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First POST: Transparency Matters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 1 2015

A return to pre-Watergate days?; Jeb Bush has already, apparently, forgotten about "transparency matters"; ghostwriting for government agencies; X-Lab going independent; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Records

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, December 11 2014

Is the future of citizen journalism vigilantism?; one tech mogul's vocal support for CIA torture; a cri de couer from the founder of the Pirate Bay; and much, much more. 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

First POST: Launches

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 15 2014

It's a day for civic start-up launches and we've got the run down; The Pulitzer committee says the NSA revelations were a "public service"; Ready for Hillary is organizing on campuses; and much, much more. Read More

San Francisco Mayor's Office Unveils 11 Finalists For Entrepreneurship-in-Residence Program

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, November 20 2013

The San Francisco Mayor's Office of Innovation has unveiled 11 finalists to potentially participate in its Entrepreneurship-in-Residence program. Read More

First POST: Peak Open?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 1 2013

The latest reports from the Open Government Partnership summit in London; how big tech companies are responding to the NSA scandal; a Palestinian hacker who taught Facebook a lesson; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Zombies

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 10 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA thinks of smartphone users as "zombies" and Steve Jobs as "big brother"; TechCrunch Disrupt gets another self-inflicted black eye; NYC voters are sharing "selfies" of themselves voting; and much, much more. Read More

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

Mike Honda Locks Up Establishment Support, But Challenger Has Ear of the Silicon Valley Elite

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 14 2013

Some of Silicon Valley's most influential business people will hold a fundraiser in San Francisco this Thursday for Ro Khanna, the 36-year-old lawyer who's challenging 71-year-old California Democrat Mike Honda for his 17th Congressional District seat. The names at the top of the invite: Ron Conway and Sean Parker. They're apparently forming a committee to help Khanna build his campaign. The other bold-face names who are listed as part of the 'committee in formation' include Salesforce.com's Founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Benchmark Capital General Partners' Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton, tech entrepreneur Shawn Fanning, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, her big data venture investor husband Zach Bogue, and Conway's SV Angel colleague, Founder and Managing Partner David Lee. Read More

Silicon Valley's "Obi-Wan," Ron Conway, Pulls Tech Startups Into Politics

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 28 2013

SV Angel Founder Ron Conway outside San Francisco City Hall Jan. 2012 protesting SOPA/PIPA Photo: Lai Stirland

Ron Conway is well known in Silicon Valley for his ability to connect entrepreneurs to each other and to potential investors — so much so that one news account from August quotes a Valley insider as calling him the "Obi-Wan" of the next generation of web startups. In recent months, however, he's also been trying to use his influence get other tech-sector figures more involved in politics. During San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's campaign, for example, the Conway-backed social voting platform Votizen announced that Conway-backed candidate Lee was among its first clients. Friends of Conway like Biz Stone and MC Hammer appeared in an endorsement video for Lee, a remix of Hammer's "2 Legit 2 Quit." But as the speaker list at the closed-door St. Francis event shows, Conway is doing more than facilitating flashy announcements. The ongoing national debate around gun violence has become a chapter in Conway's quest to nudge Silicon Valley towards a political identity. Read More