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The Sharing Economy

The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association’s event called “The Sharing Economy” featured a keynote speech from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.  The sharing economy is a new twist on an old idea.  Sharing.  While sharing isn’t a novel idea, sharing plus technology is novel.  Companies engaging in this line of business, often called  Collaborative Consumption, refer to themselves as the new economy.

Whether we’re talking about car sharing, renting out your apartment, swapping books, bikes, or employing an errand runner, this phenomenon is sweeping its way across the state and beyond.  While the hundreds in attendance were excited about the potential of this emergent group of companies, they were equally as concerned about what ramifications the regulatory environment will have on these new businesses.  As the moderator of the panel said, “We can’t apply 20th Century regulations to 21st Century inventions.”

Enter San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has championed a new approach through a working group he has formed in order to “develop model policies” for these SF-based collaborative consumption companies.  If this working group is successful, their policies can and will encourage the growth of the tech sector in San Francisco and beyond in order to further support innovation and the economy.

 

Congress Crafts Compromise on Spectrum Auctions

As part of their work on the payroll tax extension legislation, Congressional leaders have included a very important provision that authorizes voluntary incentive auctions for wireless spectrum. We applaud Chairmen Upton and Walden as well as the FCC Chairman Genachowski for their leadership. Despite the politics, compromise ruled the day, demonstrating that Congress and the FCC understand that our spectrum crunch is a very real threat and not in any way theoretical.

If the promise of this compromise becomes reality, it will be a banner day for California’s technology and innovation community.  Given how instrumental the innovation economy is to our nation – and how desperately we need access to more spectrum – we are counting the days until we can say, “let the auctions begin.”

Spotlight: LA Tech Winter

By Mara Peterson

I was thrilled to be a part of the lucky few to secure a ticket to “Spotlight: LA Tech Winter,” a quarterly event hosted by TechZulu that showcases the latest and greatest startups from the Los Angeles tech community.  Excitement grew with the arrival of local entrepreneurs, students, investors and other courageous Angelinos who braved the rush hour traffic to gather and share ideas in the name of technology.  To my right sat an investor at a small scale VC firm enthusiastic to find his next portfolio company.  To my left sat a CEO of a startup, his first of many from the enthusiastic words that rolled off his tongue a mile a minute.

In short, this event truly captured the essence of the LA tech scene and serves as a great reminder of the growth of an economic force in the region that really didn’t blossom until quite recently. Continue reading “Spotlight: LA Tech Winter”

CALinnovates hosts Apps for Communities event with FCC, Andreessen-Horowitz and the Knight Foundation

At an event sponsored by the Knight Foundation and hosted by Andreessen-Horowitz and CALinnovates, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski discusses the “Apps for Communities” awards which highlight the results of a Hackathon to create apps that use public data to provide useful services for communities. Nearly 100 attendees were on hand for the event in addition to local and national news outlets.

The Hackathon’s goal was to showcase how technology can be accessible to everyone and to encourage developers to drive these sorts of initiatives. The grand prize of the “Apps for Communities” awards went to Yakb.us, an app that provides people with real-time transit information on their mobile phones via text message. Some of the other winners included a web-driven database that government agencies can use to connect homeless individuals with social services and an app that allows people to search and apply for jobs via mobile phone.

The video clip below highlights some of the reasons why innovation in the technology sector is so critical and the challenges that we face by the limited availability of spectrum. Chairman Genachowski discusses how the FCC supports increasing the availability of spectrum which will ensure that there is enough available to spur business development, innovation and job creation through stronger and wider-reaching wireless networks.  Additionally, this increased spectrum availability will help America retain its lead in the mobile marketplace and stay competitive worldwide.

CALinnovates strongly supports voluntary incentive auctions for spectrum as the best solution for taking unused and underutilized spectrum and putting it to its highest and best use for the benefit of our economy and our future.

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