EmTech 2013 day two: Not all genius is simplicity (October 2013)

Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution, Cofounder of America Online, and Chairman of the Case Foundation, set the tone for day two of EmTech 2013 with a dynamic, informative, and savvy discussion about public policy and the intrinsic role it plays in a burgeoning and technologically innovative economy. Unlike the sometimes brash Silicon Valley titans who believed they could rocket to success without being beholden to Big Brother, Case encouraged constructive engagement with what is typically a successful startup's biggest customer: the government. Quoting an African proverb, "If you want to go quickly, go alone; but if you want to go farther, go together," Steve further emphasized policy's value in setting ground rules that allow entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish.


His fireside chat with Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, also explored Case’s investment in "second internet revolution" companies in locations other than the usual New York, Chicago, Boston, or Silicon Valley. His belief is that centers of innovation gravity will give way to new companies across the country, presenting opportunities for investment at lower valuation points. This, in turn, would create network density, a flywheel component sparking regional entrepreneurial success at its core. Startup Weekend is an example of his efforts to create robust industries and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Case also took issue with US immigration policy, terming it a hindrance and citing a ten point drop in the percentage of Silicon Valley companies started by immigrants (down from 52%) as a result. In order to maximize its lead as world innovators, American policy regarding immigration and research needed vast improvements and increased advocacy from relevant stakeholders.


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