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Thread: Google sets up lobbying office

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Google sets up lobbying office

    Google credits Microsoft's missteps in the 1990s with helping it see the wisdom of setting up shop in Washington in a big way and using the many tools available in the capital, such as lobbying and lawyering, to get its way on major policy matters.

    "The entire tech industry has learned from Microsoft," said Alan B. Davidson, head of Google's Washington office. "Washington and its policy debates are important. We can't ignore them."

    Two years ago, Google was on the verge of making that Microsoft-like error. Davidson, then a 37-year-old former deputy director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, was the search-engine company's sole staff lobbyist in Washington. As recently as last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had trouble getting meetings with members of Congress.

    To change that, Google went on a hiring spree and now has 12 lobbyists and lobbying-related professionals on staff here -- more than double the size of the standard corporate lobbying office -- and is continuing to add people.

    Full article on The Washington Post
    Does anything like this happen in South Africa? Should it be happening? Can we make it happen with The Forum SA?
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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Members here who believe in TheForumSA will lobby for it automatically... **Birdies a-fluttering about some stuff happening next month will bring in more members..

    I've put the banner in my rotation purely because I see a good thing growing here, and if any of the other members are reading this, do the same if you can, it doesn't cost you anything (except if you want to be real technical about it and work out your bandwidth cost at 5kb vs the amount of page hits)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    One day.

    We keep building this day by day and one day it can happen.

    Thanks for seeing the potential.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Cheers Dave, I believe in TheForumSA not only from a business point of view, but from a personal point of view as well whereby SA info can be gained and discussed in a better way than forums or news sites...

    If only the other members can see the benefits it would bring to become more involved....

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    This whole issue of lobbying for certain policies is an interesting one to me. In Google's case you have large corporation with money on its side to influence policy in the direction that it would like. I suppose it is all good and well, as long as you are "good", but surely it is easy to use this kind of influence negatively?

    I guess it happens all over the world, but does lobbying by big companies happen here? Or is it all behind closed doors and under the table?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Hmmm. You're equating lobbying pretty closely to "buying" influence. When you cut to the chase, it might well seem that way. Just as when you cut to the chase, a computer could be seen as an electrical resistor.

    In Washington DC it is a pretty sophisticated waltz. It seems in some parts of the world, they just cut to the chase. Thint and JZ ring a bell?

    In a way, the same principles apply as in selling. You're educating decision makers to your point of view. To succeed, you need to identify and highlight how this might add value to the person you are talking to.

    If there's not much in it either way, then at least you've got the "People buy from people they like" factor if you've taken the time to build a relationship, or hired people to do it for you.

    Ultimately, this is about influencing your environment.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    What is interesting is the little story (in the article) about how Google used to have one lobbyist and they couldn't get a meeting with any congress members, now that they have more staff, this is becoming easier.

    Obviously lobbyist know how to dance the waltz in time with the politicians which helps a company with influence to tip the playing fields in their favour. This can definitely be a good thing and makes sense to do.

    What is possibly unfortunate about it is that the little guys have to play by the big guys rules, because they don't have the tipping power to change the rules to suit their system (largely due to the finances it takes to gain leverage).

    It seems like a good thing — educate legislators to the issues around your field — but is open to abuse by power players. Maybe what we lack here is the transparency to know who the power players are, and how they are influencing the legislators.

    But most importantly, this is one of the fundamental things which makes The Forum SA so exciting! The ability to bring together a group of previously unrepresented people (your "average" business owners), and give them a powerful voice at the table. Watch out, here we come.
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