Harper Reed, the former CEO of T-shirt website Threadless, will leave his penchant for promoting startups behind in order to work on a different sort of campaign. The self-proclaimed "coolest guy ever" has just been named the chief technology officer for U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
Reed has made his mark in the digital world by bouncing around among companies like hosting services provider Rackspace, addictive T-shirt design site Threadless, and healthcare app startup SugarSnap, all while maintaining an active online presence with Twitter updates and personal websites. This type of background may seem incongruous with politics, but as Obama’s tech-heavy 2008 campaign showed, conventional approaches may no longer be the way to win an election.
The highly accessible Reed encourages readers of his websites, Nata2.org and HarperReed.org, to get in touch with him. His extreme accessibility will undoubtedly be an advantage to an Obama campaign looking to re-create the community campaigning experience for the 21st century. For a jaunt on Capitol Hill, however, Reed might be compelled to tone down his love of "hacking the newest Internet appliance."