First Read Tech

Cuomo's congestion pricing plan … a Syracuse tech “surge” … and more of today’s tech news

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers the 2019 State of the State address and proposed 2019-2020 executive budget. | Darren McGee/Office of the Governor
The Latest

Cuomo promises “Syracuse Surge”
In his State of the State speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his support for “Syracuse Surge,” an economic development plan from Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh that would expand the tech startup sector and tech education in the city. (Syracuse)

New Yorkers support congestion pricing
Gov. Cuomo proposed a congestion pricing plan in his 2019 budget just as a new poll showed that support for the tax – designed to mitigate traffic by charging motorists to enter crowded zones – is at historic highs, not only from New Yorkers but from companies like Uber, whose growth has contributed to increased congestion. (Quartz)

Charter’s exit plan gets another extension
The state Public Service Commission granted Charter Communications a 21-day extension to file a plan to exit its New York operations – state regulators ordered the company to develop one in July after saying it failed to expand service across the state as promised. (The Buffalo News)

No hiring yet for HQ2
Amazon clarified that it plans to kick off the HQ2 hiring process later in 2019, and that recent postings seeking a software development manager and software engineer were actually for existing Amazon offices in New York. (Bloomberg)

Attorney General nominee talks Big Tech
On the first day of his confirmation hearing, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, said he would look into whether Silicon Valley social media companies were abusing their market position to stifle competition and what the Justice Department’s role should be on the issue of consumer data privacy. (The Verge)

Government open data act becomes law
President Trump signed into law the OPEN Government Data Act, which essentially requires federal agencies to default when possible to making data (and metadata) public, to publish that public data in a machine-readable format, and to catalog it online. (TechCrunch)

Facebook pledges $300 million to journalists
Facebook says it is going to spend $300 million over the next three years to support journalism – the same amount that Google said it would spend in the same pursuit – which the company says will go toward initiatives like the Pulitzer Center and efforts to help small publishers. (Recode)

Portland trades cars for scooters
Portland studied four months of data from Bird and Lime to produce one of the most detailed analyses yet of the scooter phenomenon – one that showed a significant share of residents were using e-scooters to replace car trips. (The Verge)


Let conversation over Amazon HQ2 take off
The antagonism towards Amazon’s new headquarters in Queens is shortsighted and may even be hyperbole and political posturing coming from elected officials – but there are authentic concerns. The company’s critics can do more to promote the community’s interests. (Emil Skandul, AM New York)


Restaurants as co-working spaces
With the advent of cloud computing, online services, and flexible spaces, an entire business cycle is becoming instant and on-demand, and as startups like Spacious transform high-end restaurants into coworking spaces in New York, these new, more adaptable models for space rental suggest a more dynamic future for real estate. (Curbed)

Big Tech invests in local news 
Major tech companies and moguls are pouring lots of money into initiatives to support quality journalism – a gesture meant to show the industry’s support for journalism, even though their products and business models often feel at odds with fostering a quality news ecosystem. (Axios)

As tech invades cycling, are bike activists selling out?
As companies like Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, and Spin bring the ways of tech to bikes and scooters, they have recruited former cycling, street safety and urbanism advocates to help them out by creating partnerships with community groups, sitting down with government officials and hammering out urban policy. (Wired)


Streamlining workplace management
Dan Teran wanted to create his own version of Amazon Web Services for the workplace. Today, the result of that – a startup called Managed by Q – is being deployed at companies like Casper and Staples as an operating system to handle tasks ranging from staffing to security. (AlleyWatch)

Fintech nonprofit grads find success
The Partnership Fund for New York City worked with Accenture to create a development lab for fintech firms to receive guidance and coaching on working with financial firms. The result: Since the lab started, graduates have raised close to $800 million and created nearly 1,000 jobs. (Forbes)

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