We are not alone in this effort; there are many other great organizations doing critically important work using technology to address the challenges of democracy. But the civic tech sector has been consistently under-resourced relative to the importance of the problems it addresses, and that needs to change.
So, what will you do to change it, or collaborate with those other great organizations? One lesson I would hope is learned from this election is that all of these fiefdoms going it alone and competing with each other have not yet gotten the job done. You want to build it, but you also want Change to own it and to enrich yourself in doing so. It’s possible the for-profit approach to this is incompatible with the task at hand, or the capital has been diluted to too many companies all building different flavors of the same tool, over and over again. This entire vision sounds eerily similar to Votizen in 2010. Peter Thiel put about as much money into a company looking to solve the entire political system as he gave to the Trump campaign. Lack of capital limited our runway and ability to focus on solving what you call your first pillar:
Achieving this won’t be easy, but it needs no legislation or formal government policy. What it requires is participation of a large enough size of the voting public to give elected officials the incentive to engage, and a well designed system through which this engagement between citizens and government can occur. That’s what we’re aiming to build.
Yes, therein lies the biggest problem of all. Daily engagement. This is what every consumer political startup has failed at time and time again. I don’t actually think a purely political site will achieve this goal, for a number of reasons. Brigade started out with an interesting thesis on opinion expression as habit forming, but didn’t stay focused on ensuring people would come back every day, either through better more localized content, focused community building like Product Hunt, or really much of anything before drifting off into distraction. My unsolicited advice is to solve that, any way you can, and don’t limit your thinking to politics. It’s not three pillars it’s a pyramid, and citizen engagement is the base.