Just a note, as previously written on Twitter and this blog: the platform is frozen until early July, likely some time late in the first week of July.
All candidates can still update their elaborations on issues during this code freeze via the private link sent to their official campaign email address. (Search for messages from alignvote[at]gmail.com on your official campaign email address, and be sure to include the spam folder.)
Those candidates who have not yet confirmed or established their stances on Alignvote may still do so, and they go live once the candidate (and not we) submit their answers.
We encourage them to get their stances and voices in front of voters, and we encourage voters to be kind to busy candidates and not immediately jump to conclusions that their lack of participation yet is somehow disqualifying. Alignvote is new; they were only emailed access to their dashboard last week. Some of us can take a week or two to get back to an email, and these candidates are inundated with questionnaire requests. Voters can however gently encourage them (face to face or via email) to complete their stances, so that voters can be better informed.
Note that the candidate dashboard also allows the candidates/campaigns to craft one good and fair and of-interest-to-voters in the district question for consideration in a potential July round of new questions.
At this writing, Alignvote is approaching 4,000 voter-candidate search rankings, and is being shared more and more by Seattle voters. Some past district-level elections have been decided by fewer than 50 votes. We expect TV coverage next week, which will increase its visibility substantially.
There are many imperfections in this tool, and we look forward to constructive criticism with suggestions on making this tool better for voters and candidates alike.
Steve’s an entrepreneur and software leader. Steve’s worked on consumer apps, online travel, games, relational databases, management consulting and telecom. He launched Alignvote in 2019, which helped Seattle voters find their best-match political candidates by indexing their existing on-the-record stances, matching them with voter’s own answers to those exact same questions. Alignvote also offered politicians the chance to elaborate on those views. Alignvote is on hiatus for now, but might return in a future election.
Politically, Steve is an independent, and has not registered for any political party. He believes in outcome-based transparent governance; he is a moderate who believes that progressive approaches can be great if truly outcome-focused and evidence-driven, but also that unaccountable spending is a recipe for corruption and little progress. He believes that Seattle’s municipal government must work well for all 724,000+ Seattleites.
Steve’s founded multiple companies. In the early 2000’s, he founded BigOven, the first recipe app for iPhone, with more than 15 million downloads, which was purchased in 2018. Steve served as Chairman of Escapia Inc., the leading SaaS solution for the US vacation rental industry, sold to Homeaway, now part of Expedia. In 1997, Steve was cofounder, President, CEO and Chairman of VacationSpot, a pioneer in the online reservation of vacation rentals, bought by Expedia in January 2000. At Expedia, Steve was Vice President of Vacation Packages, leading the vacation package and destination services teams, helping to create two patents on the first-ever dynamic vacation packaging system on the Internet, which now represents billions in annual transactions for Expedia.
He has keynoted on several occasions at the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), and taught a graduate level course on the strategic management of innovation at the University of Washington Foster Business School in Seattle, Washington.
Steve worked for Microsoft from 1991 to 1997 in a variety of senior marketing and executive positions, and led the creation of the internet games group, helping develop several products and patents related to online multiplayer gaming. He helped launch Microsoft Access and was involved in the acquisition of Fox Software by Microsoft in 1993. He’s worked for IBM, Booz-Allen Hamilton and Bell Communications Research.
He holds an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University in Symbolic and Heuristic Computation (AI), an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a George F. Baker Scholar (awarded to top 5% of graduating class), and a dual BS in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with University Honors. Steve volunteers when time allows with Habitat for Humanity, University District Food Bank, YMCA Seattle, Technology Access Foundation (TAF) and other organizations in Seattle.