Hello ,

Bernard Lowe: It's the code you added, sir. The reveries. It has some, uh...
Robert Ford: "Mistakes" is the word you're too embarrassed to use. You ought not to be. You're a product of a trillion of them. Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool: the mistake.
Bernard Lowe: I flattered myself we were taking a more disciplined approach here. I suppose self-delusion is a gift of natural selection as well.

- Westworld, The Original, Season 1, Episode 1

As more developers work with machine learning tech, they are shifting from a coding mindset to something that looks more like teaching. This is a constantly emphasized in Westworld as various levels of “developers” interact with the robot hosts.  Programmed behaviors give way to emergent and unexpected behaviors and interactions.

The import theme in the first season is about control. What is the difference between creating something, versus creating an environment in which unexpected, outcomes can emerge? How does this impact the ability to scale behaviors?  It reminds us of the transition that early stage founders go through.

Many successful founders start out as great engineers, designers, marketers or salespeople. They’re designing a product or a pitch. They get used to direct control. But as the company grows, they need to switch to building the organization - it's far less predictable and requires a transition to less control. It’s not an easy adjustment.

YC’s Ali Rowghani explores this theme in The Second Job of the Startup CEO.

[Startup Candidate] Comodule has built a platform to make it simple for bike and  EV manufacturers to connect their “things” to the internet. With this, they unlock new applications from sharing to safety.

[Startup Candidate] SOMACAT is a kick scooter rental system. It’s also the most compact form of shared urban mobility.

[Startups] First Round “State of Startups” has fantastic data from founders on everything from the fundraising environment to company culture (guess what time most people leave the office). Read the full report.

[Urbantech] Reimagining Cities from the Internet Up - Sidewalk Labs CEO and co-founder, Dan Doctoroff, shares the results of their deep dive into how they might re-imagine cities. He explains Sidewalk’s plans to build labs to help them re-imagine cities.

Sidewalk's mobility spinoff, Flow, has a new CEO. Longtime Urban.Us friend, Stephen Smyth (and Shaun’s classmate from MIT CADLab) will lead Flow as they explore pilot projects focused on parking.

[Policy] US City Climate Policy will become more important in the US. While Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio are some of the people trying to sway PEOTUS on climate policy, US Mayors already have a roadmap and are committing to do more. Details from C40.

[Insights] Cities in the age of Brexit & Trump - Brooking’s Bruce Katz led a great discussion on everything from spatial inequality to critical differences between national and local government. Watch here.

[Hardware] End Gadget Apocalypse is Upon Us - Hardware was already hard. After Pebble’s firesale to Fitbit, NYTimes reflects on the state of gadgets. More from NYTimes.  

[Startups] Building Movements - Values are more important than slogans and other great insights on what successful movements have in common.

[Insights] Infrastructure Maps reveal the scope and state of US infrastructure from 600,000 bridges to electricity transmission lines. More from WaPo.

Interestingly, most people don’t often think of trees as infrastructure, but here is NYC’s take on the value of the investment in tree infrastructure.

[Climate] Our first guest writer in the Urban.Us Medium publication is Aoi Senju on why climate change is our generations greatest challenge.

[Portfolio Update] Fighting crime with design - AI gets most of the headlines, so it’s awesome to see Mark43 up for a design award. There are lots of ways to help local governments agencies use design to be more effective.  

[Portfolio Update] Omidyar Network explains why they are investing in Citymart.

[Portfolio Update] Architizer quietly passes $5b in project value sourced on their platform.

[Events] CES 2017 will host some of our favorite startups and we’re expecting a 3rd year of OneWheel stealing the show.  We will also help folks meet each other while in town. Let us know if and when you plan to be in Vegas.

[Startup Update] Welcome MeWe. We met Manik three years ago. We introduced MeWe to the network three months ago. Today, we're welcoming them to the portfolio.

Finally, we’ve shared a holiday shopping guide for those interested in creating smiles while helping cities and the environment. We’d love to hear your suggestions on urbantech gifts we should include.

Best,
Shaun, Stonly, Anthony & Mark

P.S. Some news might be fake, but there is a healthy uptick in BS across the board. So it seems like a good time to explore the theory of bullshit - what it is and the applications of bullshit in the contexts of communication.

Special thanks to Urban-X by Mini and HAX, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Amazon, IBM, and University of Chicago - Booth School for working with us to make the Urbantech ecosystem better.

Need more Urbantech? Founders are helping each other on Slack, and we syndicate investments on AngelList. Catch up on past updates here and follow us on Twitter

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