DEBUG DC: Encourage Congress to take action in a new way

Posted by on May 29, 2014.


We are excited to announce that and Hackers/Founders are joining forces to host the "DEBUG DC" Growthathon on June 21st & June 22nd. This is a unique opportunity to push the envelope in online advocacy for immigration reform. With one of the biggest legislative fights in Washington, we have the support of tech leaders in combination with inhouse and volunteer engineers, and a top Washington policy team so we can hear what's working. It’s time to use technology to help fix our nation’s broken and outdated immigration system and encourage Congress to take action.

Our outdated immigration system does not meet America’s workforce needs in a global economy. We have a system that tells talented immigrants that we don't welcome their contributions. It is a system that cannot keep the United States competitive in a global economy. The time is now for Congress to act on meaningful immigration reform that boosts the American economy and does right by American families.

The tech community is made up of founders and employees from all over the world and the tech industry wouldn’t be the same without them. We recognize the value that immigrants bring to this country and we’ll do whatever we can to keep them here.

That’s why we are asking for your help. We’re launching DEBUG DC as a grassroots effort that will mobilize the tech industry to push immigration reform that will help all of us – founders and families.

The DEBUG DC growthathon is similar to a hackathon, but this time, we’ll be hacking political advocacy. We’ll use metrics to measure our progress; with the use of our previous advocacy tools, we created “advocacy points” to help measure impact that supporters of reform are taking, such as contacting members of Congress via tweet, phone call, or a physical letter.

Judges from the tech startup community and immigration reform advocacy groups will assess each team’s work and award points based on political engagement and innovation. Winning teams will be invited back for a final launch event on Friday, June 27.

To participate and help us hack immigration reform at DEBUG DC, please register here.

Let’s show D.C. how technology can help spark real change!

Read on below for a message from Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers/Founders, our partner for DEBUG DC.


Let's DEBUG DC so we can finally pass #&$%*&! Immigration Reform

TLDR; The engine of DC is wedged, and we need developers, data scientists, growth hackers and advocacy people to debug our government and get it working again so we can fix immigration for once and for all. Register here.

As many of you know, Hackers/Founders and together with a massive coalition of people have gotten together to support comprehensive immigration reform. I’ve heard from some of my friends in DC and the policy world, that they’ve never seen a larger, bipartisan coalition assemble to support passage of legislation:

Trade unions like the AFL/CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce
Tech lobbies and Latino civil rights groups
People who support a startup visa as well as religious organizations who care for refugees

In fact, enough legislators, both Republican and Democrat have said that if it comes to a vote, they will vote in favor of supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

But the tragedy of this is that a few extremist legislators are holding the rest of Congress hostage and threatening to sabotage members of their own party if they bring an immigration reform law to a vote.

The machine of government is wedged, and is in desperate need of debugging.

How do we DEBUG DC?

Step One → Target critical legislative districts
Step Two → Data mine these districts to find registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform.
Step Three → Growth hack ways to motivate these people to effectively engage their legislators to tell them they want them to call for a vote on immigration reform.
Step Four → Measure results
Step Five → Iterate

To beta test this model, we are holding the first political growthathon ever. We’d love to have you participate. Register here.

We need developers, growth hackers, data scientists, and UI/UX designers.

Developers should:

    • Be fluent in at least one high level programming language
    • Be well versed in building an app on top of APIs
    • Data mining/web scraping skills a big plus
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it.

Growth Hackers should:

    • Think creatively about potential voter acquisition channels
    • Be willing to call, email, do SEM, SMM, A/B test, etc.
    • Be crafty and clever
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it.

Data Scientists should:

    • Be well versed in statistics and data analysis
    • Think creatively about potential additional voter data sources to mine
    • Think of ways to infer voter sentiment from sparse data
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it

UI/UX designers should:

    • Have front end design experience
    • Be well versed in mobile and/or website design
    • Be pissed off about immigration and want to fix it.

Join us: Register here.


Jonathan Nelson is the founder of Hackers/Founders. It was started 6 years ago while Jonathan was working as an ER nurse and finishing his software engineering education online. The first Hackers/Founders event was 4 dudes hanging out in a bar, and has since grown to be the largest community of tech founders in Silicon Valley with 12,000 members. They have 57 chapters in 26 countries giving them a total reach of 100,000 members globally. Jonathan obsesses about hacking the GDP of nations through improving startup ecosystems.

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