Washington hotel employee Tedros Birat opens an Uber car door for Brendan Kownacki, who uses the service, accessed via a smartphone app, rather than cabs to get around town. (Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“Maybe this is indeed a good lobbying strategy for startups in regulated fields: Build a great service that might be in the gray area of the law,accumulate a lot of happy customers, object loudly when lawmakers or regulators take unfavorable action, and channel customer energy to get better regulations.”

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