Fresh off the announcement of a slick new way to text your friends, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that he has gathered a group of Silicon Valley luminaries to form a political action committee promoting immigration reform, higher standards for education and investment in scientific research.
In a Washington Post Op/Ed yesterday, Zuckerberg announced the PAC called Fwd.us (that's: "Forward Us"), explaining that the country needs to tackle those three issues if we are ever going to move forward economically. "We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants," Zuckerberg wrote. "And it's a policy unfit for today's world." Zuckerberg went on to describe the post-Facebook knowledge economy:
"The economy of the last century was primarily based on natural resources, industrial machines and manual labor. [...] Today’s economy is very different. It is based primarily on knowledge and ideas — resources that are renewable and available to everyone. Unlike oil fields, someone else knowing something doesn’t prevent you from knowing it, too. In fact, the more people who know something, the better educated and trained we all are, the more productive we become, and the better off everyone in our nation can be."
To build this knowledge economy in the United States, Zuckerberg believes the country needs to ensure more jobs, attract the best talent from any nation, focus on teaching science, engineering and math, and put more money towards scientific research that benefits the public rather than private companies. In other words: the country should follow the Valley's example to get ahead.
Along with Zuckerberg, the list of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs signed on with the organization reads like the invite list to a TechCrunch conference panel: LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, noted political activist Ron Conway, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Zynga's Mark Pincus, former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, and more.
Zuckerberg is no stranger to education: In 2010 he donated $100 million to public schools in his home state of New Jersey. Last year, Zuck also pledged about $500 million worth of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to fund health and education projects in the communities surrounding Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.