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Will Silicon Valley "Disrupt" Politics With a Candidate for Congress?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 20 2013

Sean Parker, of Napster fame and now executive general partner at venture capital firm Founders Fund, has invested in political startups before. But last week, he went a step further — co-hosting a fundraising event for a candidate for Congress. Parker and SV Angel co-founder Ron Conway organized a crowd of Internet industry luminaries to support Ro Khanna, a former assistant deputy secretary in Barack Obama's Commerce Department. Khanna is preparing a challenge to Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), whose newly redrawn congressional district encompasses Silicon Valley. Read More

With Newfound Influence, Will Internet Organizers Hack Politics As Usual?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 30 2012

MPAA Chief Chris Dodd should perhaps talk to the public via Reddit, rather than the "tech industry." Photo: Flickr/Wil Wheaton

The recent mass protests both online and off against anti-piracy legislation moving through Congress provided a tantalizing hint of the possibilities that can emerge when the powerful companies of Silicon Valley combine forces with grassroots organizers empowered with the tools of the web. Individuals from the usually disparate worlds of non-profits, venture capital, politics and programming and elsewhere united briefly for one day, took direction from more experienced activists and used the tools at their disposal to pull whatever levers they could to get their message across to legislators. Will the extraordinary success of the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) change the one industry that has resisted the disruptive influence of the internet, the industry of lobbyists on K-Street? Or will the moment pass — to be regarded in history as quirky exception to the general rule in which lobbyists almost always emerge triumphant? Read More