A Former DC Mayor’s Opinion On Tech & Politics

A Former DC Mayor’s Opinion On Tech & Politics

On Feb 13th, 2014, the Causes team sat down for a lunchtime chat with Adrian Fenty, the former Mayor of Washington D.C. You can watch the entire discussion on YouTube (video below), but here’s a brief overview.

Fenty knows all about disruption

As the mayor of Washington D.C., Fenty faced tough opposition when he took control of the city’s public schools, appointed Michelle Rhee to the new position of school chancellor, and eliminated a collective bargaining system with the Washington Teachers Union. He is also known for pushing radical juvenile justice reforms, introducing new hospitals, and legalizing same sex marriage in the District of Columbia.

Fenty transitions out of politics and into tech

“City Hall should be run like Silicon Valley.”

Today, Fenty splits his time between practicing law in Washington D.C and Silicon Valley, where he is a special advisor at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

During his informal Q&A with our CEO, Matt Mahan, Fenty discussed the role of innovation in politics and technology. He outlined current challenges and explained why he believes “City Hall should be run like Silicon Valley.”

Fenty’s top 4 “Silicon Valley lessons” that can be applied to politics

  1. Start at the grassroots level and work your way to the top
  2. Hire the best people and put a premium on new ideas
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail. It is more important to make the right decisions, for the right reasons, then it is to avoid being controversial
  4. Get more people involved

Image credit: Flickr