Where Robert Wright finds cause for concern, others see the opportunity to work for sensible policy changes without resorting to traditional, expensive advocacy or lobbying efforts.
As a result of Brad's post [about how we don't have a visa for entrepreneurs], we formed a working group of a few VCs and a few entrepreneurs that we call the "startup visa group." We've continued to blog about this issue, but more importantly, we've started calling and talking to our elected officials and their staffs. We have a plan and we have a legislative proposal to fix this issue.To me, that sounds like a very good way to work toward reform, not something of which we should be afraid.
Now we are collecting the stories that we need to galvanize the elected officials to act. When that is done, the group is headed to Washington to push this forward.
There are no lobbyists involved. There is no PR firm involved. No campaign contributions have been made. No PACs or other advocacy groups have been formed.
Everyone involved has a full time job either starting and running a company or building and managing a portfolio of companies. We are doing this "nights and weekends."
And we can do that because this is "lightweight advocacy". We are using our blogs, the internet, social media, and our relationships with our elected officials to move this issue forward. We'll see if we are effective. I sure hope we will be. It will fix an important issue in the startup economy and it will be yet another example of the internet is providing tools to do things the way they should be done.