Before she even started her senior year as an English major at the University of Texas, Texas native-turned-DC policy pro Linda Moore told Technical.ly that she fell in love with politics.
“I think it’s really special and I don’t take it for granted,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of people go their whole life and they never really find the thing that they really love and I did very early on.”
What started off in the world of presidential and Senate campaigns, though, has taken on a new form as the CEO and president of TechNet, a lobbying organization that advocates for the needs of the tech industry in policy. On the day-to-day at TechNet, Moore focuses on anything from membership development and retention, talking to members and representatives about the issues they’re concerned about and advocacy among federal and state decisionmakers. At the moment, she said, TechNet is taking on issues like antitrust, the infrastructure bill, broadband expansion, a national privacy bill, the conductor chip shortage and how tech can play in the fight to slow climate change.
But for Moore, knowing what the tech industry needed at the policy level wasn’t always an instinct. With former stints as senior advisor to Senator Evan Bayh, field director for the Democratic Leadership Council and as special assistant to the president and deputy political director for former President Bill Clinton, Moore was brand new to tech when she joined TechNet in 2014.
The result, she said, is a culmination of all the skills she convened in her political career, even without the tech background.
“It’s a really good mix of everything,” Moore said. “It’s the blending of the policy, the politics and the communications strategy, all of that coming together, and what we can accomplish to get really good, sound policy for the tech industry, because it’s certainly a hot time right now.”
Moore may have lacked technical knowledge coming into the role, as her own sister pointed out to her at the time. But when she was gunning for the position, she noted that she made up for it in knowledge of implementing policy at the federal and state levels. And it was necessary for the tech industry, which is still so relatively new that lawmakers are figuring out how to regulate it (case in point, the Open App Markets Act, introduced this month, which is attempting to reconfigure app stores). Back during her early years in politics, Moore noted that there was a time when tech was just in the back or “the plumbing” of business, instead of the massive industry it is now.
“Now, it’s so consumer-facing, it’s changed so much, which is another reason why, understandably, people want to really examine how best to regulate it,” Moore said. “I think that’s a natural thing. So all these examinations of all these issues, I welcome them all.”
"I love that I will never master this because there are new, innovative things being created every single day."
In the same vein of technologists taking up careers at non-tech companies and organizations, Moore noted that for those that are interested, there’s plenty of non-tech roles in tech companies, as well. Plus, she added, the industry changes and innovates so often that it can be difficult for anyone to keep up, tech background or not.
“I love that I work in an industry where there’s always a new edge on something; I’m never going to master this,” Moore said. “Some people don’t like that, but I love that. I love that I will never master this because there are new, innovative things being created every single day.”
And as someone that started off as a liberal arts major, she encouraged those interested in the industry but still in need of developing the skills to give it a try.
“You need all kinds of people to succeed,” Moore said. “If you had a company of just one kind of person, especially in a tech company, that would be very difficult. So I would say the water’s great, it’s warm. Come on in.”