Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stuart Stevens and Technology

Listen, I don’t think — it would be a great mistake if we felt that technology in itself is going to save the Republican Party. Technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase and if we think there’s an off the shelf solution that you can go out and purchase for the Republican Party, it’s wrong.
You know, we’ve had a lot of chance now since the campaign to spend time with the Obama folks and sometimes they had better technology, some cases we have better technology. We don’t have 140 character problem in the Republican Party. We have a larger problem that we have to look at and be patient about it. And trying to think that there’s one solution like this, I just don’t think…
Stuart Stevens argues that the Republican Party doesn't have a 140-character problem. He's right about that. What the Republican Party actually has is a problem with an intellectually incurious and cautious operative class that stifles technology innovation, policy innovation, and everything in between. (These are portrayed as separate problems, but they're actually the same problem.)

What really troubles me about Stevens's comments is his dismissive statement that "technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase." No, it's not. Technology is not about the tools. It is about people. It's about creating a culture that drives metrics over hunches and BS "message of the day" fire drills.
Stevens will be the last general strategist of his kind not because he didn't tweet, but because he thought of technology and data as some cool toy you could buy, not as the very foundation of a strong organization.