The Smart Bus Network

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Look ma, no hands

Sometime last week, commit id 0078753328a37 wound its way through our deployment infrastructure and was deployed to our production servers and with it brought about a paradigm shift in the way we work.

Whole network managed by one human (and one bot)

We now run our whole fleet operations for 75 buses with one human and one bot.

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It’s Time to Put an End to Bikeway “Band-aids”

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We are finally moving in the right direction for bicycle urbanism in the United States.

At last, more and more cities are realizing that what has been best practice in street design for years elsewhere, is the logical thing to do in this country as well.

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Takeaways From a Startup’s Flameout

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Ming-yen Hsu | Flickr

What we can learn from WrkRiot. Late paychecks, forged payment receipts, unverifiable claims on a founder’s resume — the complaints that emerged around a job-search startup called WrkRiot, after a former employee posted an anguished account, sounded like a company implosion in the making. And indeed WrkRiot has gone dark since Penny Kim’s story went viral and the New York Times wrote about the saga. What happened at WrkRiot will be a matter for its stakeholders to untangle now. For the rest of us, it’s a reminder that ideals alone don’t insulate the world of NewCos from deception and possible fraud. For greener employees who haven’t lived through a down cycle yet, here’s a chance to learn a lesson that veterans already know: Look around when the easy money begins to dry up, because that’s when rot gets exposed.

Jeff Bezos’s airplanes are coming. First, Amazon’s growth pushed Fedex and UPS to grow, too. Someone had to make all those deliveries! But now Amazon is building up its own fleet of planes (dubbed Prime Air), trucks, and an Uber-like on-demand delivery network called Amazon Flex (Bloomberg). Does the Seattle giant want to put the other guys out of business? Jeff Bezos says no — Amazon just needs more delivery capacity than the existing networks can supply. The 2013 holiday-season mess, when UPS faltered under the peak load of Amazon deliveries, taught the company it needed to bulk up its own delivery muscles. But its scale and logistical prowess will be hard for competitors to match. Smaller upstarts will end up looking for ways to complement Amazon — to do special things for customers that a monster-size retailer simply can’t.

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The Importance of Walkable Cities

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One of the key NewCo themes is presenting forward looking and innovative companies that are “of the city”. We closely monitor trends, like the one we see here in the Bay Area: many more companies are moving to San Francisco up from Silicon Valley because it is easier to hold on to key talent and personnel. And in Detroit: the story there is all about the re-sizing of that city as it re-emerges into a sustainable scope, which is all centered into the tight geography of downtown Detroit. In both cases, this is happening because key talent and younger people entering the work force value a walkable lifestyle. Case in point, many studies are showing that millennials are driving at a much lower rate than any previous generation.

This story about Los Angeles was a pleasant surprise when it hit my inbox earlier today: The city that once ripped up its rails and public transportation infrastructure is steadily making its way up the ranks of walkable cities! As this story points out, cities that have walkable centers see higher real estate values in addition to providing more aesthetically pleasing areas, places where the community can gather and opportunities for small businesses to flourish.

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