‘March for Innovation’ starts, gets Pete Cashmore, Steve Case on board

May 22, 2013

Here’s what we’re reading/watching Wednesday:


Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore, and winner for best blog-business, attends the 16th Annual Webby Awards. (Stephen Chernin/Reuters)

1) More big names in the tech sector and elsewhere announced Wednesday that they are offering their support for the ‘March for Innovation,’ started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other tech leaders earlier this year in support of immigration reform. The bipartisan coalition includes former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, and coalitions Obama for America and Republicans for Immigration Reform.

The March for Innovation is convening its virtual March on Washington Wednesday and Thursday, starting the day after an expansive immigration reform bill passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. To participate, users are being called on to leverage social media technology — using #iMarch on Twitter for example — to galvanize support and sway political leaders and lawmakers.

Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, himself an immigrant to the United States, writes about his personal experience as an entrepreneur in the United States, interacting with the nation’s immigration laws:

“As someone that was already employing a number of people in the U.S., I was able to secure a visa. But the process was timely and expensive. And in a lot of cases, such as the H1 visa, it’s a lottery. … I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to come here and build a company that now employs more than 100 people. But I know that many other extraordinarily talented people that dream of starting businesses and innovating in the U.S. are being denied the opportunity because of outdated visa policies.”

Cashmore outlined that, in addition to his personal support, he was bringing the weight of Mashable with him, announcing that the company had officially endorsed the march. AOL co-founder Steve Case also expressed his support via Twitter:

“We need to score,” said Case during a Google Hangout convened by Mashable Wednesday morning, “there is no ‘plan B’ for the nation.”

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) also expressed his support for the march in an editorial for the Huffington Post Wednesday:

“As a lifelong resident of Boston, and in my 20th year as Mayor, I can tell you that I see the power of a strong immigrant population firsthand. Since 1990, our immigrant population has grown dramatically and now accounts for more than 27 percent of our city’s population. This change to our demographics has made us stronger than ever and bolstered our economy against the recession. As major cities across the country struggled, Boston was fast to rebound.”

Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro made his case for immigration reform over on Forbes, writing:

“For far too long, our immigration system in America has been broken, hindering technological innovation and excellence. … The time to act is now. Americans are ready for immigration reform. Our nation is waiting for Congress to finally take action, and now it is our time to reach out and show our elected leaders that the nation is yearning for reform.”

The technology sector has long supported immigration reform, with a particular focus on reforming the system for skilled immigrants. Requested reforms include raising the caps on certain visas, allowing immigrants educated and trained in the United States a less arduous path to employment and eventual citizenship and the creation of a specific class of visa for immigrants trained in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as the STEM fields.

2) Bitcoin is back in the news. There’s an interesting piece from Adrianne Jeffires on The Verge asking why the currency won’t die, while Wired’s Robert McMillan explores whether Bitcoin ATMs are “handy vending machines or money-laundering nightmares.”

3) Do you write fan fiction? Do you want to make money doing it? Well, Amazon Publishing has launched “Kindle Worlds,” reports TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington. The platform is meant to allow fan-fiction writers an opportunity to earn royalties for their derivative works. The company announced, via a news release, that it has secured licenses for the series “Gossip Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries,” with more in the works. Authors will receive a percentage of the sales of their work.

4) Our colleagues over at Washington Post Live are hosting a conference on the Future of Food Wednesday, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other leading experts in attendance.

5) And, yes, as if you needed further proof that “everything is a remix,” there is a bluegrass remix of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.”

Enjoy.

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Emi Kolawole | May 21, 2013