Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, Janet Napolitano, Robert Reich Headline Shift Forum’s Policy …

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Valerie Jarrett, our dinner speaker on day one.

When we started planning the program for the Shift Forum nearly a year ago, we knew politics would play a critical role. Shift’s core thesis — that we’re in the early stages of renegotiating the contract between business and society — demands that we engage with politics at a local, regional, and national level. I knew we’d want to include policymakers, political journalists, and regulators in the lineup this February.

To help, I turned to long time friend and storied colleague John Heilemann, who had just embarked on a remarkable political journey: Not only was he the co-managing editor of politics at Bloomberg, but he was also shooting a new kind of political documentary series— Showtime’s The Circus — which offered intimate and candid insights into what was quickly becoming one of the most divisive, fascinating, and important election seasons of the modern era (if you’ve not watched The Circus, you must put it on your binge list, it’s beyond great).

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Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, Janet Napolitano, Robert Reich Headline Shift Forum’s Policy &…

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Valerie Jarrett, our dinner speaker on day one.

When we started planning the program for the Shift Forum nearly a year ago, we knew politics would play a critical role. Shift’s core thesis — that we’re in the early stages of renegotiating the contract between business and society — demands that we engage with politics at a local, regional, and national level. I knew we’d want to include policymakers, political journalists, and regulators in the lineup this February.

To help, I turned to long time friend and storied colleague John Heilemann, who had just embarked on a remarkable political journey: Not only was he the co-managing editor of politics at Bloomberg, but he was also shooting a new kind of political documentary series— Showtime’s The Circus — which offered intimate and candid insights into what was quickly becoming one of the most divisive, fascinating, and important election seasons of the modern era (if you’ve not watched The Circus, you must put it on your binge list, it’s beyond great).

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California Stands Apart From Trump’s America

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The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Sam Howzit | Flickr

California is both the most populous state and, today, the most Democratic state. As Donald Trump ascends to the White House, California — with its liberal traditions, its rainbow-coalition politics, its environmental sensibilities, and its technology dominance — feels like a realm set apart from the rest of the U.S.

The “idea that California is a singular place, a nation-state unto itself, has never felt truer than it does now,” writes Andy Kroll in The California Sunday Magazine — not least because Its $2.5 trillion GDP makes it the sixth largest economy in the world.

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The Positive Reframe: Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End

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“We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the 19th century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down — at any rate in Great Britain; that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us.

I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another…”

John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930)


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Can Secrecy Win in 2017? Snapchat Will Find Out

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The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

howtostartablogonline.net | Flickr

Snapchat has built a social-media empire with an Apple-like approach to secrecy. But its fanatical determination to quash leaks and its devotion to top-down, need-to-know management will be tested by the IPO the company is headed towards (Bloomberg).

Snapchat’s founder/CEO Evan Spiegel likes keeping people, including his own employees, in the dark: “Keeping secrets gives you space to change your mind, until you’re really sure that you’re right,” he has argued. And generations of business leadership have agreed with him. But more recently, and particularly in Silicon Valley, the gospel of openness has begun to take root: Companies test new ideas in public and share as much as they can with employees, partners, and customers, in the belief that everybody wins.

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How Far to the Right Will Tech Tilt?

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The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Fiona MacGinty-O’Neill | Flickr

It may be time to retire the oversimplified notion that the tech industry is inherently liberal, progressive, or pro-Democratic Party. As Thomas B. Edsall lays it out in The New York Times, the corporate political action committees (PACs) that funneled money from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon to congressional candidates gave more to Republicans than Democrats in 2016.

It could be that these companies see their interests better represented by tax-cutting Republicans, or it could be that these donations always end up favoring the incumbent party. What hasn’t changed is the sympathies of the employees at these and similar companies, whose donations heavily favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump last year.

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If Tech Is Above Politics, Why Did Politics Just Flatten Us?

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I used to say that I wasn’t political, simply because it’s so hard to find a human representative in politics “worthy” of my respect, time and effort. I mean, most career politicians are plastic, inauthentic automatons whose sole critical missions are to get elected again and again. I couldn’t relate to any of them in my lifetime. Then Obama came along and Gavin Newsom and of course Trump. With Obama and Gavin, I found real people, politicians I could rally around, who authentically and emotionally care about the issues that I too think are the most vital, not because caring would get them elected but rather because they believed it was right.

I was inspired to write this short post by two articles published this week showcasing the dangers of taking the “I’m not political” stance. Trump’s Apprentice Outtakes by Nick Bilton and on The Miss Universe Tapes Coverup by Yashar. I am over-simplifying, but the principals at the media companies that controlled these tapes chose not to take stances (mostly for money) and in doing so influenced the election by their collective inaction. How much influence is unclear, since we know Trump’s behavior would have already destroyed almost any other candidate.

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Is Silicon Valley Finding Its Civic Voice?

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Reboot Democracy

Silicon Valley has been roused from slumber in the election’s wake. A number of interesting organizations and movements have emerged from the tech industry in the past few weeks, including the Never Again pledge from over 2,300 tech workers, who refuse to comply with the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies. There’s the recent pledge from tech CEOs and entrepreneurs to support civil liberties, and the Economic Security Project, a multi-stakeholder effort focused on exploring a universal basic income.

Many in the Valley viewed their work as self-fulfilling: By making amazing startups, we checked the box on civic responsibility. The classic example: when a Facebook worker didn’t make time to see Obama speak, remarking “I’m making more of a difference than anybody in government could possibly make.”

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While Tech CEOs Talk With Trump, Their Employees Pledge a Fight

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The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

El Cajon Yacht Club | Flickr

As tech leaders huddle with president-elect Donald Trump today, many of their employees — the developers and designers who are creating the products at their companies and in their ecosystems — are signing a pledge to work against some of Trump’s key policies. As of Wednesday morning, 624 people had signed the “Never Again” statement, which commits them not to help build a Muslim registry or other database based on race, religion, or national origin, not to facilitate mass deportations, and not to misuse data in ways that could facilitate a repressive government (Buzzfeed). That’s a 10X increase in signatories from the original statement, which launched just yesterday with 60 or so engineers.

As with the rebellion of Facebook employees against Mark Zuckerberg’s initial dismissal of complaints about “fake news” during the election, “Never Again” pits the yearning of tech companies’ rank and file workers to take ethical stands against the pragmatism and caution of their bosses. Anyone alarmed by Trump’s plans faces an age-old dilemma: Do you play an inside game and hope you can steer a potentially erratic and destructive administration off the rocks? Or take a public stand, outside the conference rooms, for principles and issues that are too important to compromise?

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When Tech Has to Choose Between Its President and Its Customers — Who Wins?

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OpEd

A political crisis is not an A/B test

Max Goldberg | Flickr

Here are some scenarios tech CEOs and employees are likely to encounter over the next four years:

(1) A foreign government is suspected of attacking a network or a site that opposes President Trump — a site that is a partner of yours. “It could be anyone,” the White House says, and forbids companies from investigating on the grounds that they are imperiling national security. Do you ignore the attack, or the President?

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