Nick Hanauer

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Nick Hanauer
Nick Hanauer Laura Flanders 2016.png
Hanauer in 2016
Born1959 (age 59–60)
ResidenceShoreline, Washington
OccupationAuthor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist
Notable work
The True Patriot
Spouse(s)Leslie Hanauer
ChildrenCole and Lauren Hanauer[1]
RelativesAdrian Hanauer (brother)

Nicolas J. Hanauer is an American entrepreneur and venture capitalist.[2]

Business career[edit]

Hanauer was born to a secular Jewish family in New York City and raised in Bellevue, Washington.[3] His brother is Adrian Hanauer, majority owner of Seattle Sounders FC and a minority owner of the expansion National Hockey League team in Seattle. After earning a philosophy degree from the University of Washington, Hanauer began to work at family-owned Pacific Coast Feather Company, where he served as co-chair and CEO.[4] In the 1980s he co-founded Museum Quality Framing Company, a large West Coast franchise.[5]

In the 1990s Hanauer was an early 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).[6]

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,[7] Qliance,[8] and Newsvine.[9]

In 2018, the brothers sold Pacific Coast Feather.[10]

Civic activism[edit]

Hanauer is co-founder of The True Patriot Network, a progressive think tank[11] framed upon the ideas he and Eric Liu presented in their 2007 book espousing patriotic progressivism, The True Patriot.[12] 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."[13]

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.[14]

To exert influence on local politics, among other initiatives, Hanauer spearheaded and bankrolled the campaign for a tax to deal with local homelessness. He is quoted as saying:

We just decided we were going to do something, and no one can stop that. And once that bus leaves the station, people can get on or get run over.[15]

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.[16][17][18][19][20] In that short presentation, he criticized what he called "an article of faith for Republicans", namely the assertion that "if taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down", saying:

Businesses and the rich do not create jobs. 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:

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.[21][22]

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 arguments such as his "apparent ruling out of entreprneurial [sic] initiative as a root cause of job creation." Moreover, he said, the live TED audience had given the talk mediocre reviews.[23] 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.[18] Forbes managing editor Bruce Upbin noted that a chart featured in Hanauer's talk displayed incorrect data, showing unemployment increasing steadily from 5.6% in 1995 to 9.3% in 2009, while in reality unemployment had been below 5% as recently as early 2008.[24]

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.[25][26] The original presentation is available on YouTube.[27][22]

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.[28] Anderson also posted an explanation for his decision and showed himself and Hanauer "burying the hatchet."[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leadership - SAAS Rising Retrieved August 9, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Engleman, Eric (March 9, 2008), Nick Hanauer's 2007 -- a ride on the tech wave, Puget Sound Business Journal, retrieved September 9, 2014
  3. ^ Brunner, Jim (February 15, 2014). "Seattle 1-percenter a leader in push for $15 minimum wage". Seattle Times. He got a philosophy degree from the University of Washington and says he’s had the same political leanings for as long as he can remember. “I come from generations of progressive, atheist Jews,” he said.
  4. ^ Pacific Coast Feather Company History,, retrieved September 9, 2014
  5. ^ Kim, Nancy (November 21, 1999), Seeking frame and fortune. Seattle framing chain buys rival, Puget Sound Business Journal, retrieved September 9, 2014
  6. ^ Isidore, Chris (May 18, 2007), Microsoft buys aQuantive for $6 billion, CNNMoney, retrieved September 9, 2014
  7. ^ blog entry, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  8. ^ Timmerman, Luke (July 7, 2009). "Qliance Raises $4M To Expand New Primary Care Model, Circumvent Health Insurers". Xconomy. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  9. ^ " buys social news site Newsvine". October 8, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Stewart, Ashley (March 30, 2018). "Down and out: Why Nick and Adrian Hanauer sold their family business". Puget Sound Business Journal.
  11. ^ Hill, Kashmir (February 27, 2012). "How The 'True Patriot Network' Tested Its Political Messages On The 99% Via Email". Forbes. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  12. ^ Rahner, Mark (March 20, 2008). "Authors plunge into meaning of "True Patriot"". Seattle Times Newspaper. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  13. ^ "About Friends of Waterfront Seattle". Friends of Waterfront Seattle. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Hanauer, Nick. The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats, Politico, July/August 2014
  15. ^ "Superwealthy entrepreneur decides to 'go all out' with property-tax plan to fight homelessness". The Seattle Times. February 28, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  16. ^ Tankersley, Jim. Too Hot for TED: Income Inequality, National Journal, May 16, 2012
  17. ^ TIME Business & Money, May 18, 2012.
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ Zubenelgenubiii (May 17, 2012), Banned TED Talk: Nick Hanauer "Rich people don't create jobs", retrieved May 27, 2016
  20. ^ Zubenelgenubiii (May 17, 2012). "Banned TED Talk: Nick Hanauer "Rich people don't create jobs"". Retrieved May 24, 2017 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Who are the Job Creators?, June 15, 2013.
  22. ^ a b WatchExtraVideo (May 17, 2012). "Nick Hanauer on inequality". Retrieved May 24, 2017 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ Anderson, Chris. "TED and inequality: The real story". TEDChris. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013.
  24. ^ Upbin, Bruce (May 17, 2012). "The Real Reason That TED Talk Was 'Censored'? It's Shoddy And Dumb". Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  25. ^ Majority Report with Sam Seder, May 30, 2012.
  26. ^ The Majority Report with Sam Seder (May 30, 2012). "Nick Hanauer on His Banned TED Talk & Why the Middle Class are the Job Creators". Retrieved May 24, 2017 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "Youtube video Nick Hanauer".
  28. ^ Hanauer, Nick. Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming, TED Talks, TED@250, August 12, 2014
  29. ^ Anderson, Chris. How did Nick Hanauer get onto TED's home page?!, TED Talks, August 12, 2014

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]