The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Entertainment

If you are in NYC this holiday weekend and looking for something to do, consider attending the Debug Politics Hackathon Showcase at 4pm this afternoon in the Flatiron District:

I will be judging along with a stellar crew (Diana Rhoten, Stephanie Hannon, Nancy Lublin, Chris Wiggins, and John Heilemann).

But as strong as this group of judges is, the stars of the show will be the hackers and their projects.

God knows we need to debug politics and if that is going to happen, I am certain it will come from hackers not the folks in DC and statehouses around the country.

So if you want to see all of this in action, come by Casper’s offices at 4pm this afternoon and see it live and in person.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Jesse Pickard

    We’ll also have a livestream up at 4pm est at Thanks for the support, Fred!

    1. William Mougayar

      Great, I’ll tune in. Thanks

    2. fredwilson

      I just featured this comment Jesse. It will run on top of the comments

    3. Twain Twain

      Great, looking forward to it!

    4. Matt Zagaja

      Thanks, I’ll be watching.

    5. Twain Twain

      Please would you also share it on YouTube? Some of us may not be able to watch the livestream, thanks!

      1. Matt Zagaja

        My understanding is that most live Facebook streams will save themselves, but I’ll agree about using YouTube because I do not think I can send Facebook videos to my Chromecast in my new television.

  2. LIAD

    Is debugging enough?Zipped through a couple of Obama Exit Interviews over the weekend. Couldn’t help but focusing on his comments that:Founding Fathers…3 branches of Government…Checks and Balances…All good. Until it gets “gummed up” and then it’s a nightmare. That’s how it’s been for 6 years.Can you debug special interests, partisan politics, human ego? Perhaps we need to refactor instead.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      The problem is too many people filing issues, not enough contributors submitting pull requests.

    2. pointsnfigures

      Was that way before Obama. There is a fifth estate, the regulatory/bureaucratic arm of the government. It’s unaccountable. An albatross. Coinbase is running into it with the IRS heavy handed treatment of it’s business.Would love to see a startup take on gerrymandering. One of the biggest problems in politics is gerrymandering. Both parties do it. It eliminates competition at the district level. That allows candidates to be more about “party” and not accountable to their constituents.Competitive elections would force elected officials to be accountable to their constituents and give them room to go against the predominant view of their party if the local constituency wanted it. Or, they will lose their next election.

      1. Matt Zagaja

        Ironically startups and tech make today’s gerrymandering possible. Well mostly ESRI, not sure if that’s still a startup.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Yes, because of Big Data. But, Michael Madigan didn’t need it in Illinois. If you want to see the consequences of intense gerrymandering, watch

        2. PhilipSugar

          ESRI has been around since my first tech company, started in 1992

      2. PhilipSugar

        I would add term limits for ALL government employees. Government should not be a career. It especially should not be a place where you go to build a tremendous amount of wealth.I can’t help but add this. If you were unhappy with the election you need to listen and acknowledge the people that voted for Trump. No they are not deplorable’s, racists, faked by faked news, influenced by bots, Russians, etc.Women were willing to vote for a narcissistic, misogynistic, xeonophobe, with no self filter because he listened to them.He didn’t build his wealth through the government, he made it himself. (you can certainly argue how politely) When I hear NPR rail about how Trump needs to sell all of his properties because if somebody stayed at a $300 a night room it might be a conflict of interest while not saying a peep about a Secretary of State that was taking millions from foreign governments or a Senator that was making millions speaking at investment banks, a small deep dark part of me thinks we got one over on “the man”

        1. Twain Twain

          It’s deplorable people are “tarred with the same brush” and put into boxes — regardless of wherever they are on the political spectrum.The lack of representativeness in data, frameworks and systems we have for understanding and respecting people’s diversity of opinions and democratic choices is a failing of technology.And that’s something we can and should all work on.

          1. Seine

            Is it a failing technology or the lack of diversity of the people who make those technologies?

          2. Twain Twain

            Both. The bias problem is endemic in all systems and it’s everyone’s collective responsibility. From design through to engineering, analytics, prediction, recommendations etc.It’s more than a Republican vs Democrats issue. It’s more than gender, race, religion etc.It’s about democratic representativeness in data and coherency (signal > noise) of systems FOR EVERYONE.*…*…*

          3. Salt Shaker

            It would be interesting to see a segmentation study on “Trump deplorables” based primarily on psychographic criteria (attitudes, opinions, etc.) to the extent, of course, you’d get an honest read among participants. Is there a hierarchy of importance? What are the commonalities/differences between segments, in addition to understanding the size of each.PS–Will follow up w/ you via email tomorrow re: your outreach.

        2. LE

          I can’t help but add this. If you were unhappy with the election you need to listen and acknowledge the people that voted for Trump. No they are not deplorable’s, racists, faked by faked news, influenced by bots, Russians, etc.Since you opened up this subject, I will offer this opinion piece yesterday by a ‘carpet salesman in Pittsburgh’ that was in the WSJ. A good read. Along the lines of ‘listen and acknowledge’…… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        3. LE

          I would add term limits for ALL government employees. Government should not be a career.I think this is like self driving cars. Good in some specific situations but certainly not as a replacement. Or in all situations.An idea could be to simply shift people to other jobs (but that requires retraining and you lose whatever efficiencies they have of course that should all go away with automation).

        4. pointsnfigures

          @philipsugar:disqus I suppose if we added all the things, we could write a book. I agree on term limits-but at the same time you do that the bureaucracy needs to go. You cannot have unelected officials running the show.

          1. PhilipSugar

            That is why you should not be able to make a career working in government.

      3. awaldstein

        “Coinbase is running into it with the IRS heavy handed treatment of it’s business.”What are you referring to?

          1. awaldstein


      4. LE

        to go against the predominant view of their party if the local constituency wanted itHow do you get the donors out of the equation though?Look, I think it’s great that there is so much support for Israel in Congress. But it’s also clear that that has a great deal to do with where the money comes from to support elections.

    3. Twain Twain

      All of those are subjective factors, Liad. And, therein, we get into the limitations of existing technology, even AI, to parse information and people’s biases.Ray Kurzweil of Google on AI, July 2016: “Emotions and human language are the most cutting-edge of human intelligence. Emotions are not a sideshow. Consciousness is subjective. And, fundamentally, that (subjectivity) is not a scientific concept.”Yann Le Cun of Facebook AI, April 2016: “Emotions are related to prediction. Fear is related to predicting something scary.”Trump’s team are clearly doing cutting-edge human intelligence by Kurzweil’s definitions. They deployed emotions and language to affect people’s neuroscience.Christopher Graves, Chairman of Ogilvy:…@fredwilson @wmougayar — I’ll watch the demos. It will be surprising if any of the teams can measure those subjective factors (given that not even the best AI brains in Google or Facebook know how to solve for it and this has a domino network effect on everything from fake news to filter bubbles to economic risk modeling).

  3. JimHirshfield

    Hacking Russian politics? Retribution hackathon?

    1. Matt Zagaja

      In Russia politics hacks you.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Or you get a not so scenic trip to Siberia.

  4. Lawrence Brass

    Nice.4 PM NYC time = 9 PM UTC

    1. Twain Twain

      Argh!!! That’s 1pm PCT and I need to have dim sum with a guy who’s working on a project that, imo, is a better structure than blockchain.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Dim sum in good company and interesting conversation sounds better than political hacking to me. :)You can watch the livestream later.

          1. LE

            That looks great. I agree. Where I used to go to dim sum they wheeled around carts.What I am wondering is why there aren’t restaurants that do that with non dim sum food. Just wheel around carts with various dishes, small portions (with the ability to steam etc.) and let people pick what they want. Hard to believe given the right pricing that it wouldn’t be popular.

          2. Twain Twain

            In States, I’ve only seen carts at Jin Fong in NY. They have a huge restaurant so carts make sense. My favorite place for dim sum in Manhattan but there’s better in Flushing.Most dim sum places are too small to warrant carts.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          3. LE

            If no space then no space. But to me the cart is smart marketing. It creates scarcity and gets people off the fence to make a quick (and emotional) decision. The moving conveyor is another similar motivator.

          4. pointsnfigures

            We have places in Chicago with carts. Yum

          5. Twain Twain

            Haha, clearly I need to do a road trip of the US and get to the Windy City!

          6. PhilipSugar

            We have carts in Philly.If you are there on a Sunday morning I will buy.My wife and kids hate, I have no understanding of why?If I have an excuse and somebody to go with I do.

          7. Twain Twain

            I’ve bought a sewing machine that can handle leather, vinyl and thick canvas so for the Make100 Kickstarter I’ll be able to make a more premium product with leather.Hurrah!

          8. SubstrateUndertow

            Now I’m hungry 🙂

          9. Twain Twain

            Are you also in need of African+Chinese style, :*)? My Kickstarter campaign for AFRICINA launched today. Raising £2,500 to make cool stuff for men and women!*

  5. jason wright

    It was hacked by the CIA long ago if my observations are sound. It’s the only rational way to explain the rise of the Clintons.It’s far more likely that Langley has the dirt on Bill, Hillary, and Obama than the FSB has anything on Trump.Did I just break any #rules? Hope so. Honest debate requires a bit of that at times.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      The evidence you cite does not support your conclusion.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Agree. The last thing we need is more conspiracy theories.

        1. jason wright

          the US secret state didn’t get to cultivate Trump because he remained off their radar as a potential politico. they don’t have anything on him. he’s not their ‘creature’. back in Chicago Obama and his shadow Rahm provided plenty of material to make them selectable.

        2. jason wright

          before Snowden came along the mocking theory of ‘conspiracy theory’ served the elite well in silencing debate. we don’t see it deployed so much any more. it’s been discredited

      2. jason wright

        in plain sight is where the truth often hides. it’s about what you are told you see and don’t see.

    2. kidmercury

      i don’t know if the relationship between clintons and CIA elements is one of blackmail or mutually beneficial partnership. clinton biographers claim WJC was working for the CIA back in the 60s, but those claims are hard to substantiate. the drug running in Mena, AK that clinton worked to suppress is the most damning in my opinion.

  6. Richard

    $ total contributions on both campaigns > 2 billion $ total contributions to red cross 600 millionI hope these startups are focused on ushering productivity into the election process. The time a and money we spend on politicals, and political campaigns is a tax, a tax of time, attention and money, that drains siphons these resources from areas more deserving.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. PhilipSugar

      I would say except for tech grads who right now are making about $40/hr in real time adjusted wages. I know I pay. This chart show a bias.It should show STEM grads versus non stem grads. Now we can argue about how we get more people into STEM.The brutal fact is that if you graduate with a generic liberal arts degree you will make less than a skilled tradeswoman that is a mechanic, electrician, or plumber.

  7. pointsnfigures

    If they had this in Chicago I could judge. No need to watch the Packers.

  8. LE

    The guy who did the advocate presentation needs to run for office. Very effective communicator from what I caught.