Bradley Tusk: How Uber and Michael Bloomberg Won Their Big Battles
Bradley Tusk is the founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings. In conversation with Data4America, he discusses fighting regulatory battles for Uber and other disruptive companies.
Chris McCoy is the executive director and founder of Data4America.org, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing data science and data visualization to the understanding of politics. He's also building Footprint, a messaging platform for franchise businesses and their customer communities.\r\n
Marc Andreessen once recognized him as an "Unknown rockstar in tech" http://bit.ly/297TP5W ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯\r\n
From his dorm room in 2006 at the University of Washington, Chris invented YourSports.com, a social network for sports history. For 10-plus years, he connected sports history, from local to the pros, in a single network consisting of 4,000,000 networks of schools, teams, players, coaches, trophies, cities, and more--built on top of 40 Million facts of data. Over those 10 years, Chris raised more than $3 million for the business.\r\n
In mid-2015, he passed the baton to Jim Rutter and company to begin building his new interest, Data4America.\r\n
In late 2015, he started Footprint with the mission of becoming the communication hub for the world’s most innovative, hierarchical organizations\r\n
In 2005, he co-founded the I Love Baseball Foundation, a nonprofit baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Currently, young Dominican kids are being pulled from their families to play baseball around the clock for four to six years, with very little formal education included. Just 2 percent of these kids sign MLB contracts, so by the time the 98 percent go back to their small villages with little education, the cycle of poverty in the D.R. accelerates. ILB exists for baseball and education to happen in the same day. Chris conceived, funded, and co-founded the program after a series of baseball mission trips to Barahona, Dominican Republic as a college senior at the UW. http://ilovebaseball.org.\r\n
Chris chose the University of Washington to pursue a baseball scholarship as a pitcher, but ended up as a tech entrepreneur instead. Over the course of just over seven years, he invented PitchSmarter, I Love Baseball, YourSports -- and his social entrepreneur curriculum spanning business, technology, the humanities, and land development.\r\n
In 2010, Chris became the first person from his family to graduate from a major four-year university.\r\n
Before college, he was elected to serve the DECA.org and its 180,000+ high school students as its national president.\r\n
Before ascending to DECA’s national presidency, Chris was elected as the state president of Washington DECA (wadeca.org).\r\n
Chris was raised in Kelso, Wash. For the first 15 years he lived with his mom and was raised by a village of aunts and uncles. For the next three-plus years, he lived with his Grandpa Jack, who passed on in 2014.\r\n
Chris is a believer in opportunity, that ideas are greater than politics, and in the designated hitter.\r\n
You can email him at chris at data4america dot org.
Bradley Tusk is the founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings. In conversation with Data4America, he discusses fighting battles for Michael Bloomberg, Uber, and other disruptive players.
On his unique career path:
Bradley Tusk: I've had kind of a weird, somewhat itinerant journey. My career didn't follow a totally linear path, and I think that ended up being helpful because the kind of business that I started - and run now - depended on that weird set of experiences.
On the fight between Uber and NYC mayor Bill de Blasio:
BT: There's that adage that you can't fight City Hall, but we did - and we won.
On Tusk Ventures:
BT: The main idea is to protect innovation and prevent intrinsic interests from using political power to stifle new startups before they can get started.
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On Michael Bloomberg:
BT: If you were to say to me, ‘What's Mike Bloomberg's greatest accomplishment as mayor?’ even if I named 100 different policy accomplishments - of which there were over 12 years - it's not any one of those specifically. It was the culture and approach to hiring that really did it. What Mike did that was so radical was that he solely hired people based on merit and talent. He didn't care about politics, who sent him, or if it could help his re-election.
On Bloomberg and Uber's Travis Kalanick:
BT: They're definitely two of the smartest people I've ever worked with and for. Their management styles are a little different. I didn't get to know Mike until he was in his sixties, and I got to know Travis in his mid-30s. Travis comes off as more aggressive than Mike; when he's that age, there may be something that comes from being so successful for so long that you can kind of be just as effective while taking half a step back in your tone and approach. In terms of people who have vision and drive and the ability to put lots of different things together and make incredible sacrifices, too.
On changing policy for the better:
BT: If you want to save democracy from the polarization and dysfunction you see in Washington right now, you've got to increase turnout.
BT: I'm not sure that I'm willing to accept the basic premise that Amazon Go or Auto or whatever means that 7 million cashiers and truckers are suddenly out of a job, or there won't be an adaptation we can't think of right now.
On never giving up:
BT: Mike Bloomberg got fired by Solomon Brothers, took his severance package, and put that into creating Bloomberg LP. Uber isn't Travis's first startup. He got sued by the record companies. These guys had a lot of failure, and it taught them how to succeed and motivated them more. You need to get punched a lot - and you need to get back up.
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Data4America is an educational non-profit bringing data science and data visualization to the understanding of politics.
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