Press Contact

For press inquiries, contact

You can always email Harper directly at or you can also hit him up on twitter at @harper (DMs are open).

Below is commonly requested information about Harper.

Biography Wikipedia Entry


Harper Reed is a technologist that predicts the future for a living. He spends most of his life building big things, hacking things, and talking about doing both of those things. As CTO of the Obama 2012 campaign, Harper was the first to bring the tech mentality to a political level. He believes the talent of a great bunch of humans can transform an organization like nothing else and uses that belief to strengthen, deploy, and inspire every team he works with. Harper also believes his incredible luck has led him to achieve wonderful things like pioneering crowdsourcing at, founding Modest Inc, and guiding the software team at PayPal. You can find Harper hacking on personal projects and enjoying life in Chicago with his partner, Hiromi and their beautiful and bizarre poodle, Lulu.


Harper Reed is a technologist that predicts the future for a living. He spends his life traveling around the world showing people the possibilities of tech and sharing his experiences to propel the greater good, all while raising the level of fun in the room.

Harper knows his incredible luck has led him to achieve many wonderful things. At PayPal, his roles as Head of Commerce and as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence allowed him to guide teams into the thrilling future of e-commerce. The technology he developed as co-founder at startup Modest Inc. had initially garnered the attention of PayPal, which led them to acquire Modest only a few years after launch.

Harper also believes the talent of a great bunch of humans can transform an organization like nothing else and he uses that belief to strengthen, deploy, and inspire every team he works with. Previously, Harper was CTO of the Obama 2012 campaign, where he was the first to bring the mentality and connective capabilities of tech to the political stage. He was also the CTO of, where he pioneered crowdsourcing and grew the company from a 12 person startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise. Harper is an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, sits on the advisory boards for IIT Computer Science and the Royal United Service Institute, and is on the Cornell College Board of Trustees.

You can find Harper hacking on personal projects and enjoying life in Chicago with his partner, Hiromi and their beautiful and bizarre poodle, Lulu.

High Resolution Photos

A selection of high-resolution photos of Harper. Please contact the linked rights holder for usage.


Photo by Diane Levine in 2018


Photo by Diane Levine in 2018


Photo by Diane Levine in 2018


Photo by Dan Taylor in 2016


Photo by Webstock in 2015


Photo by Sputniktilt in 2015


Photo by Ivan Indrautama in 2014


Photo by Sara Mays in 2012

Past Press

Here are some of the past pieces about Harper and his work

Obama CTO says 'Big Data is BS' in keynote to hoteliers and vendors at HEDNA 2018

tnooz 02-01-2018

Your Amazon Order Could Get You in Trouble With Customs

RACKED 01-08-2018

Harper Reed: Als Nerd im Dienst der Zukunft

Finanz und Wirtschaft 03-03-2017

Nobody wants 'federation' of mobile messaging, says PayPal

Campaign 03-01-2017

Do Chatbots Face the Same Doomed Future as Branded Apps?

Adweek 02-28-2017

PayPal next-gen commerce chief: Don't lose the empathy in our tech

Campaign 02-27-2017

WWD’s 10 of Tomorrow: Mobile Commerce Director Harper Reed

WWD 01-30-2017

Election hacking shouldn't surprise you, Obama's former tech chief says

Chicago Tribune 12-20-2016

Obama’s former tech chief saw the hacked elections coming. He just expected more people to care.

Record 12-19-2016

A Hacker Trolled a Bunch of Canadians Who Confused Him for Stephen Harper on Twitter

Vice 10-21-2016

Pay day - Reed all about it

Acuity 06-01-2016

Harper Reed, el ingeniero que ayudó a ganar sus segundas elecciones a Obama

TechRepublic 05-30-2016

Harper Reed, Obama's Former CTO, Says Data Isn't Everything

Motherboard 05-27-2016

Election Tech: Leadership is more powerful than technology

TechRepublic 04-20-2016

From t-shirts to President Obama: How Harper Reed harnessed the power of the internet

ABC (Australia) 04-07-2016


breakingbiz 02-25-2016

PayPal’s Simple Solution To A Complex Commerce Problem

PYMNTS 02-12-2016

PayPal Commerce aims to bring 'buy button' ubiquity to the web

ZDNet 02-12-2016

Here's How PayPal Allows Merchants to Use Buy Buttons

Fortune 02-11-2016

PayPal Commerce Matches Stripe With PayPal’s Own Native Shopping Toolkit For Apps

Techcrunch 02-11-2016

'The man who poached Google and Twitter staff for Obama shares tip for hiring

Business Insider 12-05-2015

'Don't eat the pizza': Obama's tech guru shares his best advice on surviving a high-pressure job

Business Insider 11-30-2015

The Entrepreneurs, Edition 214

Monocle Radio 11-18-2015

Obama's tech guru on hackers: 'These kids are very intelligent, they're just misdirected'

Business Insider 11-18-2015

CEO Secrets: Five tips from tech titans

BBC News 11-15-2015

This week in Tech #431: Rhymes With Assword

This week in tech 11-10-2015

Not that Harper - Twitter reaches out to wrong man

BBC News 10-20-2015

Harper Reed: the tech star on helping Barack Obama into a second term and his plans to transform online shopping

Evening Standard 10-08-2015

How Corporations Can Be Safe Users of Computer Data

BloombergBusiness 09-01-2015

Harper Reed of Modest | Bootstrapping in America

TastyTrade 08-27-2015

PayPal übernimmt mit Modest Harper Reeds Checkout-Booster

T3N Magazine 08-20-2015

PayPal's Modest purchase is a bet on the buy button

ZDNet 08-20-2015

PayPal Acquires Obama CTO's Startup

BloombergBusiness 08-19-2015

PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL) Acquires Modest As Its First Acquisition Since Split

Bidness Etc 08-19-2015

PayPal acquires Harper Reed's Modest just months after emerging from stealth

Built in Chicago 08-19-2015

PayPal Makes a ‘Modest’ Purchase

CFO 08-19-2015

Harper Reed's Modest Acquired by PayPal

ChicagoInno 08-19-2015

Braintree buys Harper Reed's startup Modest

Crains 08-19-2015

PayPal Continues Acquisition Spree, Buys E-commerce Startup Led By Former Obama Campaign CTO

Forbes 08-19-2015

PayPal makes its first acquisition after splitting from eBay

Fortune 08-19-2015


PYMNTS 08-19-2015

PayPal acquires mobile commerce platform Modest, run by Obama’s former campaign CTO

VentureBeat 08-19-2015

PayPal acquires Harper Reed's mobile-commerce startup, Modest

Chicago Tribune 08-19-2015

Obama’s former CTO is headed to PayPal, it’s acquired his retail startup Modest

The Next Web 08-18-2015

The myth behind President Obama's 2012 campaign win

DecodeDC 05-28-2015

Harper Reed: Innovation Is Worthless

Information Week 04-30-2015

Life after Obama: Why the president’s 2012 campaign CTO left politics

BGR 04-13-2015

Modest Advice: Life Lessons from Harper Reed and Inside His New Startup

Chicago Inno 02-25-2015

Harper Reed Launches Modest to Revolutionize Mobile Commerce

TechCocktail 02-24-2015

Obama campaign veterans launch startup

The Hill 02-24-2015

Harper Reed on being both awesome and Modest

Chicago Tribune 02-23-2015

Obama for America’s tech team sets sights on making mobile retail easier

Ars Technica 02-23-2015

Former Obama Campaign, Threadless CTO Eyes Mobile Commerce With New Startup Modest

Techcrunch 02-23-2015

Harper Reed takes the wraps off Modest

Crain's Business 02-23-2015

The vital shift from big data to big answers

I CIO 11-01-2013

Why the IT industry needs to become a more diverse place

I CIO 11-01-2013

Seeing privacy and trust from an under-25’s perspective

I CIO 11-01-2013

Harper Reed: The techie who got the US to say yes

Mail & Guardian 11-01-2013

The importance of creating a great user experience

I CIO 11-01-2013

Friend Fracker Tests Your Facebook Friendships by Randomly Deleting Them

Motherboard 04-25-2013

Greeley's Harper Reed the technology mastermind behind Obama's win

The Denver Post 01-01-2013

Harper Reed Goes A Week Without Internet: Obama Campaign Tech Guru Shares What He Learned

Chicago Sun Times 12-27-2012

Chicago offers Obama’s tech team future as entrepreneurs, execs

Chicago Sun Times 12-05-2012

Lo stalking democratico

Corriere della Sera 12-03-2012

Its job complete, Obama re-election tech team ventures forward

Chicago Tribune 11-25-2012

When the Nerds Go Marching In

The Atlantic 11-16-2012

AWS in Action - Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Campaign

Amazon AWS Blog 11-15-2012

Built to win: Deep inside Obama's campaign tech

Ars Technica 11-14-2012

New Technologies Boosted Obama Campaign's Efforts

NPR 11-12-2012

How Obama’s tech team helped deliver the 2012 election

GigaOm 11-12-2012

Inside the Obama Campaign's Hard Drive

Mother Jones 10-15-2012

Obama's CEO: Jim Messina Has a President to Sell

Business Week 06-14-2012

Obamas orakel - 06-10-2012

Obama’s Re-Election Path May Be Written in Will St. Clair’s Code

Bloomberg 12-04-2011

Chicago technologist Harper Reed joins President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign

Chicago Tribune 06-02-2011

Tech Pioneer Harper Reed Becomes Obama Campaign CTO

Fast Company 06-01-2011

Threadless CTO Harper Reed Heads to Rackspace

SiliconAngle 09-29-2009