Harper Reed, the chief technology officer behind the successful 2012 Obama reelection campaign, is presently working on a new mobile commerce app. Speaking at the NEXT13 startup conference in Berlin today, Reed bemoaned the current state of mobile payments — pointing out, among other things, how anachronistic the shopping cart icon and metaphor have become — and outlined his goals in trying to improve matters. He cites the immediacy of Uber, the taxi-hailing application, and Amazon's ability to make same-day deliveries as core competencies he'd like to recreate in his app. With Uber, says Reed, "You just press a button and [the taxi] is there" — it's this sort of push-button effortlessness that Reed is trying to emulate.
Many companies have tried, and continue trying, to crack the mobile payments conundrum, however none have really managed to streamline the process sufficiently. That has left the market fragmented and wide open for a truly user-friendly solution, which the ambitious and eccentric Reed could just be capable of delivering. As he says, there's a crucial difference between making something functional and making it usable. A mobile commerce app with such a user-centric approach sounds promising, but Reed also points out that his team is still in the early stages of development, so we'll have to wait and see what comes next from Obama's former tech chief.