The winners are announced and the reviews are in for the MTA Genius Transit Challenge, a state-funded prize intended to spur innovation in the increasingly troubled NYC subways. Even at the time of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial announcement, the prize was mocked as trite symbolism not especially relevant to the system’s short-term needs. Once the winners were known, the judgment of non-government experts like Alon Levy and Benjamin Kabak was little kinder. I have no reason to quarrel with the judgment of the Internet’s top transit commentators, and yet I feel that the Governor’s initiative still contains the kernel of an idea worth pursuing as an economic-development initiative, if not the most-direct path to improvement of subway operations.
Effective at the start of this month, I have turned over management of the Business Incubator Association of New York State (BIA/NYS) to Marc Alessi, an attorney and startup entrepreneur. This concludes my decade-long adventure in social entrepreneurship, building a new trade association from scratch. It’s been a rewarding if challenging task, and I’m happy to place it now in the hands of capable, energetic, new leadership.
This was conceived initially as a part-time job I could do while continuing to consult, but it always seemed to take more time and resources than planned. To become sustainable, the association now must grow revenues enough to support both the executive and admin functions. Marc is a former state assemblyman who’s also been serving as the launch CEO of a biomedical-instrumentation startup, and he’s both well suited and fully committed to the challenge.
I warmly appreciate the support I’ve had throughout my tenure from the association board of directors and the membership at large. Several have become good friends over the years, and I thank all for the many kind thoughts expressed at this transition. This change frees me to reallocate more of my time back to consulting projects, and I intend to do so. I also have begun experimenting with angel investing, and I plan to continue to expand that effort insofar as I prudently can.