Anatomy of Success: Harper Reed

Success in the technology market is a holistic endeavor. Confidence without a winning concept doesn’t go very far. The best ideas stall as inspiration unless they can be put into action. This week’s subject has all the makings of an entrepreneur who will amaze us for a long time to come. Few have executed projects with such winning results. Bundle up as we venture into the heartland, the Windy City, on the heels of the polar vortex, and we encounter the other force to be reckoned with that is Harper Reed.



A Sturdy Frame

Self-described as “pretty awesome,” Harper Reed’s first breakout endeavor came in the shape of being the CTO for the fantastic company Threadless from 2005-2009. Reed helped build and grow this e-commerce site that sells clothing and other goods, which are designed by an online community of artists. Great for artists, shoppers, and those who like to vote on designs, this is the perfect way to… well, dress for success.



There’s pressure, and then there’s pressure. It takes a strong stomach to venture into unknown territory, tackle new challenges – with the outcome of a presidential election on the line. This is exactly what Reed did when he served as CTO for the Obama for America campaign to reelect President Barack Obama in 2012. He’d never worked in politics before, but he took the job. It must be a boost of confidence just to have some one call on you for the position in the first place, but what courage to step up to the plate.



We all know who won. Remember when it seemed crazy that Obama had stopped campaigning in that state, the one that all of us had grown sick about hearing how crucial it was to winning the election (it was Ohio in case you’ve shut it out of your thoughts). That was superior data flexing its muscle and cool. Well played.



Impressive victories and early success can derail budding stars. Just take a look at Justin Bieber. No, better yet, consider Reed as a different kind of example. He’s taken his much sought after talent and become the CEO of Lunar Technology Corp., a mobile commerce platform. He’s also kept his sight clear by stating repeatedly that he will not venture into politics again in 2016, turning down what would surely be lucrative work in honor of his own interests (and probably health, too).



Reed graduated from Cornell College with degrees in philosophy and computer science. He writes and speaks frequently about technology, design, privacy, big data. It’s hardly news that he’s a crowdsourcing and computing whizz. Check this out though – he reads! He loves books, and reads lots of them, his tastes ranging broadly.




Though there may not be a metric in place to fully measure it’s importance, the do and the beard must be an essential component of his brilliance. Good luck emulating him here!


Photo Credits

Harper Reed | OFA | Jacob Dehart

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