We live in a messed up world. We also live in a world that has new ways to communicate.
Martin Shkreli communicates on social media via Twitter and Congress communicates in a huge room with cameras, microphones and hundreds of people. It’s safe to say that they couldn’t communicate yesterday.
Quick background on both participants:
First, Martin Shkreli who gained notoriety last year after the company he founded, Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased a drug called Daraprim, which is used to treat HIV patients and others with suppressed immune systems. He raised the price of this drug from around $13 to $750. In December, FBI agents showed up at his Manhattan apartment to arrest him on unrelated securities charges.
Second, The US Congress… A bunch of elected congressmen and women that from time to time hold judicial hearings to understand what is going on in the United States.
The communication problem happened yesterday because Martin Shkreli knew his rights under the US constitution and pled the 5th amendment, thus freezing any questioning.
What the US Congress didn’t know was that the best way to chat with Martin was to simply ask him questions via Twitter. After Martin left his US congressional hearing he began tweeting and answering questions from ordinary people all day long on Twitter. No topic was out of bounds. He took a few parting tweet shot at Congress, but no member of Congress responded or even asked him a question.
Martin has also been live streaming for the past week. You can catch him almost every morning from 9 - 11 am. He is busy taking comments and questions from ordinary people, playing a little guitar and debating folks about why he raised the price of Daraprim.
I know Congressional hearings are part of politics, and I’ve watched my fair share of them. Mostly they are dull boring and the questions asked by elected representatives are something a high schooler might ask. To Martin Shkreli’s credit I probably would have used my 5th amendment right as well.
What can we learn from yesterday? The takeaway is that the public sector is antiquated in how it goes about business. Our government needs to find better ways of interviewing and asking questions. Congressional hearings are about as outdated as printed newspapers. If Congress wants answers from a 32 year old CEO, they need to use 21st century media in order to get them. As a tax payer I would rather have my congressman jump on Live Stream or hit Martin with a few question via Twitter about his decisions rather than waste my tax dollars.
What about you? Do you think Congress needs to change?