Cut up your corporate card; it expired
I loved being part of the technologically sophisticated early Obama campaign. My colleagues were some of the best in the business when it came to using new technology to achieve results. Surrounded by this tech savvy team, our messaging and our events soared.
But with every step technology takes, I look back and recognize we still had a long way to go.
If you can believe it, in 2007 and 2008, I spent a decent chunk of time searching out scanners to send in receipts, filing expense paperwork, between campaign stops. In a campaign that is rightly credited with using technology to our advantage, we didn’t have a way to easily process and track expenses from the field.
Karmic Labs changes that; easing expense tracking with a card and app program introduced this summer.
The first engineer from Pinterest, the co-founder of Venmo, a founding team member of SOFI, an early engineer from DropBox, joined industry experts to create an entire layer of technology that links a card with a budgeting system that not only keeps budgets in check, but records transactions in a simple smartphone reply.
In 2007, I joined the Obama campaign at the outset because I believed we had a candidate unlike any other. In my previous Medium essay, I wrote it wasn’t without hard work: Driving 30,000+ miles in Iowa, sleeping less than post-childbirth, working tirelessly to perfect our strategy. But with that work, we created a movement, and it was energizing.
Today I’m joining Karmic Labs because it offers technology unlike any other— technology that can make it easier to do business, not just for large Fortune 500 companies, but for charities and lean operations that want better budgeting power as they grow.
Karmic Labs makes oversight, transparency, accountability a reality for all — and better — easy for all. Imagine you own a business and need employees to buy supplies. With Karmic you can give employees cards set to a $0 balance. When you ask them to buy something, you send funds over an app. If they need to buy something, they request funds over an app. You approve. They swipe their Karmic Labs powered card, you and your employee get an email that says what you spent. The employee replies to the email with a copy of the receipt. It’s stored in the software so you can export the entire list of transactions with itemized receipts. It make budgeting so smart — and transparent.
It can help a teacher buy school supplies with donations and show those who donated exactly what they spent. It can help small businesses keep tabs on each other’s spending. And it can help big business — and government — keep better tabs on large budgets.
In California, I’ve realized why so many of my Obama colleagues went into new tech. Because with smart tech companies you can solve simple everyday problems for people. And when you join these smart tech organizations at the outset you again have the opportunity to build something great.
In 2013, I accompanied the President to Ramallah where we toured an Intel Lab, a computer resource center in the West Bank. Here in a place where people live behind wire fences, have extremely limited access to leave their fenced perimeter, and thus have limited perspective outside, these kids on the computers had hope. The facility staff said what motivates these kids in Ramallah: They want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
I share their optimism.
Financial technology when done right can help make hopes a reality.
Intriguing companies are already doing this. Peer to Peer lending options such as Lending Club and SOFI offer more diverse lending products for investments. GoFundMe and Kick-Starter allow crowd funding of good ideas and causes. Venmo eases payments for entrepreneurs allowing mobile transfers of funds. They encourage entrepreneurship. They allow our country of innovation the flexibility in funds entrepreneurs need to make ideas real.
I started the Obama campaign before we had iPhones. No Google maps to help us navigate our 30,000+ miles. I remember a time during the campaign that my colleague had put his Garmin GPS in a cup holder, when a cup leaked near it and the GPS sizzled out, he admittedly pulled over to the side of the road and nearly broke down. We come to rely on smart technology and as technology progresses we can’t imagine a world before it.
As I said, I started the Obama campaign before iPhones. I left the administration in a world full of them and I believe we’re better for it.