Video Of The Week: LinkNYC

The LinkNYC project has been under development in NYC for years, going back to the Bloomberg administration. At its core, LinkNYC is an upgrade to the public telephone system in NYC. Since all of these phone booths are “wired”, the city’s partners in this project are running fiber to many of them and are running broadband to all of them. They are upgrading them with tablets and charging stations. And they are providing free wifi around them.

Here’s a short (~2min) video about LinkNYC the Verge made this week:


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    free wifi is excellent. charging is excellent. tablets?

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Can’t wait to find one of these and try it out! There’s gotta be a play for 4SQ in there somewhere… I wonder how insane the maintenance will become.Speaking of 4SQ, they should hire the woman that Yelp! just fired for exposing their labor practices.

    1. jason wright

      the dark underbelly of the tech industry.80% of her income on rent. is this San Francisco?now i understand why “Yelp” – the sound an animal makes when being abused.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Yep, San Francisco.

      2. LE

        Yelp was founded in SF in 2004 which I believe was before costs got out of hand like they are now. If she did the same job in 2004 or 2006 most likely 80% of her rent would not go toward rent. Bottom line if the job doesn’t pay enough go find another job or you might have to move. (You know immigrants move from overseas to find a better life so it’s not unprecedented..)

        1. jason wright

          but Larry, she’s living 40 miles out from her place of work and it’s still 80%. how would being an immigrant change that?

          1. LE

            Where are you seeing she is living 40 miles out (can’t find that) and even if so why does that matter? And if she is traveling 40 miles there are other places that she can work perhaps and get a better paying job.

          2. jason wright

            sorry, correction, only 30 miles out – her life is already on the up. the magic of avc.the economic gravity effect of SF seems to be huge. it reads a lot like London, extending well out beyond its municipal borders. perhaps she had hopes and dreams (like immigrants) of finding that first step on the ladder at Yelp.SF sounds much like a Dickensian novel.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            It SO is. I lived there for 10 years, and it’s worse now.

          4. Kirsten Lambertsen

            In essence you are saying ‘let the market take care of it,” yes?I’d say the author is playing within that game. The author used the resources available to effect change. Yet, everyone is taking it as a bid for sympathy.It’s not begging for sympathy. It’s calling out Yelp (and frankly a huge chunk of the industry in the Bay area). The market is working because I personally will never use Yelp again, and I’ll bet I’m far from alone on that.

          5. LE

            How is she going to effect change with this type of writeup? She doesn’t present her case in a businesslike manner she is simply pulling at heartstrings. The fact is the argument works on you and some others but it isn’t going to work on a cold hearted business person, right?The argument “YELP doesn’t pay enough for me to live on look at how my life sucks” is not a convincing argument in my book.

          6. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Well, it sure looks like it’s working for a LOT of people (perhaps those who don’t match your personal demographic). She has already effected changeHey, if I was her editor, I might have trimmed it and tightened it up, but there is nothing wrong with her post. It’s not a business memo.You know what would NOT have made any change? Going through “channels” in a businesslike manner.

          7. LE

            Well, it sure looks like it’s working for a LOT of peopleWhat do you think she is, Rosa Parks? I mean people already know it’s expensive to live in SF, right? Ditto for NYC. So what is working? Another straw on the camel?You know what would NOT have made any change? Going through “channels” in a businesslike manner.Agree with that and it wasn’t what I was suggesting by the way.I can only speak for myself that when I have won battles it was by using my head and presenting a convincing argument as to why someone should agree with me.And in the case of even when I give others advice (such as my wife with her job) I tell her to worry about herself and not all of her co-workers. So go in and try to convince your boss to give you a raise and give him the reasons to do so. If you try to convince him to raise wages for everyone you will only end up disadvantaging yourself is the way I look at it. (It’s easier to find a reason to pay one person more than many people). Now of course she claims that she did this but perhaps her execution was off. So in that case once again go and look for another job is the advice that I think any of us would have given her.

          8. Kirsten Lambertsen

            As I’ve said elsewhere here, surviving within the system is one option she could have taken. The author chose to shake things up. Both are valid options and both can result in positive or negative outcomes.If the author is trying to rattle the cage at Yelp, the author has succeeded brilliantly.This isn’t whining. It’s initiative.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      I’m probably way more cynical than everyone else but I don’t think anything was “exposed” here. I’m not particularly surprised by this, and it is fairly well known that San Francisco is the most expensive rental market in the United States. It’s also pretty well known that many telephone customer service jobs are high turnover.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I think the author did a lot of future Yelp customer service rep candidates a big favor. If you want to pay crap in the country’s most expensive market, go ahead. But let it be known to all, far and wide, that you suck.

        1. LE

          Separately Kirsten the reason they can pay sucky wages is because the collective group will accept those wages. They are all acting in their own self interest. If they were working in the interest of the group they would not accept the wages and YELP would be forced to pay more. (Has nothing to do with unions just human behavior..)I don’t like the entire business concept of YELP by the way I am not a fan at all of all of the shitty stuff that I have heard that goes on with the way they work there. And in fact I don’t really like the ability of individuals to decimate a business because the business gave them shitty service on one day or somehow didn’t bend over to their every whim. It creates an economic model where a business has to expend a great deal of energy dealing with outlier customers and not the 80% in the middle. If you have ever dealt with customers in any business you will find out that it is really hard to consistently please certain people. (I am not saying there aren’t examples of bad places by the way just that I know of places that are perfectly good that get slammed for things that are not fair..)

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Leading us back to my OC 🙂 4SQ should hire the author of that post (if the author indeed turns out to be not completely out of the question), for all sorts of reasons including those that benefit 4SQ.

          2. LE

            I will bet you $50 they won’t hire her or touch her with a 10 foot pole.Only reason they would hire her is as a publicity stunt. I will still give you the $50 if that is the case though..So go ahead and write to Dennis or Fred and pitch the idea and let’s see what happens.She probably got fired because of some contract clause but even if not I would have axed her for writing that if she worked for me as long as it was legal to do so under the circumstances.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            He has *all* the power and *all* the resources and claims *all* the authority in this situation. And he’s done a terrible job handling it. I have zero empathy for him. And I’m sure he thinks he’s done just great and everyone around him is telling him he’s done just great.

          4. LE

            And I’m sure he thinks he’s done just great and everyone around him is telling him he’s done just great.(SOB’s that make money have plenty of people that are their friends.) That said each crime that someone does is independent of any other crimes. He could be a total asshat but he still has the right to present his point of view on this situation and be judged independent of any previous facts.

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Sure. I’m not suggesting we deny him his rights. I’m not even suggesting he’s an asshat. But pretty is as pretty does.

          6. jason wright

            surely he could sue her for breach of confidentiality?what, no SV McCarthyist blacklist her name can be added to?”the dark underbelly of the tech industry” – Jason Wright. you can quote me.

        2. Richard

          Let’s not forget, that many sf tech companies are subsidized by VC. The problem is that these wages are not in a true long term equilibrium state (supply and demand). They are dependent on the next round of VC, for the next round of startups, to be maintained.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Great point.

        3. Salt Shaker

          Presume anyone (or certainly most) who takes a CSR position views it primarily as a stepping stone within an organization. For most it’s obv not considered a chosen or lucrative career path. CSR’s are an important spoke for any service oriented org, but the farther removed from product design, operations and rev stream generation generally the lower the compensation. Common sense (or lack thereof) and naïve choices seem to apply here. Perhaps she wasn’t good at her job and the prospects for advancement weren’t bright? Perhaps she wasn’t willing (or able) to make the necessary time commitment for advancement? The realization that her compensation wouldn’t cover her expenses should have been fully evident before she accepted the position. Not that I don’t empathize with her situation, but it seems she was far more shortsighted about her financial needs than Yelp was disingenuous, unethical or predatory in its compensation practices.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Sure, perhaps. The author is young and eager to get a foot in the door, it would seem.Nonetheless, none of the author’s lack of foresight or naivete or even possible poor performance make Yelp’s practices not wrong. Are we saying that the naivete of fresh college grads is fair hunting ground for exploitive C-suite executives? If you walk around with your wallet sticking halfway out of your back pocket, does that mean I’m not subject to prosecution if I take it?I think Yelp is a clear case where they need to be scorned in the public square. We as a society need to start asserting that we don’t think it’s ok to do something just because you can or the market will bear it.I also think the author has done exactly what all of us in business would say the author should do: take initiative. Unless we’re all saying that the right thing to do is go along to get along.

          2. Salt Shaker

            We all make choices in life, right? Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I presume if Yelp wasn’t able to staff their CSR dept properly cause of low wages they’d raise the bar, or perhaps high churn in the dept, as the author indicated, would be another red flag (the cost of perpetual re-training). This job clearly wasn’t the right decision for her, but Yelp wasn’t breaking any laws. The author made a decision and it had a bad outcome. She’ll learn from the experience. (Honestly, who has never experienced an exploitative or shit job?) If minimum wage compensation laws are still onerous then that’s a legislative issue. Not to suggest corporate America doesn’t have some obligation, but at the end of the day it’s a bottom line biz, with even greater scrutiny for publicly traded companies. Informed choices lead to better outcomes.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Yep, and the author just helped a whole lotta people make an informed choice in the future.The author did learn from the experience and took bold action.As for Yelp, and not breaking the law, I drink a cup of their tears for this ‘bad’ thing the author did to them.

          4. Salt Shaker

            I’m honestly not sure how many people the author actually helped. Most readers I presume would be making more intelligent choices to begin with. Surprised she didn’t blame her landlord for the high rent, or the auto leasing company for her car payments. All the author did was deflect blame from herself, who is the ultimate decision-maker. Zero accountability on her part.

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            So now you’re knocking the author’s intelligence?She is calling out Yelp’s exploitive practices. What part of that exactly is she accountable for? The fact that she took the job?I seem to be the only one in this conversation who thinks we should be holding the CEO of Yelp to a higher standard than a 25 year old young person just out of college.

          6. Salt Shaker

            Not Q the author’s intelligence, Kirsten, just her decision-making. If she has X dollars in monthly expenses and her monthly income is X -Y then either the job isn’t right for her and/or her living expenses are beyond her means. The author can’t solely blame her employer if she can’t afford to live/work in SV. Moving there was a conscious choice on her part, presumably w/ no pressure, yet she places the onus totally on Yelp as if she has no culpability in the equation. First and foremost, she’s a victim of the choices she made.

          7. LE

            I think Yelp is a clear case where they need to be scorned in the public square.Do we know what the truth is here actually? Or are we (you) just relying on a single blog post and/or anecdotes? Trying in the court of public opinion in other words?Public scorn isn’t particularly the right way to go if it’s based on knee jerk reactions from the peanut gallery.

          8. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Well we’ve certainly tried the author already in the court of public opinion, haven’t we? The author has certainly suffered the scorn of the knee jerk reactions of the peanut gallery (see the comments on the post).I haven’t seen the CEO deny the pay rate for that position.

          9. LE

            For the record I am being as fair as I need to be as a person commenting on the subject given the fact that I am not paid to write things on AVC and it’s not my job. She wrote something, you posted it and I have 100% right to say what I want about it. (No way you could disagree with that). I am glad to hear what you think about it by the way and the back and forth. Let’s face it we just feel differently about this type of situation. As far as the pay rate sure maybe YELP is a pig for sure and my comments are more directed at the things she wrote (which she could have written even if she was paid $5 more per hour by the way..)

          10. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Same 😉

          11. Matt Zagaja

            I think there are two separate issues here the first being whether what Yelp pays is a reasonable thing to pay to a recent college graduate in the San Francisco area and then the other issue is whether this girl should have taken this position. I think many of the free market thinkers are only looking at the second question (if the job was terrible why didn’t she become a marine biologist in Maine instead?) but Kristen is importantly also pressing on the first question. But the thing about the first question is there are a whole host of things we do not know. Like is this job intended for college graduates or is it also ok for high school graduates? What standard of living do we believe college graduates are entitled to? Should they be able to afford a 1BR apartment in the city they work in? How long should they be expected to commute? Do we expect them to have roommates? Should they be allowed to eat out once in a while? Do they get a retirement plan?In a market where anyone can easily acquire the skills to do all sorts of jobs, many workers are easily replaced now and the labor market is “bottoming out” on wages. We can either raise the floor, increase the negotiating power of workers, or maybe try something like public subsidies or a basic income. But in the meantime some public shaming probably doesn’t hurt as well.

          12. Kirsten Lambertsen

            One of the reasons I come on so strongly about this one is that her salary is the same amount we were paying for the same position almost *20* years ago in the same city. (I’m speaking from first hand experience on that matter.) And it wasn’t enough to live on then. Truly, it wasn’t.

          13. LE

            Good points. But:the first being whether what Yelp pays is a reasonable thing to pay to a recent college graduate in the San Francisco areaWhy does that matter at all? “Recent college graduate”. A company needs employees and there is a pool of people that apply or not apply based on the pay rate. If someone works for peanuts at NBC in NYC after graduating from Harvard Law is that the fault of NBC offering the position and having 20 people that have those qualifications apply? (Non law position I mean..)but Kristen Isn’t that funny my brain keeps thinking “kristen” instead of “kirsten”.is there are a whole host of things we do not knowWhich is exactly what I don’t like about the court of public opinion. And since you are an attorney it makes sense that you would feel this way as well.What standard of living do we believe college graduates are entitled to? To me has nothing to do with it. And you know there are no laws to that effect anywhere that pay needs to be different for college graduates.What standard of living do we believe college graduates are entitled to?Once again that doesn’t matter to me. If you decide to go to college it’s your risk. You know my sister maybe two years ago didn’t get the memo that law was not a good profession anymore. You know it’s been all over the news for quite some time. Whose fault is that if she sends her kid (she didn’t because I clued her in) to law school? (She isn’t stupid either she does research … she just doesn’t read the paper or pay attention to that shit I guess..)many workers are easily replaced now and the labor market is “bottoming out” on wages. A CS job like this requires no college degree. The only reason you might want a college degree with a front facing position is for the following reason. Are you ready? Because you don’t want them to sound “blue collar” you want them to sound “white collar”.

          14. Matt Zagaja

            The law isn’t a cross for us to die on, it’s just where things stand today. We’re allowed to pass and change laws like minimum wages, etc. as long as they pass a rational basis test.That being said I do not agree with this risk assessment. If someone does not go to college they are likely to not get a well paying job (if you look at the statistics) and contribute as much to the economy. If someone goes to college they are more likely to, but because of the way loans are structured and how much of them there really are, the risk is actually on the public. Some loan holders are defaulting, some will be forgiven, etc. and that loss all comes from the US taxpayer. Or if you’ll remember what Trump taught us, if you owe someone a little money you’re in trouble, if you owe them a lot of money and can’t pay it then they’re in trouble.A systemic market failure whereby many new graduates are not getting trained and/or are being paid low wages isn’t nearly as big of a problem for the loan holders as it will be for the US taxpayers. Especially in a world where the tax code gives preferential treatment to investors and stops taxing social security after a certain threshold, we are giving up capturing the upside on the “unicorns” to pay for the ones that don’t make it.

          15. LE

            Or if you’ll remember what Trump taught us, if you owe someone a little money you’re in trouble, if you owe them a lot of money and can’t pay it then they’re in trouble.This is a play on an old saw “if you owe the bank $1000 and can’t pay you’ve got a problem. If you owe them $1,000,000 and can’t pay the bank has a problem..”You know if you ask anyone you will find that there are many trade jobs that people could do w/o a college education (and with a trade school education, before your time they were called “greasers” essentially kids who took “shop” in high school) but everyone is just convinced that traditional college is the only way to earn a living (it’s not) and that liberal arts in particular is needed for everyone (as opposed to specific skills). And trades are looked down on. You wouldn’t dispute that, right?You don’t own a home I am guessing? I own a home and some investment properties. And I literally can’t find skilled people to do repairs and renovate those properties at all. Hard to even get quotes on things. And this is an ordinary suburb, not a hot market. And it’s that way in many places as well. You know the local handyman company charges $125 for a call? The plumber who comes out gets several hundred dollars for a typical all. To replace or fix an alarm I can pay hundreds of dollars.I just had a bathroom remodeled (cost $35,000). The contractor messed up the tile floor in the shower. (It doesn’t drain right). Why? He is so busy and he doesn’t have enough labor. You know what else? I didn’t pay him the final $4000 for the job. All he has to do to get the $4000 is come and repair the floor so it drains (not trivial but not super hard either). You know he hasn’t contacted me in 4 months to schedule that and get his $4000 because a) he is busy and b) he doesn’t have enough tile guys to handle the business that he has. Ditto for other contractor esq work. (I have many examples of this).None of these guys went to college. But yet all are making what anyone would consider a good living. (And this is not housing boom related either this is bread and butter homeowner things that go on in most economic time periods).Bottom line: Not enough jobs for college grads (of the traditional type).

          16. Matt Zagaja

            Well there was a period of time recently where there were significant layoffs and going into construction did not seem like that smart of a bet for a high schooler(and a waste of taxpayer money to train people to work in a declining field). It takes time for the hangover to subside before the market responds.

          17. LE

            Perhaps she wasn’t good at her job and the prospects for advancement weren’t bright? Perhaps she wasn’t willing (or able) to make the necessary time commitment for advancement?Exactly. But nobody wants to believe that. They want to think it’s not the person, it’s the employer that is responsible for all evils. They guy who runs the coal mine in a one company town (which may have been the case..). No personal responsibility.You know what else these companies do that is so “unfair”? They make the work environment (don’t know about YELP but in general from what I see these tech startups) a fun place to work. So for example it’s a place that is filled with your peers (not old codgers at traditional companies) that seems cool and fun to work at. So that is something that sucks them in. Instead of thinking of the long game they are attracted by the short term fun in some cases, right?The realization that her compensation wouldn’t cover her expenses should have been fully evident before she accepted the position. Right. This idea that it will all just work out doesn’t fly. I see that now with my younger brother in law who is an Opera singer. He just thinks it will all work out in the end and he will be a star even though he ends up going from gig to gig and there is no guarantee that he will ever make a decent living. I remember when he told me that he could earn $1000 for 3 hours work singing at an old age home where I went to see him perform one time. I said “that’s great is it hard to get work like this”? He acted as if he could easily get more gigs that were similar to that but he didn’t like that type of work! Imagine that! It’s not the type of work he likes!Not that I don’t empathize with her situationUnfortunately I can’t empathize with her from what I read.

          18. Kirsten Lambertsen

            You guys all need to see the movie “Thief.” There’s generosity and then there’s a tyranny of generosity.As for everyone wanting to blame the company, I guess you mean everybody except most of the people responding to my comments?

          19. LE

            I guess you mean everybody except most of the people responding to my comments?The fact that people on AVC agree or disagree with what you say (or what I say) is inconsequential to me. Opinions can swing either way. The reason that trials last so long is that details matter and in this case we don’t have all of the details we are all just speculating.I am not a fan of YELP and I am not a fan of many companies actually. However I tend to go for the idea that people have to consider the consequences of their actions and look to themselves and what they do to solve their problems. Driving 40 miles for a low paying job because you think it’s cool to work at a “tech” company in SF and then complaining about the wages because they are not high enough is not taking charge of your life. It’s pointing fingers in the wrong direction.The person in this case who wrote this post is clearly an aspiring comedy writer (by her own words) and not a serious worker at the job she had (which is separate from YELP sucking of course). As such the messenger in this case (along with her liberal hyperbole if I may call it that) to me detracts from her message which is presented in a manner that is not convincing to me at all. She is trying to entertain and be over the top like some talking head on TV. She is not interested in presenting the truth she is interested in page views and notoriety. The truth would take more work and be boring and not get attention.Here is only one example for illustration:”Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic?” Is that an example that you would make in court to win an argument? Is that an example you would use to convince someone to buy your product? Not only that but why would the company allow people to bring home food to eat anyway? What kind of entitlement is this type of thinking? “You won’t let us take the pepsi in the fridge home!”. Ridiculous.

    3. LE

      Speaking of 4SQ, they should hire the woman that Yelp! just fired for exposing their labor practices.I actually just read 60% of that at your suggestion. I couldn’t bear to read the rest. We will have to differ on this one. To me what we have a millennial who decided to go down the predictable low paying path of an english major so they could follow their passion no less in an expensive city. Now they want to lay blame on the employer for not paying a working wage. Or giving them free food that they can take home. [1] There are jobs out there that pay living wages but they might not be in the exciting city that you want to live in or doing something that you find personally fulfilling. To bad. [2] [3][1] I would have loved to be in the entertainment business (behind the counter) when I graduated. Unfortunately economically and for other reasons that was not an option.[2] There is competition for the exciting fun jobs that’s one of the reasons they pay so little. Supply and demand.[3] You know when my dad (as many immigrants did) came to this country, before he started his business, he worked in a factory job and worked his way up to manager. It was not his passion to manage a factory (he was studying to be a rabbi in the old country I was told). But he did what he had to do to make ends meet. The first business that I started was not my passion either. But after I made some money I was able to play with computers which I was fun. By the way once I made money I also enjoyed what I previously didn’t think was particularly exciting. I became passionate about it because I was good at it it turns out. And it led to me being able to do other things. The funny thing was I was never raised (as many people from my generation were) to even think about passion it was just about finding something that you might be good enough at to earn a decent living and provide for yourself and your family.

      1. Richard

        Before the Internet, the hottest job job for an English major was to work with a NYC magazine house, such as Conde Naste. The pay was awful and hours were insane but the experience was rewarding. Most of these job were taken my upper middle income to higher income families whose families supsidized their income so that they could live in NYC. The mistake this girl made was working for Yelp. If you are going to be paid peanuts and work all day, you should at least do something that is fun and filled with talented people and events.

        1. LE

          Most of these job were taken my upper middle income to higher income families whose families supsidized their income so that they could live in NYCAnd there is nothing wrong with that (I am not saying you are saying that just commenting btw.). Fred’s children have advantages because Fred and Joanne worked hard to get to where they are now. Not everybody will ever have the same advantages it has always been (and should be) a generational thing. I help my daughter out with an apartment in NYC. She actually has a real job also (not a ephemeral startup job..) When I went to college I lived at home. There wasn’t even a question of living on campus. I also worked during college (and in high school for that matter). I wasn’t playing around at all. Didn’t go to a single party. But I had more advantages than my parents did because of the hard work that they did before me. My daughters have more advantages than I do. (The other one is in London for school for 5 months this year for example). That is the way it works and the way (in my opinion) it should work. My dad came here with nothing and my mom grew up poor in a family of 4 kids where her father died when she was very young around the time of ww2.

          1. Richard

            Your instincts were correct, I was not making any judgements on the situation. In my case my GF at the time (late 90s) needed all the advantages that wealth brings in adolescence (experiences, travel, fashion, education) to make the most of the opportunity. By the way it you make it up the ladder at a major publisher (on the publishing side of the house vs the editorial), it’s a great career.

        2. awaldstein

          Really…not for this lower middle class English Major with no pedigree nor connections except hard work.Certainly not the only choice by a long shot.I went to Cal and talked myself in the computer gaming industry.They didn’t care what your father did.

    4. LE

      I am interested in your counter point to my point by the way. I know we think differently on these things! I wouldn’t touch someone who wrote this with a ten foot pole. To hot to handle it’s practically all down side.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I don’t think there’s an acceptable excuse for paying people what she got paid, in the Bay area no less.There are companies who seem to make paying a livable wage to customer support staff workable. Automattic and Buffer come to mind immediately.The salary that Yelp pays to their CS staff reflect just how much they value their customers.We’re all tired of hearing, “We pay crap, but there ARE pistachios in the kitchen! Lucky you!” We see right through that.Now, it did cross my mind that the author did something risky in writing this piece. Does it mean the author is a risk-seeking person in general? Or is the author a brave, selfless leader? I would have to spend time with the author to know. But, at this moment, my money is on the author going on to do big things.

        1. LE

          But, at this moment, my money is on the author going on to do big things.By my rule of PR there is a good chance that you are right. She has set herself away from the pack. Even if some view her negatively there are people who will view her positively who might give her an opportunity that she wouldn’t have because she wasn’t known at all if she didn’t write this and get fired for doing so.

        2. Richard

          Think about it. It’s a customer service job that appears to be paying 40k or so (Cali Taxes are super high). The pay seems relatively competitive.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            That’s what we were paying customer service people in San Fran in 1997. I know first-hand. It wasn’t enough to live on then, either.

        3. LE

          By the way this is the writer:Talia is a newly available aspiring comedy writer living in San Francisco who recently left Los Angeles to pursue a career in hangin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool.Sounds like a hard worker to me.'s very clear that she is just biding time “waiting tables” so she can pursue her passion to be a comedy writer or in the entertainment or editorial area along with the 1,000,000 other people who would like to do the same thing.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Way to sum up a whole person from about 200 characters of text.

          2. LE

            Well you don’t know what I do but part of what I do (to earn a living) is sum up people quickly in order to make decisions with how to deal with them. And I have a really good record with my “snap” judgements and seem to have a knack for it (when it matters). Those snap judgements seem to bother people (including you) quite a bit. So unfortunately I have to stick with what works for me.The “hard worker” was snark for sure. But I think my definition of “hard worker” might be different than others definition.

  3. William Mougayar

    Pretty cool. Is there a worry that they might get vandalized or bashed up?

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Usually kiosks like this are hardened with special coatings to make them easy to clean.

    2. LE

      Four sided cameras would be a great security addition to these devices.

      1. awaldstein

        How would that really help?

        1. LE

          Well these are street level devices which they are deploying that are connected. By placing cameras on them there are additional security watchpoints (in addition to whatever else is out there). The cost is trivial compared to the benefits. To your question having a camera recording who was vandalizing the box would help as well (but that wasn’t even my primary thought). The 4 sides are simply to grab as much photo data as possible. In cases like what follows below (this week in Philly on Jewelers row for example)…

          1. awaldstein

            Kinda cool.My point is that in NY having a pic of someone spray painting the device doesn’t matter. No one will every pursue it.There are a million bigger items.

          2. LE

            There are a million bigger items.Agree. [1]As far as “pursue” you are right. But having data which a computer algorithm can parse and access means that if someone commits an important crime that matters in one geographic area (and you have photo data) you can then search your image database and find other places and areas which they frequent. In that sense, and given highly detailed photos, it can be extremely helpful in solving crimes.[1] Otoh I tend to be a big believer in the broken windows theory. I find that this also works with kids you have to keep them on a short leash or things get out of hand.

          3. awaldstein

            My original point was not that, it was that security camera and curbing vandalism are not connected necessarily.

      2. jason wright

        fingerprint activation might be a deterrent

    3. awaldstein

      The more public the place my bet is the less it will happen.The only protection for something like this is cultural change.It will of course happen but I bet vandalism is going down not up in public places.

  4. andrew chase

    Tried one a couple days ago, the speed is incredible

    1. fredwilson

      supposed to be a gigabit

      1. Matt Zagaja

        My guess is it’s an 802.11n connection which maxes out around 450Mbps.

    2. William Mougayar

      Wow, I’ve never experienced an upload speed that’s higher than the download speed. I feel so behind.

  5. LE

    Seems like something that needs to be in a hotel lobby.Plus it’s trying to be to many things to to many people. The utility of some of the things will also be lost in a city of tourists or newbies who end up tying up the device as it’s hogged by one cornhusker. They could have put more USB ports on it and put them on more than the front side of the device. Plus is anyone really going to want to tap into city services on a city street. Also ditto @wmoug:disqus comments about vandalism.

  6. Jaikant Kumaran

    This would make NYC traveller friendly.

    1. awaldstein

      It’s already pretty friendly.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Come to NYC! We will be friendly to you 🙂 Nobody loves providing directions or suggestions of where to get a bite to eat more than a long-time New Yorker.

      1. Jaikant Kumaran

        Thanks so much. Its always the heart which matters. Technology will have its limitations.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Truth 🙂

  7. creative group

    FRED:A year older. Do you feel older and wiser?

  8. Joel Natividad

    Much the same way electricity, modern plumbing, and elevators reshaped the urban landscape, I believe LinkNYC has the potential to usher in a whole host of innovations IF LinkNYC and the City allows “approved” IoT devices to use it as the de facto IoT backbone of the City.We explored some of these possibilities with – our submission to the reinvent pay phone challenge.A liberal interpretation of the FAQ seems to imply so.”The future of public wifi is here, and is now being distributed!” #WilliamGibsonRemix 🙂

  9. Brandon Burns

    Who says de Blasio isn’t getting anything done?! 😛

  10. Chris Phenner

    If I may add (plug) the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) stack that is also embedded, Gimbal has been working with Intersection (previously Control Group & Titan Outdoor) for years.Below is a media campaign example of Gimbal Beacons at Work, and you can imagine a blend of revenue-producing experiences and benign (eg, way-finding) experiences that could be enabled by a host of third-party apps and devices (as authorized by NYC & Intersection).…Very cool to see this reacted to via AVC.

  11. Michael Elling

    “Pay your parking ticket.” Native content exposed. Also there is inherent irony in the fact that more than 50% of the comments so far are on an unrelated (albeit related because the person discussed needs free wifi to survive) subject of low wages and the tyranny of generosity, rather than a discussion of the pros and cons of LinkNYC and it’s technological and socio-economic impact and ramifications.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      So. I’ve been feeling… guilty? Like I hijacked the comments. It wasn’t intentional. From your POV, would it have been better citizenship (here at avc) to have just backed away from the discussion a bit so that it didn’t overwhelm the intended topic of the post?

      1. Michael Elling

        Not at all. I think it helps to link it back to the original post, though. But the fact that it took up so much space shows how central that issue is to many and not the initial one; nor the linkage between the two.Access is the fundamental issue of our time and few really comprehend all the variables around it. But to make it simple there are really just two: interconnection out to the edge (wifi being a great, but not only, example) offset or combined with internetwork or interactor settlements to promote greater ecosystem network effect and not this winner takes all attitude prevalent among VC’s and most in the trade.Ironically, I believe the latter is also a principal issue behind and direct cause of the events that led up to the incident you introduced; inadvertently “hijacking” the discussion. Hope this salves and puts into perspective my comment.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Thank you. That feedback is much appreciated 🙂 Want to make sure I don’t turn into one of those people who always changes the subject, heh.I figured I could rely on you for level-headed feedback. Thanks, again!

          1. Michael Elling

            Thank you! Your response prompted me to go back and at least weigh in on what I think is right and wrong about LinkNYC. Networks have a lot of unintended consequences (after all they’re typically viewed as “externalities” in classical economic theory) and so something that on the surface looks good and is well-intentioned can actually have the opposite impact.

  12. Michael Elling

    What is right about this model:1) It fills a gap left in part by payphones2) It provides a useful community service3) It can from time to time help those in needHopefully they figure out a way to measure and understand usage to see what real benefit it provides and to whom.What is wrong about this model:1) does not bridge the digital divide2) doesn’t adequately solve mobile or fixed problems for 99% of people3) not done efficiently4) not really generative and self-sustaining in terms of other networks5) it neither highlights the problems (high cost, coverage, etc…) in access today or solves those problems6) not tied into NYC’s other major wifi initiative, TransitWireless

  13. Gregory Magarshak

    Pretty amazing! I think municipal broadband can easily beat corporations for delivering the last-mile internet access, if the legal hurdles by the states are cleared. This is just an example in our own city!

    1. Michael Elling

      But that’s not what this is by a long-shot.

  14. pointsnfigures

    this is cool, but don’t people have cell phones to find what they need?

  15. Kirsten Lambertsen

    If you can’t make a business workable without paying employees sub-poverty wages, then I think you suck at business and should reconsider.

  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I think the author has chosen the route of trying to change things, rather than find a way to survive within them. Both are valid. Both can lead to successful outcomes.

  17. LE

    I don’t think the right way to put this is “you suck at business”. Take McDonalds as one example do they “suck” at business? Can people earn a non poverty wage working for Starbucks? The barista I spoke to recently only works there because she gets healthcare. She supplements her pay there teaching piano. She has a communications degree from a no-name college and has given up on trying to get that work (mainly because her needs are met now and she likes teaching piano which unfortunately is not a long term goal I would say..)

  18. Richard

    What is a sub-poverty wage?

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Oh, good point. I should have said sub-living.

  20. awaldstein

    That was my point.

  21. LE

    If she was looking to display her talents as a comedy writer she did a poor job with this essay that is for sure.

  22. Matt Zagaja

    Getting jobs in the modern economy is not about skill but it is more like a lottery. I had to put in 80 applications and go through 20 interviews to get my current gig. The truth is most companies do not want to pay and train entry level workers anymore. Once you’re past that threshold everyone fights for you because the supply of trained workers is low. My advice for getting jobs in your field is simple:1. Build a project portfolio of wins (and losses) that you can talk about in interviews.2. Network like your life depends on it because it does. But understand that the value of networking tends to not be so much in getting referred in to a position but rather understanding the body of knowledge that everyone at the top of your field shares.[1] It is also a valuable way to figure out what actually matters when a company hires/interviews because more often than not the job description deviates from what they’re actually looking for. Some are quite aspirational but others are just a baseline. Also it is worth checking LinkedIn/Facebook before you apply to a company to see if anyone you know is there or connected to there and can put your application in on a referral. Referrals work differently depending on the organization but generally larger companies will at least pull your resume out of the pack and interview you if you come in on referral, and if you get hired it is sometimes the case the referring employee gets a recruiting bonus.3. For your first job in your field you should go for quantity over quality of applications. Optimize your workflow using apps like TextExpander and having templates for cover letters that are already proofread/vetted. You should be able to ship a complete job application in 30 minutes to 1 hour, but if the job is a dream job then you can double that and level up the quality.4. Even if you don’t get a job that you are over or under qualified for it is worth going for the interviews to practice interview skills.5. Set goals for applications shipped by day and week. Use twitter and linkedin to get inbound job applications. Track deadlines with links to the applications in a task app like OmniFocus.6. Make sure you get the names of everyone that contacts you via phone and send appropriate thank yous within 24 hours. If you know who you are interviewing with Google them, stalk their LinkedIn, twitter, etc.7. Use the “People Who Viewed You” on LinkedIn to see what companies are actually vetting you that you’ve applied to.8. When you interview with someone ask them for a timeline of when you should expect to hear next from them. If you do not hear next then you are their backup candidate which is not fun. They don’t dislike you enough to ding you right away, but they don’t love you enough to offer you first. Treat these as rejections and keep applying/interviewing until you get an offer. If they do come back to you then it is good luck, but don’t put bets on it in the meantime. Do not stop applying for jobs until you actually have an offer in hand that you’ve accepted, you can always withdraw applications from other places later.9. If you aren’t having luck getting a job sometimes people will tell you something is wrong with your resume and try and fix that. Once you are applying at scale you will quickly be able to tell if something actually is or is not wrong with your resume because the resume gets you the interviews (provided the position actually lines up with your skill level). Do not feel unqualified if you don’t get picked because:10. Why do I recommend this? Based what I’ve seen and applied to it seems that on average open positions at large organizations will get 700 to 1300+ applicants.11. This process gets better (or harder?) after you make it past the gate because then you switch from not being able to get a job to having recruiters and others give you options. It becomes easier to specialize and match with positions after entry level and you won’t have to apply at volume anymore.12. When you have a job make sure you go to conferences and other events when given the chance. Never hurts to keep your skills updated and find out what cool things are happening in your field.Good luck.[1] This is often different from the general body of knowledge you get in school. For example startups want people that can program in Rails and use Git, but I have two programmers that come to the meetup I go to that had no used Git before despite having a CS degree.

  23. Matt Kruza

    This may be the best explanation of how bad our current job / college/ training is in the country. Probably the most inefficient part of our economy. Huge free markets guy here, but I find it very interesting to study the inefficiencies of the market, and here is one massive inefficiency that is getting way way worse. Long answer for the solution is: its complicated. Short answer: college basically needs to be phased out and repllaced with more company training a/ apprenticeship. But backto the long nswer: very complicated to do and huge inertial forces / vested interests stopping that

  24. Jaikant Kumaran

    The setting of Sugata’s experiment was a community of poor people, constrained of space. These folks don’t vandalize, I am surprised they didn’t steal it and try to sell it off instead.