When I went to work on Capitol Hill in 1996 for my hometown congressman, Democrat Cal Dooley from California’s agricultural Central Valley, I thought I’d learn a lot about farm policy. But I ended up getting hooked on tech policy.

Cal was also one of the founders of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of center-left House Democrats in the late 90s Clinton/Gore DLC mold. In the midst of the dot-com boom, these Democrats were among the first policymakers to travel to meet with Silicon Valley leaders and drive a policy agenda to encourage high-tech growth.

They not only succeeded…

The INFORM Consumers Act could hurt consumers and small online sellers

Photo by Rebecca Grant on Unsplash

There’s a cynical political lobbying strategy that companies use time and time again: proposing new laws to hobble their biggest competitors — while dressing up their cause in high-minded pretext like safety, consumer protection, or privacy.

Unfortunately, we’re now seeing yet another move like this, from Walmart and other leading retailers: an effort to hurt their biggest competitor Amazon, using the pretext that a small number of bad people sell counterfeit and stolen goods online.

This battle is actually driven by Walmart’s competitive effort to regain its status as the world’s top retailer. Shoppers visit Amazon precisely because of its…

Democrats Should Improve Flexible Work, Not End It

Nearly three-quarters of app-based drivers prefer remaining independent contractors

All smart politicians respond to what’s trending. Call it political Darwinism.

So as a Democrat it’s somewhat baffling to me that the Democratic Congress is poised to approve an idea that was rejected by voters in one of the bluest states, California: a ban on freelancing and independent contractor “gig work” like rideshare and food delivery.

New Kinds of Work Demand New Approaches to Benefits

The smartphone economy has brought almost anything delivered to our doorstep — and helped create a new type of flexible work for the independent contractors who help power these services. …

Building new services in regulated sectors requires getting regulators’ blessing — and relentless advocacy

Innovations in regulated sectors like health, housing, education and transportation must get government permission first — which is both frustrating and important

Earlier this year, investor Marc Andreesen called for building our way out of America’s innovation malaise — in part by creating new services in regulated sectors like finance, insurance, education, health care, housing, and transportation.

As someone who’s spent the last year evangelizing for exactly this kind of innovation, I can report that the path to progress is full of countless potholes and speedbumps. But I’ve also become convinced that the difficulty of the journey shows the vital necessity of embarking on the trip.

From Google…

An iconic political chief of staff: Leo McGarry (right)

I spent the first part of my career in politics — as a congressional and campaign staffer — and have spent the second part working in tech companies. One of the developments I’ve seen over that time is the export of the “chief of staff” role from politics to companies.

This development has been heralded by many of those who’ve held corporate chief of staff roles, some of whom created the Chief of Staff Tech Forum to promote best practices in the role. Harvard Business Review made the case for a chief of staff. …

Last year, data published by NACTO — the organization representing U.S. city transportation officials — showed that in just their first year on city streets, dockless scooters had surpassed docked bikeshare in popularity.

Fast forward a year, and today NACTO released updated statistics for 2019. The scooter numbers are eye-popping:

  • U.S. shared scooter ridership increased 129% year over year
  • Riders have made dockless scooters and bikes more than twice as popular as docked bikeshare
  • Shared scooters grew from 46% of all micromobility trips in 2018 to 65% of all trips in 2019
  • In just two years, the introduction of shared…

Several weeks ago, my company Lime made the difficult decision to withdraw our shared electric scooters from twelve cities around the world. Those communities’ rules governing shared mobility were a major factor in our decision, which followed similar moves by Lyft, Jump and other companies.

City leaders around the world have proclaimed their commitment to curbing car dominance, reducing emissions, and eliminating traffic fatalities. This is welcome news, promoting safer, cleaner, more efficient streets that prioritize people over one specific mode of transportation.

Unfortunately, while many of these U.S. cities claim they want to promote car alternatives, they often pass…

When I tell people that I work in the e-scooter industry, I typically hear one of two reactions:

  1. “Oh, I love the scooters! I just rode one last week!”
  2. “Ugh, those things? What a menace! One of them nearly ran into me the other day.”

I’m used to hearing strong opinions about scooters — both for and against. In Washington, D.C. where I live, a magazine even gave scooters an award for “Best Public Nuisance,” saying that scooters annoy some but “do solve a last-mile problem, and if that means less traffic, lower demand on Lyft, or revitalized neighborhoods thanks…

Adam Kovacevich

Democratic tech industry policy executive. Formerly Google, Lime, Capitol Hill, Democratic campaigns

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store