This site is a resource center for the progressive tech ecosystem. From small websites for municipal elections on up to data warehouses holding billions of rows of election data, this ecosystem spans a very wide range. But we are really just getting started!
The goal is to inspire more people to join and contribute to the progressive tech ecosystem. Over and above that, it’s to expand the breadth of that ecosystem - to expand outside of the political realm where progressive tech started, and to reach into other corners of society where mission-critical problems require progressive ideas, and where technological solutions to those problems are waiting to be invented.
What is the progressive tech ecosystem?
The “progressive tech ecosystem” is a pretty loosely-defined term. It’s a mix of individuals and organizations that together work to provide technology solutions to progressive causes. Progressive causes are in turn a pretty loosely-defined term! They include electoral campaigns, labor unions, social justice movements, human services work, for-profit work in the clean energy sector, the nuts and bolts of progressive governance… among many other areas of activity.
Historically the ecosystem has focused especially on electoral campaigns and labor unions, and a big swath of the ecosystem has been concerned with providing these organizations with business-to-business solutions. Those solutions include web development, customer relationship management systems, campaign finance regulatory compliance, and so forth. A bumper crop of new firms emerged out of the 2008 Obama campaign, focused especially on the emerging data science sector.
The aftermath of the 2016 election created a huge influx of energy and ideas into this ecosystem. In a very short period of time, numerous organizations were formed, and a lot of people showed up to contribute their ideas and skills to this ecosystem. This wave of energy helped to spur the emergence of a venture capital sector within the ecosystem, which helps to shepherd emerging startups towards success.
A lot has changed in the intervening five years, but it’s fairly clear that the ecosystem is growing and expanding at a fast clip! The historical model of business-to-business service delivery is very much still alive and kicking, but it’s joined by lots of fresh thinking: civic tech solutions, hackathons, volunteer or “grassroots” projects, and much more. Our goal here is to support all of this fresh thinking, and to encourage still more of it! While we’ve seen some real progress over time, it’s clear that there’s a lot more to be done.
For the moment this site is maintained exclusively by Shai Sachs. All mistakes, omissions, etc., are mine alone.
I’ve been fascinated in the progressive tech ecosystem since the days when the “ecosystem” consisted of a handful of small companies and skunkworks projects that were not well-known and possibly not even aware of one another. I spent a good chunk of my career in that ecosystem, managing APIs for NGP VAN. Since then I’ve moved on to other endeavors, but I am still fascinated by this world. This site is my small contribution to its continued success and growth, and I hope it’s helpful.
Contributors to the site are more than welcome. I’d love to see this site grow into a well-groomed community resource. Join us!
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