TheBridge profile: Taylor Bennett
Name: Taylor Bennett
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Global Head of Public Affairs, Lime
Past jobs: Pandora, ofo, Uber, Edelman
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Bourbon Coffee when downtown and Philz in Navy Yard when at the Lime office
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job: I’ve always gravitated towards high-stakes, high-pressure roles and remaining calm and collected is critical to effectively navigating tense situations. From my days representing Walmart to defending Uber to managing global media stories for Lime, I’ve learned to think through challenging issues quickly and make decisions even more quickly, while remaining poised and confident under tight deadlines and volatile circumstances.
Q. Job advice in three words? Do your job.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? I spoke this spring at a tech conference where the theme was “How to Change the World Without Breaking All the Rules,” and it’s exactly the way we approach regulation and our work with cities at Lime. We have been very deliberate about partnering with the communities we serve from day one, working together with policymakers to craft smart rules that protect consumers and promote innovation. We understand the need to work together and the value of strong relationships, and that model has enabled us to scale to 100+ cities in 25+ countries in just 2 years. Technology can make our communities and lives better, but we must collaborate with regulators at every level of government to ensure we’re building the best solutions with the right oversight.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Even if a policymaker and company’s objectives do not align, these rule makers are never an innovator's adversary, and their goal is not simply to foil your growth plans. Elected officials are motivated by three primary factors when assessing disruptive companies moving into their city:
-Does this solve a key challenge and improve my community and the daily lives of residents?
-Does this align with the wishes of my constituents, who in most cases, will need to reelect me within the next two years?
-Does this align with the values of my political party?
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? The important perspective regulators should maintain when dealing with disruptors is why they exist in the first place. There was a preexisting pain-point for individuals and/or communities, and the disruptive technology was designed to solve it. Whether it’s Lime connecting commuters with a first- and last-mile transportation solution, or your Airbnb in place of an expensive hotel room, there's usually an underlying value proposition to disruptive technologies that make them so popular with users (who double as an elected official’s constituents).
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? Recode's "Pivot" with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. Kara is Kara and Scott is super smart and entertaining. Also Marketplace's "Make Me Smart"—it does that.
Q. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself in the beginning of your career? Don't immediately start working after graduation. Take the summer off to enjoy life.
Q. What's one piece of advice you are still trying to master? Promote your good work. No one else is going to do it for you.
Q. How often do you work from home? You can usually find me at a WeWork or working from home a day a week.
Q. How do you unwind after work? Exercise is always good. A run or gym class or walk with the dog helps clear the head. And of course a beer can't hurt either.
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