The Engine Of Innovation Realizing It Can't Ignore DC Any More

from the kicking-the-slumbering-beast dept

Today marks the launch of an exciting new effort among the startup ecosystem: Engine Advocacy. If you’re an entrepreneur, investor, innovator, creator or involved in the overall startup ecosystem, please check out the website and consider joining.

As you may recall, a few months ago a few of us involved in the startup world started talking about how ridiculous it was that folks in Washington DC keep pushing ridiculously bad legislation that impacts innovation and competition in a really negative way — without recognizing the damage this causes. The end result was that, in almost every instance, legislation that was going to impact the true engine of innovation and economic growth in this country was being crafted and implemented without hearing from those actually doing the innovation and creating the economic growth. This was most immediately seen in the mess created by PROTECT IP and SOPA, but involves a variety of other topics as well: immigration, broadband, privacy, patents and many other issues all impact how the startup ecosystem (including not just entrepreneurs, but inventors, innovators, investors, technologists, advisors and additional supporting players and infrastructure as well) can and does grow and contribute to the economy.

Traditionally, this crew has mostly ignored what’s happening in Washington DC — and for a good reason: they’re busy innovating. Too often, it’s the businesses that are trying to hold back competition and change that spend time in DC, while those who are actually changing things are much more focused on executing on their vision. That leads to bad legislation.

With the PIPA and SOPA fight blowing up so quickly, some of us worked together to put together an initial entrepreneur’s letter signed by 135 entrepreneurs asking Congress not to approve PROTECT IP. Today, we’re sending an updated version, which also covers SOPA, and is now signed by over 200 entrepreneurs, all concerned about the impact these bills would have on their ability to innovate. A similar effort was put together by some of the top venture capitalists around. Soon after that, some of the signers of both letters teamed up to go to Washington, DC and speak to Congress about the bill. Since then, we’ve helped others in the startup world go to DC as well.

Out of all of this came the idea to build this loose coalition of those involved in the startup world, which became Engine Advocacy. It’s an exciting group of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and others who are very involved in driving new innovation via startups. We want to make sure that the voice of the entrepreneur is being heard in Washington DC — and that those in the startup ecosystem are aware of what’s going on in DC. We have big things planned over the next few months, and if you’re interested in being a part of this, we urge you to sign up on the website. Let’s make sure that the engine of innovation, jobs and the economy is not stifled by politicians who simply aren’t aware of what the consequences of their actions will be.

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Comments on “The Engine Of Innovation Realizing It Can't Ignore DC Any More”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Venture capitalists are not innovators, they are leaches. They offer seed money, implant their operatives and then take over your operations. They leave you with a small stake in the company you created.

They are to the tech innovators what the record companies are to musicians. A way to get started but it costs you dearly in the long run.

out_of_the_blue says:

Moniker Mike is off to "startup world", eh?

Your second paragraph is just near gibberish, repeating words and sounds closely together: “*a few* months ago *a few* of us involved in the =startup= world =started= talking about how |ridiculous| it was that folks in Washington DC keep pushing |ridiculously| bad legislation”. Looks as though get paid by the word. The last sentence tries to cram in everything, but never got round to one thought. Your remarkably bad grammar doesn’t augur well for new ideas… YOu spent HOW many years in college. But never mind. I’m sure you’re doing the best that you can.

Anyway, instead of “startup world”, how about just starting on Step2? (I can’t even write it without confusion, because it ends in question marks!) You’ve “worked” on this for ten years, ought to have SOME ideas.

Anonymous Coward says:

It is sad that we need to create a group to do the same things others are doing wrong right now.

I fear that with time even though it has an admirable initial purpose will morph into the same thing others has become and be part of the part of the problem, someday tech giants too can become obsolete, by others even more tech savvy and prepared and this group would be the roadblock to them.

But if that is what is needed today, what the heck welcome for the moment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People shouldn’t sign this letter because it still assumes that stopping ‘piracy’ should somehow be a priority. It should not. A bigger priority should be to substantially repeal our current IP laws to make them more reasonable (ie: shorter copy protection lengths).

Perhaps they don’t want us to modify the letter because they are afraid that people will start criticizing IP more than what this letter does? Either way, this letter shouldn’t be signed and we should focus our attention on a more relevant letter instead.

Brendan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s a difference between a letter *sending* campaign (where you should be able to edit) and a letter *signing*. In the latter case, a single letter has been written, and you are choosing to add your name to it. , as written, before a single package is sent with all the signees.

Its not a double stanard. Its a separate system.

Anonymous Coward says:

“The undersigned are 204 entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs and executives who have been involved in 415 technology start-ups, and who have created over 70,000 jobs directly through our companies and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more through the technologies we invented, funded, brought to market and made mainstream.”

Cite with substantiating data needed.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Cite with substantiating data needed.”

Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, e-bay, Google, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Think internet companies, venture capital, and angel investors. Realize that anyone of the companies I mentioned, can buy or shut down all the record labels and about half the move studios in the US and not break a sweat. Realize that the giant is awakening, and you only have your own stupidity to blame.

Now, for a simple message … I told you so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Names of some companies are not substantiating data. If that website wants to throw around numbers, then turnabout is fair play and it falls well short of the mark by making broad assertions of fact without any citations whatsoever.

This site criticizes data proffered by content creators as not withstanding scrutiny, so it seems to me that the linked site should likewise be suject to scrutiny by making it back up its proffered data.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Politicians respond to either money and/or votes

Organizing is a good first step. But just expressing your opinions may not be enough. Here’s a bit about how ALEC has actually been writing legislation and handing it to legislators to pass.

Ghostwriting the Law

To get the attention of politicians, you are likely going to either need to pay them, or you’ll need to mobilize enough voters (people who actually show up to vote) to show politicians that they will be voted out of office if they don’t do what you suggest. This could be a decades’ long process, but if you want to create a more entrepreneurial culture in the US, it’s good to get working on it now.

staff (profile) says:

another biased article

Face it. The only thing you know about patents is you don’t have any.

Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility.

Mike (profile) says:

DC Startup Culture

I know I’m a bit late to this debate, but what an impact that petition made. It at least helped others raise the volume about how bad SOPA was. Glad to know it’s been dealt with.

Also, what DC startups do you all think we’re most instrumental in getting this law kicked out? I wrote a post about the recently at, and am curious on everyone’s thoughts. Feel free to let me know your thoughts (or burn me) if you feel it necessary.

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