Harper Reed, a so-called former suburban hacker, will be in Australia in May when he will be a keynote speaker at CeBIT Australia to be held at Darling Harbour in Sydney from 28 to 30 May.
Reed, who describes himself as "an engineer excited about real time, social software and the open source software movement", developed systems that enabled hundreds of thousands of Obama volunteers to reach out to voters nationwide, building the back-end technology that ran the Obama for America campaign last year.
The outcome of the 2012 US election hinged as much on the technology that made use of mountains of voter-profile information as the big-ticket ad campaigns on TV, and Harper Reed’s role in the collection, management and analysis of Big Data has been widely credited as being a key to Obama’s success.
Jackie Taranto, Managing Director of CeBIT Australia organiser Hannover Fairs Australia, suggests that with Harper Reed’s inclusion in the CeBIT program as a headline guest speaker, it might be wise for both political parties to consider sending their election teams to “hear his words of advice.”
“Harper Reed’s approach to managing Big Data and cloud has seen him recognised as the technology mastermind behind the Obama win, and we look forward to him adding real-world examples of how data is one of your business’ most valuable assets.
“You only have to look at the statistics from the Obama for America campaign when compared to Governor Romney to get a sense of how important technology was to the election outcome.”
Here’s the key statistics from the Obama campaign:
• President Obama maintained a substantial lead in both Facebook likes and Twitter followers over Governor Romney. By the end of the campaign, Obama had 22.7 million followers and 32.2 million likes, compared to Romney’s 1.8 million followers and 12.1 million likes
• The Obama campaign passed 1 million donors in October 2012, 46 per cent of whom had not given to the 2008 campaign, and 1 million "conversations" with voters in November
• The Obama re-election campaign has been lauded for its mastery of Big Data
• Observers noted that in the last days of the campaign, Obama supporters who used the campaign’s Facebook app received emails with the names and profile photos of friends in swing states. The emails urged supporters to contact their friends and encourage them to vote
• The Obama campaign’s “persuadability score” tried to capture not just a voter’s current opinion, but how that individual opinion was likely to change after interactions with the campaign
• Most importantly, Obama’s analysts did not assume that voters who said they were “undecided” were necessarily persuadable—a mistake campaigns have made in the past, according to targeting experts
• Obama raised US$637.3 million from contributions smaller than US$2500 in comparison to Romney's US$388.1 million from this category of donor
• 56 per cent of Obama's US$637.3 million worth of sub-US$2500 donations was under $200
• Obama utilised a donation-based crowdfunding strategy to target small donors. He raised US$631 million in individual donations, US$214 million of which were from small donors, which is roughly three times the amount Mitt Romney raised via small donors.