Evan Engstrom: Engine’s New Policy Director on Smart Policy

This is an incredibly important time for technology policy.

We're in the midst of what future generations of tech policy wonks will remember as the summer of net neutrality. But, it's not just policy nerds that recognize how important it is to preserve an open Internet. Citizens by the thousands have filed comments with the FCC—over a million comments in all—to weigh in on what is in large part a rather dry question of regulatory authority. Many of these folks have been moved to comment because they recognize that the economic, technological, and cultural advances of the past decade were possible because of the Internet’s freedom and openness, which allowed anyone with an idea and a little technical know-how to start a business with global reach.

While a positive outcome on net neutrality would go a long way to ensuring that future entrepreneurs remain free to innovate, we still have much work to do. In the coming years, we hope to see key changes to immigration policy, patent reform, copyright law, and other matters of great interest to the startup community. Being able to shape the direction of these issues is a thrilling prospect; it’s why I’m so excited to be joining Engine.

Engine is already one of the most respected voices on matters of tech policy from patent reform to access, and one of the only organizations addressing these issues from the perspective and the backyard of startups and entrepreneurs. As Engine’s new Policy Director, I’m looking forward to maintaining and expanding our focus, growing the policy team, and ensuring that when we weigh in on an issue, we are providing insights backed by concrete examples, data, and expertise. This is no simple task, but an important one.

Helping to craft policy today means both anticipating the future concerns of a sector that's moving faster than the law, and making sure that policymakers and the public understand the often complex technological issues involved.  We must ensure that policy solutions are strong enough to provide the certainty necessary to encourage investment while remaining flexible enough to efficiently adapt to changing technologies. To do so, it is crucial that we maintain a dialogue with entrepreneurs and investors to keep apprised of where technology innovation is headed and where technology policy must adapt to meet new needs.

Engine is uniquely situated to lead on these important issues.  As a policy shop tied to an advocacy organization with a research arm, and a community of over 500 startups, technologists, and investors, we are closely involved with the most innovative people and companies in the tech space today.  We will continue to foster a connection between startups and government. Engine is ready to lead the conversation on tech policy, and I’m eager to be a part of this important effort.