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The Most Tech Savvy Candidate Running for Statewide Office This Year is a Republican

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 24 2014

CA State Sen. Alex Padilla (left,) Davenport Institute's Pete Peterson (right.)

A California Republican who is a civic engagement expert is running a grassroots campaign to become secretary of state. He's been outraised by Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla by almost eight to one, but has received endorsements from most of the state's leading newspapers as well as a weekly progressive outlet. Here are some of his ideas for improving an office bogged down by procurement, budget and staffing woes. Read More

Not All Bold-Faced Names in Silicon Valley Support Ro Khanna. Here's Why.

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 2 2014

Investor Andy Rappaport, in the blue office shirt, beard and glasses, held a fundraiser for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) last week

Andy Rappaport, a Bay Area financier and technologist, is bucking the trend among the well-heeled and backing Silicon Valley incumbent Democrat Rep. Mike Honda. Here he explains why. Read More

Crowdfunding 101: A User's Guide to Success on Indiegogo. It's All About Connections.

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 1 2014

The Campaign for Local Power used Indiegogo to finance a successful grassroots drive to switch to municipal power

In this Q&A, Indiegogo Cause Director Bre DiGiammarino shares a plethora of examples of what works and doesn't in crowdfunded cause campaigns. Hint: Don't stick your nonprofit's gala dinner video up on the platform and expect mobs to break down your door. And no, she doesn't just tell you to throw a celebrity into the mix, although sometimes, as with the legendary Silicon Valley family the Drapers, it doesn't hurt. The utility of celebrities, it turns out, depends on whether fundraisers bother to spend the time to consider how to most beneficially leverage those celebrities' connections. Read More

In Obama Administration’s People-Powered Digital Security Initiative, There’s Lots of Security, Fewer People

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 27 2014

Photo: Flickr/www.perspecsys.com

President Obama in 2011 launched an ambitious initiative to rid our digital world of passwords and replace them with new systems with which to identify ourselves. The goal was to make our digital accounts and transactions less hackable and prone to fraud. As Bob Blakley, Citigroup’s director of security innovation put it: “[The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace] is a unique opportunity; it’s the first time a government has offered to accept identity credentials of the citizen’s choice, rather than to impose credentials on the citizens.” But three years into this supposedly citizen-powered process, Kaliya Hamlin, one of the group’s own management council members, and a privacy activist and conference organizer, is charging that the effort is less diverse and inclusive of the citizenry than it should be, and instead is being overtaken by the executives in the digital-security industry. Read More

Public Good Software Lands Half A Million In Seed Funding to Bring Data-Driven Campaigning to NonProfits [UPDATED]

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, March 11 2014

A group of former Obama techies want to port their campaign and entrepreneurial experiences to the world of non-profits, and help them to operate better. Read More

Practitioner's Toolbox: One Political Startup's Efforts To Engage Potential Supporters Online

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, February 26 2014

Pennsylvania businessman Tom Wolf's 'about' page uses parallax scrolling to lead the audience through the story of his life

Pennsylvania businessman Tom Wolf's digital team is making the most of the traffic to the candidate's 'about' page to try to engage them and to turn them into active supporters. Here's how they're doing that. Read More

Republican National Committee's Biggest Challenge Isn't Tech, It's Culture

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, February 10 2014

The Republican's existential brand crisis: What does Republican stand for? Photo: RNC.

The Republican National Committee's launch of its tech incubator Para Bellum Labs last week sparked off several rounds of derision online -- complete with a microsite mocking the committee's effort to adopt Silicon Valley startup culture. But veterans of President Obama's presidential campaigns say that the data and tech deficit isn't the biggest problem facing the Republicans. It's an organizational one. Read More

Besieged Campaign Tech Company ElectionMall Has Had A Troubled History

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 31 2014

ElectionMall, the otherwise low-profile campaign technology company in Washington, D.C., hit the headlines recently when a criminal complaint against its Founder and CEO Ravi Singh was unsealed, revealing that the ... Read More

Uber Sued By Parents of Six-Year-Old Killed On New Year's Eve

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 27 2014

A New Year Eve's accident that killed a six-year-old in San Francisco is reviving the debate over ride-sharing and insurance

The parents of the six-year-old girl who was killed on New Year's Eve by a driver who was using UberX to find rides filed suit against the company on Monday. The family's lawyer Christopher Dolan said that this is the first wrongful death lawsuit filed against Uber. The local tragedy registered as a blip on the national radar news screen because it involved the white hot urban transportation provider Uber, which with its $361. 2 million in venture capital funding late last summer, is poised to transform urban transportation as we currently know it. Its flagship service is a mobile on-demand limo service that enables commercially insured town cars to find nearby hails with the app. It also operates UberX, a lower-cost peer-to-peer ride-sharing service in 24 cities and states in the United States. UberX is one of several mobile services that connects drivers with their own cars to people who need to get around town, sets and processes payments, and takes a 20 percent cut of the transactions. The insurance status of this arrangement isn’t as clear-cut, and the New Year’s Eve accident brings back into sharp focus the still fuzzy question of who should be held financially liable when there’s no designated central company entrusted with all the traditional legal and financial obligations of a commercial taxi service. Read More

Social Media-Fueled Black Friday Walmart Protests Becoming A Holiday Tradition, But Management Is Fighting Back

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, November 26 2013

AssociateVoices.org is a tool created by Making Change At Walmart to enable crowdsourced reporting

As the public discussion about the middle class' stagnating economic status grows more and more heated, some people will be taking to the streets on Black Friday not for deals, but to point fingers at one of the culprits that they think is a major influencer of the situation. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

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