1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
I am a hacker. That, obviously, could mean anything. Right now it means that I am the CEO of a startup called Modest. We build delightful commerce experiences for mobile. Before this, I was the CTO of the Obama Campaign. We helped re-elect the President.
I really like to program computers and do pranks on my friends and family (zebraprank.com).
3. How did you end up here?
Not really sure where here is. Usually when I think of this question, I imagine the answer is because I was the CTO of the Obama Campaign. We were very innovative and pushed the limits as to what tech had accomplished before in political campaigns.
4. What do you reckon are the most important issues currently in your field?
I think there are a couple BIG issues in the technology field. They are all related to access.
– Internet freedom – Global access to uncensored, unmanipulated and cheap internet
– Access for everyone – Gap of access between wealthy and poor
– Diversity – Lack of diversity within the technology industry. The people that build tech don’t look like the people who make tech.
These are nuanced issues and are not easy to solve. However, we ALL need to put work in to solving for these things.
5. Tell us more about your workshop – why should folks go? And tell us more about your talk at Webstock – why should folks come listen?
My workshop is going to be awesome. I will talk a bit about how we build teams, what we do to make them successful and some tips and tricks that we use to both make the team more resilient and help the team make the tech resilient. We used this to successfully build an insanely successful team and ship really solid tech.
My talk is going to be awesome. A lot of people talk about how Big Data is a revolutionary idea and will solve EVERYTHING. I am going to talk about how YOU can use big data TODAY!
6. Who are your greatest influences?
Influences are hard to define. I try and learn from every interaction and thing I do. However, there are handful of people who I can think for helping me survive and giving me the hope that i need to make things happen. Many are not influencers in the typical sense.
7. Tell us three things you love (eg movies, albums, songs, poems, artifacts) and why.
I really love books. Books Books Books! I grew up without a television so I read voraciously. Reading has been the constant companion in my life. I mostly read for pleasure, but there are a few books that stand out as favorites: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I also really enjoy Vernor Vinge, Alastair Reynolds and Iain m Banks for scifi. You can see more about my books here: harperreed.com/books
I also listen to a LOT of music. My current favorite song is: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie. I am also listening to a lot of Frank Zappa lately.
Harper is speaking at Webstock 2015 on Thursday 19th Feb, at 1.55pm. Details here. He is also doing a half day workshop, How to build resilient teams who build resilient technology, on Wednesday.