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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Please Vote

Thank you to all of you who joined me for Lean Startup Week 2016! I can't tell you how moving it is to get to shake so many hands of entrepreneurs from around the world. Your passion and enthusiasm is contagious.

I wanted to share a video with you, which contains my opening remarks from the conference. It's mostly my reflections on a new set of ideas about entrepreneurship as a management discipline, and in a normal year that's what I would be highlighting in this blog post. But ever since I gave the speech, most people have wanted to talk to me about my brief editorial views on politics (which come at around the 9:00 mark, if you want to skip the management mumbo-jumbo).

This is not an ordinary year and it requires us to take extraordinary steps to safeguard our community and our nation. I've pasted a transcript of my that part of the speech below the video. And at the bottom of this post I have some links for for further reading and suggestions for how to take action.

If you're thinking about voting but aren't sure if you can or how to do it, please email me. I will personally try and help you however I can. Need a ride to the polls? Need to know if you're registered? Aren't sure where to go? I'll do my best to hook you up.

Please vote. Thank you,

Eric






I think some of you have noticed that in the United States we have an election coming up. 
Normally the thing to do in a polite space like this for me to say, "listen it's very important to all of you to vote. so please vote." and that's it. Everyone would say that's great. 
But this is not a normal year and I don't really feel that is adequate to the challenge that we face as a nation. So I know this will make some people unhappy but I feel the need to editorialize for a moment so just bear with me. 
This is not a normal election and these are not normal times, when you can vote if you feel like it or you can cast a protest vote if you want to. I think all of us need to view this as a moral obligation to stand up for the values that make this country great. The practice of democracy and the ability for people to come together and build a civic Republic is under threat. We have to stand up for that. 
This is very personal to me. My grandparents were children of the depression and the Holocaust. I have ancestors who fought for the USA in the Pacific and who were victims of the death camps in Europe. They lived through a darkness that I can scarcely imagine. They lived through it but they never talked about it in the past tense. They never boasted or bragged or said we defeated the darkness and it's over. They always said to me and my sisters: beware the signs, know your history, be ready. 
I mean I grew up in San Diego California as a middle-class white American. This country's been so good to me - I mean, look at me now - so as a child I found this story hard to take seriously. I thought they were paranoid. When I was a teenager, I would roll my eyes. I was not that interested in that message and I frankly thought they were being silly with such dark talk. 
Let me tell you, I don't think that anymore. 
In 2016, I take this very seriously. 
I think we are seeing that darkness come again and we have an obligation to stand up to it. If you are a US citizen, I ask that you exercise your moral obligation - your sacred obligation - and vote.
At the conference this year, for the first time, we are going to be phone banking and doing get out the vote activities. If you would like to join us, please do, it is strictly optional. This is important too: for those who that don't agree with what I just said you're still welcome here. It's not the official position of the conference and I hope that everybody will feel comfortable talking about this and bring the same experimental rigor and open-mindedness to this as to any other topic as we go through the conference. 
I think it's critically important. Entrepreneurship requires a supportive public policy effort. There are real policy implications for what we do as entrepreneurs also on the ballot this year so I urge you to take it seriously. What does a pro-entrepreneurship public policy look like? The evidence is clear. It requires an openness to new people and new ideas. It requires us to imagine what someone was doing in the minutes before they became ane entrepreneur: they were a student, an immigrant, an ordinary worker. We have to have policies that encourage orindary people to take new risks and try new things. These policies are not easily categorized as "right" or "left" so they get lost in the din of campaign coverage: abolishing non-compete agreements, portable health insurance, open regulations that allow new business models, open data and government APIs, appropriate bankrupcy laws, patent reform. The list goes on. 
If you study the candidates' campaign websites, whitepapers, and promises, as I have, you'll realize there is only one choice. 
And just in case I wasn't completely clear earlier, I want you to vote. 
I personally will be enthusiastically and unapologetically voting for Hillary Clinton and I hope you will do that too. Thank you. 
I know not everybody is applauding right now. That's ok. We don't normally talk politics at events like these, and some of you probably think I've opened up a can of worms. I accept that. Please, I want you to treat each other with respect. This is an important election but we have to still listen and talk to each other and take each other seriously. Thank you.



The following links and suggestions come from my friend Reid Hoffman. There's also a movement afoot in Silicon Valley for startups to give their employees the day off Monday and Tuesday so everyone can both vote and help in their communities to get out the vote. If you are thinking about doing this and need help or suggestions, please email me and I can share resources with you.

Take Some Action:
Check Out Select News and Writing:
Join me in sharing these messages on social media:

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