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Armine Yalnizyan @ArmineYalnizyan
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I asked @DanDoctoroff today at… what Sidewalk Labs' business model was? How did they plan to make money here?
His answer(s):
There are five potential sources of revenue for Sidewalk Labs:
1. One will be potentially from development, Sidewalk Labs as "master-enabler, but our role in vertical will be limited. We want to demonstrate *others* can make money". /2
2. Working with Waterfront Toronto and planning, getting approvals for land use, will mean value of property will increase. Sidewalk Labs will get some $ for some of that. /3
3. Some of the technologies Sidewalk Labs develops in Toronto will be scalable (to other parts of Toronto and other places in the world). /4
4."One of the things we think we can bring to this – next generation infrastructure. We won’t be the infrastructure provider, but we can arrange the infrastructure and manage the vehicles for it." [Earlier he stressed how autonomous vehicles will reshape urban building] /5
5. "And over the course of this year we will be developing those plans and will be extremely transparent together [with Waterfront Toronto] ab /6out what that model is." /6
"Y'know, Waterfront Toronto negotiated a great deal. We invested $50M with no guarantees of anything. At the end of this year if the people of Toronto and their elected officials don’t want to proceed, we go away. This is really a one way option for the people and their govts"/7
....But we believe that what we will develop will be so interesting that people will have to take it seriously."

This certainly will be a unique experiment in placemaking.
Which reminds me of something he said earlier: /8
"We [Sidewalk Labs] don’t even see ourselves as a technology company. We see ourselves as a place-making company. Our goal is to improve QoL. In this place. And to replicate it elsewhere. Whether we do it or other entrepeneurs do it, that's not our business." /9
That statement came just after this one, after being queries about the data question:
"We don’t even have an strong idea about who owns it [the data]. It could be held in a trust, that has government representatives, privacy people, with which we contract, and others do too." /10
."... to the extent that people agree that it [the data] is anonymized. We have said publicly, we have no intention to use it for commercial purposes."

Really the data question is the one of the big transformations that is afoot in economics and urban planning. /11
The significance of the conversation we are having around ownership and use of data is reminiscent of the enclosures of the commons around 500 years ago.
Now the commons in question is data/information.
Which leads to the question:
Is data like oil? A commodity to be owned, and from which value is extracted by the owner?
Or is data more like air? Common but necessary, a utility without which life is impaired?
This way this debate over the nature of data in our lives is resolved will shape future regulation.
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