It’s time to invest in broadband

For most Americans, using the Internet is a part of daily life that’s every bit as familiar as turning on the lights. So it’s easy to forget that many Americans — especially the most vulnerable among us — have been left in the dark.

Between 21 and 42 million Americans do not have broadband at home, limiting their access to jobs, education, and even public health information. The problem is especially dire among people of color and low-income Americans, 44% of whom lack home broadband access.

It’s long past time to bring connectivity to all Americans. Congress should embrace the…

Democrats should focus on making people’s lives better, not messing with stuff people already like

UPDATE 6/16/21: We’ve sent a letter to Congress with additional analysis on the tech services that these bills would ban or degrade.

With all the challenges facing our country — pandemic recovery, crumbling infrastructure, racial equity, and climate change — it’s a bit strange that some policymakers think our biggest problem worth fixing is…Amazon Basics batteries.

According to press reports, Democrats on the House Antitrust Subcommittee are about to release several bills to curb the power of Big Tech. Some of the ideas, like boosting funding for law enforcement agencies and encouraging data portability, are laudable. …

Top 3 App Store Opponents Have Combined Value of $122 Billion; Top Beneficiaries of Commission Limits Are Leading U.S. Firms That Earn $900 Billion Annually

Google Play Store (left) and Apple App Store (right)

When you purchase an app or subscription through Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, Apple or Google receive a standard 15 to 30 percent of that sale, to fund management and security of the store. Xbox and PlayStation have digital stores that work the same way.

Leading app developers who would prefer not to pay Apple and Google’s commission have worked over the past few years to change this — by writing state bills that would ban or bypass these commissions; by filing lawsuits (one of which goes to trial next month); and by prompting a hearing this week…

When the Founding Fathers made their way to Philadelphia to craft the Constitution, they couldn’t Google Maps their way there. In the 1770s, the electric telegraph and the submarine were the latest and greatest in innovation. Yet the American democratic ideals formed centuries ago laid the foundation for Silicon Valley’s innovations today.

Democracy has always been about access — giving everyone an opportunity to make their voice heard. Technology has always been about expanding access, too: access to goods, services, education, information, speech, and opportunity. That commitment to access was the impetus for some corporate leaders to sign a letter

For years Silicon Valley leaders have urged a bigger federal government investment in infrastructure — from clean energy to better roads to broadband. Now President Biden has proposed to pay for this investment by increasing the corporate tax rate. That’s a deal that the tech industry can support.

Recent headlines have highlighted business community opposition to Biden’s corporate tax hike. But business isn’t monolithic in its views. Tech industry leaders like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Lyft’s John Zimmer have registered their support for a corporate tax rate hike.

While no company leader would eagerly increase their company’s tax bill, there’s…

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. …

Adam Kovacevich

CEO and Founder, Chamber of Progress. Democratic tech industry policy executive. Formerly Google, Lime, Capitol Hill, Dem campaigns.

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