US Technology Agenda

Wired writes on The 8 Missions That Should Dominate Obama’s Technology Agenda. I’m quoted there, but here are my full responses to the questions they asked:

1. First off, how did you monitor the election results – phone, TV, twitter laptop, twitter, bar stool?

I was at a friend’s house with about a dozen people watching mostly CNN, and reading Tweetbot on an iPad Mini.

2. As someone leading a tech company (or as an investor), what are you looking for the president to do over the next four years? Are there priorities you have that the White House could help you achieve? Either from a business perspective, or a technological/hiring/infrastructure point of view?

At a macro level I hope the President keeps the economy on a path to recovery, and stays on the right side of anti-internet efforts like SOPA. What we’re building with the web is too early to be marginalized by special interests so early in its growth.

On a personal level, I hope he keeps fighting for protections and privileges under the law for my non-straight colleagues.

But the most important things we need to do will likely not have a big effect before 2016. As a country America needs to invest in its infrastructure, particularly broadband, education, particularly STEM, and in streamlining immigration, so the best and brightest who come to our shores aren’t shown the door when they graduate from one of the leading universities in the world. Four years is too short of a timeframe for these investments to pay off but that’s okay because I’m in business for the long run and I want to see our country strengthen and prosper over generations, not just the next economic cycle.

3. Were there any other races, measures etc. that you were particularly interested in, and why? What was the outcome, and why did you care so much?

I followed a few of the senate and house races, mostly as they related to SOPA and PIPA, and the state marriage equality measures.

4. Or, does all this politics stuff have zero bearing on what you are doing?

Even though the political process often frustrates me, I’ve seen its ability to influence the lives of my friends, family, and colleagues too many times to ignore it any more.

7 thoughts on “US Technology Agenda

      1. Straight is a sexual orientation, and has nothing to do with gender identity. You can be a straight trans person; I knew a guy who thought he was lesbian, before he started transitioning to male.

        “Cis,” or cisgender, is the opposite of trans.

        It’s okay, most people aren’t forced to learn this stuff as urgently as some of us are. >.>

  1. Since you mentioned SOPA: Matt, we know you’re an open source advocate, but don’t you think copyrights should be enforced?

    I assume you want all the benefits of publishing mountains of user-generated content without the responsibility or consequences. So you’re against SOPA, how predictable. At the end of the day, Automattic does indeed decide what is published and what is not published–you can’t hide behind your automatic algorithms. You made the choice, whether a conscious choice or not at first, and the rest is on you whether you like it or not, whether it’s legal or not, 3.8 billion pages/month on you like a ball and chain. At least you have a TOS which reminds us: “You are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content.” But Matt, YOU are the one publishing this stuff and you know you are responsible for it. THAT is why you fear another SOPA. Ouch, the truth hurts. The responsible move would be to shut it down and transition everyone to WordPress.org.

    1. I’m very pro-copyright, in fact the entire foundation of Open Source is copyright. (We just chose to license our copyright in a very permissive way, but it’s still copyright code.) But I still think SOPA/PIPA was fundamentally flawed legislation. It’s like swatting mosquitos with nuclear bombs.

    2. I think we should have a new comment system in the internet… If you are going to criticize someone, the person you are criticizing should pop up in front of you live, and then you can start criticizing them like if you are sitting live next to that person….lol Its too easy to hide behind a keyboard and fire at someone…lol

      1. Who’s hiding here? This is my real name and business. Matt can “pop in front of me” next time he’s in Austin, LOL. (Amine, your idea won’t work without a time machine.) In any case, my comment is not entirely directed at Matt, but all blog farms, forums, social networks, even search engines, anyone publishing content they didn’t create. Matt’s name is in Automattic, that’s unique. I think Matt is more reasonable than others of his stature, which is why I’m here. Our DNS system isn’t perfect, and it’s still not very user-friendly (purportedly why we needed WordPress.com for Matt’s mom) but it’s the best deal out there right now, in my opinion, for free speech. It was upsetting to me to see SOPA disregarded so casually by titans of the Internet without revealing their ulterior motives, preserving power, influence, cashflow–disguised as RIAA hate. “They want to take away your video games! Oh noes stop SOPA!” Maybe something like Diaspora or Bitcoin will eventually replace our current domain name system, then none of this will matter ;-)

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