by Tom Kaneshige

If Politicians Were Tech Companies…

Mar 19, 20124 mins

Politicians and tech companies have a lot in common. Both seek different ways to power, popularity, prestige and sometimes profit. Both make promises, even as they're rising or falling. Both have over-the-top characteristics. We've matched 10 politicians with their tech company counterparts.

Barack Obama: Apple on Top

The undisputed leader who won on a platform of change, stirring crowds of loyal fans into a frenzy, shaking up the Old World order and inspiring the younger generation to think different … we’re talking, of course, about President Obama. Or is it Apple? The two also share a storied history, a dramatic rise to the top after most people wrote them off for dead. Now Obama reportedly receives daily briefings on an iPad.

If Corporations Were People…

Techies Turned Politicians

Mitt Romney’s Microsoft Affliction

If presidential hopeful Mitt Romney goes head-to-head with President Obama, it would be like the great Microsoft-Apple wars of yesteryear. Only this time the edge would go to Apple (think: iPad verses Windows 8 tablet). But Romney has a bigger problem: Like Microsoft and Windows, he’s competent but just can’t find the love, even in his own party. People will slouch toward voting booths and cubicles settling for a half-baked solution.

Rick Santorum, Google: Behind the Curtain

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has proven lately to be a powerhouse. Hence, we’ve paired him with another of the tech industry’s giants: Google. But the politician and the tech company share more than just a big name. While Santorum is a sincere speaker and Google’s colorful logo reminds us of child play, behind the curtain there’s a cutthroat agenda at work.

Newt Gingrich and RIM Fading Fast

Is that presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich waving goodbye? In stump speeches, Gingrich often refers to his glory days when he was Speaker of the House. But that was a long time ago. Today, Gingrich is clinging to relevancy in the Republican primaries. Do we really need to draw the comparison to RIM and the fading BlackBerry?

Ron Paul, the AOL of Politics

It’s been said if you want to get a job, don’t put an AOL email address on your resume because it dates you. AOL, just like 76-year-old presidential hopeful Ron Paul, seems to have been around forever. The word “ancient” comes to mind. Who can forget AOL’s dial-up sounds and running-man logo (which never really ran very fast)? AOL and Paul trot out “fresh” ideas but no one seems to listen. It’s time for a nap.

Michele Bachmann, Twitter and the Fail Whale

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been known to say some outrageous and untruthful stuff. Let’s face it, she spouts off without thinking. There’s no filter, no time for reflection. Once she makes a silly comment, it becomes public record and often gets her in political hot water. That’s the problem, too, with Twitter. Many people — dare we say the “majority” — regret Tweets they’ve made.

Rick Perry and Groupon: Big Dreams, Mighty Falls

Ah, the big dreams of Texas Governor Rick Perry and Groupon. Perry aspired to the highest office in the country. Groupon wanted to merge people’s online and offline lives. Perry jumped into the Republican primaries and quickly became the favorite. Groupon raised $700 million in its IPO, the largest for a Web company since Google. Perry fumbled and has fallen out of the race. Groupon’s stock tumbled this year, from a high of $25.85-per-share to around $18-per-share today.

Sarah Palin – Ba-Zynga!

Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin is just really good entertainment. In HBO’s “Game Change”, the charming-yet-woefully unprepared Palin merges silliness with seriousness. The only tech company that comes close to this is Zynga with its Farmville social game and sputtering IPO. Zynga, too, is good theatre. After all, it’s just a game, right?

Hillary Clinton, Cisco Play Second Fiddle

Given the now classic SNL skit with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Rodham Clinton, we just have to follow Palin with the Secretary of State Clinton. Clinton can only be Cisco, a tech company with great name brand that works hard behind the scenes — yet never the star. In Silicon Valley, Cisco plays second-fiddle to the more exciting stalwarts such as Facebook, Apple and Google. Cisco even gets out-buzzed by newcomers such as Zynga, Groupon, Pandora and LinkedIn.

John Boehner’s HP Identity Crisis

Over the last few months, the Speaker of the House has had his work cut out for him. Does he side with compromise? Or with Tea Party freshmen? Critics on the right and left say he’s struggling to keep control of his party. No other tech company has as much internal turmoil as Silicon Valley darling Hewlett-Packard. HP launches TouchPad, then kills it shortly after. HP hires Leo Apotheker, then replaces him with Meg Whitman. Is HP in the PC business or not? Let’s shed a tear for both Boehner and HP.

If Corporations Were People…

Techies Turned Politicians

Separated at Birth: Tech Honchos and Their Famous Lookalikes

Fighting the Dark Side: Tech’s Heroes and Villains