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Karis: Chicago is boosting its international reputation as a tech town, according to a new report by KPMG.

Chicago ranks 6th in the world as an innovation hub, according to KPMG’s annual Global Technology Innovation report, a measure of top tech cities outside Silicon Valley.

Chicago was behind only Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, Beijing and London on the list, and it was tied with Washington, D.C. and Berlin. Rounding out the top 10 were Tel Aviv and Boston.

Jim: The report marks a big rise for Chicago; the city was 18th on KPMG’s list last year.

To compile its list, KPMG asked 841 global business executives, venture capitalists and angel investors: “Which three cities will emerge to rival Silicon Valley/San Francisco over the next four years?”

Karis: While the results are largely based on perception, rather than quantitative metrics, the report is an example of how Chicago’s tech success is becoming known around the world. The city may lack the volume of startup activity and venture capital raised compared to New York and Boston, but Chicago is showing that it can breed fast growing unicorn startups. And with several of the city’s most successful entrepreneurs now starting new ventures, Chicago’s tech scene appears to be trending upward. Read more about why Chicago rose to 6th on KPMG’s rankings here.

Karis: SXSW kicks off this Friday in Austin, and a few local startups are making moves to Texas. Micropodcasting startup soundBYTE will compete in the “Release It” pitch event on March 10.

Jim: Also Omnipointment, a scheduling platform geared toward students, will participate in the Student Startup Madness event March 13.

Jim: Got a startup based on machine learning? Submissions close for pitching at the Machine Learning Venture Summit on Wednesday, March 8th.

Karis: Along with the 32 startups selected for the main track of University of Chicago‘s annual New Venture Challenge, the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) also announced 14 social impact startups have been chosen to move forward in the Social New Venture Challenge, the impact arm of the competition.

In the Social New Venture Challenge, startups can be for-profit or nonprofit but must have social impact in its core mission. This year’s semifinalists range from the “Ikea for wind turbines” to affordable travel for veterans. Read more on the social impact startups competing in this year’s NVC here

Venture capitalist David Vandegrift on The Power of Connectedness:

“Why is there no prominent social network for connecting successful professionals as mentors to the up-and-coming? Theoretically something like LinkedIn could play this role, but it doesn’t. I know plenty of my colleagues who would be excited for the opportunity to find ambitious young students interesting in hearing about their experience. And there’s no shortage of those students in the world. And yet there’s a failure in the marketplace: there’s nowhere that these two parties can aggregate to find each other at scale.”

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Will: I was in Washington DC last week and made a startling discovery: Their pedestrian walk lights start their countdown at 60. Seriously. On normal size streets. I could do the worm (terribly) and still make it across with plenty of time to spare. I mean, I get being pedestrian-friendly, but that’s waaaayyyyy too much time. Now, do I think extraordinarily long walk lights are at fault for Washington’s general inefficiencies and ineffectiveness? No. But they ain’t helping. Cap it at 20, DC.

Karis: Oh I love this. There’s nothing worse than being a half block from an intersection and arriving JUST as the blinking hand tells you to stop. Without stoplights, I could walk places at least 20 percent faster.

Karis: I’m bringing back Random Recommendation Monday: I watched nearly all of the newly-released season of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, which is phenomenal, and as always it made me hungry and feel immediately bad for eating three Eggo waffles for breakfast.

Jim: One more Random Recommendation Monday: This interview with David Letterman is really terrific. An excerpt:

On the other hand, Donald Trump can be Donald Trump, but if he doesn’t help the people that need help, then he’s just a jerk. That press conference that he held berating the news media? I mean, how do you build a dictatorship? First, you undermine the press: “The only truth you’re going to hear is from me.” And he hires the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Steve Bannon, to be his little buddy. Bannon looks like a guy who goes to lunch, gets drunk, and comes back to the office: “Steve, could you have just one drink?” “Fuck you.” How is a white supremacist the chief adviser to our president? Did anybody look that up? I don’t know. How’s this interview going? Do you think you’re talking to a normal person here? Don’t I seem like I’m full of something?

Ari Krzyzek, founder of Creative Women’s Co. on the need for intimate networking opportunities:

“It’s so much easier to connect. We’re hoping that out of the event [attendees] just get to know other women in the room and learn something from the event and hopefully they can spark a collaboration.”

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