TheBridge profile: Matt Kaplan
Name: Matt Kaplan
Current city: San Francisco, CA
Current job: Lead Public Policy at Instacart
Past job: Public Policy (USA & Canada) at Lyft
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? In SF, Caffe Bianco. In DC, Firehook Bakery.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. When I worked on the policy team at Lyft, I ran policy campaigns that developed my ability to partner with policymakers, community leaders, and regulators to expand the reach of ride-sharing across North America. It’s incredibly important to be able to work with stakeholders to achieve a regulatory system that is pro-innovation and pro-community. Though Lyft and Instacart offer different services, I believe that the lessons learned are helping me every day to achieve the mission of supporting the innovation economy and local communities who benefit from our technology platforms.
Q. Job advice in three words? Be indispensable, teammate!
Q. How are you (or your company) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech/innovation and regulation? We recognize and value listening to policymakers so that we can understand the issues their constituents are facing back home. I also help educate policymakers about technology and innovation's impact in their local communities. In part, I do this by highlighting and elevating the stories of people who are using and benefiting from Instacart. Whether it's a customer who is a working mother saving three or four hours a week by going grocery shopping so that she can be home to help her kids with homework, a shopper earning supplemental income on our platform to pay for next semester's tuition, or partnering with a local family-owned grocery store to offer customers a complete e-commerce experience and provide same day delivery, we have a meaningful impact on the everyday lives of people.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Innovators can learn from policymakers that building public support for an idea is equally important as the underlying idea itself. Investing and building bridges to local stakeholders, community leaders, and the public are critical for the adoption of new products, passing legislation, and entering new markets.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Policymakers can recognize that innovators are solving problems for people all across the globe. Technology should be embraced as a potential tool that helps ordinary people lead more extraordinary lives. For instance, we at Instacart have strengthened local brick-and-mortar retailers through e-commerce platforms, stimulated local economic activity on Main Street, and provided the supplemental income and flexibility for thousands of shoppers to provide for their families and pursue their dreams.
Q. Do you have a favorite book, podcast and long-form article you want to recommend?
Book: The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Podcast: The Axe Files with David Axelrod
Long-form article: The Focused Leader by Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review
Q. Why are you part of TheBridge community/why do you think it's important this community exists for tech, policy and political professionals? TheBridge community brings together leading tech, policy, and political professionals to create the space to dialogue and address the most pressing challenges facing our country.
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