TheBridge profile: Evan Engstrom

TheBridge profile: Evan Engstrom

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Name: Evan Engstrom

Current city: San Francisco, CA

Current job: Executive Director, Engine

Past job: Attorney, Farella Braun + Martel

Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Philz Coffee in SoMa

Q. Describe one way a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Being an effective litigator is all about turning abstract legal concepts into a compelling narrative that a judge can quickly grasp and apply to the facts at hand. When dealing with policymakers that typically know very little about the technology they are tasked with regulating, it's even more important to find ways to make complicated ideas easy to understand.

Q. Job advice in three words? Details always matter

Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? Engine is the principal voice of the startup community in Washington. We work with a nationwide network of entrepreneurs and innovators to develop policies that will allow startups to launch and thrive. Although public policy has an ever increasing impact on the tech sector, most early stage companies simply don't have the time or resources to engage in policymaking. We help fill in this gap by educating policymakers about the needs of the startup community and working to directly connect entrepreneurs with their representatives to ensure that startups have a seat at the table.

Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Initiative. Good employees solve problems; great ones identify issues and deal with them before they become problems. We're a small, cross-functional team, so I really value employees that are proactive about advancing the organization's goals.

Q. What can Silicon Valley teach DC? Be creative. Incremental change only gets you so far. We need big, ambitious policy ideas to deal with major problems, and political leaders need to be more willing to take risks with creative solutions. 

Q. Best advice you’ve received? "No mater how smart you thought you were, you are actually way less smart than that." Without intellectual humility, it's impossible to learn or improve.

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