As many of you know, I’ve been involved in advocating for the Startup Visa since the idea was first conceived in the fall of 2009. While it’s frustrating to me that some leaders in Congress are much more interested in trying to jam through bills, such as SOPA and PIPA, that fundamentally censor and undermine the structure of the Internet, rather than support entrepreneurs and the corresponding jobs that get created by creating a Startup Visa, I’m optimistic and hopeful that logic ultimately prevails. Other than that, my mentors who know how DC works much better than I do encourage me to stay patient and unemotional and to keep trying.
While Congress has been completely stalled on the Startup Visa, the White House hasn’t. Several months ago I wrote a post about the policy changes that have a material, positive impact immigrant entrepreneurs who apply for a visa. I’ve been on several email threads with Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and have been impressed with his rapid response and willingness to take real action along the lines of the new White House guidelines.
Last week I was briefed on a USCIS “Entrepreneurs in Residence” Initiative. It’s an awesome idea and another example of the White House trying to move the ball forward on the Startup Visa within the current law. Here’s the crux of the announcement
“Most recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an innovative new Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative, with the immediate goal of recruiting a small “tactical team” of business experts to work with USCIS staff to help streamline operations and enhance pathways within existing immigration law to help immigrant entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in the United States This intensive 90-day project is a major priority for USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House Startup America initiative.”
While this is an unpaid three month EIR (with the possible extension of another three months), I think it’s a perfect role for an entrepreneur in between gigs who is passionate about helping create a Startup Visa. Take a look at the job description and if this is you, e-mail a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org before 11:59 p.m. ET on December 31, 2011.
Tonight I’ll be interviewing Phil Weiser, currently the Dean of CU Law School, on his experience serving in the Obama Administration. We will be doing this in the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Admission is free, but please register here.
Phil has been instrumental in the development of the Boulder entrepreneurial ecosystem as the founder of and motive force behind Silicon Flatirons for many years before going to DC. Phil and I also served as co-chairs of the Governor’s Innovation Council under Government Ritter (I don’t think we accomplished much, but I learned a lot about how government works). We’ve had plenty of interesting experiences together and I find Phil to be one of the deepest and funnest thinkers I get to hang out with, even though he’s a lawyer.
While Phil was in the Obama Administration, he served as the Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation to the National Economic Council Director. Prior to that post, he served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for International, Policy, and Appellate Matters in the United States Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
Come hear Phil talk about his experiences at the White House. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear me publicly give Phil a nickname that I hope follows him around for a long time.
Today’s Washington Post article titled Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages was no big surprise. However, while I was taking a shower (in a hotel in the Houston suburbs of all places) it occurred to me that this presents an incredible marketing opportunity for Apple.
If I were king of Apple (or say, a board member with deep White House ties), I’d be on the phone with “the appropriate person” with the offer of “a Mac on every desk in the White House along with an iPhone for every White House staffer.” I’m sure there is some law that prevents Apple from giving this away from free so I’d offer it “at cost” just to Mac-enable the White House.
You can’t buy better PR than “Apple computerizes the Obama Administration, displacing ancient PCs running Windows XP.” Plus, the leader of the free world then would carry around an iPhone and a MacBook.
In addition, I see an executive order coming that completely changes the stupid, archaic, and limiting rules about archiving communications within the White House. This is a regular excuse that is used to explain why it’s “hard” to use things like Blackberries if you are president. Baloney – there are plenty of straightforward approaches that solve for whatever you want to do. It’s not like someone archived all of Rumsfeld’s Snowflakes (or maybe someone did – if so – egads.)
While we are at it, did anyone notice that Apple reported record revenues and profits in the quarter ending 12/27/08? Yeah, I guess you did but it’s worth repeating the numbers since all we’ve been hearing is bailouts and losses. These are quarterly numbers. Revenue: $10.17 billion. Net Income: $1.61 billion. These numbers are lower than reality because of the bullshit GAAP rules that force accounting for the iPhone to be reported ratably over the life of the iPhone contract. If you actually accounted for this in a way that made sense, Revenue would be $11.8 billion and Net Income would be $2.3 billion. As every good MBA knows, the key rule is to “follow the cash” which increased by $3.6 billion in the quarter. It’s worth saying again – $3.6 billion. Wowza. Well done Apple.