Theranos is a billion biotech company that has a new approach to blood testing.
Its goal is to make clinical testing cheaper and faster.
Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber, was blunt about the parallels at a Code Conference: “We're in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber and the opponent is an [expletive] named Taxi.”Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, companies whose creations outpaced existing laws, are textbook examples that showcase the niche that politicos can fill.
Aaron Mc Lear, a GOP strategist who is now Uber’s director of public affairs for the western United States, concedes that the company made mistakes as it grew, but also said it owned up to them quickly and decisively.“I don’t think the question is are you as a company going to make mistakes. That’s certainly something we’re certainly going through right now,” said Mc Lear, who worked for President George W. “The folks who have been through sort of the intense challenges in the political world are well-suited to help navigate companies through those issues.”The migration from politics to tech was underway in recent years but has intensified in recent months — some Republican operatives who normally would have gone to work for a GOP White House did not seek posts there once Donald Trump was elected.Heck, 32, met one of the company’s founders during Obama’s historic trip to Cuba and said her new work reminded her of the motivation she felt during the former president’s administration.“This is huge, not something just American, this is the world and I feel really lucky to be part of something that has such an ambitious goal,” she said. That was [a constant] throughout the Obama administration — we can always do better.”Despite Silicon Valley’s liberal leanings, there are numerous and notable Republicans who work here, frequently alongside Democrats Katie Biber was general counsel for Romney’s 20 presidential bids and also worked for George W. She is now general counsel at Thumbtack, which connects consumers and small-business owners.Her first hire, to be her second in command, was Steven Siger, who worked on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and later in his Department of Justice.“We sit about four feet from one another, because this is Silicon Valley and no one has an office,” Biber said. But it comes up on occasion, and I think our ability to see issues from all sides — left and right — helps strengthen our decision-making.”The main difference between their current and former jobs, Biber says, is that there is greater work-life balance and more perks, though the work remains intense.“In a lot of ways, start-ups are like political campaigns,” Biber said, “with nicer offices and better food.”Newfound job stability was a benefit mentioned by several politicos who made the switch to work in the tech industry.Right: People who work in tech and politics mingle during a Bully Pulpit Interactive event at Natoma Cabana, a bar in San Francisco.(Christina House / For The Times)Veterans of high-profile political campaigns and White House administrations such as La Bolt — who in years past would have turned their public-service resumes and connections into jobs as lobbyists on K Street, advisers at Fortune 500 firms or leaders of nonprofits — are increasingly heading west, attracted by the opportunities to put their political skills to use in the technology industry.