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The Fixer

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The Fixer

My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Innovation comes at a political cost. But it’s worth it.

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


Venture capitalist Bradley Tusk understands the challenges tech firms face when it comes to government regulations. His engaging collection of firsthand accounts can teach any tech start-up the hazards and rewards of dealing with politicians and government regulators. Tusk recognizes that disruptive tech makes regulators defensive. Uber, Lemonade and Handy all had to learn how to play political hardball. His book is recommended for tech entrepreneurs and those interested in the interface of innovation and US regulations and politics.


Start-ups disrupt with ideas. Industries fight back with politics.

Every industry in the modern world must follow regulations. Note that regulators get their jobs via appointment, not election. The people who appoint them are politicians, who always seek re-election. Influential people in transportation, insurance, finance, gaming, housekeeping and other fields support the politicians who then let them impose their commercial will via regulatory bodies. This stifles disruption by outsiders and thwarts innovation. Disruption brings better ideas to market, but many people prefer and profit from the status quo.

To get around an unfair system, tech start-ups must hit politicians where it hurts, in the polls. Politicians are insecure and self-loathing. Most care about getting elected more than they care about governing. They worry about what the media think, as well as what the voters think. Before engaging in battle, know which type of politician you’re dealing with:

  1. “Typical pols” – They seek to validate their insecurities, but they aren’t afraid of hard work.
  2. “Ideologues<...

About the Author

Venture capitalist, philanthropist and political strategist Bradley Tusk is founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings, and served as campaign manager for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful 2009 re-election.

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