Episode 1: Tech on Politics with Eric Ries — Political Campaigns As Startups

Eric Ries and Tom Serres at KQED in San Francisco

The first question a tech startup asks is “what problem do I want to solve?” — so why aren’t more politicians thinking like this? In Episode 1 of Tech on Politics, Political Campaigns as Startups, our host Tom Serres chats to Eric Ries.

Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of the best seller The Lean Startup, a book that explores the noble art of building a startup. They explore the convergence of politics and tech including political campaigning, lean governments, and the role of tech startups, and why a 20th-century approach is no longer cutting it for solving 21st-century issues.

At first glance, politicians, and technologists seem the least likely of bedmates however, are these two industries actually more compatible than meets the eye? Where startups ask, [what problem do I want to solve], Tom and Eric discuss what problems governments want to solve and what methodologies are they implementing in a world where voters are way more unforgiving and cynical to political campaigns.

Explaining the importance of influencing and engaging the voter on a daily basis instead of every four years, Ries emphasizes the importance of political engagement as a sustained investment, the need to “forget lists” and to “focus on product”, and how to engage voters as humans and not just statistics on spreadsheet.