Hi-Tech Meets High Broderism

Meet the new Compulsive Centrist Disorder, same as the old one (boldface mine):

It comes in handy as the San Francisco entrepreneur leads Brigade, the high-profile, highly funded civic engagement platform.

Sean Parker – the billionaire early Facebook investor – has contributed the bulk of Brigade’s $9.3 million in early funding, with venture capitalist Ron Conway and Saleforce.com founder Marc Benioff chipping in undisclosed amounts. That’s about three times as much as other well-funded civic sites usually corral at this stage. The cash infusion has allowed Brigade to hire top Silicon Valley talent.

“We love to joke that the way to build the platform to revolutionize politics is to not make it about politics,” said Mahan, 31, as the CEO sat in the second-floor headquarters of Brigade’s South of Market office.

But there is a major challenge in trying to use technology to encourage people to get involved. A smartphone, it turns out, is a better platform for summoning a taxi than participating in a civil discussion about gun rights.

“The limits of technology in politics is politics,” said Brigade President James Windon. “There are exigencies and idiosyncrasies that go into the political process that are irrational. Technology usually doesn’t have to deal with those exigencies and idiosyncrasies.”

Brigade’s goal is to create a nonpartisan place that people would visit every day – not just during the two weeks before election day. It would be a place where they could discuss the issues of the day, share news stories and organize.

…Brigade would also provide what Mahan calls “feedback loops,” so users can see what their collective actions are doing and how decision makers are reacting….

Still, Windon is confident that idealism can be a money-maker.

“If we can capture people’s attention,” Windon said, “we will have a monetizable product.”

Nonpartisan? If the slow steady demise of ‘non-partisan’ news and the rise of Fox News are any indication, people want partisan news. Politics, at its worst (and not-so-worst-but-still-pretty-fugly), is mostly no-holds barred. Then there are the decision makers. The last thing they want to do is let other people see how they are reacting, unless those reactions paint them in a favorable light (at which point, the fuckers just don’t shut up).

A very silly waste of $9.3 million.

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1 Response to Hi-Tech Meets High Broderism

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    Interesting that they do not identify Parker as the found of Napster.

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