a phrase well known to industries from banking to retail, under attack by new technological players looking to take a piece of the action. It’s an opportunity himself and Modest co-founder Dylan Richard are looking to exploit with their new product, a simple mobile platform for retailers set to be launched in coming weeks. However, Harper notes that “when you hear about disruptive technologies, we often focus on the technology part, but that’s the easiest part. The hardest part is actually getting the people together to do that disruption.”
He goes onto say that “we could not have done the Obama campaign stuff without the people. Every single time you look at a really disruptive technology, there’s always a team behind it that is actually facilitating it and making it happen. Whenever someone says, ‘Harper we want you to talk about technology’, my gut is not to talk about technology.”
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