Yang in 2015
|Born||January 13, 1975|
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Manhattan, New York City|
|Education||Brown University (BA)|
Columbia University (JD)
|Awards||White House Champion of Change (2012)|
Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship (2015)
|Literal meaning||Yang (surname)|
Peace/safety/security, or to pacify/calm/secure/settle + Pond/bounty/brilliance/lustre, or to moisturize/spread benevolent benefits
Andrew Yang (born January 13, 1975) is an American entrepreneur, the founder of Venture for America (VFA), and a U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. He worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009. After he founded VFA, the Obama administration selected him in 2012 as a "Champion of Change" and in 2015 as a "Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship". In Yang's bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, one of his main campaign goals is to implement a provision for Universal Basic Income (UBI) known as the Freedom Dividend for every American adult, in response to the rapid development of automation that is leading to workforce challenges.
Early life and education
Yang was born in Schenectady, New York, to immigrant parents from Taiwan. His parents met while they were both in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. His father graduated with a Ph.D. in physics and worked in the research labs of IBM and General Electric, generating over 69 patents in his career. His mother graduated with a master's degree in statistics and later became an artist.
Yang attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire. He graduated from Exeter in 1992 and went on to attend Brown University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in economics. After Brown University, Yang attended Columbia Law School where he received a Juris Doctor (JD).
In 1999, after graduating from Columbia Law School, Yang began his career as a corporate attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. He left the firm in 2000 to launch Stargiving.com, a website for celebrity-affiliated philanthropic fund-raising. Stargiving.com raised some capital from investors but folded in 2001. Afterward, Yang joined a healthcare software startup, MMF Systems, Inc., as its Vice President and third hire.
After working in the healthcare industry for four years, Yang left MMF Systems to join friend Zeke Vanderhoek at a small test preparation company, Manhattan Prep. In 2006, Vanderhoek asked Yang to take over as CEO. While he was CEO of Manhattan Prep, the company primarily provided GMAT test preparation. The company expanded from five to 69 locations and was acquired by Kaplan in December 2009. Yang resigned as the company's president in early 2012.
Venture for America (VFA)
Following the acquisition of Manhattan Prep in late 2009, Yang began to work on creating a new nonprofit fellowship program called Venture for America, which he founded in 2011 with the mission "to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs".
Venture for America was launched with $200,000 and trained 40 graduates in 2012 and 69 in 2013, sending them to Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Providence. This list expanded to include Columbus, Miami, San Antonio and St. Louis in 2014, with a class of 106.
VFA's strategy was to recruit the nation's top college graduates into a two-year fellowship program in which they would work for and apprentice at promising startups in developing cities across the United States. Yang's book Smart People Should Build Things argues that the top universities in the country cherry-pick the smartest kids out of small towns and funnel them into the same corporate jobs in the same big cities. Venture for America's goal is to help distribute that talent around the country and incentivize entrepreneurship for economic growth.
After 2011, VFA grew, reaching a $6 million annual operating budget in 2017, and operating in about 20 U.S. cities, adding Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and St. Louis. Venture for America began running a "startup accelerator" in Detroit and launched a seed fund and an investment fund for fellows.
Generation Startup, a documentary film about six startups in Detroit launched through the Venture for America program, was released in 2016. It was co-directed by Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser.
In March 2017, Yang stepped down from his position as CEO of VFA.
2020 presidential campaign
On November 6, 2017, Yang filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for President of the United States in 2020. His campaign proposes a $1,000/month "Freedom Dividend" to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 (a form of universal basic income) and other responses to predictions of mass unemployment from technological automation. An article in The New York Times about his campaign described various new policies Yang proposes, such as a department focused on regulating the addictive nature of media, a White House psychologist, making Tax Day a national holiday, and, to stem corruption, increasing the salaries of federal regulators but limiting their private work after they leave public service. Yang's campaign slogan is "Humanity First", which calls attention to his belief that automation of many key industries is one of the biggest threats facing the workforce.
Yang has stated that he became an advocate of a universal basic income after reading American futurist Martin Ford's book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, which deals with the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on the job market and economy.
On March 11, 2019, Yang announced that by receiving donations from 65,000 donors in at least 20 U.S. states, he had met the requirements for being included in the first round of debates for candidates in the Democratic presidential primary election.
In 2015, he was again acknowledged by the Obama White House as a "Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship" (PAGE) alongside Daymond John, Brian Chesky, Steve Case, Tory Burch and several more.
- Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America. 2014. ISBN 0062292048.
- The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. 2018. ISBN 0316414247.
- American Dream
- Basic income in the United States
- Chinese Americans in New York City
- Four Freedoms
- Fourth Industrial Revolution
- Healthcare reform in the United States
- List of advocates of basic income
- List of basic income models
- Progressivism in the United States
- Real freedom
- Right to an adequate standard of living
- Right to education
- Right to health
- Silent majority
- Single-payer healthcare
- Taiwanese Americans
- Technocracy movement
- Technological unemployment
- Universal health care
- "Meet Andrew". yang2020.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 15 March 2019.
各位好，我是杨安泽，(Translation: 'Hello everyone, I am Andrew Yang,')
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- "Senator Hiram L. Fong". January 11, 2007.
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