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Real politics: Why candidates are sprouting from RealNetworks and other tech companies
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Real politics: Why candidates are sprouting from RealNetworks and other tech companies

A couple of months in the past, I wrote a story about the role that RealNetworks has played in making a wave of startup exercise in Seattle’s tech group, breeding entrepreneurs corresponding to Sujal Patel of Isilon (in the news today); Paul Thelen of Massive Fish Video games and Andrew Wright of Smilebox.

But it surely’s not simply entrepreneurs popping out of Real. For no matter purpose, the pioneering Seattle tech firm — began by politically lively ex-Microsoft government Rob Glaser as Progressive Networks in 1994 — has additionally produced its justifiable share of state and federal candidates.

The very best recognized is U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, the previous RealNetworks vp from 1995 to 2000 who’s going through off towards challenger Michael Baumgartner on November sixth.

However there are others with ties to RealNetworks who are on the poll this 12 months as effectively. They embrace Maureen Decide, who’s working for state senate within the forty first Legislative District, and Denny Heck, an authentic RealNetworks investor, who’s working for workplace within the tenth Congressional District.

I used to be struck by the politically-active nature of ex-RealNetworks staffers, so I requested founder and interim CEO Rob Glaser for his tackle why that’s the case.  He famous that RealNetworks has all the time strived to be a socially accountable and civic-minded firm, declaring that it donates 5 p.c of income to charity.

“The connection between that philosophy and the three individuals you cite is obvious however oblique,” stated Glaser. “Maria (Cantwell) and Denny (Heck) are each individuals I met by means of my civic involvement. They have been in electoral politics earlier than I met them, so it’s not shocking they went again in. I didn’t know Maureen earlier than she labored at Real, however she labored on a few of our civic initiatives so her transfer to electoral politics doesn’t shock me.”

Glaser stated that the corporate most likely does overindex for individuals who have an curiosity in civic and public coverage issues. However, he added, that it isn’t a filter by any means, noting that they rent world-class expertise it doesn’t matter what race, creed or political persuasion.

Know-how professionals are more and more discovering their means into politics, and after all it’s not simply people from RealNetworks. The jury is out whether or not the voters as an entire views expertise expertise as a blessing or a curse.

Nonetheless, politicians from each events in Washington state are touting their tech credentials. I counted no fewer than a half a dozen candidates on this 12 months’s poll — from Lieutenant Governor candidate Invoice Finkbeiner to State Consultant Reuven Carlyle — who’ve connections to the tech business.

There’s definitely been a whole lot of wealth created within the Seattle tech group prior to now twenty years. And, as everyone knows, cash definitely is taking part in an more and more essential position in our political system.

In a single closely-watched race, in reality, the candidate’s tech success is taking part in a central position within the marketing campaign.

Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft government and expertise entrepreneur, has been hammered by opponent John Koster within the race for U.S. Congress District 1 for misrepresenting herself as being in tune with the center class. DelBene has sunk $2.8 million of her personal cash into the race, probably the most hotly contested within the state this 12 months.

Will the tech expertise be a burden or a blessing this election cycle?

Come November sixth, we’ll possible have a solution to that query.

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