Name: Alex Byers
Current city: Washington
Current job: Director of Strategic Communications, The Glover Park Group
Past job: Tech reporter, POLITICO
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting : Le Pain Quotidien
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job.: For reporters, versatility is paramount: On any given day at POLITICO, I might have started out writing about a new wrinkle in the online privacy debate, pivoted to an FCC spectrum issue by lunch, and turned a scoop on a new copyright bill by the end of the day. Being able to flip between several different policy areas -- and importantly, see how they all interact -- was crucial to being able to stay on top of tech developments in Washington. At GPG, we have a hand in all of these same discussions, so I value being able to juggle different issues and step into new projects relatively easily.
Q. Job advice in three words? : Always be iterating.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech?: I think where we excel is not just building bridges between politics and tech, but connecting those two spaces and important audiences in D.C. like media, engaged third parties, thought leaders and others. If D.C. and Silicon Valley have trouble grasping each other’s perspectives, it means neither side really knows how to talk about tech and politics in the same sentence. There’s a great opportunity, then, to help our clients in the tech, media and telecom sectors talk about themselves in a way that stays true to their values -- but also meshes with reality in Washington.
Q. Which Member of Congress is most tech savvy?
I’ll say Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz -- he’s the top Democrat on the Senate communications subcommittee and has been very active on next-generation issues like the Internet of Things. I think a lot of people see him as a breakout voice on this stuff.
Q. How do you unwind after work?
Usually, sitting on the couch with a guitar working on songwriting -- or if it’s nice summer evening, at the driving range.
Q. Favorite app?
Snapchat. If you would have told me a few years ago how much I would depend on it to keep in touch with friends across the country, I never would have believed you.