Google’s Waze Buy Hints At Major Tech Shifts That Will Impact 2016’s Presidential Election

by Ralph Benko, Forbes  |  published on June 17, 2013

Google’s acquisition of Waze hints at decisive digital technology shifts for the next presidential election. The RNC has hired a young new Chief Technology Officer, Andy Barkett, from Facebook. It is much to be hoped that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will do what is needed — both in tech and policy — to get the Republicans to start winning again.

Why does Waze matter? For those just returned from the ISS, Waze, which crowdsources mapping, is a big breakthrough. It is going to change how we live. Of far greater significance to business and investors … it will change how we shop.

How is this relevant to politics? Because the more you know about your customers (in politics, voters), the better you can serve them and the more you (and they) will thrive. Facebook, as recently explained in the Atlantic Monthly, begins to look like the wave of the past.

The Republican National Committee recruited Barkett from, most recently, a brief gig at Facebook. According to the HuffPo:

In 2006, Barkett went to work for Google, where he was a technical program manager for two years. During that same period, he co-founded Greenlight Apparel, a “fair-trade, organic clothing company.”

Barkett left Google in 2008. He was a senior IT management consultant at Taos Mountain Inc. for several months, then a senior director for engineering at Livescribe Inc. for almost two years. In January 2011, Facebook hired Barkett as an engineering manager.

GOP technorati wish Barkett well. The big question being quietly asked has little to do with his qualifications. It is whether Chairman Priebus really will give him the level of authority (and the political heat shield) he needs to get the job done. The Obama campaign gave its Ubergeek, Harper Reed, serious authority. The RNC has a history of undermining the authority of its tech execs. Will Chairman Priebus protect Barkett from meddling by clueless National Committee people (on a majority of whose votes Mr. Priebus’s chairmanship depends)?

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