WeTransfer releases opinion paper presenting actionable ideas on how LA tech companies can better serve their communities

With contributions from community leaders to provide a resource guide for the tech industry to avoid the pitfalls of San Francisco.

Cover Photo by Jon Paul
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Cover Photo by Jon Paul

March 29, 2019 - Today WeTransfer released “On Companies and Communities” a paper aimed to start a dialogue for how tech companies can better engage and support the communities they call home. The paper is a collaborative effort written by the President of WeTransfer, Damian Bradfield, Lynn Brown and Andreas Tzortzis with contributions from Los Angeles community leaders including Ann Philbin (Hammer Museum), Yosi Sergant (Taskforce), Gina Belafonte (Sankofa), and Troy Carter (Atom Factory).

The paper focuses on the changing tech landscape in Los Angeles  - WeTransfer’s first US base - and uses San Francisco as a glaring example of how companies can deteriorate communities. The paper explores how tech companies are often founded on the belief that technology can be transformative for people and their communities, but their core product promise often makes them blind to the subsequent consequences of their actions.

Damian Bradfield, President of WeTransfer explains:

"Lots of businesses like to tell you what they believe in. But there is a difference between company values painted (however stylishly) on a wall, and the real challenges of setting—and sticking to—a set of principles that guide your decision making."

Some of the action items from the paper include:

  • Work with the communities to execute a project that will have a direct impact on their lives. Instead of coming to the community with a solution, engage the community to help ideate and problem solve together.
  • Help existing community members train for the kinds of jobs your company offers to allow locals to bridge the income gap that is central to the destruction of existing communities.
  • Understand that a company’s most active ambassadors are the people who work for it. Encourage your employees to get involved in the local community or work with local schools, and provide them with dedicated time to do so.
  • Maintain the architectural style of the neighborhood in the design of new office space, including the work of neighborhood artists in company projects, or creative initiatives launched by your brand.

To this last point, Annie Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum comments:

The density of creativity here is extraordinary,” says Philbin, “and to think that moving huge companies here without touting that and embracing that and figuring out ways to weave that into their lives, would be a lost opportunity.

WeTransfer invites fellow companies and community leaders to reach out to ideas@wetransfer.com to start a conversation on how we can have a greater impact together. You can read the paper on WePresent or download the PDF here.

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