Countable Wants To Make Politics A ‘Continual Conversation’

in Techcrunch: “Telling your senator how to vote is as easy as “liking” a Facebook picture, thanks to a new app from the creators of TV streaming service SideReel.

Countable, available for iOS and coming to Android soon, presents a succinct summary of each piece of legislation Congress is considering, along with a short one-sentence argument in favor of the bill or against it. You are then able to vote “yay” or “nay.” When you are logged in through Facebook, Countable can automatically generate a message and send it to your representatives based on your location.

Countable also keeps track of how the lawmakers vote and then informs you how your representatives’ votes stack up to your own, generating “compatibility rankings.”

Co-founders Bart Myers and Peter Arzhintar came up with Countable when trying to figure out their next move after selling SideReel in 2011. Myers said they wanted to move away from TV and into something Myers said was more meaningful. As they brainstormed ideas, they kept coming back to one.

“We kept coming back to the disconnect that the American people feel with their representatives, that disconnect that we felt ourselves,” Myers says. “We decided to take a new bent at it … create a product where … what my representatives are doing can basically be made bite-sized, pushed to me like updates from our friends pushed through Facebook.”

And browsing the app’s colorful interface feels a lot more like swiping through friends’ pictures than wading through pages of lengthy bills. Countable’s team, which includes writers and consultants with experience in both the Democratic and Republican parties, has prepared short summaries and explanations that are easy to understand. Myers says the app allows users to go as deep into an issue as they want, linking to media coverage and the full text of the bill…”