Saturday, 28 March 2009

Entering politics

When is the right time for a technology entrepreneur to enter politics and what motivates such a move?

The answer, according to my wife is "NEVER" or possibly "WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER" whichever comes first. She has promised me that if, due to some mental abberation, I decide that I must heed the call of the people, then she will immediately kiss and tell. I told her that I haven't done anything worth kissing and telling about, mores the pity, but she assures me that dirty linen will be found or manufactured, and washed in full public view. She is then quick to remind me of one or two incidents that convince me that the will of the people must be resisted at all costs.

Clearly Chris Kelly has a more understanding wife when it comes to politics. Chris is the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook and I had breakfast with him last week during his brief visit to the UK. Chris joined Facebook when it was just a handful of people and he has been part of its amazing success and growth to perhaps 175m users across the globe and nearly a thousand staff. Now it's time to move on and I was surprised and impressed to hear that he is planning to throw his hat in the ring and stand for Attorney General of the State of California.

State Attorney General is a big, big job in the USA and with a population of over 36m California is the biggest in the USA. Successful State Attorney Generals go on to be Senators, even Governors so its no mean feat even to be taken seriously in the race.

And what a race it promises to be. Just chatting to Chris about what's involved, the fund raising, the lobbying, positioning, campaigning - and that's just the primaries. It sounds like you fight like crazy to get adopted by your party and then you start all over again for the actual elections (in 2010). But Chris seems up for it and I wish him the best.

As for me, I think I will keep my dirty linen firmly in my closet. And if "the people" come calling, they can jolly well speak to my wife first.

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