Immigration and Innovation, Appvocacy, Oh Snap

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Tech Leaders Band Together /// President Trump’s executive order on immigration sparked protests across the country. Silicon Valley has been especially vocal in its opposition. Apple and Amazon are exploring legal action, with the latter joining Expedia and Washington State in a lawsuit. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and others are drafting a letter of opposition. More than 2,000 Google employees staged a walkout in eight offices around the world and raised $2 million for refugee relief organizations, which the company matched. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, who himself was a refugee, joined protests at SFO airport. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left the administration’s economic advisory council following pressure from employees and 200,000 customers who deleted the app in protest. And Y Combinator president Sam Altman urged more tech companies to speak out against some of Trump’s policies.

Mobilize Memo: Immigration and Innovation /// The uproar is unsurprising, not only because the ban insults the traditions and values so many Americans hold dear, but because the success of Silicon Valley is intertwined with the nation’s ability to attract talented immigrants from around the world. The National Foundation for American Policy estimates that “a little more than half of U.S. start-ups that are estimated to be worth more than $1 billion were founded by immigrants.” Google was co-founded by refugee Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs’ biological father was a refugee from Syria, Microsoft is led by an immigrant from India, and 40% of Fortune 500 companies — including GE, IBM and AT&T — were founded by immigrants or their children. A quarter of new engineering and tech companies launched between 2006-2012 in America had at least one immigrant founder. In Silicon Valley, that rate was 44%. Immigrants are literally inventing the future, with 76% of patents at America’s 10 top patent-producing universities having at least one foreign-born inventor.

Defending Civil Liberties /// The ACLU received a flood of donations following Trump’s executive order and a subsequent court victory, raising more than $31 million from 450,000 donors over the weekend. This flurry easily eclipsed the organization’s usual annual online haul of $4 million, and was part of more than $70 million raised since Election Day. Lyft announced a four-year, $1 million donation to support the organization, and the homepage of Google Ventures features a prompt to donate to the organization. The ACLU will participate in the upcoming class of Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator as it considers innovative initiatives to use this funding to advance its work. Separately, the accelerator is actively recruiting start-ups and nonprofits that are addressing the challenges of fake news, the future of work and democratic reforms.

Appvocacy /// Advocacy technology helped increase constituent correspondence to Congress by more than 500% from 2002 to 2010, overwhelming Hill staffers and reducing the effectiveness of mass form-letters and petitions. In a recent example, organizers of the Women’s March leveraged a suite of online tools from Action Network to coordinate offline action. In addition to these advocacy platforms, social networks continue to be powerful tools for organizing and expressing opposition, with public figures like Michael Moore taking to Twitter to rally protests at JFK airport and photos and video shared from events inspiring further engagement. /// Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden have launched a foundation to continue efforts the VP championed in the White House, including cancer research, preventing sexual assault on college campuses and supporting military families.

Oh Snap /// With its public filing on Thursday, Snap gave a glimpse at its growth, usage and revenue. The company has 158 million daily active users who share 2.5 billion snaps daily, added 50 million daily users last year, lost $514 million in 2016, and built a $405 million advertising business over the past two years. The company saw its fast growth disappear though at the end of last year, slowing by 82% in the final quarter following the launch of Instagram Stories.

Upcoming Events /// Brunchwork brunch with General Assembly and Daybreaker co-founder Matt Brimer and Maven co-founder Kate Ryder on February 5th in NYC. New America forum on bringing “The Next Three Billion” into the digital world on February 9th in DC. Sidewalk Labs panel exploring “How Does Technology Enrich Urban Policy” on February  Politico’s State Solutions Conference on February 24th in DC.


Director of Digital /// The Rockefeller Foundation /// NYC
Product Manager /// Council on Foreign Relations /// NYC
Deputy Director, Government Relations /// Gates Foundation /// DC
Multimedia Manager /// Cities of Service /// NYC
Press Secretary /// The Peter G. Peterson Foundation /// NYC
Communications Manager, Global Economy and Development /// The Brookings Institution /// DC
Digital Content Coordinator, Metropolitan Policy Program /// The Brookings Institution /// DC
Content and Digital Director /// MIT Solve /// Cambridge
Technology Fellow /// Ford Foundation /// NYC
Programs Assistant, Public Policy /// Amazon /// DC
Marketing Lead, News Feed Quality + Policy /// Facebook /// Menlo Park
Digital Campaign Manager /// Young Invincibles /// DC
Communications Officer, SVP /// Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence /// DC