Hello, Seattle! I’ve just set up this blog. I wanted a spot to put various thoughts out there. I expect the topics to be varied.
Things that interest me: making Seattle better, entrepreneurship, volunteering, technology/software, fatherhood (and more broadly the often undersold importance of fathers, as well as parenting more broadly), data analysis, machine learning, AI, photography, privacy, documentary filmmaking. I’m guessing I’ll be writing about all of these topics and more. Will try to tag them to keep them organized on this site.
As I write this, it’s early June 2018.
The homelessness crisis in Seattle continues to grow, and the ineffectiveness of our City Council has been increasingly apparent. Over the past couple of years, as I’ve watched our City Council embrace those on the far left and lurch further and further away from sensible, data-driven solutions, I’ve become increasingly interested in how we can move toward more effective, moderate, reasonable, data-driven governance.
I firmly believe that we taxpayers deserve better fiscal stewardship in Seattle. We need data-driven, evidence-based solutions for problems like the homelessness crisis. We have record city and state revenues, which have grown faster than our population. We are nearly tops in the nation in city budget per capita. We are a city of innovation — we ought to be able to do better.
I am compassionate toward a range of issues and have an open mind on any solution. I do not however think that one’s compassion is measured simply by saying “yes” to any proposed new program. We need smart solutions that we know work, and a systematic way to measure success.
I also don’t think that our recent past’s overemphasis on identity politics has been a healthy one. Taken to an extreme (and many times, it has been), this approach alienates real and potential allies.
I’ve gotten involved in the No Tax On Jobs initiative, which seeks to get a referendum on the November 2018 ballot to allow voters to express whether they’d like to keep or repeal the Seattle Head Tax. If you’d like information on where to sign, please visit the No Tax On Jobs site, or you can follow the group Speak Out Seattle on Facebook.
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.