Nick Hanauer

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Nick Hanauer
Born 1959 (age 57–58)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Author, entrepreneur, venture capitalist
Nationality USA
Notable works The True Patriot
Spouse Leslie Hanauer
Relatives Adrian Hanauer

Nick Hanauer (born 1959) is an American entrepreneur[1] and venture capitalist living in Shoreline, Washington.

Business career[edit]

After earning his philosophy degree from the University of Washington, Hanauer got his business start at the family-owned Pacific Coast Feather Company, where he continues to serve as co-chair and CEO.[2] In the 1980s he co-founded Museum Quality Framing Company, a large West Coast franchise.[3]

In the 1990s Hanauer was the first non-family investor in (where he served as adviser to the board until 2000). He founded (which eventually merged with and Avenue A Media (which in 2007, under the new name aQuantive, was acquired by Microsoft for $6.4 billion).[4]

In 2000, Hanauer co-formed the Seattle-based venture capital company, Second Avenue Partners. The company advises and funds early stage companies such as HouseValues[5] Qliance,[6] and Newsvine.[7]

Civic activism[edit]

Hanauer is co-founder of The True Patriot Network, a progressive think tank[8] framed upon the ideas he and Eric Liu presented in their 2007 book espousing patriotic progressivism, The True Patriot.[9]

Hanauer and his wife, Leslie, co-manage The Nick and Leslie Hanauer Foundation "which focuses on public education and the environment, and additionally supports a variety of progressive causes locally and nationally."[10]

Hanauer is active in the Seattle community and Washington’s public education system. He co-founded the League of Education Voters (LEV), a non-partisan political organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in Washington. He also serves on the boards of Cascade Land Conservancy, The University of Washington Foundation.

Hanauer appeared in the Robert Reich documentary Inequality for All.

In June 2014 Hanauer wrote an op-ed for Politico magazine in which he foresaw pitchforks coming for his "fellow .01%ers" if they did not address the issue of increasing wealth inequality. He noted how it would result in the destruction of the middle class and damage to the wealthy class. He made comparisons to the period preceding the French Revolution in the 18th century.[11]

TED Talk controversy[edit]

In May 2012, several online news outlets reported that Hanauer's March 1, 2012, TED talk on inequality had not been posted online by TED Talks.[12][13][14][15] In that short presentation he critiqued what he called "an article of faith for Republicans:" the assertion that "if taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down." Businesses and the rich do not create jobs, he said. Jobs are created by a feedback loop between customers and businesses that is set in motion by consumers increasing their demand. Thus he proposed the necessity for higher median incomes for workers rather than tax breaks for the wealthy, stating that if lower income tax rates for the wealthy really worked "we would be drowning in jobs, and yet unemployment and underemployment is at record highs."[16]

As justification for not posting the talk, Chris Anderson, curator of TED, stated that he felt Hanauer's talk was "explicitly partisan" and included a number of unconvincing arguments such as his "apparent ruling out of entreprenurial initiative as a root cause of job creation." Moreover, he said, the live TED audience had given the talk mediocre reviews.[17] Huffington Post writer Jillian Berman expressed bewilderment since TED had previously issued talks by politicians such as former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore or British Prime Minister David Cameron without hesitation.[14] TED reserves the right to post only the talks it considers to be most effective. Hanauer partially defended Anderson's decision in an interview with Sam Seder, saying he could understand that the position he himself offered in his talk might be controversial to the business community and that Anderson might have received disproportionate criticism for his decision to hold back the talk.[18] The original presentation is available on YouTube.[19]

Anderson later decided to add Hanauer's most recent, and longer, talk on a similar theme from TEDSalon NY2014. It was posted on August 12, 2014.[20] Anderson also posted an explanation for his decision and showed himself and Hanauer "burying the hatchet". [21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engleman, Eric (March 9, 2008), Nick Hanauer's 2007 -- a ride on the tech wave, Puget Sound Business Journal, retrieved September 9, 2014 
  2. ^ Pacific Coast Feather Company History,, retrieved September 9, 2014 
  3. ^ Kim, Nancy (November 21, 1999), Seeking frame and fortune. Seattle framing chain buys rival, Puget Sound Business Journal, retrieved September 9, 2014 
  4. ^ Isidore, Chris (May 18, 2007), Microsoft buys aQuantive for $6 billion, CNNMoney, retrieved September 9, 2014 
  5. ^ blog entry, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  6. ^ Timmerman, Luke (July 7, 2009). "Qliance Raises $4M To Expand New Primary Care Model, Circumvent Health Insurers". Xconomy. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Hill, Kashmir (February 27, 2012). "How The 'True Patriot Network' Tested Its Political Messages On The 99% Via Email". Forbes. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ Rahner, Mark (March 20, 2008). "Authors plunge into meaning of "True Patriot"". Seattle Times Newspaper. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  10. ^ "About Friends of Waterfront Seattle". Friends of Waterfront Seattle. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Hanauer, Nick. The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats, Politico, July/August 2014
  12. ^ Tankersley, Jim. Too Hot for TED: Income Inequality, National Journal, May 16, 2012
  13. ^ TIME Business & Money, May 18, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Berman, Jillian (May 17, 2012), Nick Hanauer's TED Talk On Income Inequality Deemed Too 'Political' For Site [UPDATE], The Huffington Post, retrieved September 9, 2014 
  15. ^ Zubenelgenubiii (2012-05-17), Banned TED Talk: Nick Hanauer "Rich people don't create jobs", retrieved 2016-05-27 
  16. ^ Who are the Job Creators?, June 15, 2013.
  17. ^ Anderson, Chris. "TED and inequality: The real story". TEDChris. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. 
  18. ^ Majority Report with Sam Seder, May 30, 2012.
  19. ^ "Youtube video Nick Hanauer". 
  20. ^ Hanauer, Nick. Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming, TED Talks, TED@250, August 12, 2014
  21. ^ Anderson, Chris. How did Nick Hanauer get onto TED’s home page?!, TED Talks, August 12, 2014

External links[edit]