How Data Can Make Your City Smart


Photo: Marcel Van den Berge

Today’s Top Stories
 — What Amsterdam Knows About Making a City Smart: Data data data.
 — Y Combinator Steps Toward Basic Income Study: It starts with a pilot in Oakland.
 — Social Media Leaders Reach Agreement With European Regulators: Facebook, Google, and others vow to combat hate speech.
 — An Open Office That Works for Introverts: Susan Cain has advice.
 — Consultants Are Helping Corporate America Slack: It’s like teaching your older relatives to use Snapchat.
 — Do You Want To Complain to Airbnb About Your Neighbors?

Data Makes Amsterdam Smart
 MIT Sloan Management Review looked at Amsterdam’s Smart City initiative and took away six lessons, many of which revolved around how the city uses data. GPS data from an Amsterdam-based navigation software and technology provider helps manage traffic flow in real time. Recent data also lets planners do their planning based on recent changes: for example, the city has 25% fewer cars and 100% more scooters than it did in 2011. And, of course, the review suggests that a city needs a CTO to tie it all together. The study rewards a deep dive and there’s a reference to the TV show Get Smart if you read until the end, but the TL;DR is clear: If you’re not capturing and acting on data, you are going to have one dumb city to manage.

Y Combinator Steps Toward Basic Income Study
 Back in January we noted that the venture fund Y Combinator would fund a five-year study to test whether basic income could work. Now Y Combinator says it will precede that study with a short-term pilot in Oakland (Venture Beat). It’s still very early on (key quote from the press release: “We’ll be spending the next few months designing the pilot”) and it’s very much in their interest to think this out well, since conventional economic wisdom is still extremely skeptical. Today’s evidence: Eduardo Porter’s New York Times op-ed, which argues that universal basic income not only won’t solve poverty but will create more problems.

Social Media Leaders Reach Agreement With European Regulators
 Facebook and Google devote much of their efforts in Europe nowadays to not angering regulators, so it’s no surprise that both companies, along with Microsoft and Twitter, have enthusiastically signed on to a self-policing “Code of Conduct” with the EU’s European Commission (recode) under which the tech giants say they will police hate speech on their platforms. The elements of the code are anodyne; only the borderline paranoid would worry about the bullet point calling for the companies to “intensify cooperation … to enhance best practice sharing.” The Code doesn’t seem to change any publicized company policies, but the four companies are probably all relieved to give European regulators an excuse to be happy with them for a day.

An Open Office That Works for Introverts
 We’re big fans of open offices here at NewCo. Many people have to work in them even if they don’t want to, though, and a significant subset of those people are introverts who’d much rather have their own private spaces. Susan Cain, perhaps the world’s most famous introvert, has some advice for how introverts can thrive in open offices (Quartz) among them get good headphones, sneak out to a coffee shop if you can (even though coffee shops aren’t exactly private), and, as she puts it, “lean into Slack.” Speaking of which …

Consultants Are Helping Corporate America Slack
 There may be a millennial backlash against the chat client Slack taking over their work lives, but that’s not stopping a new generation of consultants from teaching corporate American how to use it (Bloomberg). As with Facebook, Snapchat, and so many other technology platforms that start with the young and then migrate up, Slack is having its moment as a millennial tool that the olds are discovering or ruining, depending on your point of view. We hope the tool survives its move upmarket.

Do You Want To Complain to Airbnb About Your Neighbors?
 Now you can.

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