I don’t really use Waze that much. My trips are typically a combo of walking, biking, subways, and driving and Google Maps does a great job of offering all of those options. Waze is made for driving. So I am more of a Google Maps user than a Waze user.
But Waze has one feature that I am increasingly addicted to: the “plan a trip” later feature.
I am going to Brooklyn this morning for a Board Meeting and then I need to be in my office later. So I pulled out my phone, launched Waze, and figured out when I need to leave by (if I am going by car).
It looks like this:
Given that Google (which owns Waze) has this data, I would love to see Google add this feature to Maps and apply it to subway trips as well.
I would also like Google to add this data to scheduling a meeting in Google Calendar.
Imagine if this feature was available in Resy and Open Table, when you are deciding when to book a table. Imagine if this feature was available any time that you are selecting a time for something and need to travel to it.
We are living in a time when our phones and the services we use know so much about us and the world around us. That is problematic and getting more so. But it is also true that can offer magical experiences that makes our lives so much better. This plan a trip feature and other places it can be applied is an example of the latter.
One of the most vexing issues facing NYC right now is our transportation mess and at the heart of it is the subway system.
My favorite chronicler of the subway mess is Aaron Gordon and his Signal Problems blog/newsletter.
If you want an example of the quality and clarity of Aaron’s analysis and writing, I would point you all to his post on Amazon HQ2 and the transportation issues it presents.
So what does all of this have to do with Funding Friday? Well, I am glad you asked.
Aaron is offering regular readers the opportunity to subscribe for $50/year and help support his efforts to shine a bright light on the MTA and all of its issues.
I think we need more journalism like the kind that Aaron is providing and so I signed up for the $50 today.
If you are a NYC resident and ride the subways regularly and want to stay on top of what’s going on, I strongly suggest subscribing to Signal Problems and while you are at it, you might consider helping to fund this effort with an annual (or monthly subscription). You can do that here.
Quizlet has existed for over a decade as a wikipedia style learning community with its users creating and sharing study sets on pretty much everything and anything. There are over 300 million of these study sets on Quizlet and that number grows larger every day as more people join Quizlet and create and share their study sets.
If you want to become a Quizlet Verified Creator and publish your premium learning content as a Quizlet Study Set, you can go here and do that.
None of this changes the basic Quizlet experience that 50 million people experience every month. As Quizlet wrote in the blog post announcing Premium Content:
You can continue to create study sets and study user generated content to practice and master what you’re learning for free — just like you always have. Quizlet Premium Content doesn’t replace the parts of Quizlet you know and love; it’s adding to it, giving you new ways to use the games and activities on Quizlet to study content you don’t have to create yourself (or rely on other users to create!).
I am excited to see Quizlet add premium content to its massive library of learning material. It allows learners to find new content that may meet their learning needs better than the content they or others have created. It allows teachers and other professional learning content creators to get compensated for their premium content on Quizlet. And, of course, it creates a third revenue stream, in addition to advertising and subscriptions, to diversify Quizlet’s business model.
Quizlet is an amazing learning community. Now professionals can join it and add value while getting compensated for that. I am confident that this new premium content will make Quizlet even better.
This Kickstarter project has been popping up in my various notification channels this past week and I finally got around to backing it. It seems like the perfect gift for a girl who you want to inspire to be everything she can be. Sadly all of the Christmas 2018 rewards are sold out.
I don’t care about or participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But Giving Tuesday is awesome and I never miss the opportunity to participate in a day of collective giving. I love it.
This morning I went on to DonorsChoose and fully funded a project that is near and dear to my heart, teaching early elementary school kids how to write code on tablets with visual programming languages. And in this case, the kids are from a high need neighborhood in the Bronx.
I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes today and give what you can to a cause that is near and dear to your heart. I promise you that it will make you feel great. It really isn’t about how much you give. It is about finding something that matters to you and supporting it with whatever you can afford.
Here are some great resources to find something to support today:
Here is a page from the 2017 statement, which shows how much funding they provided to creative projects across the categories they support.
That is a lot of economic activity, almost 20,000 creative projects were brought to life by Kickstarter PBC and its creator and backer communities.
Innovation takes many forms. Innovation in governance and business model is particularly important right now. And Kickstarter PBC is exploring a new way of running a for profit business and showing the way for others who might want to do the same.
The Highline cost something like $400mm to renovate. Some of the funds came from the city and state, but most came from private donations, like the one the Gotham Gal and I made after taking that walk.
And then we got to watch what happened. The neighborhood exploded and is still exploding. There has to have been tens of billions of dollars of investment in real estate along The Highline over the last ten years and it is still going on. I am not including Hudson Yards, which sits at the northern end of The Highline, which is another economic development story but not the one I am telling.
And into those buildings move companies and people. New homes get created. Then the coffee shops and grocery stores and restaurants come. And the local economy expands, by a lot. The city and the state taxes this economic activity and its coffers fill up a bit more as a result.
When we took that first walk on The Highline, I asked Joshua if there was some way to tax the land owners along The Highline to fund the renovation of it. It was obvious to me that the value of that land was going to go up a lot. He told me there was not. That seemed like a missed opportunity to me back then and still does. I suspect the increased land values along The Highline are an order of magnitude higher than the total investment in The Highline.
That is the power of economic development. It is a virtuous circle. You invest, you grow, you produce economic returns, you invest, you grow. Rinse and repeat.
Why am I telling you this story today?
Well I got this tweet in my timeline sometime yesterday:
Amazon Is Getting $1.5 Billion to Come to Queens https://t.co/B4ITzuSXmj <- Why? @fredwilson Did NYC really need to pay Amazon $1.5B to come there? Will they get it back?
It is a great question. And some economist should do the work. The city probably already has.
My bet is that the City will get a return on this investment. Possibly a very large one. Twenty-five thousands jobs and all of the economic activity those jobs create are going to do a lot for Long Island City and all of NYC.
The annual salaries for those 25,000 employees will be more than the $1.5-2bn that the city and state are committing to this project. When you add to that the real estate that will be constructed and renovated, all of the new homes that will be created for people, and the salaries for all of those construction workers, the local commerce (coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants, etc) and the salaries that all of those employees will take home, etc, etc, I think it is a “no brainer” to be honest.
You can all tell from the posts I have written on this subject over the last week that I am a big fan of economic development. I think it is one of the things that makes a city vital and allows a city to retain its vitality. In the thirty five years we have lived in NYC, we have seen much of Manhattan and Brooklyn rebuilt. Now we are seeing Queens do the same thing. The Bronx and Staten Island are not sitting idle either. It is a magnificent thing to see and I pinch myself every time I think about it.