Reviewed By Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite
This is a subject that most people don’t think really concerns them. Most people probably don’t have a real need to have a law changed. Indeed, they probably don’t know they even have this power. We are used to living in our society and doing the everyday things we need to do every day, without thinking about the impact we can have on the system itself. But we live in a democracy and it is our responsibility to try to change a law that is unjust or unfair. It is our responsibility to understand our system of government and use it to improve our lives and our communities. In How To Change A Law, John Thibault gives us a seven-step guide to greater participation in our government and a practical manual to community activism.
What I like most about How To Change A Law is that it is practical. The total process of changing a law is a very lengthy and complicated one, but John Thibault breaks the process down into manageable steps that any citizen can follow and have an impact on his city, county, state, and even country. How To Change A Law is well written and well organized by someone who knows the process and knows how to teach it to others. This should be a part of civics classes all over America. This knowledge is something every citizen should have access to. John Thibault has done a lot of us a big favor by writing this book.
inMenlo Magazine by Linda Hubbard
Frustrated by politics and politicians? Wish you could make, change or repeal a law? John Thibault wants to empower you to do just that.He started his Menlo Park-based company iLobby a few years back and has just written a companion book, How to Change a Law.“The focus is on issues and policy, not candidates and politicians,” he explained. “People can debate issues. And if they’re serious, they can come together for crowd-source lobbying. As an example, if 30,000 people put in $20 each, they could hire a top lobbying firm to do the work.”The book will be launched online on May 31 and the first 1,000 people to sign up will receive a Kindle version.John observed that while we, as citizens, are often aware of Federal issues, we are less informed about local and state issues. “Our goal is to put the pre-legislative debate in public at all levels.”The purpose of the book is to provide actionable tools and strategies that are easily implemented. He cited three components: message, mass, and money.“By that I mean the clarity of the message, a mass of people who form an ad hoc coalition, and the resources to implement the campaign,” he explained. “Put it all together, and we can be the Costco of lobbying!”John arrived at the idea for iLobby through a somewhat circuitous career path. After graduating from UCLA with a masters in film and business, he worked on the creative side of the film industry. Then, in the early 90s, he was on the governmental affairs staff at MCA Universal.“I watched how Lee Waserman [head of MCA] worked,” he said. “He was the godfather of Hollywood, close to both Democrats and Republicans. From him I learned that business can’t afford to ignore the government but rather executives in corporations at the top of their game worked with government, trade groups and lobbyists to effect policy change, and then ultimately bills and laws.”After spending some time in Boulder — “it was like being in the 50s,” he recalled — John realized that he wanted to get to one coast or the other and, as he related, he “stumbled on a little auction company that was just starting up.” That company became eBay.Following a stint at Financial Engines, he came to the realization that he didn’t “want to work in a regulated company” and that eventually led to iLobby.“At eBay and Financial Engines I was focusing on personal empowerment, he said. “At eBay, we helped average people access a global market at low cost so that they could attain their personal financial freedom. At Financial Engines, we empowered people to believe that they could retire without worry.”More recently, he’s been involved in running campaigns for various Atherton city council members. “It was a good experience; we won every race,” he said. “As I was talking to people, I learned how frustrated and beaten-down they felt in relation to politics. iLobby was formed to empower people.”He’s hoping that a combination of the new step-by-step guide and iLobby will be what wakes America up to take action. As he writes in the preface of the book: “I wrote this book so that you can begin to improve your community, influence your leaders and impact the world.”Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2016
Almanac News by Barbara Wood
As the first vice president of business development and marketing at eBay, Atherton resident John Thibault helped build a business where the power of the internet gave ordinary people access to an international market that previously had only been available to large companies.
Earlier in his career, working in government affairs for the entertainment giant Universal Studios, MCA, Mr. Thibault had seen first-hand how a huge corporation could use lobbying power and personal relationships to influence laws and regulations.
Mr. Thibault combined those two ideas into iLobby, a website that he says is designed to give ordinary people access to politicians and the power of lobbying usually only available to the wealthy and powerful.
Now Mr. Thibault has written a book explaining how his website works. "How to Change a Law" is a slim 105-page book that tells how anyone can use his website to change a law in seven simple steps. The book, he says, is for frustrated voters who want to become better policy advocates.
The website (which can be found at iLobby.co — not .com) allows users to post debates on issues they care about. Other users can then vote on the debates, and pledge virtual money to support them. Registered users can post up to three arguments for or against any proposal.
Mr. Thibault said that once the website has more users, he plans to make the funding aspect real, not virtual, so those who support an issue could crowd-fund the hiring of professional lobbyists.
While the website currently has no income, it is a for-profit company and Mr. Thibault envisions someday taking a cut of the money raised on the site like other sites such as Kickstarter do.
Donors' credit cards would not be charged until a minimum threshold was met. Then iLobby would provide a list of public policy firms and lobbyists who could be hired to help with the issue.
The website, and the book, urges users to post links both supporting and opposing an issue, just as, he says, a politician would want to know both sides of an issue brought to her attention by a constituent.
Mr. Thibault, who has lived in Atherton since 1999, runs the private family Thibault Foundation with his wife Debbie. The foundation supports charitable efforts focusing primarily on children's health, entrepreneurial financial literacy, education and self-sufficiency. They have three teenage children.
He serves on the town of Atherton's technical subcommittee, has helped run the campaigns for two successful local property tax measures, and has served as a campaign adviser to five successful local candidates.
The book is available on Amazon.com as a Kindle book or paperback and on June 5 was the No. 1 bestseller on Kindle e-books for practical law guides.