TheBridge profile: Terren Klein
Name: Terren Klein
Current city: San Francisco, CA
Current job: CEO & Co-Founder, College Pulse
Past job: Psychology Researcher, Dartmouth College; Research Associate, Public Religion Research Institute
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Farley’s Coffee in Potrero Hill
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. The ability to analyze data. Young entrepreneurs can succeed in established industries by utilizing data to make decisions. Data trumps experience and intuition.
Q. Job advice in three words? Listen to data.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? Our core mission is to use technology to capture student public opinion on a wide range of topics, including politics and policy. College students are very engaged politically, as 70% of students polled in a recent College Pulse poll said they will "definitely" vote in the 2020 election cycle, and 57% say the 2020 presidential election is more important than any in the past. Student interest in politics spurred our partnership with Chegg and produced the Chegg/College Pulse Student Election Tracker, the in-depth guide to how the race for the Democratic nomination is shaping up among college students. For us, the key is using technology to find answers quickly, and help people make better decisions.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Policymakers are responsive to their constituencies and want to support the policies that best reflect the needs of their voters - their job is to listen to their constituents. As an industry, we can do a better job listening and being more responsive to people's needs and filling in gaps to increase collaboration and openness that is critical to impactful innovation.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Innovation is an iterative process and I think policymakers can sometimes let perfection be the enemy of the good. In College Pulse's case, we wanted to find a new way to learn more about the views of today's college students on a variety of issues, but our methodology and approach has evolved as we’ve learned more about how college students can engage in survey research. Policymakers can be more adaptable to improving existing policies in incremental ways rather than necessarily aiming for the perfect solution to every problem.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Q. Why are you part of TheBridge community? Why do you think it's important that this community exists for tech, policy, and political professionals? College Pulse was founded to help capture the voices of college students, and I am always looking for ways we can ask better questions and find answers that help people make decisions. When we ask students which companies they trust with their data, we need to share those results and learn how to better engage students. TheBridge's vision of collaboration between tech/innovation and politics can help us achieve effective decision making and more informed political participation.
Q. Living person you admire? Nate Silver because he paved the way for making data-driven content that appeals to a wider audience.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Persistence. “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” - Calvin Coolidge
Q. Favorite app? College Pulse, of course!
Q. Which Member of Congress/local lawmaker is most tech savvy? Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
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