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The Sharing Economy

The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association’s event called “The Sharing Economy” featured a keynote speech from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.  The sharing economy is a new twist on an old idea.  Sharing.  While sharing isn’t a novel idea, sharing plus technology is novel.  Companies engaging in this line of business, often called  Collaborative Consumption, refer to themselves as the new economy.

Whether we’re talking about car sharing, renting out your apartment, swapping books, bikes, or employing an errand runner, this phenomenon is sweeping its way across the state and beyond.  While the hundreds in attendance were excited about the potential of this emergent group of companies, they were equally as concerned about what ramifications the regulatory environment will have on these new businesses.  As the moderator of the panel said, “We can’t apply 20th Century regulations to 21st Century inventions.”

Enter San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has championed a new approach through a working group he has formed in order to “develop model policies” for these SF-based collaborative consumption companies.  If this working group is successful, their policies can and will encourage the growth of the tech sector in San Francisco and beyond in order to further support innovation and the economy.

 

Congress Crafts Compromise on Spectrum Auctions

As part of their work on the payroll tax extension legislation, Congressional leaders have included a very important provision that authorizes voluntary incentive auctions for wireless spectrum. We applaud Chairmen Upton and Walden as well as the FCC Chairman Genachowski for their leadership. Despite the politics, compromise ruled the day, demonstrating that Congress and the FCC understand that our spectrum crunch is a very real threat and not in any way theoretical.

If the promise of this compromise becomes reality, it will be a banner day for California’s technology and innovation community.  Given how instrumental the innovation economy is to our nation – and how desperately we need access to more spectrum – we are counting the days until we can say, “let the auctions begin.”

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