the PULL #169

October 12, 2016
After two weeks of travel, it feels good to be back on the ground and relatively stable here in Iowa for a few weeks. Unfortunately, all of the emails and tasks that I snoozed while I was traveling came flooding back on Monday morning and two days later I'm still catching up on everything.

That said, Montréal was a pretty amazing city to visit last week and I look forward to going back sometime soon (preferably for a real vacation, not as part of a coworking conference or work trip). I've talked about the experience several times in meetings this week and I've been surprised at the number of people here in Central Iowa who have spent time there. It's not a destination that comes up a lot—at least in my social circles—but a fair amount of you have already made the trip. I'll be sure to ask for insider tips the next time.

Digital mapping firm Here wants to transform Iowa highway into a self-driving utopia
The Verge (Andrew J . Hawkins, October 10)

The Iowa Department of Transportation (Ames) is teaming up with startup Here to transform a nearly 30-mile stretch of Interstate 380 between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids into a special corridor for self-driving cars and trucks. By retrofitting the highway with "a network of cameras and sensors attached to or embedded in permanent fixtures like traffic signs and streetlights, experts believe self-driving cars can a much better job communicating with their surroundings and other vehicles," according to The Verge. In 2015, Here was acquired by BMW, Audi, and Mercedes' parent company Daimler from Nokia for $3.1 billion.

“Iowa is a producer state,” said Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino III in a statement. “Many of our goods leave our borders, making our transportation infrastructure the lifeblood of our economy. We are focused on leveraging advanced technology to create a more efficient and safe road network for intermodal mobility and increased economic development opportunities.”
Artistic Iowa: The Rise of the Creative Class, a Decade Later
Iowa Public Radio (Clare Roth & Ben Kieffer, October 5)

More than a decade after Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack launched the Great Plains Initiative, Iowa Public Radio is taking a look back to see how arts and cultural initiatives have changed across the state. On this 45-minute episode of River to River, IPR host Ben Kieffer talks with Steven Pedigo, Amedeo Rossi, and Zachary Mannheimer about the intersection of creativity and the economy in Iowa.

"One of the biggest challenges was having people believe that the quality was here to create good things and to believe in the art, the music, the other creative capacities could be as good as in other areas," Amedeo, manager of the 80/35 Music Festival and owner of the Vaudeville Mews, told Ben. "It's one of self-belief really, that something can happen, and the quality and the art is there and the individuals to contribute."
Insurance accelerator adds 2 investing insurers
Business Record (October 5)

Two more insurance companies have signed on as investors in the Des Moines' Global Insurance Accelerator. Des Moines-based EMC Insurance Cos. and Markel Corp., which is based in Richmond, Va., will move forward as investors of the program, which will help provide seed funding to participating companies. With its newest additions, the accelerator now has 10 investors, each of which contribute $100,000 each year that they are involved in the program. The accelerator is now accepting applications for its third cohort, which will begin in January.

From the archives:

How to survive in a startup: it's ok to not love your job

Kate Wagner, July 1, 2015

Startups abide by a different set of rules. Of course, these rules probably haven't been written down yet because your startup can't afford to hire HR, but they do exist. Being a part of a startup is like navigating a maze while you're drunk and blindfolded.

It's thrilling and it hurts when you bump in to the walls.
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The Pull is curated by Geoff Wood and produced with help from Megan Bannister. I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob.

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