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Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun Paperback – October 15, 2015
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Start-Up City – Inspiring Private & Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun is sorely needed right now. Cities are at the forefront of taking on addressing issues at the intersection of demographics, technology, transport, climate, housing, equity, and health, but are largely ill equipped to respond.
Entrepreneur, bureaucracy-shaker, futurist, and now author Gabe Klein shows us how to make rapid change that will transform cities for the better.
I met Klein back in 2004 when he led the then-fledgling Zipcar operation in Washington, D.C. He was different from others in the transportation space: he had a ponytail, he was passionate, he was unafraid. He didn’t take no for an answer. I loved that!
We struck a partnership between Arlington County, Virginia and his company to put carshare vehicles in the public right-of-way, as Klein writes about in Lesson #6: Bridge the Public-Private Divide. The easy way he teamed with his company’s rival, Flexcar, and coordinated with local government officials made me a fan.
As I watched his career move from Zipcar, to organic food in electric trucks, to leading the departments of transportation in both D.C. and Chicago, I always marveled at the seeming ease with which Gabe got s*** done (I’m using his term). He innovated and accomplished more in a few years at each place than his predecessors and successors combined could ever hope for. He inspired bureaucracy to action. I always wanted to know: how did he do this?
In his new book, he generously reveals the secrets to his success, much of which is rooted in his start-up private-sector upbringing.Read more ›
Probably everyone in the public realm, especially those working in transportation, have heard of Gabe Klein before. As I’m new to the space, I hadn’t. I was delighted to learn that Gabe was an entrepreneur before he joined the city official ranks , and that his experience of running a food truck business in D.C. formed his philosophy of how a city should interact with new concepts and ideas. He also was part of Zipcar and Bikexx, hence his love for new mobility concepts. Klein’s entrepreneurial life has greatly influenced his work as an administrator, and probably has saved him from being burnt out by bureaucracy.
In his book, Klein talks about how he applied startup thinking and working to running a (huge) city department. Chapters with titles like “Don’t be afraid to Screw Up and Learn” sound right out of the tech lit staple – the trick is that Klein tells entertaining stories of how he applied these principles in union-run cities and huge bureaucracies. Stressing the importance of marketing and communication for cities, Klein recalls some of his less glamorous city projects in the transportation department like filling potholes (after 10 years of living in New York, I’d love to see this project copied here!) He created a 3 month “Potholepalooza” campaign, in which he asked the public to take photos of potholes, posting them on the ‘See-click-fix’ website, with the promise to have them fixed within 48 hours.Read more ›
It's a quick, compact and engaging book that takes you on a journey through some of Klein's most successful projects including: the Chicago Riverwalk, the Bloomingdale Trail and his many bike share programs. Klein also gives us a sneek peek into his success and provides a list of eight lessons and useful tips on how to get things done. There are lots of personal anecdotes from the author's personal experience in public and private sectors that I found to be inspiring and informative.
Overall, this book left me feeling hopeful about how wonderful the future can possibly be for my generation and the generation of my children. I think this book would be helpful for creative and innovative types of people who want to create better cities and change. Also, if you're interested in urban planning or public or private sectors you may also find this book to be useful to help you align your programs/projects to move things moving quickly while having fun. As Klein says, "If it's not fun, don't do it!"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You don't need to be an urban planner, mobility geek, or even working in the public sector to appreciate and really enjoy this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jeri Stroupe
Gabe Klein is an entrepreneur who gave his unique talents to Washington and Chicago by starting bike sharing and Zipcar.Published 4 months ago by William C. Habig
Fragmented and incomplete. I like the idea but with the authors impressive but limited duration in government hurts his credibility and legacy. Needs more meat...Published 4 months ago by Michael
Incredible book and highly recommended. It's a good book to buy and keep on your bookshelf not only to reference later, but also to share with colleagues. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Val