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10 thoughts on why CitiBike is a game changer for NYC

Williamsburg is only 12 minutes away.The CitiBike bike share program is a complete game changer for NYC, in the right direction. I’m a couple of months late to the conversation (having been out of town all summer), but here are my observations/predictions after 48 hours on a bike:

1) CitiBike is like having hundreds of new subway stops.

CitiBike opens up the city in exciting and unexpected ways. I could imagine far reaching consequences such as increasing commerce in previously less accessible neighborhoods like Greenpoint, Fort Green, and Clinton Hill and reducing the premium paid for proximity to the subway (at least during summer months). I’ve never had a more enjoyable and productive day running errands as I did yesterday.

2) Specifically, ubiquitous cycling revolutionizes crosstown travel.

FInally. Living in the West Village, I rarely traveled east of broadway to eat. Last night, I agreed to meet my friend for dinner in Alphabet City, and was there in 10 minutes.

3) CitiBike is a great deal!

I am going to save a couple hundred $$$s a year by not buying an unlimited metrocard during the warm months. This phenomenon will affect MTA revenues. Look for price hikes within the year.

4) Someone will die, soon.

Many more will will be hurt. It’s an inevitable and unfortunate consequence of throwing thousands of (helmet-less!) people that haven’t ridden bikes since they were in middle school into the melee that is New York City traffic.

Every single person I know with a bike in NYC has been hit at least once. The is the main reason that I never picked up a bike…until now…the on-demand transportation is just too alluring. I only hope that the collision that convinces me to get a helmet will be minor.

5) The City needs to rethink the laws and enforcement around cycling.

The current paradigm of non-enforcement of traffic laws w/r/t cyclists (e.g. allowing them to run red lights and/or go the wrong way down one way streets) is not going to scale, leading to further injuries.

It’s a tricky problem though. Despite being irritated every time I saw some hapless blue shirt and kahkis breaking the law and thus “ruining it” for everyone, I found myself doing the same by the end of the day.

Why? The current traffic laws, designed for pedestrians and vehicles, don’t make sense for cyclists. On a bike it feels much safer to “run” a light in order to get out ahead where traffic can clearly see you as opposed to wait wedged between impatient and inattentive motorists.

We probably need “hybrid” laws tapered to the unique strengths and weaknesses of cyclists. Right now, the only people observing the law are weed delivery boys.

6) CitiBike provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs.

CitiBike will create a new market for accessories, services, and apps. I’m sure someone at 4SQ is already working on a checkin integration and I’d like my citbike app to start my 45 minute countdown as soon as I unlock a bike. If I had the money, I would definitely shell out for this scarf/helmet.

7) Someone at Citigroup deserves a promotion.

What amazing marketing. I can’t believe that I, and everyone else, are calling these things “citibikes.” If someone at CitiGroup sees this, I would love to chat. I have some ideas about how to strengthen your digital program (e.g. you should open your API ASAP).

8) The winter is going to be rough.

All sorts of unforseen complications, injuries, and costs are going to come out of the woodwork.

9) You will learn to hate traffic in a whole new way.

Contrary to what the haters complaining about the “all the lost parking spaces” think, normal New Yorkers are going become even more fed-up with rush hour gridlock. It’s not fun on a bike either. Hopefully this will catalyze support for more bicycle friendly infrastructure (e.g. dedicated lanes, bumpers etc).

10) “People overestimate change in the short term…”

“…but underestimate it in the long term.” Most of these predictions aren’t going to play out over night but if were I a betting man, I would put my chips down on the side of this program making a big, positive change on NYC. I can’t wait.



Skrillex on not giving a f**k about the haters


Sonny Moore, head down and crushing it.


The current standard narrative of fame, especially for US stars, would have him explain how the “haters” make him stronger, how he overcame this or that crippling disadvantage and was now showing all those who doubted him how strong he really is. Moore, however, doesn’t see it that way. “I never really even hear these views, mainly because I don’t have much time for the internet,” he says. “I go to shows and all I see is love. I didn’t even know people had an issue until someone said: ‘Oh, this and that forum seem to have a real problem with you.'” Since he averages more than a show a day, with more than 300 under his belt this year, perhaps his tendency to notice screaming glowstick-flinging ravers over griping keyboard warriors isn’t surprising.

Rules for Networking by Reid Hoffman

Originally Published in Fortune

In the next day: Look at your calendar for the past six months and identify the five people you spend the most time with — are you happy with their influence on you?

In the next week: Introduce two people who do not know each other but ought to. Then think about a challenge you face and ask for an introduction to a connection in your network who could help.

Imagine you got laid off from your job today. Who are the 10 people you’d e-mail for advice? Don’t wait — invest in those relationships now.

In the next month: Identify a weaker tie with whom you’d like to build an alliance. Help him by giving him a small gift — forward an article or job posting.

Create an “interesting people fund” to which you automatically funnel a certain percentage of your paycheck. Use it to pay for coffees and the occasional plane ticket to meet new people and shore up existing relationships.

Confidence in your Lawyer

Guest Post by Grant: Not a real case, but I goddamn that’s fine tone.

Dear Mr. SoAndSo:

I am surprised at the belligerent tone in your letter of 25 April. There is no cause for it.

Your legal counsel tells you one thing. Ours tell us the exact opposite. If you intend to commence arbitration, the arbitrators will have to decide which of our lawyers is correct. I have confidence in mine. I have less confidence in yours.


A Harvard ’04 weighs in on “The Social Network”

How true to life is “The Social Network”?  For what it’s worth, a friend of mine (Harvard ’04) weighs in.

I finally got around to watching the Social Network. I’ve been asked by a few people to make commentary on what was true and false in the movie…Here we go, to the best of my ability:

the social network

Demon(ized)?best of my ability:

1. The Premise: Wanting to get into a Final Club. While there was a certain prestige associated with being a member, you could easily just not be in this scene. I can’t really speak to whether he was obsessed, but it seems a bit tenuous given that the Final Club scene wasn’t a make or break social dealbreaker. But if he thought it was, then he really was a loser!
2. Final Clubs: This could be a whole article in itself.
– “Punching”: this term is correct and I do recall that it involves getting letters under your door
– The scene where there is a guy manning the outside directing the coach bus was actually filmed at the entrance of the Spee Club. The Spee was known to be one of the most open-minded of the clubs. They allowed girls in the front door (not the servants entrance, woot!) and there were no restricted floors for men only.
– Girls arriving on coach buses: I’ve never seen this happen. Nor was there any need to bus girls over for parties. Coach buses were used for punch events out of Boston though. I’ve seen some shady stuff go down inside some clubs, but I don’t think the alumni would allow continual bussing of girls over from another school, once they got wind of it. I was actually one of the few people allowed inside the club the Spee after the alumni banned even their members from entering for 2 months after a “Chinese New Year” party went out of control (I needed to use their Steinway). By out of control, they meant, too many non members were allowed inside. Sadly, it was a rare moment of a club opening itself up but not to be continued.
– Girls were required at punch events. Bringing a good date was important. My friend brought Natalie Portman, for example. I was also there but clearly not nearly as impressive of a date! Tatyana Ali was also there, doing coke.
– Entrance to this club (and any of the clubs) for parties depended on who you knew, which you had to state when the door was opened. This was then verified by that person, who was inside waiting for you.
– Girls could throw parties at the Final Clubs if they knew people in them. I did this at the Fly for the afterparty of a show I produced–it really had nothing to do with being cool or not–it was just if you knew members and asked them nicely.
– The interiors of the clubs ranged from sweet to ghetto. The Spee had a Steinway piano and a real stuffed bear, which went up in flames by accident during a party.
– The Phoenix (which Eduardo Saverin was in) was the club with the most minorities. Punching is based on who you know, so the part about the “diversity punch” is probably just a fabrication.
– The bike room in the Porcelian is true…nobody except members could go past the bike room. The bike room is frankly not that cool and my guess is that the inside is not that much fun, unless there was lots of gay loving going on inside. But either way, this is the most mystical of the clubs because nobody knew what it looked like inside.
– The scene with all the girls stripping, playing poker…I never saw this but some of it was done a bit tongue and cheek.  It’s not really “real” though. Like I said, stuff went down in these clubs but they were typical drunken moments that weren’t different from a fraternity except the requirement to keep the place spic and span.
3. Kirkland House: where Mark lived. This is where I lived too. The interior, exterior and hallways don’t look anything like the movie. Ours was much nicer (but I’m biased). It had the charm of the old New England houses with the crooked, narrow staircases. The dining hall was the only one in Harvard to not have the dark wood paneling–it was light and airy.
4. The Winklevoss Twins: They looked even more annoying in real life.
5. Divya, the Indian sidekick to the twins: Looked even more douchy in real life. I knew with him from freshman year, he was nice but clearly thought highly of himself. This was the casting that was the most off I think.
6. The Facebook Offices: I went to visit in 2007. The movie did a pretty good job of mimicing the feel of the office, but the ceilings were not nearly as high (or the office so large & fancy). There was a cool start-up vibe in the office and I went to their Friday happy hour, where they were discussing installing the first servers for Europe (in Ireland). They also captured in the movie how the desks were put together in quads or so, on wheels. So if there was a new project that needed to be done, they would just wheel themselves into their new project groups! I thought this was the best idea ever.
That’s really all that I am qualified to talk about. Unlike the rumor I spread, I was not the girl who lit Eduardo’s bed on fire and texted him 47 times but I’m a little upset that Harvard classmates thought it could be true!!
Now I should stop procrastinating and do my schoolwork.

The origen of 99 problems

Soon Jay-Z was onto bigger deals. He and his crew traveled up and down the East Coast, sourcing and unloading drugs. Jay-Z recounts the time, in 1994, when he was driving down I-95. He had a stash of crack in a fake compartment in the sunroof of his Maxima when he got pulled over by cops for “no good reason.” The police knew they couldn’t search his car without probable cause, so they called the K-9 unit — the dogs would be able to sniff out the drugs. But the unit didn’t show up, and the cops had to let him go. A minute later, he saw the K-9 unit speeding down the highway in the other direction, but too late — he was already home free. It’s a moment he would later recount in his 2004 hit song, “99 Problems” with the lyric: “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.” At the time, Jay-Z was slammed for the misogynistic use of the word “bitch” — but, as he reveals in his book, he was actually referring to a female dog, or the dogs that never caught up to him that day. “It would have changed my life if that dog had been a few seconds faster,” he writes.

thanks to @iano

Creative Failure

via @BryceLongton alla Ira Glass

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

5 Questions to Make a Decision

another one from bryce:

What am I waiting for?
What would I do if I weren’t scared?
What steps would make things easier?
What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?
What is the worst, and the best, that could happen?

(REPOST) This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post

By Chris Clarke via Orce

Originally posted on Chris’s Blogfire here.

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people. This sentence expresses the unwillingness of the writer to be silenced despite going against the popular wisdom. This sentence is a sort of drum roll, preparing the reader for the shocking truth to be contained in the next sentence.

This sentence contains the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

This sentence claims that there are many people who do not agree with the thesis of the blog post as expressed in the previous sentence. This sentence speculates as to the mental and ethical character of the people mentioned in the previous sentence. This sentence contains a link to the most egregiously ill-argued, intemperate, hateful and ridiculous example of such people the author could find. This sentence is a three-word refutation of the post linked in the previous sentence, the first of which three words is “Um.” This sentence implies that the linked post is in fact typical of those who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence contains expressions of outrage and disbelief largely expressed in Internet acronyms. This sentence contains a link to an Internet video featuring a cat playing a piano.

This sentence implies that everyone reading has certainly seen the folly of those who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence reminds the reader that there are a few others who agree. This sentence contains one-word links to other blogs with whom the author seeks to curry favor, offered as examples of those others.

This sentence returns to the people who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence makes an improbably tenuous connection between those people and a current or former major political figure. This sentence links those people and that political figure to a broad, ill-defined sociodemographic class sharing allegedly similar belief systems. This sentence contains a reference to the teachings of Jesus; its intent may be either ironic or sincere.

This sentence refers to a different historic period, and implies that conditions relevant to the thesis of the blog post were either different or the same. This sentence states that the implications of the previous sentence are a damned shame. This sentence says that the next sentence will explain the previous sentence. This sentence contains a slight rewording of the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

This sentence contains an apparent non-sequitur phrased as if it follows logically from the reworded thesis of the blog post. This sentence is a wildly overgeneralized condemnation of one or more entire classes of people phrased in as incendiary a fashion as possible which claims to be an obvious corollary to the thesis and non-sequitur.

This sentence proposes that anyone who might disagree with the wildly overgeneralized condemnation is, by so disagreeing, actually proving the author’s point. This sentence explains that such people disagree primarily because of the author’s courageous and iconoclastic approach. This sentence mentions the additional possibilities that readers who express disagreement with the wildly overgeneralized condemnation are merely following political fashion or trying to ingratiate themselves with interest groups. This sentence is a somewhat-related assertion based in thoughtless privilege and stated as dispassionate objective truth. This sentence explains that if the scales would merely fall from those dissenting readers’ eyes, they would see the wisdom and necessity of the author’s statements.

This sentence invites readers to respond freely and without constraint as long as those responses fall within certain parameters. This sentence consists of an Internet in-joke that doesn’t quite fit the topic.

[This parenthetical sentence was appended some time after posting as an expression of gratitude for the post’s many visitors and an apology that server overload has prompted the owner’s closing of comments, at least for the time being.]

Ode to Twitter: Please bring my account back to life?

Hi Twitter,

I love your service, can I please start using it again?

Having just read your terms of service for the first time, I am assuming that my account was suspended because I recently started following a lot more people. It’s true. I wanted to try using twitter in a completely new way. As you can see, I had been using twitter on a very small scale, just following people I knew in the real world. It was cool, but I couldn’t really see what all of the true twitter followers were getting so excited about- it felt like status updates. So, I thought I would try different “twitter strategies” to see if I could derive more usefulness from the tool. I read a few blog posts, and the consensus seemed to be that power users are much more liberal in extending their connections. So i did just that- I spent the past several days running persistent searches on various different types of keywords that interest me (entrepreneurship, venture capital, fred wilson). I followed no names and big wigs. I followed without fear of reciprocation. A couple of times I even used a tool that did this for me (I hear this is bad etiquette, sorry!). Sometimes I cut people that didn’t follow me back. Other times I would keep them. I was a twitter scientist.

I was thrilled. I had found a whole new side of twitter! I told my friends how cool I was and what a better experience twitter could be!

And then you shut me down. Sadness. All of that work for naught!

So. I apologize for getting into the gray area of your TOS. But I would love my account and followers and followees back. I was just starting to “get it.”