Yesterday, a fabulous new tool launched — HelloVote:
HelloVote makes it easy easy easy to register to vote. Sign up w your phone number and do the whole thing over text.
This is great for a lots of reasons — from its immediate practicality, to its more general lesson that it’s possible to build new, accessible interfaces on top of our existing systems (civic or otherwise).
If you want to embed HelloVote in your site, you can do that here. If you run a large platform and want to partner with HelloVote to reach your audience, contact email@example.com.
Side note: HelloVote is built on top of Twilio, through the Twilio.org partnership program, where nonprofits receive a $500 credit and 25% off of ongoing services.
Nice work, people.
Summary To better support small businesses operating in regulated sectors, we should develop “alternative compliance” mechanisms — parallel regulatory regimes that achieve the goals of existing regulations but take an alternative, data-oriented approach to achieving them. Such an approach would be especially friendly to the smallest of small businesses, and would take advantage of available… Read more »
At this year’s Personal Democracy Forum, the theme was “the tech we need“. One of the areas I’ve been focused on here is the need for “regulatory tech”. In other words, tools & services to help broker the individual / government & corporation / regulator relationship. In a nutshell: we are entering the information age, and… Read more »
Here are two tech policy issues that don’t seem related but are: the FCC’s current push to open up the set-top-box, and the lawsuits challenging Uber’s and Lyft’s classification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The way to see the connection is through the lens of control vs. competition. More specifically, they are… Read more »
For the past few weeks, I’ve been following the FBI / Apple phone unlocking case, and digging deep into the debate around encryption, security and privacy. This debate is as old as the sun, and the exact same arguments we’re going through now were fought through 20 years ago during the first crypto wars and… Read more »
Earlier this week, I was at SXSW for CTA‘s annual Innovation Policy Day. My session, on Labor and the Gig/Sharing Economy, was a lively discussion including Sarah Leberstein from the National Employment Law Project, Michael Hayes from CTA’s policy group (which reps companies from their membership including Uber and Handy), and Arun Sundararajan from NYU, who… Read more »
Since 2006, I’ve been writing here about cities, the internet, and the ongoing collision between the two. Along the way, I’ve also loved using Tumblr to clip quotes off the web, building on the idea of “the slow hunch” (the title of this blog) and the “open commonplace book” as a tool for tracking the… Read more »
Yesterday at one of our bi-monthly team deep dives at USV, we got into the conversation of essentially “Big Innovation” vs. “Small Innovation”. Those who have followed USV for some time know that at the core of the investment thesis is a belief in “decentralized”, “bottom-up” innovation — the kind that really became possible with… Read more »
We’ve got a few Beam telepresence robots at USV, and use them all the time. Fred has written about them here. We had a team meeting today, and we had two beams going at once — Fred and I were the first to arrive, and we were chatting beam-to-beam — he in LAUtah, me in Boston,… Read more »
For the past few winters, I’ve been teaching my kids to ice skate. Above is my son Theo at hockey practice a few weeks ago. At a certain point along the way, I got the bug and realized that skating was awesome and hockey was a beautiful sport. So for the past year or so,… Read more »
It’s been an intense 10 months since the FCC approved its latest Open Internet rules (aka Net Neutrality). On the wired side, we’ve seen the unbundling of content, as channels such as HBO (via HBO Now) and ESPN (via Sling TV) have split from cable to go “over-the-top” with direct-to consumer offerings. These are a direct result of the… Read more »
Breaking the ice — been off the blogs for quite a while now. Looking forward to this year, the way I tend to every year. 2015 was a tough one for me personally — went through a bunch of shit on the family front that both demonstrated how tough life can be and also how… Read more »
Today, hearings begin at the Massachusetts state house over how to regulate the budding ride-sharing / on-demand transportation industry (Uber, Lyft, et al). Adam Vaccaro over at Boston.com has a good summary of the various competing bills — a pro-Uber bill that welcomes new Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) with relatively light-touch regulation, and a pro-taxi… Read more »
Every month at USV we have an internal hack day, where we work on various fun tech projects. We hack on USV.com, we build internal tools, we play with fun new hardware, try out new APIs, etc. It’s a nice change of pace, and an opportunity to get a little closer to the tech we… Read more »
If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years as a human, it’s that life is hard and people need help in order to make things work. That help can come in many forms: family, friends, co-workers, teachers, unions, healthcare providers, agents, assistants, coaches, therapists, strangers on the internet, you name it. Point is, we… Read more »
For the past nine months or so, I’ve been seeing a therapist specializing in mindfulness. Perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made. One of the things we spend a lot of time talking about is resistance – everyone has their own quirks and issues, and that’s one of mine. The tendency to hit the brakes when… Read more »
It’s been a fascinating week to watch the war between Uber and the De Blasio administration play out. Not surprisingly, Uber ended up carrying the day using a combination of its dedicated user base and its sophisticated political machine. This is yet another very early round in what will be a long and hard war… Read more »
On my way to SF this week, I stopped over in Boulder, visited Techstars and then had dinner with Brad Feld, where got to talking about the dynamics inside and around venture firms. He has obviously been doing this for a long time, and for me, less of a long time (3-1/2 yrs at this point)…. Read more »
Two weeks ago at USV’s annual CEO Summit, Muneeb Ali from OneName explained the blockchain in a way I hadn’t heard before, and which I thought was really helpful: the blockchain is time. That’s a somewhat abstract way of saying it, so more concretely we could say that: The blockchain is database of verified public timestamps. Every… Read more »
Here’s a slide from 2009, when we were convincing transit agencies to open up their data, and then later building MTA BusTIme: And here’s one from yesterday, from a talk I gave at the Shift Conference (blog post to follow w more on that):