Silicon Valley isn’t buying GOP’s data plans

by
May 27, 2013

A California investor — with help from Karl Rove — won the highly competitive contest to help build the Republican National Committee’s data platform.

But he’s having trouble winning over Silicon Valley.

Dick Boyce, once a partner at Bain & Co. and the former CEO of J.Crew, launched Liberty Works with the goal of helping Republicans catch up to Democrats in the digital data world.

Liberty Works was hired to create an open-source voter data platform, meaning outside groups and campaigns would have access to the information for outreach and fundraising and also be able to build on it with their own applications. The RNC describes the goal for the shared data as “iPhone-like.”

Since the RNC announcement on May 1, Liberty Works has gotten off to a shaky start. Top engineers in Silicon Valley who have been looking for ways to help Republican campaigns question Boyce’s vision and say the company’s outreach is underwhelming — as are its salary offers.

“At a minimum, they should buy a round or two of drinks before they ask the tech community to get into bed,” said Garrett Johnson, the chief executive of SendHub, an Internet communications firm in Menlo Park.

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