Why Many Startups Need Experts in Navigating Government

Commenting on When Uber and Airbnb Meet the Real World.

“Luther Lowe, director of public policy at Yelp, had some basic advice for Uber that could apply to Airbnb, Lyft and others: Hire a lobbyist and meet with the mayor and the city council before setting up shop.”

When you know how NYS/NYC and overall government and communities operate, then you can succeed in your business goals. That said, I understand the idea of disruption theory and libertarian philosophy that government should stay out of the way but in reality this will not always work with NYC and NYS government. These digital platforms are built around the new economy and many of our laws are built around the old ways of doing things.

Could many of these new tech and non-tech startups have avoided some of these challenges if they did hire a government relations or lobbying firm or reached out to government and community leaders? Or was it always in their plans to spend little resources on this? Don’t we want these creative, new entrepreneurs creating these companies to make our lives more efficient, create jobs and economic value?

I believe we do want and need these companies and should welcome more of them throughout our state. Let’s hope they succeed and in turn not just improve transportation, provide more accommodations and income to New Yorkers but also provide well paying jobs and help working and poor New Yorkers improve their lives. I also know these companies and the future startups will need someone to navigate and work with local communities and government. Most of all, if they do the proper outreach and build coalitions and political power, elected officials and community leaders will many times stand with them.

 

Photo Credit: Eiko Ojala/The New York Times

 


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