Our best stories of the past month, served up fresh.
Here’s your latest edition of NewCo Shift Monthly, a roundup of top NewCo Shift stories. Highlights include Facebook’s conundrum, tech addiction, an alternative in Pinterest, the impact of Amazon Go, and a sneak peek to NewCo Shift Forum February 26th-28th, in which we will be discussing some of these issues with key players in business and society.
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If we’re lucky, the Golden State’s political present presages a future that will come to all of America in the next 15 years.
California adapted early to the challenges of the 21st century, by pioneering new and innovating ways forward in both politics and business. But before California became a progressive standard bearer, it had to endure an ugly political civil war. That’s the argument presented by Peter Leyden, founder & CEO of Reinvent. In his latest installment of “California Is the Future,” Leyden and partner Ruy Teixeira write that California’s demographics, technology adoption, and adaptation to immigration, globalization and climate change are harbingers of how the rest of the country will soon respond.
Leyden’s argument is that California’s political shift, a transition from backward looking conservatism to progressive liberalism that began about 15 years ago, is just getting started in America at large. Consequently, California’s current political stride will hit the rest of America over the next 15 years. This series is a data-driven exploration that seeks to prove that not only is President Trump the last gasp of the conservative era, but also seeks to demonstrate a new clear alternative to Trump and the Republicans — one that is thriving in California and ready for its national close up.
Not many know, but NewCo Shift sources and edits extraordinary stories into Medium’s membership area, which is on a “metered paywall” similar to the New York Times. Anyone can read them, until they hit their limit, which is currently three per month. We’re including them in our roundup so you know about this great work — and we may be biased, but we think Medium membership is well worth it!
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So…Why? Why is Amazon holding a bake off for its “next HQ”? Very few people have asked themselves that question. Shift’s Editor-in-Chief, John Battelle, has a theory about why Amazon issued such a vision-free RFP.
A new Medium series argues that if we want to know what American politics could look like in 15 years, we should look to California right now
I’ve been a student of California my entire life — I’m a fourth generation Californian whose great grandfather came over in a covered wagon. My fifth grade history lessons prominently featured the Donner Party, whose ill fated journey to the Golden State included an unfortunate descent into cannibalism. It seemed people would do anything to get to California — I always felt lucky to have landed here in relative comfort.
I attended UC Berkeley, California’s crown jewel university, as my father, mother, sister, and grandfather had before me. I also went to graduate school there, and I taught at Cal for a few years as well. My daughter is now a sophomore at Cal, marking four generations of us who’ve had the honor. When my grandfather graduated, in 1922, nearly his entire tuition was picked up by the state. By the time my daughter graduates, 100 years later, barely ten percent of her tuition will be covered. As goes California (and our society’s commitment to government as a means of education and wealth redistribution), it seems, so goes the rest of the country.
Our economy’s two largest creators of intellectual property — entertainment and technology — are based in California. From time to time, the state is convulsed with shared cultural hallucinations — a Gold Rush, a Great Migration, a Summer of Love, a Digital Revolution. Through it all, the “State of the Dream” grew larger and more prominent in the social topography of our nation.
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.
Don’t like how the election turned out? Let’s secede! American history has a long tradition of threats like that, but people almost never act on them. That’s a good thing — since the one time it happened, we got four years of war, misery, death, and wounds that still haven’t healed a century and a half later.
Still, secession cries are ringing out again, and not from Dixie. Shervin Pishevar, the investor and Hyperloop One founder, has called for California to leave the Union, and he’s picked up some support in Silicon Valley (Fusion).